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Today in History for June

Jun 01

What port did the British government close today?

June 1, 1774 — Today the British government ordered the Port of Boston closed. Known as the Boston Port Act (the Trade Act 1774), it measured the Intolerable Acts, which were designed to secure Great Britain's jurisdictions over her American dominions. The Act was...

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Jun 02

For what is the Marquis de Sade reknown for?

June 2, 1740 — The Marquis de Sade is born today in Paris. A military leader, governor-general, and author, his acts of extreme cruelty and violence resulted in the term sadism being created from his name to describe gratification in inflicting pain. Famous for his libertine sexuality,  Sade...

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Jun 03

Which battles began and ended the Civil War today?

June 3, 1861 — The Battle at Philippi, West Virginia, is considered the first land battle of the Civil War.  The Confederacy hardly resisted the attacks and troops were defeated, enabling the Union to press on toward Richmond, VA — the Confederacy's capital city....

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Jun 06

When was “the year without summer?”

June 6, 1816 — Today begins a"the year without summer," when cold temperatures affected the entire country. New England suffered through the most severe temperature drop, and got 10 inches of snow. An agriculture disaster of great proportion, the low temperatures killed the...

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Jun 07

Which famous explorer made his way to Kentucky today?

June 7, 1769 — Today, Daniel Boone began exploring the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. He wrote: "I surveyed the famous river Ohio, that rolled in silent dignity, marking the western boundary of Kentucky with inconceivable grandeur." Born in eastern Pennsylvania in 1734, Boone moved with...

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Jun 09

How many Mormons began their trek west today?

June 9, 1856 — On this day, 274 Mormons began their trek west for Salt Lake City. The group traveled 1,300 miles on foot and carried with them two-wheeled handcarts to haul their belongings. Four months later, the survivors reached Utah Territory. On the way,...

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Jun 10

Why did a shipment of Madeira wine make history today?

June 10, 1768 — British customs officials seized John Hancock's ship, The Liberty, alleging that Bostonians, seeking to evade the Townshend Acts, locked a customs official in the Liberty's cabin while the cargo of Madeira winewas unloaded. The Sons of Liberty protested. Although it began peacefully, the patriots quickly...

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Jun 11

What was the Committee of Five?

June 11, 1776 — The Continental Congress created the "committee of five," who drafted the Declaration of Independence today. It included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson — who, upon the committee's request, wrote the first draft of the Declaration....

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Jun 12

Who patented the gas mask in 1849?

June 12, 1849 — The gas mask was patented today by Lewis Haslett of Louisville, KY. Initially named the "inhaler," or "lung protector," it functioned as an air purifying respirator. Inhalation and exhalation occured through two one-way clapper valves: one permitting...

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Jun 13

What fun and important events happened today in history?

June 13, 1777 — The Marquis de Lafayette landed on US soil today. The French aristocrat and military officer fought for the United States in the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution...

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Jun 13

What is the origin of ice cream in the US?

June 13, 1789 — This evening, Elizabeth "Betsy" Hamilton — the wife of Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) who was first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States — served ice cream to George Washington. It was said to be the highlight of the dinner...

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Jun 15

What groundbreaking invention did Goodyear patent today?

June 15, 1844 — The Goodyear company patented the vulcanization of rubber today. It's founder, Charles Goodyear, obtained his first patent to produce rubber on June 17, 1837. He received patent number 3633 from the United States Patent Office on June 15,...

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Jun 15

Which amendment to the US Constitution was ratified today?

June 15, 1804 — The 12th amendment to the US Constitution was ratified today. It manages the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It explains: The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or...

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Jun 16

Who was America’s first female postmaster?

June 16, 1738 — Born today was Mary Katherine Goddard (June 16, 1738 – August 12, 1816), an early American publisher and the first female postmaster in America. She was also the first to print the Declaration of Independence with the names of the signatories. The native...

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Jun 17

What do you know about the history of Hawaii?

June 17, 1839 — In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha III issued the Edict of toleration today, which gave Roman Catholics the freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands. Until 1824 the ancient Hawaiian religion was enforced through strict law. The religion dictated how...

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Jun 19

How many soldiers died at Valley Forge?

June 19, 1778 — George Washington's troops finally left Valley Forge today, after being stationed here for exactly six months. The conditions during their stay were brutal. The freezing weather, lack of food, lack of supplies, and disease killed approximately 2,000 soldiers...

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Jun 21

Who patented the reaping machine?

June 21, 1834 — American inventor and businessman Cyrus Hall McCormick (February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) patented the reaping machine today. His father, Robert McCormick Jr., worked on the invention for 28 years, but was never able to perfect the apparatus. Cyrus took...

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Jun 22

When did pins begin to be mass produced?

June 22, 1832 — How do you make a pin? John Howe was the first to figure it out, and today in 1832 patented the pin manufacturing machine. Born in Ridgefield, Connecticut in 1793, he trained as a doctor, working at the...

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Jun 23

Who was Anne McDowell?

June 23, 1826 — Editor, journalist, and publisher Anne McDowell is born today in Smyrna, Delaware. A great supporter of women's rights, she is perhaps best known for launching the weekly newspaper, the Woman’s Advocate, in January 1855. Although other papers published...

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Jun 24

What is the Jay Treaty?

June 24, 1795 — Officially titled the “Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty; and The United States of America,” the John Jay Treaty was consented to by the US Senate today. Jay (December 23, 1745 (December 12, 1745 OS)...

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Jun 25

What is the US Alien Act?

June 25, 1798 — The US passed the Alien and Sedition Act today, which was a collection of four bills passed by the Federalists in Congress and signed into law by President John Adams. The bills were presumed to strengthen national security in response...

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Jun 26

Why won’t farmers buy Charles Newbold cast-iron plow?

June 26, 1797 — Charles Newbold of Chesterfield, NJ was awarded the patent for the cast-iron plow today. Unfortunately, farmers weren't impressed. The reason: Those who first saw it demonstrated at General John Black's orchard feared the iron would poison their soil. Undaunted, Newbold spent a significant amount...

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Jun 28

What school in Philadelphia did the Quakers open today?

June 28, 1770 — French-born American abolitionist and educator Anthony Benezet today founded one of the world's first anti-slavery societies — the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. He ran it until his death in 1784, and also founded...

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Jun 29

What war-altering order did General Lee give today?

June 29, 1863 — The Civil War heated up today (literally, as temperatures reportedly hit 87-degrees) when General Robert E. Lee ordered his forces to concentrate near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On July 1, the Battle of Gettysburg will begin, and last until July 3. Between the two armies, approximately...

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Jun 30

Who crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope today?

June 30, 1859 — Charles Blondin became the first man to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope today. Gamblers took bets on whether he would plunge to a watery death. (Most of the smart money said yes.) Blondin believed that a ropewalker was...

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