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January 3: ON THIS DAY in 1944, warship sunk off Rockaway shore

January 3, 2019 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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ON THIS DAY IN 1944, the Eagle reported, “With a series of terrific blasts which rocked the entire metropolitan area, a United States destroyer blew apart and sank early this morning a few miles off the shore of the Rockaways. Latest Navy Department reports said at least 170 survivors had been accounted for out of a crew of at least 200. The Navy, refusing to divulge the name of the ship pending notification of next of kin of the missing, released the following official description: ‘The ship had anchored in her position (given as six miles northeast of Sandy Hook) at 0330 (3:30 a.m.) and was making ready to move out at 0700 (7 a.m.). There was a terrific explosion. There was no indication of the cause. All communications on the ship were disrupted. The mast toppled. The bridge buckled and collapsed and one man said that he saw the barrel of the forward 5-inch gun whirling through the air. Many men were blown overside into the water by the blast. There was no disorder and fire fighting parties were organized.” The USS Turner was commissioned at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1943. More than 130 sailors were killed during its destruction.

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ON THIS DAY IN 1843, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The difference between a republic and a monarchy is thus pointed out by somebody: ‘Pile all the people into a pyramid, with the president for an apex, and you have the symbol of a republic. You can shake the president, but you can’t move the united force of the people. Invert that pyramid, with a king for its base, and you have the symbol of a monarchy. Trip up that king, and the whole structure falls in confusion.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1846, the Eagle reported, “Texas – A State in Full. – The Resolutions for the admission of Texas into the Union; the act to extend the laws of the Union over the State of Texas; and the act to establish a collection district in the State of Texas, and for other purposes, have been duly signed and transmitted by the President of the United States to the President of Texas, by Capt. Todd, of the Texan Navy.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1917, the Eagle reported, “There is a first-class modern mystery in the story from Petrograd of the alleged assassination of Gregory Rasputin, the Siberian monk, who is supposed to have wielded tremendous power over the Czar and his court. Rasputin is something more than a myth, and until the world at large knows more about him his legend is sure to grow. If the present story of his taking off is authentic, it will not be easy to keep the essential facts from becoming known, but the circumstance is also sure to cause the wildest sort of exaggeration. In fact, the story of Rasputin is one of the most interesting we have ever read about without having read the story itself.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1929, the Eagle reported, “Mrs. Nannie Ball, the original ‘Mother Machree’ of her son’s famous song by that name, died last night at her home in Beechhurst, L.I. She was 71. The son, Ernest R. Ball, died in May 1927. He was the composer of many popular ballads, of which ‘Mother Machree’ was the most famous. The body of Mrs. Ball will be taken to Cleveland for burial alongside that of her son, says the Associated Press.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1937, the Eagle reported, “Washington, Jan. 2 (AP) – The White House said tonight that Andrew W. Mellon, former Secretary of the Treasury, had offered his $19,000,000 art collection to the government and that President [Franklin] Roosevelt would recommend that Congress accept it. Correspondence between the president and the Pittsburgh millionaire disclosed that Mellon also had offered to build at his own expense an $8,000,000 or $9,000,000 ‘National Gallery of Art’ here to house his famous collection and other art treasures.”


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