Thursday, October 8, 2020

Historical Newsflash

With Nancy J. Farrier


I thought it might be fun to look back at events that happened on this date in history. Just a brief overlook is all we have space for, but there are some interesting newsflashes that took place on October 8th



New Zealand Map
James Cook

October 8, 1769 – James Cook lands in New Zealand

James Cook, an English navigator, was the first to map New Zealand. He came within sight of the island on October 6th, 1769, and landed on October 8th. His detailed map and the information gathered by the two naturalist who sailed with him, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, helped with modern study of New Zealand. They were also the first to write about the Māori people. Although their first encounter with the Māori was not friendly, they did make friendly contact later on. 


October 8, 1871 – Two of the most devastating and famous fires occurred on this date in history. These fires have been touched on in previous blog posts so I won’t go into detail, but will mention each one.


First the Forest fire in Peshtigo WI. This fire killed between 1,200 to 2,500 people. The fire started when railroad workers set fire to some brush and the blaze got out of hand. The dry conditions meant the surrounding wooded areas quickly caught fire and some described the resulting conflagration as a tornado of fire. Eight hundred people in the town of Peshtigo died in the blaze. 


Panorama of Chicago Fire Damage George N. Barnard Photo Wikimedia Commons

On that same day, the Great Fire of Chicago started. More than 300 people died and close to 4 sq. miles of buildings were destroyed. It is said one-third of the people in Chicago were homeless after the fire. Many businesses were also destroyed. One of those who lost his investments in this fire was H. G. Spafford, who wrote the well-known hymn, It is Well With My Soul.


October 8, 1919 – This was the start of the first transcontinental air race. Sixty-three planes participated flying from their respective fields across country and returning.  Fifteen were from San Francisco and forty-eight were from New York. They flew 5,400 mile round trip. There were many mishaps on the trip, including three aviators who crashed and died during the race.  Lieutenant Belvin Maynard won, taking 3 days and 21 hours to complete the trip. He did the trip with his mechanic, Sgt. William Cline, and his dog, Trixie.


Abbott and Costello 1940's
Wikimedia Commons

October 8, 1942 – Bud Abbott and Lou Costello launched their weekly radio show on this date. In 1940, they did a weekly radio show for three months as a temporary replacement for The Fred Allen Show. In 1942, they brought their brand of comedy to the radio every week through the spring of 1949. People loved this show, which later became a television series. Abbott and Costello brought humor into the American homes during a much needed time.


Don Larsen, Yogi Berra
Wikimedia Commons

October 8, 1956 – October is well-known for baseball playoffs. On this date, Don Larsen, the Yankees pitcher, pitched a perfect game during the sixth game of the World Series. This is the only Series game to be a no-hitter. Larsen went on to win the World Series Most Valuable Player and the Babe Ruth Award that year. The picture at the right is at the end of the game when Yogi Berra flung himself at Don Larsen.


There are many more events I could list for October 8th. This was fun to look back at history and see what else happened. I hope you enjoyed these vignettes. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I love your feedback.

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:

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