Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Feb. 9, 2016

Brooklyn Baptist Church
FEB. 9, 1984

Weather observer Earl Windham reported .45 inches of rain on Feb. 3. He also reported a high of 67 degrees on Jan. 30 and a low of 24 degrees on Feb. 1.

Theron L. Sims, manager of the Piggly Wiggly Super Market here for 20 years, retired Saturday, ending a 40-year career in the grocery business. He is succeeded by Robby Stanford of Atmore.

Alvin Howard Dees, 75, of Evergreen died Wed., Feb. 1, in a local hospital. A native of Escambia County, the son of the late Stephen and Lucy Robinson Dees, he was manager of JayVilla Plantation for 41 years. He was born Aug. 14, 1908.

Over 100 attended the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce’s annual promotion banquet Friday night at the Holiday Inn. Representatives from 35 businesses and industries, 10 professionals and nearly all county and city elected officials were among those present.
Mrs. Ouida Salter introduced the speaker, Dr. Joe M. Elrod of Montgomery, who is associated with New York Like Insurance Co. He entertained with a chain of “Cajun” jokes drawn from his experiences while serving as an educator in Southern Louisiana before finishing up with a few serious remarks and challenges.
Mrs. Willene Whatley assumed the presidency and made concluding remarks, calling on members for continued support of Chamber activities.

FEB. 13, 1969

Pfc. Joseph S. Ward, USMC, is in Okinawa enroute to Vietnam. He entered the Marine Corps on July 2, 1968 and left for California for January. Private Ward is the son of Richard Ward of Evergreen and Mrs. James V. Hawsey of McKenzie. He attended Lyeffion High School.

A woman faces charges of assault with intent to murder following a scrape here Monday night.
Sarah Matthews was arrested by Evergreen Policemen Tal Smith and Henry C. Jackson who investigated. They turned her over to Sheriff James (Shorty) Brock.
She is charged with shooting Matthew Stallworth, 35, city sanitation department worker, with a .22 caliber pistol. Three shots were fired and one hit the man in the back of the head, but the wound was not serious. In fact, he worked Tuesday.

The Spring Term of Circuit Court will open here Monday morning with Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presiding. After the Grand Jury is empaneled, the trial of civil cases on an extremely light docket will begin.
The grand jurors will have a number of cases presented to them by District Attorney Ralph L. Jones of Monroeville and County Solicitor Henry J. Kinzer. Since all cases from the Fall Term were continued, there should be a fairly heavy docket of criminal cases to be tried the week beginning Mon., March 10. There are only 10 cases slated for the jury trial on the civil docket.

FEB. 11, 1954

Evergreen High Seeks Historical Items For School’s Museum: The Journalism Club of Evergreen High School today made a plea to the public for donations of items of historical interest in the field of education in Evergreen. These items will be kept in the newly formed Evergreen High School Museum for many years to come and will help to show to posterity a way of life in Conecuh County.
M.B. Campbell, Farmers Bonded Warehouse, has given glass cases in which the articles donated will be kept at the school.
The initial contribution, consisting of three pictures, was made by Mrs. Katie McCreary. It is fitting that one of the pictures is of Miss Willie Cunningham, the beloved lady who contributed so much to education in Conecuh County. Another picture shows the baseball team of 1894, featuring such players as Edmund Finch, Henderson Cook, Ted Gantt and Donnie Bruner.
The school is indebted to Miss Mary Cunningham for a picture of a “Thom Thum” commencement wedding in which she was a winsome bridesmaid and Mary Dent Salter (Mrs. Fred Mills) was a flower girl.

Several personnel changes are announced today by D.T. (Tal) Stuart, Stuart Motor Co. Zell Murphy, popular Evergreen resident who is well-known and liked throughout the county, is now associated with the firm in charge of their parts department.
Warren Bolton has been named general manager and service manager.

FEB. 9, 1939

Conecuh County Pioneer Is Claimed By Death: Alexander A. Autrey, one of the pioneer citizens of Conecuh County, died at the home of his nephew, George M. Jones on Bellview Avenue, Sunday afternoon, at the advanced age of 83 years.
Mr. Autrey was the son of the late Enoch George Autrey and Elizabeth Amanda (Johnston) Autrey, and was born at Old Sparta on May 19, 1855. When quite young, he moved to the Johnstonville community, where he resided until his death. He was a lifelong member of the Brooklyn Baptist Church, from which funeral services were held Monday afternoon, conducted by Dr. J.G. Dickinson and Rev. Raines, his pastor.

Robert Fields, 60-year-old McKenzie man, is being held in Conecuh County Jail on a charge of murder in connection with the fatal stabbing two weeks ago of his 20-year-old wife, Eva Bell.
The latter was found on the shoulder of Highway 31, one mile south of the Conecuh-Butler county line, on the night of Jan. 27, stabbed to death near the heart with an ice pick, or similar instrument.
Fields, who sometimes goes by the name of Mayweather, disappeared from his home on the night the body was found and authorities immediately instituted a search.

Using bloodhounds obtained from the sheriff of Butler County and with the aid of two highway patrolmen, Sheriff J.G. Moore and his deputies found Fields Tuesday near Nymph, after receiving reports he had been seen in that vicinity.

Today in History for Feb. 9, 2016

USS Constellation (CV-64)
Feb. 9, 1739 – William Bartram, one of America’s first professional botanists, was born near Philadelphia, Pa. Between 1773 and 1777, he went on a botanical and anthropological expedition through the Southeast, including Alabama, passing through Butler, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties. He published the famous book, Bartram’s “Travels” in 1791.

Feb. 9, 1752 – Swedish biologist and explorer Fredrik Hasselqvist died at the age of 30 in Smryna, Turkey.

Feb. 9, 1773 - William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, was born on Berkeley Plantation in Virginia. Harrison served as president for a brief 32 days in 1841, the shortest term ever served. He was also the last president to be born an English subject.

Feb. 9, 1775 – During the American Revolutionary War, the British Parliament declared Massachusetts in rebellion.

Feb. 9, 1776 – Future New Jersey governor Joseph Bloomfield became captain of the third New Jersey Regiment of Foot in the Continental Army.

Feb. 9, 1778 - Rhode Island became the fourth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

Feb. 9, 1781 – German biologist and explorer Johann Baptist von Spix was born in Höchstadt an der Aisch, Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg.

Feb. 9, 1798 – Jephtha V. Perryman was born in Twiggs County, Ga. He would go on to serve as a legislator, judge and education superintendent in Conecuh County, Ala.

Feb. 9, 1825 – After no candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the U.S. presidential election of 1824, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as President of the United States.

Feb. 9, 1818 – Dallas County, Ala. was created by the Territorial Legislature.

Feb. 9, 1852 – The Conecuh Plank Road Co. was officially incorporated.

Feb. 9, 1861 – This day’s edition of Harper’s Weekly magazine included a sketch of U.S. Representative James Adam Stallworth of Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 9, 1861 – During the Civil War, Jefferson Davis was elected the Provisional President of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate convention at Montgomery, Ala.

Feb. 9, 1861 - Fort Pickens, Fla. refused to receive the Federal troops that arrived on the steamer, Brooklyn, in order to maintain the status quo of that situation.

Feb. 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Marshfield, Mo., and Confederate Brigadier General Gideon Johnson Pillow assumed command of Fort Donelson in Tennessee.

Feb. 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Moscow, Tenn. and in the vicinity of Somerville, Va.

Feb. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Morgan's Mill, Tomahawk Gap, and in White County, Ark.; near Point Washington, Fla.; at Donaldsonville and another at New River, La.; near Senatobia, Miss.; and in Hardin County, Tenn.

Feb. 9, 1864 – A two-day Federal operation began up the Nassau River from Fernandina, Fla., and Yazoo City, Miss. was occupied by Federal forces. Federal reconnaissance began toward Swansborough, Young’s Crossroads and the White River, N.C.

Feb. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, 109 Federal officers escaped from Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., by digging a tunnel. Two drowned and 48 others were apprehended again.

Feb. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln sat for several photographs, including the one which would eventually be on the modern day $5 bill.

Feb. 9, 1864 - Union General George Armstrong Custer and Elizabeth “Libbie” Bacon were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Michigan. Custer was killed on June 25, 1876 by Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana.

Feb. 9, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Binnaker’s Bridge and at Homan’s Bridge on the South Edisto River, S.C. and near Memphis, Tenn. Confederate General Robert E. Lee also proposed a pardon for all deserters who would return to their units within 30 days. President Jefferson Davis approved the pardon.

Feb. 9, 1870 – U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress establishing the U.S. Weather Bureau, which is now known as the National Weather Service.

Feb. 9, 1902 - Dr. Eugene-Louis Doyen of Paris surgically separated Radica and Doodica, Siamese twins from the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The operation was initially considered a success, but both girls died within a year of the procedure.

Feb. 9, 1903 - Alabama's last county, Houston County, was created by act of the legislature. Formed from parts of Dale, Geneva, and Henry counties in the extreme southeastern corner of the state, it was named for former Gov. George S. Houston. The city of Dothan was made the county seat.

Feb. 9, 1907 – Trường Chinh, the fourth President of Vietnam, was born in Duc Tan, Mộ Đức District, Quảng Ngãi Province, Indochina.

Feb. 9, 1913 – A group of meteors was visible across much of the eastern seaboard of North and South America, leading astronomers to conclude the source had been a small, short-lived natural satellite of the Earth.

Feb. 9, 1914 – Legendary baseball owner and showman Bill Veeck was born in Chicago.

Feb. 9, 1915 - The third attraction in the Lyceum series was presented at the Monroe County High School auditorium in Monroeville, Ala. Wells Watson Ginn appeared in the “varied and entertaining role of impersonator and reader.”

Feb. 9, 1922 – In the fictional video game, “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth,” after a FBI raid on the Marsh Gold Refinery in Innsmouth, the U.S. military began a combined land-and-sea assault on Innsmouth. The only part of the town that proved resistant to the attack was the headquarters of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, a religious organization devoted to two undersea demigods and Cthulhu that holds the whole town under its grip. The building proved unbreachable for the Coast Guard and the Marines, but private investigator Jack Walters found a way in through an old smuggling entrance that was guarded by a star-spawn of Cthulhu.

Feb. 9, 1923 – Irish playwright and novelist Brendan Behan was born in Dublin.

Feb. 9, 1930 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “The Other Tomorrow” was released.

Feb. 9, 1939 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Robert Fields, 60, of McKenzie, Ala., was being held in Conecuh County Jail on a charge of murder in connection with the fatal stabbing two weeks before of his 20-year-old wife, Eva Bell. Bell was found on the shoulder of Highway 31, one mile south of the Conecuh-Butler county line, on the night of Jan. 27, stabbed to death near the heart with an ice pick, or similar instrument. Fields, who sometimes went by the name of Mayweather, disappeared from his home on the night the body was found and authorities immediately instituted a search. Using bloodhounds obtained from the sheriff of Butler County and with the aid of two highway patrolmen, Sheriff J.G. Moore and his deputies found Fields on Feb. 7 near Nymph, after receiving reports he had been seen in that vicinity.

Feb. 9, 1944 – Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Ga.

Feb. 9, 1953 - The movie "Superman" premiered.

Feb. 9, 1954 – Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team, led by head coach Wendell Hart, improved to 11-5 on the season by beating Repton, 51-48, in Repton, Ala. on this Tuesday night. Repton, led by head coach Albert Arnold, dropped to 14-2 on the season with the loss. Randy White led Evergreen with 26 points. Other top Evergreen players in that game included Ward Alexander Jr., Wayne Douglas, Jimmy Frazier and Hosea King. Ray Blackwell led Repton with 17 points. Other top Repton players in that game included Paul Brantley, Billy Farrish and Roger Kearly. Repton center Harry Giles led the game at halftime after becoming ill and it was later determined that he had appendicitis.

Feb. 9, 1960 - A verbal agreement was reached between representatives of the American and National Football Leagues. Both agreed not to tamper with player contracts.

Feb. 9, 1961 – Former pro and college football play Lum Snider spoke to the Evergreen, Ala. Rotary Club. Snider, a native of Cleveland, Tenn., was an All-SEC and All-American guard at Georgia Tech. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and later coached for the British Columbia Lions in Vancouver. At the time of his visit to Evergreen, he was an International Paper Co. salesman and a resident of Birmingham.

Feb. 9, 1963 - The eighth annual Moore Academy Homecoming Celebration was scheduled to be held at Pine Apple, Ala. on this Saturday. The Moore Academy Hawks were also scheduled to play the Camden Tigers in the annual basketball game to get under way at 7 p.m.

Feb. 9, 1964 – The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, as teenage girls screamed hysterically in the audience and 73 million people watched from home – a record for American television at the time. Their appearance on the show is considered the beginning of the "British Invasion" of music in the United States.

Feb. 9, 1965 – The United States Marine Corps sent a MIM-23 Hawk missile battalion to South Vietnam, the first American troops in-country without an official advisory or training mission. This air defense missile battalion was deployed to Da Nang as ordered by President Lydon Johnson to provide protection for the key U.S. airbase there. This was the first commitment of American combat troops in South Vietnam and there was considerable reaction around the world to the new stage of U.S. involvement in the war. Predictably, both communist China and the Soviet Union threatened to intervene if the United States continued to apply its military might on behalf of the South Vietnamese. In Moscow, some 2,000 demonstrators, led by Vietnamese and Chinese students and clearly supported by the authorities, attacked the U.S. Embassy. Britain and Australia supported the U.S. action, but France called for negotiations.

Feb. 9, 1971 – Pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige of Mobile, Ala. became the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted.

Feb. 9, 1972 - The aircraft carrier USS Constellation joined aircraft carriers Coral Sea and Hancock off the coast of Vietnam. From 1964 to 1975, there were usually three U.S. carriers stationed in the water near Vietnam at any given time. Carrier aircraft participated in the bombing of North Vietnam and also provided close air support for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam. In 1972, the number of U.S. carriers off Vietnam increased to seven as part of the U.S. reaction to the North Vietnamese Eastertide Offensive that was launched on March 30–carrier aircraft played a major role in the air operations that helped the South Vietnamese defeat the communist invasion.

Feb. 9, 1976 – Actor Charlie Day was born in New York City. He is best known for playing Charlie Kelly on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Feb. 9, 1985 – Sparta Academy’s boys basketball team beat Wilcox Academy, 71-69, in the consolation game of the District Tournament at Monroe Academy in Monroeville, Ala. Sparta Academy’s Al Etheridge and Jim Wagstaff were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Feb. 9, 1986 – Halley's Comet last appeared in the inner Solar System.

Feb. 9, 1992 - Thomas Scholl of Munich issued the world's fastest yodel-- 22 tones (15 falsetto) within one second.

Feb. 9, 1993 - Fourteen people were arrested when violence erupted at the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl victory parade.

Feb. 9, 1997 - "The Simpsons" became the longest-running prime-time animated series, breaking the record previously held by "The Flintstones.”

Feb. 9, 2001 - "Hannibal," the sequel to "Silence of the Lambs," opened in theaters.

Feb. 9, 2009 - Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees admitted that he had taken banned substances from 2001 to 2003.

Feb. 9, 2014 – Former Auburn University center and linebacker Hal Herring died at the age of 89 in Cumming, Ga. Herring played at West Point High School in Cullman, Auburn University and for the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Feb. 9, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 1.15 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 17.00 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 6.85 inches

Notes: Today in the 40th day of 2016 and the 50th day of Winter. There are 326 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.

Monday, February 8, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 257: Visit the grave of Grancer Harrison

The grave of Grancer Harrison near Kinston, Ala.
The story of Grancer Harrison, aka “The Dancing Ghost,” is one of the most iconic ghost stories in Alabama history, and many Alabama residents have become familiar with his spooky story through Kathryn Tucker Windham’s classic book, “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.” Windham devoted an entire chapter in her book to the tale of Grancer Harrison and also included photos of his grave in the Harrison Cemetery near Kinston.

I’ve read the tale of Grancer Harrison many times over the years, and I’ve always wanted to see Harrison’s grave for myself, which is why I put a trip to his grave on my bucket list several years ago. Yesterday, I found myself with a few hours to kill, so my son and I made the short drive to Kinston and got an up close look at Harrison’s tomb.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Grancer Harrison, he was a large plantation owner who moved to Alabama from South Carolina in the 1830s. Harrison loved to have a good time, and he was known far and wide for his barbecues, horse races and dances. Harrison loved to party so much that he eventually had a large dance hall constructed near his farm.

Time passed, and as the time of Harrison’s death approached, he had his slaves prepare his tomb a short distance from his large dance hall. The story goes that, even in death, Harrison wanted to be close to the dances and parties yet to come, and he was buried there (complete with his dancing shoes) when he passed away in the 1860s. Sadly, with Harrison now dead, the local dances and parties faded in popularity and soon came to an end. It just wasn’t the same without fun-loving Grancer around.

It was around that time that things took a turn for the spooky. According to Windham’s book, people began to hear “the eerie sounds of fiddling and dancing coming from the cemetery” where Harrison was buried. Other witnesses claimed that they could hear the voice of a man calling out square dances and music coming from the cemetery.

My son and I visited the Harrison Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, and even in the bright sunshine of a crisp February afternoon, the cemetery still put off a strong, creepy vibe. Although Harrison’s grave isn’t marked with his name, we knew what it looked like and where it was located thanks to pictures of it in Windham’s book and photos of it we found online. We checked out Harrison's grave closely and also placed a couple of quarters atop the grave along with all the other items visitors have placed there over the years.

During our time there, we didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary. We didn’t hear any unusual music or ghostly voices, but who’s to say what we would have experienced had we stayed longer. In all, we probably spent about 20 minutes in the cemetery, and we left more than a little pleased to have scratched this ghostly field trip off our list of places to see for ourselves.

In the end, how many of you have visited the grave of Grancer Harrison? What did you think about it? When did you visit this location, and who were you with? Did anything out of the ordinary happen? Let us know in the comments section below.

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 256: Listen to Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”

The heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses was in its heyday when I was a youngster, and by the time I became a teenager and became interested in music, the band seemed somewhat outdated for my tastes. For that reason, I never really got into Guns N’ Roses (like I did with Nirvana and Pearl Jam), even though I knew who they were and had heard a few of their songs.

A few years ago, I ran across a best-of list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine called the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and I noticed that Rolling Stone had ranked Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, “Appetite for Destruction,” at No. 62 on this prestigious list. It somewhat irked me that I couldn’t say that I’d ever listened to this album, so I added it to my bucket list a few years ago. 

I found a copy of the album on Friday and officially listened to it from start to finish. In fact, I’ve listened to it several times, from start to finish, since then. I can now appreciate when it's so highly regarded.

For those of you unfamiliar with “Appetite for Destruction,” it was recorded in March and April of 1987 and was officially released on July 21, 1987. The album went on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time and is now considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time, which is why you find it on best-of lists like Rolling Stone’s greatest albums list.

The album is a few seconds shy of being 54 minutes long and consists of 12 songs. Well known songs on the album include “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Other songs on the album are “It’s So Easy,” “Nightrain,” “Out ta Get Me,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “My Michelle,” “Think About You,” “You’re Crazy” and “Rocket Queen.” “Paradise City” is the longest song with a run time of six minutes and 46 seconds, and “It’s So Easy” is the shortest, coming in a three minutes and 21 seconds.

Now that I’ve listened to “Appetite for Destruction,” I’m left wanting to listened to some of Guns N’ Roses’ other albums. A little research showed me that, counting “Appetite for Destruction,” the band produced six albums between 1987 and 2008. Those albums include “Appetite for Destruction” (1987), “G N’ R Lies” (1988), “Use Your Illusion I” (1991), “Use Your Illusion II” (1991), “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993) and “Chinese Democracy” (2008). Interestingly, “Appetite for Destruction” is the only of these albums that made the cut for Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums.”

I’m also left with the strange desire to buy a T-shirt with the iconic logo from “Appetite for Destruction” on the front. I’ve seen these shirts before, back when you could buy them in stores, but nowadays I would imagine that you’d have to order one from somewhere online.

In the end, how many of you have listened to Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”? What did you think about it? What other albums would you recommend listening to? Let us know in the comments section below.

Today in History for Feb. 8, 2016

Henry Walter Bates
Feb. 8, 1762 – Vietnamese emperor Gia Long was born.

Feb. 8, 1776 - General George Washington received a letter from Cumberland, Nova Scotia, and the letter requested that he invade Novia Scotia at his earliest possible convenience.

Feb. 8, 1777 - Major Timothy Bigelow became colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Colonial Line of the Continental Army. He had been a prisoner of war until just six months before. After his promotion to colonel, Bigelow fought valiantly in some of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778 and the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781. A monument dedicated to Bigelow is located at Worcester Common in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Feb. 8, 1804 – English explorer Richard Lemon Lander was born in Truro, Cornwall.

Feb. 8, 1820 – Union General William Tecumsen Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio.

Feb. 8, 1825 – English geographer, biologist and explorer Henry Walter Bates was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom.

Feb. 8, 1828 - Jules Verne, considered the “Father of Science Fiction,” was born in Nantes, France.

Feb. 8, 1831 – West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe was tried for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders for refusing to attend formations, classes or church. Poe tactically pled not guilty to induce dismissal, knowing he would be found guilty.

Feb. 8, 1836 – Former Tennessee Congressman David Crockett arrived in San Antonio de Bexar with 12 other volunteers.

Feb. 8, 1850 – Kate Chopin, who is best known for her 1899 novel, “The Awakening,” was born in St. Louis, Mo.

Feb. 8, 1852 – The Brooklyn Academy in Conecuh County was incorporated by the Alabama legislature.

Feb. 8-9, 1855 – The “Devil’s Footprints” Incident occurred around the Exe Estuary in East Devon and South Devon, England. After a heavy snowfall, trails of hoof-like marks appeared overnight in the snow covering a total distance of some 40 to 100 miles. The footprints were so called because some people believed that they were the tracks of Satan, as they were allegedly made by a cloven hoof. Many theories have been put forward to explain the incident, and some aspects of its veracity have also been called into question.

Feb. 8, 1861 - The Confederate States of America was formed when the Constitution of the Confederates States of America was finalized and adopted in Montgomery, Ala.

Feb. 8, 1861- During the Civil War, Arkansas State Troops seized the arsenal at Little Rock, Ark.

Feb. 8, 1862 - Union General Ambrose Burnside captured Roanoke Island in North Carolina. It was one of the first major Union victories of the Civil War and gave the Yankees control of the mouth of Albemarle Sound, allowing them to threaten the Rebel capital of Richmond, Virginia, from the south. The Federals suffered 37 men killed and 214 wounded, while the Confederates lost 23 men killed and 62 wounded.

Feb. 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bolivar, Mo.; at Linn Creek, Va.; and in Mercer County, West Va. Federal gunboats also moved up the Pasquotank River, toward Elizabeth City, N.C.

Feb. 8, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Independence, Mo. and at Camp Sheldon, Miss.

Feb. 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Ten-Mile Run near Camp Finegan, Fla., as Federal forces moved inland from Jacksonville, Fla. Skirmishes were also fought at Ringgold, Ga.; at Barboursville, Ky. and at Donaldsonville, La. Multiple skirmishes were also fought at Coldwater Ferry, another in the vicinity of Morton, and another at Senatobia, Miss. Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Maryville, Tenn., on the main Sevierville Road.

Feb. 8, 1865 - The Battle of Dabney's Mill (Hatcher's Run) ended after three days. Neither side ended with a significant advantage after producing about 3,000 casualties.

Feb. 8, 1865 – In the United States, Delaware voters rejected the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and voted to continue the practice of slavery. (Delaware finally ratified the amendment on Feb. 12, 1901.) Massachusetts and Pennsylvania become the ninth and tenth states to ratify the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.

Feb. 8, 1865 - A two-day Federal operation down the Arkansas River, near Little Rock, Ark. began. Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Helena to Madison, Ark.

Feb. 8, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at New Market, Bradfordsville and Hustonville, Ky.; with Indians on the North Platte River, near Rush Creek, the Nebraska Territory; and at White Pond, Williston, Walker’s Bridge and at Cannon’s Bridge on the Edisto River, S.C.

Feb. 8, 1896 - The Western Conference was formed by representatives of Midwestern universities. The group later changed its name to the Big 10 Conference.

Feb. 8, 1910 - William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.

Feb. 8, 1911 – Poet Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Mass.

Feb. 8, 1912 – Aviation pioneer Robert G. Fowler became the first person to fly west to east aross the United States when he arrived in Jacksonville, Fla. He departed San Francisco on Sept. 11, 1911 and stopped in Evergreen, Ala. on Jan. 15, 1912.

Feb. 8, 1915 – D. W. Griffith's controversial film “The Birth of a Nation” premiered at Clune’s Auditorium in Los Angeles. This silent film was America's first feature-length motion picture and a box-office smash, and during its unprecedented three hours Griffith popularized countless filmmaking techniques that remain central to the art today. Actually titled “The Clansman” for its first month of release, the film provided a highly subjective history of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

Feb. 8, 1915 - The first quarterly term of the Commissioners Court for the new year convened in Monroeville, Ala. with Commissioners Lambert, Jackson, Holloman and Holloway in attendance.

Feb. 8, 1918 - "The Stars and Stripes" newspaper was published for the first time.

Feb. 8, 1922 - United States President Warren G. Harding introduced the first radio set in the White House.

Feb. 8, 1922 – In the fictional video game, “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth,” private investigator Jack Walters helped J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI raid the Marsh Gold Refinery in Innsmouth, where he was attacked by an ancient creature known as a Shoggoth and uncovered a Cthulhu shrine before the building is demolished.

Feb. 8, 1926 – Beat Generation icon Neal Cassady was born in Salt Lake City.

Feb. 8, 1936 - The first National Football League draft was held, and Jay Berwanger was the first to be selected, drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Feb. 8, 1938 – Longtime Monroe Journal publisher Q. Salter died after he was stricken when leaving his office at The Monroe County Bank. He died just minutes later without uttering a word. He’s buried in the old Methodist Cemetery on Sumter Ave. in Monroeville.

Feb. 8, 1940 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Conecuh County Superintendent of Education H.D. Weathers and Conecuh County Circuit Court Clerk W.S. Dreaden had qualified to seek reelection in the upcoming primary elections.

Feb. 8, 1949 – Evergreen High School officially dedicated its new, $90,000 basketball gym, which was named “Memorial Gym” in honor of the eight former Evergreen High School students who died during WWII (Laula M. Middleton, Winton McIntyre, Paul Wesley Tranum, William Bucy Stinson, Judson Cary Murphy, John Travis Aaron, James Freeman and Ely H. Cowart). The ceremony was scheduled to take place between Evergreen’s B-team and varsity games against the Loretto Saints. Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive-Secretary J. Cliff Harper, who was also a former Evergreen High School principal, was the guest speaker at the dedication. 

Feb. 8, 1950 - The Associated Press named Jim Thorpe and Baby Didrikson Zaharias the greatest male and female athletes of the first half of the 20th century.

Feb. 8, 1952 – The Manistee & Repton Railroad ceased operations.

Feb. 8, 1955 – Best-selling novelist John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Ark. His first novel, “A Time to Kill,” was published in 1989.

Feb. 8, 1956 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, manager and owner Connie Mack died at the age of 93 in Philadelphia. During his career, he played for the Washington Nationals, the Buffalo Bisons and the Pittsburgh Pirates and he also managed the Pirates and the Philadelphia Athletics. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

Feb. 8, 1959 - Alabama author William Miller was born in Anniston, Ala.

Feb. 8, 1961 – John Thomas Coker, 32, of Evergreen, Ala. died from injuries received in an accident on Feb. 7. Coker, a 1949 graduate of Evergreen High School, was working with the Scott Co., dismantling an old bridge across the Chattahoochee River, 17 miles east of Dothan, when he fell 42 feet to the bank of the river before sliding into the river itself. Foreman Billy Biles rescued Coker from the river, and Coker was rushed to hospitals in Dothan and Phenix City.

Feb. 8, 1962 – During what is now known as the “Charonne Massacre,” nine trade unionists were killed by French police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police.

Feb. 8, 1962 - The Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), headed by Gen. Paul D. Harkins, former U.S. Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, was installed in Saigon as the United States reorganized its military command in South Vietnam. Before MACV, the senior U.S. military command in South Vietnam was the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG-Vietnam), which was formed on Nov. 1, 1955 to provide military assistance to South Vietnam. MAAG-Vietnam had U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps elements that provided advice and assistance to the South Vietnamese Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff and corps and division commanders, as well as to training centers and province and district headquarters. 

Feb. 8, 1963 - Lamar Hunt, owner of the American Football League franchise in Dallas, Texas, moved the operation to Kansas City. The new team was named the Chiefs.

Feb. 8, 1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba were made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.

Feb. 8, 1963 – The regime of Prime Minister of Iraq, Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Qasim was overthrown by the Ba'ath Party.

Feb. 8, 1969 - The last issue of the "Saturday Evening Post" was published. It was revived in 1971 as a quarterly publication and later a six times a year publication.

Feb. 8, 1969 – The “Allende meteorite” fell near Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Feb. 8, 1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launched an incursion into Laos to try to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration. Dubbed Operation Lam Son 719, the mission goal was to disrupt the communist supply and infiltration network along Route 9 in Laos, adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The operation was supported by U.S. airpower (aviation and airlift) and artillery (firing across the border from firebases inside South Vietnam). 

Feb. 8, 1971 - In Cambodia, Premier Lon Nol suffered a paralyzing stroke and turned his duties over to Deputy Premier Sirik Matak. Debilitated by the stroke, Lon Nol resigned on April 20. A week later, he withdrew his resignation, staying on in a figurehead role as Sirik Matak continued to run the government pending his recovery.

Feb. 8, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Adam Piatt was born in Chicago, Ill. He went on to play for the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Feb. 8, 1977 – The Murder Creek Historical Society acquired the title to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. Depot in Evergreen, Ala. The title was transferred to the Society’s officers by I.L. Bell, L&N Superintendent at Mobile, in a brief ceremony at the depot.

Feb. 8, 1985 – Monroe Academy beat Sparta, 67-61, in the District Basketball Tournament in Monroeville, Ala. Al Etheridge, who was named to the all-tournament team, led Sparta with 23 points.

Feb. 8, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low of 23 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 8, 1985 - "The Dukes of Hazzard" ended its 6-1/2 year run on CBS television.

Feb. 8, 1988 - The Excel (Ala.) Town Council planned to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on this Monday night to hear citizens’ concerns about proposed annexation. On Jan. 18, 1988, the council approved plans to annex about two square miles north of the present town limits into the town. The area included land between Highway 136 and Gardner Gin Road to the east and land on the south side of Highway 84 to the H&R Block building.

Feb. 8, 1991 - Roger Clemens signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox that paid $5,380,250 per year.

Feb. 8, 1991 – Sparta Academy’s varsity boys basketball team beat Hooper Academy, 93-66, in Evergreen, Ala. Steven Gall led Sparta with 22 points.

Feb. 8, 2000 – Pro Football Hall of Fame outside linebacker and defensive end Derrick Thomas died in Miami, Fla. at the age of 33 from injuries suffered in a car accident weeks before. Thomas was an All-American at the University of Alabama and went on to play his entire pro career for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., Feb. 8, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 1.15 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 17.00 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 6.85 inches

Notes: Today in the 39th day of 2016 and the 49th day of Winter. There are 327 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.