John’s Believe It Or Not… May 21st

* 1784 – Governor Haldimand settles Loyalist refugees at Cataraqui –  now Kingston – and the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario.  * 1927 Lindbergh lands in Paris * 1932 Earhart completes transatlantic flight * 1999 Soap star Susan Lucci wins first Emmy after 19 nominations * 1955 Chuck Berry records “Maybellene”

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Susan Lucci

It’s Monday! Did You Know…

* 1784 – Governor Haldimand settles Loyalist refugees at Cataraqui –  now Kingston – and the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. 

In the year 1784, military and loyalist claimants began to settle on land located on the newly-surveyed townships along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River. Most Canadian historians agree that this early settlement was the largest loyalist enclave in Upper Canada.

Approximately eighty percent of the Loyalists were settled east from the Bay of Quinte while eighteen percent were based on the Niagara Frontier which Butler’s Rangers had called home since the beginnings of the war and where some had started to farm in 1781. Another two percent shared an earlier settlement of French inhabitants in the Windsor-Detroit border region. By 1785 Chief Joseph Brant and 1,843 Loyalist Six Nations Indians had settled in the Grand River Valley and Mohawk Chief John Deseronto with about 200 Fort Hunter natives had settled on the Tyendinaga reserve on the Bay of Quinte.

The re-settlement of Loyalists and disbanded soldiers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other American colonies along the St. Lawrence, was due to the fervent concern and work of Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718 – 1781), Governor of Québec, who was responsible for feeding, clothing and colonizing some 6,000 Loyalists along the St. Lawrence River in the western region of Québec during the spring of 1784.

[Note to Readers: Present day Ontario and Quebec had not yet become separate territories in 1784 – and the combined area was known as “Quebec”. They were divided at the Ottawa River into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791.]

Realizing the importance of re-settling disbanded soldiers and loyal refugees on British soil. Governor Haldimand ordered surveyors and deputy surveyors to be sent into each area where settlement was intended. Their duties were to survey townships of about ten miles square wherever possible and to distribute lots to persons who were to receive them. After purchasing a tract of land between Gananoque and the Trent River from the Mississaugas, Haldimand appointed Samuel Holland (1728 – 1801) to supervise the survey along the north side of the St. Lawrence in preparation for the arrival of the loyalist emigrants.

In the spring of 1784, two ranges of townships were laid out, the first range: the Royal Townships running from the seigneury of Longueuil, consisted of nine townships; the second range, the Cataraqui Townships, running from Fort Frontenac (Kingston), containing five townships, to the eastern part of the Bay of Quinte. Five additional townships , west of the Bay of Quinte, were settled at a later date. The original townships were numbered and later named for some of the fifteen children of King George III (1760 – 1820).

At their own request, settlers were divided by “nationality” and religion, which gave a certain continuity to the patterns of settlement along the St. Lawrence River. Catholic Highlanders, Scottish Presbyterians, German Calvinists, German Lutherans, and Anglicans were generally assigned to certain areas of townships of Charlottenburg, Cornwall, Osnabruck, Williamsburg, Matilda, Edwardsburg, Augusta and Elizabethtown. “the military claimants tended to settle in groups also so that certain regiments were closely associated with the early history of specific localities”.

James Peachey :' Loyalists at New Johnstown (Cornwall)' - June 6
James Peachey: ‘ Loyalists at New Johnstown (Cornwall)’ – June 6 (archives.gov.on.ca)

* 1927 Lindbergh lands in Paris

American pilot Charles A. Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget Field in Paris, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight and the first ever nonstop flight between New York to Paris. His single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, had lifted off from Roosevelt Field in New York 33 1/2 hours before.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, born in Detroit in 1902, took up flying at the age of 20. In 1923, he bought a surplus World War I Curtiss “Jenny” biplane and toured the country as a barnstorming stunt flyer. In 1924, he enrolled in the Army Air Service flying school in Texas and graduated at the top of his class as a first lieutenant. He became an airmail pilot in 1926 and pioneered the route between St. Louis and Chicago. Among U.S. aviators, he was highly regarded.

In May 1919, the first transatlantic flight was made by a U.S. hydroplane that flew from New York to Plymouth, England, via Newfoundland, the Azores Islands, and Lisbon. Later that month, Frenchman Raymond Orteig, an owner of hotels in New York, put up a purse of $25,000 to the first aviator or aviators to fly nonstop from Paris to New York or New York to Paris. In June 1919, the British fliers John W. Alcock and Arthur W. Brown made the first nonstop transatlantic flight, flying 1,960 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland. The flight from New York to Paris would be nearly twice that distance.

Orteig said his challenge would be good for five years. In 1926, with no one having attempted the flight, Orteig made the offer again. By this time, aircraft technology had advanced to a point where a few thought such a flight might be possible. Several of the world’s top aviators–including American polar explorer Richard Byrd, French flying ace Rene Fonck–decided to accept the challenge, and so did Charles Lindbergh.

Lindbergh convinced the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the flight, and a budget of $15,000 was set. The Ryan Airlines Corporation of San Diego volunteered to build a single-engine aircraft to his specifications. Extra fuel tanks were added, and the wingspan was increased to 46 feet to accommodate the additional weight. The main fuel tank was placed in front of the cockpit because it would be safest there in the event of a crash. This meant Lindbergh would have no forward vision, so a periscope was added. To reduce weight, everything that was not utterly essential was left out. There would be no radio, gas gauge, night-flying lights, navigation equipment, or parachute. Lindbergh would sit in a light seat made of wicker. Unlike other aviators attempting the flight, Lindbergh would be alone, with no navigator or co-pilot.

The aircraft was christened The Spirit of St. Louis, and on May 12, 1927, Lindbergh flew it from San Diego to New York, setting a new record for the fastest transcontinental flight. Bad weather delayed Lindbergh’s transatlantic attempt for a week. On the night of May 19, nerves and a newspaperman’s noisy poker game kept him up all night. Early the next morning, though he hadn’t slept, the skies were clear and he rushed to Roosevelt Field on Long Island. Six men had died attempting the long and dangerous flight he was about to take.

At 7:52 a.m. EST on May 20, The Spirit of St. Louis lifted off from Roosevelt Field, so loaded with fuel that it barely cleared the telephone wires at the end of the runway. Lindbergh traveled northeast up the coast. After only four hours, he felt tired and flew within 10 feet of the water to keep his mind clear. As night fell, the aircraft left the coast of Newfoundland and set off across the Atlantic. At about 2 a.m. on May 21, Lindbergh passed the halfway mark, and an hour later dawn came. Soon after, The Spirit of St. Louis entered a fog, and Lindbergh struggled to stay awake, holding his eyelids open with his fingers and hallucinating that ghosts were passing through the cockpit.

After 24 hours in the air, he felt a little more awake and spotted fishing boats in the water. At about 11 a.m. (3 p.m. local time), he saw the coast of Ireland. Despite using only rudimentary navigation, he was two hours ahead of schedule and only three miles off course. He flew past England and by 3 p.m. EST was flying over France. It was 8 p.m. in France, and night was falling.

At the Le Bourget Aerodrome in Paris, tens of thousands of Saturday night revelers had gathered to await Lindbergh’s arrival. At 10:24 a.m. local time, his gray and white monoplane slipped out of the darkness and made a perfect landing in the airfield. The crowd surged on The Spirit of St. Louis, and Lindbergh, weary from his 33 1/2-hour, 3,600-mile journey, was cheered and lifted above their heads. He hadn’t slept for 55 hours. Two French aviators saved Lindbergh from the boisterous crowd, whisking him away in an automobile. He was an immediate international celebrity.

President Calvin Coolidge dispatched a warship to take the hero home, and “Lucky Lindy” was given a ticker-tape parade in New York and presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. His place in history, however, was not complete.

In 1932, he was the subject of international headlines again when his infant son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped, unsuccessfully ransomed, and then found murdered in the woods near the Lindbergh home. German-born Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of the crime in a controversial trial and then executed. Then, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Lindbergh became a spokesperson for the U.S. isolationism movement and was sharply criticized for his apparent Nazi sympathies and anti-Semitic views. After the outbreak of World War II, the fallen hero traveled to the Pacific as a military observer and eventually flew more than two dozen combat missions, including one in which he downed a Japanese aircraft. Lindbergh’s war-time service largely restored public faith in him, and for many years later he worked with the U.S. government on aviation issues. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve. He died in Hawaii in 1974.

On May 21, 1927, American aviator Charles Lindbergh landed his monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first transatlantic flight.
On May 21, 1927, American aviator Charles Lindbergh landed his monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first transatlantic flight. (Iconic Photos – WordPress.com)

* 1932 Earhart completes transatlantic flight

Five years to the day that American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first pilot to accomplish a solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, female aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first pilot to repeat the feat, landing her plane in Ireland after flying across the North Atlantic. Earhart traveled over 2,000 miles from Newfoundland in just under 15 hours.

Unlike Charles Lindbergh, Earhart was well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-person crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the daring and modest young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress.

In 1935, in the first flight of its kind, she flew solo from Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, winning a $10,000 award posted by Hawaiian commercial interests. Two years later, she attempted, along with copilot Frederick J. Noonan, to fly around the world, but her plane disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific on July 2, 1937. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca picked up radio messages that she was lost and low in fuel–the last the world ever heard from Amelia Earhart.

Earhart completes transatlantic flight
Earhart completes transatlantic flight (Pinterest)

* 1999 Soap star Susan Lucci wins first Emmy after 19 nominations

“The streak is over…Susan Lucci!” announces Shemar Moore of The Young and the Restless on this night in 1999, right before presenting the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress to the tearful star of ABC’s All My Children. The award was Lucci’s first win in 19 straight years of being nominated in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Erica Kane.

A native of Garden City, New York, Lucci moved to New York City after graduating from college in 1968. She played bit parts in the films Goodbye, Columbus and Me, Natalie (both 1969) before landing the role of the troubled teenager Erica Kane on a new soap opera, All My Children. The show debuted on January 5, 1970, and Lucci would go on to play Erica Kane over the next four decades, as the character married no fewer than 11 times (to eight different men, and several of the marriages were invalid), had several children and grandchildren, was kidnapped, survived an airplane crash and a car accident, battled drug addiction and became the owner of her own cosmetics company (among other notable events). By 1991, Erica Kane was, according to TV Guide, “unequivocally the most famous soap-opera character in the history of TV.”

As reported by the New York Times, Lucci at that time was the highest-paid actor on daytime television, earning more than $1 million per year for her work on All My Children. Her honors included a Best Soap Actress win in a 1985 People magazine poll and a 1989 Soap Opera Digest Editors Award for an “outstanding contribution to daytime television.” One thing she didn’t have, however, was an Emmy. She received her first nomination in 1978, and before long had received several nominations in a row without a win. After reportedly losing her temper after failing to take home the award in 1982 and 1983, Lucci began accepting her runner-up status with more humor. In the fall of 1990, she appeared as a guest host on an episode of Saturday Night Live, in which all of the show’s cast and crew members carried Emmy statuettes past her during her opening monologue. She also filmed a commercial for a sugar substitute called the Sweet One, in which she lampooned her own hunger for an Emmy.

Lucci was the favorite to win that May night in 1999, and Moore’s announcement brought the audience in the theater at Madison Square Garden to their feet for a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. Lucci’s emotional acceptance speech brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd, including the talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and Lucci’s All My Children co-stars Kelly Ripa and Marcy Walker. After thanking her husband, Helmut Huber, the All My Children cast and crew and her fans, Lucci closed her speech by announcing “I’m going to go back to that studio Monday and I’m going to play Erica Kane for all she’s worth.”

In addition to her work on All My Children, Lucci guest-starred repeatedly on the prime-time soap opera Dallas during the 1990s and has appeared in a number of TV movies, including Lady Mobster, Mafia Princess, and Secret Passions. In 1999, she starred on Broadway in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Lucci also competed in the seventh installment of the reality series Dancing With the Stars, which aired in the fall of 2008.

For Susan Lucci, the time was right to tell her own story - Las Vegas Weekly
For Susan Lucci, the time was right to tell her own story – Las Vegas Weekly

* 1955 Chuck Berry records “Maybellene”

John Lennon once famously said that “if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” That’s how foundational Berry’s contributions were to the music that changed America and the world beginning in the mid-1950s. Even more than Elvis Presley, who was an incomparable performer, but of other people’s songs, Chuck Berry created the do-it-yourself template that most rock-and-rollers still seek to follow. If there can be said to be a single day on which his profound influence on the sound and style of rock and roll began, it was this day in 1955, when an unknown Chuck Berry paid his first visit to a recording studio and cut the record that would make him famous: “Maybellene.”

Berry was a part-time professional musician in his native St. Louis and primarily a performer of the blues, but an avid experimenter with other sounds. On a visit to Chicago in May 1955, Berry approached his idol, the great bluesman Muddy Waters, to ask for career advice. Waters pointed him in the direction of his record label, Chess Records, where Berry managed a face-to-face meeting with Leonard Chess and an invitation to return for an audition later that week. When Berry returned, he hoped that Chess would sign him on the strength of one of his blues numbers, but it was a strange rhythm-and-blues/country-western hybrid called “Ida Red” that caught Chess’s ear. Before it was recorded, “Ida Red’ got new lyrics to go with a new title—”Maybellene”—but it retained the totally original sound that Berry had given it.

Chuck Berry Was the Sound of 20th Century America
Chuck Berry Was the Sound of 20th Century America (Pitchfork)

Today’s Sources: 

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

* United Empire Loyalists Newsletter – Grand River Branch  http://www.grandriveruel.ca/newsletter_reprints/96v8n1stlawrence_loyalist_settements.htm

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

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.

19 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 21st”

  1. Lots of aviators in the historical headlines today 🙂 In regards to Earhart, have you ever taken a look at the TIGHAR organization and their research into her disappearance? Would be interested to hear your thoughts on that if so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only soap I ever watched was The Young and the Restless – my wife’s Aunt Aggie always had it on when I would go next door to visit her after school and sometimes I’d stay and watch a bit. But I don’t remember Shemar Moore on that show. Thanks, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved today’s stories. Though I never watched the soaps, Lucci deserved the Emmy if for no other reason than her incredible commitment to her work. Have a great day, John.

    Liked by 1 person

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