On This Day in History: January 3

What happened today in history? On January 3, the truths behind the Stuart case started to come to light after one brother turned the other in.

1431: The Beginning of the End for Joan of Arc

Despite an originally successful career leading the French armies, Joan of Arc’s end started today in history. The unsuspecting leader was handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon. Her decisions around this point had started to see the French armies lose, and she was viewed as a heretic rather than a messenger from God. While initially agreeing with decisions to dress like a girl again and denounce her connection to God, she later reversed that decision and was burned at the stake.

1521: Pope Leo X Excommunicates Martin Luther

There were various notable figures in history excommunicated for their beliefs. One of those was Martin Luther, who was excommunicated on this day in history. Luther was the main reason for Protestantism. He believed that the Catholic Church was corrupt and created his own theological works, which soon spread across Europe. In England, Henry VIII originally condemned Luther’s beliefs but introduced the Protestant religion when he wanted his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The English religious reformation was one of the most controversial. Three months after his excommunication, Luther was declared a heretic and outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, as he refused to recant his writings.


1861: Delaware Remains With the North

South Carolina had become the first state to break away from the Union two weeks before this. On this day in history, Delaware rejected the proposal to follow suit. While it was a slave state, that institution was not widespread by this point. Only about 1,800 of the 20,000 black people living in Delware were slaves. Others failed to follow Delaware’s example, with six others seceding over the next few weeks.

1959: Alaska Becomes the 49th State

The first addition to the United States after World War II occurred on this day. Alaska became the 49th and largest state. Originally Russian, Alaska was bought by the United States in 1867, although America had trading rights from the 1820s. President Andrew Johnson was ridiculed for the decision, but Alaska soon became a worthy financial decision because of its rich natural resources.

1967: Jack Ruby Dies Awaiting Second Trial

Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby died of cancer today in history, while waiting for his second trial to begin. He had been accused of killing President John F. Kennedy’s alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. When the Texas Court of Appeals had overturned his death sentence, Ruby was granted a new trial. While Jack Rubysome had viewed Ruby as a hero, his decision to shoot Oswald was first-degree murder.

1990: The Stuart Case

On October 23, 1989, a pregnant Carol Stuart had been shot and killed. Her husband, Charles Stuart, claimed a black man had driven through the Boston neighborhood, robbed them and shot them both. When police arrived at the scene, they found both shot, and Carol barely alive. Carol and the baby died of the injuries, and Charles had to undergo intestinal surgery. On this day, Matthew Stuart told Boston prosecutors that it was actually his brother who had carried out the shooting. Police were so focused on Charles’ story that they had not looked into other suspects or possibilities. Months before the murder, Charles had discussed with family members and some friends that he wanted his wife dead and did not want her to have the baby. Matthew testified against his brother.

Famous Birthdays on January 3

Roman philosopher Cicero–106 BC

Japanese Emperor Tsuchimikado–1196

Possible first African-American born in the New World, William Tucker—1621

Composer Alexander Ewing–1830

Former First Lady Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge–1879

Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee–1883

Assassinated South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem—1901

The Great Escape director John Sturges—1911

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones–1946

Actor Mel Gibson—1956

Author Francesca Lia Block–1962

Formula One racing driver Michael Shumacher–1969



Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and OnThisDay.com

Image of Jack Ruby in the public domain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ruby#/media/File:CE5301C.jpg)

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