1885 Apache chief Geronimo flees Arizona reservation, setting off panic For the second time in two years, the Apache chief Geronimo breaks out of an Arizona reservation, sparking panic among Arizona settlers. A famous medicine man and the leader of the Chiricahua Apache, Geronimo achieved national fame by being the last American Indian to surrender formally to the United States. For nearly 30 years, Geronimo and his followers resisted the attempts of Americans to take away their southwestern homeland and confine them to a reservation. He was a fearless warrior and a master of desert survival. The best officers of the U.S. Army found it nearly impossible to find Geronimo, much less decisively defeat him. In 1877, Geronimo was forced to move to the San Carlos, Arizona, reservation for the first time, but he was scarcely beaten. Instead, Geronimo treated the reservation as just one small part of the vast territory he still considered to belong to the Apache. Fed up with the strictures and corruption of the reservation, he and many other Apache broke out for the first time in 1881. For nearly two years, the Apache band raided the southwestern countryside despite the best efforts of the army to stop them. Finally, Geronimo wearied of the continual harassment of the U.S. Army and agreed to return to the reservation in 1884, much on his own terms. He did not stay long. Among the many rules imposed upon the Apache on the reservation was the prohibition of any liquor, including a weak beer they had traditionally brewed from corn. In early May 1885, Geronimo and a dozen other leaders deliberately staged a corn beer festival. Reasoning that the authorities would be unlikely to try to punish such a large group, they openly admitted the deed, expecting that it would lead to negotiations. Because of a communication mix-up, however, the army failed to respond. Geronimo and the others assumed the delay indicated the army was preparing some drastic punishment for their crime. Rather than remain exposed and vulnerable on the reservation, Geronimo fled with 42 men and 92 women and children. Quickly moving south, Geronimo raided settlements along the way for supplies. In one instance, he attacked a ranch owned by a man named Phillips, killing him, his wife, and his two children. Frightened settlers demanded swift military action, and General George Crook coordinated a combined Mexican and American manhunt for the Apache. Thousands of soldiers tracked the fugitives but Geronimo and his band split into small groups and remained elusive. Crook’s failure to apprehend the Indians led to his eventual resignation. General Nelson Miles replaced him. Miles committed 5,000 troops to the campaign and even established 30 heliograph stations to improve communications. Still, Miles was also unable to find the elusive warrior. Informed that many of the reservation Apache, including his own family, had been taken to Florida, Geronimo apparently lost the will to fight. After a year and a half of running, Geronimo and his 38 remaining followers surrendered unconditionally to Miles on September 3, 1886. Relocated to Florida, Geronimo was imprisoned and kept from his family for two years. Finally, he was freed and moved with this family to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. He died of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909. 1827 Future president Andrew Johnson marries Eliza McCardle On this day in 1827, future President Andrew Johnson marries a shy, quiet, 16-year-old daughter of a shoemaker named Eliza McCardle. He was 18 years old. Johnson met Eliza while looking for a job as a tailor in Greeneville, Tennessee. The couple married in Warrenton, Tennessee, and settled down to raise a family in Greeneville. Her emotional stability balanced Johnson’s quick temper. While Eliza had been educated, her husband came from a poor family and never went to school. Eliza helped Johnson develop his woeful reading and writing skills and encouraged him to enter politics, even though she had no interest in the subject herself. While Johnson’s career took him from mayor of Greeneville (1834) to the Tennessee legislature (1835) and then to the U.S. House of Representatives(1843), Eliza stayed in Greeneville to raise their five children and run the household finances. Johnson came home to serve as Tennessee’s governor from 1853 to 1857, but then returned to Washington as a U.S. senator in late 1857. In 1860, Eliza reluctantly moved to the capital. When the Civil War broke out in 1860, Eliza moved back to Greeneville and then to Nashville while her husband served as the military governor of Tennessee. By the time her husband was chosen to be Abraham Lincoln’s second-term running mate in 1864, Eliza was suffering from increasingly poor health that was described as consumption (it is not known if she had tuberculosis). During the Civil War, she was in constant fear for her husband’s life, but that was just one of her worries. The couple’s middle son, Charles, had died in 1863 from an alcohol-related accident and a year later she sought medical help for their eldest son Robert, who was also an alcoholic. In 1864, their daughter Mary’s husband died of an ailment that was also then labeled as consumption. Although Eliza and Andrew had trouble with their sons, their daughters Martha and Mary were a great support during Johnson’s presidency. In 1865, Eliza was thrust into the role of first lady with the death of Lincoln. Lincoln’s assassination made Eliza even more afraid for her husband’s safety and she bravely agreed to move back to Washington to be at his side. Because of her poor health and her extreme dislike of her public role, Eliza let her eldest daughter Martha assume official White House hostess duties. When Johnson faced impeachment in 1868, Eliza’s constant presence in a sitting room across from his office in the White House had a calming effect on her husband. Johnson was acquitted and served out the rest of his term. When Johnson’s presidency ended, the couple returned to Tennessee. Eliza’s health declined further after their son Robert failed to overcome his alcoholism and committed suicide in 1869. Johnson was re-elected to the Senate early in 1875, but died of a stroke in July of that year. Eliza, who was too ill to attend her husband’s funeral, died six months later on January 15, 1876. 1965 The FBI Laboratory weighs in on the “dirty” lyrics of “Louie Louie” Based on outcry from parents who bought into what may have started as an idle rumor, the FBI launched a formal investigation in 1964 into the supposedly pornographic lyrics of the song “Louie, Louie.” That investigation finally neared its conclusion on this day in 1965, when the FBI Laboratory declared the lyrics of “Louie Louie” to be officially unintelligible. No one will ever know who started the rumor that “Louie Louie” was dirty. As written by Richard Berry in 1955, the lyrics revolve around a sailor from the Caribbean lamenting to a bartender named Louie about missing his far-away love. As recorded in crummy conditions and in a single take by the Kingsmen in 1963, lyrics like “A fine little girl, she wait for me…” came out sounding like “A phlg mlmrl hlurl, duh vvvr me” Perhaps it was some clever middle-schooler who started the rumor by trying to convince a classmate that those lyrics contained some words that are as unprintable today as they were back in 1963. Whatever the case, the story spread like wildfire, until the United States Department of Justice began receiving letters like the one addressed to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and dated January 30, 1964. “Who do you turn to when your teen age daughter buys and brings home pornographic or obscene materials being sold…in every City, Village and Record shop in this Nation?” that letter began, before going on to make the specific assertion that the lyrics of “Louie Louie” were “so filthy that I can-not enclose them in this letter.” Over the course of the next two years, the FBI gathered many versions of the putative lyrics to Louie Louie. They interviewed the man who wrote the song and officials of the record label that released the Kingsmen’s smash-hit single. They turned the record over to the audio experts in the FBI laboratory, who played and re-played “Louie Louie” at 78 rpm, 45 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm and even slower speeds in an effort to determine whether it was pornographic and, therefore, whether its sale was a violation of the federal Interstate Transportation of Obscene Material law. “Unintelligible at any speed” was the conclusion the FBI Laboratory relayed to the investigators in charge on this day in 1965, not quite exonerating “Louie Louie,” but also not damning the tune that would go on to become one of the most-covered songs in rock-and-roll history.