Jan. 31, 1606 - Guy Fawkes was executed after being convicted for his role in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I.
Jan. 31, 1752 - Patriot Gouverneur Morris was born in New York City, New York. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 he represented Pennsylvania. He served as an ambassador to France from 1792-1794 and was a senator from New York from 1800-1803.
Jan. 31, 1862 - Telescope maker Alvin Clark discovered the dwarf companion of Sirius.
Jan. 31, 1865 - General Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies.
Jan. 31, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and it was submitted to the states for ratification. It was ratified by the necessary number of states on Dec. 6, 1865. The amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
Jan. 31, 1872 – Western writer Zane Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio. He is best known for his novel, “Riders of the Purple Sage,” which was published in 1912.
Jan. 31, 1876 - All Native American Indians were ordered to move into reservations.
Jan. 31, 1893 - The trademark "Coca-Cola" was first registered in the United States Patent Office.
Jan. 31, 1902 - Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, was born in Huntsville, Ala. The daughter of U.S.Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in “The Little Foxes” (1939) and her part in the film “Lifeboat” (1943). (There is some question of the exact birthdate; this is the most generally accepted.)
Jan. 31, 1912 – The home of J.S. Daw near Hampden Ridge, Ala. was destroyed by fire.
Jan. 31, 1914 – This day, a Saturday, was the deadline to pay poll taxes in Conecuh County, Ala. because Feb. 1 fell on a Sunday.
Jan. 31, 1919 – Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Ga. He played his entire Major League career (1947-1956) with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jan. 31, 1931 – Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop and first baseman Ernie Banks was born in Dallas, Texas. He played his entire Major League career (1953-1971) with the Chicago Cubs.
Jan. 31, 1939 – The GA-ANA Theatre was first opened in Georgiana, Ala. by Fred McClendon.
Jan. 31, 1945 – U.S. Army private Eddie Slovik of Detroit, Mich. was executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.
Jan. 31, 1947 – Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was born in Refugio, Texas and raised in Alvin, southeast of Houston. He would go on to play for the N.Y. Mets, the California Angels, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.
Jan. 31, 1959 – Members of the Dyatlov Expedition arrived at the edge of a highland area and began to prepare for climbing. In a wooded valley, they cached surplus food and equipment that would be used for the trip back.
Jan. 31, 1961 - Voters approved financing for a domed stadium in Houston, Texas.
Jan. 31, 1968 – As part of the Tet Offensive, a squad of Viet Cong guerillas attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, and Marine Cpl. James Conrad Marshall of Monroeville, a 1964 graduate of Monroe County High School, died defending the embassy. The guerillas managed to seize the embassy and held it for six hours until an assault force of U.S. paratroopers landed by helicopter on the building’s roof and routed the Viet Cong. Marshall Hall, the Marine Corps Security Guard training center at Quantico, Va. was later named in James Marshall’s honor.
Jan. 31, 1977 – Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low of 16 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 31, 1979 – The Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Jan. 31, 1988 - The first episode of "The Wonder Years" aired on ABC.
Jan. 31, 1988 - Herb Alpert performed the U.S. national anthem at Super Bowl XXII. The Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos, 42-10.
Jan. 31, 1999 - The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII, their second consecutive Super Bowl win. Cher sang the national anthem.
Jan. 31, 1999 – Former Major League first baseman Norm Zauchin passed away in Birmingham, Ala. at the age of 69. He started his professional career in 1950 with the Double-A Birmingham Barons, where he set a Rickwood Field field record with 35 home runs. He went on to play for the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Senators.
Jan. 31, 2003 - The Chicago White Sox announced a deal that would change the name of Comiskey Park after a 93-year association with the Comiskey name.
Jan. 31, 2005 – Hillcrest High School retired the basketball jersey of player Chris “C.J.” Riley, who died over the Christmas holidays.
Jan. 31, 2013 – Major League Baseball first baseman Fred Whitfield, a native of Vandiver, Ala., passed away at the age of 75 in Gadsden due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He played pro baseball from 1962 to 1970 for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cleveland Indians, the Cincinnati Reds and the Montreal Expos.