History is made every day and sometimes several historical events occur on the same date. As a result, some are better known than others, with some events completely lost to history. Below is a list of seven events that were overshadowed by others.
The Great Chicago and Peshtigo Fires Happened on the Same Day
The Great Chicago Fire began on October 8, 1871 and burned for two days. It all started on the west side of town, at Patrick and Catherine O’Leary’s. However, it is not known how this happened. Theories of vandals, milk thieves, a drunken neighbor and even a cow knocking over a lantern are believed to have started the blaze.
The fire quickly grew out of control and it didn’t take long before it spread to north and east parts of Chicago. By the time the fire was brought under control, 300 people were dead and more than 100,000 homeless. Looting and crime increased soon after, forcing city officials to declare martial law on October 11, 1871.
The Great Chicago Fire received a lot of media attention and completely overshadowed the most devastating wildfire in US history. The Peshtigo Fire broke out in northeast Wisconsin the same night and was reportedly started by railroad workers clearing land. It didn’t help that the summer was particularly dry, meaning the area was ripe for a wildfire by the time October rolled around.
The fire was described as moving like a tornado, spreading to eight counties and even parts of Michigan. Peshtigo was essentially destroyed and somewhere between 1,200 and 2,400 people perished. The fire was so bad that some thought it was the end of the world.
POW ship sank days after Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth
While watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth and succumbed to his injuries early the next morning. His body was taken on a funeral train through hundreds of cities and seen by as many as a million people.
At the end of the tour, he was buried in Springfield, Illinois.
On the day the funeral tour arrived in Erie, Pennsylvania, thousands of Union POWs boarded the Sultana, a steamboat that traveled along the Mississippi River. The crew crowded the boat with between 2,100 and 2,500 men, exceeding its capacity of 376 passengers.
The excess weight, along with the choppy waters, caused one of the steamer’s boilers to burst. Almost immediately, the explosion claimed the lives of hundreds of passengers, while others desperately jumped into the water. Unfortunately, many were too weak, due to their previous imprisonment, and died. It is estimated that 1,800 people died from drowning, hypothermia or injuries caused by the explosion.
Michael Jackson’s death eclipsed that of Farrah Fawcett
When Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, music fans around the world were shocked. At only 50 years old, no one could have imagined that he would go into cardiac arrest. An autopsy revealed the cause to be prescription drugs provided by her doctor, Conrad Murray, and her death was ruled a homicide.
From the time Jackson died, his death was widely reported in the media.
On the same day as Jackson’s death, actress Farrah Fawcett also died. Best known for her role as Jill Munroe in charlie’s angels, she was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and was at one point thought to have overcome the disease. Unfortunately, following a second recurrence in 2007, she succumbed to cancer at the age of 62.
Many believe Fawcett would have been fine with Jackson dying in the spotlight. A friend of hers once said, “I always felt like Farrah would sort of laugh at this and say ‘Thank God they’re over there, finally. They’re leaving me alone. The paparazzi, the reporters , the press cameras.'”
Jackie Robinson’s first MLB game was a day before the Texas City disaster
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson entered the field for the first time as a professional MLB player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, officially breaking the color barrier. The match was played in front of over 25,000 fans at Ebbets Field.
Robinson’s first game received a lot of media attention, as did his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers five days earlier. Anti-segregationists in the United States supported his perseverance both on and off the diamond, and he quickly became a hero.
Taking much of the attention during this period, coverage of Robinson’s first game overshadowed one of the greatest industrial disasters in US history. While docked in Texas, the SS Grandcamp, carrying 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate, exploded in the port of Texas City. The initial explosion was severe and triggered further explosions at the wharf and at a nearby Monsanto plant.
The flames of the explosion last several days and kill between 500 and 600 people. Another 3,000 people are estimated to have been injured by the destruction caused by the disaster.
Frank Sinatra died the same night that Seinfeld aired series finale
On May 14, 1998, an estimated 72 million people gathered around their televisions to watch the series finale of Seinfield. After nine successful seasons, the series was coming to an end and devoted fans watched as the very last episode became the most disappointing of them all.
Crooner Frank Sinatra suffered a heart attack the same night. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but at 10:50 p.m. was pronounced dead at the age of 82.
One of the spectators Seinfeld’The series finale was actually Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy. Listening to the lackluster episode actually kept her from being at her dad’s when he had a heart attack, which she had originally planned to do. Nancy said:Seinfeld reruns started before Seinfeld finale – isn’t that cheesy – and I got so into the damn show that I never went to my dad’s house.
Harriet Quimby became the first woman to cross the Channel a day after the Titanic has sunk
April 15, 1912 will be remembered as the day Titanic has sunk. Not only is the disaster memorable, but the names of the passengers aboard the ship are also widely known. Media coverage was seen on both sides of the Atlantic for weeks, and many were unaware that another historic event had occurred the day after the disaster.
Harriet Quimby was a New York journalist who began flying in 1911. In the summer, she became the first American woman to earn her pilot’s license and later the first woman to fly at night.
On April 16, 1912, she successfully crossed the English Channel, flying from England to France. During her flight, gas flooded the plane’s engine and she feared that her trip would not be successful. Luckily, the gas quickly burned out and the engine remained good enough to fly.
After making history for the third time, Quimby continued to fly, but died in an accident at an aviation meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on July 1, 1912.
CS Lewis and Aldous Huxley died the same day JFK was assassinated
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The attack shocked the world, and many still remember where they were and exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.
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Such an unexpected and devastating event made most people forget the deaths of two of the most prolific authors of the 20th century.
Aldous Huxley, known for The best of worldsand CS Lewis, known for The Chronicles of Narnia, both died that day. Huxley died at his Los Angeles home aged 69, while Lewis died in Oxford aged 64. The latter apparently died less than an hour before JFK’s assassination, and Huxley died about eight hours after Lewis.