First Posted: 6/19/2014
The History Channel
* On July 9, 1777, New York elects Brig. Gen. George Clinton as the first governor of the independent state of New York. Clinton’s career was marked by his hatred of British loyalists, called Tories. He kept the public’s tax burden low by confiscating and selling land belonging to Tories to maintain state coffers.
* On July 7, 1865, Mary Surratt is executed for her role as a conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Surratt’s boardinghouse, a few blocks from Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was murdered, served as the place where a group of Confederate supporters conspired to assassinate the president.
* On July 8, 1898, notorious con man “Soapy” Smith is murdered in Skagway, Alaska. Smith earned his nickname “Soapy” selling bars of soap wrapped in blue tissue paper. He promised crowds that a few lucky purchasers would find a $100 bill wrapped inside the $5 bars of soap.
* On July 13, 1951, rivers across eastern Kansas crest well above flood stage, and 500,000 people are left homeless. Two million acres of farmlands were lost. In addition, the flooding caused fires and explosions in refinery oil tanks on the banks of the Kansas River.
* On July 11, 1960, novelty song “Alley Oop” tops the Billboard pop chart. Alley Oop was the name of a time-traveling caveman in a comic strip of the same name created in 1932 by cartoonist V.T. Hamlin.
* On July 12, 1984, Walter Mondale, Democratic presidential candidate, announces that he has chosen Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, the first woman nominated by a major party for the vice presidency.
* On July 10, 1992, the Alaska court of appeals overturns the conviction of Joseph Hazelwood, the former captain of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez. Hazelwood, who was found guilty of negligence for his role in the massive oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989, successfully argued that he was entitled to immunity from prosecution because he had reported the oil spill to authorities 20 minutes after the ship ran aground.