On This Day

Today in American History USA Flag

Events in History

  • 1812 7.8 earthquake shakes New Madrid, Missouri

Historic Event

1853 John Wilkes Booth is baptized at St. Timothy's Protestant Episcopal Church

  • 1855 1st bridge over the Mississippi River in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, opens; today made by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge
  • 1859 Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii begins an eruption that lasts 300 days
  • 1862 Agoston Haraszthy, 1st vintner in Sonoma Valley, California imports 10,000 grape vine cuttings
  • 1870 Marias Massacre: Approximately 200 Piegan Blackfeet Indians (mostly women, children, and elderly men) killed by US Army, in Montana Territory, spawning outrage and preventing the military from regaining control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs [1] [2]

Historic Event

1889 Daniel Williams forms Provident Hospital in Chicago

  • 1897 Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Resulting murder trial of her husband perhaps only case in US history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
  • 1907 Charles Curtis of Kansas becomes 1st Native American US senator

Historic Event

1926 Eugene O'Neill's "Great God Brown" premieres in NYC

  • 1930 George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Virginia established
  • 1964 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution ratified, barring poll tax in federal elections

Theater Premiere

1964 Arthur Miller's play "After the Fall" premieres in NYC

  • 1970 Australia's 1st amateur radio satellite (Oscar 5) launched (California)
  • 1971 -80°F (-62°C) in Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska (US record)

Historic Event

1973 US President Richard Nixon announces an accord has been reached to end Vietnam War

  • 1981 1st Richard Nixon museum opens in San Clemente California

Historic Event

1993 NY Newsday reports Oregan Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassed 23 women

  • 2002 "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in Federal Bureau of Investigation custody.
  • 2016 Category 5 blizzard delivers record 3ft of snow to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US, killing 55 and incurring estimated $500m - $3bn economic losses
  • 2017 Thunderstorms and tornadoes in Georgia and Mississippi leave at least 18 dead in the US

Historic Event

2019 US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disinvites President Donald Trump from making a State of the Union address in Congress citing government shutdown


More American History

Birthdays in History

  • 1730 Joseph Hewes, American merchant (Declaration of Independence signatory), born in Princeton, New Jersey (d. 1779)

John Hancock

1737 John Hancock, American merchant & statesman who was 1st to sign the Declaration of Independence, born in Braintree, Massachusetts (d. 1793)

  • 1828 Calvin Edward Pratt, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Worcester County, Massachusetts (d. 1896)
  • 1833 John Randolph Chambliss Jr, American Brigadier-General (Confederate Army), born in Greensville County, Virginia (d. 1864)
  • 1869 Herbert David Croly, American author (Promise of American Life), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 1930)
  • 1893 Frank Carlson, American politician (Gov/Rep/Sen-R-Ks), born in Cloud County, Kansas (d. 1987)
  • 1915 Potter Stewart, United States Supreme Court justice (1958-81), born in Jackson, Michigan (d. 1985)
  • 1916 David Douglas Duncan, American photo-journalist best known for his war photography, born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 2018)

Gertrude B. Elion

1918 Gertrude B. Elion, American biochemist and drug researcher who developed groundbreaking leukemia and herpes drug treatments (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1988), born in NYC, New York (d. 1999)

  • 1923 Walter M. Miller Jr., American sci-fi author (Hugo, View from Stars), born in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  • 1924 Frank Lautenberg, American politician (Sen-D-NJ, 1982-2001, 2003-2013), born in Paterson, New Jersey (d. 2013)
  • 1927 Lars-Eric Lindblad, Swedish-American entrepreneur & explorer, born in Solna Municipality, Sweden (d. 1994)
  • 1930 William Reid Pogue, American fighter pilot & astronaut (Skylab 4), born in Okemah, Oklahoma (d. 2014)
  • 1932 Bud Shuster, American politician (Rep-R-PA, 1973-2001), born in Glassport, Pennsylvania
  • 1947 Tom Carper, American politician (D-Delaware, Senator 2001-, Governor of Delaware 1993-2001, REP 1983-93 ), born in Beckley, West Virginia
  • 1947 Gatewood Galbraith, American author & attorney, born in Carlisle, Kentucky (d. 2012)
  • 1949 Robert Cabana, American astronaut (STS 41, 53, 68, sk:88), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Chesley Sullenberger

1951 Chesley Sullenberger III, American pilot (successfully executed emergency landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River), born in Denison, Texas

  • 1953 Antonio Villaraigosa [Villar], Hispanic-American politician (Mayor of Los Angeles, 2005-13; California Assemblyman, 1994-2000), born in East Los Angeles, California
  • 1957 Lou Schuler, American fitness journalist, born in St. Louis, Missouri

Deaths in History

  • 1800 Edward Rutledge, US attorney (signed US Declaration of Independence), dies at 50
  • 1957 Willie Edwards, US African American, murdered by KKK at 25
  • 1977 Bernard "Toots" Shor, New York restaurateur (Toot's Shor's Restaurant), dies at 73
  • 1994 Oliver Smith, US set designer (Guys & Dolls-7 Tony Awards), dies at 75
  • 1999 Jay Pritzker, American businessman (b. 1922)
  • 2002 Robert Nozick, American philosopher (Anarchy, State, and Utopia), dies at 63
  • 2006 Virginia D. Smith, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska), dies at 94
  • 2007 E. Howard Hunt, American intelligence officer involved in Watergate break-in, dies at 88
  • 2009 Robert W. Scott, American politician, governor of North Carolina (b. 1929)
  • 2011 Jack LaLanne, American fitness and nutritional expert, dies at 96

Famous Americans