Day By Day

Monday, November 02, 2009

This Day In History

For those of you who are Catholic today is "All Souls Day", a time to pray for the souls of the departed that they may be cleansed of sin and enter Heaven. In Mexico and Portugal it is "Dia de Muertos" the "Day of the Dead". If you are not Mexican, nor Portuguese, nor Catholic, you can always celebrate "Deviled Eggs Day", which is certainly tasty and, for some I suppose, just as spiritual and even more nutritious.

On this day in 1734 Daniel Boone was born at Birdsboro in the Oley Valley in Berks County, PA. His childhood home can be easily reached from Philadelphia. Check out the site here. Boone was something of a superstar in his day, a famed "long hunter" and pioneer who became the subject of numerous books and tall tales that circulated widely both in America and Europe. As a young man he participated [along with George Washington] in Gen. Edward Braddock's ill-fated attempt to attack the French at Fort Duquesne. After that he traveled widely on the frontier acting as a liaison between various Indian nations and colonial governments. On the eve of the Revolution he blazed the "Wilderness Trail" through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky where he founded Boonesborough, one of the first White settlements west of the Alleghenies. During the Revolution Boone was at various times associated with both sides and for a while was adopted into the Shawnee nation, which at the time was allied with the British. He redeemed himself in American eyes, however, by acting as a spy and warning settlers of an impending Indian attack. After the war he had a political career and spent much of his time fleeing from creditors. So much has been written and said about Daniel Boone that it is almost impossible by now to separate fact and fiction. If only a small fraction of the adventures attributed to him are true he must have lived one of the most exciting lives ever.

And on this day in 1920 KDKA broadcast the results of the Harding-Cox election, America's first political broadcast.

And on this day in 1947 Howard Hughes flew his "Spruce Goose" for the first and last time.

And in 1948 Truman Beat Dewey. Lots of election stuff on this date.

And on this date in 1950 Phillie Jim Konstanty wins the NL MVP and in 1977 Steve Carlton wins his second Cy Young Award. Nice going, guys.

"Happy Birthday" to Marie Antoinette, unfortunate Queen of France [1755]; to James K. Polk, 11th POTUS [1795] and Warren G. Harding, 29th POTUS [1865]; to William Donald Schaefer, former Mayor of Baltimore, Governor of Maryland, and one of the most eccentric and entertaining politicians of my lifetime [1921]. A statue of him currently sits inside a crate at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Rumor has it that it will be unveiled [actually, uncrated] sometime soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Not long after I finished posting several trucks drove up to the Harbor and work crews uncrated the governor, set up seats, and draped the statue with flags. My neighbor tells me that an unveiling ceremony is scheduled for this afternoon. I won't be attending, but she will.