1781 Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus, he named it ‘Georgium Sidus,’ in honor of King George III.
1793 Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin
1821 North Carolina’s first attorney general, Waightstill Avery, died in Morganton. A native of Connecticut, the Princeton-educated Avery came to North Carolina by way of Edenton in 1769 and was granted permission to practice law in the state. While living in Charlotte in 1772, Avery was elected to serve in the provincial assembly.
He was a signer of the 1775 Mecklenburg Resolves that declared all laws of the British Crown void and suspended authority of the King and Parliament.
Instrumental in establishing North Carolina’s early statehood, Avery served on the committee to draft the state’s first constitution and literally wrote most of the document. He attended the first meeting of the General Assembly held in New Bern in 1777, and while there was appointed North Carolina’s first attorney general.
For his part in the revolutionary cause, Lord Charles Cornwallis had Avery’s office set afire.
Married with four children, Avery joined his family in Burke County at Swan Pond plantation after the Revolution. Between 1782 and 1796 he served several terms in the state House of Commons and one senate term.
Avery was known for his manners, gentlemanly demeanor and his adherence to colonial-style dress.
1935 A three-thousand-year-old archive is found in Jerusalem confirming biblical history.
1937 Maj. Gen. Henry Wolfe Butner, a native of Surry County North Carolina and commander of the First Artillery Brigade in World War I, died. Butner received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star among other commendations for his wartime service. He was also briefly the commander at Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina.
1941 Hitler issues an edict calling for an invasion of the Soviet Union.
1942 Julia Flikke of the Nurse Corps becomes the first woman colonel in the U.S. Army.
1974 The U.S. Senate votes 54-33 to restore the death penalty.