This Day in History – April 30 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1900 – Hawaiian Organic Act.

This act established the Territory of Hawaii as part of the United States. The Hawaiian Kingdom and Queen Lili’uokalani had been overthrown in 1893 and the new government had lobbied for annexation by the U.S. The act granted U.S. citizenship to Hawaiians but it also extended the Chinese Exclusion Act to the new territory. This was an act that placed restrictions on Chinese immigrants’ movement and residency. The Hawaiian Organic Act was replaced by the Hawaii Admission Act when the territory became the 50th state. There are still groups advocating Hawaii’s independence, claiming the seizure of the islands by the U.S. was illegal. 

Seems highly likely being it was motivated by greed. I took a tour of Honolulu once and the guide, a native Hawaiian, described the overthrow of the Queen in great detail and it involved a fair amount of duplicity and deceit. 


1945 – Hammer and sickle flag raised over the Reichstag.

This marked the Soviet’s army conquest of Berlin. There is some debate about the actual date of this event. The famous photo of the Russian soldier on a column high above the city with the flag was staged on May 2nd. What is thought to have happened is Russian soldiers made it to the top of the Reichstag and placed the flag at 10:40pm of the 30th but no photo was taken in the dark. The Germans briefly regained control and removed the flag before being driven off. After fierce fighting the building was secured on May 2nd. There was an obsession by the Russians to accomplish this symbol of victory by May 1st, International Workers Day, so the veracity of the actual time frame is sometimes questioned.

The Soviets were intent on capturing the city before the Americans British arrived and the victory was a costly one. 78,291 Red Army soldiers died and 274,184 were wounded.   


1973 – H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman resign.

This was in the midst of the Watergate scandal and President Nixon, in accepting the resignations of his chief advisors, declared there would be no whitewashing at the White House. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst also resigned and counsel John Dean was fired. Senate Republican Leader High Scott (Pa.), obviously trying to impress said, “a lack of grace in power has led to a fall from grace. This rotten vine of Watergate has produced poisonous fruit, and all nourished by it should be cast out of the Garden of Eden.” President Nixon was unsuccessfully trying to distance himself from the scandal that would ultimately bring down his presidency. 

WCCO was the predominant radio station in Minnesota at that time for news, weather and entertainment. Households and car radios across the state were tuned to it. A popular morning show was the Boone and Erickson show. Many Minnesotans woke up to Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson. At the time of Watergate they composed a funny little ditty I still remember. It started: “Our names are Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean, the way we’ve been treated is simply obscene.”  



1770 – David Thompson.

Explorer, fur trader, cartographer. Born in England, Thompson was sent to an orphanage at age seven. At the age of fourteen he was sold to the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) as an indentured servant and transported to Canada. While working as a clerk for the HBC he trained himself as a surveyor. When his apprenticeship ended he became a fur trader for that company. While traveling for the fur trade he began surveying and creating maps. He left the HBC for their competitor, the North West Company (NWC), because the HBC wanted him to focus solely on fur trading while the NWC was more lenient in allowing him to map. Thompson traveled extensively throughout Canada and northern USA, surveying boundaries and creating maps and routes around Lake Superior, Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Lake Winnipeg, the Rocky Mountains and he was the first European to navigate the entire length of the Columbia River. He eventually was granted a full partnership in the NWC. Despite all his traveling, at age twenty-nine, he married a thirteen-year-old girl of Cree ancestry and he found time to father thirteen children. His maps were so accurate that a hundred years later they were still the basis for more modern maps. Thompson died in 1857 at age 86. There are numerous monuments in his honor and towns and rivers named after him in both the U.S. and Canada. 

Amazing to think he did all this on foot, horseback or in a canoe. Of course he was lucky to have lived in a different era that held less regard for certain proprieties. Today a liaison with a thirteen year old girl would land him a spot on the sexual offenders registry rather than a role as a noted cartographer.  


1893 – Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Nazi politician. Von Ribbentrop was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1938 to 1945. He was a businessman who attracted the attention of Hitler and was in his inner circle. He was disliked by most long times Nazis and Joseph Goebbels expressed this view in his diary. “Von Ribbentrop bought his name, he married his money and he swindled his way into office.” Von Ribbentrop opposed the invasion of Russia and after 1941 his influence waned. Although he did advocate declaring war on the United States. Tried at Nuremberg after the war, found guilty, von Ribbentrop died on the gallows on October 16th, 1946.

I was celebrating my third birthday and having a better day than that Nazi mastermind. 


1925 – Johnny Horton.

Singer. Horton had a string of hits in the late 1950s including “Battle of New Orleans,” “Sink the Bismarck” and “North to Alaska.” As a young man Horton did go to Alaska to search for gold, and it was then he took up guitar picking and songwriting. After returning from Alaska he pursued a singing career. An avid angler, at one point he had a radio show called “The Singing Fisherman.” His first marriage ended in divorce due to him constantly being on the road. In 1953 Horton married the widow of Hank Williams, less than nine months after that country legend had died. Horton’s first breakthrough country song was “Honky Tonk Man” in 1956. His career was at its peak when he died in a car accident on November 6th, 1960. Johnny Horton is a member of the Rockabillly Hall of Fame.

Traveling from one gig to another while on tour whittled the ranks of music of music legends in the 50s and 60s. Johnny Horton, Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline to name a few. 



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at



The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.



We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (“David Thompson Hwy, Canada”) – Photo by Vasista Vedantam on Unsplash

* Flag Over The Reichstag (video) – about photography /

* Admiral David Farragut (video) – GettysburgNPS /

* Johnny Horton (video) – JohnnyHortonVEVO /

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio /



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