October 1909

October 1909

January – February – March – April – May – June – July – August – September – OctoberNovemberDecember

The following events occurred in October 1909:

October 26, 1909: Ito Hirobumi, Japanese Governor-General of Korea, assassinated
October 22, 1909: The Baroness de Laroche becomes first woman to fly an airplane solo
October 13, 1909: Francisco Ferrer executed
October 8, 1909: Lt. Frank Lahm instructed on flying an airplane


October 1, 1909 (Friday)

  • Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of the Sikh princely state of Patiala, assumed full power upon attaining his 18th birthday. A Council of Regency had ruled in his name when he had assumed the throne at the age of 9. Bhupinder Singh ruled until his death in 1938.[1]

October 2, 1909 (Saturday)

  • In Berlin, Orville Wright became the first person to fly an airplane to an altitude of 1,000 feet, and eventually reached 500 meters or 1,600 feet. The same day, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany became the first member of royalty to fly in an airplane, as Orville's passenger on a ten minute flight.[2]
  • Twickenham Stadium, Britain's second largest stadium and the London home of the Rugby Football Union, hosted its first rugby match. Harlequin F.C. defeated Richmond F.C. 14–10.[3]
  • Born: Alex Raymond, creator of Flash Gordon, in New Rochelle, New York; (d.1956 following automobile accident)

October 3, 1909 (Sunday)

  • James Reid Moore of Ipswich, East Anglia, discovered what he believed to be flint tools dating from the Pliocene era, and evidence of the first human habitation of Britain. The flint objects, dubbed eoliths, were later determined to have been natural phenomena created by erosion of flint.[4]
  • The cornerstone for the Saskatchewan Legislative Building was laid by the Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada, who placed a time capsule inside.[5]

October 4, 1909 (Monday)

  • As Dr. Frederick Cook's claim, of being first to reach the North Pole, was being questioned, his claim to have made the first ascent of Mount McKinley was called into doubt. Cook had stated in his book, To the Top of the Continent, that he had reached the summit of the Alaskan mountain on September 16, 1906. His mountain guide, Edward N. Barrill, swore out an affidavit that he had cook had never been closer than 14 miles (23 km) from Mt. McKinley, and that Cook had ordered him to alter his diary entries. The October 4 affidavit was published ten days later in a New York newspaper, the Globe and Commercial Advertiser.[6]
  • Born: Murray Chotiner, American political advisor to Richard Nixon, in Pittsburgh; (d. 1974)

October 5, 1909 (Tuesday)

October 6, 1909 (Wednesday)

October 7, 1909 (Thursday)

October 8, 1909 (Friday)

October 9, 1909 (Saturday)

October 10, 1909 (Sunday)

  • Backed by American businessmen, General Juan José Estrada began a revolution in Nicaragua to overthrow President José Santos Zelaya. Under pressure from the United States, Zelaya resigned in December, and Estrada became President in August with American support. An observer later noted, "The overthrow of President Zelaya in Nicaragua was the first real American coup."[17]

October 11, 1909 (Monday)

  • The Convention Internationale Relative à la Circulation des Automobiles was signed in Paris by 17 European nations, establishing common rules for rules of the road in the signatory nations. The treaty included the first four universal traffic signs (intersection, railroad crossing, curve and ditch), rules on passing and overtaking, and letter symbols for a car's nation of origin (A-Austria, B-Belgium, CH-Switzerland, D-Germany, E-Spain, F-France, GB-Great Britain, GR-Greece, H-Hungary, I-Italy, MC-Monaco, MN-Montenegro, NL-Netherlands, P-Portugal, R-Russia, RM-Romania, S-Sweden, SB-Serbia).[18]

October 12, 1909 (Tuesday)

  • The Amish bishops of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, denied a request by 35 families—one-fifth of the community—to ease a ban on use of electricity and telephones. The "Schism of 1910" followed in February and the group, dubbed the "Peachey Church" separated from the Old Order Amish church.[19]

October 13, 1909 (Wednesday)

  • Professor Francisco Ferrer was executed by a firing squad in Barcelona after a military court convicted him of inciting the Catalonian uprising against the Kingdom of Spain. Outrage over Ferrer's execution led to riots outside Spain's embassies in Paris and other European capitals.[20]
  • The Ontario Provincial Police was created in Toronto.[21]

October 14, 1909 (Thursday)

October 15, 1909 (Friday)

  • The Dover Harbour was opened as a suitable port for the British Navy after eleven years and $20,000,000 worth of improvements. The Prince of Wales dedicated the harbor, which could now accommodate the largest British dreadnoughts.[25]

October 16, 1909 (Saturday)

October 17, 1909 (Sunday)

  • Lt. George Sweet became the first U.S. Navy officer to fly in an aircraft, as a passenger of Orville Wright.[32]
  • Died: Sagen Ishizuka, Japanese physician and nutritionist, proponent of macrobiotic diet.

October 18, 1909 (Monday)

  • The Australian State of New South Wales formally surrendered 900 square miles (2,300 km2) of its land to the Commonwealth to serve as the Australian Capital Territory, with Canberra to serve as the federal capital. The agreement included a right of way across the state to Jervis Bay, which was ceded to the Commonwealth in 1913.[33]
  • A woman watching an airshow at Juvisy, France, became the first person on the ground to be killed by a falling airplane. A Blériot machine, flown by Alfred Leblanc, plunged into a crowd, injuring more than a dozen people, and killing the woman.[34]
  • Charles Lambert became the first person to fly an airplane over Paris and around the Eiffel Tower.[35]

October 19, 1909 (Tuesday)

  • Nannie Helen Burroughs founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., one of the first institutions of higher learning for African-American women.[36]
  • William Friese-Greene was granted U.S. patent No. 937,367 for a process he called "Biocolour", which alternated between blue, green and red frames of film to create an illusion of color and a stereoscopic 3-D image.[37]
  • Simon Ter-Petrossian, better known as "Kamo" was returned to Tbilisi on extradition from Germany, to face execution for a 1907 bank robbery that raised funds for the Bolsheviks. Kamo survived to become part of the Soviet government until being murdered in 1922.[38]
  • Born: Cozy Cole, American jazz drummer, in East Orange, New Jersey; (d. 1981)
  • Died: Cesare Lombroso, 74, Italian criminologist

October 20, 1909 (Wednesday)

  • The entire town of Shipton, Kansas, was sold at public auction. William Irwin had owned the site and Fred Warnow was the high bidder at $2,620. Located in Saline County, Kansas, Shipton had been a farming community until 1895, when the post office and the railroad station were closed, and the citizens moved closer to nearby Salina.[39]

October 21, 1909 (Thursday)

  • The Madras Aquarium, the first in India was opened as part of the government museum in Madras (now Chennai). The aquarium was emptied of its contents in 1942, when the city was evacuated due to a threatened invasion by Japan.[40]

October 22, 1909 (Friday)

  • The Baronne de Laroche became the first woman to pilot an airplane alone. The Baronne took off from an airfield at Chalon-sur-Saône and flew to an altitude of 300 meters, flew for 4 miles (6 km) then landed.[41]
  • The Anand Karaj, the Sikh marriage ceremony, was legally recognized by the British Indian government with the passage of the Anand Marriage Act 1909.[42]
  • The town of Gore, Oklahoma, was incorporated.[43]
  • Died: Thomas Coman, New York City official who made millions from graft and eluded conviction; Acting Mayor, 1868.

October 23, 1909 (Saturday)

  • An Arbitral Tribunal, of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, issued its ruling in the Grisbadarna case, delimiting the maritime frontier between Norway and Sweden, and setting out a legal principle still followed in international law: "a state of things which actually exists and has existed for a long time should be changed as little as possible".[44]

October 24, 1909 (Sunday)

  • At the Italian city of Racconigi, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was hosted by King Victor Emmanuel III. The foreign ministers the two nations, Tomasso Tittoni and Aleksandr Izvolsky, exchanged diplomatic notes on an informal agreement for Russia and Italy to support each other's interests in the Balkans and in the Ottoman Empire.[45]
  • The sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded by seven Jewish students, with its first chapter at Barnard College.[46]
  • Born: Bill Carr, American track star, Olympic gold medalist 1932; in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; (d. 1966)
  • Died: Rufus Peckham, 70, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1896–1909

October 25, 1909 (Monday)

  • In the city of Empúries in Spain, a bust of Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine, was discovered. Empuries, also called Ampurias, was on the site of the Greek settlement of Emporion.[47]
  • Fort Meade, Florida, was incorporated for the second time as a city, after having been disincorporated in 1903.[48]

October 26, 1909 (Tuesday)

  • Itō Hirobumi, who had served as Prime Minister of Japan and later as Japan's Governor-General in the protectorate of Korea, was assassinated while waiting to change trains at a station in Harbin, China. Dressed in Western clothing, An Chung-gun walked past the Russian security officers assigned to guard Hirobumi, then fired three shots at the Japanese statesman. Struck in the liver, Hirobumi died fifteen minutes later. An, a Korean nationalist, was executed on March 25, 1910, and Japan annexed Korea later that year.[49]
  • Army Lt. Frederick E. Humphreys became the first military pilot to fly an airplane solo, after three weeks of instruction by Wilbur Wright.[50]
  • The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease, more popularly known as the "Hookworm Commission" was created, with Dr. Charles Wardell Stiles as its chairman. Over a five year period, the Commission reduced the number of cases of the disease in the United States. In 1915, the International Health Commission extended the campaign throughout the world.[51]

October 27, 1909 (Wednesday)

  • Sir Oliver Lodge published an article in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association theorizing that if there had been intelligent life on Mars, it had been destroyed by a catastrophe two months earlier. Lodge based his theory on observations that suggested that the polar caps of Mars had fractured in August.[52]
  • Sarah Van Deman flew as a passenger on an airplane at the Signal Corps grounds at College Park, Maryland, becoming the first woman to fly in a plane in America. She was the fifth woman to fly, the first four having flown in Europe.[53]
  • Born: Henry Townsend, American blues musician, in Shelby, Mississippi; (d. 2006)

October 28, 1909 (Thursday)

October 29, 1909 (Friday)

October 30, 1909 (Saturday)

  • Eugene Byrne, a left tackle for the Army Cadets football team, was fatally injured in a game against the visiting Harvard Crimson.[57] Two weeks earlier, Edwin Wilson, the quarterback for the Navy Midshipmen, was rendered comatose in a game against Villanova. Army cancelled the remainder of its schedule, including the annual Army-Navy Game.
  • Arkansas defeated LSU 16–0 in a football game, and coach Hugo Bezdek remarked that the players were like "a wild band of Razorback hogs". The school's teams, formerly known as the Cardinals, were thereafter known as the Razorbacks.[58]
  • Count Louis von Vetsera, who had been a suspect in the murder of Austria-Hungary's Crown Prince Rudolph and the Countess Vestera at Meyerling, died in Denver.[59]
  • Born: Homi J. Bhabha, nuclear physicist and father of India's nuclear program, in Mumbai; (d. 1966)

October 31, 1909 (Sunday)


  1. ^ Famous Sikhs blogspot
  2. ^ "Wright 1,600 Ft. Up In Berlin Flight", New York Times, October 3, 1909, p1
  3. ^ Rugby Football Union website
  4. ^ Anne O'Connor, Finding Time for the Old Stone Age: A History of Palaeolithic Archaeology and Quaternary Geology in Britain, 1860–1960 (Oxford University Press, 2007), p151
  5. ^ Province With a Heart: Celebrating 100 Years in Saskatchewan (CanWest Books, 2005), p37
  6. ^ "Barrill's Mount McKinley Affidavit", by H. Bradford Washburn, The American Alpine Journal (1989), p113
  7. ^ "Ford wishes GM a happy 100th birthday", autoblog.com, September 18, 2008; Lawrence Howard Seltzer, A Financial History of the American Automobile Industry (A.M. Kelley, 1973), p36
  8. ^ East Carolina University website
  9. ^ "Thirty Die in a Mine", New York Times, October 7, 1909, p1
  10. ^ Roger Stonebanks, "No. 1 Mine: Racism Revisited", historycooperative.org
  11. ^ True Crime Library, "Martha Rendell- Australia", truecrimelibrary.com
  12. ^ "Long Ride For Taft Through Yosemite", New York Times, October 8, 1909, p1
  13. ^ Hiroo Kanmori, "Small Science and Unexpected Discoveries in Seismology"
  14. ^ Natioal Museum of the US Air Force, Fact Sheet: "First Military Pilots"
  15. ^ "Child Enters Harvard", New York Times, October 10, 1909, p1
  16. ^ Michael Leo Donovan, Yankees to Fighting Irish: What's Behind Your Favorite Team's Name (Taylor Trade Publications, 2004), p107
  17. ^ Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (Times Books, 2006), pp66–70
  18. ^ "Automobile Traffic", Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements, (Taylor & Francis, 2003), Vol. I, p152
  19. ^ Donald B Kraybill, The Riddle of Amish Culture (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), pp189–212
  20. ^ "Ferrer is Shot; Riots in Paris", New York Times, October 14, 1909, p1; "Ferrer Died Standing"; "Riots Over Ferrer Spread In Europe" New York Times, October 15, 1909, p1; Ferrer Modern School papers
  21. ^ thecanadianencyclopedia.com
  22. ^ "The Chinese Revolt: A Survey", by Adachi Kinnosuke, American Review of Reviews (December 1911) p718
  23. ^ "Pirates and Tigers Tied For Honors", New York Times, October 15, 1909, p12
  24. ^ IFFHS history website
  25. ^ "Dover Opens $20,000,000 Harbor", Washington Post, October 16, 1909, p1; "Dover Naval Port Completed At Last", New York Times, October 17, 1909, p10
  26. ^ Zeppelin's Hamburg-America Line; Gerhard Katzch, "Regional Airport: Hamburg", in Putnam Aeronautical Review (October 1989), p125
  27. ^ "Pirates Triumph; World's Champions", New York Times, October 17, 1909, pIV-1
  28. ^ John K. Winkler, The Dupont Dynasty (Doubleday, 1948), p253
  29. ^ "Taft and Diaz Meet; Talk of Friendship", New York Times, October 17, 1909, p1
  30. ^ Seattle Times, May 17, 2009
  31. ^ "Ketchel's Dream of Glory", Sports Illustrated, October 18, 1954, pp80–81
  32. ^ Norman Polmar and Dana Bell, One Hundred Years of World Military Aircraft (Naval Institute Press, 2004), p15
  33. ^ Gerard Carney, The Constitutional Systems of the Australian States and Territories (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p437
  34. ^ "Several Hurt at Juvisy", New York Times, October 19, 1909, p3; "Aviation Victims Now Number 100", New York Times, October 15, 1911, p1
  35. ^ earlyaviators.com
  36. ^ Sharon Harley and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images (Black Classic Press, 1997), p99
  37. ^ Ray Zone, Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film, 1838–1952 (The University Press of Kentucky, 2007), pp92–94
  38. ^ Roman Brackman, The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life (Routledge Press, 2001), p70
  39. ^ "Ghost Towns of Kansas: Revisited (2009)", by Daniel C. Fitzgerald
  40. ^ Government Museum Chennai
  41. ^ Eileen F Lebow, Before Amelia: Women Pilots in the Early Days of Aviation (Brassey's, Inc., 2002), p1; "Woman Flies Four Miles", New York Times, October 24, 1909, p1
  42. ^ "Move on Anand Karj Act", Chandigarh Tribune, March 6, 2003
  43. ^ Town of Gore website
  44. ^ Edvard Isak Hambro, The Case Law of the International Court: A Repertoire of the Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders of the International Court of Justice, Including Dissenting and Separate Opinions (A.W. ijthoff, 1977), p104
  45. ^ Timothy W. Childs, Italo-Turkish Diplomacy and the War Over Libya, 1911–1912 (E.J. Brill, 1990), p16
  46. ^ Alpha Epsilon Phi website
  47. ^ "Asklepios: The Return of the God", Saatchi Gallery exhibition.
  48. ^ Canter Brown, Fort Meade, 1849–1900 (University of Alabama Press, 1995), p153
  49. ^ "An Chung-gun", from The Book of Assassins (Wiley Publications), pp33–34; "An Chunggun" from Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary by Keith Pratt and Richard Rutt (Routledge, 1999), p9
  50. ^ National Museum of the US Air Force, "First Military Pilots"
  51. ^ Ruth C Engs, The Progressive Era's Health Reform Movement: A Historical Dictionary (Prager, 2003), pp158–159
  52. ^ "Life On Mars Ended By a Cataclysm?", New York Times, October 28, 1909, p1
  53. ^ Delaware, Ohio, website
  54. ^ Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia (University of California Press, 2002), pp111–113
  55. ^ Irian (University of Cenderawashih, 1973), pp3–4
  56. ^ Aldrich Library Website, Barre VT
  57. ^ "Cadet Near Death From Football Hurt", New York Times, October 31, 1909, p1
  58. ^ Arkansas Razorbacks website
  59. ^ "Exiled Count Dead", New York Times, November 4, 1909, p1
  60. ^ National University of Ireland website
  61. ^ "Le Train Jaune", hhfrance.com website.

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