Tag Archives: lawyers and judges

May ~ Election Year 1896


In a case which has been awaiting decision, the Supreme Court legalizes segregation as the law of the land. President Cleveland is not getting along well with Congress, exercising his veto power ten times this month. The Prohibition Party splits along policy lines.The United States executes its first known serial killer. Americans are smuggling guns to Cuban rebels. The Shah of Persia is murdered. The Russian Empire sees the coronation of the newest– and last– Tsar.

May 1– Friday– Tehran, Persia– Naser al-Din, age 64, Shah of Persia who has ruled since 1848, is shot and mortally wounded as he prays at a shrine.


the Shah of Persia


May 2– Saturday– Corinto, Nicaragua– U. S. Marines arrive to protect American business interests.

May 2– Saturday– Athens, Greece– Birth of Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark. [She will become the Queen Mother of Romania and save many Romania Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. Dies November 28, 1982.]


Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark


May 6– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Grover Cleveland issues an executive order making changes to the Civil Service Rules.

May 7– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Herman Webster Mudgett, a/k/a H H Holmes, age 34, is hung for murder. He had confessed to 27 murders but may have killed many more. He is the first known American serial killer.

May 11– Monday– Sheridan County, Nebraska– Birth of Mari Susette Sandoz, educator, historian, biographer and author. [Dies March 10, 1966.]

May 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The U. S. Supreme Court announces its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. The majority of the court holds: “So far, then, as a conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment is concerned, the case reduces itself to the question whether the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and with respect to this there must necessarily be a large discretion on the part of the legislature. In determining the question of reasonableness it is at liberty to act with reference to the established usages, customs and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort, and the preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment than the acts of Congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures. We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. The argument necessarily assumes that if, as has been more than once the case, and is not unlikely to be so again, the colored race should become the dominant power in the state legislature, and should enact a law in precisely similar terms, it would thereby relegate the white race to an inferior position. We imagine that the white race, at least, would not acquiesce in this assumption. The argument also assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other’s merits and a voluntary consent of individuals…Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation. If the civil and political rights of both races be equal one cannot be inferior to the other civilly or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”


Justice John Marshall Harlan, author of the lone dissent in Plessy


In a lone dissent Justice Harlan writes: “I am of opinion that the statute of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that State, and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be enacted in the several States of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous. Slavery, as an institution tolerated by law would, it is true, have disappeared from our country, but there would remain a power in the States, by sinister legislation, to interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom to regulate civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race, and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens now constituting a part of the political community called the People of the United States, for whom and by whom, through representatives, our government is administered. Such a system is inconsistent with the guarantee given by the Constitution to each State of a republican form of government, and may be stricken down by Congressional action, or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. For the reasons stated, I am constrained to withhold my assent from the opinion and judgment of the majority.” [The literature on the case is extensive; good places to start include the following: Color-blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy V Ferguson (2006) by Mark Elliott; Separate and Unequal: Homer Plessy and the Supreme Court Decision That Legalized Racism (2005) by Harvey Fireside; Simple Justice: the History of Brown V Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality (1976) by Richard Kluger.]

May 19– Tuesday– Honolulu, Hawaii– Kate Field, journalist, lecturer, actress, playwright, literary critic and social commentator, dies of pneumonia at 57 years of age.


Kate Field


May 20– Wednesday– Frankfort, Germany– Clara Wieck Schumann, age 76, musician and composer dies of a stroke.

May 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “It can not be denied that the remarriage of this beneficiary terminated her pensionable relation to the Government as completely as if it never existed. The statute which so provides simply declares what is approved by a fair and sensible consideration of pension principles. As a legal proposition, the pensionable status of a soldier’s widow, lost by her remarriage, can not be recovered by the dissolution of the second marriage. Waiving, however, the application of strictly legal principles to the subject, there does not appear to be any sentiment which should restore to the pension rolls as the widow of a deceased soldier a divorced wife who has relinquished the title of soldier’s widow to again become a wife, and who to secure the expected advantages and comforts of a second marriage has been quite willing to forego the provision which was made for her by the Government solely on the grounds of her soldier widowhood.” ~ Veto message from President Cleveland of a bill to restore a pension to a Civil War widow who married and later divorced another man.

May 23– Saturday– along the coast of Cuba– An American privately owned ship, having avoided Spanish warships, arrives with American-made munitions for the use of the Cuban rebels in their on-going fight with the Spanish.

May 26– Tuesday– Campbell, California– James Dunham kills his wife, her brother, her mother, her step-father and two servants. He successfully disappears and is never captured.

May 26– Tuesday– Moscow, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II, age 28, ruling since November 1, 1894, has his official coronation.

coronaTION OF TSar_Nikolai_II_anagoria

Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II


May 27– Wednesday– St Louis, Missouri– A severe tornado sweeps through the area, killing 255 people and doing $144,000,000 in damages. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for the next month in this city but the destruction raises questions about whether the city can now accommodate the gathering. [The dollar amount of damages would equal $4,190,000,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

May 28– Thursday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– About 300 delegates representing 27 states secede from the Prohibition Party convention and form a new party which they call The National Party. They nominate Reverend Charles Bentley, age 55, of Nebraska for president and James Southgate, age 36, of North Carolina for vice-president. They adopt the following platform: “recognizing God as the Author of all just power in government, presents the following declaration of principles . . . 1. The suppression of the manufacture and sale, importation, exportation, and transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. We utterly reject all plans for regulating or compromising with this traffic, whether such plans be called local option, taxation, license, or public control. The sale of liquors for medicinal and other legitimate uses should be conducted by the state, without profit, and with such regulations as will prevent fraud or evasion. 2. No citizen should be denied the right to vote on account of sex. 3. All money should be issued by the general government only, and without the intervention of any private citizen, corporation, or banking institution. . . . . we favor the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold, at the ratio 16 to 1, without consulting any other nation. 4. Land is the common heritage of the people and should be preserved from monopoly and speculation. . . . . 5. Railroads, telegraphs, and other natural monopolies should be owned and operated by the government, giving to the people the benefit of service at actual cost. 6. The national Constitution should be so amended as to allow the national revenues to be raised by equitable adjustment of taxation on the properties and incomes of the people, and import duties should be levied as a means of securing equitable commercial relations with other nations.7. The contract convict labor system, through which speculators are enriched at the expense of the state, should be abolished. 8. All citizens should be protected by law in their right to one day of rest in seven, without oppressing any who conscientiously observe any other than the first day of the week. 9. American public schools, taught in the English language, should be maintained, and no public funds should be appropriated for sectarian institutions. 10. The President, Vice-President, and United States senators should be elected by direct vote of the people. 11. Ex-soldiers and sailors of the United States army and navy, their widows and minor children, should receive liberal pensions, granted on disability and term of service, not merely as a debt of gratitude, but for service rendered in the preservation of the Union. 12. Our immigration laws should be so revised as to exclude paupers and criminals. None but citizens of the United States should be allowed to vote in any state, and naturalized citizens should not vote until one year after naturalization papers have been issued. 13. The initiative and referendum, and proportional representation, should be adopted.” [Bently dies September 6, 1905. Southgate dies September 29, 1916.]


Charles Bentley


May 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “To the extent that the appropriations contained in this bill are instigated by private interests and promote local or individual projects their allowance can not fail to stimulate a vicious paternalism and encourage a sentiment among our people, already too prevalent, that their attachment to our Government may properly rest upon the hope and expectation of direct and especial favors and that the extent to which they are realized may furnish an estimate of the value of governmental care. I believe no greater danger confronts us as a nation than the unhappy decadence among our people of genuine and trustworthy love and affection for our Government as the embodiment of the highest and best aspirations of humanity, and not as the giver of gifts, and because its mission is the enforcement of exact justice and equality, and not the allowance of unfair favoritism. I hope I may be permitted to suggest, at a time when the issue of Government bonds to maintain the credit and financial standing of the country is a subject of criticism, that the contracts provided for in this bill would create obligations of the United States amounting to $62,000,000 no less binding than its bonds for that sum.” ~ Message to Congress from President Cleveland as he vetoes a bill to improve rivers and harbors throughout the country.

May 30– Saturday– Moscow, Russia– Drawn by offers of free food and beer to honor the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, thousands of people gather in Khodynka Field. When rumors of a shortage of the proffered food and drink circulate, a panic ensues, killing 1,389 people and injuring about 1,300 others.


the crowd at Khodynka Field before the panic began




May~Election Year 1932


The United States keeps falling into the Great Depression and citizens look to the federal government to do something. Violence and political troubles shake Germany, France, New Zealand, Peru, Japan, India, Austria and Cuba.

May 2– Washington, D.C.– In the case of Nixon v Condon, the Supreme Court by a 5 to 4 decision holds the Democratic Party’s primary election system in Texas which excludes black people is unconstitutional. Justice Benjamin Cardozo writes the majority opinion while Justice James McReynolds writes for the four dissenters. Cardozo, age 62, is the newest member of the Court, appointed by the president on March 2nd.


Benjamin Cardozo


May 3– Tuesday– New York City– Columbia University announces the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes who include five reporters from the Detroit Free Press, one from the St Louis Post-Dispatch, one from the New York Times, and a cartoonist from the Chicago Tribune. Book awards go to Henry F Pringle for his biography Theodore Roosevelt, Pearl Buck for The Good Earth and retired General John J Pershing for My Experiences in the World War.

May 3– Tuesday– Sacramento, California– John Nance Garner, age 63, a lawyer and politician from Texas, wins the Democratic primary.

May 4– Wednesday– Moscow, Russia– The Soviet union and Estonia sign a non-aggression pact.

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The imperative need of the nation today is a definite and conclusive program for balancing the budget. Uncertainty is disastrous. It must be in every sense a national program. Sectional, partisan, group, or class considerations can have no place in it. Ours is a government of all the people, created to protect and promote the common good, and when the claims of any group or class are inconsistent with the welfare of all, they must give way.” ~ Message from President Herbert Hoover to Congress.

May 6– Friday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer, age 75, is shot and mortally wounded by a Russian emigre named Paul Gorguloff at a book fair.

May 7– Saturday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer dies of his wound.

May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Hoover vetoes a bill which have allowed civilians who served in the Quartermaster Corps to be cared for in old soldiers’ home.

May 10– Tuesday– Paris, France– Albert Francois Lebrun becomes the new President of France.

May 10– Tuesday– Wellington, New Zealand– A riot ensues when the government refuses to respond to the demands of 4,000 relief workers.

May 12– Thursday– Hopewell Township, New Jersey– The body of Charles Lindbergh, Jr, the 20 month old son Charles Lindbergh, is found two months after his kidnaping.

May 12– Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Wilhelm Groener, Defense Minister, resigns from his post. The Reichstag is shut down after violence by four Nazi members.

May 13– Friday– Marseilles, France– Former king Alfonso XIII of Spain is assaulted by a Spanish citizen.

May 14– Saturday– Mexico City, Mexico– The government breaks diplomatic relations with Peru after that country accused Mexican diplomats of plotting to stir up public disorder.

May 15– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– A group of naval officers and army cadets assassinate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi in a failed coup attempt.

May 17– Tuesday– Bombay, India– British troops end four days of rioting between Hindus and Muslims by opening fire on the rival crowds.

May 18– Wednesday– Havana, Cuba– Police arrest several hundred people on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

May 19– Dublin, Ireland– By a vote of 77 to 69, the lower house of the Irish Free State parliament passes a bill to abolish the oath of allegiance to the English king which was mandated of all legislators by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which had concluded the Irish War for Independence.

May 20– Friday– Vienna, Austria– Engelbert Dollfuss becomes Chancellor of Austria.


Amelia Earhart


May 21–Saturday– Culmore, Northern Ireland–Amelia Earhart, age 34, arrives from Newfoundland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Engine trouble prevents her from going on to Paris as Charles Lindbergh had done.

May 22–Sunday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper, criticizes the Hoover administration for providing only segregated facilities for black Gold Star Mothers going to visit the graves of their sons in Europe.

r l vann

Robert L Vann, founding editor of Pittsburgh Courier


May 22– Sunday– County Galway, Ireland– Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory, folklorist, poet, dramatist and key figure in the Irish literary revival, dies of breast cancer at 80 years of age.

May 22– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– The Emperor appoints Saito Makoto as the new Prime Minister.

May 23– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– The scientist Albert Einstein, age 53, issues a call for pacifists worldwide to demand total disarmament to take place within the next five years. “War can’t be humanized. It can only be abolished,” he asserts.


Albert Einstein, circa 1921


May 25– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Italy and Turkey renew their non-aggression treaty of 1928 for another five years and agree to improved trade relations.

May 26– Thursday– Hamburg, Germany– The shortage of food leads to a riot in which two people are killed.

May 27– Friday– Washington, D.C.– At his press conference President Hoover explains his opposition to a pending bill in Congress. “A total of over 3,500 projects of various kinds are proposed in this bill, scattered into every quarter of the United States. Many of these projects have heretofore been discredited by Congress because of useless extravagance involved. Many were originally authorized as justified only in the long-distant future. I do not believe that 20 percent could be brought to the stage of employment for a year. I am advised by the engineers that the amount of labor required to complete a group of $400 million of these works would amount to only 100,000 men for 1 year because they are in large degree mechanized jobs. This is not unemployment relief. It is the most gigantic pork barrel ever proposed to the American Congress. It is an unexampled raid on the Public Treasury. Detailed lists of these projects have been broadcast to every part of the country during the past 24 hours, to the cities, towns, villages, and sections who would receive a portion of this pork barrel. It is apparently expected that the cupidity of these towns and sections will demand that their Congressmen and Senators vote for this bill or threaten to penalize them if they fail to join in this squandering of money. I just do not believe that such lack of intelligence or cupidity exists amongst the people of the United States.”


President Herbert Hoover


May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received Your Majesty’s gracious message. The tribute which you and the Belgian people are paying on Decoration Day to the memory of those American soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for the cause of justice and whose bodies rest in Belgium, echoes and resounds in every American heart with gratitude and affection for their Belgian comrades and friends. I and my fellow country men in dedicating this day to our own dead will be keenly mindful of your own country’s great sacrifice and will bend our heads in silent prayer for Belgium’s heroic dead.” ~ Message from President Hoover to King Albert of Belgium, in response to the king’s memorial day message of friendship.

Election Year 1892 ~ April


There exist some tensions and rivalries in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Corporations increase in number and wealth. Women battling for their civil rights see little progress in the fight for the vote. Striking miners provide a foretaste of the labor struggles yet coming this year. Black people and Native Americans continue to be exploited. Germany is selling arms in Africa. Anarchists stir the pot as they can. And the incumbent president will replace a deceased Supreme Court justice in an election year without blind resistance from the opposition party.

April 1–Friday– Idaho–Mine owners across the state begin a lockout against 3,000 striking miners.

April 5–Tuesday– Lithonia, Georgia–A white mob lynches five black men.

April 7– Thursday– New York City– “Not all the men who were brought to the front in politics by the popular revolution of 1890 have justified the expectations of their supporters; some, indeed, who were elevated to important positions have proved miserable failures, and will very speedily be relegated to the obscurity out of which they were lifted. But there are some among the new men who were projected into Congress by that upheaval who have demonstrated genuine capacity, and are likely to impress themselves upon the legislation and policy of their time. Among these is Hon. William J. Bryan [1860–1925], of Nebraska, who was elected to Congress on the platform of tariff reform by a phenomenal majority in a strong Republican district, and has since attained, by a single speech, a commanding position in the House. Mr. Bryan, who is thirty-two years of age, is a man of fine appearance, of indomitable purpose and solid intellectual qualities, which make him a dangerous antagonist. He is a lawyer by profession, and is assisted in the preparation of cases by his young wife, who studied law and was admitted to the Bar in order that she might make herself more truly his helpmeet.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Mary Elizabeth Baird Bryan is a year younger than her husband whom she married in 1884. Encouraged by her husband, she studied law at the Union College of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and was admitted to practice in November, 1888. Dies January 21, 1930.]


Mary Pickford


April 8– Friday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Gladys Louise Smith a/k/a Mary Pickford who will appear in more than 175 films and become one of the co-founders of United Artists. [Dies May 29, 1979.]

April11– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, do hereby declare and make known that all of the lands embraced in said reservation, saving and excepting the lands reserved for and allotted to said Indians and the lands reserved for other purposes in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same and other the laws relating thereto, will, at and after the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time)on the 15th day of April, A. D. 1892, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the terms and conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreements, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening lands taken by treaty from the Sioux to settlers.

April 11– Monday– Florence Italy– Birth of Francesca Bertini [born Elena Seracini Vitiello] who will become the premiere actress in Italian silent films. [Dies October 13, 1985.]


President Benjamin Harrison


April 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested by the statutes hereinbefore mentioned, also an act of Congress entitled ‘An act making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1892, and for other purposes,’ approved March 3, 1891, and by other of the laws of the United States, and by said agreement, do hereby declare and make known that all of said lands hereinbefore described acquired from the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians by the agreement aforesaid, saving and excepting the lands allotted to the Indians as in said agreement provided, excepting also the lands hereinbefore described as occupied and claimed by the Wichita and affiliated bands of Indians, or otherwise reserved in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same, and other the laws relating thereto, will at the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time), Tuesday, the 19th day of the present month of April, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreement, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening other Indian lands to settlers.

April 14– Thursday– New York City– “There can be no doubt at all that Senator Hill has injured his Presidential chances by his recent Southern tour. All the influential newspapers of that section agree in saying that his speeches were disappointing to the people, revealing the low and artful partisan rather than the enlightened statesman, and that very many Democrats who were at first disposed to give him their support are now convinced that success under his leadership would be impossible. They had expected to hear an intelligent discussion of principles and policies, but were treated to the drivel of the pot-house politician. They had expected to meet a man with strong and positive convictions, but their visitor evaded every important issue, and if he had convictions, obscured or concealed them by artifices of speech. . . . . No one who has been at all familiar with Senator Hill’s methods and has closely studied the man will be surprised at this result. The truth is that David B. Hill does not possess a single quality of genuine statesmanship. He has never, as to any question or measure, displayed that breadth and loftiness of spirit which characterizes the true publicist. He is a machine politician, pure and simple. He has made his way so far by what a contemporary aptly describes as a ‘comprehending sympathy with the heeler, ballot-box stuffer, the manipulator of returns, the vote-buyer, and all who are adepts in the dodges of the criminal side of politics.’ It is the cold truth that ‘every potency and agency for good, political, religious, and moral, in his State, abhors him as a man without principle or conscience.’ . . . . Thoughtful Democrats . . . are unwilling that the party standard should be committed to a man who has nothing to recommend him but the fact that he is an expert in political crime. So overwhelming is this growing sentiment that even in this State, if the question of his candidacy could be submitted to the Democratic voters for an expression of the real wishes of the party, without pressure or intimidation of any sort, he would, as we believe, be beaten two to one.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Hill (1843– 1910) was a lawyer and career politician who served as governor of New York State from 1885 to 1891 and in the U S Senate from 1892 to 1897. At this point he has been vigorously seeking the Democratic nomination.]


Senator David B Hill


April 15– Friday– Schenectady, New York– The General Electric Company is established through the merger of the Thomson-Houston Company and the Edison General Electric Company.

April 15– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Reliable sources indicate that Republican delegates to the national convention from this city will go to the convention as uncommitted.

April 15– Friday– Indianapolis, Indiana– It appears that all of the delegates from Indiana to the Democratic convention will support Grover Cleveland rather than Isaac P Gray, the former governor of the state. [Gray, 1828–1895, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1876, upset by corruption in the administration of President Ulysses S Grant, Gray switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party.]

April 16– Saturday– Rochester, New York– A reporter asks Susan B Anthony what she thinks about the woman suffrage bill slowly making its way through the state legislature in Albany. She replies, “I am highly pleased, and I hope it will fare well . . . but I am not very enthusiastic. The cup has been brought to my lips so often and then dashed away that I have learned no to be too confident.” [Women will not gain the vote in New York until 1917.]

April 17– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Dr Gardner, the physician taking care of First Lady Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, reports that she is feeling a little better, despite her hard cough and her fever. [She will struggle with illness throughout the coming months and will die on October 25th, 24 days after her 60th birthday.]


First Lady Caroline Harrison


April 17– Sunday– Paris, France– Britain and France are discussing ways to prevent arms sales to Africans, noting that partisans in Upper Niger and in Dahomey are armed with modern German-made rifles.

April 19– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– In a move which speculators and dealers will describe as “a coal war”, the Pennsylvania Railroad announces a drastic cut in the rate it charges to haul coal, an effort to lure business away from other railroads.

April 20–Wednesday– Denmark–In national elections for the Folketing (literally, “the people’s thing”), the parliament, 63.8% of eligible voters cast ballots. The conservatives win 34.8% of the vote, taking 31 of 102 available seats. The center-right party captures 30 seats, the moderates 39 seats and the socialists only 2 seats.

April 21– Thursday– New York City– “The expressions of the newspaper press and of all the [state] political conventions which have recently been held go to show that there is practically no opposition to the renomination of President Harrison. There are a few political leaders who, out of disappointment at their failure to use the President for their own purposes, would be very glad to rally a more or less formidable opposition to him, but so far they have not succeeded in finding any candidate who is likely to commend himself at all to the national convention. Senator Cullom, who was at one time named as a candidate, has formally withdrawn from the field. Senator Allison will probably be presented by Iowa, but he has explicitly stated that he does not desire the nomination. . . . Taking the field as a whole, all the conditions are favorable to the practically unanimous renomination of the present executive. In proof of this statement we could fill our columns with extracts from the leading independent and Republican papers of the country.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

April 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Democratic leaders here assert that Indiana supporters of former governor Isaac P Gray are “indulging in . . . the sheerest nonsense” and the overwhelming majority of Democrats favor Grover Cleveland.

April 22– Friday– Louisville, Kentucky– At a meeting local Democrats express support for Grover Cleveland. “We believe him to possess the confidence of the masses to a greater extent than any other living American and that his nomination will carry the country by storm.”

April 23– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– Many prominent Republicans in the western part of the state favor Chauncey M Depew, age 58, a lawyer and president of the New York Central Railroad, instead of President Benjamin Harrison.

April 23– Saturday– London, England– The funeral of Mary Mowbray, wife of the labor organizer and anarchist Charles W Mowbray, takes place. The ceremony, with no religious component, provides an opportunity for anarchists and socialists to demonstrate. Some carry signs saying “Remember Chicago”, referring to the Haymarket bombing incident of 1886 after which 8 anarchist were arrested, put through a show trial in front of a biased judge and sentenced to death. Four were hanged and one committed suicide. Three remain in prison, two serving life sentences, one a sentence of 15 years. [Next year Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld will pardon those three and release them from prison. On the Haymarket affair, see: The Haymarket Tragedy (1984) by Paul Avrich; The History of the Haymarket Affair; a Study in the American Social-revolutionary and Labor Movements (1936) by Henry David; and on Governor Altgeld, see: Eagle Forgotten: the Life of John Peter Altgeld (1938) by Harry Barnard.]


Memorial to the Haymarket Martyrs


April 27– Wednesday– Bangor, Maine– Republicans select delegates committed to James G Blaine to represent the state at the Republican national convention.

April 27– Wednesday– London, England– In Parliament, the House of Commons defeats a woman suffrage bill with 175 votes against it and 152 in favor. Suffrage leaders are pleased that the vote is that close.

April 28– Thursday– New York City– “There is an indication that the President is finding some difficulty in securing a successor to Justice [Joseph] Bradley, of the Supreme Court, owing to the meager salary paid these officials. One gentleman who is alleged to be eminently equipped for the Supreme Court bench is said to have declined the appointment on the ground that he cannot afford to accept it, being now in receipt of an income from his practice some ten times greater than the salary paid to judges. Of course the consideration of salary does not as a rule enter into the question of acceptance of this high position, but it would not diminish the dignity of the office if that salary should be more in proportion to the responsibility and excellent character of the services required of its incumbent.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Bradley was a Republican from New York who died January 22, 1892 at age 78. President Harrison will nominate George Shiras, a Republican from Pennsylvania, age 60, to take his place. The Senate will confirm Shiras on July 26th– there will be no debate about whether or not the incumbent president could or should fill the vacancy on the court.]


the late Justice Bradley


April 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– From the states of New York, Maine and Colorado there seems to be increasing opposition among some Republicans to the renomination of President Harrison.

April 30– Saturday– London, England– Rumors declare that the recent visit by U S warships to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a veiled attempt to forge an anti-British alliance between the United States and Argentina. American officials strongly deny the allegations.

Women’s History~Annette Abbott Adams


Annette Abbott Adams-02129v

Annette Abbott Adams

Annette Abbott Adams, educator, school administrator, lawyer and judge, was born on March 12, 1877 in Prattville, California. She earned a bachelor of law degree at Berkeley in 1904 and a J.D. from Boalt Hall in 1912. A pioneer in many regards, she was one of the first women in California to serve as a school principal, founded an all woman law firm, served as assistant U S Attorney for the Northern District of California from 1914 to 1918, then as U S Attorney for the Northern District of California from 1918 to 1920 and became the first woman to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the United States, doing so from 1920 to 1921. After leaving Washington, D.C., she returned to the private practice of law until Governor Olson appointed her presiding judge of the Third District of California where she served until retirement in 1952, the first woman to serve on that court. She died in Sacramento, California, on October 26, 1956.



Annette Abbott Adams


There is not yet a full length book biography of Judge Adams; for more information, see: “Woman is U.S. Attorney” in New York Times, September 29,1914; “Asks Fair Play for Women” in New York Times, March 1, 1921; Report of the Special Committee on Law Enforcement (1923); obituary in New York Times, October 27, 1956; “Annette Abbott Adams, Politician” by Joan M Jensen in Pacific Historical Review, vol 35, #2, May, 1966, pp. 185-201; “Annette Abbott Adams: California’s First Lady of Law” by Louise E Steiner, a master’s thesis at Sacramento State in February, 1972; “The Women Appointees of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations” by Elsie L George, a Ph.D. dissertation at American University, 1972; “Adams, Annette Abbott” in Dictionary of American Biography– Supplement Six (1980); pp 3-4.


Annette Abbott Adams

The Gratitude of His Country by Dying at Last~Oct 1864~11th to 14th

The Gratitude of His Country by Dying at Last ~ George Templeton Strong.

As many in the North, Strong, a lawyer, expresses satisfaction at the death of Chief Justice Roger Taney. Taney was appointed by President Andrew Jackson, served 28 years as Chief Justice and authored the infamous opinion in the Dred Scott case in which he declared that black people, free or slave, had no civil rights in the United States. Maryland adopts a state constitution which abolishes slavery. Black soldiers serve the Union cause and finally gain some of pay which is due them. State election results demonstrate significant gains by the Republicans and auger well for Lincoln’s reelection. [At this time is not yet one set day for all state and federal elections.] at least some Englishmen favor Lincoln’s reelection. A soldier informs his wife about the loss of his leg. A former slave tells his story to a Northern woman. Tennessee citizens complain about Confederate bushwhackers while another complains to Federal authorities about women he views as disloyal. An immigrant from Scotland begins his rise to fame and fortune.The French forces press hard against the legitimate Mexican government.

United States Colored Troops {USCT}

United States Colored Troops {USCT}

October 11– Tuesday– near Fort Donelson, Tennessee– A unit of 85 black Union soldiers engages and drives off a force of 250 Confederate soldiers.

October 12– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “An Inquiry Meeting, for the purpose of personal religious conversation, is held under the joint supervision of the Pastors of the First and Second Congregational Churches, on Sabbath at 6 P.M., in the Theological Society Room, Chapel building.” ~ Lorain County News.

October 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Roger Taney, Chief Justice of U S Supreme Court and author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, dies at age 87. A racist and Maryland slave-holder, he has been Chief Justice for 28 years.

Roger Taney, Chief Justice U S Supreme Court

Roger Taney, Chief Justice U S Supreme Court

October 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Returns of the elections from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana come in to-day. They look very well, particularly the two latter. Pennsylvania does not quite come up to my expectations. The city of Philadelphia has done very well, but in too many of the counties there are Democratic gains– not such, perhaps, as to overcome the Union majorities, but will much reduce them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

October 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Secretary of War not being in, I answer yours about election. Pennsylvania very close, and still in doubt on home vote. Ohio largely for us, with all the members of Congress but two or three. Indiana largely for us, Governor, it is said, by fifteen thousand, and eight of the eleven members of Congress. Send us what you may know of your army vote.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S Grant.

October 12– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “I write you a few lines the first opportunity to ease your fears in regard to me. It is true I have happened [in] to a bad spot, but it might have been worse.For it was the hottest place I was ever in. I was first shot between the right knee and angle, nearly breaking the leg. I was hardly down when I was again short in the right knee, shattering it all to pieces in a second. I was shot in the left knee slightly. . . . I continued to suffer, until I arrived here, from moving. The doctor, after counsel, amputated my right leg just above the knee. I hope you will not take it too hard. If I live, I can make a living shoe-making. I am considered to be doing well by the doctor and everybody else. You know I am one that never says die while I can move a little. I was wounded in trying to take the second works, where they had made a desperate stand. I passed through all the first safe and was in hopes I would have my usual luck. I have never spared myself in going into a fight, as I determined long ago to get out of this war if I had to be killed out.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

October 12– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Peter’s history is not uninteresting. Here it is: ‘my master’s name was Jim Brazier, and I lived eight miles from Tullahoma. My mother was sickly a long time, and missus wouldn’t let her stop workin’ no how. An one day when she’s so weak, she let a big pitcher fall on de floor and broke it, and master sent her to de whippin-house, and she died that night. I slept wid her, an she told me when she come to bed, that she thought if she went to sleep she’d never wake. An in de morning when I waked, she was stone dead. They never said anything to me bout what killed her, they knowed very well that I knowed the reason. After de war broke out, they telled me that I mustn’t go near de Yankees, for that they ‘had horns,’ just as if I’d not sense ‘nough to know better nor that.’ . . . One morning, soon after, Dr W. announced to Peter that his former master had just been hanged as a guerrilla. The account was in the morning paper.Glad of it,’ said Peter, emphatically; ‘I’d a be glad if that there had a happened afore.’” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers recounting the story of a young escaped slave.

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

October 12– Wednesday– Taylorsville, Tennessee– “The undersigners [sic], citizens of Johnson County, Tennessee, and Southern men, in behalf of themselves and others, respectfully represent: That we are but few in number, and most of us old and infirm men; that our county is now infested with some four or five bands of robbers and bushwhackers, who are obstructing the public road, robbing Southern men, and killing them, and further, threatening to drive us all from the county, and without some additional protection we will all be forced to leave our homes and county in a few days. We, therefore, most respectfully ask you to send in a small force for that purpose, say some forty or fifty men, under a good officer. We would further state that we will have considerable surplus of corn, and some meat, that could be furnished the Government, if it can be protected until all can be saved; fully enough, we think, to justify the Government in sending the small force we ask to protect and defend us until all can be saved and got out. If not defended in that way it will all be lost to Government and individuals. There is a small force here now, about fifteen men, which we wish to retain with the others, under Lieutenant Hawkins.” ~ Petition from eight residents to Confederate General Breckinridge.

October 12– Wednesday– Chihuahua, Mexico–Retreating toward the U S border, President Juarez arrives with a small force of republican troops. The American Counsel writes that “the situation is very bad and would bring despair upon any mind less faithful and hopeful.”

Benito Juarez, President of Mexico

Benito Juarez, President of Mexico

October 13– Thursday– New York City– “The Honorable old Roger B Taney has earned the gratitude of his country by dying at last. Better late than never. . . . Even should Lincoln be defeated, he will have time to appoint a new Chief Justice, and he cannot appoint anybody worse than Taney. Chase may very possibly be the man. Curious coincidence that the judge whose opinion in the Dred Scott case proved him the most faithful of slaves to the South should have been dying while his own state, Maryland, was solemnly extinguishing slavery within her borders by voting on her new anti-slavery constitution. (There seems no doubt it has been adopted.) Two ancient abuses and evils were perishing together. The tyrant’s foot has rested so long on the neck of ‘Maryland, my Maryland’ that she has undergone an organic change of structure, making it necessary for her to continue under that pressure, or in other words, loyal to the national government. The Confederacy will have nothing to say to Maryland as a free state.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Dred Scott, circa 1857

Dred Scott, circa 1857

October 13– Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– In a state-wide election eligible voters approve by a narrow margin, a new state constitution which abolishes slavery. The vote is 30, 174 in favor and 29,799 in opposition.

October 13– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The President is greatly importuned and pressed by cunning intrigues just at this time. Thurlow Weed and Raymond are abusing his confidence and good nature badly. Hay says they are annoying the President sadly.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

pro-Lincoln cartoon

pro-Lincoln cartoon

October 13– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln tells John Hay, one of his personal secretaries, that he [Lincoln] will not be in any hurry to replace the late Chief Justice, Roger B Taney.

October 13– Thursday– Rice Springs Farm, Georgia– Federal cavalry troopers tangle with a Confederate force and drive them off toward Alabama. Total Union casualties– killed, wounded, missing– are 14. Total Confederate losses are over 70.

October 14– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Massachusetts 54th Regiment, of colored troops, has been paid off by the government in full to August 31. The soldiers have sent back to their families and friends in this city and vicinity the sum of $45,000 and the money has been received through Adams & Co’s Express. This is a most gratifying announcement. Justice ‘long delayed through hesitating Congressional legislation’ is at last done these brave men. The large amount they so promptly and considerately send home for the relief of their suffering families, and to liquidate what debts they may owe, is highly creditable to them.” ~ The Liberator. [The $45,000 delayed wages paid to the soldiers of the 54th would equal $688,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.] Today’s edition also carries a letter from two Englishman who write in support of Mr Lincoln, a letter which says in part that General McClellan’s “claims to office seem to us to rest on the fact, that he will do as little good to the Negro in his civil as he has done harm to the enemy in his military capacity. Mr. Lincoln’s claims are founded on the fact that he has done more for the emancipation of your colored people in his single administration than all the other Presidents put together, and that he is conducting his country through a crisis of almost unexampled difficulty, and under storms of abuse with which up to this time only great men have been honored, if not with the genius, certainly with the pertinacity and honesty of a Cromwell. The last news which has reached this country leads us to hope that, if you are true to yourselves, and careful to repel compromises such as govern Seymour’s ‘peace-at any-price’ Democrats, and their friend the London Times, would have you make, the most disgraceful conspiracy that history records may, in its overthrow, be made to subserve her greatest triumph.”

54th Massachusetts

54th Massachusetts

October 14– Friday– New York City– “What subject of human thought and action is higher than politics, except only religion? What political issues have arisn for centuries more monentous than those dependent on this election? They are to determine the destinies– the daily life– of the millions and millions who are to live on this continent for many generations to come. They will decide the relations of the laboring man toward the capitalist in 1900 A.D., from Maine to Mexico.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

October 14– Friday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–Andrew Carnegie, age 29, forms his first iron business, the Cyclops Iron Company. [Carnegie, born in Dunfermline, Scotland, arrived in the United States in the summer of 1848. He dies on August 11, 1919. His fortune at his death will be in excess of $350 million, equal to $4.72 billion today, using the Consumer Price Index. The literature about Carnegie is voluminous; I recommend Andrew Carnegie by Joseph F Wall (1989) and Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America by Les Standiford (2005).

Andrew Carnegie, circa 1878

Andrew Carnegie, circa 1878

October 14– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– A large torchlight parade and mass meeting in support of the reelection of President Lincoln takes place, the largest such demonstration the city has ever seen.

October 14– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Seward was quite exultant over the elections; feels strong and self -gratified. Says this Administration is wise, energetic, faithful, and able beyond any of its predecessors; that it has gone through trials which none of them has ever known, and carried on, under extraordinary circumstances and against combinations such as the world has never known, a war unparalleled in the annals of the world. The death of Judge Taney was alluded to. His funeral takes place to-morrow. The body will pass from his residence at 7 a.m. to the depot; and be carried to Frederick, Maryland. . . . I have never called upon him living . . . his position and office were to be respected . . . . That he had many good qualities and possessed ability, I do not doubt; that he rendered service in Jackson’s administration is true . . . . But the course pursued in the Dred Scott case and all the attending circumstances forfeited respect for him as a man or a judge.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

October 14– Friday– Tullahoma, Tennessee– “Sir, the government of the United States of America should know and understand its enemies whether male or female. And treason should be made odious in both alike, I am not making war upon ‘innocent’ women; every brave man loves and respects the name of woman, but when she stoops from the high position that beautifies the character of a true woman and seeks alike, with traitors of the male gender, to undermine and sweep away the best government of earth she forfeits her claim to that high regard and becomes the most corrupt and debased of the whole human family. I repeat that I love the very name of woman, but when she unsexes herself she is a fit subject for anything. It is to them in great measure, that this country, so beautifully adapted to higher scenes and more noble purposes is made one vast scene of carnage and blood. And have they repented? No! They are doubly distilled in their fanaticism. And shall they remain here among the people they so much despise to annoy the loyal people and give information to traitors? We cannot believe it just and we are aware that it is your purpose to reward patriotism and punish treason.These rebel women express a desire to go south or for the return of the gents of

their complexion, and surely they should at least have one portion of their wish granted them, the portion that leads their minds and carcasses southward. Who says no? Not he that is tinctured with loyalty. The following is a list of applicants for a journey south and by all means they should not be disappointed in their lofty expectation. . . . They should not have the honor of living one moment more among loyal people. And justice to humanity and the interest of government requires that they be sent to Brownlow’s next Depot to the infernal regions. Other names could be mentioned but time will not admit.” ~ Letter to Union General Milroy from a man who signs himself only “KD” and names better than 15 women as rebel spies and sympathizers.