Archive for March 5th, 2009


Sixty Degrees!

With the snow mostly melted and temps around sixty degrees, the muskrat habitat looks like this today.







On This Day, March 5: Wisconsin Offers Reward

March 5, 1875

Inventor wanted…

The Wisconsin state legislature offered a $10,000 reward on this day to any man who could supply “a cheap and practical substitute for use of horse and other animals on highway and farm,” documenting that the search for a motorized wagon was officially under way by 1875. By 1879, George Selden had already sought a patent for his self-propelled gas-burning vehicle. Ransom Eli Olds, founder of Oldsmobile, created his first steam-propelled automobile in 1887. Frank and Charles Duryea drove their first motorized wagon in 1893. The Duryea brothers would eventually be credited with operating the first auto production line when they produced and sold 13 cars in 1896. Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, Indiana, claimed to have produced the first “real” car in 1894. Haynes contended that the Duryeas had only managed to attach an engine to a wagon. In short, the historical bounty for the creation of the automobile was a cup to be shared by all. Legally, however, and later financially, George Selden won the first prize. In 1895, Selden received U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for his “road engine.” With the granting of the patent, Selden, whose designs were generally inferior to those of his contemporary automotive pioneers, won a monopoly on the concept of combining an internal combustion engine with a carriage. Although Selden never became an auto manufacturer, every automaker would have to pay him a percentage of their profits for the right to construct a motor car. In 1903, Henry Ford refused to pay Selden the percentage, arguing that his design had nothing to do with Selden’s. After a long drawn-out legal case that ended in 1911, the New York Court of Appeals upheld Selden’s patent for all cars of the particular out-dated construction he originally described, and in doing so ended Selden’s profitable reign as the father of the automobile. Ironically, it wasn’t until Ford’s Model T that the car became a significant substitute for “the horse and other animals” as stipulated in the aforementioned challenge issued by the Wisconsin legislature. By that time, Henry Ford didn’t need the $10,000.

“Inventor wanted….” 2009. The History Channel website. 5 Mar 2009, 12:35


On This Day

1623 – The first alcohol temperance law in the colonies was enacted in Virginia.

1624 – In the American colony of Virginia, the upper class was exempted from whipping by legislation.

1750 – “King Richard III” was performed in New York City. It was the first Shakespearean play to be presented in America.

1836 – Samuel Colt manufactured the first pistol (.34-caliber).

1842 – A Mexican force of over 500 men under Rafael Vasquez invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They briefly occupied San Antonio, but soon headed back to the Rio Grande.

1845 – The U.S. Congress appropriated $30,000 to ship camels to the western U.S.

1900 – Two U.S. battleships leave for Nicaragua to halt revolutionary disturbances.

1912 – The Italians became the first to use dirigibles for military purposes. They used them for reconnaissance flights behind Turkish lines west of Tripoli.

1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a four-day bank holiday in order to stop large amounts of money from being withdrawn from banks.

1933 – The Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote in German parliamentary elections.

1943 – Germany called fifteen and sixteen year olds for military service due to war losses.

1953 – Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died. He had been in power for 29 years.

1997 – North Korea and South Korea met for first time in 25 years for peace talks.

1998 – NASA announced that an orbiting craft had found enough water on the moon to support a human colony and rocket fueling station.

1998 – It was announced that Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins would lead crew of Columbia on a mission to launch a large X-ray telescope. She was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission.


March 5, 1770

Civilians and soldiers clash in the Boston Massacre

On the cold, snowy night of March 5, 1770, a mob of angry colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins tossing snowballs and rocks at the lone British soldier guarding the building. The protesters opposed the occupation of their city by British troops, who were sent to Boston in 1768 to enforce unpopular taxation measures passed by a British parliament without direct American representation.

The previous Friday, British soldiers looking for part-time work and local Bostonian laborers had brawled at John Hancockýs wharf. After the brouhaha escalated to include forty soldiers, their colonel, William Dalrymple confined them to their barracks. Peace settled over the city during the two-day observance of the Puritan Sabbath. However, tempers on both sides were still flaring and no one expected Monday, March 5, to pass without incident. After sunset, the brawl between Boston civilians and British soldiers began again.

When the customs-house sentinel called for assistance, a British corporal and seven soldiers came to his aid. Two of these reinforcements had been among the soldiers brawling on Hancockýs wharf the previous Friday. British Captain Thomas Preston assumed command of the riled Redcoats and ordered them to fix their bayonets. As the crowd dared the snow-pelted soldiers to fire, Private Hugh Montgomery slipped and fell, leading him to discharge his rifle into the jeering crowd. The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying: Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick and James Caldwell. Three more were injured. Although it is unclear whether Crispus Attucks, a sailor of African and Indian ancestry, was the first to fall, as is commonly believed, the deaths of the five men are sometimes regarded as the first fatalities of the American Revolution.

The British soldiers were put on trial, and John Adams and Josiah Quincy Jr. agreed to defend the soldiers, in a show of support of the colonial justice system. When the trial ended in December 1770, only two of the six British soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. They were branded on the thumb and released.

“Civilians and soldiers clash in the Boston Massacre.” 2009. The History Channel website. 5 Mar 2009, 12:47

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