On This Day in
American History:
May 15

On May 15, 1602 the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold discovers Cape Cod after visiting the Southern Maine Coast the day prior...

"But on Friday the foureteenth of May, early in the morning, we made the land, being full of faire trees, the land somewhat low, certeine hummocks or hilles lying into the land, the shore ful of white sand, but very stony or rocky. And standing faire alongst by the shore, about twelue of the clocke the same day, we came to an anker, where sixe Indians, in a Baske-shallop with mast and saile, an iron grapple, and a kettle of copper, came boldly aboord vs, one of them apparelled with a wastcoat and breeches of blacke serdge, made after our sea-fashion, hose and shoes on his feet; all the rest (sauing one that had a paire of breeches of blue cloth) were all naked. These people are of tall stature, broad and grim visage, of a blacke swart complexion, their eie-browes painted white; their weapons are bowes and arrowes: it seemed by some words and signes they made, that some Basks or of S. lohn de Luz, haue fished or traded in this place, being in the latitude of 43 degrees. But riding heere, in no very good harbour, and withall, doubting the weather, about three of the clocke the same day in the afternoone we weighed, & standing Southerly off into sea the rest of that day and the night following, with a fresh gale of winde, in the morning we found ourselues embayed with a mightie headland; but comming to an anker about nine of the clocke the same day, within a league of the shore, we hoised out the one halfe of our shallop, and captaine Bartholomew Gosnold, my selfe, and three others, went ashore, being a white sandie and very bolde shore ; and marching all that afternoon with our muskets on our necks, on the highest hilles which we saw (the weather very hot) at length we perceiued this headland to be parcell of the maine, and sundrie Islands lying almostround about it: so returning (towards evening) to our shallop (for by that time, the other part was brought ashore and set together) we espied an Indian, a yong man, of proper stature, and of a pleasing countenance ; and after some familiaritie with him, we left him at the sea side, and returned to our ship, where, in fiue or sixe houres absence, we had pestered our ship so with Cod fish, that we threw numbers of them ouer-boord againe: and surely, I am persuaded that in the moneths of March, April, and May, there is vpon this coast, better fishing, and in as great plentie, as in Newfoundland: for the sculles of Mackerell, herrings, Cod, and other fish, that we dayly saw as we went and came from the shore, were wonderfull; and besides, the places where we tooke these Cods (and might in a few daies haue laden our ship) were but in seuen faddome water, and within lesse than a league of the shore; where, in Newfoundland they fish in fortie or fiftie fadome water, and farre off. From this place, we sailed round about this headland, almost all the points of the compasse, the shore very bolde: but as no coast is free from dangers, so I am persuaded, this is as free as any ; the land some- what lowe, full of goodly woods..”

From: Sailors narratives of voyages along the New England coast, 1524-1624 by George Parker Winship, published in 1905 
Source says not in copyright

The 93rd Infantry Division reactivated May 15, 1942, was the first African American division to be formed during World War II. 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Bates waits for zero hour to give the command to attack. Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 1942

These men can be seen wearing the Brodie helmet which was worn by American (British and other nations) during WWI. 

The Brodie helmet was replaced by the M1 helmet 🪖 in 1942 by the U.S. military, the same year that this photo was taken. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

American nurse Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant when she departed on a flight from Oakland to Chicago on May 15, 1930. 

The pay was $125 per month. 

Image via Alamy

A banquet held for high school students at the Iowa High School Agricultural Congress at Iowa State College. Ames, Iowa. May 15, 1942. High school students from all over the state came to participate in judging contests, discussions, etc., in all branches of agriculture

via LOC, no known restrictions 

Postcard of Fremont Street looking east, Las Vegas, Nevada 

On May 15, 1905, the City of Las Vegas, Nevada was founded.
About five years earlier its population was just a little more than 20 people.

Image c. 1930-1945 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

A terrible fire occurred at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on May 15, 1929 which claimed the lives of 123 people. 
Multiple explosions and toxic fumes were caused by X-Ray film that caught on fire in the basement of the clinic. 

Image of the X-Ray storage room after the fire from Cleveland Clinic, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

On May 15, 1942, the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, or WAAC, was created. A year and two months later it became the Women’s Army Corps and was a vital part of the US Army until it was disbanded in 1978. Here WACs at Long Binh, Vietnam meet with Colonel Elizabeth Hoisington in October, 1967.

Image from US Army via Wikimedia Commons, public domain in the US.

On May 15, 1982, “Ebony & Ivory” by Paul McCartney featuring Stevie Wonder began its seven week run as #1 song in America. 

Image of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder performing “Ebony & Ivory” at the White House in 2010 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

American Revolutionary War Veteran and 4th U.S. Attorney General Levi Lincoln Sr. was born on May 15, 1749 in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Levi was a distant relative of Abraham Lincoln and their common ancestor was Samuel Lincoln. 
Between the 1600s-1900s seven generations of the Lincoln family lived at the Samuel Lincoln house in Hingham. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Young men who have been drafted wait in line to be processed into the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina

Image dated May 15, 1967

via Library of Congress, no known restrictions

“When I was a boy I was tremendously interested in scarecrows. They always seemed to my childish imagination as just about to wave their arms, straighten up and stalk across the field on their long legs. I lived on a farm, you know. It was natural then that my first character in this animated life series was the scarecrow, on whom I have taken revenge for all the mystic feeling he once inspired.”

L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and was born on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York.

Image: L. Frank Baum when he was a cadet at the Peekskill Military School, which overlooked the Hudson c. 1868 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

"I Went to heaven,—
'T was a small town,
Lit with a ruby,
Lathed with down.
Stiller than the fields
At the full dew,
Beautiful as pictures
No man drew.
People like the moth,
Of mechlin, frames,
Duties of gossamer,
And eider names.
Almost contented
I could be
'Mong such unique

by Emily Dickinson who passed away on May 15, 1886 at the age of 55.  

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

On May 15, 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Company was monopolizing the petroleum industry and ordered that the company be divided. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, no known copyright, public domain in the US

On May 15, 1820, an “Act to protect the commerce of the United States and punish the crime of piracy” from 1819 was amended. 
The revised act said that robbery of a ship, its crew, or contents was declared piracy, punishable by death. This was extended to those attempting to confine, deliver, or sell slaves. 

Image of the Brig USS Alligator capturing piratical schooners of Mantanzas, Cuba c. 1822

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