This Day in History – June 24th – 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.




1535 – Anabaptists conquered at the city of Münster, Germany.

Anabaptists were Christians in the 16th century who believed in adult baptism because infants were incapable of confessing their faith to God. Anabaptism was an outgrowth of the Reformation and the Anabaptists took over the city of Münster, where they formed their own government. The established Protestant church, opposing both the movement and the takeover, promptly laid siege to the city. One of the Anabaptist leaders, after hearing a message from God, rode out with 30 followers to confront the besiegers. All were killed and his head was exhibited on a pike before the city walls. (Be careful with those messages from God.) The movement was crushed and thousands of Anabaptists across Western Europe were hunted down and executed, an estimated 50,000 in Holland alone.

The theme back then seemed to be the same as now: “Don’t Mess with My Religion!”


1901 – Pablo Picasso’s first art exhibit.

The 19-year-old Picasso exhibited 75 paintings in a gallery in Paris. The dealers and critics who saw his work were impressed, and this started his 70-year run of fame and creativity. He is perhaps the most well known artist of the 20th century. He had been in Paris only a few months and already was friends with many influential people, including Gertrude Stein.

I happen to be an admirer of his work. But talk about moving on the fast track–in addition to his brilliance, he must have understood, at a very young age, how the game was played. He both talked the talk and walked the walk.


1955 – Harmon Killebrew hits his first home run.

That was for the Washington Senators, before the franchise moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. The “Killer” became a fan favorite in Minnesota and also one of baseball’s leading home run hitters. He is in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Late summer, 1969. Along with three buddies, I was in the left field bleachers at old Metropolitan Stadium. We were all recent college graduates, having finished up during summer school. Killebrew was getting close to 500 home runs by this time. It was an afternoon game, and one of our last days of leisure before embarking on our professional careers. There were odd circumstances that day in that it wasn’t a normal crowd, at least not in the left field bleachers. There must have been some kind of ticket package deal for every group home or institution for developmentally disabled adults in the metro area. The stands were packed with hundreds and hundreds of people who wove their way through life facing a different set of mental challenges than most of us. It was a joyful, exuberant, and directionless crowd. By that I mean most of the excitement and cheering in our section had little to do with the action on the field. The spirit would seize some individual and soon the rapture would spread until hundreds would be standing and cheering for no reason at all. Once one of my friends stood and yelled to summon a beer vendor and that was enough to set off the whole section. Yelling, cheering, clamoring, with counselors and attendants scurrying around to administer to those who became overexcited. The left fielder turned to look, wondering what was going on.

Then late in the game Killebrew launched one directly toward us. I followed the high arc of the ball against the blue sky. We all stood but the ball landed about three rows behind us. If there was a catch I didn’t see it. But somehow a young man, a young man who led a life unlike ours, ended up with the ball in his hands. It couldn’t have been more perfect. That day was one of the most joyful and unique experiences I’ve ever had at a ballgame.



1485 – Johannes Bugenhagen.

One of the leading figures in the Reformation. He officiated at Martin Luther’s wedding. His chief talent was organization and he helped spread the Reformation across northern Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

So, in addition to Martin Luther, a man I’ve never heard of before was largely responsible for my religious education.


1771 – E.I. DuPont.

Founder of DuPont, now the 4th largest chemical company in the world. It was originally started as a gunpowder mill in Delaware. DuPont, amazingly, supplied the Union Army with half the gunpowder it used during the Civil War. Many years later, to create a new need for its product, the company produced a pamphlet, “Farming with Dynamite,” as a way of removing stumps.

It is just a rumor that they also published, “Fishing with Dynamite.”


1842 – Ambrose Bierce.

Journalist and prolific writer of short stories. He was a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, owned by William Randolph Hearst. Bierce fought in the Civil War and was at a number of major engagements including the Battle of Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Lookout Mountain, and he was severely wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. His wartime experiences inspired many stories, including his most famous “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”

The railroad companies that built the transcontinental railroad had a secret bill proceeding through Congress that would forgive their loans from the government. Bierce uncovered and reported it, and the subsequent public outcry killed the bill. Bierce had refused a “name your price” bribe from railroad lobbyists.

In 1913 Bierce traveled to Mexico to cover the Revolution and disappeared, and his ultimate fate remains a mystery. Some believe he was executed by Pancho Villa’s soldiers.

Fascinating character. I just added some new titles to my reading list.



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 (“Pablo Parody”)  – NLshop /

* “The Spread Of The Anabaptists” (video)  – Mike Atnip /

* “Picasso At Work” (video)  – artandfilm21 /

* “Home Run Derby” (video) – Baseball /

* “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” (video) – Chilling Tales for Dark Nights /

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