John’s Believe It Or Not… April 24th

John Fioravanti standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Another Magnificent Monday! (Right!) Did you know…

* 1885 – Gabriel Dumont’s Métis maul Crozier at Battle at Battle of Fish Creek in NW Rebellion. (The Métis chose to face Middleton’s troops at a heavily wooded coulee where the trail crossed Fish Creek, known to the Métis as Tourond’s Crossing. They hid themselves and their horses in the bushes and, when Middleton’s scouts approached, the Métis who were in the coulee opened fire. Rather than pursuing the Métis forces into the coulee, the scouts dismounted and returned fire. When the main body of Middleton’s force arrived, they took up positions on the bluffs on the west side above the coulee and engaged the Métis from distances of 50 to100 yards across the creek. When the militia attacked, they moved forward in the open, at the top of the coulee, where they became easy targets; many of them were killed. The Métis were on the east side of the coulee, using the natural brush cover by the stream and up on the eastern plateau. The west plateau is slightly higher than the east plateau, and Middleton’s gunners had a difficult time depressing their guns low enough so that they could fire into the lower banks of the coulee. The Métis started brush fires in order to create panic and screen their attempts to outflank Middleton. Meanwhile, the part of Middleton’s force which was on the opposite bank of the SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER crossed the river on a barge. Now Middleton had fresh troops; but seeing that he was taking too many casualties, he did not renew the attack. A drizzle that had begun in the morning had, late in the afternoon, turned to sleet as Middleton’s cold, wet soldiers withdrew from the battle. The Métis and Indians began to slip away from the coulee, returning to their homes to prepare to defend them against the coming assault by Middleton’s forces. Finally, there were only about 47 Métis left in the coulee, facing over 400 militia. After six and a half hours, the battle drew to a close with the withdrawal of all the Métis to BATOCHE. Middleton’s forces had suffered 10 deaths and 40 wounded. The Métis casualties were four dead and one wounded; they also lost over 50 horses.)

Battle at Fish Creek

* 1928 – Famous Five to take “Persons Case” to British Privy Council after Supreme Court of Canada Ruling. (Persons Case – Supreme Court of Canada rules that the words ‘qualified persons’ in Section 24 of the BNA Act do not apply to women, that ‘by the Common Law of England, women were under a legal incapacity to hold public office’. Five prominent Alberta women – the Famous Five of Emily Murphy, Henrietta Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby – initiated the case in law by asking the Supreme Court to rule on whether or not a woman, as a qualified person, could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Edmonton magistrate Murphy and Calgary Magistrate Jamieson had faced challenges to their rulings because some lawyers claimed that, as women, they held their positions illegally. The Famous Five decide to appeal the decision to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council at Westminster. They won their case in England! Interesting to note that 3 years later, Canada became independent and there would be no cases appealed to Britain after that. It was a good thing that the Persons Case was won before Canadian independence!) 

The "Famous Five": Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby

* 1184 BC The Greeks enter Troy using the Trojan Horse. (The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the war. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, ending the war. Metaphorically a “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or place. A malicious computer program which tricks users into willingly running it is also called a “Trojan horse” or simply a “Trojan”. The main ancient source for the story is the Aeneid of Virgil, a Latin epic poem from the time of Augustus. The event is also referred to in Homer’s Odyssey. In the Greek tradition, the horse is called the “Wooden Horse”)

ancient rendering of the Trojan Horse

* 1916 Easter Rebellion begins. (On this day in 1916, on Easter Monday in Dublin, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of Irish nationalists led by Patrick Pearse, launches the so-called Easter Rebellion, an armed uprising against British rule. Assisted by militant Irish socialists under James Connolly, Pearse and his fellow Republicans rioted and attacked British provincial government headquarters across Dublin and seized the Irish capital’s General Post Office. Following these successes, they proclaimed the independence of Ireland, which had been under the repressive thumb of the United Kingdom for centuries, and by the next morning were in control of much of the city. Later that day, however, British authorities launched a counteroffensive, and by April 29 the uprising had been crushed. Nevertheless, the Easter Rebellion is considered a significant marker on the road to establishing an independent Irish republic.)

Poster depicting the rebellion.

* 1980 Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster. (On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued. With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.)

Downed US rescue chopper

Look who was born on this date!

Head shot of MacLaine* Shirley MacLaine in 1934. (American Actress:  American film, television and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author. Nominated for an Academy Award five times before winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1983 for her role as Aurora Greenway in “Terms of Endearment”.)


Head shot of Streisand* Barbara Streisand in 1942. (American Singer-songwriter & Actress: American singer-songwriter, actress, film producer and director having sold over 145 million albums worldwide. Streisand began her recording career in the 1960s before also moving into films including “Funny Girl” (Oscar for Best Actress) and “The Way We Were”. She is one of the few people to have won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and a Grammy award.)

Head shot of Ko* Lydia Ko in 1997. (New Zealand Golfer:  The youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and youngest person ever to win a LPGA Tour event. As an amateur, she was the top-ranked woman amateur golfer in the world for 130 weeks and never missed a cut in 25 professional tournaments. In August 2013, she became the only amateur to win two LPGA Tour events.)

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.

6 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 24th”

  1. Good job, John. The rescue mission went awry when Jimmy Carter decided to be the person in charge. He should have accepted full responsibility. He was incompetent to lead a mission like the one planned but insisted on having the final say so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Robbie. These five women were at the forefront of the Canadian Suffragist movement in the early years of the 20th Century – I respect them a great deal because the only ‘political correctness’ was male chauvinism. Period. So they fought – often against their own husbands and male family members until they succeeded. Yes, they had some male allies, but they were few and far between. I agree the Trojan Horse story is intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

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