Grateful American® Foundation

History Matters
September 16 to September 30, 2021

Showing our children that their past is prelude to their future
By John Grimaldi and David Bruce Smith

The sequence of events is not given much thought, but in 1881, America had three, different presidents. In March, James A. Garfield was elected to succeed Rutherford B. Hayes; four months later, he was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. by the deranged Charles Guiteau, and died the 19th of September; the next day, Vice President Chester A. Arthur became the 21st president—the third in six months.

According to History.com, “a similar situation occurred in 1841, when Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and John Tyler all held the office.”

For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Unexpected President by Scott S. Greenberger; Rutherford B. Hayes (Presidential Leaders) by Debbie Levy, and James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series by Ira Rutkow.

On September 23, 1779, John Paul Jones was at the helm of the Continental naval vessel, Bonhomme Richard, in a face off with two British warships: the HMS Serapis, and the HMS Countess of Scarborough, on the east coast of England. When the sea battle commenced it looked as if Commander Jones was going to be vanquished; his Bonhomme Richard was so damaged that Richard Pearson, captain of the Serapis, taunted Jones to lower his flag, but the tenacious Jones repelled the demand by replying: “I have not yet begun to fight.”

Three hours later, the British surrendered to Captain Jones. The next day, the Bonhomme Richard sank, but its crew—by then–was safely aboard the captured Serapis.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy by Evan Thomas.

By the time women got the right to vote in 1920, it had long been part of life in Wyoming. On September 30, 1889, while the former territory prepared to join the union, it had a convention of delegates that granted them suffrage.

“That the isolated western state of Wyoming should be the first to accept women’s suffrage was a surprise. Leading suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were Easterners, and they assumed that their own more progressive home states would be among the first to respond to the campaign for women’s suffrage. Yet the people and politicians of the growing number of new Western states proved far more supportive than those in the East,” according to History.com.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Susan Ware.


History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.