1800 : Jane Johnston Schoolcraft Born
Jan 31 all-day

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft.jpg

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (her English name) or Bamewawagezhikaquay (her Ojibwe name), Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky, was born in 1800 in Sault Ste. Marie in what is now the state of Michigan. By the time she died in 1842, she had produced a large body of literary and other writings. Eclipsed from the historical record by her famous husband, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864), Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was nevertheless among the first American Indian writers. She was also the first known American Indian literary writer, the first known Indian woman writer, the first known Indian poet, the first known poet to write poems in a Native American language, and the first known American Indian to write out traditional Indian stories (as opposed to transcribing and translating from someone else’s oral delivery, which she did also). Her stories became a key source for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s sensational bestseller The Song of Hiawatha.

The sound the stars make rushing through the sky : the writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft / edited by Robert Dale Parker. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2007.

For more information, see Introduction to Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Voices from the Gaps.

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft / Robert Dale Parker. An annotated bibliography, part of the American Literature module of Oxford Bibliographies Online.

1849 : New Detroit Fort Named Fort Wayne
Jan 31 all-day

Modern day photo of Fort Wayne, courtest of Pinterest

On January 31, 1849, the new fort constructed in Detroit was named Fort Wayne, in honor of the late General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, whose victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 eliminated the threat of an alliance of Indian tribes in the Northwest Territory.

Source: Detroit Historical Society of Michigan

1865 : Michigan Congressional Delegation Helps Pass the 13th Amendment
Jan 31 all-day

On January 31, 1865, the House of Representatives passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, eradicating slavery in America for good.

There were six respresentatives from Michigan that day and all voted for the amendment:
MI 1st: Fernando Beaman (R)
MI 2nd: Charles Upson (R)
MI 3rd: John Longyear (R)
MI 4th: Francis Kellogg (R)
MI 5th: Augustus Baldwin (D)
MI 6th: John Driggs (R)

For more about each Congressman, see

Scott Bragg, “Here are the Representatives from Michigan who voted for the Thirteenth Amendment”, Night Train, January 31, 2015.

1936 : Green Hornet Debuts
Jan 31 all-day

See the source image

The Green Hornet is one of those “super-heroes” that isn’t really super…you know, like Batman. The character of The Green Hornet was created in Michigan for Detroit radio WXYZ by Fran Striker (and possibly radio owner George W. Trendle), who also created ‘The Lone Ranger’.

The Green Hornet radio program debuted on WXYZ Radio in Detroit on January 31, 1936, the same station that aired “The Lone Ranger” and another creation of Striker’s, “Sgt. Preston Of The Yukon”. The show proved to be very popular with Michigan audiences and on April 12, 1938, the show went national and aired for twelve years, ending in 1950. The show had a great opening intro: “He hunts the biggest game! Public enemies that even the G-men cannot reach!” However, the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover got angry over that statement. He complained that Green Hornet’s radio intro was demeaning to his own stable of G-Men (government agents). He complained so loudly that WXYZ was forced to change the intro to say “Public enemies who try to destroy our America!”

Sources :

John Robinson, “ The ‘Green Hornet’ Was Created in Michigan, 1936  “, | 99.1 WFMK Blog, June 23, 2021.

Green Hornet Wikipedia Entry.

1945 : Michigan Soldier Executed for Desertion, First Since Civil War
Jan 31 all-day

Image result for Pvt. Eddie SlovikOn January 31, 1945, Pvt. Eddie Slovik of Hamtramck was executed for desertion in France during WWII. He was the first and only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.

Sources :

Image result for Pvt. Eddie Slovik

Historical Society of Michigan

Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University

World War II: Eddie Slovik Court Martial and Execution Documents

The Execution of Private Slovik wikipedia entry

Chris Walch, “The Execution of Private Slovik, 40 Years Later“, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 14, 2014

1950 : Michigan Governor Calls for Higher Teacher Salaries
Jan 31 all-day

Increased salaries for teachers with a pupil-teacher ratio of 18 to 1 were advocated by Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams in an address Sunday afternoon before the mid-winter graduating class of Western Michigan college. …

America can retain its present world leadership, he concluded, only if it adopts a broad social program. That program he asserted, must contain provisions for “greater aid for the aged, full employment, adequate housing, slum clearance, youth recreational programs, elimination of waste in the development of our natural resources, and the removal of racial discrimination.”

Source : Lansing State Journal, January 31, 1950

2004 : SPC Holly McGeogh, the Only Michigan Woman To Die in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Jan 31 all-day


Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bill which will name a section of I-75 in Taylor, MI the “SPC Holly McGeogh Memorial Highway”. On Jan. 31, 2004 at age 19, Holly became the first, and we believe the only female from Michigan to be killed in action in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s important to know that Holly loved serving in the Army and in Iraq. Rather than goodies for herself, she asked her mother to send candy in care packages that she could give to the Iraqi children.

Honor the Fallen : Army Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh; Died January 31, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Military Times.

1802 : Detroit Receives City Charter from Northwest Territorial Government
Feb 1 all-day

Detroit was incorporated as a town by the legislature of the Northwest Territory at Chillicothe, Ohio, and approved by Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair on January 18, 1802, effective February 1, 1802. Government was administered by a five-person board of trustees and there was no office of mayor.

Shortly thereafter, on February 23rd, the board of trustees for the newly created city of Detroit adopts a fire code that requires all residents and business owners to sweep their chimneys often.  It also provides buckets and ladders to residents, who are required to turn out to fight any fires.

Apparently the fear of fire was genuine.  On June 11, 1805, Detroit was destroyed by fire when baker John Harvey allegedly sets his barn ablaze with ashes from his pipe.

At the time of its incorporation as a city Detroit was about a third of a square mile, or 213 acres.


History of Detroit Wikipedia Entry.

Early American Detroit (1787-1820)

1813 : British Commander of Newly Seized Detroit Orders Prominent Americans to Depart
Feb 1 all-day

After Detroit was captured in War of 1812, Colonel Henry Proctor, the British commander, declared martial law and ordered prominent Americans to leave Detroit.

Source : Historical Society of Michigan.

Letter from 29 Detroit Citizens protesting the order that they depart, February 1, 1813 from History of Monroe County.

1832 : Ann Arbor Newspaper Calls for Transcontinental Railroad
Feb 1 all-day

On February 1, 1832, The Western Immigrant, an Ann Arbor newspaper, printed the first published proposal for a transcontinental railroad.

Source: Michigan History

Or was it February 6, 1832? See John Debo Galloway, The Transcontinental Railroad, Chapter 3, Simmons-Boardman, New York, 1950.

For a related article, see “Dr. Hartwell Carver’s Proposal to Build a Railroad from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean”

Asa Whitney Pitches Transcontinental Railroad to Congress, from Lake Michigan to the Pacific, January 17, 1848.