[Arlington House - formerly the estate of the family of Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna Lee (nee Custis, a descendant of Martha Washington) - was seized by the US government in 1864, which claimed that taxes hadn't been paid on it; it was then decided to bury the Union dead on its grounds to ensure that Lee would never return there to live. While neither General Lee nor his wife ever sued for the return of their property their eldest son Custis Lee did; despite $26,800 having already been paid for the property, after having the land returned to him in 1877 Lee turned around and sold it to the US government for a tidy profit - $150,000! The Greek Revival mansion with its views of the Potomac River and the National Mall is now the centerpiece of an idyllic tribute to the country's most illustrious dead, including President John F. Kennedy, and even serves as a memorial to Robert E. Lee himself.]
1752 - Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity.
1775 - George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
1804 - New Hampshire approved the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution, thereby ratifying it.
1836 - Arkansas became the 25th US state.
1846 - The Oregon Treaty established the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
1859 - Due to an ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty concerning the ownership of the San Juan Islands the 'Northwestern Boundary Dispute' - more colourfully known as the Pig War - erupted between American and British Columbian settlers on the treaty's 13th anniversary.
1864 - Arlington National Cemetery was established when 200 acres (0.8 km²) around Arlington House - formerly owned by Confederate general Robert E. Lee - were officially set aside for that use by US Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
1867 - The Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode gold mine was located in Deer Lodge County, Montana.
1877 - Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African-American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
1904 - A fire aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York City's East River killed more than 1000.
1920 - Three black employees of the James Robinson Circus - Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie - were lynched in Duluth, Minnesota - not only for a crime they didn't commit but for a crime that was never committed by anyone; needless to say, no one was ever convicted for the very real crimes which actually were committed that night, although three men were later sent up to Stillwater State Prison for rioting. A nine-year-old boy named Abram Zimmerman witnessed the murders and eventually passed the memory onto his son, who in 1965 wrote a song about the event entitled Desolation Row. The city took nearly 40 years more to finally build its own tribute to the victims; when it was unveiled in October 2003, though, the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial became the largest anti-lynching monument in the United States.
1934 - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park - on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina - was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
1978 - Jordan's King Hussein married American Lisa Halaby, who took the name Noor-al-Hussein, or 'light of Hussein'.
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