The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began its first session. (1938) Though many associate HUAC with the Red Scare of the 1950s, the committee actually got its start much earlier investigating a possible Communist infiltration of the Works Progress Administration, one of President Franklin Roosevelt's primary New Deal programs.
The first person was executed for witchcraft in the US. (1647) Alse Young was hanged on this day, making her the first person to be executed for witchcraft in the American colonies. Though records don't show why she was singled out as a witch, it's thought that she was blamed for an epidemic that hit her town.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was first published. (1896) The DJIA originally only covered 12 stocks, five of which still exist in some form in the 21st century. Among the first stocks represented were General Electric, sugar producer Domino Foods — then the American Sugar Company — and the United States Rubber Company, which was bought by Michelin in 1990.
The first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East was made. (1908) An oil strike was made at Masjed-Soleyman, now part of Iran, putting the Middle East on the international oil production stage.
Feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered. (1828) Hauser was found wandering the streets of Nuremberg; when questioned, he said that he had been kept locked in a tiny room for his entire life, and was only let out by a mysterious stranger. His story garnered national attention, and grew even more mysterious when he wandered home one day with a fatal stab wound, which some believe was self-inflicted.
The Indian Removal Act became law. (1830) Though technically optional, the Indian Removal Act forced the migration of tens of thousands of Native Americans into the American West. It was not universally loved by Americans either — many missionaries spoke out against the act, as did frontiersman Davy Crockett.
Czar Nicholas II came to power. (1894) Nicholas was the last Russian czar, and ruled over some of Russia's bloodiest times, including the Russo-Japanese War and a series of anti-Semitic pogroms. He was forced to abdicate by Bolsheviks, and later executed along with his family.
The Comprehensive Immigration Act became law. (1924) The act put very strict limits on immigration from both Europe and the rest of the world, and was particularly unpopular with Japan, which had made a "gentleman's agreement" with President Theodore Roosevelt to give them better immigration quotas. It was a clear sign of America's desire to withdraw from the world after World War I, and was also hoped to prevent the spread of Communism.
The last Ford Model Ts were produced. (1927) Ford and his son rode the 15 millionth model out of the factory, marking the end of official production.
John Wayne was born. (1907) Wayne, born Marion Morrison, was a major Hollywood star known for his characteristic drawl and masculine characters. Despite his incredible productivity — he was in almost 200 movies as well as numerous TV appearances — he only won one Oscar, for True Grit.