December 2016

This Day in History… December 7, 1787

Delaware Becomes America’s First State 

U.S. #2336 was issued for Delaware’s 200th anniversary.

U.S. #2336 was issued for Delaware’s 200th anniversary.

On December 7, 1787, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, making it America’s first state.

Two Algonquian Indian tribes lived in the Delaware region when the first European explorers arrived. The Lenni-Lenape tribe lived along the Delaware River. The Nanticoke lived along the Nanticoke River. By the mid-1700s, white settlers had pushed most of the American Indians out of Delaware.

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This Day in History… December 6, 1884

Completion of Washington Monument 

U.S. #1158 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the first U.S.-Japan treaty.

U.S. #1158 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the first U.S.-Japan treaty.

On December 6, 1884, the Washington Monument was completed, 36 years after its cornerstone was laid.

In his lifetime, George Washington was a revered and respected man. Unanimously elected the first President of the United States, he created a national bank, collected taxes to cover expenses, and improved the Army and Navy. He even turned down a salary, only accepting money to cover his expenses. Washington was so popular in fact; that the people tried to get him to serve a third term, but the noble leader chose instead to retire to his peaceful Mount Vernon home.

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This Day in History… December 5, 1782

Happy Birthday Martin Van Buren 

U.S. #813 from the Presidential Series.

U.S. #813 from the Presidential Series.

Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in Kinderhook, New York. He was the first President born an American citizen (all of his predecessors were born before the American Revolution).

As a child, Van Buren spent time in his father’s tavern, a popular stop for politicians traveling between Albany and New York City. His interest in politics sparked at this early age. At the age of 17, he had his first taste of political life, attending a party convention where he helped attain John Van Ness’ congressional nomination.

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This Day in History… December 4, 1867

Founding of the National Grange 

U.S. #1323 was issued for the 100th anniversary of The Grange.

U.S. #1323 was issued for the 100th anniversary of The Grange.

On December 4, 1867, Oliver Hudson Kelley established the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.

Born in Boston in 1826, Kelley decided in his 20s to become a farmer. So in 1849 he took a steamboat to St. Paul, Minnesota. While the area was mostly one of Indian trade at the time, Kelley recognized that it held great agricultural potential.

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This Day in History… December 3, 1755

Birth of Artist Gilbert Stuart 

U.S. #884 from the Famous Americans series.

U.S. #884 from the Famous Americans series.

On December 3, 1755, Gilbert Stuart was born in Saunderstown, Rhode Island Colony.

Stuart was the third child of Gilbert Stuart, who worked in America’s first colonial snuff mill. When he was six, Stuart’s family moved to Newport Rhode Island. It was there that he first began to show an interest and talent for painting. In 1770, Stuart met Scottish artist Cosmo Alexander, who served as his first art tutor.   The following year Stuart traveled to Scotland with Alexander, but returned to America in 1773 following his tutor’s death.

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This Day in History… December 2, 1763

Dedication of Touro Synagogue

U.S. #2017 includes a portion of Washington’s letter to the synagogue.

U.S. #2017 includes a portion of Washington’s letter to the synagogue.

On December 2, 1763, the Touro Synagogue was officially dedicated after four years of construction.

In the 1620s, Jewish settlers of Spanish and Portuguese origin fled their homes in Amsterdam and London in search of religious freedom. Over the years they traveled from Brazil to the Caribbean, particularly Barbados. Then in the spring of 1658, fifteen Spanish/Portuguese Jewish families arrived in Newport, Rhode Island. They believed they would be able to practice their faith under the law of Governor Roger Williams. Williams established the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations on the basis of freedom of religion and conscience. This congregation was known Nephuse Israel (Scattered of Israel).

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