• On Oct. 9, 1635, religious dissident Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the General Court of Massachusetts. Williams had spoken out against the right of civil authorities to punish religious dissension.
• On Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorizes construction and administration of the first American naval force, the precursor to the United States Navy, which was established April 1798.
• On Oct. 12, 1786, widower Thomas Jefferson composes a romantic and introspective love letter to a married woman named Maria Cosway, who he’d met in Paris earlier that year. Eventually Jefferson’s ardor cooled, and in 1789 he wrote more about his scientific studies than of his love and desire for her. The now-famous letter is known to historians as “A Dialogue between the Head and Heart.”
• On Oct. 7, 1943, Rear Adm. Shigematsu Sakaibara, commander of the Japanese garrison on Wake Island, orders the execution of 96 Americans POWs, claiming they were trying to make radio contact with U.S. forces. The cold-blooded executions remain one of the more brutal episodes of the war in the Pacific.
• On Oct. 10, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower offers his apologies to Ghana’s finance minister, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, who was refused service at a restaurant in Dover, Delaware. It was one of the first of many such incidents in which African diplomats were confronted with racial segregation in the U.S.
• On Oct. 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII convenes an ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, the first in 92 years. The pope hoped to bring spiritual rebirth to Catholicism and cultivate greater unity with the other branches of Christianity.
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