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Monthly History Highlights

January 6, 2020 – Handsel Monday

According to Scottish custom, the first Monday of the new year was the time to give children and servants a small gift called a handsel. Such gifts, regardless of their size or value, were thought to bring good luck. This New Year’s custom was popular from the 14th through the 19th centuries. It also referred to a gift given to mark any new situation-such as moving into a new home-and not just the new year.

January 24, 1848 – Gold Rush!

On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, California, and the gold rush of 1849 began. Gold-mad pioneers traveled west to search on John Sutter’s land for the precious ore. Very few prospectors ever found the stuff of their dreams, but Sutter’s cattle were killed and his lands trampled. Eventually, he moved back to Pennsylvania, disillusioned by the entire ordeal.

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James Buchanan was the only U.S. president never to marry.

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