Today in Hystery March 4th

On this day in 1681, King Charles the Second of England granted William Penn a royal charter for what is now the state of Pennsylvania. I believe he said to him, “Hey Bill, I’ll give you 46 thousand square miles and why don’t you name it after someone you love.”

On this day in 1881, Arthur Conan Doyle published “A Study in Scarlet” and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson began their first case together. I think I remember reading that one. It was where Holmes and Watson stood in front of a school and Watson said, “I say, Holmes, is that a high school?” And Holmes said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

On this day in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his inauguration speech, he pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Depression and spoke his famous line, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. I believe the list has grown since then.

On this day in 1946, in Ottawa, Communist Member of Parliament Fred Rose and 13 others were charged with spying for the Soviet Union. Hold it! Stop the presses! Canada had a communist MP? Well, sort of. The Communist Party was banned in Canada in the early 1940s, so they changed their name to the Labour Progressive Party and Fred was elected to parliament for that party, so he wasn’t really a communist…more of a Pinko I would say.

On this day in 1966, John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. That was a completely unfair comparison because Jesus had never put a rock band together, unless you think “The Disciples” were a rock group from Nazareth. Hey! Hang on! Maybe they were Nazareth! I’m just sayin’. Of course that means that His disciples spoke with Scottish accents…okay maybe not.

On this day in 1969, the RCMP decided to replace their remaining dog sled teams with snowmobiles. Sergeant Preston used to yell, “On King! On you huskies!” But after this decision the only huskies involved would be the gas pumps where they pulled up.

If your birthday is March 4th, you share it with British writer Alan Sillitoe who was born on this day in 1928. He wrote a very famous short story called “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” which became an award-winning movie. He was an excellent writer. Too bad about his name.

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