1780 Benedict Arnold Treason

Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut and fought in the French-American war.  When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775 he joined and won distinction.  He was promoted to Brigadier General and was good friends with George Washington.  But, he later was passed over for promotion several times.  He also re-married and was living a lavish lifestyle.  While in command of the fort at West Point, (the military academy would be established there later), he met with the British to discuss turning over the fort.  The plot was discovered.  Arnold fled to the other side.  He led British forces against the American Revolutionists.  He later moved to Britain and died there. 

Joesph Smith, founder of he Mormon Religion

1823 Joseph Smith Given Book Of Mormon

Joseph Smith was praying on a hill near his home in western New York.  He stated that the prophet Moroni appeared to him and told him about some golden plates buried in the hill, which he, Moroni, had been charged with guarding.  Smith met with Moroni on the same night for four years, before receiving the plates.  Smith translated them and said that he then returned them back to Moroni.  This translation is now the Book of Mormon and the basis for the latter Day Saints religion. 

1893 First Gas Powered Vehicle Demonstrated In US

Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea debuted the first successful gas powered “horseless carriage” in the United States.  They demonstrated their vehicle in Springfield, Massachusetts in September 21, 1893.  They formed the Duryea Motor Wagon Company 2 years later, one of the first companies to market the automobile.  Frank Duryea won the first car race with a finisher in 1995.  Most of the design is thought to have been done by Frank, and he gets the credit for invention.  Charles disputed that until he died, and his descendants continued the fight for many years after. 

Virgina O'Hanlon

1897 Editorial “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause” is Published

Eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the Chicago Sun on the advice of her father, asking if there really was a Santa Clause.  The answer was written by Francis Pharcellus Church, a war correspondent.  It evoked a lot of emotion and is the most rerun editorial in newspaper history.  It was turned into a book in 1971 and later into a movie.  Virginia O’Hanlon died in 1971.  The original letter is still in existence.  

2003 Galileo Spacecraft Crashed in Jupiter

An unmanned spacecraft sent to look at Jupiter, Galileo was launched in 1989 by Space Shuttle Atlantis.  It took six years to travel to Jupiter, then spent eight years in orbit around it, sending back information about the planet.  Numerous problems cropped up with the craft, starting with the high gain antenna shortly after launch.  This limited the speed it could send information back to earth.  When the fuel was empty in Galileo, it was deliberately crashed into Jupiter to make sure it was fully destroyed.  NASA wanted to be sure to avoid an accidental crash on Europa that might contaminate the moon of Jupiter with any bacteria still on the spacecraft.