On This Day
1858 – Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide.
Anson Jones (January 20, 1799 – January 9, 1858) was a doctor, businessperson, member of Congress, and the fourth and last President of the Republic of Texas, sometimes called the “Architect of Annexation”.
Jones was born on January 20, 1799, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. There is no information between his birth and 1820. In 1820, Jones was licensed as a doctor by the Oneida, New York, Medical Society, and began medical practice in 1822. However, his practice did not prosper, and he moved several more times before finally being arrested in Philadelphia by a creditor. He stayed in Philadelphia for a few more years, teaching and practicing medicine, until in 1823 he decided to go to Venezuela.
Later, Jones returned to Philadelphia, earned an M.D., and reopened his practice. He never had much success as a doctor, and in 1832 he renounced medicine and headed for New Orleans, where he entered the mercantile trade. Once again, though, Jones’s dreams were thwarted. Though he safely weathered two plagues, his business efforts never met with any success and within a year he had no money.
He was a member and Past Master of the Masonic Harmony Lodge #52 of Philadelphia. He was a Past Grand of Independent Order of Odd Fellows Washington Lodge no.2 and Philadelphia Lodge no.13 in Pennsylvania and a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
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Born On This Day
1753 – Luísa Todi, Portuguese soprano and actress (d. 1833)
Luísa Rosa de Aguiar Todi (1753–1833) was a popular and successful Portuguese mezzo-soprano opera singer.
Luísa Todi was born Luísa Rosa de Aguiar on 9 January 1753 in Setúbal, Portugal. In 1765, her family moved to Lisbon, where her father was a musical writer in the Theatre of Bairro Alto.
Luísa began her career as an actress in 1767 or 1768 in Molière’s play Tartuffe. She met Francesco Saverio Todi, an Italian violinist, whom she married in 1769. After their marriage, on her husband’s advice, she began having singing lessons with David Perez, an Italian composer and Music Master of the Portuguese Royal Chapel.
In 1770, she began her career as a singer with Giuseppe Scolari’s opera Il Viaggiatore Ridicolo, in the Theatre of Bairro Alto. From 1772 to 1777, Luísa lived in Porto, where she was a singer and a singing teacher and where she began to be recognized as an artist of stature.
Rise to fame
In the winter of 1777, at age 24, she gave her first performance abroad, at the King’s Theatre in London. The enthusiastic critics said that “Mrs. Luísa Todi possesses high merit as singer and as actress.”
In 1778 she sang at the famous Concerts Spirituels in Paris, winning a triumph and being considered the best foreign singer ever featured in France. She remained in France until 1780; then from 1780 to 1783, she sang at the Teatro Regio in Turin and gave performances in Germany and Austria in 1781.
She returned to Paris for further Concerts Spirituels series, during which time a confrontation arose between Luísa Todi and the German soprano Gertrud Elisabeth Mara (1749–1833), which divided the public. Luísa Todi won this battle of rivals, being called by the French “the Nation’s Singer”.
Donnelly Rhodes (December 4, 1937 – January 8, 2018) was a Canadian character actor with many American television and film credits, probably best known to American audiences as the hapless escaped convict Dutch Leitner on the ABC soap opera spoof Soap. Rhodes was well known to Canadian audiences as Sgt Nick Raitt in the CBC TV series Sidestreet (1975-1978) and as Grant “Doc” Roberts in another CBC TV series called Danger Bay (1985-1990). He also starred as Doctor Cottle (“Doc”) on the Sci Fi Channel television program Battlestar Galactica (2004).
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Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.
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