Archive for the ‘ Obscure Historical Information ’ Category


Is it ironic that World Health Day and National Beer Day fall on the same day?

World Health Day is a global health awareness day.  Frankly, at this point of my life, every day is a health awareness day!

Old age is not for sissies!

In 1948, the World Health Organization started the celebration and chose April 7.  Why that day?  Well, it’s the WHO’s birthday, so it’s a good a day as any other!

National Beer Day is a US celebration.  It marks the day the Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted after FDR signed it into law.

The Cullen-Harrison repealed the Volstead Act.

When he handed the pen to the lucky recipient, he said, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

The law went into effect on 4/7/1933 and allowed people to buy, sell, and drink beer containing 3.2% alcohol.  This may have been the last time anything was accomplished in Washington!

Folks lined UP outside breweries nationwide the night before and on April 7, 1933, 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed.

BTW:  April 6 is known as New Beer’s Eve.

The Long and Short of It!

On April 4, 1841 William Henry Harrison became the first US President to die in office.

Now, the death of a leader is an enormous event at any time, but this was a really big deal.

Not much thought had been put into what the boys in D C would do if the POTUS were to buy the farm, and his death caused a short and not so sweet constitutional crisis.  Seems there wasn’t all that much in the Constitution should the President die, and the resolution chosen at the time left many questions unanswered.

As a matter of fact, we really wouldn’t nail it down until 1967 when the 25th Amendment to the Constitution was passed.

You know what they say about sausage and laws!

Harrison and his VP, John Tyler, defeated Martin Van Buren in the 1840 election and Harrison took office on March 4, 1841.  Note:  the January 20th thing wouldn’t come into play until later on.

Upon his death, John Tyler assumed the office and duties of the Presidency much to the chagrin of most of Washington who referred to him as “His Accidency.”

Politics is a mean game!

Harrison, wanting to show that he was A. still the hero of Tippecanoe,  B. wanting to prove he was better educated than most thought, AND C. because he was a windbag, gave an inaugural address to beat them all.

The 8,445 word speech took him nigh on to two hours to read.  He wore no overcoat, no hat, and rode to the ceremony on horseback and delivered the still to this day longest inaugural address ever outside on a cold, windy, and wet day.

He went on to attend three balls that evening.

22 days later, he “came down with a cold,” which everyone blamed on the bad weather three weeks before at his inauguration.

His doctors recommended he rest, but he was too busy making America Great Again after the mess
Van Buren had left.  Plus there were office seekers day and night trying to get positions in the government, and he being rarely alone, was unable to rest.

The cold turned to pneumonia.

Let me just add, pneumonia sucks.  I have fought it since the first of March, been to the doctor three times, and medical definitions aside, all I can say is, “it sucks!”

His doctors tried all modern medical science afforded:  applying opium to the chest, castor oil, leeches, and Virginia snakeweed.

Shockingly, these only made things worse.  There is no doubt that Granny Clampett could have done a better job!

Nine days after pneumonia set in, he died and his cause of death was listed as pneumonia of the lower lobe of the right lung.

How they knew this I’ve no clue, the invention of X rays being 50+ years in the future.

In 2014, because we have nothing else to spend our tax dollars on, the government did a study and decided he probably died of septic shock due to enteric fever because the White House water supply was downstream from “night soil.”

Please don’t make me explain that.

And…This Just In…He’s still Dead!

His last words were spoken to his physician, but were probably intended for the VEEP.  He said, “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government.  I wish them carried out.  I ask nothing more.”

After that, he promptly died.

To date, he holds the record for the shortest presidency in American History.

His funeral took place in Cincinnati’s Wesley Chapel and he was interred in North Bend’s William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial.

Mrs. Harrison, the mother of his 10 children, was not as his bedside when he died.  She was detained by illness and never resided in the White House, but she was packing for the move to Washington when notified of his death.

…was the caption of a Harper’s Weekly Cartoon back in 1884.  Seems the good citizens of Cincinnati, OHIO were in an uproar over a verdict.

Didn’t go their way – The verdict came back as manslaughter in a case that everyone thought was clearly murder!

They attempted to locate and lynch the culprit and violence ensued.

For two days!

Fifty people died in the Cincinnati Riots of 1884 and the courthouse was destroyed.

You’d have thought the Bengals had won the Super Bowl!

In the 1880s, Cincy was an industrial city, crime was on the rise, and the populace was disgruntled with working conditions.

It was rumored the political system was corrupt!

Yeah, I was shocked too!

In 1880, Cincinnati Police had 300 cops on the streets. Within the first four years of the decade they had arrested more than 50 people for murder, four had been hanged, and 23 sat in jail awaiting trial or sentencing.

Still on the mend from a flood the month before which claimed many lives and destroyed homes, the city’s nerves were badly frayed.

Crime had become so widespread the Queen City of the West was unsafe even during daylight.

On Christmas Eve of 1883. William Berner, a young German immigrant and his African American accomplice, Joe Palmer, robbed and murdered their boss, a livery stable owner. After dumping the body in Mill Creek, they were arrested, charged with murder, and awaited trial.

500 potential jurors were interviewed before Berner’s attorney narrowed it down to 12, and on March 26, they came back with a verdict of manslaughter in spite of the fact that Berner had admitted his cold blooded plan to take out the boss.

Berner was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The following day, the newspapers called for a public meeting to condemn the verdict.

Palmer, who was tried separately by a different jury, was convicted and hanged.

Some of the jurors were threatened, harassed, pelted with rotten eggs, warned not to return home, and beaten.

Many went into hiding.

The militia was called in.

The following day, several thousand folks attended a meeting at a music hall in Over-The Rhine to protest the sentence, part of the mob headed to the jail, to kidnap and lynch Berner.

Berner, while being moved to Columbus for his own safety had escaped in route.  Upon finding this out, the crowd, well, went cray-cray!

Morton Hawkins, the Hamilton County Sheriff had 13 deputies guarding the jail.  The rioters broke into the jail through Hawkins’ apartment but left when they realized their target had been moved.

As the crowd grew, it grew angrier.

As the Sheriff had the alarms sounded, the crowd morphed to 10,000 people who pelted the jail with brick and rocks and overcame the guards breaking in again.

The militia drove them out and one rioter was died from a gunshot wound.

Then as historians like to say, “The shit hit the fan.”

The crowd tried to set the jail on fire, five more people including a police officer, were dead by morning and hundreds were wounded.

The Press, including the Enquirer, supported the rioters with a Saturday headline “At Last The People Are Aroused And Take The Law Into Their Own Hands. Enraged Community Rises In Its Might”

Politicians who had at first supported the vigilantes became alarmed and began to suspect the mob was led by socialist, anarchists, and “the dangerous classes.”

Aren’t they always?

Ohio’s Governor, George Hoadly, when asked to act, pussy-footed around and didn’t send in the militia until late Saturday evening.  Many of the guards refused to report for duty, out of town soldiers were delayed, and the rioters who had been paid to do so spent their evening getting liquored UP in the local Cincinnati Bars.

Barricades were set UP around the jail, which was filled to the brim with detainees, understaffed, and badly equipped.

That night as the crowd spilled from the bars, they headed to the Court House, set it on fire, and blocked the fire department.

The Court House was destroyed.

Looting ensued and one merchant shot three as 300 reinforcements from Dayton arrived and were promptly herded back to the train station by the mob.

425 stalwarts from Columbus arrived, fought back, and cleared the streets with a Gatling gun.

The riot went on until nearly 3 AM Sunday.

On Sunday, the Cincinnati Enquirer took a new position and condemned the rioters calling it a Reign of Terror, and Secretary of War, Robert Lincoln called out the US Army whose presence prevented further trouble.

When it all ended, Berner was gone, Palmer had been hanged, 56 rioters and police had died and over 300 were wounded.

Victor Hugo compared the riots to the storming of the Bastille in Revolutionary France.

The Dayton Daily Democrat, agreed with Hugo calling the mob a Commune and Cincinnati “the Paris of America.”

It’s not, although nearby King’s Island does have an Eiffel Tower.

The Dayton paper went on to say, “…if middle-class Americans were running government instead of corrupt special interests, incidents like the riots would not occur.”

Seems little has changed.

Berner was eventually recaptured in Loveland, Ohio.  He was playing cards.  There’s no report on how much money he lost, but he did lose his freedom as he was carted off to the penitentiary in Columbus to serve his 20 years.

Palmer remained dead.

The court house was rebuilt.

Disaster Day!

March 21st in history is a day of disaster!

In 1788, a fire in New Orleans left most of the city in ruins!

In 1913, the Great Dayton Flood occurred killing over 360 people and destroying 20,000 homes in the area.

In Ponce, Puerto Rico on this date in 1937, nineteen people were gunned down by the police acting on the orders of the Governor!  Nice guy!

1980 saw President Jimmy Carter announcing that the US would boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow due to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.

And most horrific of all, in 2006 Twitter was created!

We can all thank this guy for that…

Yep!  Day of disaster