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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 30 May 2013
On this day in 1783, the Pennsylvania Evening Post, And Daily Advertiser began publication in Philadelphia. Benjamin Towne was the publisher and previously published the paper under the simpler name Pennsylvania Evening Post. Towne’s paper was famous for publishing historical documents of the day, including the Declaration of Independence, published on July 6, 1776, the first paper to print the document for the public. Towne was a patriot at the time of the signing of the Declaration; however, he was known to waiver in loyalty depending on who was occupying Philadelphia at the time. By the end of the war, he was seen as a traitor and lost the majority of his subscribers and advertisers. 1
In 1821 on or about this day, James Boyd patented a fire hose. Although fire hoses were already in use, Boyd’s hose was rubber-lined cotton webbing. At the time, hoses were mainly made of leather. Rivets had been introduced allowing for higher water pressures and better delivery of water, although they required a lot of maintenance to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking and thereby bursting from the water pressure. Fifty years after Boyd’s hose was patented, Boyd’s style of hose was being manufactured by B.F. Goodrich Company 2
On this day in 1868, the first official Decoration Day or Memorial Day was observed. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed Memorial Day in General Order No. 11: “…designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land.” Although this was the first official occurrence of Memorial Day, there had been commemorations in various towns for several preceding years. Many Southern states refused to acknowledge the day and instead honored their dead on other days. It wasn’t until after World War I that the holiday changed from honoring not only those who died in the Civil War but any American war. Some Southern states still have an additional day when they celebrate the Confederates who died in the Civil War. 3
1 “Eighteenth-Century American Newspapers in the Library of Congress,” Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/rr/news/18th/596.html; “The Pennsylvania Evening Post,” www.stanford.edu/group/ic/cgi-bin/drupal/book/export/html/169
2 “The History of Hoose, Hoase, Hause, or Hose?,” Fire History, firehistory.weebly.com/the-history-of-hoose-hoase-hause-or-hose.html; “The Development of Fire Hose,” www.abilenefiredepartment.org/histhose.html
3 “Memorial Day History,” www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html