Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today in History for Oct. 22, 2016

Milton Lee Olive III
Oct. 22, 1775 - After years of poor health, Peyton Randolph, former president of the Continental Congress, died at the age of 54 in Philadelphia, Pa. He resigned as president of the Continental Congress in October 1774 to attend a meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses but remained a powerful and influential figure within Congress. He did not live to see America achieve independence, a goal toward which he had worked for most of his adult life.

Oct. 22, 1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the American defenders of Fort Mercer on the Delaware River repulsed repeated Hessian attacks in the Battle of Red Bank.

Oct. 22, 1821 - The steamboat “Harriet” reached Montgomery, Ala. after 10 days of travel from Mobile, Ala. This was the first successful attempt to navigate so far north on the Alabama River, and it opened river trade between Montgomery and Mobile.

Oct. 22, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Norfolk, Va. via steamer from Petersburg, and he spent four days there and in Portsmouth.

Oct. 22, 1836 - Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas, an independent state that existed between 1836 and 1845 between Mexico and America.

Oct. 22, 1844 - The world was supposed to come to an end in conjunction with the return of Christ, according to the American preacher William Miller, leader of the 'Millerism' movement. 'Millerites' referred to the following day as the Great Disappointment.

Oct. 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Helena and Huntsville, Arkansas; with Indians at Old Fort Wayne, near Maysville in the Indian Territory; at Van Buren, Missouri; at Caston Plantation, Frampton Plantation, near Pocotaligo, and at Coosawhatchie, South Carolina; and near Snickersville, Virginia.

Oct. 22, 1862 - Confederates raided several sections of the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, and a skirmish was fought at Beatties Prairie (or Beaty’s Prairie) in Delaware County, Oklahoma.

Oct. 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal expedition from Fort Donelson to Waverly, Tennessee began.

Oct, 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Volney, Kentucky; at Brownsville, Mississippi; at New Madrid Bend, Tennessee; and near Annandale, Beverly Ford, and in the vicinity of the Rappahannock Bridge, Virginia. A three-day Federal reconnaissance from Germantown, Tennessee to Chulahoma, Mississippi also began.

Oct. 22, 1864 - Confederate General John Bell Hood marched from Gadsen to Guntersville, Ala. in order to cross the Tennessee River. However, Hood had forgotten to retrieve his army's pontoon bridge from the Coosa River in eastern Alabama. He took the troops 50 miles out of their way and made a surprise attack on Tennessee unlikely. When Hood did move into Tennessee Union General William T. Sherman's force was ready and waiting.

Oct. 22, 1864 - At the Battle of Byram's Ford in Kansas City, Mo., Confederate General Sterling Price pushed by a small Union force under Union General Samuel Curtis' army.

Oct. 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the White River, near Saint Charles, Arkansas; at Big Blue River, Independence and State Line, Missouri; and with Indians in the vicinity of Midway Station in the Nebraska Territory. A three-day Federal expedition fron Brashear City to Belle River, Louisiana also began.

Oct. 22, 1877 - Scotland suffered its worst-ever mining disaster when more than 200 people died in an explosion at the High Blantyre Colliery.

Oct. 22, 1878 – West Point graduate, lawyer and state senator Edmund W. Martin died in Evergreen, Ala. He served as an officer in Mexican-American War and Civil War and was wounded at the Battle of Dalton, Ga. on Feb. 25, 1864.

Oct. 22, 1883 – Major General Charles Lewis Scott, who became chief of American armored forces in 1943, was born in Mount Pleasant in Monroe County, Ala. He graduated from West Point in 1905 and became a pioneer in the mechanized cavalry. He commanded the 13th Mechanized Cavalry at Fort Knox, Ky. and in 1940 became the first commanding general of the Second Armored Division at Fort Benning, Ga. and later first commander of the First Armored Corps. He passed away at the age of 71 at Walter Reed Hospital.

Oct. 22, 1883 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opened with a performance of Gounod's “Faust.”

Oct. 22, 1884 – Greenwich, in London, England, was adopted as Universal Time meridian of longitude by the International Meridian Conference.

Oct. 22, 1887 – Journalist and poet John Silas “Jack” Reed was born in Portland, Oregon.

Oct. 22, 1907 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Jimmie Foxx was born in Sudlersville, Md. During his career, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951.

Oct. 22, 1908 – Novelist and columnist John Gould was born in Brighton, Mass.

Oct. 22-24, 1914 - The annual reunion of Alabama Division United Confederate Veterans was held in Mobile, Ala.

Oct. 22, 1914 – A devastating fire on this night destroyed a residence at Knoxville, on the outskirts of Evergreen, Ala., known as the “Rountree Place,” which was occupied by John Smith and his family. The house was owned by Mrs. T.H. Miller and most of the household effects were saved.

Oct. 22, 1914 – Former Monroe County (Ala.) Sheriff John I. Watson, who was about 80 years old, passed away at Canoe and was brought to Monroeville for burial. He lived in Monroeville for about 30 years and ran a hotel for much of that time. He was elected Monroe County Sheriff twice.

Oct. 22, 1915 – The Mitchell Council of Kadosh in Montgomery, Ala. was officially chartered. It was renamed the Montgomery Council of Kadosh on Oct. 20, 1955.

Oct. 22, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Willie Snell of McWilliams in Wilcox County, Ala. “died from disease.”

Oct. 22, 1918 – Major League Baseball infielder Lou Klein was born in New Orleans.

Oct. 22, 1919 – Noble Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing was born in Kermanshah in present-day Iran.

Oct. 22-23, 1924 – The State Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans was held in Mobile, Ala.

Oct. 22, 1924 – J.D. Hill, field director of Lions Club International, visited Monroeville and organized a Lions Club in Monroeville during a meeting at the Commercial Hotel. The club’s charter members included Judge M.M. Fountain, Dr. S.J. Yarbrough, L.J. Bugg, A.C. Lee, S.W. Hixon, C.G. Yarbrough, Frank Lathram, R.O. Hendrix, E.R. Morrissette Jr., G.A. Harris and Charles J. Brockway.

Oct. 22, 1926 – J. Gordon Whitehead sucker punched magician Harry Houdini in the stomach in Montreal, precipitating his death.

Oct. 22, 1927 – Nikola Tesla introduced six new inventions including a motor with one-phase electricity

Oct. 22, 1928 - The play “The Grey Fox” opened on Broadway, with Alabama author Andrew Lytle performing the role of Biagio.

Oct. 22, 1936 – English soldier, author, and explorer John Blashford-Snell was born.

Oct. 22-23, 1939 – “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, showed at the Pix Theatre in downtown Evergreen, Ala.

Oct. 22, 1939 – J.B. Henderson, 65, of Fountain, Ala. died around noon at the hospital in Repton, Ala. as a result of a fractured skull said to have been inflicted by J.G. Noble on Oct. 20. Noble allegedly struck Henderson in the head with an automobile clutch hub during an argument over money supposedly owed Henderson’s son by Noble, who operated a sawmill at Fountain. Noble, who had moved to Fountain from Evergreen, was arrested and put in the Monroe County Jail.

Oct. 22, 1939 - The first televised pro football game was telecast from New York. Brooklyn defeated Philadelphia, 23-14.

Oct. 22, 1944 – In an incident attributed to the Bermuda Triangle, the Cuban freighter Rubicon was found by the Coast Guard in the Gulf Stream off Key Largo, Florida. The ship was deserted except for a hungry dog.

Oct. 22, 1948 – Thomaston beat Monroe County, 27-6, in a “hotly disputed contest” in Thomaston. Standout MCHS players in that game included George Klepic, Bodie Thompson and Hurtis Tomlinson, who scored Monroe’s only touchdown on a one-yard run.

Oct. 22, 1950 - The Los Angeles Rams set an NFL record by defeating the Baltimore Colts, 70-27. It was a record score for a regular season game.

Oct. 2, 1952 - Alabama author Vicki Covington was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Oct. 22, 1954 – Major League Baseball catcher Jamie Quirk was born in Whittier, Calif.

Oct. 22, 1956 – Major League Baseball pitcher Frank DiPino was born in Syracuse, N.Y.

Oct. 22, 1957 – During the Vietnam War, U.S. military personnel sufferred their first casualties in the war when 13 Americans were wounded in three terrorist bombings of Military Assistance Advisory Group and U.S. Information Service installations in Saigon. The rising tide of guerrilla activity in South Vietnam reached an estimated 30 terrorist incidents by the end of the year and at least 75 local officials were assassinated or kidnapped in the last quarter of 1957.

Oct. 22, 1960 - John Updike memorialized Ted Williams’ baseball career by telling the story of his last at-bat in the short story "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," which was published in the Oct. 22, 1960 issue of The New Yorker.

Oct. 22, 1962 – During the Cuban Missile Crisis, US President John F. Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announced that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he had ordered a naval "quarantine" of the Communist nation.

Oct. 22, 1965 - In action this day near Phu Cuong, about 35 miles northwest of Saigon, PFC Milton Lee Olive III of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, threw himself on an enemy grenade and saved four soldiers, including his platoon leader, 1st Lt. James Sanford. Private Olive’s body absorbed the full, deadly blast of the grenade and he died saving his comrades. Lieutenant Sanford later said of Olive’s act that “It was the most incredible display of selfless bravery I ever witnessed.” Olive, a native of Chicago, was only 18 years old when he died; he received the Medal of Honor posthumously six months later. The city of Chicago honored its fallen hero by naming a junior college, a lakefront park, and a portion of the McCormick Place convention center after him.

Oct. 22, 1966 – Union High School (in Monroeville, Ala.) defensive tackle John Dean intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown in a 29-0 win over Camden Academy.

Oct. 22, 1968 – The Excel Town Council held the first meeting of its new term on this Tuesday, and lower insurance rates and a new water well for the town were among the matters of business discussed. Excel Mayor Coy Stacey presided over that meeting, and the members of the Excel council included Quinton Mixon, Fred Kinsey, L.S. Hancock, Bernard Brown and Jerald Jordan.

Oct. 22, 1971 – Excel High School began an amazing streak of 43 straight regular season football wins that didn’t end until Aug. 27, 1976 when they lost to Southern Normal, 20-8.

Oct. 22, 1972 – During the Vietnam War, in Saigon, Henry Kissinger and South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu met to discuss a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out between Americans and North Vietnamese in Paris.

Oct. 22, 1973 – Major League Baseball outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was born in Kasugai, Aichi, Japan.

Oct. 22, 1977 – Excel High School’s “Roy Stacey 100-Percenter Award” was established by the Stacey family during a half-time ceremony in Excel’s homecoming game against Castleberry. Stacey, who died in 1976, was a long-time booster at the school.

Oct. 22, 1982 – Major League Baseball second baseman Robinson Canó was born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic.

Oct. 22, 1982 – On homecoming night in Evergreen, Evergreen High School defeated Choctaw County High School, 21-7, at Brooks Memorial Stadium. Leading the way on offense for Evergreen was quarterback Tracey Hawsey with 99 yards rushing on just nine carries. On defense, the Aggies were led by Fredrick Middleton with five solos and seven assists. Other standout Evergreen players in that game included Mark Bell, DeWayne Booker, Don Jackson, Frank Likely, Marion Oliver, Ben Rigsby, Ricky Stallworth and Deatrich Wise.

Oct. 22, 1982 – On homecoming night in Evergreen, Sparta Academy beat Thomasville Academy, 21-6, at Stuart-McGehee Field. Joey Johnson led Sparta with 149 yards and a touchdown, and Ed Carrier followed with 120 yards and a touchdown. Other standout Sparta players in that game included Chris Blatz, Russ Brown, Wes Brown, Trent Carrier, Al Etheridge, Charles Floyd, Scotty Grace, Don Langham, Joe McInvale, Britt McNeill, Tom Reed, Dewan Salter, Scott Smith and Mike Wilson. Richard Brown was Sparta’s head coach.

Oct. 22, 1983 - New York's Metropolitan Opera celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Oct. 22, 1992 - Red Barber, the legendary announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers, passed away in Tallahassee, Fla. at the age of 84.

Oct. 22, 1993 – Episode No. 6 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Shadows” – aired for the first time.

Oct. 22, 1997 - Alabama author and Poet Laureate William Young Elliott died in Huntsville, Ala.

Oct. 22, 1999 – The motion picture adaptation of “Crazy in Alabama” by Mark Childress was released in theaters.

Oct. 22, 1999 – Frisco City High School’s Carlos Salinas made a record-setting 29 tackles in a 20-19 loss to A.L. Johnson in Frisco City, Ala.

Oct. 22, 2000 - Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals ran for 278 yards against the Denver Broncos.

Oct. 22, 2006 – A Panama Canal expansion proposal was approved by 77.8 percent of voters in a National referendum held in Panama.

Oct. 22, 2011 - Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals became the third player to hit three home runs in a World Series game.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Oct. 22, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  0.00 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 0.60 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 45.40 inches

Notes: Today in the 295th day of 2016 and the 30th day of Fall. There are 71 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.

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 958 miles down and 841 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 16 more miles since my last update. I jogged/walked six miles on Saturday, five miles on Wednesday and five more miles yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 958 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 841 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 53.3 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the second day of the trip past Lothlorien, which is Feb. 17 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 942, which was eight miles from where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, began drifting down the Silverlode River, swept around the bend and the high banks hid the light of Lorien. Two miles later, bare woods could be seen on both banks, the land was silent and misty, and dusk came early.


Seven miles later, at Mile 951, the group camped in the woods on the west bank around 8:30 p.m. at the end of the day on Feb. 16. The weather was dreary and cold.


At the start of the day on Feb. 17, around 7:30 a.m., the group left their camp and returned to their travels down the Silverlode River. Bare trees continued to dot both sides of the river. They drifted down without incident, encountering no enemies.


I’ve covered seven miles from the start of the day’s travels on Feb. 17, the next significant milestone comes 29 miles later, when the group again camps on the west bank of the river at the end of the day.


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.

Today in History for Oct. 21, 2016

Edward Dickinson Baker
Oct. 21, 1496 – Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto was born in Barcarrota, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain.

Oct. 21, 1512 – Martin Luther joined the faculty of the University of Wittenberg.

Oct. 21, 1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovered a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.

Oct. 21, 1520 – João Álvares Fagundes discovered the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, bestowing them their original name of "Islands of the 11,000 Virgins".

Oct. 21, 1772 – English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England.

Oct. 21, 1774 – The first display of the word "Liberty" was seen on a flag raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.

Oct. 21, 1779 – During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress of the United States elected former congressman Henry Laurens minister to Holland. Laurens’ first and most crucial duty as the new minister was to negotiate an alliance with Holland, which he did in 1780.

Oct. 21, 1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.

Oct. 21, 1858 – Dr. Charles Brooks Thomas was born. He would later buy a plantation where Thomaston, Ala. is now located and would be appointed postmaster. Thomaston was named in his honor and he would become the town’s first mayor and had the land surveyed and laid out the town.

Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, an action took place at Rockcastle Hills (or Camp Wildcat), Ky.

Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, an engagement took place at Fredericktown, Mo.

Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Young’s Mill, near Newport News, Va.

Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Union troops under Col. Eward Baker suffered a defeat by Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war, which occurred in Loudoun County, Virginia. Colonel Edward Baker, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, was killed in the battle becoming the first martyr of the war and led to the creation of a Congressional committee to monitor the conduct of the war. The Union suffered 49 killed, 158 wounded, and 714 missing and captured, while the Confederates suffered 33 killed, 115 wounded, and one missing.

Oct. 21, 1862 - Two days before, a mail boat, the Gladiator, had been steaming peacefully along the Mississippi River, when suddenly gunfire broke out from the Arkansas shore. Guerilla activity of this sort was hardly uncommon, whether by actual secessionists or merely armed bandits, and Admiral David D. Porter was thoroughly sick of it. On this day, he sent the gunboat USS Louisville, along with the transport steamer Meteor loaded with troops, to the closest towns to where the attack had taken place. Under command of Lt. Commander Meade, the villages of Bledsoe’s Landing and Hamblin’s Landing, Arkansas, were put to the torch. The people were told that “every outrage by the guerillas upon packets would be similarly dealt with.”

Oct. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Simmons’s Ranch, near Hydesville, Calif.; at Pitman’s Cross Roads, Ky.; and at Woodville, Tenn.

Oct. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, a Federal expedition from Crab Orchard to Big Hill and Richmond, Ky. began.

Oct. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, Confederate Colonel Joseph Wheeler’s command arrived at and seized London, Ky.

Oct. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal reconnaissance to Collierville, Shelby Depot, Hickory and Galloway Switch, Tenn. began.

Oct. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance from Loudoun Heights to Lovettsville, Va. began.

Oct. 21, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Cherokee Station, Ala. on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

Oct. 21, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Opelousas and Barre’s Landing, La.; in Greenton Valley, near Hopewell, Mo.; and at Sulphur Springs, Tenn. A four-day Federal reconnaissance from Charleston to Boone County Courthouse, West Virginia also began.

Oct. 21, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Leesburg, Ala.

Oct. 21, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bryant’s Plantation, Fla.; at Harrodsburg, Ky.; with Indians at Alkali Station in the Nebraska Territory; and in Clinch Valley, near Sneedsville, Tenn.

Oct. 21, 1864 - Confederate General Sterling Price’s position was clearly at a disadvantage. Surrounded on three sides by closely pursuing Federal forces, and with a river on the fourth, the logical thing to do would most likely have been to surrender his force and abandon every hope of taking Missouri out of the Union. This was not, however, Price’s style, so instead he on this day fought a very forceful fight at small waterway known as Little Blue. The inevitable was staved off for another day, and in fact the Federals were not as secure as they wanted Price to believe, ordering the evacuation of Independence, Mo.

Oct. 21, 1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison finally struck upon the idea for a workable electric light.

Oct. 21, 1888 - Margaret Fox, one of the Fox sisters, confessed that the "spirit rappings" she and her sisters made were a hoax, created by the cracking of their toe joints.

Oct. 21, 1892 – Opening ceremonies for the World's Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.

Oct. 21, 1895 – The Fall term of the Monroe County Circuit Court was scheduled to convene on this day in Monroeville, Ala.

Oct. 21, 1904 – Swiss explorer and journalist Isabelle Eberhardt was killed in a flash flood at the age of 27 in Aïn Séfra, Algeria.

Oct. 21, 1905 - The fall term of Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court adjourned on this Saturday morning.

Oct. 21-22, 1905 – The Rev. J.B. Kilpatrick filled his regular appointment at Pleasant Hill Church on this Saturday and Sunday. He was assisted by Rev. Mr. Cohron of Excel, Ala., who preached at the Grimes’ school house on the night of Sat., Oct. 21.

Oct. 21, 1917 – During World War I, four months after the first U.S. troops arrived in France, the first Americans entered combat when units from the U.S. Army's First Division were assigned to Allied trenches in the Luneville sector near Nancy, France.

Oct. 21, 1917 – Jazz trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, S.C.

Oct. 21, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Wm. S. Millican of Jackson, Ala. and Army Pvt. John Butler of Furman in Wilcox County, Ala. “died from disease.”

Oct. 21, 1921 – The Troy State Normal School (present-day Troy University) beat Repton High School, 12-6, in a football game in Troy, Ala. Troy would finish the season with a 1-7 record.

Oct. 21, 1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivered in Alabama the first speech by a sitting U.S. President against lynching in the deep South. Harding was the great-grandson of Conecuh County’s Henchie Warren, who is said to have hidden a chest of gold in Shipps Pond during the Civil War.

Oct. 21, 1926 – As The Evergreen Courant began its 32nd year of publication, it began publishing on Thursdays each week instead of Wednesdays as it had in the past.

Oct. 21, 1927 - In New York City, construction began on the George Washington Bridge.

Oct. 21, 1927 – Excel and Conecuh County High School were scheduled to play in football at Excel, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 21, 1928 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford was born in New York, New York. He spent his entire Major League career with the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.

Oct. 21, 1929 – Science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, Calif.

Oct. 21-22, 1932 – “Huddle: A Thrilling Football Picture,” starring Ramon Novarro, Una Merkle and Madge Evans, was scheduled to be shown at the Evergreen Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.

Oct. 21, 1933 – In a boxing match at Vredenburgh, welterweight “Borer” Hughes of Bay Minette Camp won by technical knockout in the fourth round over “Bucky” Harris, “star welter” of the Vredenburgh Camp. Hughes weighed 148 pounds, and Harris tipped the scales at 152 pounds.

Oct. 21, 1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was published.

Oct. 21, 1948 – Major League Baseball shortstop and manager Bill Russell was born in Pittsburgh, Kansas. He would go on to play for and manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oct. 21, 1953 – Well known Belleville, Ala. merchant Charles Wesley Reid, 73, died in a Greenville, Ala. hospital around 7 a.m. from injuries received in an automobile accident five days before. The accident occurred on the afternoon of Fri., Oct. 16, about mile east of Belleville.

Oct. 21, 1954 – Monroe County High School beat a “determined” Excel High School team, 6-0, in Monroeville. Left halfback Jim McNorton scored on a short, goal line run with just four minutes remaining in the first half for the game’s only points. Other standout MCHS players in that game included Harry Ikner, Nicky Manning, Elliott Sawyer, Hick Wiggins and Robert Wiggins. Standout Excel players included quarterback Sonny Baas and Willie Ed Cole.

Oct. 21, 1954 - Over 500 persons attended the annual Monroe County Purebred Cattle and Hog Show at the Regional Livestock Coliseum in Monroeville.

Oct. 21, 1956 - Billy Howton of the Green Bay Packers caught seven passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams. The final score was, 42-17.

Oct. 21, 1956 – Carrie Fisher, who is known as Princess Leia from the original “Star Wars” trilogy, was born in Beverly Hills.

Oct. 21, 1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public.

Oct. 21, 1959 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.

Oct. 21, 1960 – A major fire completely destroyed the Evergreen Heading Co. mill and warehouse on this early Friday morning. The mill, which manufactured wooden, paper-coated barrelheads, was founded in 1938, and Ward Alexander was the manager. It was believed that an electrical spark or spark from a boiler might have ignited shavings in the mill.

Oct. 21, 1960 – On homecoming night in Evergreen, Ala. Evergreen High School beat Frisco City, 21-14. Mary Hunter was named Miss Homecoming, and Joy Lure’ Davis was named Miss Football.

Oct. 21, 1962 – On Layman’s Day, J. Herbert Orr, industrialist, churchman and civic leader of Opelika, was scheduled to be the guest speaker on this Sunday at the Evergreen Methodist Church in Evergreen, Ala. Orr was one of America’s pioneers in the field of magnetic recording tape, and founded Orradio Industries, Inc., one of the first tape manufacturing plants in the nation.

Oct. 21, 1966 - The U.S. Congress approved the American Football League–National Football League merger.

Oct. 21, 1966 – On homecoming night at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala., Evergreen High School beat Frisco City High School, 39-6. Chan Fendley was crowned Miss Homecoming at Evergreen High School, and Faye Cook was named Miss Football.

Oct. 21, 1966 – The Conecuh County Board of Education opened bids for a major adition to Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala. The addition consisted of five classrooms, a band room, restrooms and some basement storage area. Construction was to begin immediately.

Oct. 21, 1967 – Future J.U. Blacksher High School head coach and principal Keith Cardwell scored a 21-yard touchdown and kicked the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 win over Excel High School.

Oct. 21, 1967 - At an antiwar rally in Washington, D.C., the protests included an exorcism of the Pentagon.

Oct. 21, 1967 - Staff Sgt. William G. Johnson, the son of William C. Johnson of Evergreen, Ala., received the Army Commendation Medal during ceremonies near Long Binh, Vietnam. Presenting the award was Col. W.H. Pietsch, civil affairs officer for the II Field Force, Vietnam. Johnson received the award for meritorious service while serving as a supply sergeant in the 2nd Civil Affairs Co., II Field Force, Vietnam.

Oct. 21, 1967 – During the Vietnam War, more than 100,000 war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. Similar demonstrations occurred simultaneously in Japan and Western Europe.

Oct. 21, 1967 – During the Vietnam War, demonstrators including radicals, liberals, black nationalists, hippies, professors, women’s groups, and war veterans marched on the Pentagon.

Oct. 21, 1973 - Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL player to record two safeties in a single game. The Rams defeated the Green Bay Packers, 24-7.

Oct. 21, 1975 - Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox hit a home run in the 12th inning in a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds in Game Six of the World Series. The Sox went on to lose the championship, of course. Still, even 30 years later, the films and photos of Fisk urgently trying to wave the ball into fair territory provide some of the game’s most enduring and exciting images. As team president Larry Lucchino pointed out, “the appeal of baseball at its best was illustrated that night.”

Oct. 21, 1980 - The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series.

Oct. 21, 1984 - Steve Cox of the Cleveland Browns kicked a 60-yard field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the second longest field goal in NFL history. The Browns lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 12-9.

Oct. 21, 1986 – The Monroeville (Ala.) City Council appointed Bill Dailey as Monroeville Police Chief. He replaced Charles Colbert, who had been chief for 12 years.

Oct. 21, 1986 – Natalee Ann Holloway was born in Clinton, Miss. At the age of 18, on May 30, 2005, she would disappear while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba, six days after her graduation from Mountain Brook High School in Alabama.
Oct. 21, 1995 – The 15th Annual Conecuh Heritage Day Festival was scheduled to be held in downtown Evergreen, Ala. Christian Country Music recording artist Jimmy Whitt and his 15-year-old daughter, Jamie, were scheduled to headline the entertainment.

Oct. 21, 1998 - The New York Yankees set a Major League Baseball record of 125 victories for the regular and postseason combined.

Oct. 21, 2000 - The New York Yankees defeated the New York Mets, 4-3, in 12 innings. It was the longest World Series game at four hours and 51 minutes.

Oct. 21, 2011 – “The Last Ride,” a film about the death of Hank Williams Sr., was released in theaters.

Oct. 21, 2015 - Marty McFly and Doc Brown blasted their DeLorean into the future at the end of the 1985 cult classic "Back to the Future" and landed in Hill Valley on the date of October 21, 2015, at the start of "Back to the Future Part II."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Oct. 21, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  0.00 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 0.60 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 45.40 inches

Notes: Today in the 294th day of 2016 and the 29th day of Fall. There are 72 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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three locations added to 'Spookiest Places in Conecuh County' list

Halloween is just 11 days away, and in the spirit of that ghostly holiday, I present to you today The Courant’s seventh annual list of the “Spookiest Places in Conecuh County.”

As with previous editions of this list, I compiled it after discussing the subject with a number of the county’s lifelong residents and individuals well versed in the county’s long history. Without further ado, here’s the list:

· Bloody Bones Well: A short distance north of the Old Flag Tree on Old Town Church Road in the Old Town community, you’ll find an old home place with an old-style well in the backyard. Local tales about this site have been passed down for at least the past half century and say that a creature known as “Bloody Bones” lives in the well. Supposedly, if you venture too close to this well at the wrong times of the day or month, “Bloody Bones” will drag you down into the wet darkness.

· Church’s Chicken: Located on West Front Street in Evergreen, this is one of Evergreen’s best places to stop for fried chicken. However, some former employees say the restaurant’s haunted and what many readers may not know is that the restaurant was built on top of the spot once occupied by a large, two-story house that served for many, many years as Evergreen’s only funeral home. The house, which saw an untold number of funerals, was torn down decades ago to make way for the restaurant building.

· Conecuh County Department of Human Resources Building: Built on the site of the county’s old poor house, convict farm and a former World War II German prisoner of war camp, DHR workers claim to hear the sound of unexplained footsteps in the halls, especially in the building’s north wing, late in the day and after hours. Other employees have had their hair “blown back” by unexplained forces, and others claim to have seen the ghost of a “lady in a long, drab skirt.” Others claim to have seen the ghosts of “women walking with laundry” and the unexplained sounds of “clanking dishes.”

· Conecuh County High School Building: Former teachers at this Castleberry school claim to have heard, after school hours, the unexplained sound of running footsteps in the building’s attic when no one else was in the building. Built in 1936, this building now houses the Conecuh County Junior High School.

· Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library: Staff members at the library have had a number of unusual experiences in the building, which is located on Cemetery Avenue in Evergreen. Unusual occurrences at the building include unexplained temperature drops, thumping noises and the sound of someone coming up the stairs when no one is there. Staff members have also found lights on that should have been off and books “turned topsy-turvy” or misplaced on shelves as well as items on the floor, even though things had been in their proper place when they closed the building the day before. Other library workers claim to have seen a ghost outside on the library grounds. They describe this ghost as a young girl, wearing what looks like turn-of-the-century clothing and riding breeches, standing next to a phantom horse.

· The Evergreen Courant Office: Located on Rural Street in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Evergreen, unexplained noises can be heard during the day and after hours. Long time employees at The Courant jokingly say that the noises are just former employees who don’t know that they’ve passed their final “deadline.”

· Flat Rock: Purported to be the home of Pukwudgies, that is, two-to-three-foot-tall troll-like creatures from Indian folklore that resemble humans. Witnesses say that they have large ears, fingers and noses and smooth, grey skin. Native Americans believed it best to leave these creatures alone because they were said to shoot poison areas, start fires and lure people to their deaths.

· First Evergreen Cemetery: Small cemetery located in Evergreen, just off Main Street, about a 1/4-mile south of the old Evergreen High School location. Contains some of the city’s earliest graves, including several unusual-looking unmarked vaults made with handmade bricks. Many of the cemetery’s graves are unmarked.

· Gallows Hollow: Located north of Lyeffion near the intersection of the CCC Trail and the Sepulga River, it’s where outlaw brothers Irvin and Stephen Ward were hung for the murder of Allen Page on Nov. 18, 1859. After the hanging, the old gallows were not removed following the execution and it stood for many decades as a reminder of the tragic murder at Fork Sepulga. The location of that murder and hanging, where the old gallows stood, was known thereafter as “Gallows Hollow.”

· Greasy Bottom Cemetery: Located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Jaguar Drive in Evergreen, this cemetery is said to contain between 300 and 500 graves, most of which are unmarked. Several of these graves are surrounded by “spirit cages” that are painted with light blue “haint paint” and are believed to keep ghosts near their graves. Oddly, most Evergreen residents are unaware of this large cemetery despite its size and location near one of Conecuh County’s busiest highways.

· Hawthorne House Site: This residence, which was located in Belleville and burned down in 2003, was used as a hospital for individuals injured in a train collision in October 1862 and as a hospital for Confederate soldiers hurt near the end of the Civil War. Many in the Belleville community believed that the Hawthorne House held the lingering spirits of countless Confederate souls. Lights, televisions and other modern conveniences in the home would often malfunction for no apparent reasons.

· Interstate 65: The 40-mile stretch of the interstate between Evergreen and Greenville was designated “The Haunted Highway” in the book, “Haunted Places: The National Directory” by Dennis William Hauck. Book claims that this section of highway is haunted by the spirits of displaced Creek Indians and has resulted in an “accident rate that is well above average.”

· King’s Crossing: This railroad crossing, located at the intersection of West Front Street and Belleville Street in downtown Evergreen, has been the site of countless accidents and deaths during the past century. At one time considered the most dangerous railroad crossing in Alabama and one of the most deadly in America, Evergreen Mayor Pete Wolff told The Mobile Press-Register in October 2013 that the crossing was “almost like a ghost crossing. It just invites people to run into trains, and not only do they pull in front of them, they even run into them from the side sometimes. We’ve had people that walked on the tracks and been run over. Sometimes a train will come and you can’t hear it. There’s just something weird about it.”

· Monster Road: The traditional nickname of what was also called the Hagood Road, which once connected Conecuh County Road 29 and Brooklyn Road, southeast of Evergreen. No one can say with any certainty how this road came to be named “Monster Road.” In May 2012, the Conecuh County Commission officially closed a portion of this road, three miles north of its intersection with Conecuh County Road 29.

· Murder Creek Bridge on I-65: Site of numerous unusual accidents over the years, including several that have resulted in fatalities and catastrophic fires. One big-rig driver claimed that he struck the bridge after a ghost horse-drawn carriage crossed the interstate in front of him. Others have reported seeing large, panther-like cats cross the highway in this area.

· Old Beulah Cemetery: One of the county’s oldest cemeteries, which contains a number of old fashioned headstones and monuments. The cemetery is located near the intersection of Hagood Road and County Road 29, southeast of Evergreen.

· Old Carter Hospital: Located on Burnt Corn Street in Repton, this was once the only hospital for a hundred miles in every direction. Closed in the mid-1950s, when Monroe County Hospital opened in Monroeville, this structure has seen more than its fair share of pain, sickness and death.

· Old Castleberry Bank Building: Located in downtown Castleberry at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and West Railroad Street, this building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former bank president who committed suicide there during the Great Depression. A former employee who worked there in the 1980s said that she and fellow coworkers would hear a man’s voice even when there were no men in the building and would often catch an unexplainable whiff of cigar smoke. Objects inside the bank would also get moved around overnight while the bank was empty, employees said.

· Old Croom House: Located on North Main Street in Evergreen, this antebellum house is said to be haunted by the “Grey Lady,” the ghost of a woman supposedly has haunted this house for almost a century. In recent years, at least two women visitors to the house have reported seeing the ghost of a woman standing in the bathtub in the home’s master bathroom. Others claim to hear ghostly music in the house while others have heard tales of a ghostly woman who sings softly while rocking in a rocking chair.

· Old L&N Train Depot: Located in downtown Evergreen and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this building is over 100 years old. Thousands of people passed through this train station during its heyday, and former employees have shared tales about hearing unexplained noises in the building at all times of the day and night.

· Old Sparta Site: According to “Shadows and Dust, Volume II” by Kevin McKinley, this is the location of a haunted well. The story goes that whispers can be heard coming from the well, which may have been constructed near the burial grounds of some long since removed Indian tribe.

· Pine Orchard: This community on the border of Conecuh and Monroe counties is the site of multiple sightings of a Bigfoot-like creature and witnesses, including a local minister, have reported seeing the creature on more than one occasion. Unusual noises, rock-throwing and other activity in the community have been attributed to the creature. This community is also the home of the “Mystery Stones of Pine Orchard,” that is, wheel-shaped stones of disputed, possibly Native American, origin.

· Sanders Cave: Large cave located about 3-1/2 miles northwest of Brooklyn. According to the June 1, 1967 edition of The Brewton Standard, it’s believed that Joseph Thompson Hare’s gang of robbers buried gold in the cave. Hare’s gang, which was organized in New Orleans in 1801, robbed overland travelers from New Orleans to Pensacola. Hare was eventually hanged in Baltimore in 1818 for robbing a U.S. Mail coach.

· Sepulga River: Multiple reports of a Bigfoot-type creature have been reported along the length of this meandering river, especially near Travis Bridge and Staples Bridge. Reported sightings of this creature date back as far as 2004, and multiple sightings of the creature were reported during the 2016 calendar year, garnering attention from Bigfoot investigators across the Southeast.

· Shipps Pond: This 43-acre lake is located between Castleberry and Brewton. In 1862, during the Civil War, plantation owner Henchie Warren supposedly sank a chest of gold and other valuables to the bottom of the lake to hide it from Union troops. Over the years, many have unsuccessfully tried to find this hidden chest, and a number of people believe that Warren’s chest of gold remains there today, waiting to be discovered beneath layers of black mud.

· Stoddard House: Said to be the most haunted location in all of Conecuh County, this one-story brick house is located south of Evergreen on U.S. Highway 31, near the Alabama Department of Transportation office. Former residents claimed to have endured a wide variety of unexplained experiences, including the sound of footsteps in the attic, knocking on walls, a baby crying, disembodied voices and seeing ghostly figures. Members of the Delta Paranormal Project’s Alabama Chapter investigated the home in January 2013 and reported that they believe the house is haunted by at least one spirit and maybe as many as three.

· Weaver Pond Road: Located near the Conecuh-Escambia County line and Weaver Pond and L Pond, game cameras in this area in October 2011 captured an unexplained “ghost image” of a man walking through the wooded area. Individuals living near L Pond said the person in the photo looks like Pott Weaver, who once lived in the area but passed away in 1984 - 27 years before the picture was taken. This ghostly image was so mysterious that The Mobile Press-Register published a full-length feature story about the unusual photo in its Oct. 31, 2011 edition.

Other nominees for the list have included the Baggett Cemetery in Castleberry, the old Civil Air Patrol Building in Evergreen, the Hampden Ridge Cemetery near Old Fort Autrey, the Old Evergreen Hotel site in downtown Evergreen, the Old Huggins Grist Mill site at Cohassett, the old Price Hotel-Stagecoach Stop at Owassa, the Old Pritchett Home in Evergreen, the old Ray Brothers Store site near Travis Bridge, the Old Red Wine Bridge near Castleberry and the Old Ward Plantation.

Before I close this thing out, I want to make perfectly clear that more than a few of these places are more than likely located on private property, so if you get the idea to visit any of these places (especially at night) you’d better get permission first or run the risk of trespassing. Also, if you plan to visit any of these places, especially cemeteries, respect your surroundings.

In the end, get up with me if you know a good local ghost story or have information about a spooky location in Conecuh County. You can reach me by calling 578-1492, by e-mail at or by mail at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401.

Standings reshuffle in local ESPN College Football Pick 'Em contest

According to this week’s SEC football schedule, there are four head-to-head games between SEC teams this Saturday. Alabama will play Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. in Tuscaloosa (CBS), and Auburn will play Arkansas at 5 p.m. in Auburn (ESPN). Mississippi State will play Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. in Lexington (SECN), and Ole Miss will play LSU at 8 p.m. in Baton Rouge (ESPN).

In other games involving SEC teams this week, South Carolina will play UMass at 11 a.m. in Columbia (SECN), Missouri will play Middle Tennessee State at 3 p.m. in Columbia (SECN), and Vandy will play Tennessee State at 6:30 p.m. in Nashville (ESPNU). Florida, Georgia and Tennessee all have open dates this week.

Here are my predictions as to how those games will turn out. I like Alabama over Texas A&M, Auburn over Arkansas, LSU over Ole Miss, Mississippi State over Kentucky, Missouri over Middle Tennessee State, South Carolina over UMass and Vandy over Tennessee State.

Last week: 4-2. So far this season: 53-10.

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The seventh weekend of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest wrapped up on Saturday night, and there was more than a little shake up in the standings this week. I held on to first place for the third week in a row, and Drew Skipper moved into sole possession of second place. Last week, he was tied with Steve Stacey for the second-place spot.

Steve dropped from second to third place. Eric Byrd went from sixth place to fourth place, and Rod Sims held on to fifth place for the second straight week. Hunter Norris went from ninth place to sixth place.

Travis Presley held down the No. 7 spot for the second week in a row. Justin Chandler jumped into the eighth-place spot, and Eric Talbot jumped into the No. 9 spot. Ricky Taylor finished the week in the tenth-place spot.

If you’re playing in the contest and didn’t finish in the Top 10 this week, don’t feel bad. We’ve got seven more weeks left in the contest, and there’s a lot of football left to be played. The Top 10 changes pretty much every week, and you can bet that next week will be no different.

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As of Monday, there were only four teams left in the Major League Baseball playoffs. In the National League, you had the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers duking it out for the league championship. Over in the American League, the Cleveland Indians were battling the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League crown.

As of Monday, Cleveland had a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jays in their best-of-seven series, and the series between the Cubs and the Dodgers was tied at one game apiece. I’m hoping to see a World Series between Cleveland and Chicago. I’m not pulling for the Blue Jays simply because they’re from Canada, and the idea of them winning the “American” league pennant just doesn’t sit well with me. The Indians are only slightly more palatable. I’m pulling for the Cubs to win it all, mainly because they haven’t won a World Series since 1908.