Richard Nixon

… was born in Yorba Linda, California, 102 years ago today.

Nixon Birthplace

NewMexiKen was contacted by the staff working with Richard Nixon on his memoirs, RN, many years ago. I was asked to see if I could determine — from among the Nixon papers in my custody — the time of day he was born. As I remember it, my research was inconclusive. Someone else’s must have been helpful. The memoirs begin:

I was born in a house my father built. My birth on the night of January 9, 1913, coincided with a record-breaking cold snap in our town of Yorba Linda, California.

Nixon, by the way, did not use his middle name or initial. Though you always see him referred to as Richard M. Nixon, he himself signed as Richard Nixon and he titled his memoir RN.


Christmas Gift for President Lincoln

Savannah, Ga., Dec. 22. [1864]

To His Excellency, President Lincoln:

I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.

(Signed.) W. T. Sherman, Major-General

The headline in The New York Times the following day read: Savannah Ours.


President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 151 Years Ago Today

Nicolay Copy

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


The Scariest October Ever

It was on this date in 1962, that President Kennedy told the nation about the Soviet missiles in Cuba. From The New York Times report on the speech:

President Kennedy imposed a naval and air “quarantine” tonight on the shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba.

In a speech of extraordinary gravity, he told the American people that the Soviet Union, contrary to promises, was building offensive missiles and bomber bases in Cuba. He said the bases could handle missiles carrying nuclear warheads up to 2,000 miles.

Thus a critical moment in the cold war was at hand tonight. The President had decided on a direct confrontation with–and challenge to–the power of the Soviet Union.

*****

All this the President recited in an 18-minute radio and television address of a grimness unparalleled in recent times. He read the words rapidly, with little emotion, until he came to the peroration–a warning to Americans of the dangers ahead.

“Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out,” the President said. “No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred.”

“The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are–but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world,” he added.

It was as close as we’ve ever come to nuclear war.


Best Line of This or Any Other Day


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Constitutional Convention, September 17, 1787


Geronimo

The chief himself was in his late fifties and perhaps decided that it was time to retire from the more athletic activities of his career. Nonetheless, when he finally gave up once and for all, on September 4, 1886, it was a negotiated surrender, and not a capture.

Geronimo and Naiche (son of Cochise) surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles on this date in 1886 at Skeleton Canyon, near the Arizona-New Mexico line just north of the border with Mexico. It was the fourth time Geronimo had surrendered — and the last. With them were 16 men, 14 women and six children. The band was taken to Fort Bowie and by the 8th were on a train to Florida as prisoners of war.

“General Miles is your friend,” said the interpreter. The Indian gave Miles a defoliating look. “I never saw him,” he said. “I have been in need of friends. Why has he not been with me?”

This photograph was taken at a rest stop along the route to San Antonio. Naiche is third from left, Geronimo third from right (with the straw hat) in the front row.

After time in Florida and Alabama, Geronimo and the other Chiricahua Apaches were moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1894. Geronimo, despite remaining a prisoner of war, became a marketable celebrity, paid to appear at expositions and fairs. He died at Fort Sill in 1909, about age 80.

Also pictured are Geronimo at his third surrender in March 1886 (above) and Geronimo on exhibit at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair (below).

Quotations are from Geronimo! by E. M. Halliday, published in American Heritage in June 1966.