October 9, 1000: Leif "the Lucky" Eriksson, who later evangelized Greenland, is reported to have been the first European to reach North America on this date. But while he was certainly a member of an early Viking voyage to "Vinland" (probably Nova Scotia), it's doubtful he led the initial expedition (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).
October 9, 1747: David Brainerd, pioneer missionary to Native Americans in New England, dies of tuberculosis at age 29. His journal, published by Jonathan Edwards, inspired hundreds to become missionaries, including the "father of modern Protestant missions," William Carey (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).
October 9, 1776: 247 Spanish colonists consecrate their California mission of San Francisco, today a city of 725,000 (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).
October 9, 1890: Pentecostal evangelist and national sensation Aimee Semple McPherson is born in Ontario, Canada (see issue 58: Pentecostalism).
October 9, 1958: Pope Pius XII, whose record of protecting Jews in 1940s Germany is hotly debated and who formally defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1950), dies.
February 20, 1469: Thomasso de Vio Cajetan, the most learned of the Roman Catholic dignitaries sent to silence Martin Luther in the early years of the Protestant Reformation, is born. He was also one of the cardinals who convinced Pope Clement VII to reject Henry VIII's request to divorce Catherine of Aragon (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
February 20, 1895: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the first African-American to hold high political office, dies. After escaping to freedom in 1838, he ...