Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Historical marker describes one of Montgomery, Alabama's oldest churches

St. John's Episcopal Church marker in Montgomery, Ala.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH” marker in Montgomery, Ala. This unusually shaped marker is located on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and North Perry Street in front of the St. John’s Episcopal Church.

This marker was erected by the Alabama Historical Association in 1973. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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“ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Organized 1834; Present building erected 1855 under rectorship of Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, first Bishop of Alabama. Primary convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America was held here, July 3-6, 1861. Charles Minnegerode Beckwith, consecrated here, Dec. 17, 1902.”

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The first thing that jumps out at me from this marker is the name Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, who was born in Bedford County, Va. on Feb. 2, 1796. Raised as a Presbyterian, Cobbs was confirmed as an Episcopalian and ordained as an Episcopal deacon on May 23, 1824 in Staunton, Va. He passed away at the age of 64 on Jan. 11, 1861 in Montgomery and the Bishop Cobbs Home for Orphans in Montgomery was named in his honor.

Beckwith was born on June 3, 1851 in Prince George County, Va. An 1873 graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. As mentioned on the marker, he was consecrated as a the Bishop of Alabama on Dec. 17, 1902 and he passed away in Alabama at the age of 76 on June 3, 1851.

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America only existed during the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865. Two senior bishops, Leonidas Polk of Louisiana and Stephen Elliot of Georgia called for the convention mentioned on the historical marker above, and all southern dioceses were represented at the convention except for Texas. As soon as the war was over, this organization reunited with its counterpart in the North.

If you visit the St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Web site,, you’ll find a nice history of the church written by Judy Oliver. What follows is a few facts about the church gleaned from her history of the church.

· The original church building, which was located on the corner of Perry and Jefferson Streets, was the first brick church in Montgomery.

· A new larger church building was built in 1855 at the other end of Perry Street, facing Madison Avenue.

· During his time in Montgomery, Confederate President Jefferson Davis attended services at the church.

· In 1869, the original church building on Jefferson Street was torn down and it’s bricks were used to build the new church’s chancel and sanctuary.

· In 1918, the church was closed when a deadly Spanish flu epidemic broke out in Camp Sheridan, a World War I training camp.

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below.

Today in History for Dec. 31, 2014

Dec. 31, 1759 – Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease at 45 pounds per year and started brewing Guinness.

Dec. 31, 1841 – The Burnt Corn Male Academy was incorporated by the Alabama legislature.

Dec. 31, 1841 – Alabama became the first state to license dental surgeons by enacting the first dental legislation in the U.S.

Dec. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed an act that admitted West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.

Dec. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Stones River began near Murfreesboro in central Tennessee. The battle ended on Jan. 2, 1863 as a victory for Union General William Rosecrans over Confederate Braxton Bragg.

Dec. 31, 1862 - Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest narrowly escaped capture during a raid in western Tennessee. The raid resulted in Union General Ulysses S. Grant abandoning his first attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Battle of Parker's Crossroads)

Dec. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Paint Rock Bridge and Russellville, Ala.

Dec. 31, 1891 - New York's new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals.

Dec. 31, 1897 – Dr. W.A. Locke of Axle in Monroe County passed away.

Dec. 31, 1907 – The first New Year's Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York, New York.

Dec. 31, 1910 – The Manistee & Repton Railroad incorporated. (Some sources say this happened on Dec. 29.)

Dec. 31, 1930 – Odetta Holmes Felious, the woman Martin Luther King Jr. called "The Queen of American Folk Music," was born in Birmingham, Ala. Her albums include “My Eyes Have Seen” (1959), “Sometimes I Feel Like Crying” (1962), and “Movin' It On” (1987).

Dec. 31, 1946 - U.S. President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

Dec. 31, 1954 - The last episode of the radio show "Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" aired.

Dec. 31, 1967 - The Green Bay Packers won the National Football League championship game by defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17. The game is known as the Ice Bowl since it was played in a wind chill of 40 degrees below zero.

Dec. 31, 1972 - Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates was killed in a plane crash near Puerto Rico while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

Dec. 31, 1973 – No. 3-ranked Notre Dame, coached by Ara Parseghian, beat Bear Bryant’s No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, 24-23, in the Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Notre Dame quarterback Tom Clements was named the MVP. Broadcast nationally on ABC, the game was one of the highest-rate college football games of all time.

Dec. 31, 1974 – Fort Sinquefield in Clarke County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dec. 31, 1975 – Bear Bryant’s No. 3-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide beat Joe Paterno’s No. 7-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, 13-6, in the Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Alabama quarterback Richard Todd was named the MVP. It was the first Sugar Bowl played in the Superdome.

Dec. 31, 1977 – Evergreen, Ala. weather reporter Earl Windham reported 55.12 inches of rain in 1977 as compared to 56.29 inches of rain in 1976. Approximately 111 inches fell in 1975.

Dec. 31, 1984 - ESPN debuted in Hawaii, making it available in all 50 states.

Dec. 31, 1988 – Mark Childress’ second novel, “V for Victor,” was released by Knopf.

Dec. 31, 1992 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 5.08 inches of rain in Evergreen during the month of December 1992. Total rainfall for 1992 was 70.08 inches.

Dec. 31, 1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.

Dec. 31, 1999 - The world braced for the “Y2K” chaos as computer systems switched over to the year 2000.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Dec. 31, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.25 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 8.10 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 6.95 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 63.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 364th day of 2014 and the 11th day of Winter. There is one day left in the year.

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Dec. 30, 2014

JAN. 3, 2008

“The Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama (CCSA) plan to hold a one-year anniversary celebration on Saturday to mark the group’s first year of work against a proposed landfill in Conecuh County.
“According to organizers, the event will begin at 11 a.m. at the Lenox Community Center.
“CCSA members organized in January 2007 when the development company Conecuh Woods expressed interest in constructing a proposed landfill in Conecuh County.”

“Henry Peters, 33, of Belleville has been charged with murder in connection with the death of Calvin Mitchell of Belleville.
“Mitchell’s body was found on Dec. 19 and while his exact cause of death has not been determined, investigators have ruled the death a homicide, Conecuh County Sheriff’s Investigator Sharon Caraway said.”

“A two-vehicle accident on Christmas day on Interstate 65 claimed the life of a Repton woman, according to Alabama State Troopers.
“Cynthia McGill Till, 60, of Repton was killed in a two-vehicle accident about one mile south of Atmore on I-65 in Escambia County. the accident took place around 2:35 p.m. near the 57-mile marker. Till was driving a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee at the time of the accident.”

JAN. 7, 1993

Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 5.08 inches of rain in Evergreen during the month of December 1992. Total rainfall for 1992 was 70.08 inches. He reported a high temperature of 71 degrees on Jan. 3 and a low of 41 degrees on Jan. 2.

“Members of the City of Evergreen Fire Department battle heat and smoke from a blaze that erupted Tuesday at Silk International Floral Imports. Business owner Bill Durant said he was cleaning the windows on the exterior of the building when the blaze apparently began. When he entered the front of the building, hot air rushed by him and he saw flames shooting up the back wall. Mr. Durant called the fire department. He credited the fire department officials with averting what could have been a disastrous situation and containing the fire in a storage room of his building. Smoke and water damage was reported throughout the building. Smoke also filled neighboring buildings. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.”

“Amtrak officials are preparing to shut down the Gulf Breeze Line, the twice daily passenger train which services Evergreen and other towns in south Alabama.
“The Gulf Breeze makes two daily stops in Evergreen. It begins its journey each day at 7:55 a.m., leaving Mobile headed north. Making stops in Bay Minette, Atmore and Brewton, the approximate arrival time at Evegreen’s Depot each morning is 9:43 a.m. Leaving Evergreen, it makes stops in Greenville and Montgomery before ending its route in Birmingham at 1:30 p.m.”

JAN. 4, 1978

“1977 was a ‘dry’ year: The year just ended was another ‘dry’ one compared to recent years, although total rainfall for the year was only slightly less than for 1976. According to Earl Windham total rainfall for 1977 was 55.12 inches, compared to 56.29 inches in 1976, both years being dry ones when compared to 1975 when approximately 111 inches of rain fell.
“Both the 1977 and 1976 totals were close to the normal rainfall for this area.”
Windham also reported that .75 inches of rain on Dec. 29, 1977, a high of 59 on Dec. 26 and a low of 20 on Dec. 26.

“Rescue Squad finds hunter: The Conecuh Rescue Squad, all unpaid volunteers, located and rescued a lost hunter Monday night. Dennis Monk was reported missing by his hunting companion about 6:15 p.m. in the Murder Creek swamp area.
“His companion reported that he thought that Monk had crossed the creek hunting for his dogs. The Rescue Squad with the help of other searchers located Monk’s position about 10:30 p.m., but it was one o’clock Tuesday morning before they were able to bring him out of the swamp area.
“The Rescue Squad members said they were happy to help rescue Monk, and expressed appreciation to the Alabama State Troopers, Sheriff Edwin L. Booker and his staff, Evergreen Police Chief Jimmy Hawsey and his officers and others who helped in this mission.”

JAN. 3, 1963

From “Front Page, Upper Left Corner” by Bob Bozeman – “Well, 1962 is now history. It was quite an eventful year, starting off with a bang when Col. John Glenn orbited the earth. It was a big year for me too, right from the start when my latest tax exemption arrived in January, he was a boy and promptly named RGB III.”

“Evergreen will get dial phones in ’64: Evergreen’s telephone system is to be converted to dial operation. Announcement of the conversion is made today by J.D. Kaylor, Brewton, group manager of Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company.
“Kaylor estimates that the conversion will be completed the latter part of 1964 when local patrons will begin dialing numbers.
“Evergreen is one of the last cities of its size in the state to go to dials and one of the last exchanges of its size in the country to still be operated manually.”

“Dr. Edwin White Hagood, age 76, member of a prominent Conecuh County family, died Wed., Dec. 26, in a Dothan hospital.
“Dr. Hagood was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. T.S. Hagood who lived near Evergreen. He was the youngest and last survivor of nine children reared by the Hagoods. Several of them were Baptist ministers and a brother, the late Dr. Hagood, practiced medicine here for many years. Dr. Hagood’s last church was in Columbia where he served for a number of years until his retirement.”

JAN. 1, 1948

“T.J. Howard Charged With Killing Brother-In-Law: T.J. Howard, age about 30, is lodged in the county jail charged with the killing of his brother-in-law, M.C. Ferguson, age about 35. The killing occurred in the Nymph community Christmas night at the home of Joe Howard.
“It is said that both men were drinking and the unfortunate affair was no doubt caused by this. Ferguson was stabbed in the breast just below the collar bone and died while being brought to Evergreen for medical treatment. Howard placed Ferguson in his car immediately after the stabbing and started here with him.
“Howard was arrested by Sheriff W.D. Lewis and his deputies at his home shortly after Ferguson died.”

“Geneva High School Building Dynamited: GENEVA, Ala., Dec. 29 – Sheriff W.P. Register reported today that the 20-room Geneva High School building had been dynamited Christmas Eve and that he was investigating the possibility that a ‘bunch of boys’ set off the blast as a ‘prank.’
“Register said a deputy state fire marshal was coming here today to assist him in the case.
“The officer said all windows in the building were shattered and that ‘considerable repairs’ would have to be made before the school could be reopened after the Christmas holidays.
“’I haven’t found any evidence yet to indicate who did the work, but my own idea is that a bunch of boys did the thing as a sort of a prank,’ he said.
“Register said the explosion was set off about 10 p.m. and that there was no one in the building at the time.”

“Estelle Taylor, nine-year-old daughter of Mrs. Albert Taylor, died at Carter Hospital Friday night at result of injuries sustained when she fell from a moving automobile Friday morning. The tragic accident occurred in the Sandcut community.”

Today in History for Dec. 30, 2014

Rudyard Kipling
Dec. 30, 1821 – James Hayes became the postmaster at Burnt Corn Spring, Ala.

Dec. 30, 1853 - The United States bought about 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase. The land was bought to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.

Dec. 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, the U.S.S. Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Sixteen sailors were unable to be rescued.

Dec. 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Leighton in Colbert County, Ala.

Dec. 30, 1865 – Short-story writer, poet, novelist and prominent Freemason Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India. He would go on to publish his best known book, “The Jungle Book,” in 1894.

Dec. 30, 1868 – Baker County, Ala. (present-day Chilton County) was established and named in honor of Alfred Baker with its county seat at Grantville. Residents of the county petitioned the Alabama legislature for the renaming of their county and on December 17, 1874, the petitioners accepted the suggestion of Chilton County, in honor of William Parish Chilton Sr. (1810–1871). Chilton was a lawyer who became Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and later represented Montgomery County in the Congress of the Confederate States of America.

Dec. 30, 1916 – Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, a 47-year-old self-fashioned holy man, was murdered in Petrograd by Russian nobles eager to end his sway over the royal family. In the early hours of this day, a group of nobles lured Rasputin to Yusupovsky Palace, where they attempted to poison him. Seemingly unaffected by the large doses of poison placed in his wine and food, he was finally shot at close range and collapsed. A minute later he rose, beat one of his assailants, and attempted to escape from the palace grounds, where he was shot again. Rasputin, still alive, was then bound and tossed into a freezing river.

Dec. 30, 1924 - Pioneering astronomer Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies.

Dec. 30, 1926 - The Chicago Tribune broke a story that the Detroit Tigers threw a 4-game series to the Chicago White Sox in 1917.

Dec. 30, 1935 – Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He would play his entire career (1955-1966) for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dec. 30, 1953 - The first color TV sets went on sale for about $1,175.

Dec. 30, 1954 - Alabama author Truman Capote's only musical, “House of Flowers,” opened at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway, where it ran for 165 performances. The musical was based on Capote’s short story, “House of Flowers,” which was first published in his 1958 book, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” where the story was included as one of three extra pieces besides the novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Dec. 30, 1959 – Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who were the subjects of Truman Capote’s book “In Cold Blood,” were identified as suspects in the November 1959 Clutter family murders, and were arrested in Las Vegas.

Dec. 30, 1964 – Wreckage from a June 17, 1961 Cessna 182 crash that killed John O. Leu, 22, of Nashville, Tenn. and Gene McGill, 18, of Mobile discovered 12 miles northwest of Uriah, Ala., near Jeddo, by Edmond Jerkins of Stapleton.

Dec. 30, 1978 - Ohio State University fired football coach Woody Hayes one day after Hayes punched Clemson University player Charlie Bauman during the Gator Bowl. Bauman had intercepted an Ohio State pass.

Dec. 30, 1981 – The Old LaSalle Hotel and Restaurant in Monroeville, Ala. was sold to Monroe County Library Board by Dwight Harrington, who bought the building in 1979.

Dec. 30, 1996 - Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers became only the second player to win consecutive NFL MVP Awards.

Dec. 30, 2006 – Former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighborhood of northeast Baghdad, Iraq. Saddam

Dec. 30, 2010 – This was the final day Kodachrome film was developed by Dwayne's Photo, the last remaining Kodachrome processor, concluding the iconic film's 74-year run.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Dec. 30, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): Trace.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.25 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 8.10 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 6.95 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 63.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 363rd day of 2014 and the tenth day of Winter. There are two days left in the year.

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 189: Read “South!” by Sir Ernest Shackleton

Ernest Shackleton’s 1919 book “South! - A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage” is considered one of the greatest adventure books of all time, and I’ve wanted to read it for years. You will find this book on many “best of” lists, and I added it to my “bucket list” several years ago. I started reading it on Dec. 3 and finally finished it on Saturday night.

As mentioned, you will find “South!” on many “best of” and recommended reading lists. In May 2004, National Geographic ranked it No. 15 on its list of “100 Best Adventure Books." Later, my favorite Web site, The Art of Manliness, ranked it No. 2 on a list they called “The Essential Adventure Library: 50 Non-fiction Adventure Books.”

During the summer of 2006, author Dean King compiled a book list for Bookmarks Magazine called “101 Crackerjack Sea Books,” and King ranked “South!” at No. 10 on that list. The John Beaufoy Publishing Co. also published a nice edition of “South!” as part of its Stanfords Travel Classics series. The lists mentioned here are just a few examples of the many lists that include "South!"

The edition that I read was the 1998 Carroll & Graf Publishers edition, and, if memory serves me correctly, I bought it for $1 at Maycomb Mall in Monroeville, Ala. several months ago. This paperback edition is 380 pages long and contains numerous photographs, illustrations and maps. It also contains a 16-page preface and two sections of scientific appendixes in the back of the book.

So what makes this book so great? Between its covers, Shackleton, a veteran explorer, gives us the story of the 1914-1917 Endurance Expedition. The goal of the expedition was to attempt to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent. A number of obstacles prevented Shackleton and his men from completing their mission, but they had many adventures (and misadventures) along the way.

Their ship, the Endurance, gets trapped in the ice, where it drifts for months before breaking up from the ice’s massive pressure. The crew then takes to small boats and then becomes stranded in subfreezing temperatures on a God-forsaken rock called Elephant Island. While they wait with dwindling rations, Shackleton and five others navigate a small lifeboat 800 miles to South George Island, where they reach a small outpost of civilization. Despite more obstacles, they mount an epic rescue effort to save the stranded men on Elephant Island.

Now that I’ve read the book, I’m left wanting to watch the 1920 documentary film about the expedition, which is also called “South: Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition.” (I’ve also seen it referred to by an alternate title, “Endurance.”) This movie is apparently so good that in September 2010, Outside Magazine ranked it No. 1 on its list of 10 best “old school” documentary films from the 20th Century.

In the end, how many of you have read “South!” by Ernest Shackleton? What did you think about it? What other adventure books would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Today in History for Dec. 29, 2014

Albert Pike
Dec. 29, 1809 – Prominent freemason Albert Pike was born in Boston, Mass. He would go on to become an attorney, a Confederate officer and a writer. He passed away at the age of 81 on April 2, 1891 in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 29, 1835 - The Cherokee Indian Treaty Party signed the Treaty of New Echota, ceding their lands east of the Mississippi River to the U.S. government. The Cherokees were to receive five million dollars and land in the western Indian Territory. Alabama created the new counties of Cherokee, DeKalb, and Marshall from the ceded land and the Cherokees began their infamous “trail of tears.”

Dec. 29, 1841 – Coffee County, Ala. was established, formed from the western part of Dale County. It was named after John R. Coffee, a hero in the Creek War of 1813—14.

Dec. 29, 1845 - U.S. President James Polk and signed the “Joint Resolution for the Admission of the State of Texas into the Union,” making Texas the 28th state of the United States. In accordance with International Boundary delimitation, the United States annexed the Republic of Texas, following the manifest destiny doctrine. The Republic of Texas had been independent since the Texas Revolution of 1836.

Dec. 29, 1862 - Union General William T. Sherman was stopped in his attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi at the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs. Skirmishes had occurred over the previous two days before Sherman ordered a major attack.

Dec. 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes occurred at Hillsborough and Pond Springs, Ala.

Dec. 29, 1878 - The first game was played between two teams of the first professional baseball league in Cuba, later known as the Cuban League. Representing the city of Havana, the Habana club faced off against their greatest rivals, a club from the neighboring suburb of Almendares. Habana, coached by Esteban Bellán, the first Cuban to play professional baseball in the United States, won that inaugural game 21-20.

Dec. 29, 1910 – The Manistee & Repton Railway was officially incorporated in Southwest Alabama.

Dec. 29, 1910 – The Conecuh Record reported that P.M. Skinner’s cotton gin in Castleberry, Ala. burned and was a total loss.

Dec. 29, 1937 - Babe Ruth returned to baseball as the new manager of the Class D De Land Reds of the Florida State League. Ruth had retired from baseball in 1935.

Dec. 29, 1939 – The first flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator took place.

Dec. 29, 1947 – The Loretto Saints handed Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team their first loss of the season, beating them 26-24 in Montgomery. Benton Carpenter led Evergreen with 10 points, and Bill Carr led Loretto with 10 points.

Dec. 29, 1965 - CBS acquired the rights to the NFL regular-season games in 1966 and 1967, with an option for 1968, for $18.8 million per year.

Dec. 29, 1970 - The Old St. Stephen Site at St. Stephens in Washington County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dec. 29, 1972 – Eastern Airlines Flight 401 (a Lockheed L-1011) “disintegrated” over land within a short distance of the Miami airport with a loss of over 100 passengers and crew.

Dec. 29, 1978 – The site of the H.L. Hunley submarine sinking was placed on National Register of Historic Places.

Dec. 29, 1980 - Three Texans suffered severe burns when they encountered a fire blasting diamond-shaped UFO. One of the victims in the Cash-Landrum Incident had injuries so severe, a doctor described it as comparable to being "3 to 5 miles from the epicenter of Hiroshima."

Dec. 29, 1982 - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ended his football coaching career at Alabama with 323 wins.

Dec. 29, 1982 – The Seaboard Coast Line Railroad merged with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad to form the Seaboard System Railroad.

Dec. 29, 1986 - The television program “Seasons of Belief,” teleplay by Alabama author Robert McDowell, was broadcast as part of the “Tales from the Darkside” series.

Dec. 29, 2007 – Sparta Academy’s varsity boys and varsity girls basketball teams captured first place trophies in the South Choctaw Holiday Tournament in Toxey, Ala.

Dec. 29, 1970 - The Old St. Stephen Site at St. Stephens in Washington County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dec. 29, 2007 – Hillcrest High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat Alabama Christian Academy, 67-59, during the Capital City Conference Christmas Basketball Tournament at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery.

Dec. 29, 2007 - The New England Patriots became the first NFL team in 35 years to finish the regular season undefeated (16-0) when they beat the New York Giants, 38-35.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., Dec. 29, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.20 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 8.05 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 6.90 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 63.55 inches

NOTES: Today is the 362nd day of 2014 and the ninth day of Winter. There are three days left in the year.

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Much occurred in world events a century ago during the year 1915

Jack Warhop
This week’s paper marks the final edition of The Courant for the year 2014, and next week’s paper will be the first edition of the year 2015. Much has taken place in Conecuh County and in the rest of the world during the preceding year, and I’m sure that we’ll be able to say the same this time next year.

In a couple of weeks, in this space, as I usually do on the first or second Thursday of every month, I’ll offer up my monthly review of all the interesting things that were happening in Conecuh County a century ago, way back in January 1915.

The year 1915 was an interesting year in history, and you might be surprised by some of the things that occurred during that year a century ago. One of the most significant events of 1915 occurred on Jan. 25 when the first coast-to-coast long-distance telephone call was made in the U.S. The call was made by Alexander Graham Bell in New York City to his former assistant Thomas A. Watson, who was in San Francisco.

Also in January, Mary Mallon, also known as “Typhoid Mary,” infected 25 people while working as a cook at New York’s Sloan Hospital. Kiwanis was founded in Detroit on Jan. 21, and the U.S. Congress established Rocky Mountain National Park on Jan. 26. Two days later, Congress designated the U.S. Coast Guard as a branch of the U.S. military.

In the world of movies, the controversial movie, “The Birth of a Nation,” premiered on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles. Four days later, the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put in place in Washington, D.C.
In the wide world of sports, baseball legend Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox hit his first career home run on May 6 off Jack Warhop. On Aug. 31, Jimmy Lavender of the Chicago Cubs pitched a no hitter against the New York Giants. Later, in October, the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies, four games to one, in the 1915 World Series.

Cornell won the 1915 college football national championship. In pro football, there were two champions. The Rochester Jeffersons won the New York League championship, and the Youngstown Patricians won the Ohio League championship. On Nov. 14, football legend Jim Thorpe played in his first professional football game, a 16-0 Canton loss to the Massillon Tigers.

Another landmark event of 1915 occurred on May 7 when the Imperial German Navy U-boat, U-20, sunk the RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner on its way from New York to Liverpool, England. In all, 1,198 civilians were killed in the incident. A little over a month later, on June 9, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned over the controversy regarding the government’s handling of the ship’s sinking.

As World War I raged in Europe, the first prototype military tank was tested by the British Army on Sept. 6. Later, on Christmas Day, British and German soldiers declared an unofficial “Christmas Truce,” during which they left their trenches and played soccer against each other in “No Man’s Land.” Closer to home, on April 16, the U.S. Navy conducted the first catapult launch of an aircraft from a floating platform, launching an airplane from a coal barge at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Famous people born in 1915 include singer Billie Holiday, playwright Arthur Miller, Batman creator Bob Kane and entertainer Frank Sinatra. Baseball player and sporting goods manufacturer Albert Spalding passed away on Sept. 9 of that year, and educator Booker T. Washington died on Nov. 15.

As you can see, 1915 was an eventful year in American and world history. Who’s to say what 2015 will bring, but I’m sure that it will likely be as eventful as that remarkable year a century ago.

Today in History for Dec. 28, 2014

Dec. 28, 1732 - "The Pennsylvania Gazette," owned by Benjamin Franklin, ran an ad for the first issue of "Poor Richard’s Almanack."

Dec. 28, 1817 – Glorvina Johnston Rush was born. In 1860, she and her husband would donate the land where the Andrews Chapel was built in McIntosh, Ala.

Dec. 28, 1822 – In response to a petition submitted to the Alabama state legislature from the residents of Butler County’s Buttsville, the town’s name was officially changed to Greenville.

Dec. 28, 1822 - Confederate General William Booth Taliaferro was born in Gloucester County, Virginia. Taliaferro would go on to serve under General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson during the first part of the Civil War, and he spent the second half preparing coastal defenses in the lower South.

Dec. 28, 1835 – Osceola led his Seminole warriors in Florida into the Second Seminole War against the United States Army.

Dec. 28, 1846 - Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted into the Union.

Dec. 28, 1865 – Confederate veteran Joseph R. Bass left his hometown of Evergreen, Ala. for Texas and arrived in Jefferson, Texas in January 1866. He lived near there for about 18 years before moving to Caddo Mills, Texas, where he is buried.

Dec. 28, 1893 – Desperadoes John Hipp and Charles Kelley, murderers of Butler County, Alabama Tax Collector C.J. Armstrong, were taken by a mob of 100 armed, masked men and lynched on the Butler County Courthouse lawn.

Dec. 28, 1902 – The Syracuse Athletic Club defeated the New York Philadelphians, 5–0, in the first indoor professional football game, which was held at Madison Square Garden.

Dec. 28, 1917 - The New York Evening Mail published a facetious essay by H.L. Mencken on the history of bathtubs in America.

Dec. 28, 1922 – Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee was born in New York City. He would go on to help create Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men.

Dec. 28, 1947 – Major League Baseball third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez was born in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. He would go on to play for the California Angels, the Washington Senators, the Detroit Tigers, the San Diego Padres, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.

Dec. 28, 1948 – In an incident attributed to the Bermuda Triangle, a chartered DC-3 airliner NC16002, en route from San Juan to Miami, disappeared 50 miles south of Miami with 36 passengers and crew. No probable cause for the loss was determined by the official investigation, and it remains unsolved.

Dec. 28, 1958 – In what’s known as the "Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship Game defeated the New York Giants, 23-17, in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York's Yankee Stadium.

Dec. 28, 1961 – Evergreen High School and Auburn University football star Wayne Frazier was drafted in the 16th round (216th overall) in the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears.

Dec. 28, 1973 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Dr. Ambrose Dexter, a renowned physician of Providence, R.I. who maintained an interest in the occult, was killed by British Intelligence agents somewhere in the South Pacific. He first appeared in “The Haunter of the Dark” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Dec. 28, 1975 - The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC divisional playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings with a Hail Mary pass with only 24 seconds left.

Dec. 28, 1991 – Alabama (10-1) beat Colorado (8-2-1), 30-25, in the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama wide receiver David Palmer was named the game’s MVP.

Dec. 28, 2000 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Conecuh County, Ala. school board member Willene Whatley had been appointed to the Board of Trustees of Alabama Risk Management for Schools.

Dec. 28, 2000 - U.S. District Court Judge Matsch held a hearing to ensure that confessed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh understood that he was dropping his appeals. McVeigh said that he wanted an execution date, set but wanted to reserve the right to seek presidential clemency.

Dec. 28, 2003 - New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was released from the hospital. The previous day he had fainted at a memorial service.

Dec. 28, 2003 - Jamal Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens became the fifth NFL player to run for 2,000 yards in a season. He ended the season with 2,029 yards.

Dec. 28, 2003 - Mike Vanderjagt of the Indianapolis Colts set a new NFL record when he kicked his 41st consecutive field goal.

Dec. 28, 2003 - James Holmes of the Kansas City Chiefs set an NFL record with his 27th touchdown of the season.

Dec. 28, 2004 – Vredenburgh, Ala. native Mike Stewart’s fourth novel, “Perfect Life,” was released.

Dec. 28, 2007 - The movie “Honeydripper,” which starred Danny Glover, was released in the United States. Significant portions of this film were shot in Greenville, Georgiana and Forest Home in Butler County, Ala.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Dec. 28, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 2.60 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 6.70 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 7.85 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 6.70 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 63.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 361st day of 2014 and the eighth day of Winter. There are four days left in the year.

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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

'Southerners should recall the pages of their past'

George Buster Singleton
(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 “Southerners should recall the pages of their past” was originally published in the Oct. 15, 1992 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Have you ever given any thought to how lucky we are to have grown up in Dixie?

In looking at the world situation and the unrest and hatred that abounds in our civilization and in other parts of the country and world, I realize that those of us who live in the South are really blessed.

When I look back and see the hard times that we survived, it only adds to the fact that I know for sure that we can always carry on, come what may. As I travel around the countryside and talk to many of the elderly people who grew up in the South, I always hear stories of hard times. These stories most always have humorous endings – bringing laughter and merriment. Never do I hear any regrets or wishes that things had been different. Many of the fondest memories that are relayed to me are about when times were the hardest.

As I travel through the countryside this time of year and see the snow-white fields of opened cotton, the memory of the long cotton rows and the heavy cotton sack comes to mind. But as I let my thoughts wander a bit farther back in time, there is always a favorite story of good times and happy togetherness there among the sweat and hard work.

The memory of some special person, whether they were a vagabond or someone down on their luck, appears. These less fortunate were always treated with respect. Never was anyone turned away from the kitchen doors of the country homes without being fed and taken care of.

Travel, if you will, in any direction in our county; stop and talk to any of the country people, and always you will find kindness and respect. If you talk long enough, sooner or later, one or two stories will be told about the hard times, that mean old Depression. But always without fail, before the conversation is over, a good event or time of merriment will surface.

And those of use who like to slip away for a few hours of thought and relaxation can still find that special place to be alone where time stands still; a place where thoughts return to a special moment in the pages of yesterday. Even in the hustle and hurry of our society, a special place still awaits where you can raise your arms to the heavens and talk to God, man to man. And, as you stand and look across the high hills and the deep valleys and watch the setting sun disappear from the horizon, you know for sure that something awaits those who seek it.

Truly, we are lucky to live in the South; a place where friends of all races gather together and dwell in harmony and peace; a place where all can join together and return to the past for a time of fun and joy and friendship and to re-live old memories. A friend is there in time of need, regardless of background or race or creed.

Here is an excerpt from a speech made by Gov. Taylor to a group of ex-Confederate soldiers on June 24, 1897. This covers in part many of the thoughts that dwell in the hearts of those who still remember the pages of our past:

“I love to live in the land of Dixie, under the soft Southern skies, where summer pours out her flood of sunshine and showers, and the generous earth smiles with plenty. I love to live on Southern soil, where the cotton fields wave their white banners of peace and the wheat fields wave back their banners of gold from the hills and valleys which were once drenched with the blood of heroes.

“I love to live where the mockingbirds flutter and sign in the shadowy coves and bright waters ripple in an eternal melody by the graves where our heroes are buried. I love to breathe the Southern air that comes filtered through jungles of roses whispering the story of southern deeds of bravery.

“I love to drink from Southern springs and Southern babbling brooks, which cooled the lips of Lee and Jackson and Forrest and Stewart, and the worn and weary columns of brave men who wore the gray. I love to live among Southern men and women where every heart is as warm as the Southern sunshine and every home is a temple of love and liberty.

“I love to listen to the sweet old Southern melodies, which touch the soul and melt the heart and awaken to life ten thousand memories of that happy long ago. But, the music that thrills me most are the melodies and marches and songs of heartbreak and happiness that died away on the lips of many a Confederate soldier as he sank into the sleep that knows no awakening.”

As I have written many times before, we should study this period of the tragic time in our history. We should learn and understand the feelings of the times when our country was divided. A time when brother fought brother, and father fought son; a time in history when our house was divided. By better understanding this tragic period of our past, we would be much better prepared to face the many uncertain trials and tribulations that await us in the future.

From this time of our past, we can come to know the beauty and the folklore of our ancestors as they struggled and died for what they believed. By knowing and understanding the past, we can never again be led astray and taught to believe in the fairy world that we now live in.

Then, when all is said and done, the words “I’m glad that I live in Dixie” will take on a new meaning.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. 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 Dec. 27, 2014

Dec. 27, 1512 – The Spanish Crown issued the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.

Dec. 27, 1816 – Early Conecuh County, Ala. teacher and minister Rev. Hanson Lee was born in Johnston County, N.C. He would go on to serve as president of Mount Lebanon College and as editor of the Louisiana Baptist.

Dec. 27, 1862 - Union General William T. Sherman moved within a few miles of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Two days of skirmishes occurred before Sherman ordered a major attack on Dec. 29. Sherman was thwarted in the attempt.

Dec. 27, 1864 - The Confederate Army of Tennessee under General John Bell Hood finished crossing the Tennessee River into Mississippi.

Dec. 27, 1908 - The world didn't end as Nyack, New York's would-be prophet Lee J. Spangler claimed it would.

Dec. 27, 1912 – The No. 2 Passenger Train, which passed through Evergreen, Ala. at 5:19 a.m., wrecked at Garland. The engine and three cars overturned, and it was reported that the engineer, fireman and several others were injured. This was the third wreck on that division of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in 10 days.

Dec. 27, 1966 – The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, was discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Dec. 27, 1991 – “Fried Green Tomatoes,” a movie version of Alabama author Fannie Flagg's book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe,” was released.

Dec. 27, 1998 - The Dallas Cowboys became the first team to sweep all of their NFC East games in a season.

Dec. 27, 1998 - Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys set an NFL record for career touchdowns.

Dec. 27, 2003 - New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner fainted at a memorial service. He was released from the hospital the following day.

Dec. 27, 2004 - In a game against the San Diego Chargers, quarterback Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts found wide receiver Brandon Stokely in the end zone for his 49th touchdown pass of the season, breaking the previous National Football League (NFL) single-season record held by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins. Manning's record stood until 2007, when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots threw 50 touchdowns in a single season.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Dec. 27, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 4.10 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.25 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 4.10 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 60.75 inches

NOTES: Today is the 360th day of 2014 and the seventh day of Winter. There are five days left in the year.

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

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Dec. 26, 2014

Auburn's Fob James.
DEC. 28, 2000

“The Hillcrest High School varsity basketball team is shown above. Front row, left to right, Jeff Bonner, Jason Wiley, Chesson Griffin, Calvin Fluker and Ronald Grace. Back row, left to right, Coach Tommy Dukes, Dereck Rogers, Damien Rosh, Rodrika Henry, Jerrod Danzy and Eric Stallworth.”

“Shown above is the Hillcrest High School B basketball team. Front row, left to right, Damien McMillian, Destry Taylor, Brandon Lewis, Brian Boykin, Chris Straughn, Jason Ingram, Sherrod Dukes. Back row, left to right, J.T. Booker, Rodrigus Rudolph, Robert Caldwell, Chris King, Nick Williams, Rickey Herbert, Seneral Lee, Antonio Jackson and Chris Glover.”

“The Hillcrest High School girls basketball team are having a good season this year. They are, front row, left to right, Alexis Grace, Cindy Floyd, Candi Jackson, LaWanda Mitchell, LaTrina Merrills, Melonee Thomas, Chivonne Watkins, Stephanie Rudolph. Back row, left to right, Kourtney Mims, Candice Mitchell, Candice Mims, Raven Rudolph, Natalie Nelson, Shundra Lee, Andrell Baxter and Twayla Riley.”

“Betty Warren of Castleberry recently harvested this antlered doe. The 12-inch antlers were still in velvet, with multiple points trying to form.”

DEC. 26, 1985

“Sparta hosts cage tourney: Sparta Academy will host its 10th annual Basketball Tournament of Champions Dec. 26-27.
“This year’s teams included Crenshaw of Luverne; Sparta, last year’s State Class A runner-up; Lakeside, last year’s State Class A champions; and Bullock, last year’s State Class AA champions.
“Dec. 26: Bullock vs. Lakeside at 6:30 p.m.; and Sparta vs. Crenshaw at 8 p.m.
“Dec. 27: Consolation game at 6:30 p.m. and championship game at 8 p.m.”

“Dear Sir,
“We at Repton High School wish to thank Sheriff Edwin Booker and the Conecuh County deputies and auxiliary for their support and help during our effort to win the 1A state championship in football.
“Throughout the season they were here to assist in any manner. During the playoffs, they were here to assist with traffic control both before and after the game and continually patrolled the crowd. Many of these men gave of their off-duty time to assist us and received no personal monetary remuneration. They are to be commended for being civic-minded.
“Conecuh County has reason to be proud that its Sheriff’s Department is supportive of county schools.
“David M. Johnson, Principal.”

DEC. 24, 1970

“ABSOLUTELY NO HUNTING, FISHING OR TRESSPASSING by anyone will be permitted on any land owned by Roy Andrews or the Lillis K. Brown Estate.”

“Arnold Palmer says: tee-off on birth defects with a ‘hole-in-one’ that really counts – give to the March of Dimes."

DEC. 22, 1955

“Aggies Invade Mobile, Take McGill Inst. 52-37: Evergreen’s high flying Aggies invaded Mobile Tuesday night and extended their victory string to six in a row at the expense of McGill Institute, winning 52-37.
“Randy White took the scoring honors for the night, with 26 points, followed by Wayne Frazier with 10 points, Robert King with eight points, Mickey Joyner with six, and Eddie Kelly with two points. Tuesday night’s scoring put White’s average for the six games at over 23 points per game.”

“Aggies Win Brewton’s Invitational Tournament: In the preliminary game of the T.R. Miller Invitational Tournament, the Evergreen Aggies out-classed Flomaton High School, 73-26, with Randy White, six-foot, five-inch, scoring 28 points to lead the way.
“Mickey Joyner was second in Aggie scoring, racking up 12 points. Other Aggie scoring was by Frazier, 11 points; Robert King, 10; Eddie Kelly, six; Timmy Boykin, five; and H. Pugh, one.
“In the semi-finals of the tournament, played Saturday afternoon, the Aggies took the measure of the high flying Excel Panthers, and won easily, 52-31.
“Matchett, who has been scoring a large number of points each game, was held to 20 points, while the Aggies high scorer, Randy White, held up his average by scoring 24 points. Wayne Frazier guarded Matchett on a man to man defense.
“Following White in the scoring was Robert King, who had a respectable 11 points. Mickey Joyner hit for seven, Wayne Frazier got six points; Eddie Kelly and H. Pugh got two each.
“In the finals, the Aggies came up against the high flying W.S. Neal team, which went into the game sporting a good record. The Evergreen team had a real battle on their hands in this game, finally pulling it out, 50-41, to win the game and the tournament.
“High point man for the game was big Randy White, who got 25. Robert King hit for 11 for the second straight game, Eddie Kelly got eight points, Mickey Joyner hit for four, and Wayne Frazier got two points.
“Dawson, who looked good on the gridiron against the Aggies a couple of months ago, hit the basket for 16 points to lead the Neal scoring."

“Sixteen Star Performers To Play In Senior Bowl: MOBILE, Ala. – Sixteen star performers from the five ‘major’ post-season bowl games are slated for action in the seventh annual Senior Bowl football classic to be played here on Jan. 7.
“Eight of the 10 colleges taking part in the New Year’s weekend games will have representatives in the Senior tilt along with 24 other institutions from all sections of the country.
“The Gator Bowl, with five players, is tops numerically, followed closely by the Orange Bowl with four, the Sugar and Rose Bowls with three each, and the Cotton Bowl with one.
“From the Dec. 31 game in Jacksonville will come Tommy Harkins of Vanderbilt and a quartet of Auburn stars – Joe Childress, Fob James, Frank D’Aostino and Bob Scarbrough.
“The Orange Bowl will send Bob Pellegrini and Ed Vereb, both of Maryland, along with the Oklahoma Sooner stars, Bo Bolinger and Bob Burris.
“Three University of Pittsburg standouts will prolong their stay in the South to participate. They are John Paluck, Lou Cimarolli and John Cenci.
“Captain Buck Nystrom and Gary Lowe will represent the Michigan State Spartans here while Jim Brown is the UCLA nominee. Earl Blair of Ole Miss is the lone Cotton Bowl representative.
“All told, 50 of the nation’s finest senior footballers are booked for action in the Senior classic, which is expected to attract a capacity crowd of 36,000 fans.
“Reserve seat tickets, priced at $3, $4 and $5, may be ordered by sending requests to Senior Bowl Association, P.O. Box 1229, Mobile, Ala.”

DEC. 26, 1940

“Band to Appear In Blue-Gray Parade: The 44-piece Evergreen Band, resplendent in their new green and white uniforms, will travel to Montgomery Saturday to appear in the mammoth Blue-Gray parade, which begins a day packed with festivities.
“The band will leave Evergreen at 6:30 a.m., Saturday so as to afford them ample time in which to reach the Capitol City before the starting of the parade at 10 o’clock. Numerous other bands from over the state are entered in the parade and other activities. Prizes will be awarded the most outstanding bands.

“The position of the Evergreen Band will be in section two, which forms at the intersection of Monroe and Bainbridge Streets, on the north side of the Capitol.”

Today in History for Dec. 26, 2014

Henry Lee III
Dec. 26, 1799 – Four thousand people attend George Washington's funeral where Henry Lee III declared him as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Dec. 26, 1861 – During the Civil War’s “Trent Affair,” Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell were freed by the United States government, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and United Kingdom.

Dec. 26, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou began in Warren County, Miss.

Dec. 26, 1862 - Union General Rosecrans moved his forces south to meet Confederate troops at Stones River. The actual battle began on December 31.

Dec. 26, 1862 - In Mankato, Minnesota, 38 Dakota Indians were executed for their role in the uprising ended with 500 white settlers and 150 Sioux warriors dead. It was the largest mass execution in American history. U.S. President Lincoln commuted about 260 sentences.

Dec. 26, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Sand Mountain, Ala.

Dec. 26, 1900 – A relief crew arrived at the lighthouse on the Flannan Isles of Scotland, UK, only to find the previous crew has disappeared without a trace.

Dec. 26, 1905 - The regular term of Conecuh County Court was scheduled to be held on this day.

Dec. 26, 1919 – Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee, allegedly establishing the Curse of the Bambino superstition.

Dec. 26, 1927 - The East-West Shrine football game featured numbers on both the front and back of players’ jerseys.

Dec. 26, 1939 – Alabama native W.C. Handy recorded the classic "St. Louis Blues."

Dec. 26, 1944 - Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" was first performed publicly, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, Ill.

Dec. 26, 1947 – Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont. He would go on to play for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox.

Dec. 26, 1954 - "The Shadow" aired on radio for the last time.

Dec. 26, 1954 – Major League Baseball shortstop Ozzie Smith was born in Mobile, Ala. He would go on to play for the San Diego Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Dec. 26, 1973 – “The Exorcist,” a horror film starring the actress Linda Blair as a girl possessed by an evil spirit, made its debut in theaters. It will go on to earn a reputation as one of the scariest movies in history. “The Exorcist” was based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel of the same name.

Dec. 26, 1980 - The first night of the Bentwaters UFO incident took place. Multiple witnesses at the UK military base reported seeing a luminous triangular shaped craft, pulsating fog and strange entities.

Dec. 26, 1985 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Army Pvt. Alexander Booker of Evergreen had arrived for duty with the 204th Signal Battalion in South Korea.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Dec. 26, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 4.10 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.25 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 4.10 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 60.75 inches

NOTES: Today is the 359th day of 2014 and the sixth day of Winter. There are six days left in the year.

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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Which teams do you think will win this week's slate of bowl games?

The college football bowl season continues this week with 17 games scheduled between today (Thursday) and next Thursday, Jan. 1. For what they’re worth, here are my predictions for those games.

Tomorrow (Friday), I look for Louisiana Tech to beat Illinois in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas. That game will begin at noon on ESPN. Later that day, I look for North Carolina to down Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. That one will start at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

In the final game of the day, I expect Central Florida to outgun North Carolina State in the St. Petersburg Bowl in Florida. That game will begin at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Five games are scheduled for Saturday, beginning with Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in the Military Bowl. I look for Cincinnati to win that one, which will start at noon on ESPN. In the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, I look for Arizona State to beat Duke. That one will get going at 1 p.m. on CBS.

I expect Miami to down South Carolina in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. That game is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2. I predict Boston College will beat Penn State in the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, N.Y. That game will begin at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

The last game of the day will feature USC and Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. I look for USC to win that game, which will start at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Three games are on tap for Monday with the first game featuring West Virginia and Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. I think West Virginia will win that game, which will begin at 1:15 p.m. on ESPN.

In the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., I look for Oklahoma to beat Clemson. That game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN. I expect Arkansas to down Texas in the Texas Bowl in Houston. That game will start at 8 p.m.

Three games are also scheduled for this coming Tuesday, beginning with LSU and Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. I predict LSU will win that game, which will start at 2 p.m. on ESPN.

I look for Georgia to down Louisville in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. That game will begin at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN. In the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif., I expect Stanford to beat Maryland. That game will start at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Rounding out the week, three games are scheduled to be played on Wed., Dec. 31. I predict that TCU will down Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. That game will start at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN.

I look for Arizona to upend Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. That game will begin at 3 p.m. on ESPN. In the final game of the day, I expect Mississippi State will beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla. That game will start at 7 p.m. on ESPN.