March 24, 2005
Today in history—March 24
809: The greatest of the Abassid Caliphs, Haroun al-Rashid, inspiration for the Thousand and One Nights, dies while leading a debt collection expedition against the Byzantines.
1765: The first Quartering Act goes into effect in Britain’s American colonies. This will ultimately lead to the Third and perhaps least litigated amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1855: Andrew William Mellon, who will start a lumber business at 17 and will go on to become one of America’s great financiers and treasury secretaries, is born at Pittsburgh, Pa.
1868: The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. is chartered in New York.
1887: Roscoe Conkling "Fatty" Arbuckle is born at Smith Center, Kansas. He will earn an $1 million a year from Paramount Studios until his career is destroyed by scandal at age 34.
1898: Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pa., becomes the first person to buy an American-built automobile. It's from the Winton Motor Carriage Co. of Cleveland, which in 1899 will become the biggest U.S. auto manufacturer, selling 100 vehicles.
1902: Future mob prosecutor and presidential candidate Thomas Edmund Dewey (Columbia Law 1925) is born at Owasso, Michigan. One of his legacies as New York governor is the State University of New York.
1905: Jules Verne, who gave up studying for the bar to create the modern science fiction genre, dies. He is said to be the most-translated novelist (148 languages) in history
1951: Fashion impresario Thomas Jacob Hilfiger, who will start his empire by retailing hippie fashions in Elmira, New York, is born there.
1970: Actress Lara Flynn Boyle, who plays ADA Helen Gamble on TV’s The Practice, is born at Davenport, Iowa.
1989: The tanker Exxon Valdez hits a reef and triggers the 53rd largest oil spill in history.
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