Today in History

AP News

11/2/2011 12:00:39 AM - AP News

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 2, the 306th day of 2011. There are 59 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 2, 1861, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln relieved Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont of his command of the Army's Department of the West based in St. Louis, following Fremont's unauthorized efforts to emancipate slaves in Missouri.

On this date:

In 1783, Gen. George Washington issued his Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States near Princeton, N.J.

In 1795, the 11th president of the United States, James Knox Polk, was born in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

In 1865, the 29th president of the United States, Warren Gamaliel Harding, was born near Marion, Ohio.

In 1889, North Dakota and South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states.

In 1936, the British Broadcasting Corp. inaugurated "high-definition" television service from Alexandra Palace in London.

In 1947, Howard Hughes piloted his huge wooden flying boat, the Hughes H-4 Hercules (derisively dubbed the "Spruce Goose" by detractors), on its only flight, which lasted about a minute over Long Beach Harbor in California.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman surprised the experts by winning a narrow upset over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey.

In 1961, author, humorist and cartoonist James Thurber died in New York at age 66.

In 1979, black militant JoAnne Chesimard escaped from a New Jersey prison, where she'd been serving a life sentence for the 1973 slaying of a New Jersey state trooper, Werner Foerster. (Chesimard, who took the name Assata Shakur, is believed to be living in Cuba.)

In 1986, kidnappers in Lebanon released American hospital administrator David Jacobsen after holding him for 17 months.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, saying the war in Afghanistan was unraveling Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, chided critics for clamoring for more action, and said the U.S. military campaign would not pause for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The government reported that the nation's unemployment rate had shot up to 5.4 percent in Oct. 2001.

Five years ago: The Rev. Ted Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a man said they'd had sexual trysts together (Haggard later confessed he was guilty of sexual immorality). Gunmen in Iraq killed the Shiite dean of Baghdad University's school of administration and economics.

One year ago: Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, picking up 63 seats in midterm elections, while Democrats retained a majority in the Senate; Republican governors outnumbered Democrats after gaining six states. Californians rejected a ballot measure that would have made their state the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Surfing champion Andy Irons, 32, was found dead in a Dallas-area hotel room. (An autopsy found that Irons had died from sudden cardiac arrest due to severe blockage of a main artery.)

Today's Birthdays: Actress Ann Rutherford ("Gone With the Wind") is 94. Rhythm-and-blues singer Earl "Speedo" Carroll (The Cadillacs; The Coasters) is 74. Singer Jay Black (Jay and the Americans) is 73. Political commentator Patrick Buchanan is 73. Actress Stefanie Powers is 69. Author Shere (shehr) Hite is 69. Rock musician Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 67. Country-rock singer-songwriter J.D. Souther is 66. Actress Kate Linder is 64. Rock musician Carter Beauford (The Dave Matthews Band) is 54. Singer-songwriter k.d. lang is 50. Rock musician Bobby Dall (Poison) is 48. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage is 47. Actress Lauren Velez is 47. Actor David Schwimmer is 45. Christian/jazz singer Alvin Chea (Take 6) is 44. Rock musician Fieldy is 42. Rock singer-musician John Hampson (Nine Days) is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Timothy Christian Riley (Tony Toni Tone) is 37. Rapper Nelly is 37. Prodigy (Mobb Deep) is 37. Actor Danny Cooksey is 36. Rock musician Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) is 36. Country singer Erika Jo ("Nashville Star") is 25. Actor-singer Kendall Schmidt is 21.

Thought for Today: "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." _ James Thurber (1894-1961).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, Nov. 2)

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