Almanac – September 26

1449 – An unusual battle took place near Little Cornard, Suffolk. In a marshy field on the Suffolk/Essex border, two Dragons engaged in an hour-long combat. One was black and lived on Kedington Hill, the other “reddish and spotted”, came from Ballingdon Hill.The Red & spotted Dragon won, after which both creatures returned to their respective hills “to the admiration of many beholding them”.

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1774 – Johnny Appleseed born (as Jonathan Chapman).  American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.

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1888 – T. S. Eliot born. Publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and “arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century.” Although  born an American, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927.
The poem that made his name, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock—started in 1910 and published in Chicago in 1915—is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement, and was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including Gerontion (1920), The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930), and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935).

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1937 – Bessie Smith died. American blues singer, probably  the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists. She  was critically injured in a car accident while traveling along U.S. Route 61 between Memphis, Tennessee, and Clarksdale, Mississippi, the day before.

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1950 – Blue Moon  over Britain. A pale blue Harvest Moon shone over places as far apart as Bristol, London, Bridlington and Scotland [which also had a Blue Sun that afternoon]. An RAF plane investigated and found a thin dust layer at 43,000 feet, with a layer of ice particles in cyrrhus cloud at 20,000 to 30,000 feet.The dust was probably from an American sandstorm a few days earlier.

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