• On Feb. 4, 1789, George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army, is unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors. John Adams of Massachusetts, who received 34 votes, was elected vice president.
• On Jan. 29, 1843, William McKinley, who will become the 25th American president, is born in Niles, Ohio. McKinley served in the White House when the U.S. automotive industry was in its infancy, and he was the first president to ride in an automobile, a Stanley Steamer.
• On Jan. 31, 1872, Zane Grey, author of “Riders of the Purple Sage,” is born in Zanesville, Ohio. As a child, Grey sometimes got in fistfights with boys who teased him about his first name, Pearl. Grey later replaced it with his mother’s maiden name, Zane.
• On Feb. 1, 1884, the first portion of the Oxford English Dictionary is published. It took more than 40 years until the full dictionary was complete — at over 400,000 words and phrases in 10 volumes — in April 1928.
• On Jan. 30, 1933, with a shout of “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!” The Lone Ranger debuts on radio. The naive creators had the Indian scout Tonto speaking in a comical Indian patois, uttering ludicrous phrases like “You betchum!”
• On Feb. 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb, is arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were subsequently executed.
• On Feb. 2, 1962, the first U.S. Air Force plane is lost in South Vietnam. The C-123 aircraft crashed while spraying an Agent Orange-like defoliant on a Viet Cong ambush site.
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