John’s Believe It Or Not… March 7th

John standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Tantalising Tuesday! Did you know…

* 1719 – Michel-Philippe Isabeau starts to build the Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. (Philippe Isabeau starts to build Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island to protect the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence River; under director of fortifications Jean-François de Verville, who recommended the site in 1716; will have five troop garrisons, over one hundred artillery pieces, a 4 km protective wall and a 15 km barrier reef outside the harbour; takes 25 years to build at a cost of 30 million livres [$3+ Billion USD today]. Destroyed by the British in 1760, Louisbourg will be rebuilt as a National Historical Site in the 1950s. Louisbourg, Nova Scotia.) More pictures… Picture of Fortress Louisbourg today

* 1866 – Military – Minister of Militia George-Étienne Cartier puts 10,000 militia on alert after Fenians hold a meeting in New York and threaten invasion; as a precaution against anticipated attacks on St. Patrick’s Day. (Fenian was an umbrella term applied to members of various Irish nationalist organisations during the 19th century. Fenians operated through secret societies like the Irish Republican Brotherhood, launching a series of armed raids into Canadian territory between 1866 and 1871. Although the movement was primarily based in the United States, it had a significant presence in Canada.)

Re-enactment picture of a Fenian Raid near Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1866.
The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgeway/Fenian Raid was commemorated with a re-enactment at Fort Erie, Ontario June 11-12 2016.

* 1530 King Henry VIII’s divorce request is denied by the Pope. (Henry then declares that he, not the Pope, is supreme head of England’s church. Famously married six times and played a critical role in the English Reformation, turning England into a Protestant nation.)

* 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone. (Bell’s patent filing beat a similar claim by Elisha Gray by only two hours. Not wanting to be shut out of the communications market, Western Union Telegraph Company employed Gray and fellow inventor Thomas A. Edison to develop their own telephone technology. Bell sued, and the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld Bell’s patent rights. In the years to come, the Bell Company withstood repeated legal challenges to emerge as the massive American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and form the foundation of the modern telecommunications industry.)Bell speaks into his telephone.

* 1988 Writers Guild of America strike begins. (Overall, the walkout was estimated to have cost Hollywood some $500 million. One enduring effect of the strike was the increasing ubiquity of so-called “reality” programming. As networks scrambled to fill the holes in their schedules, they relied on such programs as Unsolved Mysteries, which began as an NBC special but was expanded to a regular series by the network during the strike. Fox’s unscripted police reality series COPS made its debut the following year, and such shows would become increasingly popular during the 1990s.)

Look who was born on this date!

Upper body picture of Donnelly* James Donnelly in 1816. (Irish-Canadian Squatter:  Patriarch of the Donnelly family, also known as the Black Donnellys, a family who participated in a notorious feud in Biddulph Township in Middlesex County, Ontario, which culminated in a massacre in which five family members were killed.)

head shot of Cranston* Bryan Cranston in 1956. (American Actor:  Best known for portraying Walter White in the AMC crime drama series “Breaking Bad”, Hal in the Fox comedy series “Malcolm in the Middle”, and Dr Tim Whatley in the NBC series “Seinfeld”.)


head shot of Lendl* Ivan Lendl in 1960. (Czech-American Tennis Player and Eight-Time Major Champion:  One of the game’s most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s, and is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He won eight Grand Slam singles titles.)




Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

21 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 7th”

  1. Ugh! So I have the writer’s strike of 1988 to blame for the rise of reality TV? It would be nice if something would occur to cause its demise 😉

    On an interesting side note, I recently learned that despite inventing the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell never owned one. I recently read a fabulous book about the electrical “current war” between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse called The Last Days of Night. There was a lot of history about AGB too, and learning he never owned a phone was a shock to me.

    Happy Tantalizing Tuesday, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hate “reality” shows too, Mae – I thought we should know that it was that Writers Strike that gave that drivel a push. However, I know that some folks love that stuff and PVR the shows so they don’t miss them. I was saddened to see ads this week for a new Canadian show “Housewives of Toronto”. Good grief.

      I didn’t know that Bell never owned his own phone! Believe it or not, eh!😇 Thanks for stopping by with your comments, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not sure about that, Mae. I have a writer friend who lives for her reality TV shows. Just a matter of taste. I hate sitcoms too – the canned laughter drives me crazy. If they got rid of that, I’m sure I’d like some of them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I guess as you said….all a matter of taste!
            We have a number of comedies in the US without the canned laugh track. Then when I watch something old, I find that canned laughter jarring, so I hear you! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks, Robbie. I agree Henry was a fascinating monarch. Most people know all about his multiple marriages and his fight with the Pope, but not many realise that it was under his rule that the British Royal Navy grew and flourished and made the creation of what was to become the would’s largest empire!

          Liked by 1 person

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