1875 Pinkertons maim Frank and Jesse James’ mother Mistakenly believing Frank and Jesse James are hiding out at their family home, a gang of men–likely led by Pinkerton detectives–mount a raid that leaves the outlaws’ mother permanently maimed and their nine-year-old half-brother dead. The Chicago-based Pinkerton Detective Agency had been pursuing the James brothers and their gang since 1874, when several big railroad companies first hired the Pinkertons to stop the outlaws. Responsible for a string of bank and train robberies, the James brothers were already famous for their daring style, and some even viewed the men as modern-day Robin Hoods. The Pinkertons, though, had no such romantic illusions about the outlaws. One of their best operatives working on the case, John W. Witcher, had been found dead from a bullet wound to the stomach, with his head, shoulder, and face eaten away by wild hogs. The Pinkertons were convinced Jesse James and another gang member had murdered Witcher, and they were determined to stop the outlaws. In late 1874, the Pinkertons learned that Jesse and Frank James periodically returned to their old family farm in Clay County, Missouri, to visit with their mother and other family. On the night of January 26, 1875, a gang of men surrounded the James farm in the mistaken belief that the James brothers were inside. In an attempt to flush the outlaws out of the house, the gang threw several flares through the windows. Unexpectedly, one of the flares exploded instantly, killing Frank and Jesse’s young half-brother and blowing away their mother’s arm. Though the identity of the gang members has never been determined with absolute certainty, contemporary admirers of the James Brothers and modern-day historians agree that the Pinkertons were probably responsible. Regardless, the incident gave credence to the popular view that the men were innocent victims of the powerful railroads that had hired the Pinkertons to wipe them out. After the attack on the James farm, the Pinkertons appear to have backed off from their more aggressive tactics. One of his own gang members, not a Pinkerton operative, killed Jesse James for a bounty in 1882. Frank James surrendered shortly thereafter, but no jury would convict him, and he remained a free and law-abiding citizen until his death in 1915. The grave of Jesse, who was buried in the front yard of his mother’s farm, became a popular tourist attraction. For many years, tourists could pay Mrs. James 25ÝF to visit the grave and listen to her tearful and melodramatic account of how venal Pinkertons and evil railroad barons had so unjustly persecuted her good and utterly innocent sons. Australia Day On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare. Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. With little idea of what he could expect from the mysterious and distant land, Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for more experienced farmers to assist the penal colony were repeatedly denied, and he was both poorly funded and outfitted. Nonetheless, accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men. The first years of settlement were nearly disastrous. Cursed with poor soil, an unfamiliar climate and workers who were ignorant of farming, Phillip had great difficulty keeping the men alive. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for several years, and the marines sent to keep order were not up to the task. Phillip, who proved to be a tough but fair-minded leader, persevered by appointing convicts to positions of responsibility and oversight. Floggings and hangings were commonplace, but so was egalitarianism. As Phillip said before leaving England: “In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves.” Though Phillip returned to England in 1792, the colony became prosperous by the turn of the 19th century. Feeling a new sense of patriotism, the men began to rally around January 26 as their founding day. Historian Manning Clarke noted that in 1808 the men observed the “anniversary of the foundation of the colony” with “drinking and merriment.” Finally, in 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. And, as Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day. Today, Australia Day serves both as a day of celebration for the founding of the white British settlement, and as a day of mourning for the Aborigines who were slowly dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent. 1936 So-called Mad Butcher terrorizes Cleveland The dismembered body of Florence Polillo is found in a basket and several burlap sacks in Cleveland. The 42-year-old woman was the third victim in 18 months to be found dismembered with precision. It sparked a panic in Cleveland,where the unknown murderer was dubbed the “Mad Butcher.” In June 1936, another head, and later a headless body, turned up and police were unable to identify the victim. Even when a replica mask of the victim’s face was displayed at the Great Lakes Exposition, the victim remained a mystery, while the Mad Butcher continued killing. By the summer of 1938, with the body count into double digits, the Cleveland police were desperate to find the Mad Butcher. One suspect, an actual butcher named Frank Dolezal, was interrogated for 40 straight hours until he confessed to killing Florence Polillo. However, he subsequently changed his story many times and killed himself in his cell before his guilt could be determined. In reality, though, few authorities believed Dolezal was actually the killer—it is believed that the real suspect was relatively prominent and politically connected, and as a result the police department trumped up the case against Dolezal. All official police records of the matter have been destroyed. The Mad Butcher’s attack stopped in Cleveland after the Dolezal’s suicide. The true identity of the Mad Butcher remains a mystery to this day.