John’s Believe It Or Not… July 3rd

In 1898 – Nova Scotian Joshua Slocum is the first person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the Globe. In 1996 British House of Commons announces Stone of Scone will be returned to Scotland after 600 years. In 1863 Battle of Gettysburg ends In 1985 “Back to the Future” released featuring 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. In 1775 Washington assumes command.

Advertisements
John Fioravanti is standing in front of the blackboard in his classroom.

Oh-Oh, It’s Monday! Did you know…

* 1898 – Nova Scotian Joshua Slocum is the first person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the Globe. (February 20, 1844 – on or shortly after November 14, 1909) was the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. He was a Nova Scotian born, naturalized American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer. In 1900 he wrote a book about his journey Sailing Alone Around the World, which became an international best-seller. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray.

In 1899 he published his account of the epic voyage in Sailing Alone Around the World, first serialized in The Century Magazine and then in several book-length editions. Reviewers received the slightly anachronistic age-of-sail adventure story enthusiastically. Arthur Ransome went so far as to declare, “Boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.” In his review, Sir Edwin Arnold wrote, “I do not hesitate to call it the most extraordinary book ever published.”

Slocum’s book deal was an integral part of his journey: his publisher had provided Slocum with an extensive onboard library, and Slocum wrote several letters to his editor from distant points around the globe.

Slocum’s Sailing Alone won him widespread fame in the English-speaking world. He was one of eight invited speakers at a dinner in honor of Mark Twain in December 1900. Slocum hauled the Spray up the Erie Canal to Buffalo, New York for the Pan-American Exposition in the summer of 1901, and he was well compensated for participating in the fair.)

Map of Slocum's Voyage
Map of Slocum’s Voyage (Marine Museum of BC)

* 1996 British House of Commons announces Stone of Scone will be returned to Scotland after 600 years.  (The Stone of Scone (/ˈskuːn/; Scottish Gaelic: An Lia Fàil, Scots: Stane o Scuin)—also known as the Stone of Destiny, and often referred to in England as The Coronation Stone—is an oblong block of red sandstone that was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland, and later the monarchs of England and the Kingdom of Great Britain. Historically, the artifact was kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Scone, near Perth, Scotland. It is also known as Jacob’s Pillow Stone and the Tanist Stone, and in Scottish Gaelic, clach-na-cinneamhain. Its size is about 26 inches (660 mm) by 16.75 inches (425 mm) by 10.5 inches (270 mm) and its weight is approximately 336 pounds (152 kg). A roughly incised cross is on one surface, and an iron ring at each end aids with transport. The Stone of Scone was last used in 1953 for the coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In 1996, in a symbolic response to growing dissatisfaction among Scots at the prevailing constitutional settlement, the British Conservative Government decided that the Stone should be kept in Scotland when not in use at coronations. On 3 July 1996, it was announced in the House of Commons that the Stone would be returned to Scotland, and on 15 November 1996, after a handover ceremony at the border between representatives of the Home Office and of the Scottish Office, it was transported to Edinburgh Castle. The stone arrived in the Castle on 30 November 1996, St Andrew’s Day, where the official handover ceremony occurred. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, representing Queen Elizabeth II, formally handed over the Royal Warrant transferring the stone into the safe keeping of the Commissioners for the Regalia. It currently remains alongside the crown jewels of Scotland (the Honours of Scotland) in the Crown Room.)

The Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny
The Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny (Pinterest)

* 1863 Battle of Gettysburg ends. (On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.

On July 3, Lee, having failed on the right and the left, planned an assault on Meade’s center. A 15,000-man strong column under General George Pickett was organized, and Lee ordered a massive bombardment of the Union positions. The 10,000 Federals answered the Confederate artillery onslaught, and for more than an hour, the guns raged in the heaviest cannonade of the Civil War. At 3 p.m., Pickett led his force into no-man’s-land and found that Lee’s bombardment had failed. As Pickett’s force attempted to cross the mile distance to Cemetery Ridge, Union artillery blew great holes in their lines. Meanwhile, Yankee infantry flanked the main body of “Pickett’s charge” and began cutting down the Confederates. Only a few hundred Virginians reached the Union line, and within minutes they all were dead, dying, or captured. In less than an hour, more than 7,000 Confederate troops had been killed or wounded.

Both armies, exhausted, held their positions until the night of July 4, when Lee withdrew. The Army of the Potomac was too weak to pursue the Confederates, and Lee led his army out of the North, never to invade it again. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War, costing the Union 23,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. The Confederates suffered some 25,000 casualties. On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the dedication of a new national cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in April 1865.)

Battle at Gettysburg - Day 1
Battle of Gettysburg – Day 1 (LibGuides – Kent State University)

* 1985 “Back to the Future” released featuring 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. (On this day in 1985, the blockbuster action-comedy “Back to the Future”–in which John DeLorean’s iconic concept car is memorably transformed into a time-travel device–is released in theaters across the United States.

“Back to the Future,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, starred Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a teenager who travels back 30 years using a time machine built by the zany scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Doc’s mind-blowing creation consists of a DeLorean DMC-12 sports car outfitted with a nuclear reactor. Once the car reaches a speed of 88 miles per hour, the plutonium-powered reactor achieves the “1.21 gigawatts” of power necessary to travel through time. Marty arrives in 1955 only to stumble in the way of his own parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson) and keep them from meeting for the first time, thus putting his own life in jeopardy.

A veteran of the Packard Motor Company and General Motors, John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit in 1975 to pursue his vision of a futuristic sports car. DeLorean eventually set up a factory in Dunmurry, near Belfast in Northern Ireland. There, he built his iconic concept car: the DMC-12, known simply as the DeLorean. An angular vehicle with gull-wing doors, the DeLorean had an unpainted stainless-steel body and a rear-mounted engine. To accommodate taller drivers (like its designer, who was over six feet tall), the car had a roomy interior compared to most sports cars.

Although it was built in Northern Ireland, the DeLorean was intended predominantly for an American audience, so it was built with the driver’s seat on the left-hand side. The company built about 9,000 of the cars before it ran out of money and halted production in 1982; only 6,500 of those are still in existence. Despite its short lifespan, the DeLorean remains an object of great interest to car collectors and enthusiasts, no doubt largely due to the smashing success of “Back to the Future” and its two sequels, released in 1989 and 1990. John DeLorean died in March of 2005, at the age of 80.)

The DeLorean Time Machine from the Back To The Future trilogy
The DeLorean Time Machine from the Back To The Future trilogy (Pinterest)

* 1775 Washington assumes command. (On Cambridge Common in Massachusetts, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered there, draws his sword, and formally takes command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter, and veteran of the French and Indian War was appointed the commander in chief by the Continental Congress two weeks before. In serving the American colonies in their war for independence, he declined to accept payment for his services beyond reimbursement of future expenses.

George Washington was born in 1732 to a farm family in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His first direct military experience came as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754 when he led a small expedition against the French in the Ohio River Valley on behalf of the governor of Virginia. Two years later, Washington took command of the defenses of the western Virginian frontier during the French and Indian War. After the war’s fighting moved elsewhere, he resigned from his military post, returned to a planter’s life, and took a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses.

During the next two decades, Washington openly opposed the escalating British taxation and repression of the American colonies. In 1774, he represented Virginia at the Continental Congress. After the American Revolution erupted in 1775, Washington was nominated to be commander in chief of the newly established Continental Army. Some in the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, thinking other candidates were better equipped for the post, but he was ultimately chosen because as a Virginian his leadership helped bind the Southern colonies more closely to the rebellion in New England.

With his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers, General Washington led an effective war of harassment against British forces in America while encouraging the intervention of the French into the conflict on behalf of the colonists. On October 19, 1781, with the surrender of British General Charles Lord Cornwallis’ massive British army at Yorktown, Virginia, General Washington had defeated one of the most powerful nations on earth.

After the war, the victorious general retired to his estate at Mount Vernon, but in 1787 he heeded his nation’s call and returned to politics to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and in February 1789 Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.

As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, “I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent.” He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his Cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term. He died in 1799.)

July 3rd 1775 - Washington Takes Command of Continental Army
July 3rd, 1775 – Washington Takes Command of Continental Army (www.history.com)

Today’s Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology  http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport       http://www.onthisday.com/

* This Day In History – What Happened Today   http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

* Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Slocum

 

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 (http://fiorabooks.com), 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… July 3rd”

  1. I did see the Stone of Scone when I was in Scotland. I can tell you the Scots were very pleased to have it returned. This was a nice mix of events, John. I grew up in Detroit and John DeLorean was a hero. Of course, he did get into a little trouble but was a colorful character.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you got to see the Stone, John. I thought the story was relevant in light of the desire among some in Scotland to become independent – especially after the Brexit referendum. That Delorean was some car! Thanks for adding your insights, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am always horrified by the cost of lives during the Civil War. Your explanation of the Battle of Gettysburg brings my horror center-stage – nearly 50,000 Americans severely injured or killed. Unbelievable. On a lighter note, I loved the story of The Stone of Scone! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have walked that battlefield 3 times – once with a history class I brought to Washington and we stopped at Gettysburg on the way, Gwen. The tour guide we had told the class that both of her great-grandfathers fought there – on opposite sides, and happily, both survived. I wonder if John Howell saw the stone when he was in Scotland. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!

      Liked by 1 person

I love comments & questions! Please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s