Today in 1777 Congress appointed John Adams to replace Silas Deane as an ambassador and negotiator in France. Deane had been recalled at the instigation of colleague Arthur Lee (brother of Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee), charging Deane with misappropriation of funds and corruption. It was no secret that Lee and Deane were not on the best of amiable terms.
Until his death in 1789, Deane was not able to clear his name. In 1842 Congress investigated the accounts of Deane and found no evidence of misconduct. Deane’s heirs were paid reparations of $37,000.
Today in 1895 at Chicago Frank Duryea won the first motor-car race in the US with his gas powered “horseless carriage.”
The race and $2,000 prize was sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald. The original course of a grueling 92 miles was shortened to 50 miles because a storm put 8 inches of snow on the roads. Each vehicle had to have at least 3 wheels, each wrapped in twine for snow traction and seat two people, the driver and an umpire to insure no cheating occurred.
Of the 89 entries, only six vehicles were able to get to the starting line and two electric powered vehicles stalled when the race began. Dureya won the race in 10 hours 23 minutes with an average speed of 5.25 mph.
Today in 1925 at Nashville, Tennessee, the Grand Ole Opry began live-broadcasting folk and country music. A similar program the National Barn Dance was broadcast in Chicago but the signal was limited. Producers of WSM radio in Nashville decided to create their own version of the show.
The Grand Ole Opry remains the longest-lived and most popular showcase of country-western music and the springboard for new artists.
Today in 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt joined British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at a conference in Iran to discuss strategies for winning World War II and potential terms for a peace settlement. The “Big Three,” as the leaders were known, discussed ways to defeat Nazi Germany and agreed upon an invasion of Normandy, codenamed Operation Overlord. In a joint declaration issued December 1, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt recognized “the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the goodwill of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations.”
Tehran, Iran, was chosen as the site for the talks largely due to its strategic importance to the Allies. The United States was able to get supplies to the Soviets through Iran when Germany controlled most of Europe, the Balkans and North Africa, and German U-boat attacks on Allied shipping in the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea made transport treacherous.
Happy birthday Jonathon Stuart Leibowitz, known as Jon Stewart, film actor, author, stand-up comedian, and the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” born today in 1962 at New York City. Stewart’s irreverent take on national and world events has been a huge hit with audiences and has even led some viewers to cite The Daily Show as their primary source of news.
In January 1999, Stewart took over hosting duties of The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn, who had hosted the show since its 1996 debut on Comedy Central. In addition to hosting The Daily Show, Stewart served as master of ceremonies for the Academy Awards, in 2006 and 2008.
Rest in peace physicist Enrico Fermi who died today in 1954, at Chicago, Illinois, age 53. Fermi was born in Rome September 1, 1901. In 1938 he got permission to travel to Sweden with his wife Laura to receive the Nobel Prize in physics. The couple never returned to Italy and left for New York. Laura was Jewish; the couple feared the Fascist regime.
Fermi produced the first nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago December 2, 1942, making the development of an atomic bomb possible.
Rest in peace Jeffrey Dahmer, serial murderer, who was beaten to death today in 1994 by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Portage, Wisconsin. Dahmer was 34 years old.
Scarver was serving a life term for murder. Scarver also beat another inmate Jesse Anderson to death.
He stated that God told him to kill the two inmates. Scarver was transferred to a federal prison.