This Day in Founder's History

This Day In Founding Fathers History – 10 December 2012

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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 10 December 2012

On this day in 1817, the western portion of the Mississippi Territory — the eastern portion thereby being reorganized as the Alabama Territory — became the State of Mississippi, the 20th state in the Union. 1

In 1777 on this day, an excerpt from a newspaper of 15 December described the capture of Colonel Samuel Blachley Webb’s troops: “Three rebel sloops made their appearance off Setauket last Wednesday. The Privateer was soon driven ashore and taken by one of His Majesty’s ships at Old Man’s and the crew with all the rebels on board made prisoners of war, consisting of 64 privates and some officers, among them Cols. Webb and Ely…Col. Hewlett with a party of Gen. Delancey’s brigade, Col. Hamilton with a troop of horse from Newtown and Capt. Hewlett with his troop of horse from Hempstead, are gone in pursuit of the rebels, and it is hoped will give a good account of them.” 2

One notable birthday on this day in history in 1787, that of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Gallaudet attended the seminary and became a preacher. His aspirations changed when he met Alice Cogswell while visiting family. The girl was deaf and Gallaudet attempted to communicate with her by pointing to his hat and then writing the word in the dirt. Gallaudet was inspired and Alice’s father, a wealthy doctor, financed a trip to Europe for Gallaudet to educate himself about teaching deaf children, as there were no schools for deaf children in the U.S. Gallaudet met several faculty at the Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets in Paris, including Laurent Clerc and Jean Massieu. After funds ran out, Gallaudet convinced Clerc to accompany him back to the U.S. The two men founded the American School for the Deaf in 1817. Gallaudet’s oldest son started another school for deaf children in D.C. Lincoln signed the charter establishing the first national college for deaf students in 1864, Gallaudet University. 3

1 “Mississippi’s Territorial Years: A Momentous and Contentious Affair (1798-1817),”
2 Correspondence and journals of Samuel Blachley Webb Volume 1, p. 415
3 “Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet,”


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