September 28, 929: King Wenceslas, ruler and patron saint of Czechoslovakia dies. During his brief reign as king before his brother murdered him, Wenceslas sought peace with surrounding nations, reformed the judicial system, and showed particular concern for his country's poor.
September 28, 1839: Frances E. Willard, president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union from 1879 to her death in 1898, is born in New York. She was influential in the passage of both the 18th and 19th Amendments (prohibition and women's suffrage).
December 1, 1170: Banished earlier by King Henry II because he sided with the church against the crown, archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket returns, electrifying all of England. Henry orders his former friend's execution, and Becket is slain by four knights while at vespers December 29. (T.S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral is a fascinating exploration of the event.)
December 1, 1521: Pope Leo X, enemy of Martin Luther (whom he excommunicated in 1520), dies. Though sincere in his ...