BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Charles Lindbergh’s son is kidnapped and three women are charged with witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. All this and more in today’s “This Day in History”.
On this day in 1932, 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped from the family’s home in New Jersey. Lindbergh, who 5 years earlier flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, found himself at the center of attention for the nation, though for a much sadder reason. He and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 for their son in the child’s room. Though they paid the ransom, their child was not returned to them. Eventually the body of Charles Lindbergh III was found less than a mile away from their home, apparently killed the night of the kidnapping. Heartbroken, the Lindbergh’s moved out of that home and donated it to charity. While it appeared like the case would never be solved, a new lead popped up in September of 1934. A gas station attendant had received a mark bill from the ransom and wrote down the driver’s license plate. The tip led to a German immigrant, Bruno Hauptmann, whose home also contained more of the ransom cash. While he claimed it was given to him from a friend, he was eventually found guilty and electrocuted in 1935. Due to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh’s child, the crime of kidnapping was made a federal offense.
On this day in 1692, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba were arrested and charged with the practice of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. Tituba, who was an Indian slave from Barbados, confessed to the crime, though she was possibly under some type of coercion. Her confession encouraged authorities to seek out even more Salem witches
On this day in 1780, Pennsylvania became the first state in the US to abolish slavery. The law applied to newborns only however.
On this day in 1874, Free School opened in Birmingham. It was Birmingham’s first public school.
On this day in 1961, the Peace Corps was established as a new agency within the Department of State.
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