Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Martha Dandridge Custis

December 31, 2012
Week of December 31, 2012

• On Jan. 6, 1759, a 26-year-old George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis. Historical documents have revealed that Martha may not have been the great love of Washington’s life. He wrote cryptic yet passionate love letters to Sally Fairfax, the wife of his friend George Fairfax.

 

• On Jan. 1, 1863, a farmer named Daniel Freeman submits the first claim under the new Homestead Act for a property near Beatrice, Neb. By the 1890s, many homesteaders found that farming 160 acres of such dry land was nearly impossible. At least half of the original homesteaders abandoned their claims.

 

• On Jan. 3, 1924, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workers discover the solid-gold coffin holding the mummy of the boy-king Pharaoh Tutankhamen, preserved for more than 3,000 years.

 

• On Jan. 5, 1945, Japanese pilots receive the first order to become kamikaze, meaning “divine wind” in Japanese. Most of Japan’s top pilots were dead, but youngsters needed little training to take planes full of explosives and crash them into ships. At Okinawa, they sank 30 ships and killed almost 5,000 Americans.

 

• On Jan. 4, 1965, in his State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson lays out for Congress a list of legislation needed to achieve his plan for a Great Society. His list included the creation of Medicare/Medicaid, Head Start, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

 

• On Dec. 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, future Hall of Fame baseball player, is killed along with four others when the cargo plane in which he is traveling crashes off the coast of Puerto Rico. At the end of September, Clemente had gotten his 3,000th hit in the final game of the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

• On Jan. 2, 1980, in response to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter asks the Senate to postpone action on the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty. Carter feared that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could lead to the USSR gaining control over much of the world’s oil supplies.

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