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History, WayBackWhen™, FlashBack™

7 Historical Facts That Completely Challenge What You Think You Know About The World

The Gilmer Free Press

Just when you think you understand how the world works, you learn…

1. The swastika was actually a symbol of good—until the Nazis got ahold of it.

The swastika has been around for over 3,000 years and commonly symbolized goodness and luck, up until its use by the Nazis in Germany. The now reviled image was used by cultures all over the world, including early Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and even Native Americans.

In more recent history, the swastika was still prominent just before the rise of the Nazi party. A few American uniforms featured the symbol in World War I, Coca Cola used it in advertising and, as seen above in this picture of the Edmonton Swastikas, sports teams even took its name. The Nazis deeply complicated the swastika’s long existence as a symbol for good, and looking back upon its thousands of years of prominence in cultural history can yield some results that appear incredibly strange with contemporary eyes. To salvage the image, it has been proposed that the clockwise version of the swastika should represent evil while counterclockwise would represent goodness.

2. Drunk debates were once a key aspect of any important decision-making process.

Perhaps you don’t have to be Don Draper to believe in the necessity of alcohol at the work place. When famous Greek historian Herodotus, travelled to Persia around 450 B.C., he found a culture that deeply valued the wisdom that comes while being drunk. The Persians he encountered would make sure that particularly important arguments were debated both while sober and drunk, as only ideas that made sense in both states were truly worthwhile. This process went both ways: Arguments originally had while drunk would be debated again the next day in soberness, and dry arguments would be followed up with discussions over wine.

C.S. Lewis expanded upon this idea in his “Letters to Malcolm,“ when he wrote:

I know this is the opposite of what is often said about the necessity of keeping all emotion out of our intellectual processes – ‘you can’t think straight unless you are cool.‘ But then neither can you think deep if you are.  I suppose one must try every problem in both states.  You remember that the ancient Persians debated everything twice: once when they were drunk and once when they were sober.

3. The Olympic Games used to award medals for art.

Maybe artists deserve varsity jackets, too. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics held competitions in the fine arts, with medals being awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. The art produced was required to be Olympics-themed, so gold-winning pieces had names like, “Knockdown” and “Étude de Sport.“ The first winning work of literature was actually written by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, who supposedly wrote the piece, “Ode to Sport,“ under a pseudonym.

According to Frédy, adding an arts component to the modern Olympics was necessary because the ancient Greeks used to hold art festivals alongside the games. Over the years, dancing, film, photography and theatre were all proposed as additional events, but none of these ever became medal categories. In total, 151 medals were awarded before the Olympics removed the art competitions in favor of requiring host cities to provide cultural events to accompany the games.

4. Pink wasn’t always a girl’s color and blue a boy’s color—in fact, it was once the other way around.

The distinction of blue for boys and pink for girls didn’t take full hold until the middle of the 20th century. Many people already know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wore dresses as a child, but this was common practice for the time. Children would wear gender neutral, mostly white clothing that was easy to bleach clean, and wouldn’t get haircuts until around the age of six or seven. It wasn’t until department stores started marketing gender-specific colors that parents began to worry about making sure their children were wearing the “right” outfits.

Even when mass marketing began, the messages were mixed. The trade publication “Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department” featured an article suggesting, “the generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

5. English was once a language for “commoners,“ while the British elites spoke French.

Despite the severity with which some contemporary English-speakers vehemently attack “incorrect” uses of the language, English used to belong to the people. In the formative years of the language, it was only spoken by “commoners,“ while the English courts and aristocracy mostly spoke in French. This was due to the Norman Invasion of 1066 and caused years of division between the “gentlemen” who had adopted the Anglo-Norman French and those who only spoke English. Even the famed King Richard the Lionheart was actually primarily referred to in French, as Richard “Coeur de Lion.“

To further mess with your preconceptions about the English language, the “British accent” was actually created after the Revolutionary War, meaning contemporary Americans sound more like the colonists and British soldiers of the 18th century than contemporary Brits. Of course, accents vary greatly by region, but the “BBC English” or public school English accent (which sounds like Austin Powers) didn’t come about until the 19th century and was originally adopted by people who wanted to sound fancier.

6. Money was once designed to discourage people from having too much of it.

Perhaps having quick and easy money isn’t truly in our best interests. According to Greek historian Plutarch, in his “Life of Lycurgus,“ the Spartans used long and heavy iron rods as their currency in hopes that it would discourage them from pursuing large amounts of wealth. This unusual currency was called “obeloi” and was supposedly so cumbersome that carrying multiple rods would require oxen.

A couple other things that might change the way you think about contemporary money: American presidents weren’t originally supposed to be on the nation’s currency, as that was seen as a practice of monarchies. Also, the idea civilizations relied on established barter systems before the rise of physical currency is probably incorrect. People may have traded things, but one of the only well-known bartering practices was more of a bonding and sex ritual between tribes in Northern Australia called the dzamalag.

7. A good night of sleep used to mean waking up sometime in the middle.

Are we sleeping all wrong? According to growing research about sleeping habits before the 20th century, people didn’t always sleep in one long block, but would briefly wake up in the middle to split the slumber into two sessions. During this time, people would reportedly engage in all sorts of activities, with the more scholarly using the time to read and write, while couples might spend the break having sex.

The two-part sleeping pattern was the product of people going to bed much earlier before the invention of electricity, which meant the world actually went dark when the sun set. For those who assumed candles were regularly lit at night before electric lights, historian Craig Koslofsky points out in his book, “Evening’s Empire,“ that we tend to overestimate their importance. He writes, “even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night.“

Contemporary society seems to have adjusted to the single session of sleep, but that doesn’t mean the transition has been entirely smooth. It has been suggested that those who consistently wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, may simply have bodies that yearn for the way we used to operate.

Bonus Legend: Tickling may have been used as torture.

This one may be more of a legend, but still, tickling is not funny, dammit! It was apparently used as a form of torture during the Han Dynasty, as captives would recover quickly and no physical signs of abuse were left on the body. The ancient Romans may have also used tickle torture, where a goat would be brought in to lick the captive’s feet.

Although there is only shaky evidence that either of these modes of torture were actually employed, there appear to have been cases in which severe tickling was deemed abuse in more contemporary times.

~~  Todd Van Luling ~~

Flashback: What Happened on August 01, ....


•  1893 The county seat of Tucker County was moved from St. George to Parsons by 700 armed men led by Ward Parsons.

•  1912 Mother Jones addressed 6000 people at the Charleston levee, rallying the miners to support the strike.

•  1921 Baldwin-Felts agents killed Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers on the McDowell County courthouse steps in Welch.

•  1926 Workers broke ground on the east wing of the new capitol building.

•  1955 Governor Marland appointed William Laird III of Fayetteville to succeed Milton J. Ferguson as State Tax Commissioner.

•  1969 UMW president Tony Boyle announced that the $35 cut from miner pensions would be restored, through an agreement on 24 June with Bituminous Coal Operators Association president George Judy.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™: August 01

Today is Friday, August 01, the 213th day of 2014. There are 152 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

The Gilmer Free Press

“Middle age snuffs out more talent than ever wars or sudden deaths do.“ — Richard Hughes, Welsh author and dramatist (1900-1976).

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 01, 1944, an uprising broke out in Warsaw, Poland, against Nazi occupation; the revolt lasted two months before collapsing.

On this date:

In 1714, Britain’s Queen Anne died at age 49; she was succeeded by George I.

In 1876, Colorado was admitted as the 38th state.

In 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps established an aeronautical division, the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force.

In 1913, the Joyce Kilmer poem “Trees” was first published in “Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.“

In 1914, Germany declared war on Russia at the onset of World War I.

In 1936, the Olympics opened in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler.

In 1943, rioting broke out in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood after a false rumor spread that a police officer had shot and killed a black U.S. Army soldier who in fact had only been wounded; six people were killed in the violence.

In 1957, the United States and Canada agreed to create the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

In 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman, 25, went on a shooting rampage at the University of Texas in Austin, killing 14 people. Whitman, who had also slain his wife and mother hours earlier, was gunned down by police.

In 1971, the Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

In 1981, the rock music video channel MTV made its debut.

In 2007, the eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, collapsed into the Mississippi River during evening rush hour, killing 13 people.

Ten years ago:

The federal government warned of possible al-Qaida terrorist attacks against specific financial institutions in New York City, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.

A supermarket fire on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, killed more than 400 people.

World Trade Organization members meeting in Geneva approved a plan to end export subsidies on farm products and cut import duties across the world.

Karen Stupples won the Women’s British Open.

Alexandra Scott, a young cancer patient who’d started a lemonade stand to raise money for cancer research, sparking a nationwide fund-raising campaign, died at her home in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, at age eight.

Five years ago:

A fierce storm caused an outdoor stage at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta, Canada, to collapse, killing one person and injuring dozens of others.

A gunman opened fired at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing two people.

Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, 76, died in Manila.

Naomi Sims, 61, believed to be the first black supermodel, died in Newark, New Jersey.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama faced congressional critics of the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ telephone records as he and Vice President Joe Biden joined lawmakers on both sides of the issue for an Oval Office meeting.

Defying the United States, Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum, allowing the National Security Agency leaker to slip out of the Moscow airport where he had been holed up for weeks.

Actress-producer Gail Kobe, 81, died in Woodland Hills, California.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor-director Geoffrey Holder is 84

Singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is 83

Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato is 77

Actor Giancarlo Giannini is 72

Basketball Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams is 64

Blues singer-musician Robert Cray is 61

Singer Michael Penn is 56

Rock singer Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) is 55

Rock singer-musician Suzi Gardner (L7) is 54

Rapper Chuck D (Public Enemy) is 54

Actor Jesse Borrego is 52

Actor Demian Bichir is 51

Rapper Coolio is 51

Actor John Carroll Lynch is 51

Rock singer Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) is 50

Movie director Sam Mendes is 49

Country singer George Ducas is 48

Country musician Charlie Kelley is 46

Actress Jennifer Gareis is 44

Actor Charles Malik Whitfield is 42

Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 41

Actor Jason Momoa is 35

Singer Ashley Parker Angel is 33

Actress Taylor Fry is 33

Actor Elijah Kelley is 28

Actor James Francis Kelly is 25

Actress Ella Wahlestedt (Film: “Earth to Echo”) is 16

Flashback: What Happened on July 31, ....


•  1766 Virginia Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier warned settlers west of the Alleghenies that they would be given no protection by the government against Native American attacks.

•  1851 The Virginia Reform Convention of 1851 passed a capitation tax to be paid by every white male adult to be used in primary and free schools.

•  1863 The governor approved an act dividing each county into townships, re- named districts in the 1872 Constitution.

•  1955 WHIS - TV went on the air, the first television station in Bluefield, Mercer County. It later changed its call letters to WVVA.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™: July 31

Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“The art of life is to show your hand. There is no diplomacy like candor. You may lose by it now and then, but it will be a loss well gained if you do. Nothing is so boring as having to keep up a deception.“ — E.V. Lucas, English author and critic (1868-1938).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On July 31, 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 reached the moon, transmitting pictures back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface.

On this date:

In 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.

In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tennessee, at age 66.

In 1919, Germany’s Weimar (VY’-mahr) Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.

In 1930, the radio character “The Shadow” made his debut as narrator of the “Detective Story Hour” on CBS Radio.

In 1933, the radio series “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy,“ made its debut on CBS radio station WBBM in Chicago.

In 1942, Oxfam International had its beginnings as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was founded in England.

In 1954, Pakistan’s K2 was conquered as two members of an Italian expedition, Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, reached the summit.

In 1964, country singer-songwriter Jim Reeves, 40, and his manager, Dean Manuel, were killed when their private plane crashed in bad weather near Nashville.

In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.

In 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9, crashed while trying to land at Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all 89 people on board.

In 1989, a pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a grisly videotape showing the body of American hostage William R. Higgins, a Marine lieutenant-colonel, dangling from a rope.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.

Ten years ago:

The Vatican issued a document denouncing feminism for trying to blur differences between men and women and threatening the institution of families based on a mother and a father.

Actress Virginia Grey died in Woodland Hills, California, at age 87.

Five years ago:

Three American tourists were arrested by Iran on suspicion of espionage while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border. (Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced to eight years after being convicted on spy-related charges, but were released after more than two years; Sarah Shourd was released on health grounds after 14 months.)

Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven astronauts returned to Earth, completing a long but successful construction job that boosted the size and power of the international space station.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama’s national security team acknowledged for the first time that, when investigating one suspected terrorist, it could read and store the phone records of millions of Americans.

Voters in Zimbabwe went to the polls in national elections that were won by President Robert Mugabe amid opponents’ allegations of fraud.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Don Murray is 85

Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 83

Actor Geoffrey Lewis is 79

Actress France Nuyen is 75

Actress Susan Flannery is 75

Singer Lobo is 71

Actress Geraldine Chaplin is 70

Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 70

Singer Gary Lewis is 69

Actor Lane Davies is 64

International Tennis Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 63

Actor Barry Van Dyke is 63

Actor Alan Autry is 62

Jazz composer-musician Michael Wolff is 62

Actor James Read is 61

Actor Michael Biehn is 58

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is 58

Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets) is 57

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 56

Rock musician Bill Berry is 56

Actor Wesley Snipes is 52

Country singer Chad Brock is 51

Musician Fatboy Slim is 51

Rock musician Jim Corr is 50

Author J.K. Rowling (ROHL’-ing) is 49

Actor Dean Cain is 48

Actor Ben Chaplin is 45

Actor Loren Dean is 45

Actress Eve Best is 43

Retired NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte is 43

Actress Annie Parisse (pah-REES’) is 39

Actor Robert Telfer is 37

Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 36

Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 35

Actor Eric Lively is 33

Country singer Blaire Stroud (3 of Hearts) is 31

Singer Shannon Curfman is 29

Actor Rico Rodriguez is 16

West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office Announces Development Grant Recipients

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) will present $469,000 in development-grant funds for 19 projects involving the restoration and rehabilitation of historic sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the WVDCH administers the development-grant program. A list of grant recipients is attached.

A review panel appointed by the SHPO developed recommendations for grant funding for the Archives and History Commission, which made the final grant determinations. Funding for the grants program comes from the appropriation of funds from the West Virginia Legislature. A complete list of recipients is attached.

For more information about the historic preservation development grants or a complete program description, visit the division’s website at,  or contact Pam Brooks, grants coordinator for the SHPO, at 304.558.0240x720 or “”

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. The division brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Historic Preservation Development Grant Recipients for 2014:

Barbour County
Adaland Mansion Development,  Inc., $25,450 to repair masonry and the basement wall at Adaland in Philippi.

Braxton County
  Gallery 191, $3,850 to assist with masonry repair to the front facade of the Masons Building in Sutton.

Greenbrier County
  Carnegie Hall, Inc., $37,922 to assist with masonry repair at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg.

Jefferson County
  Donald and Marie Davis, $7,525 to assist with window,  lentil, sill and chimney repair on the main building of The Carriage Inn B&B in Charles Town.
  David Michael McMillion, $5,050 to assist with roof,  chimney, snowguards and gutter repair at the Robinson-Tabb House in Shepherdstown.
  G. Roger and Bonita Tingley, $19,750 to assist with the repair/replacement of the roof and gutters of the Dr. A.O. Albin House in Charles Town.

Kanawha County
  Crawford Holdings, LLC, $78,437 to assist with replacing the roof at the Staats Building in Charleston.

Marion County
  City of Fairmont, $47,850 to assist with repairing/replacing the roof of the Fairmont Fire Station in Fairmont.
  Woman’s Club of Fairmont, $5,000 to assist with repairing chimneys at the Thomas Fleming House in Fairmont.

Mercer County
  Mercer County Commission, $46,200 to assist with replacing the roof of the Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton.

Mingo County
  City of Williamson, $36,925 to assist with repairing the roof of the Williamson Field House in Williamson.

Ohio County
  Hendershot Properties, LLC, $36,961 to assist with masonry repointing and repair of windows at the Flaccus Brothers Building in Wheeling.
  Patrick and Nikki Lenz, $3,276 to assist with replacing the floor joists at the Fischer-Lasch Farmhouse in Wheeling.
  Market Street Now, $25,475 to assist with repairing the roof and replacing the skylight at The Professional Building in Wheeling.

Pocahontas County
  Pocahontas County Historical Society, $34,872 to assist with replacing the roof on the Pocahontas County Museum in Marlinton.

Randolph County
  City of Elkins/Kump House Trust, $10,010 to assist with drainage issues at the Kump House in Elkins.

Summers County
  Mountain Plex Properties, LLC, $25,221 to assist with repairing the windows at the Hotel McCreery in Hinton.

Tucker County
  Parsons Revitalization Organization, Inc., $9,122 to assist with replacing the roof of the Tucker County Bank Building in Parsons.

Upshur County
  Bekki Leight, $10,104 to assist with replacing the roof of the Milkint Building in Buckhannon.

Flashback: What Happened on July 30, ....


•  1866 The Coldwater Oil and Coal Producing Company was incorporated in West Virginia by the following: Henry C. Lewis, Philo C. Crippen, Harvey Robinson, David Thomson, John Kint, Albert Chandler, Robert F. Mockridge, Julius S. Barber, and George H. White, all of Coldwater, MI. The company’s purpose was to purchase property and mine coal, oil, and other extractive minerals in Wirt County and Ritchie County.

•  1959 Oil industry pioneer Michael L. Benedum died in Pittsburgh, where he was buried, at the age of 90.

•  1981 Division of Natural Resources Commissioner David Callaghan disputed claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that water in thirty-four West Virginia cities was unsafe to drink.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™: July 30

Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

The Gilmer Free Press

“An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.“ — Sen. Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005).

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 30, 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Virginia, by exploding a gunpowder-laden mine shaft that had been dug out beneath Confederate defense lines; the attack failed.

On this date:

In 1729, Baltimore, Maryland, was founded.

In 1918, poet Joyce Kilmer, a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, was killed during the Second Battle of the Marne in World War I. (Kilmer is perhaps best remembered for his poem “Trees.“)

In 1932, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women’s auxiliary agency in the Navy known as “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” — WAVES for short.

In 1945, the Portland class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II; only 316 out of some 1,200 men survived.

In 1953, the Small Business Administration was founded.

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure making “In God We Trust” the national motto, replacing “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”).

In 1963, the Soviet Union announced it had granted political asylum to Harold “Kim” Philby, the “third man” of a British spy ring.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Medicare bill, which went into effect the following year.

In 1975, former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit; although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.

In 1980, Israel’s Knesset passed a law reaffirming all of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

In 1990, British Conservative Party lawmaker Ian Gow was killed in a bombing claimed by the Irish Republican Army.

Ten years ago:

Leaders of the September 11 commission urged senators to embrace their proposals for massive changes to the nation’s intelligence structure, warning that failure to act would leave America vulnerable to another devastating terrorist attack.

Mike Tyson was knocked out in the fourth round of a fight in Louisville, Kentucky, by British heavyweight Danny Williams.

Five years ago:

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officer who’d arrested him for disorderly conduct at his home, had beers with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss the dispute that unleashed a furor over racial profiling in America.

One year ago:

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges at Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after he’d spilled secrets to WikiLeaks. (The former intelligence analyst, now known as Chelsea Manning, was later sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.)

Former Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., 98, died in Winchester, Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Richard Johnson is 87

Actor Edd (correct) “Kookie” Byrnes is 81

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is 80

Blues musician Buddy Guy is 78

Movie director Peter Bogdanovich is 75

Feminist activist Eleanor Smeal is 75

Former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder is 74

Singer Paul Anka is 73

Jazz musician David Sanborn is 69

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is 67

Actor William Atherton is 67

Actor Jean Reno (zhahn rih-NOH’) is 66

Blues singer-musician Otis Taylor is 66

Actor Frank Stallone is 64

Actor Ken Olin is 60

Actress Delta Burke is 58

Law professor Anita Hill is 58

Singer-songwriter Kate Bush is 56

Country singer Neal McCoy is 56

Actor Richard Burgi is 56

Movie director Richard Linklater is 54

Actor Laurence Fishburne is 53

Actress Lisa Kudrow is 51

Bluegrass musician Danny Roberts (The Grascals) is 51

Country musician Dwayne O’Brien is 50

Actress Vivica A. Fox is 50

Actor Terry Crews is 46

Actor Simon Baker is 45

Movie director Christopher Nolan is 44

Actor Tom Green is 43

Rock musician Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind) is 43

Actress Christine Taylor is 43

Actor-comedian Dean Edwards is 41

Actress Hilary Swank is 40

Olympic gold medal beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor is 37

Actress Jaime Pressly is 37

Alt-country singer-musician Seth Avett (AY’-veht) is 34

Actress April Bowlby is 34

Actress Yvonne Strahovski is 32

Actress Joey King is 15

Flashback: What Happened on July 29, ....


•  1757 Captain Thomas Waggoner was ordered to Fort Buttermilk near present-day Moorefield, Hardy County, to protect residents from potential Indian attacks.

•  1896 State Democratic supporters of a national gold standard met in Wheeling, led by Zachary Taylor Vinson and Henry Simms of Huntington; Randolph Stalnaker of Wheeling, and John A. Robinson of Pattersons Creek. This convention marked a split from the state Democratic mainstream supporters of William Jennings Bryan for president.

•  1903 Mother Jones arrived at Oyster Bay, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt, in a march from Philadelphia to demand action on child labor laws.

•  1915 The first 4-H camp session was held in Randolph County. The camp lasted until July 31.

•  1928 Wayne County experienced severe flooding.

•  1976 WITB - FM radio went on the air at Salem College, Salem, Harrison County.

•  1980 William B. Grove was introduced as the new United Methodist Bishop of West Virginia.

•  1981 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated Charleston as one of the thirty-four worst metropolitan areas in the country for toxic chemical pollution.

•  1985 WJYP - FM went on the air, the first FM radio station in South Charleston, and the sister station to WSCW - AM.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™:  July 29

Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs.“ — German proverb.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On July 29, 1914, transcontinental telephone service in the U.S. became operational with the first test conversation between New York and San Francisco. Massachusetts’ Cape Cod Canal, offering a shortcut across the base of the peninsula, was officially opened to shipping traffic.

On this date:

In 1030, the patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II, was killed in battle.

In 1588, the English attacked the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines, resulting in an English victory.

The Gilmer Free Press

In 1890, artist Vincent van Gogh, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

In 1900, Italian King Humbert I was assassinated by an anarchist; he was succeeded by his son, Victor Emmanuel III.

In 1921, Adolf Hitler became the leader (“fuehrer”) of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

In 1948, Britain’s King George VI opened the Olympic Games in London.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established. Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.“

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

In 1967, an accidental rocket launch aboard the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen.

In 1974, singer Cass Elliot died in a London hotel room at age 32.

In 1981, Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. (However, the couple divorced in 1996.)

In 1994, abortion opponent Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and Britton’s bodyguard, James H. Barrett, outside the Ladies Center clinic in Pensacola, Florida. (Hill was executed in September 2003.)

Ten years ago: Sen. John Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Boston with a military salute and the declaration: “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.“

Five years ago:

Microsoft and Yahoo announced a 10-year Internet search partnership under which Bing would replace Yahoo Search, as the companies agreed to take on the overwhelming dominance of Google in the online advertising market.

Federal authorities arrested more than 30 suspects, including doctors, in a major Medicare fraud bust in New York.

One year ago:

The U.S. launched a fresh bid to pull Israel and the Palestinians into substantial negotiations with a dinner meeting in Washington hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

The FBI said authorities had rescued 105 young people and arrested 150 alleged pimps and others in a three-day sweep in 76 cities.

Today’s Birthdays:

Comedian “Professor” Irwin Corey is 100

Actor Robert Horton is 90

Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker is 82

Actor Robert Fuller is 81

Former Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole is 78

Actor David Warner is 73

Rock musician Neal Doughty (REO Speedwagon) is 68

Marilyn Tucker Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is 65

Actor Mike Starr is 64

Documentary maker Ken Burns is 61

Style guru Tim Gunn (TV: “Project Runway”) is 61

Rock singer-musician Geddy Lee (Rush) is 61

Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 61

Olympic gold medal gymnast Nellie Kim is 57

Actor Kevin Chapman is 52

Actress Alexandra Paul is 51

Country singer Martina McBride is 48

Rock musician Chris Gorman is 47

Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 46

Actor Tim Omundson is 45

Actor Ato Essandoh is 42

Actor Wil Wheaton is 42

Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 41

Country singer-songwriter James Otto is 41

Actor Stephen Dorff is 41

Actor Josh Radnor is 40

Hip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 37

Actress Rachel Miner is 34

Actress Allison Mack is 32

Actor Matt Prokop is 24

Flashback: What Happened on July 28, ....


•  1863 Skirmishes were fought at Fayetteville, Fayette County.

•  1923 A federal grand jury in Elkins, Randolph County, handed down indictments against 7 people for conspiracy to defraud the federal government, stemming from attempts by the United States Harness Company of Ranson, Jefferson County, to sell surplus military items by auction in 1921. In January 1924, all seven were found not guilty.

•  1927 The Potomac Valley Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the French and Indian War Fort Ashby at Fort Ashby, Mineral County. It was turned over to the Mineral County Court in 1935, for restoration.

•  1934 The West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers was formed in Charleston (Kanawha County).

•  1970 Governor Moore announced that over $100 million had been stolen from the state over the last several years and requested the legislature to pass a bill raising taxes on business and industry to partially compensate the loss.

•  1980 The West Virginia Coal Commission, created by Governor Jay Rockefeller, held its first meeting.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™:  July 28

Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

The Gilmer Free Press

“It is impossible to write ancient history because we lack source materials, and impossible to write modern history because we have far too many.“ — Charles Peguy (pay-GEE’), French poet and writer (1873-1914).

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 28, 1914, World War I began as Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

On this d

In 1540, King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

In 1655, French dramatist and novelist Cyrano de Bergerac, the inspiration for a play by Edmond Rostand, died in Paris at age 36.

In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine.

In 1821, Peru declared its independence from Spain.

In 1928, the Summer Olympic games opened in Amsterdam.

In 1932, federal troops forcibly dispersed the so-called “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington to demand payments they weren’t scheduled to receive until 1945.

In 1945, a U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York’s Empire State Building, killing 14 people. The U.S. Senate ratified the United Nations Charter by a vote of 89-2.

In 1959, in preparation for statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Republican Hiram L. Fong, to the U.S. Senate and the first Japanese-American, Democrat Daniel K. Inouye, to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1976, an earthquake devastated northern China, killing at least 242,000 people, according to an official estimate.

In 1984, the Los Angeles Summer Olympics opened.

In 1989, Israeli commandos abducted a pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdul-Karim Obeid, from his home in south Lebanon. (He was released in January 2004 as part of a prisoner swap.)

Ten years ago:

The Democratic National Convention in Boston nominated John Kerry for president.

A car bomb exploded outside a police station used as a recruiting center in Baqouba, Iraq, killing 70 Iraqis.

Francis Crick, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who co-discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, died in San Diego at age 88.

Five years ago:

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the U.S. Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice, over nearly solid Republican opposition.

Anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder pleaded not guilty in Wichita, Kansas, to killing late-term abortion provider George Tiller. (Roeder was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.)

The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as “Reverend Ike,“ who preached the gospel of material prosperity to millions nationwide, died in Los Angeles at age 74.

One year ago:

Pope Francis’ historic trip to his home continent of South America ended after a marathon week in Brazil.

In southern Italy, 39 people were killed when a tour bus plunged into a ravine.

An armed thief stole a $136 million diamond collection from a jewelry show at the Carlton International Hotel in Cannes, France.

William Warren Scranton, 96, a former presidential candidate, ambassador to the U.N. and Pennsylvania governor, died in Montecito, California.

Actress-singer Eileen Brennan, 80, died in Burbank, California.

Today’s Birthdays:

Movie director Andrew V. McLaglen is 94

Actor Darryl Hickman is 83

Ballet dancer-choreographer Jacques d’Amboise is 80

Musical conductor Riccardo Muti is 73

Former Senator and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley is 71

“Garfield” creator Jim Davis is 69

Singer Jonathan Edwards is 68

Actress Linda Kelsey is 68

TV producer Dick Ebersol is 67

Actress Sally Struthers is 66

Actress Georgia Engel is 66

Rock musician Simon Kirke (Bad Company) is 65

Rock musician Steve Morse (Deep Purple) is 60

CBS anchorman Scott Pelley is 57

Alt-country-rock musician Marc Perlman is 53

Actor Michael Hayden is 51

Actress Lori Loughlin is 50

Jazz musician-producer Delfeayo Marsalis is 49

Former hockey player turned general manager Garth Snow is 45

Actress Elizabeth Berkley is 42

Singer Afroman is 40

Country musician Todd Anderson (Heartland) is 39

Rock singer Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) is 38

Country singer Carly Goodwin is 33

Actor Dustin Milligan is 29

Actor Nolan Gerard Funk is 28

Rapper Soulja Boy is 24

Pop/rock singer Cher Lloyd (TV: finalist “The X Factor”) is 21

Flashback: What Happened on July 27, ....


•  1756 On July 27, George Washington directed fifty troops to be stationed at Fort Trout Rock on the South Branch of the Potomac River in present-day Pendleton County.

•  1892 The Democratic State Convention met in Parkersburg.

•  1933 West Virginia placed all its employees under blanket code, becoming the first state to do so.

•  1964 About 1,600 members of the United Auto Workers local voted to accept a new contract, ending a bitter three-month strike at the FMC ordnance plant in South Charleston.

•  1977 Union Carbide suspended the manufacture of fluorocarbons.

•  1978 The United Mine Workers (UMWA) International Executive Board rejected a petition to recall President Arnold Miller.

•  1984 The violence-plagued fifteen-day strike at the Heartland Nursing Home in Beckley (Raleigh County) ended.

2014 >>  WayBackWhen™: July 27

Today is Sunday, July 27, the 208th day of 2014. There are 157 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

The Gilmer Free Press

“The sentimentalist ages far more quickly than the person who loves his work and enjoys new challenges.“ — Lillie Langtry, English actress (1853-1929).

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to adopt the first of three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, charging he had personally engaged in a course of conduct designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case. (In the days that followed, the Committee also adopted articles accusing Nixon of abuse of power and contempt of Congress.)

On this date:

In 1214, France prevailed in the Battle of Bouvines over the forces of the Holy Roman Empire and England.

In 1789, President George Washington signed a measure establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs, forerunner of the Department of State.

In 1861, Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.

In 1909, during the first official test of the U.S. Army’s first airplane, Orville Wright flew himself and a passenger, Lt. Frank Lahm, above Fort Myer, Virginia, for one hour and 12 minutes.

In 1921, Canadian researcher Frederick Banting and his assistant, Charles Best, succeeded in isolating the hormone insulin at the University of Toronto.

In 1942, during World War II, the First Battle of El Alamein in Egypt ended in a draw as Allied forces stalled the progress of Axis invaders. (The Allies went on to win a clear victory over the Axis in the Second Battle of El Alamein later that year.)

In 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.

In 1960, Vice President Richard M. Nixon was nominated for president on the first ballot at the Republican national convention in Chicago.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of urban rioting, the same day black militant H. Rap Brown said in Washington that violence was “as American as cherry pie.“

In 1980, on day 267 of the Iranian hostage crisis, the deposed Shah of Iran died at a military hospital outside Cairo, Egypt, at age 60.

In 1984, actor James Mason, 75, died in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 1996, terror struck the Atlanta Olympics as a pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park, directly killing one person and injuring 111. (Anti-government extremist Eric Rudolph later pleaded guilty to the bombing.)

Ten years ago:

Democrats assailed President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war at their convention in Boston and painted a vivid portrait of John Kerry as a decorated Vietnam War hero.

In a keynote address, Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama said Kerry had long made “tough choices when easier ones were available.“

Five years ago:

The presidents of Taiwan and China exchanged direct messages for the first time since the two sides split 60 years earlier.

A sailboat with an estimated 200 Haitians aboard ran aground on a reef and sank off the Turks and Caicos Islands; authorities reported 119 survivors, 15 confirmed dead and dozens missing.

Football player Michael Vick, suspended for bankrolling a dogfighting operation, was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

One year ago:

Security forces and armed men clashed with supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, killing at least 80 people.

More than a thousand inmates escaped a prison in Libya as protesters stormed political party offices across the country.

Former Louisiana congresswoman Lindy Boggs, 97, died in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Today’s Birthdays:

TV producer Norman Lear is 92

Actor Jerry Van Dyke is 83

Sportscaster Irv Cross is 75

Actor John Pleshette is 72

Singer Bobbie Gentry is 70

Actress-director Betty Thomas is 66

Olympic gold medal figure skater Peggy Fleming is 66

Singer Maureen McGovern is 65

Actress Janet Eilber is 63

Rock musician Tris Imboden (Chicago) is 63

Actress Roxanne Hart is 60

Country musician Duncan Cameron is 58

Comedian-actress-writer Carol Leifer is 58

Comedian Bill Engvall is 57

Jazz singer Karrin Allyson is 52

Country singer Stacy Dean Campbell is 47

Rock singer Juliana Hatfield is 47

Actor Julian McMahon is 46

Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (NIH’-koh-lye KAH’-stur WAHL’-dah) (TV: “Game of Thrones”) is 44

Comedian Maya Rudolph is 42

Rock musician Abe Cunningham is 41

Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn is 40

MLB player Alex Rodriguez is 39

Actor Seamus Dever is 38

Actor Jonathan Rhys (rees) Meyers is 37

Actor Blair Redford is 31

Actress Taylor Schilling (TV: “Orange is the New Black”) is 30

Singer Cheyenne Kimball is 24

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