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This Day in History: July 3


1608 – Québec City is founded by Samuel de Champlain.

1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French forces.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: British forces kill 360 people in the Wyoming Valley massacre.

1819 – The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opens.

1839 – The first state normal school in the United States, the forerunner to today's Framingham State College, opens in Lexington, Massachusetts with three students.

1844 – The last pair of great auks is killed.

1848 – Slaves are freed in the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten in the culmination of a year-long plot by enslaved Africans.

1852 – Congress establishes the United States' 2nd mint in San Francisco.

1863 – American Civil War: The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminates with Pickett's Charge.

1884 – Dow Jones & Company publishes its first stock average.

1886 – The New-York Tribune becomes the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1890 – Idaho is admitted as the 43rd U.S. state.

1898 – Spanish–American War: The Spanish fleet, led by Pascual Cervera y Topete, is destroyed by the U.S. Navy in Santiago, Cuba.

1913 – Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenact Pickett's Charge; upon reaching the high-water mark of the Confederacy they are met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors.

1938 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lights the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield.

1952 – The Constitution of Puerto Rico is approved by the United States Congress.

1952 – The SS United States sets sail on her maiden voyage to Southampton. During the voyage, the ship takes the Blue Riband away from the RMS Queen Mary.

1969 – Space Race: The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurs when the Soviet N-1 rocket  explodes and subsequently destroys its launchpad.

1979 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

1988 – United States Navy warship USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.


1860 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American sociologist and author (d. 1935)

1876 – Ralph Barton Perry, American philosopher and academic (d. 1957)

1878 – George M. Cohan, American songwriter, actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1942)

1916 – John Kundla, American basketball player and coach

1930 – Pete Fountain, American clarinet player

1941 – Gloria Allred, American lawyer and activist

1947 – Dave Barry, American journalist and author

1956 – Montel Williams, American actor and talk show host

1962 – Tom Cruise, American actor and producer


1863 – George Hull Ward, American general (b. 1826)

1863 – Little Crow, American tribal leader (b. 1810)

1971 – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter (The Doors and Rick & the Ravens) (b. 1943)

1986 – Rudy Vallée, American singer, saxophonist, and actor (b. 1901)

1989 – Jim Backus, American actor and screenwriter (b. 1913)

1998 – Danielle Bunten Berry, American game designer and programmer (b. 1949)

2006 – Joseph Goguen, American computer scientist, developed the OBJ programming language (b. 1941)

2012 – Andy Griffith, American actor, singer, and producer (b. 1926)