SPECIAL COVERAGE: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500

Hoosier History: On This Day, January 29

The Conn Band Instrument Company in Elkhart, Indiana, circa 1940. (Photo: Indiana Historical Society)

Today is Tuesday, Jan. 29, the 29th day of 2019.

Today’s Hoosier Highlights in History:

On Jan. 29, 1844, Charles Gerard Conn is born. He would grow up to be Mayor of Elkhart, an entrepreneur, a newspaper publisher, a U.S. Representative from Indiana, and the founder of a band company which became world famous. C.G. Conn Company is the oldest continuous manufacturer of band instruments in America. Conn developed a special rubber-cushioned cornet mouthpiece and the first American-built cornet.

The players’ portraits of the 8 teams of the American League surrounding portrait of AL founder Ban Johnson. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Jan. 29, 1900, the American League, consisting of eight baseball teams, is organized in Philadelphia with teams from Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League – the “Senior Circuit”.

Lucy Higgs Nichols. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Jan. 29, 1915, “Lucy Higgs Nichols, an escaping slave who served as a nurse with the 23rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War, died in Floyd County. Lucy came to New Albany with the returning veterans of the 23rd Regiment and applied for pension after Congress passed an 1892 act for Civil War nurses. She was denied because the War Department claimed to have no record of her work. In 1895, Lucy and fifty-five veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress and she received her first check in 1899,” according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

Bill Peet while working on “Dumbo”(Photo courtesy: Walt Disney Co.)

Also On Jan. 29, 1915, “Disney illustrator Bill Peet was born in Grandview. He graduated from the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and moved to Los Angeles, where he sketched characters appearing in films like ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Cinderella’ for Walt Disney Studios. Despite a tempestuous relationship with Disney, Peet maintained a 27-year-career with the studio and wrote screenplays, such as ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘Sword in the Stone.’ After working for Disney, Peet wrote and illustrated children’s books, including The Caboose Who Got Loose,Kermit the Hermit, and Encore for Eleanor. His 1989 Bill Peet: An Autobiography, written in the form of a children’s book, was a Caldecott Honor Book.,” according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

A Studebaker bus manufactured in the early 1900s. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Jan. 29, 1919, A.R. Erskine, president of the Studebaker automobile manufacturing corporation, presents plans for the expansion of the factories located in South Bend during a dinner at the Oliver Hotel. To its range of cars, Studebaker would now add a truck line to replace horse-drawn wagons. Buses, fire engines, and even small rail locomotive-kits would also be produced using the same powerful six-cylinder engines.

On this date elsewhere:

In 1820, King George III died at Windsor Castle at age 81; he was succeeded by his son, who became King George IV.

In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous narrative poem “The Raven” (”Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”) was first published in the New York Evening Mirror.

In 1856, Britain’s Queen Victoria introduced the Victoria Cross to reward military acts of valor during the Crimean War.

In 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.

In 1863, the Bear River Massacre took place as the U.S. Army attacked Shoshone in present-day Idaho. The New York Stock & Exchange Board changed its name to the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1919, the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which launched Prohibition, was certified by Acting Secretary of State Frank L. Polk.

In 1936, the first inductees of baseball’s Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were named in Cooperstown, New York.

In 1963, the first charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were named in Canton, Ohio (they were enshrined when the Hall opened in September 1963). Poet Robert Frost died in Boston at age 88.

In 1975, a bomb exploded inside the U.S. State Department in Washington, causing considerable damage, but injuring no one; the radical group Weather Underground claimed responsibility.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House, following the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan announced in a nationally broadcast message that he and Vice President George H.W. Bush would seek re-election in the fall.

In 1998, a bomb rocked an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, killing security guard Robert Sanderson and critically injuring nurse Emily Lyons. (The bomber, Eric Rudolph, was captured in May 2003 and is serving a life sentence.)

In 2002, In his first State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said terrorists were still threatening America _ and he warned of “an axis of evil” consisting of North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

Ten years ago: Declaring that ending pay disparity is not just a women’s issue, President Barack Obama signed The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, giving workers more time to take their pay discrimination cases to court. The Illinois Senate voted, 59-0, to convict Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich) of abuse of power and throw him out of office nearly two months after the second-term Democrat’s arrest on charges of trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

Five years ago: The state of Missouri executed Herbert Smulls for the 1991 slaying of jeweler Stephen Honickman in suburban St. Louis.

One year ago: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a target of frequent criticism and accusations of bias from President Donald Trump, abruptly stepped down from his position ahead of his planned retirement in the spring. Alex Azar, a former drug company executive and official in George W. Bush’s administration, was sworn in as Trump’s second health secretary. The Cleveland Indians announced that they would remove the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms in the coming baseball season, after decades of protests and complaints that the grinning, red-faced caricature was racist.

Today’s Birthdays: Writer-composer-lyricist Leslie Bricusse is 88. Feminist author Germaine Greer is 80. Actress Katharine Ross is 79. Feminist author Robin Morgan is 78. Actor Tom Selleck is 74. Rhythm-and-blus singer Bettye LaVette is 73. Actor Marc Singer is 71. Actress Ann Jillian is 69. Rock musician Louie Perez (Los Lobos) is 66. Rhythm-and-blues/funk singer Charlie Wilson is 66. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is 65. Actor Terry Kinney is 65. Country singer Irlene Mandrell is 63. Actress Diane Delano is 62. Actress Judy Norton (TV: “The Waltons”) is 61. Rock musician Johnny Spampinato is 60. Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis is 59. Rock musician David Baynton-Power (James) is 58. Rock musician Eddie Jackson (Queensryche) is 58. Actor Nicholas Turturro is 57. Rock singer-musician Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) is 55. Actor-director Edward Burns is 51. Actor Sam Trammell is 50. Actress Heather Graham is 49. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is 49. Actor Sharif Atkins is 44. Actress Sara Gilbert is 44. Actress Kelly Packard is 44. Actor Justin Hartley is 42. Actor Sam Jaeger is 42. Writer and TV personality Jedediah Bila is 40. Actor Andrew Keegan is 40. Actor Jason James Richter is 39. Blues musician Jonny Lang is 38. Pop-rock singer Adam Lambert (TV: “American Idol”) is 37. Country singer Eric Paslay is 36.

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

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