John’s Believe It Or Not… July 5th

In 1814 – British Retreat at Battle of Chippawa After Defeat by US Regulars. In 1946 Bikini introduced. In 1865 Salvation Army founded. In 1996 First successful cloning of a mammal. In 1880 George Bernard Shaw quits his job.

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

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did you know…

* 1814 – British Retreat at Battle of Chippawa After Defeat by US Regulars. (By July 1814, Napoleon had been defeated in Europe, and the arrival of seasoned British veterans in Canada was imminent. Prodded by Secretary of War John Armstrong, Jr. and eager to win a decisive victory in Canada before British reinforcements arrived. The Americans began training their army under the command of Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott, which was to form Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown’s Army of the North. After Gen. Winfield Scott had captured Fort Erie on July 3 and more militia units arrived under Peter B. Porter, Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown’s army began advancing along the Niagara River into Upper Canada. Gen. Phineas Riall commanded an army of British regulars, militia, and some Iroquois warriors. Riall planned to launch a surprise attack on the dismissible American militia units and send them back to the American side.

Wasting no time, Scott marched his men out to meet the British as Porter’s men came bursting from their short but bloody engagement with Norton’s brigade in the woods. The commanders of both armies were somewhat bewildered by the quick developments, but both realized that a clash was now inevitable. Scott’s men advanced in an orderly fashion despite fire from Norton’s force in the woods to their left and the screaming artillery shells being lobbed by the British. Riall believed these grey-clad troops to be only Buffalo militia. As they pushed forward steadily, filling the gaps where men have fallen from British fire, Riall was shocked to admit that these must be well-trained regulars. The American line held so strongly that Riall exclaimed: “Those are regulars by God.” In fact, there was a blue cloth shortage and the gray uniforms were issued to the regulars.

The British were astonished to find the Americans adhering strongly to the rules of European-style warfare. The armies were separated by only 100 meters and fired volleys into each other, but Scott’s men did not yield. The crack American artillery had silenced the British forward cannon as Scott’s solid line performed an unorthodox U-shaped maneuver to outflank the British on both ends. Despite Riall’s riding up and down the lines encouraging the troops, it was the British who began to give way. As Scott shouted the order to charge with fixed bayonets, Riall opted for a full withdrawal.)

Battle of the Chippewa (U.S. Army Center of Military History)
Battle of the Chippewa (U.S. Army Center of Military History) (

* 1946 Bikini introduced. (On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed “bikini,” inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week.

In planning the debut of his new swimsuit, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would deign to wear the scandalously skimpy two-piece. So he turned to Micheline Bernardini, an exotic dancer at the Casino de Paris, who had no qualms about appearing nearly nude in public. As an allusion to the headlines that he knew his swimsuit would generate, he printed newspaper type across the suit that Bernardini modeled on July 5 at the Piscine Molitor. The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received some 50,000 fan letters.

Before long, bold young women in bikinis were causing a sensation along the Mediterranean coast. Spain and Italy passed measures prohibiting bikinis on public beaches but later capitulated to the changing times when the swimsuit grew into a mainstay of European beaches in the 1950s. Reard’s business soared, and in advertisements, he kept the bikini mystique alive by declaring that a two-piece suit wasn’t a genuine bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.”

In prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches. It was immortalized by the pop singer Brian Hyland, who sang “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” in 1960, by the teenage “beach blanket” movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and by the California surfing culture celebrated by rock groups like the Beach Boys. Since then, the popularity of the bikini has only continued to grow.)

Micheline Bernardini models the bikini in 1946
Micheline Bernardini models the bikini in 1946 (

* 1865 Salvation Army founded. (In the East End of London, revivalist preacher William Booth and his wife Catherine established the Christian Mission, later known as the Salvation Army. Determined to wage war against the evils of poverty and religious indifference with military efficiency, Booth modeled his Methodist sect after the British army, labeling uniformed ministers as “officers” and new members as “recruits.”

The Christian Mission, in which women were given ranks equal with men, launched “campaigns” into London’s most forsaken neighborhoods. Soup kitchens were the first in a long line of various projects designed to provide physical and spiritual assistance to the destitute. In the early years, many in Britain were critical of the Christian Mission and its tactics, and the members were often subjected to fines and imprisonment as breakers of the peace.

In 1878, the organization was renamed the Salvation Army, and two years later the first U.S. branch opened in Pennsylvania. During the Great Depression, the Salvation Army provided food and lodging for those in need, and during both world wars, it distinguished itself through its work with the armed forces. By then, it had come to be appreciated as an important international charity organization.

Today, the Salvation Army, still based in London, has branches in more than 75 countries. The Army operates evangelical centers, hospitals, emergency and disaster services, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, community centers, social work centers, secondhand stores, and recreation facilities. Voluntary contributions and profits from the sale of its publications fund the organization.)

William and Catherine Booth founded The Salvation Army in 1865
William and Catherine Booth founded The Salvation Army in 1865 (News Centre – The Salvation Army)

* 1996 First successful cloning of a mammal. (On this day in 1996, Dolly the sheep–the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell–is born at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.

Originally code-named “6LL3,” the cloned lamb was named after the buxom singer and actress Dolly Parton. The name was reportedly suggested by one of the stockmen who assisted with her birth after he learned that the animal was cloned from a mammary cell. The cells had been taken from the udder of a six-year-old ewe and cultured in a lab using microscopic needles, in a method first used in human fertility treatments in the 1970s. After producing a number of normal eggs, scientists implanted them into surrogate ewes; 148 days later one of them gave birth to Dolly.

Dolly’s birth was announced publicly in February 1997 to a storm of controversy. On one hand, supporters argued that cloning technology can lead to crucial advances in medicine, citing the production of genetically modified animals to be organ donors for humans as well as “therapeutic” cloning, or the process of cloning embryos in order to collect stem cells for use in the development of treatments for degenerative nerve diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some scientists also looked at animal cloning as a possible way to preserve endangered species. On the other hand, detractors saw the new cloning technology as potentially unsafe and unethical, especially when it was applied to what many saw as the logical next step: human cloning.

Over the course of her short life, Dolly was mated to a male sheep named David and eventually gave birth to four lambs. In January 2002 she was found to have arthritis in her hind legs, a diagnosis that raised questions about genetic abnormalities that may have been caused in the cloning process. After suffering from a progressive lung disease, Dolly was put down on February 14, 2003, at the age of six. Her early death raised more questions about the safety of cloning, both animal, and human. Though Ian Wilmut, the lead scientist on the team that produced Dolly, has spoken out publicly against human cloning, its supporters are unlikely to be dissuaded. As for Dolly, the historic sheep was stuffed and is now on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.)

Dolly with Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, who led the research which produced her.
Dolly with Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, who led the research which produced her. (

* 1880 George Bernard Shaw quits his job. (On this day, George Bernard Shaw, 23, quits his job at the Edison Telephone Company in order to write.

Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland, and left school at the age of 14 to work in a land agent’s office. In 1876, he quit and moved to London, where his mother, a music teacher, had settled. He worked various jobs while trying to write plays. He began publishing book reviews and art and music criticism in 1885. Meanwhile, he became a committed reformer and an active force in the newly established Fabian Society, a group of middle-class socialists.

His first play, Widowers’ House, was produced in 1892. His second play, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, was banned in Britain because of its frank dealing with prostitution. In 1905, when the play was performed in the U.S., police shut it down after one performance and jailed the actors and producers. The courts soon ruled that the show could re-open. Although some private productions were held, the show wasn’t legally performed in Britain until 1926.

Shaw became the theater critic for the Saturday Review in 1895, and his reviews during the next several years helped shape the development of drama. In 1898, he published Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant, which contained Arms and the Man, The Man of Destiny, and other dramas. In 1904, Man and Superman was produced.

In his work, Shaw supported socialism and decried the abuses of capitalism, the degradation of women, and the evil effects of poverty, violence, and war. His writing was filled with humor, wit, and sparkle, as well as reformist messages, and his play Pygmalion, produced in 1912, later became the hit musical and movie My Fair Lady.

In 1925, Shaw won the Nobel Prize for literature and used the substantial prize money to start an Anglo-Swedish literary society. He lived simply, abstained from alcohol, caffeine, and meat, declined most honors and awards, and continued writing into his 90s. He produced more than 40 plays before his death in 1950.)

George Bernard Shaw picture + one of his quotes

Today’s Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* This Day In History – What Happened Today

* My War of 1812                                   


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.

23 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… July 5th”

  1. Cloning will always be controversial, even though it results in SO much scientific data about how genes operate, etc. that could lead to cures of many genetic diseases. I have always thought the problem was the use of mammals. I doubt that people would object as much if it were reptiles or fish!

    Even the front of that bikini looked huge by today’s standards. I did not realize that they were as “old” as they are; being American, I always recalled them as a product of the 60’s. I’m sure many would mark their popularity as the beginning of the end (no pun intended).

    I discovered and fell in love with the plays of Shaw quite young. I’m sure my conservative, right-wing father considered it the beginning of MY end – lol – although my reading was never censured.

    I was TOTALLY unaware of the history of the Salvation Army. Guys and Dolls was my the first time I thought about those ubiquitous bell ringers as people at all. Ironic, huh? But then I was young then too. At this point in my life I would love to see a docudrama about those early years. Talk about spiritual commitment!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no objection to cloning other mammals for genetic research – but not for humans. Those early bikinis were pretty modest by today’s standards. Shaw certainly is a giant. Do you know about the Shaw Theatre in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario? If you haven’t visited this picturesque town just down the road from Niagara Falls, Ont – you’ll love it, I’m sure. We go there for three days every August for Anne’s birthday. Yes, the members of the Salvation Army live their faith openly and actively. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, dear. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Shaw theatre is a bucket list item. What a great way to celebrate a birthday (tho’ maybe not at the end of November, when mine falls).

        I doubt we have to worry much about the coming of cloned humans — too much involved there, ethically as well as scientifically. But science may learn something that WILL be helpful for invitro fertilization to help couples trying desperately to conceive to have healthy babies.

        Liked by 1 person

              1. Epigenetics is a relatively new discipline of scientific study. Basically, it refers to the changing of gene expression through experience.

                I’m sure you’ve read that “genes are expressed by (or in) environment” — what that means is that our experiences in life can actually, literally, turn genes on and off.

                So “healthy lifestyle choices” involve more than a nutritional component (Twin studies have been quite useful here) Fascinating, huh?

                Also helps explain why abused children have a statistically greater number of health issues than those raised in loving environments – and certainly broadens our thinking about “the power of positive thinking.” (A couple of posts coming up about that, but I don’t recall mentioning epigenetics in them – brain focused)

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Quite interesting discovery – and not a great deal written about it to date, unless you’ve got the patience to wade through the studies.

                    Those science-types rarely understand how to write for reader understanding (vs. information dissemination), so they can be quite the slog!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I have always thought that being a science writer would be fun for me. I’d love to get paid to work alongside one of the researchers writing a book.

                      I’ve listened to a few podcast interviews that ALL claim that it’s a ton of work, however, and they are rarely credited as the co-authors they actually are.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always think of the bikini as in 1960. I had no idea the roots went back to the 40’s. My Mother would be shocked. Ha! Yet, she let me brave a bikini in 1964. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Shaw tonight. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember the cloning of Dolly and it is an irony that today my boss said they would have to clone me as I am running 12 jobs which is rather a lot. I enjoyed the piece about the bikini too. It seems amazing to think now that there was ever a time when people didn’t wear bikini’s.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your blogs humbly remind me how little I know… I was always too shy to sport a bikini, and at this stage in life, a swimsuit of any sort is a scary thought! LOL Have a great day!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another tour de force, John. The Battle of Chippawa was interesting in that the Americans chose to fight like the Europeans instead of the guerrilla like methods used in the Revolution. It is interesting how the original Bikini would be laughed off the beach as too modest. Cloning is still a scary subject.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In the Revolutionary War, the Americans had little training, fewer numbers, and a lot less firepower – so, the name of their game became harass and demoralize. By 1812, they had the Revolutionary War under their belts – they had learned a lot of lessons. I thought the same thing when I saw the early bikini pictures. The model they used was a stripper – she was the only young woman they could find who didn’t mind posing almost nude. Cloning – very scary indeed. I don’t see the benefits of going there. Thanks for your thoughts, John!

      Liked by 1 person

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