This Day in History
October 5: The Birthday of “The Most Forgotten U.S. President,” the Killough Massacre, and Hollywood Black Friday
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October 5: The Birthday of “The Most Forgotten U.S. President,” the Killough Massacre, and Hollywood Black Friday

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A number of interesting events took place on October 5 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most valuable of them.

1829 – Chester A. Arthur is born

“The most forgotten U.S. President,” who was in office from 1881 till 1885, was born this day to a wealthy Vermont family of English and Welch descent. Arthur spent some of his childhood years living in towns surrounding New York City: York, Perry, Greenwich, and Lansingburgh. One of his first teachers said Arthur was a boy “frank and open in manners and genial in disposition.”

Later he became a lawyer, served in the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, worked at New York Customs House, joined the Republican Party, and was elected President of the U.S. in 1880.  

And Arthur was a good president. Facing a budget surplus, he signed the Tariff of 1883 which reduced tariffs. He also vetoed the Rivers and Harbors Act, which would have appropriated federal funds in a manner he thought excessive, and he did much to support civil rights development in the country and to protect African Americans.

Nonetheless, among historians he is still considered to be “a forgotten president.”

1838 – The Killough Massacre

The Killough Massacre is believed to be the last wide-scale attack on white settlers by Native Americans, at least in the territory of Texas. Yet, we can only say this probably is true, as perhaps other attacks were simply not made publicly known.

The tragedy happened near Larissa (north of Jacksonville) in the northwestern part of Cherokee County. This brutal attack left a total of eighteen victims, including Isaac Killough, Sr. and his extended family (there were the families of four sons and two daughters). They had immigrated to the Republic of Texas (which was an independent state at that time) a year before in 1837 from Talladega County, Alabama. The mass murder of the settlers was committed by a group from the Cherokee Tribe.

The local newspaper reported on this horrible act in the following way: “…Cherokee shot down Isaac, Jr., Allen, Samuel and George Wood, and then swept uphill into the little settlement. Isaac, Sr., fell in his front yard and Barakias Williams was killed in front of the screaming women. Eight settlers, including seven women and children, were seized by warriors and carried into the forest. They were never seen or heard of again... Nathaniel Killough and his wife (and 11-month-old baby girl, Eliza Jane) escaped into a canebrake and Mrs. Samuel Killough, Mrs. Isaac Killough, Sr., Mrs. Isaac Killough, Jr., and the baby William also managed to elude the redskins. Three weary days later the little party staggered into Fort Lacy at Alto, 40 miles south, where they found safety...”

1945 – Hollywood Black Friday

This is an important day in the history of American labor unions, as back in 1945, only a month after the end of the Second World War and six months after the beginning of a strike in March, there occurred a bloody riot right at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios in Burbank, California: right in the heart of the American cinematic world. Carpenters, painters, cartoonists and several other craftsmen working for the studios in Hollywood protested to protect their rights.

The strikes helped bring about the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act (officially, “An Act to amend the National Labor Relations Act, to provide additional facilities for the mediation of labor disputes affecting commerce, to equalize legal responsibilities of labor organizations and employers, and for other purposes”) in 1947 and led to the eventual breakup of the Conference of Studio Unions and the reorganization of the then-rival International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees leadership.

These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on October 5, at least in our view.

Author: USA Really