This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

In Alaska

• In 1900, the Military Department of Alaska was established by the Secretary of War.

• In 1905, a new record for telegraphic service to Nome was established, when a local businessman received a message from New York that had been sent less than six hours earlier.

• In 1907, the power house of the Citizens Light and Power Company of Ketchikan was destroyed by fire.

• In 1979, a Fairbanks woman who was injured when her waterbed rolled, pinning her to the floor for 11 hours, received $150,000 from the manufacturer.

In the nation

• In 1807, Robert E. Lee, the commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies, was born in Stratford, Va.

• In 1809, author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston.

• In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union.

• In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation's railroads following settlement of a wage dispute.

• In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television for the first time, with the permission of President Eisenhower.

• In 1970, President Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell's past racial views.

• In 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American who'd made wartime broadcasts for Japan.

• In 2000, Michael Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy, was charged with bludgeoning to death 15-year-old Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Conn., in 1975, when he also was 15. (Skakel was later convicted, and is currently appealing.) A dormitory fire at Seton Hall University in New Jersey killed three people and injured 62. Actress Hedy Lamarr was found dead in her Orlando, Fla., home; she was 86.

• In 2004, John Kerry won Iowa's Democratic caucuses, while John Edwards placed second; Howard Dean, who finished third, delivered a fist-pumping, bellowing concession speech that was viewed as politically damaging.

In the world

• In 1736, James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, was born in Scotland.

• In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" premiered in Rome.

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