Saturday, June 23, 2018

Singleton describes stormy 1997 visit to the top of Nancy Mountain

View from atop Nancy Mountain in Monroe County, Ala.

(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 “Storms are like armies” was originally published in the May 29, 1997 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Strange, how just about the time when one thinks that they have become an accurate weather forecaster, they then find that they know absolutely nothing as to weather forecasting. This past Saturday, the 24th of May, I decided that I would take some time off from the chores that my dear wife had assigned and ride over to one of my favorite places of rest and relaxation. Looking to the northwest, I decided that the few thunderheads floating on the horizon poised no threat of me getting wet during the early afternoon. So, I mounted my motorcycle and headed northwest toward one of my favorite places, Nancy Mountain.

As I headed up Highway 41, I noticed that those thunderheads seemed to hang lower and had become much heavier over to the west. As I raced along toward my destination, and the thunderheads seemed to grow larger and larger and become heavier and darker. I was beginning to doubt my ability to follow the weather as I raced toward the high hill overlooking the river. I knew that if I could make it to the top of Nancy Mountain, I could protect myself from the weather by getting under the pavilion there atop the high hill.

Luck was with me; I parked my motorcycle under the pavilion and just as a few large drops of rain began to fall and make a very soothing sound on the leaves of the trees and the top of the pavilion. As the rain grew harder, I knew that I was in for some time of relaxation and contentment.

I selected myself a comfortable place; I then turned my eyes toward the deep valley before me, and the heavy dark thunderheads that had gathered over the mighty river there in the distance. As the dark, heavy clouds assembled, the thought came to mind just how much they resembled a great army preparing itself for battle. I thought of the times of long ago when great armies of the past would come face to face on the fields of conflict for the battle to the death of the losing army.

I watched as the front-most line formed and drew closer together as if preparing for the great charge that was to follow. The many small clouds seemed to gather slowly and attach themselves to the rear flanks of great masses that stood ready to do battle.

Then, as if all the movements were pre-planned, great blades of lightning streaked across the front of the ready army of thunderclouds as giant swords were being flashed as a show-of-force spectacle. The foremost thunderhead seemed to boil straight up like a giant pot that had boiled to overflowing.

As if some prearranged command had been given, the mighty army of thunderheads began to move slowly to the east. Great streaks of rain looked as if a giant curtain had been dropped below the line of the mighty thunder warriors – as if their intent was to cover the enemy completely while the great army moved onward to do battle with their unseen opposition.

As I sat in awe and marveled at the great spectacle that was before me, I wondered how anyone who had ever witnessed a movement of this magnitude could ever doubt for a moment if there is a God. I felt like the writer of the great hymn “Rock of Ages” as he sought shelter on the rocky side of a cliff from a storm such as this. And as I sat there and watched with amazement, I felt that I had been led here today for the purpose of witnessing this great event, as though it had been pre-planned for my benefit and mine alone.

As the great army of the clouds moved onward to the east, the noise of the chariots and the thousands of horses’ hooves faded into the distance. The low rumble of the thunder sounded as if the battle had been fought and only a few skirmishes on the flanks of the great army were being taken care of as the defeated stragglers were rounded up.

The winds had now softened to a whisper through the tall pine trees as if saying that it was all over. Peace was being restored to the top of Nancy Mountain. The raindrops clung to the leaves as though awaiting a signal to the earth. Small animals came out of their shelters as if they had been waiting for the mighty advancing army to bring peace to their land.

I stood for a moment facing the great river and the deep valley below me. I knew once again why I had come. I raised my arms to the heavens; this was my place, the place where I could draw strength from my surroundings. This was my place where I could talk to my Creator and he would listen. And, I would know through Him that all things are possible.

Regretfully, I rolled my motorcycle from under the canopy. I felt that I was leaving a friend. I took one last look across the vast valley before me. As I made my way down the wet dirt road, these words kept ringing in my head: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

(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 to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “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. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. 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 June 23, 2018

June 23, 1611 – The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage set Henry, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay. They were never heard from again.

June 23, 1775 – German adventurer and author Karl Ludwig von Pöllnitz died in Berlin.

June 23, 1776 - Off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, British Commodore Sir Peter Parker notified General Sir Henry Clinton of his intention to land on the South Carolina mainland the next day.

June 23, 1780 – During the American Revolution, the Battle of Springfield was fought in and around Springfield, New Jersey (including Short Hills, formerly of Springfield, now of Millburn Township).

June 23, 1812 – During the War of 1812, Great Britain revoked the restrictions on American commerce, thus eliminating one of the chief reasons for going to war.

June 23, 1860 - The U.S. Secret Service was created to arrest counterfeiters.

June 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Righter, Va. and the USS Massachusetts captured four vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.

June 23, 1862 - Confederate General Robert E. Lee met with his corps commanders to plan an attack on General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac. Launched on June 26, the attack would break the stalemate of the Peninsular campaign in Virginia and trigger the Seven Days’ Battles.

June 23, 1862 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln took a train from Washington to West Point, New York. The next day he called on Winfield Scott to discuss Union strategy in Virginia.

June 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Pineville and Raytown in Missouri; at New Kent Courthouse, Va.; and at Augusta, Ark.

June 23, 1863 - Union General William Rosecrans marched his troops out of their camp in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and the Federal Army of the Cumberland began the Tullahoma Campaign against the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

June 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Rover and Unionville, Tenn. and near Papinsville, Mo. The destruction of Sibley, Missouri also took place on this day.

June 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, Confederate forces overwhelmed a Union garrison at the Battle of Brasher City in Louisiana.

June 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege at Vicksburg, Miss. entered Day 36.

June 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, combat occurred of Jones' Bridge, Va. Skirmishes were fought at Nottaway Court House, Cove Gap, and New Castle in Virginia; and at Okolona, Miss.

June 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, at Fort Towson in the Oklahoma Territory, Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie, who was also a Cherokee chief, surrendered the last sizable and significant rebel army following the Battle of Doaksville. Watie was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.

June 23, 1866 – The first issue of The Monroe Journal newspaper was published in Claiborne, Ala. Z.D. Cottrell was the newspaper’s editor.

June 23, 1868 – The typewriter was patented on this day by Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisc.

June 23, 1878 - Martin Sweeny, a former Indian agent and Arizona mining entrepreneur, was murdered near Tombstone, Arizona, in a dispute over a mining property.

June 23, 1879 - A match game of baseball was played in Evergreen on this evening between the Greenville and Evergreen Baseball Clubs. The score resulted as follows: Evergreen 29, Greenville 16.

June 23, 1886 - A “little negro boy” was killed near Monroeville on this Wednesday by a falling tree, according to The Monroe Journal.

June 23, 1889 – Russian poet Anna Akhmatova was born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko near the Black Sea port of Odessa in Ukraine.

June 23, 1896 – On this Tuesday night, Jeff and Fayette Salter, who had been confined in the Conecuh County Jail for several months awaiting trial on a charge of murder, escaped. The combination on the cell door, for some cause, was not turned on as usual on Tuesday evening, and finding it unlocked, they managed to get the door open and climbed on top of the cage and prized the tin ceiling loose overhead, through which they reached the loft. They tore their blankets into strips and tied them together, by the means of which they made their escape from the building through a small aperture over the main door. Sheriff Irwin and his deputy, J.R. McCreary, at once began a search for the escaped prisoners, but up to June 25, no trace of them had been found. Sheriff Irwin offered a reward of $100 for their apprehension and detention.

June 23, 1907 - Elijah Gulsby died at his home near Peterman on this Sunday, after several weeks sickness with typhoid fever. W.L. Rikard and son, E.L., attended the burial of Gulsby near Peterman on this Sunday.

June 23, 1912 - Author Douglas Fields Bailey was born in Dothan, Ala.

June 23, 1912 – Mathematician and logician Alan Mathison Turing was born in London, England.

June 23, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the following slate of new officers had been elected at Greening Masonic Lodge, No. 53, in Evergreen, Ala.: J.T. Amos, Worshipful Master; T.B. McDonald, Senior Warden; Byron Tisdale, Junior Warden; H.H. Floyd, Treasurer; J.A. Smith, Secretary; J.W. Hagood, Senior Deacon; L.J. Mixon, Junior Deacon; F.N. Hawkins, Tyler; H.L. Tucker and S.L. Tisdale, Stewards; G.E. Mize, Chaplain; E.C. Barnes, Marshal.

June 23, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the following slate of new officers had been elected at Sepulga Masonic Lodge No. 233: Jese A. Jones, Worshipful Master; S.S. Kendrick, Senior Warden; W.T. McCrory, Junior Warden; J.E. Dean, Treasurer; T.A. Jones, Secretary; J.T. Salter, Senior Deacon; E.O. Mixon, Junior Deacon; C.C. Lane and C.A. Sims, Stewards; C.G. Middleton, Tyler; F.M. Fletcher, Chaplain.

June 23, 1915 – “One of the foulest and most horrible crimes ever committed” in Conecuh County, Ala. occurred on this Wednesday night when John Salter and Robert Watkins murdered Martha Lassiter and tried to rob and murder Wiley House. They also burned House’s home near Burnt Corn to hide their crime, which they confessed to on June 26.

June 23, 1915 - Exactly one month after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Italian army attacked Austro-Hungarian positions near the Isonzo River, in the eastern section of the Italian front; it would become the first of twelve Battles of the Isonzo fought during World War I.

June 23, 1917 – In a game against the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore retired 26 batters in a row after replacing Babe Ruth, who had been ejected for punching the umpire.

June 23, 1920 – Confederate veteran Lewis Lavon Peacock died of influenza at the age of 75 and was buried at Flat Rock Church in Conecuh County, Ala. Born on Sept. 20, 1844, he served as a corporal in Co. D of the 59th Alabama Infantry. During the Civil War, he fought in the Battle of Chickamauga, claimed to have been wounded at Petersburg and was among the Confederates who surrendered with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox in April 1865. No photo of Peacock is known to exist.

June 23, 1924 - Author C. Eric Lincoln was born in Athens, Ala.

June 23, 1926 – 8,040 college applicants in 353 locations around the U.S. were administered an experimental college admissions test that would eventually become known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the SAT.

June 23, 1927 – The Evergreen Courant featured a large, front-page announcement telling readers that the owners of The Courant had bought The Conecuh Record from owner Alice Whitcomb and that the two papers had been combined into The Evergreen Courant.

June 23, 1927 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Judge and Mrs. S.P. Dunn, Mr. and Mrs. Jno. Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. Jno. E. Powell and Mrs. W.C. Relfe were enjoying a week’s camp fish at Judge Joh. D. Leigh’s lake near Brewton.

June 23, 1928 – Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Shaara was born in Jersey City, N.J. He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975 for his Civil War novel, “The Killer Angels.”

June 23, 1929 - Author Babs H. Deal was born in Scottsboro, Ala.

June 23, 1930 - The Monroe County Board of Education, at its meeting on this Monday, let the contract for building the school at Frisco City, to replace a building there that was destroyed by fire a few months before. There were more than a dozen bids offered for this construction, and the contract was awarded to Messrs. Cumbie & Dean of Clayton, Ala. for $53,855.10. That price covered the building completed, including plumbing and heating system. The building was to be constructed of brick, was to be a combination elementary and high school building of sufficient capacity to care for 600 pupils and was to have a large and commodious auditorium. It was to be a modern building in all particulars. The contract called for completion not later than Jan. 1, 1931. The finances were provided by the County Board of Education, the State of Alabama and the Town of Frisco City.

June 23, 1936 – Monroeville’s baseball team beat Thomasville in a non-league game at Legion Field in Monroeville.

June 23, 1940 – During World War II, German leader Adolf Hitler surveyed newly defeated Paris in now occupied France. During the three-hour tour of the architecture of Paris, Hitler was accompanied by architect Albert Speer and sculptor Arno Breker, and this tour was Hitler’s only visit to the city.

June 23, 1941 – The Lithuanian Activist Front declared independence from the Soviet Union and formed the Provisional Government of Lithuania. It lasted only briefly as the Nazis will occupy Lithuania a few weeks later.

June 23, 1942 - Frances Caroline Adams, the five-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Adams of the Lyeffion community, drowned about 12:30 p.m. on this Tuesday in a hole of water near the home in which she and several other children were playing. Her younger brother also got into the hole and was at the point of drowning when help arrived, but he was revived. According to reports, the tragedy occurred at a hole of water in a gulley near the Adams home. Evidently recent heavy rains had washed the hole much deeper than anyone knew about, as it was discovered after the accident that the water was over a man’s head. The little girl, her younger brother and some other children were playing in the water and got beyond their depth. One of those who made it to the bank went to the house and gave the alarm. When the mother and neighbors reached the hole, the little girl had disappeared beneath the muddy water, but the little boy was clinging to something which enabled him to keep his head out of the water some of the time at least.

June 23, 1945 - Lamar Roberts died early on this Saturday morning in a hospital in Atmore as a result of injuries sustained in the crash of his car and a truck he was meeting on a hill south of Little River about eight p.m. on Fri., June 22. Sheriff Nicholas and Deputy C.A. Sizemore reached the scene shortly after the accident but reported that the cause of the crash could not be determined.

June 23, 1951 - Alabama author Peter Huggins was born in Oxford, Miss.

June 23, 1951 - A 200-mile stretch of Kansas was hit by one of the most expensive hailstorms in U.S. history, with over $15 million in crops and property damage.

June 23, 1953 - Author Roy Hoffman was born in Mobile, Ala.

June 23, 1953 - New officers for Alabama Masonic Lodge No. 3 at Monroeville were elected at a meeting held on this Tuesday. Chosen as Worshipful Master was Kermit Branum while the other following officers were also elected: B.C. Jones, senior warden; M.F. Russell, junior warden; W.J. Falkenberry, treasurer; W.S. Nash, secretary; D.L. Russell, chaplain; W.D. Pickens, senior deacon; J.G. Turberville, junior deacon; F.A. Watkins, senior steward; Wayne Colin, junior steward; and T.E. Hall, tyler.

June 23, 1961 – Writer David Leavitt was born in Pittsburgh, Pan.

June 23, 1961 – During the Cold War, the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and banned military activity on the continent, came into force after the opening date for signature set for the Dec. 1, 1959.

June 23, 1964 - At a news conference, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that Henry Cabot Lodge had resigned as ambassador to South Vietnam and that Gen. Maxwell Taylor would be his replacement.

June 23, 1969 - Ben Het, a U.S. Special Forces camp located 288 miles northeast of Saigon and six miles from the junction of the Cambodian, Laotian and South Vietnamese borders, was besieged and cut off by 2,000 North Vietnamese troops using artillery and mortars.

June 23, 1969 - G.E. Hendrix was reelected Worshipful Master of Masonic Lodge No. 702 in Frisco City on this Monday evening. Elected to serve with Hendrix during the ensuing year were J.N. Youngblood, senior warden; Randolph Lambert, junior warden; Jeffie Jones, secretary; C.P. Wilkerson, treasurer; Morton Carpenter, senior deacon; Rayford Sawyer, junior deacon; Sam Brooks, tyler; L.B. Headley, chaplain; John Sigler, senior steward; W.C. Majors, marshal.

June 23, 1972 – As related to the Watergate Scandal, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman were taped talking about using the Central Intelligence Agency to obstruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation's investigation into the Watergate break-ins.

June 23, 1976 – Actor, director and photographer Aaron Ruell was born in Fresno, Calif. He is best known for his role as Kip Dynamite in “Napoleon Dynamite.”

June 23, 1976 – NFL wide receiver Brandon Stokley was born in Blacksburg, Va. He went on to play for Louisiana-Lafayette, the Baltimore Raves, the Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants.

June 23, 1989 - Tim Burton’s noir spin on the well-known story of the DC Comics hero “Batman” was released in theaters.

June 23, 2009 – American physician and explorer Jerri Nielsen passed away at the age of 57 in Southwick, Mass.

June 23, 2013 – Nik Wallenda became the first man to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.

June 23, 2013 – About 16 militants stormed a high-altitude mountaineering base camp near Nanga Parbat in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan and killed ten climbers, as well as a local guide.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., June 23, 2018

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.10 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  6.55 inches.

Summer to Date Rainfall: 1.00 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 27.60 inches.

Notes: Today is the 174th day of 2018 and the 95th day of Spring. There are 193 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.

Masonic news from the June 26, 1896 edition of The Evergreen Courant

Col. Pinckney D. Bowles
The following Masonic news items were originally published in the June 26, 1896 edition of The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Evergreen, Ala.

The Masonic Installation: Seldom are there public occasions which afford so much genuine pleasure and enjoyment as did the occasion of the public installation of Masonic officers and basket dinner in the Mertins’ grove on last Wednesday.
From early in the morning to the time the meeting took place, people came in from every direction – some to attend the Masonic meeting and some to attend the public speaking at the courthouse – and the town presented a scene seldom witnessed here.
The lodge was called to order shortly before 10 o’clock, and by the time the 10 o’clock train arrived, all the preliminaries had been arranged and Past Grand Master John G. Harris of the Grand Lodge of Alabama was brought in and introduced to the lodge.
The procession, which consisted of more than 100 Masons, was formed by Marshall O’Bannon of Brewton and marched into the grove, where a temporary rostrum had been arranged. Major Harris was then introduced by Prof. Liner. Before proceeding with his speech, Major Harris offered a short prayer. He then began his address, which occupied more than an hour, on the history and objects of Masonry. His address was characterized by all who heard it as the grandest effort of his life. It was replete with truth, wisdom and common sense, and was truly edifying, not only to the public, but to members of the fraternity as well.
After the address, Col. P.D. Bowles, as installing officer, installed the officers-elect of Greening Lodge No. 53, Burnt Corn Lodge No. 489, Mt. Union Lodge No. 541, Norris Lodge No. .301 and Georgiana Lodge No. 285; after which dinner was announced and everybody was invited to partake of the sumptuous spread of the most delicate and delicious as well as substantial viands that the appetite could wish for, spread out on two long tables reaching almost across the grove along side the Baptist church.
It was a pleasant occasion and will long be remembered by all who were so fortunate to be present.

Witherington's grave.
Resolutions of Respect: At a recent meeting of the Masonic lodge at this place, the following resolutions were adopted in respect to the late Samuel L. Witherington, deceased, who was an honored officer and member of the lodge:
Died, at his residence in Evergreen, Ala., on the evening of the 24th day of April 1896 after a short illness, Brother Samuel L. Witherington.
He was born in Conecuh County Oct. 22, 1858, aged 38 years, six months and two days. He was a member of Greening Lodge No. 53, A.F.&A.M.
He was a devoted lover of his family, a sincere Christian and an upright Mason. Those who knew him best loved him most, and all who met him was attracted by his face, which was always lighted by a smile. He held the confidence of all with whom he met. He was an honest man.
Whereas, it has pleased the great Architect of the Universe to call our brother Junior Warden from labor to refreshment, from the lodge on earth to the celestial lodge above, Therefore, be it Resolved by this Lodge, -
First, that in the death of Brother Witherington we have lost one of our brightest lights and a good man and faithful brother, his family a kind and affectionate husband and father, and the community one of its best citizens.
Second, that we will ever cherish the memory of our deceased brother, and will try to emulate his walk in life. Although a young member, he carried the tenets of the order into everyday practice.
Third, that while we deeply deplore his loss, we believe the reaper has gathered one who was reaped for the harvest, and that our loss is his eternal gain, and we bow in humble submission to Him who chasteneth us for our good.
Fourth, that the secretary send a copy of these resolutions to the Conecuh Record and the Evergreen Courant and request them to publish the same, and that these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the lodge.
Fifth, that the secretary present a copy of these resolutions to the family of the deceased in token of our sympathy in this their sad bereavement.
J.T. Amos, J.C. Travis, M.W. Etheridge, Committee

Dr. A.H. Feagin of Georgiana attended the Masonic picnic Wednesday and while here gave us a pleasant call.

Hon. C.D. Henderson of Brewton was in town Wednesday to attend the Masonic celebration.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Today in History for June 22, 2018

Frances Finch Lee

June 22, 1772 - Slavery was outlawed in England.

June 22, 1757 – English lieutenant and explorer George Vancouver was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England.

June 22, 1775 - The Congress issued $2 million in Continental currency.

June 22, 1807 – In the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, the British warship HMS Leopard attacked and boarded the American frigate USS Chesapeake. This was one of the incidents that led up to the War of 1812.

June 22, 1813 – During the War of 1812, after learning of American plans for a surprise attack on Beaver Dams in Ontario, Laura Secord set out on a 30-kilometer journey on foot to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon.

June 22, 1839 – Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot were assassinated for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.

June 22, 1841 – The City of Mobile, Ala. deeded the Jewish Rest section, also known as the Old Hebrew Burial Ground, of Magnolia Cemetery to Congregation Sha'arai Shomayim, the oldest Reform Jewish congregation in the state of Alabama. Jewish Rest is the oldest Jewish burial ground in Alabama. The Jewish Rest section was full after only a few decades and led to the establishment of two additional Jewish cemeteries in Mobile, the Sha'arai Shomayim Cemetery for the Reform congregation and the Ahavas Chesed Cemetery for the Conservative congregation.

June 22, 1844 – Children’s book author Harriett Mulford Lothrop was born in New Haven, Conn.

June 22, 1861 – During the Civil War, Pro-Union men met in Greenville, Tenn. to pledge allegiance to the United States.

June 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bayou des Allemands, near Algiers, La.; near White Oak Swamp and in the Shenandoah Valley around Strasburg, and Winchester, Virginia; and at New Creek, West Virginia.

June 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, a Federal combined arms operation began from Ship Island, aboard the steamer, Creole, to Pas Christian, Mississippi.

June 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Thirty Sisters of Charity arrived at Fortress Monroe, Va. to administer to the sick and wounded of the Federal Army of the Potomac.

June 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Aldie and Dover, Virginia, as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia continued its northern movement; near Birdsongs Ferry on the Big Black River in Mississippi; at Hill’s Plantation along Bear Creek, Mississippi; at Greencastle, Pennsylvania; and in Powell Valley, Tennessee.

June 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege at Vicksburg entered Day 35.

June 22, 1864 - Union General William T. Sherman sent Union General Andrew J. Smith on an expedition to destroy Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry. Smith left LaGrange, Tenn. the same day.

June 22, 1864 - Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant attempted to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg, Va. from the south, and extend their lines to the Appomattox River. The Confederates thwarted the attempt, and the two sides settled into trenches for a nine-month siege.

June 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at White River Station on the White River in Arkansas; and at Snead’s Ferry and another at Swansbororough, North Carolina. Fighting also took place near Zion Church and at Culp’s Farm in Georgia, and an engagement occurred near the Jerusalem Plank Road in Petersburg, Va.

June 22, 1865 - President Johnson declared the Federal blockade of the Southern states, in existence since April 1861, at an end.

June 22, 1865 - Brig. General Stand Watie surrendered the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and Osage Battalion at Doaksville in the Indian Territory.

June 22, 1868 - Arkansas was re-admitted to the Union.

June 22, 1876 - Embittered and impoverished, the once mighty Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna died in Mexico City at the age of 82.

June 22, 1898 – German novelist Erich Maria Remarque was born in Osnabruck, Lower Saxony, Germany. His most famous novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” was published in 1929.

June 22, 1903 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell was born in Carthage, Mo. He went on to play his entire career (1928-1943) for the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.

June 22, 1903 – Repton Mayor W.S. Oliver visited Evergreen, Ala. on this Monday.

June 22, 1906 – Screenwriter Billy Wilder was born in Austria and he ended up producing and directing such movies as “Double Indemnity” (1944), “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), “Some Like It Hot” (1959) and “The Apartment” (1960).

June 22, 1910 – Amasa Coleman Lee married Frances Finch. Their daughter, Harper Lee, would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

June 22, 1911 – The Conecuh Record reported that a Federal grand jury had indicted nine of Conecuh County, Alabama’s best-known farmers for conspiracy to commit peonage. They were J.E. Dean and two sons, T.L. Brantley, W.T. McCrory, S.S. Kendrick and Steve Hanks and his two sons. They surrendered to the U.S. Marshal at Mobile and were released on bond.

June 22, 1915 – The weather bureau thermometer in Evergreen, Ala. on this Tuesday reached 104 degrees during a heat wave that hit Conecuh County.

June 22, 1915 - Around 10 p.m. that night, a “windstorm of considerable intensity” and rain struck Evergreen, Ala. and did “considerable damage to property and crops.” The front and back end of the livery stable building of R. Millsap Jr. was demolished. A house on Pecan Street being built by J.R. Smith was “raised from its pillars” and a number of trees were also uprooted.

June 22, 1915 – On this Tuesday night, John Salter and Robert Watkins, who had just completed a two-year term at the Banner mines for burglary, arrived in Evergreen, Ala. on the No. 3 train. They would later confess to the brutal murder of Martha Lassiter, the attempted murder of Wiley House and the robbery and burning of House’s residence near Burnt Corn on June 23, 2015.

June 22, 1916 - Alabama author and Poet Laureate Helen Norris was born in Miami, Fla.

June 22, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that the Armor Lodge Knights of Pythias had conferred the rank of Page upon one candidate. They also elected officers for the ensuing term.

June 22, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Ray Tucker of Montgomery was at home for a few days recovering from typhoid fever.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that the following officers had been elected at Tunnel Springs Lodge No. 578 for the following year: F.S. Dailey, worshipful master; C.J. Jackson, senior warden; R.L. Lewis, junior warden; T.A. Nettles Sr., treasurer; W.S. Nash, secretary; F.D. Morrison, senior deacon; T.A. Nettles Jr., junior deacon; and J.J. Jernigan, tyler.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that the following officers had been elected at Burnt Corn Lodge No. 489 for the following year: Jas. K. Kyser, worshipful master; Wm. G. Hairston, senior warden; Enoch M. Salter, junior warden; Henry H. Brantley, treasurer; Ajax O. Brantley, secretary; Hugh C. Fountain, senior deacon; Francis C. Thames, junior deacon; Henry J. Roberson, tyler; Thomas H. Salter, John H. Waters, stewards; and Isaac S. Ridgeway, chaplain.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that the following officers had been elected at Excel Lodge No. 655 for the following year: Riley Kelly, worshipful master; William Bradley, senior warden; R.C. Brown, junior warden; G.W. Salter Sr., treasurer; J.S. Williams, secretary; Lee Cohron, senior deacon; Julius Wright, junior deacon; J.E. McNiel, E.C. Wasdan, stewards; John Roley, tyler; and L.B. Cohron, chaplain.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that the following officers had been elected at Beatrice Lodge No. 691 for the following year: Wm. M. Hestle, worshipful master; J. Neal Andress, senior warden; Julius J. McMillan, junior warden; Stephen D. Andress, treasurer; Walter McPherson, secretary; Aaron P. Majors, chaplain; Wm. A. Marshall, senior deacon; Leslie J. Robbins, junior deacon; John Sanders, Mack Helton, stewards; and Wick W. Riley Sr., tyler.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Dr. C.B. Simmons was in New York taking a special course in dentistry.

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Journal employee E.M. Salter “was laid up for a few days this week with sickness.”

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that good rains had “visited all sections of the county heard from within the last week, proving of great benefit to growing crops. The rain came just in the nick o’ time to assure maturity of corn in many instances.”

June 22, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge W.G. McCorvey had returned from the Democratic national convention in St. Louis. The Judge reported that the convention was “harmonious and enthusiastic throughout.” He had “not yet explained to the satisfaction of his suffrage friends how it came about that one Alabama vote was recorded against the equal suffrage plank of the platform.”

June 22, 1916 - Callie Faulk was taken to Selma on this Thursday for a surgical operation. “Her many friends are pleased to learn that the operation was successful and latest intelligence from the sanitarium where she is being treated indicates that her condition is improving,” The Monroe Journal reported.

June 22, 1917 - Dr. McConnico, a Wilcox County native and then one of the most prominent physicians of Montgomery, was scheduled to be in Camden on this Friday to address the citizens of Wilcox County at the Grammar School Auditorium at 4 p.m. Every man, woman and child in the vicinity was urged to be present. A chapter of the Red Cross society was to be organized as part of the war effort.

June 22, 1933 - Germany became a one political party country when Hitler banned parties other than the Nazis.

June 22, 1933 – Evergreen’s baseball team defeated Ft. Deposit on this Thursday in Evergreen in both games of a double header, the second game of which Doc Jones pitched a shutout. The site for this game was transferred to Evergreen from Ft. Deposit so that a protested game could be replayed. Evergreen won the first game easily behind the five-hit hurling of Skin Hyde, by a score of 16-2, while the second game was a close and tightly played affair, resulting in a score of 4-0, Doc Jones pitching for Evergreen.

June 22, 1937 - Alabama native Joe Louis defeated James J. Braddock at Chicago's Comiskey Park to become the first black heavyweight boxing champion since Jack Johnson in 1908. Born near Lafayette as Joseph Louis Barrow, the "Brown Bomber" held the world heavyweight title until 1948.

June 22, 1939 - Joe Louis defeated Max Schmeling in 124 seconds.

June 22, 1940 - Confederate soldier William George Riley died and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen, Ala. Born on Sept. 12, 1842, he was the brother of Monroe Guards commander Thomas Mercer Riley.

June 22, 1940 – France was forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany.

June 22, 1941 – Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.

June 22, 1944 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill.

June 22, 1948 - At a regular meeting in the Masonic Hall on this Tuesday night Greening Lodge No. 53, A.F.&A.M., elected officers for the coming year. The new officers were as follows: Worshipful Master, Claude L. Murphy; Senior Warden, A.K. Williams Jr.; Junior Warden, Reuben F. Hyde; Treasurer, F.L. Cardwell; Secretary, W.G. Jones; Senior Deacon, Alfred A. Long; Junior Deacon, H.H. Johnston; Tyler, Robert Z. Wells. Appointed officers were Senior Steward, W.C. Trawick; Junior Steward, Truman Hyde; Marshal, T.J. Mills; and Chaplain, Aubrey Dean.

June 22, 1949 – Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma City.

June 22, 1949 – Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep was born in New Jersey.

June 22, 1950 - The Evergreen Golf Club’s second annual handicap golf tournament was scheduled to begin on this Thursday afternoon. The tournament was open to all club members and any person in Conecuh County interested in playing. Entry fees and qualifying scores had to be turned in to one of the following tournament committee members: Knud Nielsen Jr., Roy Pace or Herman Bolden. Billy Carleton won in 1949 and was expected to be on hand to defend his title.

June 22, 1953 - The Indians regained their first place position in the Monroeville Little League by downing the Yankees, 5-3, on this Monday night while the Red Sox gained another victory by edging the Senators, 1-0. Indian pitcher, Simmons, gave up only five hits to the Yanks as they traveled to the plate 24 times while losing hurler, Pugh, allowed the Indians seven hits in 24 times at bat. Winning Red Sox hurler, Dunn, allowed the Senators five hits for 23 times at bat while Senator pitcher, Weatherford, gave up only one hit to the Red Sox in 17 tries.

June 22, 1955 - Clarence Rivers, 30, former janitor at the Monroe County Courthouse, was being held in the Monroe County Jail on this Wednesday on charges of aiding escape of two prisoners from the jail building early on the afternoon of Fri., June 17. Monroe County Sheriff E.E. Nicholas stated Rivers was arrested Sat., June 18, after investigation provided conclusive evidence he had purchased a hacksaw blade used by escapees John Lee Bettis, 26, and A.C. Tucker, 53. The two men used the implement to saw away a portion of an iron bar in a rear bottom-floor window of the jail, the Sheriff said, making a small hole used in their flight at 2 p.m. Fri., June 17.

June 22, 1960 – Two young offspring of Albert II, the first monkey projected into space, came to Evergreen, Ala. as part of the Civil Air Patrol’s second annual air show at Middleton Field.

June 22, 1962 – Members of Greening Masonic Lodge No. 53 in Evergreen, Ala. were scheduled to attend Evergreen Baptist Church together in observance of St. John’s Day. Rev. Staples was slated to preach the sermon.

June 22, 1964 – “Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire.

June 22, 1964 - The U.S. Supreme Court voted that Henry Miller's book, "Tropic of Cancer," could not be banned.

June 22, 1967 – The Evergreen Courant reported that in Junior League baseball action the Orioles beat the Pelicans, 18-2; the Yankees beat the Giants, 4-2; the Chicks beat the Orioles, 7-2; the Dodgers beat the Giants, 5-2; the Dodgers beat the Yankees, 27-2; and the Chicks beat the Orioles, 7-6. Players involved in those games included Johnny Andrews, Dwight Bennett, Daniel Byrd, Mark Daniels, Larry Darby, Jerry Daw, Kenny Dittman, Lonnie Finley, Sammy Garrett, Billy Hall, Steve Hall, Bruce Hutcheson, David Majors, Gary McInvale, Jerry Peacock, Keith Pugh, Travis Sims and Charlie Ward.

June 22, 1969 - Judy Garland died in Chelsea, London from an accidental overdose of prescription sleeping aids. She was 47.

June 22, 1969 – The Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to water pollution, and spurring the passing of the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

June 22, 1971 - In a major engagement near the Demilitarized Zone, some 1,500 North Vietnamese attacked the 500-man South Vietnamese garrison at Fire Base Fuller.

June 22, 1972 – The Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

June 22, 1972 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Richard R. Brown, a native of Conecuh County, had accepted the post of headmaster of Sparta Academy. He had been athletic director and head basketball coach at North Florida Junior College in Madison for seven years. Brown held a B.S. degree from Troy State University with a double major in history and social science and a minor in physical education; an M.S. degree in physical education from the University of Southern Mississippi and an additional major at Florida State University in administration-supervision. Brown had had experience in teaching and administration on the junior high school, high school and college levels. During the four years he was head basketball, football and track coach at Madison (Fla.) High School, his teams won the North Florida Conference title in football three years, the title in basketball four years, in track three years and the district title in track two years. He was elected High School Basketball Coach of the Year in 1958. A frequent speaker at athletic banquets and civic clubs, Brown was elected Florida Junior College Coach of the Year in 1965. His basketball teams set national all-time scoring records. The 1972 team broke its own national scoring record by averaging 115.3 points per game, winning 24 games and losing six. Brown had had two losing seasons in 17 years of coaching and had produced many four-year college athletes in football and basketball.

June 22, 1972 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Andrew Harvey, 35, had been charged with the murder of Calvin Crenshaw, according to Sheriff James (Shorty) Brock. Action had been waived to the grand jury and bail was set at $5,000. According to Chief Deputy Bill Kent and Deputy Marshall Jones, Crenshaw was shot about 9:30 p.m. on Sat., June 17, at Harvey’s wife’s apartment in the housing project off Magnolia Avenue in Evergreen. Kent and Jones were assisted by the Evergreen Police Department in investigating the shotgun shooting.

June 22, 1972 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Fred Stevens had been elected Chairman of the Board and President of the Corporation of Sparta Academy. Charles Burt was vice-chairman and vice-president. John Nielsen had been elected treasurer and Mrs. Barbara K. Register was secretary. Other members of the board of directors of the private school were Alton Johnson, Frank Pate, Wayne Hutcheson, Eugene Darby, James Street, Eldon Scott, Dr. Carl Wilson, John Law Robinson, William Ward, James S. Cook, James Ansley and Bill Johnson.

June 22, 1972 – The Evergreen Courant reported that interest and activity were increasing in the election for Mayor of the City of Evergreen and of five members of the City Council. The election was set for Tues., Aug. 8. Up to this date, the race for mayor had drawn three candidates, dentist Joe Hagood, businessman Coy Harper and cosmetologist Robert Moorer.

June 22, 1972 - South Vietnam’s 21st Division, decimated by repeated attempts to relieve An Loc, was replaced by the 25th Division. At the same time, U.S. helicopters flew 18th Division troops to positions south of An Loc to replace badly battered 9th Division troops that had also been trying to get to the city.

June 22, 1977 - John N. Mitchell became the first former U.S. Attorney General to go to prison as he began serving a sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up. He served 19 months.

June 22-July 2, 1978 - An interdenominational Beulah camp meeting was to be held at the Beulah Camp, 1-1/4 miles south of Highway 84, between Excel and Repton. The services were scheduled each day with prayer time at 7 a.m., morning preaching at 10:30 a.m. and afternoon preaching at 2:30 p.m. The Rev. Mack Hamby was the president of Beulah camp.

June 22, 1978 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Navy Seaman Recruit Jonas Claiborne of 421 Magnolia Ave. in Evergreen had completed recruit training at the Naval Training Center, Orlando, Fla. A 1974 graduate of Evergreen High School, he joined the Navy in April 1978.

June 22, 1978 – This day’s edition of The Monroe Journal featured a front-page picture by Max McAliley that showed a recent aerial view from the southeast of the Alabama River Pulp Co. plant then under construction on the Alabama River at Fountain. The $284-million plant was designed to produce 1,000 tons a day of high-grade bleached kraft pulp. The main building, visible in the photo, was about 1,200 feet long. The tall structure left of the building housed twin digesters, and a giant smoke stack was behind the main building.

June 22, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that Repton had taken a slight lead in the South Monroe Babe Ruth League standings during the previous week as it defeated two opponents and tied another in a game that had to be called because of a time limit. Other teams in the league included Frisco City, Uriah and Excel. Top players for Repton included Jerry Waters, Terry Waters, Tom Watson and Tray Wilson. Top players for Frisco City included Tommy Agee, Brian Baggett, David Byrd, Jerome Richardson and Percey Riley. Top players for Uriah included Jeff Brooks, George Dinc, Mark Fralick, Eugene Garrett, Frank Griffin, Chris Harrison, Greg Middleton and Johnny Nichols. Top players for Excel included Phil Bowen.

June 22, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that nearly 100 Army National Guardsmen from Jackson, Monroeville and Evergreen had returned from their annual 15-day training period at Camp Shelby, Miss. A contingent of the 778th Maintenance Co., commanded by Capt. Freddie Smith, spent the two weeks providing direct support maintenance for the summer camp units. The 778th had a wide range of direct support maintenance tasks while at camp.

June 22, 1979 – Defensive tackle Troy Archer, 24, of the New York Giants died in a traffic accident in North Bergen, N.J.

June 22, 1981 - Mark David Chapman pled guilty to killing John Lennon.

June 22, 1984 – A one-room house, belonging to Jake Rivers, on Winston Avenue in Monroeville was destroyed by fire on this Friday at 6:45 a.m.

June 22, 1990 - Billy Joel became the first rock artist to perform at Yankee Stadium.

June 22, 2002 - Darryl Kile of the St. Louis Cardinals was found dead in his hotel room in Chicago, Ill.

June 22, 2005 - Aruban police detained and arrested Paulus van der Sloot, Joran van der Sloot's father, for questioning in connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala. He was eventually released on June 26, 2005.

June 22, 2012 – Episode No. 19 of the first season of the television show, “The Dead Files,” featuring the King Plantation House at Uriah, Ala. originally aired on the Travel Channel. In this episode, titled “A Widows Rage,” paranormal investigators Amy Allan and Steve DiSchiavi traveled to Uriah to investigate reports of paranormal encounters in an old Civil War-era antebellum mansion plantation house where the then-owner said she thought her life was in danger from being physically attacked by an evil spirit of a man who also resided there who had attempted a demonic possession of her so he could kill the residents. Steve's investigation revealed that construction began on the home in the late 1850s by Dr. William (Doc) King, but was never entirely finished at its original site at Packard’s Bend due to the outbreak of the Civil War. During the mid-1960s new owners moved it from Packard’s Bend on the Alabama River to its current location in Uriah. Steve also discovered that most of the King family members died of yellow fever in the mansion. Amy discovered that one of the King girls wanted to kill the lady of the house.
June 22, 2013 - The Evergreen Heat captured Conecuh County, Alabama’s first ever state championship at the Alabama Sports Festival’s 16-and-Under youth basketball tournament in Hoover. Players on the team included Jahod Booker, Keyshawn Roache, Ceauan Smith, Azavian Ingram, Matthew Likely, Mikyie Dees, Tyrell Riley and Latreal McCreary. In addition to the team’s gold medal finish, Roache was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The team’s coaches were Earnest Boykin and Bryan Boykin.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., June 22, 2018

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.90 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.90 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  6.45 inches.

Summer to Date Rainfall: 0.90 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 27.50 inches.

Notes: Today is the 173rd day of 2018 and the 94th day of Spring. There are 194 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, June 21, 2018

Four UFO reports were filed in Alabama during the month of May

Photo from May 31 UFO report.

It’s the third Thursday of the month, so this week I’m giving you an update on UFO reports in Alabama from the previous month, courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network. A search for UFO reports in Alabama between May 1 and May 31 on MUFON’s website,, resulted in four reports from within our state during that time.

The first incident occurred on Sun., May 1, around midnight in Loxley, which is in Baldwin County. The witness in this case said he’d been outside sitting around a small fire, watching the sky, when he went inside his house for a few minutes. When he came back outside and started walking toward the fire, he noticed a bright, orange light coming over the treetops.

The light grew larger as it came closer until it was almost directly over the witness. It hovered above him for a few seconds before “shooting off to the south” and out of sight. The witness said that it appeared reddish-orange and circular and had three slightly brighter spots around its edges. The witness estimated that the object was about 200 feet off the ground when it was directly overhead.

The second incident took place on Mon., May 2, around 2 p.m. in Sumiton, a city that’s partially located in Jefferson and Walker counties. The witness in this case said he was outside and saw numerous objects that looked like stars in the sky. These objects were stationary for about 15 minutes and eventually disappeared, the witness said.

The third incident took place on Thurs., May 12, around 8 p.m. in Albertville, which is in Marshall County. The witness in this case said he’d just walked outside to sit on his front porch when a “star-like” object appeared out of nowhere. The man continued to watch as it went up, then turned and stopped before making a downward turn.

The witness then viewed the object with a pair of binoculars and he said the object gave off a variety of different colors. About 20 minutes later, another similar object appeared briefly before dipping below the trees and out of sight. The first object remained in place, but then a third object similar to the first appeared. They both eventually “just vanished,” the witness said.

The fourth incident took place on Thurs., May 31, around 10:30 p.m. in Tallassee, a city that’s located in Elmore and Tallapoosa counties. The witness in this case took a photo of the full moon with his cellphone and when he enlarged the photo, he made out what he believes to be a UFO. He said he “got chills” after looking at the unusual object in the photo.

Before closing out this week, I just want to put it out there again that I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has witnessed a UFO, especially in Conecuh County. I think a lot of other people would be interested in hearing your story too, and I’m willing to accept your report anonymously.