1. 1847: The Donner Party is rescued
A group of 89 people that would be forever known in history as the “Donner Party” set out from Springfield, Illinois on a California bound journey in the summer of 1846. 31 of those people were actual members of the Donner Family and the patriarch George Donner was elected as the leader of this group and ended up making a very bad decision when he decided to take the shortcut called “Hastings Cutoff” versus the normal route out to the pacific coast. The cutoff went directly over the rocky mountains across the Salt Lake desert and it took the party much longer then they had planned for and when they reached the Sierra Mountains in late October they made another bad choice and decided to keep going even though winter was around the corner. They camped at Truckee Lake, which is high in the mountains about 15 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe, and overnight a blizzard comes through and blankets the mountain passes making them impossible to climb with ox powered covered wagons. It wasn’t until January 31st, 1847 when word finally got to someone that could do anything about it and the first rescue party was sent out and they reached the first survivors on Feb. 19th. Of the 89 people that originally left Illinois due to starvation and harsh weather only 45 arrived in California. Years later, stories surfaced that they had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive.
2. 1807: Former Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested on charges of treason
Aaron Burr was the VP to Thomas Jefferson and was the 3rd Vp of the United States at that time. He was involved in two major scandals of that time in history; in 1804 he was in a duel where he shot and killed one of the founding fathers Alexander Hamilton. Later in 1807 on this day Burr is arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. In September he was acquitted for treason only because he had good lawyers and was able to sell that he hadn’t committed an “act of war” that would require a charge of treason.
3. 1968: First nationwide broadcast of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS
On this day in 1968, TV changed for kids all across the USA when the first episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood debuted on PBS. Yes, that weird old guy that we all watched growing up that would come in and change from one cashmere sweater to another and would change from his loafers into his blue little house shoes. He would then proceed to take us on a 30 minute journey into imaginationland where all the puppet characters would tell the days story that taught kids valuable life lessons while also starting the addiction of looking at screens that we all suffer from today. After 31 seasons and over 900 episodes the show came to an end in 2001.