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Today In History (EU Founded) - November 1st
Nov 1st, 2014 at 9:16am
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1800 John Adams moves into White House

On this day in 1800, President John Adams, in the last year of his only term as president, moved into the newly constructed President's House, the original name for what was known today as the White House.
Adams had been living in temporary digs at Tunnicliffe's City Hotel near the half-finished Capitol building since June 1800, when the federal government was moved from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington, D.C. In his biography of Adams, historian David McCullough recorded that when Adams first arrived in Washington, he wrote to his wife Abigail, at their home in Quincy, Massachusetts, that he was pleased with the new site for the federal government and had explored the soon-to-be President's House with satisfaction.

Although workmen had rushed to finish plastering and painting walls before Adams returned to D.C. from a visit to Quincy in late October, construction remained unfinished when Adams rolled up in his carriage on November 1. However, the Adams' furniture from their Philadelphia home was in place and a portrait of George Washington was already hanging in one room. The next day, Adams sent a note to Abigail, who would arrive in Washington later that month, saying that he hoped "none but honest and wise men [shall] ever rule under this roof."

Although Adams was initially enthusiastic about the presidential mansion, he and Abigail soon found it to be cold and damp during the winter. Abigail, in a letter to a friend, wrote that the building was tolerable only so long as fires were lit in every room. She also noted that she had to hang their washing in an empty "audience room" (the current East Room).

John and Abigail Adams lived in what she called "the great castle" for only five months. Shortly after they moved in, Thomas Jefferson defeated Adams in his bid for re-election. Abigail was happy to leave Washington and departed in February 1801 for Quincy. As Jefferson was being sworn in on March 4, 1801, John Adams was already on his way back to Massachusetts, where he and Abigail lived out the rest of their days at their family farm.

1914 The Battle of Coronel

In a crushing victory, a German naval squadron commanded by Vice-Admiral Maximilian von Spee sunk two British armoured cruisers with all aboard off the southern coast of Chile on November 1, 1914, in the Battle of Coronel.

World War I broke out on the European continent in August 1914; within months, it had spread by sea across the globe to South America. Previously stationed in the western Pacific, near China, Spree’s small East Asia Squadron made the two-month journey to Chile after Japan entered the war on August 22 and it was determined that the Germans could not stand up to the Japanese navy in the region. Neutral Chile, with its sizeable population of German immigrants and its ready supply of coal, would be a safer base from which to launch attacks against British shipping interests.

After eluding a large number of Japanese, British and Australian ships on its way, Spree’s ships encountered a British squadron commanded by Sir Christopher Cradock in the late afternoon of November 1, 1914. The Germans, with their newer, lighter ships, took quick advantage, opening fire at 7 pm. Cradock's flagship, the Good Hope, was hit before its crew could return fire; it sank within half an hour. The Monmouth followed two hours later, after attempting to withdraw and being sunk by the light cruiser Nurnberg. No fewer than 1,600 British sailors, including Cradock himself, perished along with the two ships; it was the Royal Navy's worst defeat in more than a century.

The quicker British ship Glasgow escaped the fray and fled south to warn another of Cradock's ships, the Canopus, stationed in the Falkland Islands, of Spee's proximity. In response, the British dispatched two battle cruisers, Inflexible and Invincible, from its Battle Cruiser Squadron in the North Sea. The two ships, commanded by Sir Doveton Sturdee, reached the Falklands on December 7; the following day they exacted their revenge on the aggressive Spee, sinking four German ships--including the Nurnberg and Spee's flagship Scharnhorst--with 2,100 crew members aboard. Among the dead were Spee and his two sons, Otto and Heinrich. By the end of 1914, the German cruiser threat to Britain's trade routes had been virtually eliminated; for the duration of the war, Germany's chief weapon at sea would be its deadly U-boat submarines.

1924 Legendary western lawman is murdered

On this day, William Tilghman was murdered by a corrupt prohibition agent who resented Tilghman's refusal to ignore local bootlegging operations. Tilghman, one of the famous marshals who brought law and order to the Wild West, was 71 years old.

Known to both friends and enemies as "Uncle Billy," Tilghman was one of the most honest and effective lawmen of his day. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1854, Tilghman moved west when he was only 16 years old. Once there, he flirted with a life of crime after falling in with a crowd of disreputable young men who stole horses from Indians. After several narrow escapes with angry Indians, Tilghman decided that rustling was too dangerous and settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he briefly served as a deputy marshal before opening a saloon.

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