This Day In History – September 25


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With the historian it is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present. —Kenneth Milton Stampp (12 July 1912 – 10 July 2009), Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley (1946–1983), was a celebrated historian of slavery, the American Civil War, and Reconstruction.


Baroque-era depiction of Saint Fermin (left) and Saint Francis Xavier, principal co-patrons of the Kingdom of Navarre.

September 25, 303 – Early Church History

Saint Fermin of Pamplona on voyage preaching the gospel martyred in France

Saint Fermin of Amiens (also Firmin, from Latin, Firminus; in Spanish, Fermín; in Basque, Fermin) is one of many locally venerated Catholic saints. Fermin is the co-patron of Navarra, where his feast, the ‘San Fermín’ in the capital Pamplona, is forever associated with the Encierro or ‘Running of the Bulls’ made famous by Ernest Hemingway. Fermin was long venerated also at Amiens, where he met martyrdom.

Fermin is said to have been the son of a Roman of senatorial rank in Pamplona in the 3rd century, who was converted to Christianity by Saint Honestus, a disciple of Saint Saturninus. According to tradition, he was baptised by Saturninus (in Navarra “San Cernin”) at the spot now known as the Pocico de San Cernin, the “Small Well of San Cernin”, across from the facade of the church dedicated to St Cernin.

Fermin was ordained a priest in Toulouse, according to the local legend, and returned to Pamplona as its first bishop. On a later voyage preaching the gospel, Fermin was beheaded in Amiens, France. He died on September 25, AD 303. In Legenda aurea several miracles attended the discovery and translation of the relics of Saint Fermin in the time of Savin, bishop of Amiens (traditionally ca 600). A sweet odor arose from his grave. The smell caused ice and snow to melt, flowers to grow, the sick to be cured, and trees to be inclined reverently toward the saint.

Source Wikipeida

Further reading:

  • San Fermin – Kingdom of Navarre
  • SAINT FIRMIN First Bishop of Amiens and Martyr
  • Saint Fermin, depicted in an eighteenth-century oil painting


    Harold depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry

    September 25, 1066 – Medieval History – Forging Britain & The West

    The Battle of Stamford Bridge marks closing chapter of Viking invasions of England

    The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire in England on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway (Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði) and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson.

    After a horrific battle, both Hardrada and Tostig along with the majority of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived: he was defeated and killed at Hastings less than three weeks later.

    Attributed coat of arms of Harold

    The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although in fact major Scandinavian campaigns in the British Isles occurred in the following decades, notably those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069-70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102-3.

    Read more at Wikipedia

    Painting of the Battle of Stamford Bridge by Peter Nicolai Arbo, depicting King Harald Hardrada hit in the neck by an arrow


    Engraving depicting Allen before his captors in Montreal

    September 25, 1775 – American War of Independence

    Patriot-Hero Ethan Allen is captured

    After aborting a poorly planned and ill-timed attack on the British-controlled city of Montreal, Continental Army Colonel Ethan Allen is captured by the British on this day in 1775. After being identified as an officer of the Continental Amy, Allen was taken prisoner and sent to England to be executed.

    Although Allen ultimately escaped execution because the British government feared reprisals from the American colonies, he was imprisoned in England for more than two years until being returned to the United States on May 6, 1778, as part of a prisoner exchange. Allen then returned to Vermont and was given the rank of major general in the Vermont militia. In 1777, Vermonters had formally declared their independence from Britain and their fellow colonies when they created the Republic of Vermont. Forever loyal to the colony he founded, Allen spent the rest his life petitioning the Continental Congress to grant statehood to Vermont.

    The flag of the Green Mountain Boys

    After the war concluded, the independent Vermont could not join the new republic as a state, because New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut all claimed the territory as their own. In response, frustrated Vermonters, including Allen, went so far as to negotiate with the Canadian governor, Frederick Haldimand, about possibly rejoining the British empire.

    Ethan Allen died on his farm along the Winooski River in the still independent Republic of Vermont on February 12, 1789, at the age of 51. Two years after his death, Vermont was officially admitted into the Union and declared the 14th state of the United States.

    Source This Day In History

    Further reading:

  • The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum
  • Ethan Allen – Wikipedia

    Alfred Vail

    September 25, 1807 – Science History

    Alfred Vail American telegraph pioneer born

    Alfred Lewis Vail, American telegraph pioneer and an associate and financial backer of Samuel F.B. Morse in the experimentation that made the telegraph a commercial reality. The final form of the Morse code was perfected by Vail who simplified the whole process by introducing the telegraph key. Vail is responsible for the efficiency of the code, using the principle that the most frequently sent letters should have the shortest code. —Today In Science

    On 24 May 1844, [Samuel Morse] sent the message “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT” from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol in Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in Baltimore. This message (quoting Numbers 23:23) was chosen by Annie Ellsworth of Lafayette, Indiana,[11] the daughter of Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth. The message was all capital letters because the original Morse code alphabet had no question mark or lower case.

    The Morse/Vail telegraph was quickly deployed in the following two decades; the overland telegraph connected the west coast of the continent to the east coast by 24 October 1861, bringing an end to the Pony Express. —Wikipedia

    A Morse Key


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    An 1861 cartoon map of the blockade, known as Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan.

    September 25, 1862 – American Civil War

    First Battle of Sabine Pass Texas ends

    On September 23, 1862, the Union Steamer Kensington, Schooner Rachel Seaman, and Mortar Schooner Henry James appeared off the bar at Sabine Pass. The next morning, the two schooners crossed the bar, took position, and began firing on the Confederate shore battery. The shots from both land and shore fell far short of the targets. The ships then moved nearer until their projectiles began to fall amongst the Confederate guns.

    The Confederate cannons, however, still could not hit the ships. After dark, the Confederates evacuated, taking as much property as possible with them and spiking the four guns left behind. On the morning of the 25th, the schooners moved up to the battery and destroyed it while Acting Master Frederick Crocker, commander of the expedition, received the surrender of the town. Union control of Sabine Pass made later incursions into the interior possible.

    Source National Park Service

    Further reading:

  • First Battle of Sabine
  • Union Blockade
  • Union Navy
  • Part of the crew of USS Monitor, after her encounter with CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) - (USS Monitor, Union Navy not part of Battle of Sabine Pass)


    Plow & Hearth


    Oliver Loving

    September 25, 1867 – Old West

    Cattleman Oliver Loving dies of complications from wound in Indian fighting

    “Come gather ’round me boys,
    And I’ll tell you a tale,
    All about my troubles
    On the old Chisolm Trail …”


    Charles Goodnight

    Cattleman Oliver Loving died at Ft. Sumner of gangrene poisoning resulting from an Indian attack. He requested that his body be returned to Texas as he did not want to be buried in a “foreign land.” The following year Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving’s son, Joseph, brought a metal casket containing the remains of Oliver Loving 600 miles back to Texas. Oliver Loving is called “The Dean of Texas Trail Drivers” as he is the founder of three major cattle trails. –Source Today in Old West History

    Founder of “Goodnight-Loving Trail”, a 700-mile route through west Texas and New Mexico that eventually brought the cattle right into the booming mining regions of Colorado.

    Read more at This Day In History


    Other events this day in the Old West

    Buffalo Soldier

    1868- Eastern Colorado/Western Kansas, Battle of Beecher Island- after having repulsed a large band of Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux on September 17th Col. George A. Forsyth sent two of his men, Stilwell and Trudeau, to get help for the critically wounded. They managed to make it through the Sioux and Cheyenne and bring help. On this date the 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers)-came riding to their rescue with a field ambulance and medical supplies.

    1872- Arizona Territory- Captain J.W. Mason reports that 40 Indians were killed by the 5th Cavalry at Muchos Canyon on Arizona’s Santa Maria River.

    Calamity Jane 1895

    1873- Benson’s Landing, Montana Territory- Calamity Jane gave birth to a baby girl, Jean Hickok, much later claiming that the child is Wild Bill Hickok’s and that she was born in a cave.

    1875- Henry McCarty (AKA Billy the Kid) escapes from a Silver City jail and rides towards Arizona Territory.

    1877- Montana Territory- Major Guido Ilges and civilian volunteers fight the Nez Perce at Cow Creek Canyon. One settler is killed and two Indians are wounded.

    1877- Kansas- Bill Heffridge and Joel Collins, members of Sam Bass‘s gang, are killed by soldiers in Grove County.

    1886- Fort Du Chesne, Utah- Major Frederick Benteen, of Little Bighorn fame, is found drunk while on duty.

    Billy the Kid

    1888- Texas- Over a sort period of time Bill Whitley, Brack Cornett, and others robbed the bank at Cisco, Texas, taking $25,000 and, a few days later, they stopped an I&GN train near McNeill in Travis County, stealing $20,000 from the express car. Cornett’s gang stopped another Southern Pacific train at Harwood, but a sheriff’s posse was on board waiting for them and the gang was driven off. The band was successful in robbing another train near Flatonia. At Floresville in Wilson County, Texas, the band was finally trapped by U.S. marshals on this date. The gang members elected to shoot it out and Whitley was killed, another member was captured, and Cornett escaped in a wild ride across the plains. Sheriff Alfred Allee tracked the bandit across Arizona and, at Frio, shot it out with him, killing Cornett.

    Further reading:

  • The Real Lonesome Dove
  • Cattle Drives
  • Cattle drive


    British infantry advancing through gas at Loos, 25 September 1915.

    September 25, 1915 – World War I

    The Battle of Loos begins

    On September 25, 1915, following a four-day artillery bombardment along a six-and-a-half-mile front, British forces launch an attack on German positions at Loos, Belgium, beginning the Battle of Loos.

    The British attack at Loos, led by Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the 1st Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), comprised half of a simultaneous Allied offensive begun in two separate regions: as the British proceeded at Loos, the French attacked the German lines at Champagne and at Vimy Ridge in the Arras region of France. Aimed at relieving Russian distress on the Eastern Front by diverting German resources, the ambitious joint offensive counted on superior numbers—including a 3-1 ratio of French to Germans at Champagne—to overpower the enemy. The French commander in chief, General Joseph Joffre, later calculated that 54 French and 13 British divisions went into action along a total front of 90 kilometers.

    Despite Allied numerical superiority, the Germans were able to successfully defend their positions against both the British and the French, aided by a second line of trenches and weapons they had constructed five to six miles behind the front lines, shielded from the enemy artillery and out of range of observation. Joffre, for one, tried to justify the offensive’s lack of progress, proclaiming that “We shall kill more of the enemy than he can kill of us.” This rationale of attrition would be invoked often throughout the rest of the war, on both sides of the lines. In this case, however, German casualties during the offensive totaled only 60,000, while combined Allied casualties reached a quarter of a million.

    At Loos, the British employed poisonous gas for the first time in the war, releasing some 150 tons of chlorine from over 5,000 gas cylinders across no-man’s land. The gas failed, however, to reach the German trenches and inflict any significant damage. By the time the attacks were called off, death tolls at Loos exceeded those of any previous battle: of the nearly 10,000 British soldiers who attacked, 385 officers and 7,861 enlisted men were killed. Haig blamed the BEF’s commander in chief, Sir John French, for failing to commit reserve troops in time to aid the 1st Army at Loos. Invoking this failure, and using his influence with King George V, Haig managed to get French recalled and himself elevated to the position of commander in chief in December 1915.

    Source This Day In History

    Further reading:

  • The Battle of Loos
  • Photos of the Loos Battlefield

    A No. 105 Squadron Mosquito B Mark IV in 1942

    September 25, 1942 – World War II

    Gestapo headquarters targeted in Norway in “Oslo Mosquito Raid”

    On this day in 1942, British bombers attempt to take out the local headquarters of the German secret state police, the Gestapo, in Norway. They miss–but send some Nazis running for their lives.

    Germany invaded Norway in April 1940, in a stunning blitzkrieg campaign, a response to Britain’s laying of mines in Norwegian waters–which was itself a response to Norway’s iron-ore trade with the Axis power. But in one short month, the British and French troops that had landed in Norway to aid in its defense were chased out, as well as Norway’s royal family, who set up a government-in-exile in London.

    German officers stand in front of the National Theater in Oslo, 1940.

    The Germans immediately established a Reich commissioner to rule the occupied territory. The commissioner outlawed all political parties but one–the pro-Nazi National Unity Party. It was led by Vidkun Quisling, the former Norwegian minister of war. His name would become synonymous with acquiescence and collaboration. Quisling, now a German puppet, ruled as a Nazi wannabe, an overlord who would brook no dissent, even sending thousands of his own countrymen to German concentration camps. A majority of Norwegians despised both Quisling and his German masters. Teachers and clergy resigned their positions in the state-sponsored church in order not to be implicated in the new fascist regime.

    One means of keeping defiant locals of newly occupied countries under control was the use of the Gestapo. An office was typically set up in conquered nations to terrorize the populace. On September 25, during a Nazi Party rally in Oslo, British aircraft, aiming to destroy the records of the Norwegian Resistance (kept in Gestapo headquarters, but not as yet acted upon), bombed the building. The bombs missed their target, but surrounding buildings were hit, and four people were killed. The Brits did put a scare into the Nazis, though, who ran from the city, leaving their Party’s rally in ruins.

    German infantry attacking through a burning Norwegian village, April 1940.

    Source This Day In History

    Further reading:

  • Oslo Mosquito raid
  • Lofoten War Museum
  • Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany
  • Norwegian resistance movement 1 of 4


    Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results. —Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance.


    America remember and honor your history – it will give direction,
    purpose and security to your future.


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