Monday, December 28, 2009

100 Years Ago - 1909

The year of 2009 is coming to a close. Instead of doing a recap of the events of the past year, the following is a recap of the events of 1909 -- 100 years ago.

Jan 1 – Barry Goldwater, Republican Senator and presidential candidate, was born in Phoenix, Arizona. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.”

Jan 3 -- Victor Borge, musician and humorist, was born in Copenhagen. “There is more logic in humor than in anything else -- because humor is truth.”

Jan 22 -- An earthquake in Morocco killed 100 people.

Feb 1 -- The USA ended direct control over Cuba, evacuating U.S. troops after installing Jose Miguel Gomez as president.

Feb 9 -- The first U.S. legislation prohibiting narcotics was passed, targeting opium.

Feb 12 -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in New York City by 60 people.

Feb 16 -- The first subway car with side doors was introduced in New York City.

Feb 17 -- A U.S. government commission reported that the tobacco industry was controlled by 6 men, who held a combined 86 companies.

Feb 17 -- Apache Chief Geronimo died in captivity of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. “I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.”

Feb 27 -- President Theodore Roosevelt established a bird sanctuary 28 miles off the coast of San Francisco.

Mar 1 -- David Niven, actor, was born in Scotland. “I try to write, but it’s not easy. Acting is what’s easy.”

Mar 4 -- President William Howard Taft was inaugurated as the 27th President of the USA

Mar 23 -- British explorer Shackleford found the magnetic South Pole.

Mar 26 -- Russia invaded Persia to support Muhammad Ali as the Shah to replace the constitutional government.

Apr 6 -- Explorer Robert E. Peary and five others became the first men to reach the North Pole.

Apr 18 -- Joan of Arc was declared a saint.

Apr 27 -- The Sultan of Turkey was overthrown.

May 1 -- Walter Reed Hospital opened as an 80-bed Army medical center in Washington DC.

May 30 -- Benny Goodman, a clarinet player know as the King of Swing, was born in Chicago, Illinois. “Whatever you do, don’t stop -- just keep on going.”

Jun 1 -- President Taft sent a telegraph signal from Washington DC to Seattle opening the Seattle World’s Fair, and another signal to New York City to commence the New York to Seattle Automobile Race.

Jun 10 -- The first SOS signal ever transmitted in an emergency was sent from the Cunard Liner SS Slavonia off the Azores Islands.

Jun 14 -- Burl Ives, actor and folk singer, was born in Hunt, Illinois. “I went to my room and packed a change of clothes, got my banjo, and started walking down the road. Soon I found myself on the open highway headed east.” Ives had walked out of an English classroom in his junior year at Eastern Illinois State College, slamming the door behind him, and hit the road. He spent several decades as a wandering minstrel, working odd jobs, being jailed for vagrancy, and eventually falling into a radio show, later into TV and movies. I had met him and chatted with him many times in the early 1980s at a marina in Oxnard, California, where we each had our boats moored near one another. I owned a 42-foot yacht (double-masted ketch) at the time and he had a much larger, old-time schooner. He was a very warm, friendly person.

Jun 20 -- Errol Flynn, actor, was born in Hobart, Tasmania. “I like my whiskey old and my women young.”

Jun 23 -- A Model T Ford crossed the finish line in the New York City to Seattle Automobile Race. It took 22 days and 55 minutes and won $2,000 first prize. It was later disqualified for switching engines along the way. I have a nephew who can make that run today between sunrise and sunset, plus a few speeding tickets.

Jun 26 -- Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, was born in the Netherlands. He was never a colonel. “Don’t try to explain it -- just sell it.”

Jul 27 -- Orville Wright tested the first U.S. Army airplane, with a passenger, over Fort Myer, Virginia. They were airborne for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

Aug 2 -- The first U.S. Lincoln pennies were minted. They were 95 percent copper. They are still being minted today, at a cost of 1.7 cents each.

Aug 19 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened with a 2.5 mile track. The first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race would be held two years later.

Aug 24 -- Workers started pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.

Sep 10 -- Adolph Hitler painted a series of views of Austria.

Sep 19 -- The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to 3, to win the World Series. It would be the last World Series appearance of Ty Cobb.

Oct 2 -- Orville Wright set a new airplane altitude record at 1,600 feet -- breaking the old record of 508 feet.

Oct 13 -- U.S. Federal taxes were imposed on corporate income.

Nov 8 -- Katherine Hepburn, actress, was born in Hartford, Connecticut. “I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.”

Nov 11 -- Construction began on the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Nov 18 -- The USA invaded Nicaragua and overthrew President Zelaya.

Nov 23 -- The Wright Brothers formed a million-dollar corporation to manufacture commercial airlines.

Dec 1 -- The first Israeli kibbutz (a collective farm settlement) was formed in Palestine.

Dec 2 -- J.P. Morgan acquired Equitable Life Company to become the largest known concentration of bank power to date.

Dec 9 -- Douglas Fairbanks Jr., actor, was born in New York City. “Every week we had a different story and a different setting.”

Dec 10 -- Sioux Indian Chief Red Cloud died on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. “We do not want riches -- we want peace and love.”

Dec 26 -- Frederic Remington, American Western painter and sculptor, died due to complications in an emergency appendectomy in Ridgefield, Connecticut. “I knew the wild riders and the vacant land were about to vanish forever.”

Dec 28 -- Russian Socialists of the Zionist movement set up an armed camp in Palestine to protect their new farms and villages from attack by Arab marauders.

Perfection is a rare flash of bliss on the Planet of Wounded Souls. Flowers bloom, birds sing and water flows downhill. Unfortunately, humanity is swarming with fear, greed and lust for power, transforming an orb of wondrous possibilities into chaos and conflict.

Life goes on.

Quote for the Day -- “No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people.” William Howard Taft

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where water flows downhill. His blogs appear on several websites, including

No comments: