Tag Archives: Salem

Almanac – June 02

1692 – Bridget Bishop was the first person to go to trial in the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts.

She wasaccused of bewitching five young women, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard, but  she may also have been accused because she owned one or more taverns, played shuffleboard, dressed in provocative clothing, and was outspoken.

She was hanged on June 10 1692.

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1740 – Marquis de Sade born. French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer, famous for his libertine sexuality.

His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author.

 He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church.

He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law. The words “sadism” and “sadist” are derived from his name.

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2008 – Bo Diddley died. American R&B vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Ellas McDaniel), and rock and roll pioneer.

He was  known as The Originator because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock, influencing a host of acts, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles, among others.

 He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged electric guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs, along with African rhythms and a signature beat (a simple five-accent clave rhythm) that remains a cornerstone of rock and pop.

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Almanac – August 19

1692Salem witch trials: in Salem, Massachusetts, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

1745 – Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in Glenfinnan – the start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45”.

1895 –  Outlaw John Wesley Hardin died.  When he was finally captured and sent to prison in 1878, Hardin claimed to have already killed 42 men, but newspapers of the era had attributed only 27 killings to him up to that point. While in prison, Hardin wrote his autobiography and studied law, attempting to make a living as an attorney after his release. He  was shot to death by John Selman, Sr. in the Acme Saloon, in El Paso, Texas.

One hundred years after his death, in August 1995, his graveside was the scene of a bizarre confrontation between two groups. One, representing the great-grandchildren of Hardin, sought to relocate the body to Nixon, TX, to be interred next to the grave of Hardin’s first wife. Opposing them was a group of El Pasoans intent on preventing the move.

At the cemetery, the group representing Hardin’s descendants presented a disinterment permit for the body of Hardin, while the El Pasoans countered with a court order prohibiting the removal of the body. Both sides accused the other parties of seeking the tourist revenue generated by the location of the body. A subsequent lawsuit ruled in favor of keeping the body in El Paso.


1959 – Blind Willie McTell died.  American Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist, also an adept slide guitarist. McTell’s influence extended over a wide variety of artists, including The Allman Brothers Band, who famously covered his “Statesboro Blues”, and Bob Dylan, who paid tribute to McTell in his 1983 song “Blind Willie McTell”; the refrain of which is, “And I know no one can sing the blues, like Blind Willie McTell”. Other artists include Taj Mahal, Ralph McTell, and The White Stripes.

1977 – Groucho Marx died.

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