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This Day in History: October 3


1778 – Captain James Cook anchors in Alaska.

1789 – George Washington makes the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America.

1849 – American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances; it is the last time he is seen in public before his death.

1863 – The last Thursday in November is declared as Thanksgiving Day by United States President Abraham Lincoln as are Thursdays, November 30, 1865 and November 29, 1866.

1872 – The Bloomingdale brothers open their first store at 938 Third Avenue, New York City.

1912 – U.S. forces defeat Nicaraguan rebels under the command of Benjamín Zeledón at the Battle of Coyotepe Hill.

1919 – Cincinnati Reds pitcher Adolfo Luque becomes the first Latin player to appear in a World Series.

1949 – WERD, the first black-owned radio station in the United States, opens in Atlanta.

1957 – The California State Superior Court rules that Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems is not obscene.

1962 – Project Mercury: Sigma 7 is launched from Cape Canaveral, with astronaut Wally Schirra aboard, for a six-orbit, nine-hour flight.

1985 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight. (Mission STS-51-J).

1990 – German reunification: The German Democratic Republic ceases to exist and its territory becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East German citizens became part of the European Community, which later became the European Union. Now celebrated as German Unity Day.

1995 – O. J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

2008 – The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the U.S. financial system is signed by President George W. Bush.


1790 – John Ross, American tribal chief (d. 1866)

1800 – George Bancroft, American historian and politician, 17th United States Secretary of the Navy (d. 1891)

1885 – Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist (d. 1970)

1900 – Thomas Wolfe, American author and academic (d. 1938)

1925 – Gore Vidal, American author, screenwriter, and actor (d. 2012)

1941 – Chubby Checker, American singer-songwriter

1951 – Dave Winfield, American baseball player and sportscaster

1954 – Al Sharpton, American minister, talk show host, and activist

1954 – Stevie Ray Vaughan, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Double Trouble) (d. 1990)

1969 – Gwen Stefani, American singer-songwriter, actress, and fashion designer (No Doubt)


1656 – Myles Standish, English-American captain (b. 1584)

1838 – Black Hawk, American tribal leader (b. 1767)

1860 – Rembrandt Peale, American painter and curator (b. 1778)

1867 – Elias Howe, American engineer, invented the sewing machine (b. 1819)

1873 – Kintpuash, American tribal leader (b. 1837)

1881 – Orson Pratt, American mathematician and religious leader (b. 1811)

1967 – Woody Guthrie, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Almanac Singers) (b. 1912)