Sunday, February 19, 2017

125-year-old news highlights from The Monroe Journal from Feb. 1892

Robert Newton Ford.
The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of editor and proprietor Q. Salter, published four editions 125 years ago during the month of February 1892. Those issues, which were dated Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25, can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. What follows are a few news highlights from those four editions. Enjoy.

FEB. 4, 1892

DIED – Mr. W.H. Abeney died at his home at Pineville, this county, on the 29th ult., aged 74 years.

Judge Toulmin, in the U.S. district court, yesterday sentenced Jno. W. Davison, colored, to pay a fine of $591.71 and costs and to be imprisoned two years in the Ohio state penitentiary at Columbus.
Davison, who was postmaster at Lovan, Monroe County, was detected by a special agent of the post office department, in issuing postal notes for his own benefit. He was arrested Sept. 20, ’91 and waiving examination, was sent to jail in default of bail. On Jan. 22, he was tried and found guilty, and the sentenced passed yesterday. – Mobile Register.

Capt. Thos. S. Wiggins has his office and residence connected by telephone. Capt. Wiggins says he finds it a great convenience. The line was put in operation by Mr. E.D. Conover, who is agent at this place. A number of other short lines will probably be established in the near future.

Commissioners Court will convene in quarterly session next Monday. In addition to the ordinary business of the term, two applications for the establishment of stock districts – one in Beat Four and another in Beat 10 – will come up for consideration.

The Journal would like to secure a regular correspondent at every post office in the county, to send us the local news of their neighborhood. We will bear all expenses of postage, etc.

FEB. 11, 1892

DIED – At his home near Monroeville, on Fri., Feb. 5, 1892, Mr. Jasper J. Frye, in the 45th year of his age.
At the early age of 16 years, he bore arms in defense of the “Lost Cause” during the last years of the late war, and at its close returned home to assume the duties and responsibilities of the comfort and support of his mother and sisters, which by reason of the death of his father devolved upon his youthful shoulders, to whom he was ever devoted and faithful.
His mortal remains were attended to the place of interment at the Methodist churchyard by a large concourse of sorrowing friends and relatives.

Mr. N.C. Thames’ steam saw mill and ginning establishment, located about midway between Monroeville and Perdue Hill, was destroyed by fire on last Monday night, together with a large quantity of lumber and other material. The fire broke out while the operatives were at supper, and it is believed to be of incendiary origin. When discovered, the fire had gained such headway that every effort to save the building and machinery proved unavailing.

The commissioners appointed under order of the probate court granting the right of way to the Bear Creek Mill Co. for constructing a ditch through the lands of Messrs. Slaughter & Slaughter met in Monroeville Tuesday and assessed the damages against the Bear Creek Mill Co. at $300.

MASONIC – Monroe Chapter No. 4 will hold its regular Convocation the first Thursday in March in Masonic Hall at Perdue Hill, Ala. Every Companion will please attend, as there is business of importance to be attended to them. – Wm. J. McCants, Sec’y, River Ridge, Ala., Feb. 8.

FEB. 18, 1892

We are informed by W.G. McCorvey, Esq., one of the attorneys retained by the defense in the suit of the Bear Creek Mill Co. vs. Slaughter & Slaughter, for right of way to cut a ditch through lands of defendants, that the matter has been amicably arranged and the appeal heretofore taken withdrawn. The Mill Company will proceed with the ditch.

We learn that an unfortunate affray occurred near Burnt Corn one night last week, resulting in serious injuries to one of the participants. It seems that a number of young men were out fox hunting when a difficulty arose between the Messrs. Shirley and Tommy Ryland and in the affray Ryland was stabbed in the right breast. The wound is severe though not necessarily fatal.

Mr. R.F. Lowrey, one of Perdue Hill’s enterprising merchants, was in Monroeville Monday. Mr. Lowrey was one of the passengers on the Tinsie Moore on the occasion of her recent unfortunate mishap. Mr. Lowrey said that when about 120 miles above Mobile, the boat encountered a dense fog, rendering it necessary to tie up, and in searching for a tree to make fast to, the boat suddenly found itself aground out in a plantation, with the water falling rapidly. Every effort was made to loose the boat but without avail, and it then became necessary to discharge the cargo into the river. The loss was quite heavy, approximating some five or six thousand dollars.

A new Primitive Baptist church is soon to be built at Shiloh, 35x45 feet. Mr. J.O. Snider has contract and Messrs. Jones Bros. are to furnish the lumber.

FEB. 25, 1892

Robert Ford, who acquired wide notoriety for killing Jesse James, the Missouri outlaw in 1882, was shot and killed in a barroom row in Denver, Col. on the 17th.

Mr. W.H. Betts of Burnt Corn was in town Saturday. Mr. Betts informed us that he thought seriously of closing up his business at Burnt Corn and removing to Texas. Mr. B is one of Monroe’s best citizens and we should regret to lose him.

A little six-year-old child of Mr. W.C. Brantley, living about eight miles southeast of Monroeville, was painfully burned a few days ago. The child was standing near the fire when its clothing became ignited and was literally burned from its body. Dr. Wiggins is attending and reports the child doing reasonably well.

Capt. Thos. S. Wiggins visited Belleville last week on professional business.

Fruit trees are clothed in bloom, and prospects are good for a heavy crop, barring a cold snap.

The first Quarterly Conference of Monroeville circuit for the year 1892 will be held at Monroeville Methodist church Sat., 27th inst., and embracing the Sunday following.

A Leap Year entertainment will be given by the young people Friday night at the Academy. The young ladies will escort the young gentlemen out under engagements previously made, and dancing will be indulged in, after which refreshments will be served.

Today in History for Feb. 19, 2017

WW I soldier Dewey Morris, center, of Flomaton, Ala.
Feb. 19, 1473 - Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, a city in north-central Poland on the Vistula River. The father of modern astronomy, he was the first modern European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the sun.

Feb. 19, 1777 - The Continental Congress voted to promote Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, William Alexander, Lord Stirling, Adam Stephen and Benjamin Lincoln to the rank of major general, and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold felt slighted that five junior officers received promotions ahead of him and, in response, threatened to resign from the Patriot army.

Feb. 19, 1807 – Former U.S. vice-president Aaron Burr was arrested in the Mississippi Territory at McIntosh Bluff, Washington County, in present-day Alabama and was escorted back to Fort Stoddert by Lt. Edward Gaines. Burr was accused of treason for attempting to form a new, independent republic in the southwest, plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico. After spending several weeks in custody in Alabama, Burr was returned to Richmond, Va. for trial. Burr was acquitted of the charges, but quickly left the country to avoid other charges relating to the murder of Alexander Hamilton during an 1804 duel.

Feb. 19, 1819 – British explorer William Smith discovered the South Shetland Islands, and claimed them in the name of King George III.

Feb. 19, 1821 - Union General Francis Preston Blair Jr. was born in Lexington, Ky. The colorful Blair was instrumental in keeping Missouri part of the Union during the early stages of the Civil War.

Feb. 19, 1828 – Elisha Moseley became postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.

Feb. 19, 1846 – In Austin, Texas the newly formed Texas state government was officially installed. The Republic of Texas government officially transferred power to the State of Texas government following the annexation of Texas by the United States. Texas had officially become a state on Dec. 29, 1845.

Feb. 19, 1847 - The first rescuers reached the Donner Party in Northern California.

Feb. 19, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at West Plains, Mo. and at Winston, N.C. A two-day Federal expedition into Currituck Sound, N.C. began. Clarksville, Tenn. and Fort Defiance were occupied by Federal forces.

Feb. 19, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Cypress Bend, Ark.; in the Mississippi Delta at Yazoo Pass and Coldwater River, Miss.; at Rover, Tenn.; and at Leesburg, Va. A Federal operation between Indian Village and Rosedale, La. began. A five-day Federal operation into Barton and Jasper Counties, Mo. began.

Feb. 19, 1864 - The Knights of Pythias were founded in Washington, D.C. A dozen members formed what became Lodge No. 1.

Feb. 19, 1864 – During the Civil War, a federal operation was conducted at Brown’s Ferry, Ala.

Feb. 19, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Waugh’s Farm, near Batesville, Ark.; at Grossetete Bayou, La.; near Meridian, Houston and at Egypt Station, Miss.; and in the vicinity of Independence, Mo.

Feb. 19, 1865 – During the Civil War, the first day of a five-day Federal operation between Eastport, Miss. and Russellville, Ala. began.

Feb. 19, 1865 – During the Civil War, a federal expedition from Barrancas to Milton, Fla. began.

Feb. 19, 1865 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal expedition from Helena, Ark. began, crossed the Mississippi River, and proceeded to Friar’s Point, Miss. A skirmish was fought near Wilmington, along the Cape Fear River in N.C. Federal forces captured Fort Anderson, near Wilmington, N.C.

Feb. 19, 1865 – Explorer and geographer Sven Hedin was born in Stockholm, Sweden.

Feb. 19, 1867 – Joseph Ganes Sanders, the “Turncoat of Dale County,” was killed outside Decatur, Ga.

Feb. 19, 1884 – More than 60 tornadoes struck the Southern United States (including Mississippi, Alabama North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana), one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. About 800 people were killed.

Feb. 19, 1884 - The town of Goshen, in Pike County, Ala. lost 26 people to an F4 twister, classified as "devastating" with winds between 207 and 260 mph. A brick school building literally exploded when the tornado hit it dead on, killing six students and a teacher. Outside of Goshen, 13 more people lost their lives in Alabama.

Feb. 19, 1896 – Andre Breton, the author of “The Surrealist Manifest,” was born in Tinchebray, France.

Feb. 19, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Ernest Ricou’s “handsome new” storehouse was rapidly nearing completion and would “be ready in a few days for the reception of his goods, where he will be pleased to see and wait upon his many friends.”

Feb. 19, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Rev. M.M. Graham of Burnt Corn, who had recently appointed Monroe County Superintendent of Education, was in Monroeville, Ala. on Wed., Feb. 17.

Feb. 19, 1908 - Alabama author Mildred Lee was born in West Blocton, Ala.

Feb. 19, 1912 – Major League Baseball first baseman Dick Siebert was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. He would go on to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Athletics.

Feb. 19, 1915 – During World War I, the first naval attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force bombarded Ottoman artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.

Feb. 19, 1917 – Novelist Carson McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Ga.

Feb. 19, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Jodie W. Booker, 18, of McKenzie, Ala. “died from disease.” Born on Jan. 19, 1900, he is buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in McKenzie.

Feb. 19, 1919 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Dewey Morris, 21, of Flomaton, Ala. “died from disease.” Born on Dec. 18, 1897, he was buried in Rock Cemetery in Flomaton. He was serving in Co. C of the 161st U.S. Infantry Regiment when he died overseas.

Feb. 19, 1921 - J.D. Clark, 15-year-old son of W.A. Clark, a well known farmer residing about six miles east of Castleberry, was instantly killed late Saturday when the shotgun, it is thought he was attempting to clean, was discharged and the load of shot entered the boy’s breast and stomach.

Feb. 19, 1922 – Confederate veteran Mark Luke McClammy, age 78, passed away at his home in northern Conecuh County. On March 29, 1862, McClammy enlisted as a private in Co. H of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry, a predominately Monroe raised unit. His horse was valued at $350. Born on Feb. 25, 1843, he was buried in Concord Cemetery at Mixonville.

Feb. 19, 1924 – Monroe County Bank celebrated its 20th anniversary. The bank began business on Feb. 19, 1904 was $15,000 in capital. J.B. Barnett organized the bank and had served as its president continuously between 1904 and 1924. D.D. Mims had served as the bank’s cashier “during practically its entire career.”

Feb. 19, 1930 - Bosie Phillips of Dothan, Ala. fell under a freight train opposite the Louisville & Nashville depot on this Wednesday around 11 a.m. and suffered injuries which resulted in the loss of his left arm just below the elbow. Phillips was trying to board the train, which was running at a fast rate, when the accident occurred. Phillips was given emergency medical attention by Dr. E.L. Stallworth and was later carried to Montgomery on Train No. 6, where he was to receive treatment at the railroad hospital.

Feb. 19, 1931 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a 65-acre site for a landing field had been leased 5-1/2 miles west of Evergreen, Ala. on the Belleville Highway. The field was to serve as an intermediate landing field for use in the federal air mail service along the Atlanta-New Orleans mail route. Plans were also included for a revolving search light beacon mounted on a steel tower at the corner of the airfield.

Feb. 19, 1935 – Major League Baseball catcher Russ Nixon was born in Cleves, Ohio. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. He would later manage the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves.

Feb. 19, 1935 - Lou Gehrig signed a contract with the New York Yankees for $30,000.

Feb. 19, 1942 - The New York Yankees announced that they would admit 5,000 uniformed servicemen free to each of their home ball games during the coming season.

Feb. 19, 1942 – Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause was born in Flint, Michigan. He would go on to play for the University of Iowa, the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Feb. 19, 1943 - Alabama author Homer Hickam was born in Coalwood, West Virginia.

Feb. 1945 – The Battle of Iwo Jima began.

Feb. 19, 1946 - Danny Gardella became the first Major League Baseball player to go to the Mexican League.

Feb. 19, 1948 – The Town of Excel, Ala. was officially incorporated as a municipality.

Feb. 19, 1949 - Richard Lee Peacock, 28, married Frances Jane Wright, 14.

Feb. 19, 1951 - The spring term of Conecuh County Circuit Court convened in Evergreen on this Monday morning with Judge F.W. Hare presiding. The grand jury was organized with Hugh M. Brown as foreman and after an able charge by Judge Hare promptly began its investigations with the assistance of Circuit Solicitor A.H. Elliott and County Solicitor E.C. Page Jr.

Feb. 19, 1951 – Effective on this Monday, J.R. Daughtry became local manager of the Piggly Wiggly in Evergreen, succeeding Mack Everage who had been there since this store was purchased by Euclid Cook of Andalusia in 1950. Everage had been transferred back to Andalusia as manager of the Piggly Wiggly store there.

Feb. 19, 1952 – NFL safety and kick returner Eddie Brown was born in Jasper, Tenn. He went on to play for the University of Tennessee, the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams.

Feb. 19, 1952 – Novelist Amy Tan was born in Oakland, Calif.

Feb. 19, 1953 - The State of Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the U.S. Newspapers were excluded from the new legislation.

Feb. 19, 1964 - Simon & Garfunkel completed the original acoustic version of "Sounds of Silence."

Feb. 19, 1964 – Writer Jonathan Lethem was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Feb. 19, 1965 - The NFL began using six officials during games.

Feb. 19, 1965 – Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and a communist spy of the North Vietnamese Viet Minh, along with Generals Lâm Văn Phát and Trần Thiện Khiêm attempted a coup against the military junta of Nguyễn Khánh.

Feb. 19, 1965 - Dissident officers moved several battalions of troops into Saigon with the intention of ousting Gen. Nguyen Khanh from leadership.

Feb. 19, 1970 - The Chicago Seven (formerly the Chicago Eight–one defendant, Bobby Seale, was being tried separately) were acquitted of riot conspiracy charges, but found guilty of inciting riot.

Feb. 19, 1976 – Sparta Academy’s varsity boys basketball team played Catherine Academy at 6 p.m. in the Alabama Private School Association’s District III playoffs at Wilcox Academy in Camden. The winner and runner-up advanced to the state tournament.

Feb. 19, 1976 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Bob Kendall was collecting historical information on Brooklyn and the surrounding area in connection with the bicentennial. He was particularly interested in the names of the people who organized the bank that never opened in Brooklyn.

Feb. 19, 1982 – On their way to an eventual berth in the 1A state tournament, Lyeffion beat Repton, 58-57, in the final round of the Class 1A, Area II tournament at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. This win gave Lyeffion the Area II championship and they won the region championship game the following night by beating A.L. Johnson in Castleberry.

Feb. 19, 1999, “October Sky,” a movie version of Alabama author Homer Hickam's book “Rocket Boys,” was released.

Feb. 19, 2001 – The Oklahoma City bombing museum was dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Feb. 19, 2016 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee died in her sleep on this morning, at the age of 89, in Monroeville, Ala.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Feb. 19, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): Trace.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.50 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 17.30 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 16.80 inches

Notes: Today is the 50th day of 2017 and the 60th day of Winter. There are 315 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Singleton describes the short, but remarkable, life of David Moniac

(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “This is David Moniac’s story” was originally published in the Feb. 18, 1982 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

David Moniac was not a native of Monroe County, but many of his descendants live in the county today. This is his story.

On Sept. 18, 1817, one of the unlikeliest cadets ever to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point became the first Indian to be admitted to the academy. He was David Moniac, then 15 years and eight months of age. David had traveled from a Lower Creek village on Pinchona Creek, near the trail which was to become the Federal Road in the present Montgomery County. This same road borders Monroe County today.

On the banks of the Hudson River, far from the Tallapoosa and Alabama rivers that he knew so well, Cadet Moniac must have been acutely puzzled at the attitudes and cultures of his fellow cadets. Many of the beliefs and customs that he practiced were alien also to his fellow classmates. These practices caused the young man to get several demerits in the first years at West Point.

His best academic subjects were mathematics and military tactics. In these, he ranked 27th in his class. Moniac graduated from the academy in the summer of 1821. But on Dec. 31, 1822, he resigned his commission because of a periodic cut by Congress to decrease the size of the Army.

Moniac settled near his uncles, David Tate and William Weatherford, the famous “Red Eagle.” He married Mary Powell, the cousin of Osceola, the great Seminole leader. From the time of his resignation until 1836, he was a respected cotton farmer and breeder of thoroughbred race horses, a passion he had inherited from his grandfather, Charles Weatherford. He built a home near Little River in Baldwin County.

When the Florida war began in 1836, Moniac returned to military service as a captain in the Mounted Creek Volunteers. There were 750 Creek Indians in the regiment, including two chiefs. The Indians wore white turbans to distinguish them in battle from the enemy. The Seminoles hated this white symbol of the Creeks’ defection to their enemy. Moniac was the only officer designated as Indian among the 13 officers in the regiment. Shortly after returning to duty with the military, he was promoted to the rank of major.

During the Battle of Wahoo Swamp, Moniac moved ahead of his troops to measure the depth of the Withlacouchee Creek, trying to make sure the water was shallow enough for his men to cross. He was struck down by enemy fire, his body pierced by 67 bullets. It is ironic that Osceola, the chief who commanded the Seminole attack that killed Moniac, was a cousin to the slain major’s wife, Mary Powell Moniac.

Thus on Nov. 21, 1836, the brief and tragic life of this man came to an end. Here on the banks of a little known river, deep in the swamps of Florida, ceased a truly remarkable odyssey between two American cultures – a man caught up in history, our history, somewhere in time.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Today in History for Feb. 18, 2017

James Dellet of Claiborne, Ala.
Feb. 18, 1776 - In Norfolk, Va., Royal Governor John Murray sent a note to William Legge and expressed his "inexpressible mortification" that British Major General Sir Henry Clinton had been ordered to the "insignificant province of North Carolina to the neglect of this the richest and powerfully important province in America."

Feb. 18, 1791 – Congress passed a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective March 4, 1791. Prior to this, Vermont had existed for 14 years as a de-facto independent largely unrecognized state.

Feb. 18, 1788 – Future U.S. Congressman James Dellet was born in Camden, New Jersey. His family moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1800, and Dellet graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1810, studied law and became an attorney in 1813, also serving as a Chancellor in Equity, a judicial office. In 1818, he moved to Claiborne, Ala., where he continued his law practice and served as Judge of the Circuit Court. In 1819, Alabama organized its first House of Representatives, to which Dellet was elected, and which he led as Speaker. He served again in the Alabama House from 1821 to 1822, 1825 to 1826 and 1830 to 1832, and was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1833. In 1838, he was the successful Whig nominee for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and served one term, 1839 to 1841. In 1842, he was again elected to one term in the U.S. House, serving from 1843 to 1845. After leaving Congress he resumed his Claiborne law practice, owned a plantation, and became wealthy by speculating in land. One of Barrett's law students was William Barret Travis, the commander of the ill-fated Alamo.

Feb. 18, 1817 - Confederate General Lewis Armistead was born in New Bern, N.C. Armistead was mortally wounded on July 3, 1863 when he led Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Feb. 18, 1859 – Novelist, playwright and short story writer Sholem Aleichem, who is known as the Mark Twain of Yiddish literature, was born Solomon Rabinowitz in Pereyaslave, Ukraine.

Feb. 18, 1861 - After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.

Feb. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a third demand was made by Confederate authorities for the surrender of Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Fla. and was refused by U.S. Lieutenant Adam Slemmer.

Feb. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, near Key West, Fla. was garrisoned by Federal forces.

Feb. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, Brevet Major General David E. Twiggs surrendered all Federal posts and public property to Texas authorities and agreed the Federal troops may retain their weapons and leave Texas. Because of Twiggs Southern sympathy many Federals considered his action to be treason.

Feb. 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, an action occurred at Bentonville, Ark. and a skirmish was fought at Independence and Mount Vernon, Mo. A two-day Federal expedition to Winton, N.C. began.

Feb. 18, 1862 – This day marked the first day of the official First Congress of the Confederate States of America, which convened for the first time in Richmond, Va. It consisted of an upper and lower house and in fact looked quite remarkably like the Congress of the United States. Unfortunately, what should have been a happy celebration of the progress of the young nation was marred by the receipt of the news of the fall of Fort Donelson in Tennessee. The loss of the fort led to the failure of Confederate efforts in Kentucky, and left Tennessee threatened.

Feb. 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal operations began in Central Kentucky, and the South Carolina militia was called into active service. A skirmish was fought at Moscow, Tenn. Two divisions of Longstreet’s Confederate Corps were moved from the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Va. to the defense of Richmond, Va.

Feb. 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Ringgold, Ga.; at Aberdeen and Okolona, Miss.; near the head waters of the Piney River, Mo.; near Maryville, Mifflin, Ooltewah and Sevierville, Tenn.

Feb. 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, the United States forces of Gen. William T. Sherman continued destroying Meridian, Miss. Sherman had told them to wreck every bit of public property or any items which could be of benefit to the Confederate cause. As Meridian was not a particularly large metropolitan area, there was really not much left to destroy there by this date. So, the Federal efforts were redirected at points outside the city limits. In particular, railroads or anything involved with railroad traffic was considered a prime target. Among these targets was Quitman, Miss.

Feb. 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, the attack on Fort Jones, Ky. occurred, and skirmishes were fought at Fort Anderson, near Wilmington, and Orton Pond, N.C. Charleston, S.C. was also occupied by Federal forces.

Feb. 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Ashby’s Gap, Va. A two-day Federal operation began in Prince William County, Va., and a two-day Federal expedition from Camp Averell (near Winchester) into Loudoun County, Va. began.

Feb. 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, Union forces under Major General William T. Sherman set the South Carolina State House on fire during the burning of Columbia.

Feb. 18, 1883 – Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis was born in Heraklion, Crete.

Feb. 18, 1885 - Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published for the first time.

Feb. 18, 1886 - The February term of the Chancery Court of Monroe County adjourned on this evening “after dispatching an unusual amount of business for one day,” according to The Monroe Journal. “Chancellor Foster seems to be so familiar with his duties that he is enabled to make his decisions with great promptness and at the same time with correctness. Among the visiting attorneys were S.J. Cumming, Esq., of Camden, who is always on time. J.C. Richardson, Esq., of Greenville and who is a law partner of Hon. John Gamble and C.J. Torrey, Esq., of Mobile.”

Feb. 18, 1909 – Novelist Wallace Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa.

Feb. 18, 1913 – Former Confederate General George Washington Custis Lee, the son of Robert E. Lee, passed away at the age of 80 in Fairfax County, Va.

Feb. 18, 1913 - Raymond Poincare, a conservative politician who had been elected president of the French Republic over the objections of Georges Clemenceau and the French Left a month earlier, took office on this day.

Feb. 18, 1915 – Outlaw Frank James passed away at the age of 71 at his boyhood home Clay County, Mo.

Feb. 18, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that A.C. Lee “spent several days in Montgomery last week undergoing examination for admission to the practice of law.”

Feb. 18-19, 1915 – A farmers institute meeting was scheduled to be held in Belleville, Ala. and was described “as one of the most important meetings for farmers that has perhaps ever been held” in Conecuh County.

Feb. 18, 1916 – A fiddlers convention was scheduled to be held at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. on this night. All fiddlers were invited, and suitable prizes were to be offered. Admission was 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children with the proceeds to go to the Orphans Home.

Feb. 18, 1922 – Samuel Anthony Lowrey, a 72-year-old former teacher and superintendent of education, died at his home near Bay Minette, Ala. A native of Conecuh County, who was born on July 2, 1850, his remains were conveyed to Puryearville church near Burnt Corn for burial.

Feb. 18, 1925 – Poet Jack Gilbert was born in Pittsburg, Pa.

Feb. 18, 1929 – British novelist Len Deighton was born in Marylebone, London.

Feb. 18, 1930 – While studying photographs taken in January, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto.

Feb. 18, 1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft. The milk was sealed in paper containers and dropped by parachute over St. Louis.

Feb. 18, 1931 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison was born Chloe Wofford in Lorain, Ohio.

Feb. 18, 1936 - Alabama author Paul Hemphill was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Feb. 18, 1942 - The Lois Bowden conference was scheduled to meet with the Monroeville Chapter No. 155, Order of the Eastern Star, on this Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Feb. 18, 1943 – During World War II, Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, the leaders of the German youth group Weisse Rose (White Rose), were arrested by the Gestapo for opposing the Nazi regime.

Feb. 18, 1944 - Alabama author Cassandra King was born near Pinckard in Dale County, Ala.

Feb. 18, 1947 – During the First Indochina War, the French gained complete control of Hanoi after forcing the Viet Minh to withdraw to mountains.

Feb. 18, 1952 - The Constitution for the Monroeville (Ala.) Little League was signed and sent to the National Little League Organization in Williamsport, Pa. The first officers of Monroeville’s Little League were President Curtis Wideman of Vanity Fair; Vice President L.Reed Polk, pastor of the Monroeville First Baptist Church; and Secretary Joe Tucker of Vanity Fair MIlls. In the league’s first session, 102 boys came to tryouts.

Feb. 18, 1957 – American novelist, producer and scriptwriter George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 18, 1960 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team had beaten Repton, 44-43. Bateman led Evergreen with 13 points, and Sims led Repton with 17 points.

Feb. 18, 1965 - Frank Gifford announced his retirement from football for a career in broadcasting.

Feb. 18, 1965 - The State Department sent secret cables to U.S. ambassadors in nine friendly nations advising of forthcoming bombing operations over North Vietnam, and instructed them to inform their host governments “in strictest confidence” and to report reactions.

Feb. 18, 1967 – The Conecuh County Training School’s boys basketball team, led by Head Coach James “Buddy” Stallworth, won the South Alabama AA District Championship for the second straight year by beating Beatrice, 98-89, in Atmore, Ala. Louis Meeks led CCTS with 34 points. CCTS beat Booker T. Washington of Brewton, 67-47, in the semifinal round, and they beat Thomasville, 92-62, in the quarterfinals.

Feb. 18, 1969 - The Monroe County Board of Education on this Tuesday named Charles Pouncey of Monroeville, Ala. as the new county superintendent of education to replace R.H. Vickery, who was to retire on June 30. The appointment was to become effective July 1 and was to be for the one year of the unexpired four-year term to which Vickery was appointed. At the same time, the board selected James Allen, principal of Monroe County High School in Monroeville, to succeed Pouncey in his position as coordinator of federal funds for the Monroe County school system.

Feb. 18, 1981 – Major League Baseball outfielder Alex Rios was born in Coffee, Ala. His parents, Israel and Maritza, left when he was just a couple of months old, and he grew up in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He went on to play for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers.

Feb. 18, 1982 – In the semifinal round of the 1A, Area 2 tournament at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Lyeffion beat Excel, 67-48.

Feb. 18, 1983 - Alabama author Robert Payne died in Bermuda.

Feb. 18, 1994 – Episode No. 17 of “The X-Files” – entitled “E.B.E.” – aired for the first time.

Feb. 18, 2001 - NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 race.

Feb. 18, 2001 – National Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Eddie Matthews died at the age of 69 in La Jolla, Calif. During his career, he played for the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers and he also managed the Braves for two seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Feb. 18, 2005 – Hillcrest High School’s varsity boys basketball team, who’d just won the 4A Area 2 tournament, were scheduled to play Daleville in the sub-regional round of the Class 4A playoffs in Evergreen, Ala. Tommy Dukes was Hillcrest’s head coach. Players on Hillcrest’s team that season included Maurice Bradley, Chris Hines, Jerry Jackson, Cleveland Knight, Nick Lovelace, P.K. Riley and Frank Williams.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Feb. 18, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.20 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.50 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 17.30 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 16.80 inches

Notes: Today is the 49th day of 2017 and the 59th day of Winter. There are 316 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Friday, February 17, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,118 miles down and 681 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged three miles on Sunday, three miles on Wednesday and four more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,118 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 681 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 62.1 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the fifth day of the trip past Lothlorien, which is Feb. 20 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 1108, which was three miles past where the Anduin River curves east where there’s wolds on both sides of the river. Two miles later, the river swings south, and Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, still finds itself amid high hills.


I’ve covered eight miles past this point, and the next significant milestone, Mile 1122, comes four miles later when the group reaches the north edge of the eastern South Undeep. In all, the group covers a total of 72 miles on this day of the trip.


For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1, 2015. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,799 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.


The folks who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound very familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,799 miles in a year.


If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, and Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.


In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least nine more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.