July 4, 2012

1776: The Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson, is approved and signed by John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress.
1802: The U.S. Military Academy officially opens at West Point, New York.
1803: The Louisiana Purchase is announced in newspapers. The property is purchased by the U.S. from France for $15 million (or 3 cents an acre). The "Corps of Discovery," led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, begins the exploration of the territory ten months later on May 14, 1804.
1817: Construction begins in New York on the Erie Canal, to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
1845: American writer Henry David Thoreau begins his two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.
1848: In Washington, DC, the cornerstone for the Washington Monument is laid.
1854: Lawman and buffalo hunter Bill Tilghman is born in Ft. Dodge, Iowa.
1855: The first edition of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman is published in Brooklyn, New York.
1863: The Confederate town of Vicksburg, Massachusetts surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
1864: Congress passes the Immigration Act, which allows the railroads, and other companies, to import Chinese laborers to the U.S. due to the shortage created by the Civil War.
1866: The Superintendent of Indian Affairs signs a treaty with the Delaware Indians at their agency in Kansas.
1867: Due to flooding Fort Hays is relocated south of what will become Hays City, Kansas.
1869: In what some believe to be the first rodeo, cowboy Emilne Gardenshire wins the title “champion bronco buster of the plains,” and a new suit in Deer Trail, Colorado Territory.
1870: The first Seminole-Negroes recruited in Texas as U.S. Army scouts by Major Zenas R. Bliss enlisted for 6 months. The organization fought in numerous expeditions against various Indian tribes in Texas. During the Indian Wars, four of the scouts won the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1872: Wild-steer riding is added to the competition at an early rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory.
1874: The 2nd Cavalry and its scouts engage Indians on the Bad Water ranch near the Wind River, Wyoming Territory. Twenty-six Indians are killed and twenty wounded. Four soldiers are killed and six wounded.
1876: Black cowboy Nat Love wins a mustang roping contest and a shooting match in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. In addition to the prize money he is given the alias “Deadwood Dick.”
1878: Outlaw, Billy the Kid and the Regulators have a long-range shootout with rival factions of the Seven Rivers gang at John Chisum's South Spring River ranch in New Mexico Territory. No one is injured.
1880: At an Independence Day horse race in Bisbee, Arizona, George Warren bet his share in the Copper Queen Mine. The horse he bet on lost the race. His share in the mine would later be worth about $20 million dollars.
1881: Virgil Earp becomes the town marshal in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1881: The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama opens.
1883: Buffalo Bill Cody presents an early version of his famous Wild West show featuring cowboys, Indians, trick riders, and sharp shooters in North Platte, Nebraska.
1883: Pecos, Texas claims to hold history's first rodeo.
1884: Bullfighting is introduced in America in Dodge City, Kansas.
1884: E. C. Abbott, alias “Teddy Blue,” records that the outfit under the leadership of Granville Stuart, owner of the DHS Ranch, rode to the mouth of the Musselshells and hung Billy Downs and three more at Rocky Point, Montana Territory.
1886: Prescott, Arizona claims to hold history’s first rodeo.
1892: The first double-decked street car service is inaugurated in San Diego, California.
1893: Soapy Smith referees a boxing match in Denver.
1894: After seizing power, Judge Stanford B. Dole declares Hawaii a republic.
1898: Soapy Smith leads the Skaguay Military Company as Captain, in the Independence Day parade, Skagway, Alaska.

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