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On This Day in
American History:
 
May 17

On May 17, 1673 Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet departed St. Ignace Mission in present day Michigan. 

The French explorers began their journey in the Great Lakes and traveled southward along the Mississippi. They didn’t reach the Gulf of Mexico as they made a turn back to the north at the point where the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers meet. 

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions

American Revolutionary War 
hero, Seth Warner, who captured Fort Crown Point (along with 111 cannon) from the British, invaded Canada and was victorious at the Battle of Bennington, was born on May 17, 1743 in Woodbury, Connecticut. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

A day before the Siege of Vicksburg began, Union forces defeated Confederates at Big Black River, Mississippi on May 17, 1863.

One of the defeated Confederate commanders, John C. Pemberton, was a U.S. officer and Mexican-American War Veteran who was born in Philadelphia.
Two of Pemberton’s brothers fought on the Union side. 
He returned to Pennsylvania later in life.

Image of Big Black River Battlefield in Mississippi c. 1864 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Nellie Grant Sartoris (the daughter of Ulysses S. Grant) and baby (possibly Julia Grant Cantacuzene, daughter of Frederick and Ida Grant.)

c. 1876

The following year on May 17, 1877 Ulysses S. Grant, just a few months after serving as President, and his wife departed Philadelphia on a round-the-world trip.
The voyage included a visit with their daughter Nellie Sartoris who was living in England with her husband and children at the time.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 17, 1792, the New York Stock Exchange was established. 

Image of the New York Stock Exchange and Wilks Bldg. from 1921 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

On today's date May 17, 1868 American Auto magnate Horace Elgin Dodge was born in Niles, Michigan.  Horace co-founded the Dodge Brothers Company with his brother John in 1900.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

George Washington’s personal dentist and the man who made his false teeth, John Greenwood, was born on May 17, 1760.

When Greenwood was a teenager, he was a fifer during the American Revolutionary War. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

American actress Maureen O'Sullivan with her husband John Farrow and their children 

Maureen was born in Ireland on May 17, 1911.
She became an American Citizen in 1947.

- 1950

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 17, 1877 the first telephone switchboard was installed at The Holmes Burglar Alarm Company in Boston. 

Here’s a picture from 1895 of the Taunton Telephone Office in Taunton, Massachusetts. 

Image via Digital Commonwealth Massachusetts, no known restrictions 

The Kentucky Derby was run for the first time on May 17, 1875 at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. Out of a field of 15 horses Aristides, with jockey Oliver Lewis, emerged as the winner.

Image: Art showing Aristides and Oliver Lewis after winning the First Kentucky Derby via Alamy 

On May 17, 1837, the Baltimore Sun newspaper was founded by Arunah Shepherdson Abell and two associates. The newspaper was owned and operated as an Abell family business through 1910. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

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