Today, in 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes embark on their Midnight ride from Charlestown to Lexington to warn the patriots. Yes, there were two of them, no matter what Henry told you... In Lexington, they where joined by Samuel Prescott and continued to Concord before being captured by a British patrol. Two others would also later make historic rides; Israel Bissell and Sybil Ludington.
Exactly eight years later, in 1783, the Revolutionary War came to a close.
Certainly made your American History test a little easier. You only had to remember one month and day! April 18th!
On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martian Luther King Jr was fatally shot while on his balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. King was in Memphis in support of African American city sanitation workers after unequal wages, poor treatment and finally the deaths of two workers caused a strike.
A clergyman and prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (recipient), known for his use of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
Dr. King was nearly fatally stabbed in 1958 and had constant death threats made against him, including a bomb threat made against the plane he planned to fly to Memphis on.
On April 3rd he gave his last public address, later known as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" address, part of which was as follows:
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you... But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"
Jerrie Mock first flew in an airplane when she was seven. She told her parents she would grow up to be a pilot. From Newark, Ohio, after graduation, she went on to study engineering at Ohio State University. She was the only woman in their program. She was also the only one to score 100% on the exams. When she met her husband, she dropped out of school to be a housewife. Both she and her husband shared a love of travel, aspired to be pilots and took turns acquiring their licenses. Three children later, Mock planned her trip around the world because she wanted to see the world and said that she was "bored." When they realized no woman had tried the feat since Amelia Earheart, the news spread. A headline of the Columbus Sunday Dispatch read "Bexley Housewife Plans World Flight. Hopes To Be the First Woman To Go Around the Globe by Air." On March 19, 1964, the fulltime housewife and mother of three departed Port Columbus to a crowd of hundreds, beginning the historic flight that would forever cement her place in history. It took about a month (returning on April 17th) but, in her single-engine Cessna 180, “Spirit of Columbus," (nicknamed "Charlie") Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world. She didn't set out to become famous but by the time she landed she was a household name. With this trip, and several future ones, she earned praise and set many records. However, with the development of space race only a few years later, the public's attention fell higher in the sky and Jerrie Mock was all but forgotten.
For an extremely nice article on Jerrie Mock, click here.
Jerry was the First Woman to...
What would America be without George Washington? We may not speak like Doctor Who or use the Queen's currency but America's first president did a LOT for the founding of our nation. He was born on February 22nd, 1732. The day was celebrated even during his lifetime and became a federal holiday in January 31, 1879. It wasn't until June of 1968, and Congress' “Uniform Monday Holiday Act" was the holiday moved to the third Monday of the month (the law took effect in '71).
The name “Presidents’ Day” was proposed for this day as a way to show respect for all that held the office (Lincoln's birthday is the 12th) but the government never officially changed the name. It wasn't until 1980s advertising campaigns did the name became popularized and widely accepted.
On this day in 1903, the teddy bear first debuted. In November 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt needed a vacation which, in the Rough Rider's case, meant hunting. On the second day, an old black bear was caught, clubbed and tied to a tree for the president to shoot. Roosevelt refused the unsportsmanlike opportunity. Reporters caught wind of the event and Washington Post cartoonist Clifford Berryman depicted the bear as being a cub. Brooklyn candy-shop owner Morris Michtom saw an opportunity of his own and asked his wife, Rose, to make stuffed-toy bears to sell in their shop. They requested the permission, from the president to call them “Teddy’s bears" and he agreed.
"If birds can glide for long periods of time, then why can't I? - Orville Wright
On December 17th, 1903, the Wright Brothers made history with the first powered flight at the dunes of Kitty Hawk. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered a distance of 120 feet. The brothers would go on to complete three more successful flights that day with the longest lasting 59 seconds and covering 852 feet. Now that's progress!
- from the desk of John J. Zimkus | WCHS Historian/Educational Director
(The following is the text of a speech given on November 11, 2018, at Runyan Field in Lebanon, Ohio marking the centennial of the Armistice ending World War I.)
One hundred years ago today, on November 11, 1918, an armistice went into effect. It was the formal agreement to stop the fighting in what was called “The Great War,” “The war to end all wars” better known today as World War I. They didn’t know at that time that a little over 20 years later we had to start numbering such devastating conflicts.
The armistice was between the Allies - Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States, and their opponent, Germany. Separate armistices had already existed between the Allies and Germany’s partners in what was called the Central Powers - Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The armistice was signed in a railway car in an area in Northern France called Compiègne, around 5:00 a.m. It was agreed that at 11 a.m. that same day, November 11, 1918,—“The eleventh hour ,of the eleventh day. of the eleventh month”— the ceasefire would go into effect.
During the 6 hours between the signing of the armistice and its enforcement, although some opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions, along many other areas the fighting continued. Consequently, on the last day of World War I, there were nearly 11,000 casualties, of whom 2,738 were killed.
An American, 23-year-old Henry Gunther from Maryland is generally recognized as the last soldier to die in action in World War I. He was killed at 10:59 a.m. Paris time, 60 seconds before the armistice went into effect.
The actual terms of the armistice, largely written by the Allied Supreme Commander, MarshalFerdinand Foch of the French Army, included the cessation of hostilities, the surrender of aircraft, warships, and military materiel, the release of Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, and eventual reparations.
News of the armistice reached Lebanon, Ohio around 3 in the morning, that Monday, November 11, 1918, about 6 hours after the actual announcement was made in France.
Many of the people who were awake at that time in Lebanon remembered the false United Press dispatch announcing “peace” the previous Thursday and were slow to accept this news as being genuine.
Around 6 a.m. the armistice announcement was verified and, as The Western Star reported, “The fun started.” Church bells, fire bells, train and factory whistles united in what was called a “Glorious hallelujah.”
The noise attracted the attention of every citizen in Lebanon. It was said few people took the time to eat their breakfast that morning but instead rushed into the streets to join the crowds already there. The newspaper reported,“Then until noon - pandemonium reigned.”
The Lebanon schools, Lebanon High at that time being located were Pleasant Street Park is today, were closed. They were scheduled to open that very day after being shutdown for several weeks due to the deadly Spanish flu epidemic that had spread throughout the country. Now however, teachers and students joined the celebration in the streets.
Stores closed and business in Lebanon in general was suspended. Such signs as “To Hell With the Kaiser” and “Closed to Celebrate” were posted in many the town’s store windows.
Parades sprung up spontaneously all over Lebanon. People shouted themselves hoarse in and effort to be heard and join in the noise of the car horns, cow bells, tin horns, tin pans and other instruments of noisy celebration.
The executive committee of the fraternal organization called the Men of Lebanon hastily and successfully made preparations for a parade to begin at 9:30 a.m. It started from Harmon Hall headed by several members of the Harmon Hall Band. It was said there was scarcely room for people on Broadway. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school children, men, women and automobiles galore. The procession was said to be nearly a mile long.
After the parade went over the principal streets of town, Judge Frances M. Hamilton was asked to speak. He paid tribute to the brave boys from Lebanon who had helped to achieve this great victory. He then told the crowd that Lebanon will never again hold such a demonstration as on this day, save one - “When our boys come home.”
Several songs were sung by the crowd led by Miss Laura B. Cunningham and elementary teacher in the Lebanon schools. Then every man and woman in the vast group bowed their head in a moment of silent prayer. After that Mayor Murphy proclaimed that day, November 11, 1918, a holiday.
Preparations were then immediately launched for what was described as a “Mammoth parade" for that night.
Promptly at 7 p.m. the great procession began with the Harmon Hall Band providing the music. At “each corner new faces joined in.” It was reported, “This was one time when everyone was an [equal]. The humblest and highest marched side by side.”
Following this parade speeches were made. One was by Judge J. A. Runyan, the namesake of the Runyon Field in which we are gathered this morning. He was from the Local Draft Board. Another was by Attorney Frank C. Anderson representing the Red Cross. Judge F. M. Hamilton read a poem written by Cpl. William McKinney of Lebanon’s own Company E of the First Regiment of the Ohio National Guard who trained on this spot and went into battle at part of the 147th Infantry, 37th Division, of the American Expeditionary Forces.
The last stanza of Cpl. McKinney’s poem reads:
“To mothers of men that have fallen
On the field of battle in France,
Let not your hearts be worried
For they were given a chance
To give their hearts to their maker.
Your prayers were not made in vain.
When the trumpet of judgement has sounded
You and he shall meet again.”
Three days later, on November 14, 1918, an editorial in The Western Star entitled simply “PEACE” said in part:
“Not since the morning stars sang the anthem, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace, good will to men,’ has the world heard so joyful an announcement as that which the wires carried on Monday morning, announcing the signing of the armistice on the part of the German government.
“No wonder Lebanon - Warren County - Ohio - the United States - the World acted as though it were insane with joy. No wonder tears and laughter intermingled. No wonder the old forgot their age and became youths again. No wonder the young assumed the age of discretion and discussed ‘What [Marshal] Foch had done.’ Nothing was to be wondered at . . . on Monday.
“Peace - Sweet Peace - Peace with Victory - Peace with Honor, had come. 100 days ago every cloud was black with the possibilities of an autocratic German victory. 100 days ago there was hardly a bright spot in the sky as big as a man’s hand. But those who had faith saw a bright spot and said, ‘All will be well.’
“As a French woman said, ‘God happened,’ and the bright spot grew in size. God’s emissaries, led by that most wonderful man, General Foch, who left his staff on many an occasion to enter a humble chapel and pray for the success of his army, have overturned the hosts of hell and won a victorious peace.”
This is 23rd in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To learn about Rusty Adams' experiences, click here.
This is 22nd in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To learn about Col. Blevins' experiences, click here.
This is 20th in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To learn about Col. Blevins' experiences, click here.
The notion of identifying your personal stuff has been around for centuries. From scratches made with sticks and stones to sewing labels onto clothing. The same problem of identification came with the military. Whose boots do these belong to? Or, most importantly, whose body is this?
The first incidence of using identification on the battlefield was during the Civil War. Soldiers would sew or pin tags of cloth or paper onto their clothing and effects in order to be identified correctly in case they should die on the battlefield. Some even took the initiative to carve their names onto pieces of wood with a hole on one side for a piece of string to hang it around the neck.
Commercial industries saw a potential in this product and started to market items that could be custom made for each soldier, at his own cost. Harper’s Weekly Magazine advertised “Soldier’s Pins” which could be mail ordered. These disks would be made of silver or gold and inscribed with the individual’s name and unit designation. Even with this obvious need, the U.S. Government did not issue I.D. tags till 1899. (42% of the Civil War dead remain unidentified).
Chaplain Charles C. Pierce was tasked with the creation of the Quartermaster Office of Identification in the Philippines. He recommended the use of an “identity disk” to be part of the field kit for all soldiers. The U.S. Army Regulations of 1913 made identification tags mandatory. By 1917, all combat soldiers wore quarter sized aluminum disks on a chain around their neck.
By the beginning of WWII, the name “Dog Tag “became common because of the similarity between the I.D. tag and the license tag of a canine. During this war, an oblong shape replaced the round disk. This was done in order to place more personal info on the tag. This tag was replaced by a “Notched” tag that used the notch to place it correctly into an embossing machine.
The Army is currently testing a new type of tag that uses digital technology to keep an immense amount of data on each individual; not only name, rank, and serial number but medical history and GPS location. Still worn around the neck, these tags will help in identification and location globally. The “Dog Tag” has come a very long way from a crude, carved wooden disk for courageous Civil War soldiers to the global technology of our present day in order to identify our valiant soldiers all around the world.
Julie Meintel (Desert Strom) recounts her time in the service.
This is the tenth in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Richard (Dick) Tracy givest his personal account of his military time during WWII in our interview.
To read the full transcript of the interview, click here.
This is the fourth in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To learn about Edwin Pellett's experiences, click here.
This is the second in a series of oral histories. To summarise for those who haven't read the first blog post; We will be exploring the many stories of service men and women and the experiences they've had at war. The stories will range from WWII to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To read Don's account, click here.
To go to the first oral history in the series, click here.
Various Members of the Warren County Historical Society