MPSHome Alumni Calendar Contact
This Day in U.S. History: May 5


1494 – Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Jamaica and claims it for Spain.

1809 – Mary Kies becomes the first woman awarded a U.S. patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread.

in Mexico.

1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of the Wilderness begins in Spotsylvania County.

1865 – American Civil War: The Confederate District of the Gulf surrenders about 4,000 men at Citronelle, Alabama.

1865 – In North Bend, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), the first train robbery in the United States takes place.

1865 – American Civil War: The Confederate government was declared dissolved at Washington, Georgia.

1866 – Memorial Day first celebrated in United States at Waterloo, New York.

1877 – American Indian Wars: Sitting Bull leads his band of Lakota into Canada to avoid harassment by the United States Army under Colonel Nelson Miles.

1886 – The Bay View massacre: A militia fires into a crowd of protesters in Milwaukee, killing seven.

1891 – The Music Hall in New York City (later known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor.

1904 – Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, Cy Young of the Boston Americans throws the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.

1920 – Authorities arrest Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for alleged robbery and murder.

1925 – Scopes Trial: Serving of an arrest warrant on John T. Scopes for teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

1934 – The first Three Stooges short, Woman Haters, is released.

1944 – German troops execute 216 civilians in the village of Kleisoura in Greece.

1945 – World War II: Six people are killed when a Japanese fire balloon explodes near Bly, Oregon. They are the only Americans killed in the continental US during the war.

1946 – The International Military Tribunal for the Far East begins in Tokyo with twenty-eight Japanese military and government officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

1961 – The Mercury program: Mercury-Redstone 3: Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space, on a sub-orbital flight.

1965 – The Warlocks, later known as The Grateful Dead, make their first public appearance in Menlo Park, California.

1973 – Secretariat wins the 1973 Kentucky Derby in 1:59 2/5, an as-yet unbeaten record.

1977 – The first of The Nixon Interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon are broadcast.

1981 – Bobby Sands dies in the Long Kesh prison hospital after 66 days of hunger-striking, aged 27.

1985 – Bitburg and Bergen-Belsen: Ronald Reagan visits the military cemetery at Bitburg, Germany, and the site of the Nazi concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, where he makes a speech.

1987 – Iran–Contra affair: Start of Congressional televised hearings in the United States of America

1994 – American teenager Michael P. Fay is caned in Singapore for theft and vandalism.


1830 – John Batterson Stetson, American businessman, founded the John B. Stetson Company (d. 1906)

1832 – Hubert Howe Bancroft, American ethnologist and historian (d. 1918)

1858 – John L. Leal, American physician (d. 1914)

1864 – Nellie Bly, American journalist and author (d. 1922)

(d. 1950)

1884 – Chief Bender, American baseball player and coach (d. 1954)

1887 – Mervyn S. Bennion, American captain, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1941)

1903 – James Beard, American chef and author (d. 1985)

1921 – Arthur Leonard Schawlow, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1999)

1926 – Ann B. Davis, American actress and singer (d. 2014)

1934 – Ace Cannon, American saxophonist

1942 – Tammy Wynette, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1998)

1959 – Brian Williams, American journalist

1981 – Danielle Fishel, American actress


2000 – Bill Musselman, American basketball player and coach (b. 1940)

2001 – Morris Graves, American painter and educator (b. 1910)

2001 – Clifton Hillegass, American publisher, created CliffsNotes (b. 1918)

2007 – Theodore Harold Maiman, American-Canadian physicist and engineer, created the laser (b. 1927)

2008 – Irv Robbins, Canadian-American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (b. 1917)