|CSA General Earl Van Dorn|
Dec. 17, 1821 – The Alabama legislature authorized the opening of a road from Cahaba, Ala. to Pensacola, Fla.
Dec. 17, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived at Annapolis, Md. at 3 p.m. He was received in the Senate chamber, visited Fort Severn and attended a ball that night.
Dec. 17, 1848 – Gadi Finklea Jr. was born. He served with the Monroe County Militia in Beats 8, 9 and 10. He apparently enlisted late in the war and served as a private in Co. C of the 5th Alabama Infantry. Federal records indicate he was taken prisoner at Petersburg and was imprisoned at Point Lookout, Md. He took the Oath of Allegiance on June 12, 1865 and was released. He stood six-feet tall, had a light complexion, brown hair and blue eyes and lived in Monroe County. He died in Coleman County, Texas in September 1928 and is buried in Coleman Cemetery in Coleman County.
Dec. 17, 1862 - Confederate General Earl Van Dorn gathered three cavalry brigades and left Grenada, Mississippi. He attacked Union General Ulysses S. Grant's supplies at Holly Springs, Mississippi on Dec. 20. The attacked thwarted Grant's first attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Dec. 17, 1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. This action was based on Jewish friends that were attempting to gain access, for profit, to capture cotton. Grant later admitted that the criticism of his hasty action was deserved.
Dec. 17, 1863 – Alexander Travis Henderson of Brooklyn was said to have been “killed in action” near Claiborne, Ala. His wife, Amanda Floyd Henderson, learned of his death a short time later, traveled to Claiborne by wagon with an infant daughter, “her trusted slaves” and several shovels. They dug up her husband’s body and returned it to Brooklyn for burial.
Dec. 17, 1867 – Greenville Advocate founder and longtime editor James B. Stanley married Lulu Reid.
Dec. 17, 1893 – Butler County, Ala. Tax Collector C.J. Armstrong was robbed and murdered by outlaws John Hipp and Charles Kelley. They were lynched in Greenville, Ala. on Dec. 28.
Dec. 17, 1900 - A prize of 100,000 francs was offered for contact with extraterrestrials by the French Academy of Science. Martians were excluded however, as at the time, their civilization was considered an established fact.
Dec. 17, 1903 - The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, N.C. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.
Dec. 17, 1914 – The Monroe Journal reported “A Singular Accident” involving A.J. Petty, his wife and their five-year-old son, Horace. The three were at a “sand gully near Mexia” where they hoped to procure “some white sand.” While the husband tended the horses and wagon, the wife became “covered up in the sand.” The husband and four men worked frantically to free her, and she eventually survived thanks to intensive medical car by Dr. Bayles and Dr. Aaron White.
Dec. 17, 1918 – During World War I, Army 1LT Harry I. Savage of Camden, Ala. “died from disease.”
Dec. 17, 1919 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Lewis Richardson of Pollard, Ala. “died from disease.”
Dec. 17, 1933 - The Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants in the first National Football League interdivisional championship game. The Bears won, 23-21.
Dec. 17, 1936 – Train engineer Joe (or Lee) Gorey of Montgomery, engineer Philip Grizzard of Montgomery and train fireman Barnes were killed when two Louisville & Nashville passenger trains collected head-on in heavy fog around 5 a.m. in Castleberry. The crash involved Passenger Train No. 3, which was traveling rapidly south when it collided with Passenger Train No. 2, which was sitting at a water tank on the main line at the Castleberry train station. The No. 2 train ran from Mobile to Cincinnati, and the No. 3 ran from Cincinnati to Mobile. Grizzard was driving No. 3, and Gorey was driving No. 2. Barnes was on No. 3.
Dec. 17, 1939 – After a public hearing in which no protest or higher offers were received, Conecuh Circuit Judge F.W. Hare approved the sale of the Peoples Bank of Evergreen building to Mrs. V.W. Millsap for $16,000. This sale marked the first transfer of the property in more than 29 years, the bank having purchased it on April 5, 1906 from J.D. Deming and his wife, Fannie D. Deming.
Dec. 17, 1939 – W.R. Shaver was elected to the District 4 seat on the Conecuh County, Ala. Board of Revenue. He had previously served five years and three months on the board and was chosen to fill the unexpired term of M.A. Travis, who resigned to become chairman.
Dec. 17, 1950 – The Birmingham News announced the Class A All-State Football Team, and 197-pound senior Douglas Potts of Evergreen High School was named a second team all-state tackle. Potts had already signed a football scholarship with the University of Alabama. Max Pope, a senior guard at Evergreen High School, received honorable mention on The Montgomery Advertiser-Journal all-state football team.
Dec. 17, 1960 – Lee Roy Jordan of Excel, Ala. was named the MVP of the Bluebonnet Bowl.
Dec. 17, 1967 - Noland Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs ran a kickoff return back 106 yards to set an NFL record.
Dec. 17, 1969 - The U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
Dec. 17, 1975 – Actress Milla Jovovich was born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union.
Dec. 17, 1984 - Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins set NFL season records for touchdowns (48), completions (362) and yards (5,084).
Dec. 17, 1989 – The first episode of the television series “The Simpsons,” "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," aired on Fox.
Dec. 17, 1992 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Dec. 17, 1993 - FOX outbid CBS for the National Football Conference TV package.
Dec. 17, 1993 – Jennings Faulk Carter became the first and believed to be the only Monroe County, Ala. native to be inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Mobile.
Dec. 17, 1993 – Episode No. 12 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Fire” – aired for the first time.
Dec. 17, 2000 – Alexander City, Ala. native Terrell Owens of the San Francisco 49ers caught an NFL-record 20 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. The previous record was held by Tom Fears of the Los Angeles Rams with 18 catches on Dec. 3, 1950, against the Green Bay Packers. Owens also broke Jerry Rice's franchise record of 16 receptions set in 1994 against the Los Angeles Rams.