ON THIS DAY: October 26, 2018

October 26th is

Eradication of Smallpox Day *

Howl at the Moon Night

Intersex Awareness Day *

National Mule Day *  

National Mincemeat Day

National Pumpkin Day

National Day of the Deployed *

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MORE! Beryl Markham, Itō Hirobumi and Rita Wilson, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Austria – National Day

Bulgaria – St. Demetrius Day *

Benin – Armed Forces Day

Cook Islands – Gospel Day *

Nauru – Angam Day *
(Day of Fullfillment)

Spain – Barakaldo:
BIME Live at Bilbao

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On This Day in HISTORY

306 – Feast Day of Saint Demetrius * of Thessaloniki, revered by the Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches, and the Roman Catholic and Coptic churches as well – tradition says he was run through with spears during the Christian persecutions of Diocletian and Galerian (see also next entry)

1185 – The Uprising of Asen and Peter begins on the feast day of St. Demetrius *of Thessaloniki and ends with the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire, ruled by the Asen dynasty


1341 – The Byzantine civil war of 1341-1347 erupts after the death of Andronikos III Palaiologos over guardianship of his 9-year-old son and heir John V Palaiologos. John VI Kantakouzenos, Andronikos III’s chief minister and closest friend, became regent when the emperor died in June, 1341, but while he was absent from Constantinople in September readying an army, a coup d’état led by Alexios Apokaukos and the Patriarch John XIV secures the support of Empress Anna and establishes a new regency. In response, Kantakouzenos’ army and supporters proclaim him co-emperor in October, cementing the rift between himself and the new regency. The split escalates into armed conflict, lasting until February, 1347, when Kantakouzenos defeats the other regents and becomes senior emperor (1347-1354), until he is usurped by his co-emperor and former ward, John V Palaiologos. (The adjective ‘byzantine’ means an excessively complicated system or situation)


1556 – Ahmed Baba born, Malian Sanhaja Berber writer, scholar, philosopher, Arabic grammarian. He was also a political provocateur in the area then known as the Western Sudan, which resulted in his deportation, charged with sedition, from Timbuktu to Morocco in 1594, after the successful Moroccan invasion of the Songhai Empire. Much of his notable work was written while he was in Morocco, including his biography of Muhammad Abd al-Karim al-Maghili, the noted scholar and jurist, which became one of the principle texts on the legal history of the Western Sudan. In 1615 Ahmed Baba and other Muslin scholars discussed the issue of slavery, seeking to protect Muslims from being enslaved. He is known as the originator of an early concept of ethnicity in West Africa, putting forth as a legitimate reason that if a person were unbeliever or a kafara (atonement offering), then that justified their enslavement, along with being “the will of God.” But if a person came from a country with a Muslim government, or identified with specific Muslim ethnic groups, then they could not be slaves


Sankore Mosque Timbuktu


1685 – Domenico Scarlatti born, Italian late Baroque composer who transitioned into the classical period; noted for keyboard sonatas; son of composer Allessandro Scarlatti



1759 – Georges Danton born, a leader and orator of the French Revolution; he becomes the first president of the Committee of Public Safety, but his opposition to the Reign of Terror will lead to his own death at the guillotine

1774 – The first Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia

1775 – King George III of Great Britain goes before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorizes military response to quell the American Revolution

1776 – Benjamin Franklin departs from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution

1785 – Mule Day * commemorates the first Spanish Jacks given as a gift to America by King Charles III of Spain, delivered on October 26 in Boston. George Washington is one of the first Americans to breed them


The Donkey, by Nikolaos Lytras


1821 – John Williams of the London Missionary Society begins Christian conversion of the people of Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands – celebrated in the Cook Islands annually as Gospel Day *

1825 – The Erie Canal opens, from Albany, New York to Lake Erie


View on the Erie Canal, by John W. Hill, circa 1831


1837 – Louisa Lee Schuyler born, establishes the first U.S. training school for nurses in conjunction with Bellevue Hospital. In 1915 she is awarded the first honorary LL.D. degree given to a woman by Columbia University



1845 –Tennessee Celeste Claflin born, reformer and suffragist. She and her sister Victoria Woodhull are the first women to open a Wall Street brokerage firm



1854 – Charles William Post born, inventor of  Grape Nuts and Post Toasties cereals

1881 – The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, between the three Earp brothers with Doc Holiday and the Ike Clanton Gang, takes place at Tombstone, Arizona



1894 – Florence Nagel born, British racehorse and Irish wolfhound trainer-breeder and feminist; in 1920, when she trained her first racehorse, women were forced to employ a man to hold a Jockey Club trainers license on their behalf because women were excluded by the Jockey Club, but she challenged this, and became one of the first two U.K. women to licensed to train racehorses. She sponsored the Florence Nagle Girl Apprentices’ Handicap Race, first run in 1986 at Kempton Park., and left funds in her will to continue the race



1894 – John S. Knight born, newspaper journalist, owner and editor who built up the Knight Newspaper chain from his family’s Akron Beacon Journal to a portfolio of fifteen newspapers, when then merged with Ridder publication to form Knight-Ridder Newspapers; his nationwide column, “The Editor’s Notebook” earned him the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing

1900 – Karin Boye born, Swedish poet and novelist; noted for her dystopian sci-fi novel Kallocain

1902 – Beryl Markham born, British-Kenyon aviator, horse trainer and breeder, and writer; she holds the record as the first woman to fly solo east-to-west across the Atlantic; memoir, West with the Night



1902 – Henrietta Hill Swope born, American astronomer; studied variable stars, and measured the period-luminosity relation for Cepheid stars

1905 – Sweden accepts the independence of Norway

1909 – Itō Hirobumi, four time Prime Minister of Japan (the 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th) and Resident-General of Korea, is assassinated at the Harbin train station in Manchuria



1911 –Mahalia Jackson born, American gospel singer



1911 – Sorley MacLean born, influential Scottish poet

1912 – Ottoman-occupied city of Thessaloniki is liberated and unified with Greece on the feast day of its patron saint, Saint Demetrius *

1917 – WWI: Brazil declares war on the Central Powers

1917 – Erwin Rommel, as a young Oberleutnant, begins his military legend, leading 100 German soldiers to capture Mount Matajur in Italy, overcoming a force of 7,000 Italians

1920 – Sarah Lee Lippincott born, American astronomer; pioneer in determining the character of binary stars and the search for extrasolar planets

1921 – The Chicago Theatre opens on North State Street in the Chicago Loop



1932 – The first Angam Day * in Nauru – the small island has a goal of maintaining a minimum population of 1,500 people to assure survival. Twice, in 1932 and in 1949, the population have been lower than that, and Angam Day is a celebration the birth of the 1,500th baby

1935 – Gloria Conyers Hewitt born, American mathematician and academic; the fourth African American woman to earn a PhD in Mathematics, and the first African American woman to chair a math department in the U.S., at the University of Montana (1995-1999); her research focused on Group Theory and Abstract Algebra; awarded the National Science Foundation postdoctoral Science Faculty Fellowship



1936 – The first electric generator at Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam) goes into full operation



1936 – Etelka Kenéz Heka born, Hungarian writer, poet and singer, who grew up in Yugoslavia, and has lived most of her life outside of Hungary, she has three citizenships, Hungarian, Austrian and Croatian, and now lives in Hódmezővásárhely in south-east Hungary. She has written about 90 books, but none of them have been translated into English yet. Winner of the 2015 Hódmezővásárhely Pro Urbe Award

1940 – The P-51 Mustang makes its maiden flight



1945 – Pat Conroy born, American novelist and memoirist; The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini



1945 – Nancy Davis Griffeth born, American computer scientist and academic; modeling biological systems in computational biology

1947 – Hillary Rodham Clinton born, attorney and Democratic politician; U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013); Senator (D-NY 2001-2009); U.S.First Lady (1993-2001); first woman U.S. presidential candidate for a major party, won the popular vote, but didn’t carry the Electoral College



1949 – President Harry S. Truman raises minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour

1951 – Winston Churchill returns as the prime minister of Great Britain

1955 – New York City’s “The Village Voice” is first published



1956 – Rita Wilson born as Margarita Ibrahimoff, American film producer, actress, and singer-songwriter; cancer research and children’s charities supporter, and the ONE Campaign to make women a priority at the UN’s Sustainable Development Summits; noted as producer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Connie and Carla, and Mama Mia!



1958 – Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris

1961 – Uhuru Kenyatta born, Kenyan Jubilee Party politician; President of Kenya since 2013 and leader of the Jubilee Party; Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister (2008-2013); Minister of Finance (2009-2012); Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition (2003-2013)



1962 – In one of the most dramatic verbal confrontations of the Cold War, American U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson asks his Soviet counterpart during a Security Council debate whether the USSR had placed missiles in Cuba



1967 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran



1968 – Soviet cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy pilots Soyuz 3 on a four-day space mission

1970 – “Doonesbury,” Gary Trudeau’s comic strip, premieres in 28 U.S. newspapers



1970 – Elton John’s “Your Song” is released in the U.S.



1972 – National security adviser Henry Kissinger declares “peace is at hand” in Vietnam; U.S. involvement doesn’t end until the next year, and the war is not ended until 1975

1975 – Egyptian president Anwar Sadat makes an official state visit to the U.S.

1977 – Marisha Pessl born, American novelist; Special Topics in Calamity Physics



1977 – The last known case of naturally-occurring smallpox in Somalia, regarded by the World Health Organization as the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination – Eradication of Smallpox Day *

1984 – “Baby Fee,” a newborn with a severe heart defect, receives a heart transplanted from a baboon, and lives for 21 days

1985 – The Australian government returns ownership of Uluru (Ayres Rock) to the local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines



1988 – Soviet and American icebreaking ships work together to free two whales which had been trapped for nearly 3 weeks in an Arctic ice pack

1992 – Pearl Jam’s album Vs. sets a new first week sales record of 950,000 copies



1994 – Prime Ministers Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan and Yitzak Rabin of Israel sign a peace treaty

1996 – First Intersex Awareness Day * in Boston MA, held by the Intersex Society of America in cooperation with the Transexual Menace group



2001 – The USA PATRIOT Act (“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”) is signed into law by George W. Bush, giving authorities unprecedented ability to search, seize, detain or eavesdrop, on aliens and U.S. citizens alike, in their pursuit of possible terrorists



2006 – Shelle Michaels Aberle founds National Day of the Deployed,* asking North Dakota Governor John Hoeven to be the first governor to proclaim a day of recognition for the men and women serving their country overseas. The date was chosen because it is the birthday of Aberle’s cousin, LTC Davis Hosna, who was deployed to Iraq at the time.  When John Hoeven became a Senator representing North Dakota, he introduced a resolution to make this a National Day, which was passed in 2011

2010 – In China, the water level of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, the world’s largest water control and utilization project, reaches its designed full capacity mark


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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: October 26, 2018

  1. Malisha says:

    My mother was a kindergarten teacher and she had written her dissertation on American Folk songs, had a collection of about 200 of them written out (with the music) by hand, collected in a big notebook. (This collection vanished from her kindergarten classroom over the summer when she died, so I have lost it.) We sang the “Eerie Canal Song,” also known as “I got a mule and her name is Sal,” in the bathtub for some reason. We’d duck our heads at the line, “Low bridge, everybody down!” and we’d raise them back up at the line, “’cause we’re comin’ into town.” We had no idea what it meant, actually. Here’s the closest version I found, but even this version is not quite the same. We’d hit a much higher note on the “always know your neighbor” and to my ear, it still sounds more natural that way.

    That song was in the same chapter as “John Henry,” because both songs were about the way the industrial revolution replaced muscle power with engine power. “John Henry” had hundreds of verses; some of them were quite risque for their day, mentioning various antics involving John Henry’s many enviable girlfriends. “John Henry, he had him a woman, and she wore a dress of red, and Good God help me when I seen that gal ’cause I wisht my wife was dead,” and suchlike.

  2. Malisha says:

    Oops, that url came out wrong for the Eerie Canal song.
    Here’s the right one:

  3. wordcloud9 says:

    Thanks for the memory Malisha –

    We used to sing in the car when driving through the long empty stretches of the Arizona and California deserts while making the trek to Los Angeles to visit relatives at Thanksgiving or Christmas – “The Erie Canal” was one of the many songs we sang.

    For much of my childhood, I thought it was the Eerie Canal, and somehow the low bridge connected in my mind with the Headless Horseman.

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