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History's Happenings for October 7

First U. S. Railway Begins Operations

America's first working railroad, the Granite Railway in Quincy, MA, began operations on October 7, 1826. It was built to haul granite destined for the Bunker Hill Monument, from quarries in the area to waiting barges on the Neponset River near Milton. Operated by horsepower and gravity, it was distinct from earlier tramlines in that it was the first to run on flanged wheels rolling on raised track.

By 1830, America still had only a bit over 20 miles of track, including tiny pieces of the Baltimore & Ohio and the Mohawk & Hudson (later the New York Central). In 1849, when the California gold rush blew the lid off railroad building, there were about 6,000 miles, mostly in the east. The historic transcontinental link-up was achieved near Promontory, Utah in 1869, at which time about 5,000 miles per year were being added to U.S. trackage.

Declaration of Rights Issued

In 1765, delegates from nine of the Colonies met together to draw up a petition declaiming the many oppressions of the British Crown, the latest being the infamous Stamp Act. In so doing, they focused rather on the Rights that ought to be due the Colonists, especially economic rights.

The Declaration of Rights marked middle ground in the effort to redress grievances by peaceful petition. One last effort would be made by the First Continental Congress.

Second Battle of Saratoga Begins

(Stay tuned for a write-up on this event.
On the other hand, if you'd like to try writing
one  ... send it in! )

Danish King Christian X Defies Nazis

In a move that would have brought an ordinary citizen before a firing squad, Christian X, king of German-occupied Denmark, defied the Nazi race laws by attending services in a Copenhagen synagogue this day in 1942. The king also pledged to wear the star of David if his people were forced to, stating: "You are all Danes. You are all my people."

Denmark had been occupied since April 9, 1940, when the Germans presented ultimatums to both the Danish and Norwegian governments to accept the "protection of the Reich". Denmark's position had been hopeless, and she had surrendered the same day with only a few skirmishes.

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