On this day in 1843 a large wagon train left Independence, Missouri on its way to Oregon. After 5 months and nearly 2000 miles these settlers, 1000 strong, would start their new lives in Oregon. This great migration along the Oregon Trail would inspire many future settlers to follow and be popularized for generations with books, movies, tv shows, and video games.
On this day in 1856 South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane while he was at his desk. Sumner was an ardent abolitionist, and had a habit of speaking against the evils of slavery and those who supported it. Brooks was not the target of Sumner's latest verbal barrage, but his cousin was, so he took it upon himself to defend the family name. Brooks instantly became a hero in the south and Sumner became a martyr for the cause in the north.