November 23, 1897
Inventor Andrew Beard, who was born a slave in Woodland, was granted his first patent for automatic car couplers. Known as the Jenny Coupler, the design allowed railroad cars to be hooked together automatically, a formerly dangerous job that cost Beard one of his legs. Beard sold the patent rights to the design for $50,000, an amount equal to more than $1.5 million today. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.