On This Day, April 10, 1778 – John Paul Jones Truly Does Start to Fight
1778 – Commander John Paul Jones and his crew of 140 men aboard the USS Ranger set sail from the naval port at Brest, France, and head toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.
After departing from Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England’s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in “gain than honor.” Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the Earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship s captain and lieutenant.
In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.
1790 – The U.S. patent system was established.
1825 – The first hotel opened in Hawaii.
1849 – Walter Hunt patented the safety pin. He sold the rights for $100.
1866 – The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was incorporated.
1912 – The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England.
1916 – The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) held its first championship tournament.
1919 – In Mexico, revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata was killed by government troops.
1925 – F. Scott Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby.”
1930 – The first synthetic rubber was produced.
1932 – Paul von Hindenburg was elected president of Germany with 19 million votes. Adolf Hitler came in second with 13 million votes.
1941 – In World War II, U.S. troops occupied Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration.
1941 – Ford Motor Co. became the last major automaker to recognize the United Auto Workers as the representative for its workers.
1945 – German Me 262 jet fighters shot down ten U.S. bombers near Berlin.
1953 – Actress Hedy Lamarr became a U.S. citizen.
1960 – The U.S. Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill.
1961 – Gary Player of South Africa became the first foreign golfer to win the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
1963 –The USS Thresher, an atomic submarine, sinks in the Atlantic Ocean, killing the entire crew. One hundred and twenty-nine sailors and civilians were lost when the sub unexpectedly plunged to the sea floor 300 miles off the coast of New England.
The Thresher was launched on July 9, 1960, from Portsmouth Naval Yard in New Hampshire. Built with new technology, it was the first submarine assembled as part of a new class that could run more quietly and dive deeper than any that had come before.
On April 10, 1963, at just before 8 a.m., the Thresher was conducting drills off the coast of Cape Cod. At 9:13 a.m., the USS Skylark, another ship participating in the drills, received a communication from the Thresher that the sub was experiencing minor problems.
Other attempted communications failed and, only five minutes later, sonar images showed the Thresher breaking apart as it fell to the bottom of the sea. Sixteen officers, 96 sailors and 17 civilians were on board. All were killed.
1971 – The U.S. table tennis team begins a weeklong visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the invitation of China’s communist government. The well-publicized trip was part of the PRC’s attempt to build closer diplomatic relations with the United States, and was the beginning of what some pundits in the United States referred to as “ping-pong diplomacy.”
1992 – Outside Needles, CA, comedian Sam Kinison was killed when a pickup truck slammed into his car on a desert road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Source: On-This-Day.com; History.com