• On Jan. 12, 1838, after his Mormon bank fails in the Panic of 1837, Joseph Smith flees Kirtland, Ohio, to avoid potential criminal prosecution by angry and disillusioned former believers. Smith claimed the angel Moroni had visited him in 1823 and told him he was destined to become a modern prophet of God.
• On Jan. 13, 1968, in the midst of a plummeting music career, legendary country singer Johnny Cash arrives to play for inmates at California’s Folsom Prison. The concert and the subsequent live album launched him back onto the charts.
• On Jan. 15, 1870, the first recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party appears in Harper’s Weekly, drawn by political illustrator Thomas Nast. Four years later, Nash originated the use of an elephant to symbolize the Republican Party in a Harper’s Weekly cartoon.
* On Jan. 16, 1938, Benny Goodman brings jazz to Carnegie Hall, a notion so outlandish at the time that Goodman himself initially laughed off the idea. The concert at the citadel of American high culture sold out weeks in advance.
• On Jan. 14, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens from World War II-enemy countries — Italy, Germany and Japan — to register with the Department of Justice.
• On Jan. 17, 1950, 11 men steal more than $2 million ($22 million today) from the Brink’s Armored Car depot in Boston. It was the perfect crime —almost — as the culprits weren’t caught until January 1956, just days before the statute of limitations for the theft expired.
(c) 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved