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Last updated 2/22/2022 at 2:26pm | View PDF

The History Channel

* On Feb. 23, 1885, a 19-year-old man named John Lee is sent to the gallows in Exeter, England, for the murder of a rich, older woman. However, the gallows equipment malfunctioned three times and Lee was not dropped. He was then sent back to prison.

* On Feb. 24, 1969, after a North Vietnamese mortar shell rocks their Douglas AC-47 gunship, Airman First Class John L. Levitow throws himself on an activated flare and tosses it out of the aircraft just before it ignites. For saving his fellow crewmembers and the gunship, Airman Levitow was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

* On Feb. 25, 1890, Vlacheslav Skryabin, foreign minister for the Soviet Union who took the revolutionary name Molotov, is born in Russia. Molotov advocated the use of throwing bottles filled with flammable liquid and stuffed with a lit rag, and the famous “Molotov cocktail” was born.

* On Feb. 26, 1903, Alexander Winton, driving his Winton Bullet, sets the first speed record ever achieved at Daytona Beach, Florida. Built in 1902 the “Bullet Number 1” drove a measured mile at over 65 mph.

* On Feb. 27, 1860, President Abraham Lincoln poses for the first of several portraits by noted Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady. A relatively new art form, the photograph (or daguerreotype) showed a beardless Lincoln just moments before he delivered an address at Cooper Union.

* On Feb. 28, 1953, Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes. The molecular biologists were aided significantly by the work of another researcher, Rosalind Franklin, although she did not share the subsequent Nobel Prize.

* On March 1, 1932, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., the 20-month-old son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, is kidnapped from the family’s new mansion in New Jersey. The baby’s body was found a mile from the home. One of the $70,000 ransom bills was discovered and tracked to a German immigrant. He was tried, convicted and electrocuted in 1936.

* On March 2, 1978, two men steal the corpse of the film actor Charles Chaplin from a cemetery in Switzerland. Chaplin’s wife refused to pay the $600,000 ransom and police later arrested two auto mechanics who were convicted of grave robbing and attempted extortion.

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