Labor Day history lesson

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Last week was busy. Had relatives visit and spent many hours mourning the loss of my beloved Sperry Chalet, one of the most magical spots on Earth. So! Am running a bit of our past we should all enjoy.

Montana has been a state for about 128 years. Surprising for me is I have been around more than half that time. I only personally remember things that have happened since the 1930s, but have collected incidents which have occurred since 1889, the year Montana entered the Union.

1890 – Wyoming was admitted to the Union with the understanding that it could allow female suffrage. On Dec. 15, Sitting Bull was murdered by Sergeant Red Tomahawk, who was with a group of Indian police who had come to arrest the Sioux chief. This was also the year of the Wounded Knee massacre – on Dec. 29, the Seventh Regiment of the United States cavalry killed or wounded over half the men, women, and children of a Sioux band of 350 who were being held prisoner.

1892 – In September, the first heavyweight championship with padded gloves was fought, ending the bare-knuckle days. James J. Corbett knocked out John L. Sullivan in the 21st round.

1893 – In April, Henry Ford successfully road-tested his first automobile. Twenty thousand members of Jacob Coxey’s army began marching to Washington to protest unemployment, but only 600 made it. Coxey was arrested for walking on the grass and never got to make his speech. These years saw the biggest and most violent strikes against big business as America’s growing labor unions tested their muscles.

1895 – Theodore Roosevelt was promoting a war to get the Spanish out of Central America. Gold was discovered in Klondike Creek in the Yukon, and 30,000 miners rushed to Alaska to make their fortune.

1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii as a naval station to block foreign invasion. On Feb. 15, the U.S. battleship Maine blew up and sank in the harbor at Havana, Cuba. Under Sec. of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt ordered Admiral Dewey to take the Philipines. Teddy himself had the war he needed to get into the White House. Spain signed a peace treaty in November, giving Cuba its freedom and giving Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States.

1901 – On Sept. 6, President McKinley was shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers ran vicious attacks on the dead president, which resulted in the burning of many of his papers and his being hanged in effigy. On Sept. 14, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president and one of the most active chief administrators in the nation’s history.

1904 – A woman was arrested in New York for smoking a cigarette while riding down Fifth Avenue in an open car.

1905 – The New York Supreme Court threw out a law restricting bakery employees from working over 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week.

1907 – In his annual message to Congress, Teddy said, “We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.”

That ends today’s review of American history for Labor Day 2017.

G. George Ostrom is an award-winning columnist. He lives in Kalispell.

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