Whitesburg KY
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Moments in time



• On Aug. 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau’s classic “Walden; or, A Life in the Woods” is published. The book is Walden’s account of his experimental time of simple living in a cabin at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, starting in 1845. The book sold just 300 copies a year when it was published.

• On Aug. 13, 1878, Kate Bionda, a restaurant owner, dies of yellow fever in Memphis, Tennessee, after a man who had escaped a quarantined steamboat visited her restaurant. The disease spread rapidly, and the resulting epidemic emptied the city. An average of 200 people died each day through September.

• On Aug. 15, 1914, the Panama Canal, the American built waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is inaugurated. U.S. engineers moved nearly 240 million cubic yards of earth and spent more than $10 billion in today’s dollars in constructing the 40-mile-long canal.

• On Aug. 11, 1921, author Alex Haley is born in Ithaca, New York. His novel “Roots” (1976) was a fictionalized account of his family’s history, traced through seven generations. It won a special Pulitzer Prize.

• On Aug. 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act, which guaranteed an income for the unemployed and retirees. The Social Security system has remained relatively unchanged since 1935.

• On Aug. 12, 1964, Charlie Wilson, part of the gang who pulled off the 1963 Great Train Robbery, one of the biggest heists of its kind, escapes from the maximum-security Winson

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