March 2016

This Day in History… March 13, 1901

Death of President Benjamin Harrison

U.S. #308 was the first Series of 1902-03 stamp to go on sale.

Benjamin Harrison’s family was among the First Families of Virginia, arriving in 1630. America’s 23rd President was born in North Bend, Ohio, on August 20, 1833.

The second of eight children, Harrison did not grow up in a wealthy household, despite his family’s distinguished roots. His father chose, rather, to spend the farm’s income on his children’s education. Young Harrison spent much of his childhood outdoors hunting and fishing. Benjamin was seven when his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was elected President of the United States.

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This Day in History… March 12, 1912

Birth of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

U.S. #1199 – Girl Scouts 50th anniversary stamp.

On March 12, 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low held the first meeting of the Girl Guides, the forerunner of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

Scouting groups were first started in England in 1907, when Lord Robert Baden-Powell began the Boy Scouts movement. When girls became interested in belonging to a similar group, he helped his sister Agnes Baden-Powell organize the Girl Guides program. Scouting quickly spread to other countries.

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This Day in History… March 11, 1941

Roosevelt Signs Lend-Lease Act

U.S. #2559c pictures a jeep being delivered under the Lend-Lease Act.

On March 11, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act to provide aid to Allied forces in World War II.

At the end of 1940, Nazi Germany was marching through Europe. The British and the Commonwealth were boldly fighting alone against the powerful enemy, but their military supplies were running low. They had been paying for their supplies in gold as required by the U.S. Neutrality Acts of the 1930s, but soon ran low on funds.

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This Day in History… March 10, 1913

Death of Harriet Tubman

U.S. #1744 – Tubman was the first honoree in the Black Heritage Series.

Abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman died on March 10, 1913, in Auburn, New York.

The granddaughter of Africans brought to America in the chain holds of a slave ship, Harriet Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross into slavery on a plantation near Cambridge, Maryland. As no definitive records were kept, she was believed to have been born between 1815 and 1825.

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This Day in History… March 9, 1862

The Battle of Hampton Roads

U.S. #2975a – From the 1995 Civil War sheet.

On March 9, 1862, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) fought in the first battle between two ironclad warships.

On April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union. Three days later, the United States Navy evacuated the navy yard near Norfolk, Virginia. The Union left so quickly, they abandoned equipment and did not destroy the structures as well as they intended to. The Confederate Navy immediately moved in and found gunpowder, construction materials, a dry dock, and over 1,000 heavy guns. The Federal troops had scuttled and sunk ships, including the USS Merrimack. The hull and engines were salvaged and rebuilt as the Confederacy’s first ironclad. On February 17, 1862, the newly commissioned ship was renamed the CSS Virginia, though it is commonly referred to as the Merrimack.

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This Day in History… March 8, 1930

Death of William Howard Taft

U.S. #687 – Taft was the only person to serve as President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

William Howard Taft was born September 15, 1857, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

As a student at Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut, he was a member of the Livonian Society, a literary and debate group. After graduating second in his class in 1878, he attended Cincinnati Law School.

From an early age, Taft had great aspirations to serve on the Supreme Court, so he embarked on a career in law. Admitted to the Ohio bar, he served as assistant prosecutor of Hamilton County, and then local collector of Internal Revenue. After marrying his long-time sweetheart, Helen Herron, he was appointed a judge of the superior court of Cincinnati. In 1890, at age 32, he became the youngest-ever solicitor general of the United States. The following year, he began his service on the new U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. At the same time, he also spent four years as a professor of constitutional law and served as the first dean at the University of Cincinnati.

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