John’s Believe It Or Not… May 26th

In 1637 Pequot massacres begin. In 1914 Gavrilo Princip sets out from Belgrade for Sarajevo. In 1924 Coolidge signs Immigration Act of 1924. In 1927 Last day of Model T production at Ford. In 1897 Dracula goes on sale in London.

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s TGIF Friday At Last! Did you know…

* 1897 Dracula goes on sale in London. (The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on this day in 1897. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass. Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was his 1897 novel Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature. Written in the form of diaries and journals of its main characters, Dracula is the story of a vampire who makes his way from Transylvania–a region of Eastern Europe now in Romania–to Yorkshire, England, and preys on innocents there to get the blood he needs to live. Stoker had originally named the vampire “Count Wampyr.” He found the name Dracula in a book on Wallachia and Moldavia written by retired diplomat William Wilkinson, which he borrowed from a Yorkshire public library during his family’s vacations there. Vampires–who left their burial places at night to drink the blood of humans–were popular figures in folk tales from ancient times, but Stoker’s novel catapulted them into the mainstream of 20th-century literature. Upon its release, Dracula enjoyed moderate success, though when Stoker died in 1912 none of his obituaries even mentioned Dracula by name. Sales began to take off in the 1920s when the novel was adapted for Broadway.)

Bram Stoker with his book.

* 1637 Pequot massacres begin. (During the Pequot War, an allied Puritan and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, burning or massacring some 500 Indian women, men, and children. As the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay spread further into Connecticut, they came into increasing conflict with the Pequots, a war-like tribe centered on the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut. By the spring of 1637, 13 English colonists and traders had been killed by the Pequot, and Massachusetts Bay Governor John Endecott organized a large military force to punish the Indians. On April 23, 200 Pequot warriors responded defiantly to the colonial mobilization by attacking a Connecticut settlement, killing six men and three women and taking two girls away. On May 26, 1637, two hours before dawn, the Puritans and their Indian allies marched on the Pequot village at Mystic, slaughtering all but a handful of its inhabitants. On June 5, Captain Mason attacked another Pequot village, this one near present-day Stonington, and again the Indian inhabitants were defeated and massacred. On July 28, a third attack and massacre occurred near present-day Fairfield, and the Pequot War came to an end. Most of the surviving Pequot were sold into slavery, though a handful escaped to join other southern New England tribes.)

Map showing The Pequot War
(US Timeline – blogger)

* 1914 Gavrilo Princip sets out from Belgrade for Sarajevo. (On May 26, 1914, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip sets out from Belgrade on a 10-day-long journey through the rough countryside, heading towards Sarajevo and a planned rendezvous with fellow young nationalist agitators. When Princip and his comrades learned in the spring of 1914 of the upcoming visit by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Sarajevo that June, they hatched a plan to assassinate him. With weapons—including bombs, revolvers and cyanide capsules with which to commit suicide after their murderous work was done—supplied by members of the shadowy Serbian terrorist organization Narodna Odbrana, or the Black Hand, Princip left Belgrade on May 26, 1914, and traveled through secret channels, also facilitated by the Black Hand, for nearly 10 days before meeting up with his fellow conspirators in Sarajevo. Less than a month later, on June 28, Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie made their official appearance in Sarajevo to review the maneuvers of the 15th and 16th Corps of the Austrian army. After a bomb thrown by Princip’s cohort failed to achieve its deadly objective, rolling off the back of the royal car and wounding an officer and some bystanders, the archduke’s procession took a wrong turn. Their car happened to stop on a corner where Princip was loitering; he fired on Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point- blank range, killing them almost instantly and sparking a chain of complicated events that would lead not only Austria-Hungary and Serbia but a host of great and small nations in Europe and beyond into the devastating conflict that would become known as the First World War.)

The Police Arresting Gavrilo Princip 1894 -1918 Bosnian Serb Who Assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The Police Arresting Gavrilo Princip 1894 -1918 Bosnian Serb Who Assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Pinterest)

* 1924 Coolidge signs Immigration Act of 1924. (On this date, President Calvin Coolidge signs into law the Immigration Act of 1924, the most stringent U.S. immigration policy up to that time in the nation’s history. The new law reflected the desire of Americans to isolate themselves from the world after fighting World War I in Europe, which exacerbated growing fears of the spread of communist ideas. It also reflected the pervasiveness of racial discrimination in American society at the time. Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan. The law fanned anti-American sentiment in Japan, inspiring a Japanese citizen to commit suicide outside the American embassy in Tokyo in protest.)

Woman points to a sign nailed on the front of her house "Japs Keep Moving - This Is A White Man's Neighborhood"

* 1927 Last day of Model T production at Ford. (On this day in 1927, Henry Ford and his son Edsel drive the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production. More than any other vehicle, the relatively affordable and efficient Model T was responsible for accelerating the automobile’s introduction into American society during the first quarter of the 20th century. Introduced in October 1908, the Model T—also known as the “Tin Lizzie”—weighed some 1,200 pounds, with a 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. It got about 13 to 21 miles per gallon of gasoline and could travel up to 45 mph. Initially selling for around $850 (around $20,000 in today’s dollars), the Model T would later sell for as little as $260 (around $6,000 today) for the basic no-extras model. Largely due to the Model T’s incredible popularity, the U.S. government made the construction of new roads one of its top priorities by 1920. By 1926, however, the Lizzie had become outdated in a rapidly expanding market for cheaper cars. While Henry Ford had hoped to keep up production of the Model T while retooling his factories for its replacement, the Model A, lack of demand forced his hand. On May 25, 1927, he made headlines around the world with the announcement that he was discontinuing the Model T. As recorded by Douglas Brinkley in “Wheels for the World,” his biography of Ford, the legendary carmaker delivered a eulogy for his most memorable creation: “It had stamina and power. It was the car that ran before there were good roads to run on. It broke down the barriers of distance in rural sections, brought people of these sections closer together and placed education within the reach of everyone.” After production officially ended the following day, Ford factories shut down in early June, and some 60,000 workers were laid off. The company sold fewer than 500,000 cars in 1927, less than half of Chevrolet’s sales. The Model A’s release beginning in select cities that December was greeted by throngs of thousands, a tribute to Ford’s characteristic ability to make a splash. No car in history, however, had the impact—both actual and mythological—of the Model T: Authors like Ernest Hemingway, E.B. White and John Steinbeck featured the Tin Lizzie in their prose, while the great filmmaker Charlie Chaplin immortalized it in satire in his 1928 film “The Circus.”)

1927: The last day of production for the Ford Model T. Photo: Ford. Photo: Ford · Photo: myautoworld
1927: The last day of production for the Ford Model T. Photo: Ford. Photo: Ford · Photo: myautoworld

Acknowledged Sources:

* This Day In History – What Happened Today

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.

12 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 26th”

  1. Some fabulous titbits here, John. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the beginning of an era. The Model T which opened the world of driving to regular people and the Coolidge immigration Act [how little things have changed really!].

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My family is Southern Europe (Calabria, Italy… not much further south to go than that), and I’ve heard stories my whole life about the lack of warm welcome (and that’s the nicest way I can say it) they received when they came to the States. Reading your explanation of the Immigration Act was interesting. I heard a lot of things (none of which I’ll rehash here), but I never heard of the correlation to WWI. Thanks for the history lesson, John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by with your comments, Staci. My grandfather, Eugenio Fioravanti, arrived in Toronto from a small village outside of Rome in 1912. I know there were a lot of Italians and other European immigrants who anglicized their names in order to better fit in and avoid the discrimination that was rampant then. The point of including this story about Coolidge’s immigration policy is to put Trump’s policies into a historical perspective. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau embraced the concept of multiculturalism and then made it official federal policy in Canada. Our immigration laws flow from that policy, as we put in place a Points System for prospective immigrants in order to remove racial and religious biases from the assessment process.

      Liked by 1 person

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