This day in history

Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1834, Alfred P. Swineford, Alaska's second governor, was born in Ohio.

• In 1871, A 32-ship whaling fleet from New England was abandoned at Wainwright Inlet when ice cut it off from open water. The 1,200 crew members used whale boats to reach safety at Icy Cape. No lives were lost.

• In 1884, Alaska's first governor, John Kinkead, appointed by President Chester Arthur, arrived in Sitka to take up his duties. The first meeting of the Presbytery of Alaska was held in Wrangell.

In the nation

• In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812.

• In 1901, President McKinley died in Buffalo, N.Y., of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

• In 1940, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, providing for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.

• In 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in New York at the site of the United Nations' world headquarters.

• In 1963, Mary Ann Fischer of Aberdeen, S.D., gave birth to four girls and a boy, the first surviving quintuplets in the United States.

• In 1972, the family drama series "The Waltons" premiered on CBS.

• In 1993, British tourist Gary Colley was shot and killed, his female companion wounded, at a highway rest stop in Florida. Two suspects later received life sentences; two others received lesser sentences.

• In 1998, President Clinton, struggling to regain his footing from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, pledged during a speech in New York to work with America's allies to deal with the "biggest financial challenge facing the world in a half-century."

• In 2002, President Bush said the United States was willing to take Iraq on alone if the United Nations failed to "show some backbone" by confronting Saddam Hussein.

In the world

• In 1847, U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott took control of Mexico City.

• In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of her sports car.

• In 1959, the Soviet space probe Luna II became the first manmade object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface.

• In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before. Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel was killed by a bomb.

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