This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1926, Ranger Jack Thayer was killed by a bear on Admiralty Island. A lake on the island was named after him.

• In 1930, the Wrangell Presbyterian Church, the first one built in Alaska, was destroyed by fire.

• In 1972, the longest, most intensive and most sophisticated search ever conducted in Alaska began after the disappearance of a chartered Cessna 310 carrying Rep. Nick Begich and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs. The plane was en route from Anchorage to Juneau.

• In 1974, a 489-foot barge carrying 13,800 tons of fertilizer snapped its tow cable in 45 knot winds and sank off the coast of Sitka.

In the nation

• In 1859, abolitionist John Brown led a group of about 20 men in a failed raid on Harper's Ferry.

• In 1916, Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (The clinic ended up being raided by police and Sanger was arrested.)

• In 1957, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip began a visit to the United States with a stopover at the site of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia.

• In 1987, a 58½-hour drama in Midland, Texas, ended happily as rescuers freed Jessica McClure, an 18-month-old girl trapped in an abandoned well.

• In 1991, a deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life.

• In 1997, in the first known case in the United States, a Georgia woman gave birth after being implanted with previously frozen eggs.

• In 2002, President Bush signed a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq. The White House announced that North Korea had disclosed it had a nuclear weapons program.

• In 2006, President Bush personally assured Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by phone that he had set no timetable for pulling troops out of Iraq. Lynne Stewart, a firebrand civil rights lawyer, was sentenced in New York to 28 months in prison for helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his followers on the outside.

In the world

• In 1793, during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, was beheaded.

• In 1946, 10 Nazi war criminals condemned during the Nuremberg trials were hanged.

• In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis began as President Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs had revealed the presence of missile bases in Cuba.

• In 1964, Harold Wilson of the Labor Party assumed office as prime minister of Britain, succeeding Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home. China set off its first atomic bomb, codenamed "596," on the Lop Nur Test Ground.

• In 1978, the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church chose Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to be the new pope; he took the name John Paul II.

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