Friday, January 21, 2011

Today -100: January 21, 1911: Of flying high, football, invasions, poison, lynchings, and the Virginnies

A state representative in Missouri, a friend of the aviators Hoxsey and Johnstone, who both died in crashes last month, introduces a bill to ban planes flying at more than 1,000 feet.

A football game between Iowa University and the U of Missouri is called off because Iowa has a negro player and refused to bench him for the game. The two teams have agreed not to play against each other until he graduates.

Santo Domingo (the future Dominican Republic) invades Haiti. There’s a territorial dispute.

In the Trial of the Century of the Week, Laura Schenk is being tried in West Virginia for poisoning her husband, although there seems good reason to doubt whether he was actually poisoned. In an interesting tactic, the defense attorney offered poison to the jurors, 12 grains of sugar of lead mixed in water, to prove that it was too icky not to be detected. If the poison tastes like shit, you must acquit. Four jurors took up the invitation, tasting and then spitting out the beverage.

A negro named Oval Poulard is lynched in Opelousas, Louisiana, after shooting a deputy (who received only a minor flesh wound) who was trying to arrest him for discharging firearms.

Divorces can be so difficult. The Supreme Court is currently working on the 50-year-old divorce between Virginia and West Virginia, specifically the question of how to divide the state’s debt, which at the time of the split in 1863 was $33 million. VA wants WV to pay 1/3, WV wants to pay nothing.

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