Hoosier History: On This Day, January 26

The image seen here is from a drawing of New Harmony during Robert Owen's occupation. (Photo: Bass Photo Co. Collection/Indiana Historical Society)

Today is Saturday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2019.

Today’s Hoosier Highlights in History:

On Jan. 26, 1826, philanthropic social reformer Robert Owen’s “Boatload of Knowledge” – scientists and scholars from the East traveling on a keel boat down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pa. – arrives at his projected Utopian community at New Harmony, Indiana. Among those aboard was William Maclure, considered the father of American geology.

Wabash Railroad switcher locomotive built in 1906. (Photo: Indiana Historical Society)

On Jan. 26, 1856, the first train arrives at the town of Wabash over the Lake Erie, Wabash and St. Louis line. The Wabash Railroad (named after the Wabash River) served the “Heart of America,” operating in six states including Indiana. It served as a major freight traffic transporter, operating on 4,311 miles of track before merging with the Norfolk Southern Railway in the 1960s.

Phillip Jose Farmer in 2002. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Jan. 26, 1918, author Philip José Farmer is born in Terre Haute. He is best known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories, especially the World of Tiers and Riverworld series. In a writing career spanning more than 60 years until his death in 2009, Farmer published almost 60 novels and over 100 short stories and novellas.

This photo ran on the cover of the June 1927 “Hoosier Banker” with the caption, “Muncie Bank Women Firing on the Pistol Range in the Basement of the Bank.” (Photo: Indiana University)

On Jan. 26, 1930, members of the Indiana Bankers’ Association meet at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis to deal with the rash of bank robberies that had taken place during the previous two years. They recommended a statewide police radio system to address the problem, along with a “well-armed guard of volunteer vigilantes.” Hundreds of Hoosiers would answer the call, becoming armed vigilantes to defend the state’s banks against gangs of robbers. It’s estimated that robberies resulted in the loss of more than $1 million (equivalent to $10 million today) from state banks during the 1920s. (Source: Hoosier History Highlights from the Indiana Department of Administration)

The Bloomington AVC in 1946. (Photo: IU)

On Jan. 26, 1946, members of the American Veterans’ Committee chapters in Indiana cities get together to form a state organization of veterans committed to promoting civil rights and civil liberties. The group was largely comprised of World War II veterans, however the Indiana University Bloomington campus also had a chapter – whose members were mostly male students attending college on the G.I. Bill.

On this date elsewhere:

In 1784, in a letter to his daughter Sarah, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the choice of the bald eagle as the symbol of America, and stated his own preference: the turkey.

In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state.

In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union.

In 1939, principal photography began for David O. Selznick’s movie version of “Gone with the Wind.”

In 1942, the first American Expeditionary Force to head to Europe during World War II arrived in Befast, Northern Ireland.

In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon _ but the probe ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles.

In 1988, Australians celebrated the 200th anniversary of their country as a grand parade of tall ships re-enacted the voyage of the first European settlers. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Phantom of the Opera” opened at Broadway’s Majestic Theater.

In 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, appearing with his wife, Hillary, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” acknowledged “causing pain in my marriage,” but said past problems were not relevant to the campaign.

In 1993, Vaclav Havel (VAHTS’-lahv HAH’-vel) was elected president of the newly formed Czech Republic.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton forcefully denied having an affair with a former White House intern, telling reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing Iraq’s lack of cooperation with U.N. inspectors, said he’d lost faith in the inspectors’ ability to conduct a definitive search for banned weapons programs.

In 2005, A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a Navy medic aboard. A man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in Glendale, California, setting off a crash of two commuter trains that killed 11 people. (The SUV’s driver, Juan Alvarez, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.)

Ten years ago: Timothy Geithner (GYT’-nur) was sworn in as the nation’s 75th treasury secretary, less than an hour after winning Senate confirmation. The impeachment trial of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich) opened in Springfield, with Blagojevich refusing to take part, saying the rules were biased against him. Nadya Suleman gave birth at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in California to six boys and two girls, the world’s longest-surviving set of octuplets.

Five years ago: A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman’s body was removed from life support as the hospital keeping Marlise Munoz on machines agains her family’s wishes acceded to a judge’s ruling that it was misapplying state law. Stan Wawrinka held off an injured Rafael Nadal to win his first Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the Australian Open final. At the Grammy Awards, Daft Punk won album of the year for “Random Access Memories,” while record of the year went to Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers for “Get Lucky.”

One year ago: President Donald Trump told an annual gathering of political and business elites in Switzerland that economic growth in the U.S. under his “America first” agenda could benefit the globe. A jury in suburban New Orleans found Ronald Gasser guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of NFL running back Joe McKnight in a December 2016 road-rage confrontation. (Gasser, 56, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) Michigan State University Athletic Director Mark Hollis retired, two days after the university’s president resigned over the school’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar. A fire raced through a small South Korean hospital with no sprinkler system, killing 37 people.

Today’s Birthdays: Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 90. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 84. Actor Scott Glenn is 80. Singer Jean Knight is 76. Activist Angela Davis is 75. Actor Richard Portnow is 72. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 71. Actor David Strathairn (streh-THEHRN’) is 70. Producer-director Mimi Leder is 67. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 66. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 64. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 61. Actress-comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 61. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 59. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is 58. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 56. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 56. Actor Paul Johansson is 55. Director Lenny Abrahamson is 53. Actor Bryan Callen is 52. Gospel singer KirkFranklin is 49. Actor Nate Mooney is 47. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 46. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 45. Actor Gilles Marini (ZHEEL ma-REE’-nee) is 43. Gospel singer Tye Tribbett is 43. NBA player Vince Carter is 42. Actress Sarah Rue is 41. Actor Colin O’Donoghue is 38. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 36.

(The Indiana State Museum and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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