October 17, 1781 -- George Washington accepted British General Charles Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, VA. This event effectively ended America's War for Independence.
October 17, 1835 -- The first resolution formally creating the Texas Rangers is approved.
October 17, 1859 -- A company of marines arrived and surrounded abolitionist John Brown after his raid on Harpers Ferry, VA. On the morning of October 19, the soldiers overran Brown and his survivors. Ten of Brown's men were killed, including two of his sons.
October 17, 1879 -- Herman Justin made his first pair of cowboy boots at his shop in Spanish Fort, TX. This was the beginning of the Justin and Nocona boot companies.
October 17, 1888 -- The first issue of "National Geographic Magazine" was released at newsstands.
October 17, 1917 -- The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was formed.
October 17, 1931 -- Al Capone was convicted on income tax evasion and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was released in 1939.
October 17, 1933 -- "News-Week" appeared for the first time at newsstands. The name was later changed to "Newsweek".
October 17, 1935 -- In South Texas, the Texas Negro Peace Officers Association was organized. It was the first black police organization in the United States.
October 17, 1939 -- "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" premiered.
October 17, 1977 -- "Street Survivors" was released by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Three days later vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines (Steve's sister) and road manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed when their plane crashed in Gillsburg, MS. The other four members of the band were seriously injured but survived the crash.
October 17, 1979 -- Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
October 17, 1989 -- An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale hit the San Francisco Bay area in California. The quake caused about 67 deaths, 3000 injuries and approx. $7 billion in damages.
October 17, 2000 -- Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche) achieved his 448th victory as goalie in the NHL. He passed Terry Sawchuck to become the record holder for career victories.