Saturday, February 28, 2015

'Old-fashioned coon hunting is disappearing from scene'

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 “Old-fashioned coon hunting is disappearing from scene,” was originally published in the Nov. 11, 1993 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Very few of us today remember the joys and excitement of a good, old-fashioned coon hunt. I know the proper words are raccoon hunt, but to some of the country folks I grew up with, using the word raccoon was a dead giveaway of being a city slicker or trying to be just plain smart.

As the fall colors slowly spread across the bottoms and the hill country, there at once was a feeling in the autumn air that it was time to bring out the coon dogs and polish up the old coal-oil lantern for the coming of the coon-hunting season.

Those who were lucky or unlucky enough to own one, also had to get out the old carbide light and do some polishing and “tuning up” on the old relic. This light wasn’t the best for shining a coon’s eyes in the top of a tall tree; but it was better than nothing.

You must remember that most times there wasn’t enough money floating around to purchase one of those new-fangled, high-priced spotlights.

Then, the old blowing horn had to be brought out and a few practice calls sounded on it. If the fat, sleepy, lazy coon dogs came out from under the house and began to howl when the horn was sounded, the horn blower knew that he was in tune.

To keep the old horn in good condition, a little bacon grease was rubbed on the horn to keep it from cracking. After all, it had been hanging in the smoke house or on the back porch since last coon-hunting season.

After all the necessary preparations had been attended to, the next thing was to check The Ladies Birthday Almanac for the date for the first frost. This was of great importance; country coon hunters never, never started the fall coon-hunting season until Jack Frost had blanketed the countryside with a heavy silvery white blanket of chilling frost. This also told the coon hunters that the wild persimmons would be turning red and ripening. This meant that the coons would be on the prowl for a tree loaded with red, juicy persimmons. And the dogs would pick up on their tracks as they wandered and searched for the tasty, red persimmons.

Then, when that heavy blanket of white frost finally covered the countryside, the time was at hand to put up or shut up. Many tall tales had already circulated about that special coon dog that had just been brought in the community. Small bets had sprung forth among the coon hunters as to whose coon dog would be the first to tree the sly old coon.

I never did understand just how these dogs got their names. There was always one in the community called “Ole Blue.” Others were named “Scrap Iron,” “Sweet Voice,” “Big Jack,” “Gypsy Boy,” “Daddy’s Man” and “Big Jake.” The female dogs of the pack had names like “Miss Jessie,” “Lucky Lady,” “Diamond Jill” and “Bonnie Blue,” and then there was “Night Dancer.” Whatever method the dog owners used to select these names, no one ever joked or made fun of these names.

I can see them now – the creeping shadows of darkness settled across the freshly harvested fields. A group of eight or 10 hunters, followed by several small boys, could be seen walking single file across the open spaces toward the deep woods nearby. The clanking sound of a large tin coffee pot and several tin cups carried in a flour sack could be heard rattling loudly as the young boy who carried it jumped across the harvested rows of the last season’s corn crop.

Two or three coal oil lanterns flickered in the early darkness. The carbide spotlight would be saved until that time when the baying bark of Big Jake or Bonnie Blue or one of the other dogs arose on the winds of the evening. Then, the hunting party would stop dead still and debate and argue as to whose dog it was that had treed first. After this was settled, they would hurry on to the tree where the dogs were treed.

Few minutes’ rest

Then, after about two hours, after the fever of the hunt had cooled down a bit, the horn was sounded for the dogs to come in for a few minutes’ rest and a coffee break for the hunters. This was the time that was much looked for by the young boys who had chosen to come on the hunt.

Within minutes, a large fire would warm the chilled air of the glowing darkness. Water from a nearby stream or spring was soon boiling in the large tin pot. As the aroma of the boiling coffee filled the night air, the tall tales would begin as the small boys stretched out on the fallen leaves and listened with wide-eyed wonder. The prized coon dogs had now, too, selected a choice place among the boys, there by the glowing fire.

Somewhere, from the pocket of someone’s jumper, a bag of peanut candy or roasted pecans appeared on the scene. This added greatly to the comfort and contentment of the boy hunters, who by now had chosen an outstretched coon dog for a pillow. A second pot of coffee had finished boiling as the tall tales continued to circulate and grow bigger in the warm air of the glowing fire light.

Dozing boys

A sudden blast on the old horn caused sleeping coon dogs and dozing boys to come alert as the hunt was once again about to get under way. The dying fire was covered over with dirt as the snow-white smoke struggled to break free from its earthen cover. And, in the distance, the barking dogs told the hunters that before long another round of guessing would take place as to whose coon dog it was that had treed first.

Community get-togethers such as this have long faded from the scene. The television has replaced all the togetherness and fellowship that was once enjoyed by the menfolk and the young boys who looked to them for guidance and leadership.

I am truly sorry that our youth of today have missed those wonderful times that I had the privilege and honor to be a part of. Before too long, even the memories of those wonderful yesterdays will have faded. But hopefully, the memories of the good times, experienced on those country coon hunts, will linger forever.

(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 Feb. 28, 2015

Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
Feb. 28, 1525 – The Aztec king Cuauhtémoc was executed by Hernán Cortés's forces.

Feb. 28, 1692 - In Salem, Massachusetts 10 children identify the "witches" in their community who afflicted them: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and an old Native American woman named Tituba. Warrants were obtained, and they were arrested.

Feb. 28, 1766 - Revolutionary War soldier and Georgia Governor John Clarke was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Clarke County, Ala. was named in his honor on Dec. 10, 1812.

Feb. 28, 1784 - John Wesley chartered the first Methodist Church in the United States. Despite the fact that he was an Anglican, Wesley saw the need to provide church structure for his followers after the Anglican Church abandoned its American believers during the American Revolution.

Feb. 28, 1824 - Charles Blondin, the first person to walk across Niagra Falls on a tightrope, was born in St Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France.

Feb. 28, 1827 - The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for the commercial transportation of people and freight.

Feb. 28, 1829 – Edgar Allan Poe’s foster mother, Frances Allan, died.

Feb. 28, 1836 - The Alamo endured prolonged cannonade from Santa Anna’s artillery batteries.

Feb. 28, 1855 – Hinchey W. Warren passed away at the age of 67 near Sparta, Ala. and was buried in the Warren Family Cemetery. A War of 1812 veteran, he was also the great-grandfather of U.S. President Warren G. Harding.

Feb. 28, 1858 – The ill-fated Eliza Battle left Demopolis, Ala. fully loaded with passengers and with more than 1,200 bales of cotton. During an already cold night, a strong north wind began to blow, with the air temperature decreasing another 40°F in the two hours after nightfall.

Feb. 28, 1861 - The U.S. territory of Colorado was organized.

Feb. 28, 1864 – After getting captured by the Union at Campbell’s Station, Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was transferred from Asylum General Hospital in Nashville to Louisville Military Prison.

Feb. 28, 1864, a major Union cavalry raid begins when General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick led 3,500 troopers south from Stevensburg, Virginia. Aimed at Richmond, the raid sought to free Federal prisoners and spread word of President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in hopes of convincing Confederates to lay down their arms. The next day the group split into two wings on their way to Richmond.

Feb. 28, 1872 - John Gassaway Rush passed away at the age of 54 and was buried in McIntosh Cemetery, which is located behind Andrews Chapel in McIntosh, Ala. In 1860, he and his wife donated the land where the church was constructed.

Feb. 28, 1887 - Alabama passed its first child labor law, fixing age limits and restricting work hours for ceartian types of labor. The legislation, which also protected women workers, was repealed in the 1890s, but efforts of reformers like Rev. Edgar Gardner Murphy of Montgomery resulted in new child labor laws during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Feb., 28, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that “a little colored girl was shot and killed by her brother near Perdue Hill last week. The two children were playing with an old gun which went off with the above result.”

Feb. 28, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Edward E. English of Evergreen, Ala. “died in an accident.”

Feb. 28, 1921 – H.P. Lovecraft completed “The Quest of Iranon,” which was originally published in the July-August 1935 issue of The Galleon.

Feb. 28, 1925 – In Lovecraftian fiction, the lost island of R’lyeh rose once again.

Feb. 28, 1930 – Major League Baseball third baseman Frank Malzone was born in Bronx, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Boston Red Sox and the California Angels.

Feb. 28, 1932 – H.P. Lovecraft completed “The Dreams in the Witch House,” which was originally published in the July 1933 issue of Weird Tales.

Feb. 28, 1945 – NFL defensive end Bubba Smith was born in Orange, Texas. He would go on to play for Michigan State, the Baltimore Colts, the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Oilers.

Feb. 28, 1946 – Ernie and Dot Lind, aka “The Shooting Linds,” performed a “spectacular exhibition of fancy shooting” in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 28, 1947 – Major League Baseball shortstop and second baseman Marty Perez was born in Visalia, Calif. He would go on to play for the California Angels, the Atlanta Braves, the San Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics.

Feb. 28, 1952 – The Evergreen Courant reported that PFC William Howard Peacock of Route One, Owasssa, Ala., was preparing to return to Fort Campbell, Ky. from Camp Drum, N.Y. after several weeks of extensive cold weather warfare training in Exercise Snow Fall in northern New York state. Peacock was a member of the 11th Airborne Division and a gunner with the 188th Airborne Regiment’s Support Command. He attended Evergreen High School, entered the Army in 1949 and completed Parachutist School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Feb. 28, 1953 – NFL running back Roland Harper was born in Seguin, Texas. He would go on to play for Louisiana Tech and the Chicago Bears.

Feb. 28, 1953 - In a Cambridge University laboratory, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

Feb. 28, 1964 - A television version of Alabama author Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was broadcast as part of the series “The Twilight Zone.

Feb. 28, 1988, a television version of Alabama author Borden Deal's book “Bluegrass” was broadcast.

Feb. 28, 1991 – The first Gulf War ended as U.S. President George H.W. Bush declared a cease-fire, and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein pledged to honor future United Nations peace terms.

Feb. 28, 1993 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group's leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians died in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

Feb. 28, 2002 - It was announced that John Madden would be replacing Dennis Miller on "Monday Night Football." Madden signed a four-year $20 million deal with ABC Sports.

Feb. 28, 2008 – The Barnes Cemetery in Butler County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.

Feb. 28, 2014 – Country music singer-songwriter Hank Locklin of Brewton, Ala. was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
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Feb. 28, 1953 - In a Cambridge University laboratory, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

Feb. 28, 1964 - A television version of Alabama author Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was broadcast as part of the series “The Twilight Zone.

Feb. 28, 1988, a television version of Alabama author Borden Deal's book “Bluegrass” was broadcast.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Feb. 28, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.00 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 12.85 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 5.90 inches

NOTES: Today is the 59th day of 2015 and the 70th day of Winter. There are 306 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, February 27, 2015

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 98 miles down and 1,701 miles to go

Tom Bombadil

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” earlier this week by logging six more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged three miles on Sunday and three more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 98 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 1,701 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about five percent of the total trip.

In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m still only on the fifth day of his trip. I left off last week at Mile 92, around 4 p.m. on Day 4. Frodo’s group had just entered a “fold” too deep to leave and followed it southeast to Withywindle.

Around Mile 93, Merry finds a path along the bank of the river. Frodo’s group follows it east through a patch of wetlands. Two miles later, around Mile 95, the group stops by Old Man Willow to rest around 5:30 p.m. The group is subsequently rescued by Tom Bombadil around 6 p.m.

Three miles later, the group reaches Tom Bombadil’s house, and they witness the stars come out around 7 p.m. It rains the next day, Day 5, which is Sept. 27 on the Middle Earth calendar, so the group spends the entire day at Tom Bombadil’s house before setting out again on Sept. 28. (My update next week will start at this point.)

For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,799 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.

Those who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,799 miles in a year.

If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, and Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.

In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least 13 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

How many of you remember seeing the legendary, traveling 'Goat Man'?

I finished reading a book during the past week that many of you in the reading audience might find interesting, “America’s Goat Man: Mr. Ches McCartney” by Darryl Patton.

Published by Little River Press in 2003, this 160-page book details the unusual life of Charles “Ches” McCartney, who is better known by his nickname, the “Goat Man.” According to Patton’s book, McCartney became somewhat famous by traveling around rural America between 1936 and 1987 in a rickety wagon pulled by a large team of goats. During that 51-year period, McCartney claimed to have traveled over 100,000 miles and visited 49 of the 50 states as well as parts of Mexico and Canada.

It’s believed that McCartney was born in Keokuk County, Iowa on July 6, 1901, and he grew up on his family’s farm. He ran away at the age of 14 and ended up selling newspapers on the sidewalks of New York City. He eventually married a Spanish knife-thrower, who retired after becoming in the “family way” and returned to Iowa with McCartney.

The Great Depression soon followed and McCartney lost his farm and his wife, who was 10 years older than McCartney. McCartney then got a timber-cutting job with the Works Progress Administration only to have his arm horribly mangled by a falling tree. He nearly died, but during his recovery, he had a life-changing idea.

McCartney, who had always liked goats, decided to build a wagon, hitch it to his herd of goats and begin traveling the country to preach. The rest, as they say, is history. Leaving his old Iowa farm on July 4, 1936, McCartney would spend the next five decades traveling all over the country, preaching, living mostly off goat milk and selling postcards and photographs of himself to the crowds that flocked to see him. During that time, he was featured in countless newspaper articles, and he survived all sorts of unusual adventures, run-ins with the law and near-misses on America’s highways. As things go, McCartney passed away at the age of 97 on Nov. 15, 1998 in a Macon, Ga. nursing home.

While it’s not in the book, McCartney is known to have traveled through Conecuh County on multiple occasions, and many in the reading audience probably remember seeing him once or twice. It’s said that the sight of McCartney was so out of the ordinary that once you laid eyes on him, his ramshackle wagon and team of goats, it was a sight hard to forget.

Here at The Courant office, longtime employee Butch Adams remembers watching from behind the chain link fence at the old City School as the Goat Man rattled his way down Perryman Street sometime in the early 1960s. Down at the Power Pigg radio station, Evergreen City Councilman Luther Upton, who grew up in lower Monroe County, said he remembered seeing the Goat Man once traveling down the highway in front of where Monroe Academy is located now in Monroeville.

In the end, I’d be interested in hearing from those of you in the reading audience who remember seeing the Goat Man during his travels in and around Conecuh County. If you had a personal encounter with the Goat Man, shoot me an e-mail at or write me at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401. I’d like to hear all about it.

Today in History for Feb. 27, 2015

Civil War photographer Mathew Brady.
Feb. 27, 1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, 1,000 Patriots troops under the command of Richard Caswell defeated 1,600 British Loyalist militia at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in North Carolina. It would go down in history as the first American victory in the first organized campaign of the Revolutionary War. The victory aborted British plans to land a force at Brunswick, North Carolina, and ended British authority in the state. Within two months, on April 12, 1776, North Carolina became the first state to vote in favor of independence from Britain.

Feb. 27, 1782 – During the American Revolutionary War, the House of Commons of Great Britain voted against further war in America.

Feb. 27, 1807 – Poet and author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine. His most famous works include “Ballads and Other Poems” (1841), “Evangeline” (1847), “The Song of Hiawatha” (1855) and “The Courtship of Miles Standish” (1858).

Feb. 27, 1827 - The first Mardi Gras in New Orleans took place with a group of masked and costumed students dancing through the streets.

Feb. 27, 1829 – William Barrett Travis passed his law exam at Claiborne, Ala.

Feb. 27, 1834 – Portland, Maine native William Coombs, also known as “The Brokenhearted Stranger,” died at Claiborne, Ala. He was buried in the Old Cemetery at Claiborne. (Some sources say he died in 1838.)

Feb. 27, 1836 - Work continued on the batteries and entrenchments ringing the Alamo, and Santa Anna sent foraging parties to nearby ranches to look for supplies.  

Feb. 27, 1860 – Abraham Lincoln made an anti-slavery speech at the Cooper Union in the city of New York that was largely responsible for his election to the Presidency. About 1,500 people were in attendance and The New York Times reprinted the speech in its entirety.

Feb. 27, 1860 – Just moments before his speech at the Cooper Union, Abraham Lincoln posed for the first of several portraits by noted Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady. Days later, the photograph was published on the cover of Harper's Bazaar with the caption, “Hon. Abram [sic] Lincoln, of Illinois, Republican Candidate for President.”

Feb. 27, 1863 – Confederate Naval Captain Raphael Semmes, the captain of the CSS Alabama, captured the merchant vessel Washington with a cannonball which, Semmes wrote, “wet the people on her poop [deck], by the spray of a shot...” The ship, undamaged, was released on a bond.

Feb. 27, 1864 – During the Civil War, the first Northern prisoners arrived at the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia (Camp Sumter). Nearly a quarter of all inmates died in captivity during the war. Henry Wirz, the commandant of the prison, was executed in the aftermath of the Civil War for the brutality and the mistreatment committed under his command.

Feb. 27, 1886 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black was born in Ashland, Ala.

Feb. 27, 1890 - A 100-round boxing match was fought in San Francisco, and declared to be a draw after 6-1/2 hours.

Feb. 27, 1894 – The Pine Belt News in Brewton, Ala. was established.

Feb. 27, 1902 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, Calif. His most famous works include “Tortilla Flat” (1935), “Of Mice and Men” (1937) and “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939).

Feb. 27, 1908 - Major league baseball adopted a sacrifice fly rule for the first time. It was repealed, reinstated and then changed several times before being permanently accepted in 1954.

Feb. 27, 1912 - The New York Yankees announced that they would be wearing pinstripes on their uniforms.

Feb. 27, 1915 - “The Valley of Fear” by Arthur Conan Doyle was published in novel form.

Feb. 27, 1917 - John Connally, the governor of Texas who was shot during the John F. Kennedy assassination, was born in Floresville, Texas.

Feb. 27, 1919 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Sam Johnson of Flomaton, Ala. and Army Pvt. Henry Crenshaw of Greenville, Ala. “died from disease.”

Feb. 27, 1928 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “All Balled Up” was released.

Feb. 27-28, 1931 – The first district basketball tournament was held in Evergreen, Ala. and included 10 teams. “Fob” James of Enterprise was the official referee.

Feb. 27, 1936 - Alabama author Helen Keller was interviewed on the radio program “The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour.

Feb. 27, 1948 - Alabama author Trudier Harris was born in Mantua, Ala.

Feb. 27, 1951 - The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms.

Feb. 27, 1963 - Mickey Mantle signed a contact worth $100,000 with the New York Yankees.

Feb. 27, 1973 - Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox signed a contract worth $250,000 a year for three years.

Feb. 27, 1976 – NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez was born in Torrance, Calif. He would go on to play for Cal, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons.

Feb. 27, 1978 – Liberty Chapel Church near Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Feb. 27, 1978 – The W.O. Carter Log House near Andalusia, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Feb. 27, 1987 - The NCAA cancelled Southern Methodist University’s entire 1987 football schedule for gross violations of NCAA rules on athletic corruption.

Feb. 27, 1991 – During the Gulf War, U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced on U.S. television that "Kuwait is liberated. Iraq's army is defeated. I am pleased to announce that at midnight tonight, exactly 100 hours since ground operations began and six weeks since the start of Operation Desert Storm, all United States and coalition forces will suspend offensive combat operations."

Feb. 27, 2002 - The Houston Astros announced that they had struck a deal with Enron to buy back the naming rights of their ballpark for $2.1 million. The ballpark would be called "Astros Field" until a new sponsor came along.

Feb. 27, 2003 - Emmitt Smith became a free agent for the first time when the Dallas Cowboys released him.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Feb. 27, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.00 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 12.85 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 5.90 inches

NOTES: Today is the 58th day of 2015 and the 69th day of Winter. There are 307 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, February 26, 2015

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Feb. 26, 2015

FEB. 25, 1982

“Jackets wins area, region championships: The Lyeffion High School Yellow Jackets won the Class A, Region I basketball championship by defeating A.L. Johnson, 72-58, Saturday night in the finals. Lyeffion advanced to the regional finals by defeating Repton High School, 58-57, in overtime Friday night for the Area II championship.
“The area tournament and the region championship game were hosted by Conecuh County High School.
“Donald Lee had 22 points, Michael Grace, 21, and Troy Stallworth, 19, to lead Lyeffion’s attack against Johnson High. Bobby Blount had 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Andrew Maxwell, Ray Salter, George Bradley, Andra Maxwell and Robert Riley contributed greatly to the win.
“The Jackets advanced to the area finals by defeating Conecuh High, 89-65, on Tuesday night of last week and Excel High, 67-48, on Thursday night.
“Lyeffion carried a 24-3 record to the state tournament at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Jackets played Brilliant High School yesterday, and if they won were to play in the semi-finals Friday afternoon at one o’clock in the University’s Memorial Coliseum.”

“Sparta sets grid Jamboree Friday, Mar. 5: Birmingham’s Legion Field proclaims itself ‘Football Capital of the South,’ but it will be temporary competition from Sparta Academy’s Stuart-McGehee Field when the Warriors hold a football jamboree on Friday, March 5. Seven teams will take part with three, 16-minute and six, 12-minute ‘games’ scheduled.”

FEB. 23, 1967

“CCTS Eagles capture AA Championship: The Conecuh County Training School Eagles captured the South Alabama AA Championship for the second consecutive year by downing Beatrice by a score of 98-89 in Atmore Sat., Feb. 18.
“Having received a bye for preliminary play, the Eagles played their first game in the quarterfinals against Thomasville. The defending champions, returning seemingly even stronger this year, ripped Thomasville by a score of 92-62.
“In semifinal play, the Eagles drove past Booker T. Washington of Brewton to the tune of 67-47 to put them out of action in the tournament for keeps.
“The championship game with Beatrice was really a thriller as the Eagles clawed Beatrice for the second year in a row to win the South Alabama AA District Championship.
“A keen defense in which forwards Carey Pat Bradley, Willie Perkins, Richard Nettles, Napoleon White and guards Norton Hurd, Sandy McMillion and Stanley Blair contained Beatrice’s dead-eye gunner, Longmire, to 39 points.
“The combination of playmaker center Johnny Atkins and ball hawk supreme Louis Meeks poured in 50 points. To finally capture this game, Meeks along fired away 34 points, thus ending Beatrice’s desperate attempt to stay in this ball game.
“This Eagle triumph put Coach James ‘Buddy’ Stallworth’s team into a playoff on Feb. 22 in Bay Minette, with South Alabama AAA division winner, Mobile County Training School for a showdown which leads to the state tournament.”

“Richard Cole, star lineman for the University of Alabama, will be the featured speaker at the annual Sweetheart Banquet of the Evergreen Baptist Church tomorrow night. Cole, a leader in the Christian Athletes Fellowship, played defensive tackle for the Tide and was a key man in the all-winning 1966 season. During his career at the University, the Crimson Tide piled up a record of 30 wins, two losses and one tie and won three consecutive Southeastern Conference Championships.”

“Blue Devils win, Repton is upset in Area I meet: The top-seeded Conecuh County High School Blue Devils of Castleberry advanced into the semifinals of the Area I Basketball Tournament, winning easily over Frisco City, 62-44, Tuesday night. The meet is being held in the Coliseum at Monroeville.
“Excel pulled an upset in edging third-seeded Repton High’s Bulldogs, 51-45, in the other game Tuesday night.
“Last night, second-seeded Lyeffion High Yellow Jackets were to play Coffeeville while Beatrice faced fourth-seeded Fruitdale.
“Tonight at 6:30, Castleberry will face the Beatrice-Fruitdale winner in the opening semifinal contest. Excel meets the Lyeffion-Coffeeville winner in the nightcap at eight o’clock. Consolation finals will be at 6:30 tomorrow night with the championship game set at eight o’clock.”

“Coach Cliff Little’s Evergreen High Aggies will play Georgiana in the opening game of the Region 1, Area 2 basketball tournament in Flomaton Wednesday night at seven o’clock. Monroeville will meet T.R. Miller in the nightcap at 8:00.
“Uriah was seeded No. 1 and drew a bye. Flomaton was seeded No. 2 and also drew a bye. The Evergreen-Georgiana winner will meet Uriah next Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Monroeville-Miller winner will meet Flomaton at 8:30. Friday night, March 3, the consolation game will begin at 7 and the championship at 8:30.
“Evergreen was seeded third and Monroeville fourth in the tournament.”

FEB. 28, 1952

“Aggies Blitz Lyeffion For 62 To 22 Victory: The Evergreen High Aggies had their best night of the season here last Thursday as they swamped Lyeffion’s Yellow Jackets, 62 to 22.
“Shirley Frazier and Gwyn Daniels shared the scoring honors with 19 points each. William Stewart had seven; Pace Bozeman and Wayne (Dog) Douglas, six each; Gillis Morgan, four; and Sammy Robison, one.
“David Eddins got 10 points to lead Lyeffion. Booker had six; Frank Burt, four; and Hilton Dees, two.”

“Win Hungry Aggies Win 3 In One Night From Greenville 5’s: Coach Wendell Hart’s victory-starved Evergreen High School cagers had a feast of victories Tuesday night in Memorial Gym, defeating Greenville’s Junior, ‘B’ and Varsity teams. The Aggie varsity wrapped up its fourth win in the last six starts by closing fast to win a 51-43 verdict from the Tigers.
“Shirley Frazier paced the Aggie scorers with 21 points. Pace Bozeman led the team on rebounds, played a good floor game and scored 12 points in one of his top performances. Gillis Morgan swished in eight points, Gwyn Daniels and Ward Alexander Jr., two each.
“Diamond topped the Greenville players with 12 points. Terrel had 10; Rainey, nine; Coker and Stabler, five each; and Riley, two.
“In the preliminary attractions, the Aggie Bees won, 35-20, and the Juniors by 34-18.”

FEB. 25, 1937

“The Evergreen Bulldogs triumphed over the Brewton quintet with a score of 34 to 17 last Wednesday in the local gymnasium. The boys and girls basketball teams will journey to Lyeffion for a contest with the Lyeffion basketball teams this Thursday.”

FEB. 22, 1922

“LENOX NEWS: Coleman School of near Jones Mill played the Lenox girls a game of basketball Friday afternoon last, the score being 2 to 0 in favor of Lenox. After the games, the Domestic Science girls served refreshments to the ball players.
“After the basketball game, the school boys played the out of school boys and old men a game of baseball, the score being 2 to 1 in favor of the school boys.”

“Andrew Mason and Leon Riley brought in another large wild cat Monday morning. They chased the animal a couple of hours and finally one of the party killed it. Cats are reported numerous in nearby swamps.”

What's the difference between the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues?

Every once in a blue moon, someone in the reading audience will e-mail me a good sports-related question, and one such question arrived in my e-mail inbox last Thursday, courtesy of Dwight from Evergreen.

Dwight wrote - “Lee, I read in the Montgomery paper a few days ago that Major League Baseball teams will begin spring training soon and that Grapefruit and Cactus League play will begin on March 3. What the heck’s the difference between the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues?”

Dwight, I guess the best way to sum this up is by saying that all 30 Major League Baseball teams either play their spring training exhibition games in either Arizona or Florida. Those who play in Florida are said to play in the “Grapefruit” League, and those who play in Arizona play in the “Cactus” League.

Teams currently playing in the Grapefruit League include the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros, the Miami Marlins, the Minnesota Twins, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals.

Teams in the Cactus League include the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Colorado Rockies, the Kansas City Royals, the Los Angeles Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.

Spring training in Florida dates back to 1913, and while the vast majority of spring training games have been played in Florida over the years, some teams have held them in a wide variety of other places, including Havana, Cuba; Hot Springs, Ark.; Tulsa, Okla. and New Orleans. Spring training in Arizona traces its roots to the late 1940s when the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants began pre-season practices in Tucson.

The Atlanta Braves play their “home” spring training games at Champion Stadium, a 9,500-seat stadium at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. When the Braves aren’t there, the stadium serves as the home of the Gulf Coast Braves of the Gulf Coast League and as the home of the Double-A Orlando Rays, who compete in the Southern League with the Mobile BayBears and the Montgomery Biscuits.

According to their Web site, the Braves are scheduled to play their first spring training game on Wed., March 4, when they face the Mets at 12:05 p.m. at Champion Stadium. As of Monday afternoon, tickets were still available for the game, and seats behind home plate were less than $50 each. So if anyone wants to take their friendly neighborhood sports reporter to the game, Champion Stadium is only 460 miles from Evergreen, and I’ll volunteer to drive your vehicle there and back.

In the end, if anyone else in the reading audience has a good sport-related question that they’d like me to check on, e-mail it to me at or mail it to me at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401.

Today in History for Feb. 26, 2015

Robert R. Livingston
Feb. 26, 1802 – French author Victor Hugo was born in Besançon. His most famous books include “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1831) and “Les Miserables” (1862).

Feb. 26, 1813 - Robert R. Livingston, a prominent Freemason who was also known as "the Chancellor," passed away at the age of 66 in Clermont, N.Y. and was buried in Tivoli, New York. In 1776, he represented the Provincial Congress of New York at the Continental Congress and helped to draft the Declaration of Independence. He also administered President George Washington's first oath of office, and under President Thomas Jefferson, he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.

Feb. 26, 1836 – At the Alamo, a “norther” or cold front blew in, dropping the temperature and bringing rain. James W. Fannin returned to Goliad after learning that a column of Mexican troops under Col. José Urrea was advancing northward from Matamoros.

Feb. 26, 1846 – Frontiersman and showman William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was born in Le Claire, Iowa.

Feb. 26, 1855 – In an incident attributed to the Bermuda Triangle, the James B. Chester, a three-master, was found by the Marathon, sailing aimlessly without her crew but with her sails set within the Sargasso Sea.

Feb. 26, 1863 - The National Currency Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, creating a national banking system, a Currency Bureau and the office of Comptroller of the Currency. The act's goal was to establish a single currency.

Feb. 26, 1887 – Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander was born in Elba, Nebraska. He would go on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Feb. 26, 1896 - Alabama author William Russell Smith died in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 26, 1919 – President Woodrow Wilson signed an act of the U.S. Congress establishing most of the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Feb. 26, 1929 - Alabama author Idora McClellan Moore died in Talladega, Ala.

Feb. 26, 1929 – President Calvin Coolidge signed an Executive Order establishing the 96,000-acre Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Feb. 26, 1932 – Musician Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Ark.

Feb. 26, 1935 - The New York Yankees released Babe Ruth, who went on to sign with the Boston Braves for $20,000 and a share in the team's profits.

Feb. 26, 1935 – Adolf Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to be re-formed, violating the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.

Feb. 26, 1946 – Finnish observers reported the first of many thousands of sightings of “ghost rockets.”

Feb. 26, 1952 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team, led by Head Coach Wendell Hart, improved to 4-2 on the season by beating Greenville, 51-43, at Memorial Gym in Evergreen, Ala. . Shirley Frazier led Evergreen with 21 points.

Feb. 26, 1952 – State Geologist Dr. Walter B. Jones was the guest speaker at the Evergreen Kiwanis Club meeting held in the Evergreen City School lunchroom.

Feb. 26, 1959 – Searchers found the Dyatlov Expedition’s abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl.

Feb. 26, 1972 – NFL running back Marshall Faulk was born in New Orleans, La. He would go on to play for San Diego State, the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams.

Feb. 26, 1975 – Major League Baseball utility player Mark DeRosa was born in Passaic, N.J. He would go on to play for the Atlanta Braves, the Texas Rangers, the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants, the Washington Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Feb. 26, 1975 - On the Today Show, the first televised kidney transplant took place.

Feb. 26, 1981 - Edgar F. Kaiser Jr. purchased the Denver Broncos from Gerald and Allan Phillips.

Feb. 26, 1985 – The 11th Annual Miss Alpha Pageant at Sparta Academy was held at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s gymnatorium in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 26, 1989 - The New York Yankees announced that Tom Seaver would be their new TV sportscaster.

Feb. 26, 1991 – During the Gulf War, United States Army forces captured the town of Al Busayyah.

Feb. 26, 1991 - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced on Baghdad Radio that Iraqi troops were being withdrawn from Kuwait.

Feb. 26, 1999 – Two locations in Wilcox County were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Those locations included the Dry Fork Plantation at Coy and the Pine Apple Historic District in Pine Apple. The historic district’s boundaries are roughly Wilcox County Roads 59, 7 and 61, Broad Street, Banana Street, AL 10 and Adams Drive. It contains 3,350 acres, 54 buildings, and one structure.

Feb. 26, 2004 – The Alabama Senate received House Joint Resolution No. 100, which proposed making Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey the Alabama State Spirit. The Senate voted to approve it by two to one (14-6) on March 9.

Feb. 26, 2006 - The U.S. Census Bureau's World Population Clock ticked up to 6.5 billion people.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Feb. 26, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 1.00

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.00 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 12.85 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 5.90 inches

NOTES: Today is the 57th day of 2015 and the 68th day of Winter. There are 308 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. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Historical marker tells of 'Siege of Fort Charlotte' in Mobile in 1780

'Revolutionary War at Mobile' historical marker.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “The Revolutionary War At Mobile” marker in Mobile County, Ala. This Sons of the Revolution marker is located near Fort Conde on the corner of South Royal Street and Theatre Street in Mobile, Ala.

This marker was erected by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of Alabama in 1996. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

----- 0 -----

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AT MOBILE, Siege of Ft. Charlotte (Conde) 1780: Spain, America’s ally, declared war on Great Britain in June 1779. Bernardo de Galvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana at New Orleans, led the attack against the British along the lower Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. In February 1780, Galvez laid siege upon the British forces here at Ft. Charlotte (Conde) resulting in its surrender and the capture of the City of Mobile, March 14, 1780. Galvez next captured Pensacola and accepted the British surrender of West Florida, May 9, 1781, thus aiding the American colonists by removing the British threat from the Gulf of Mexico. Erected in 1996 by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of Alabama.”

----- 0 -----

The Siege of Fort Charlotte, which is also known as the Battle of Fort Charlotte, lasted about two weeks, running from Feb. 25 to March 14, 1780. Capt. Elias Dunford was the commander of the British garrison at Fort Charlotte, and he was eventually forced to surrender because he didn’t receive relief he expected from Pensacola. Spanish forces apparently received no casualties in the battle, but the British suffered three killed and eight wounded. The rest of the British garrison, which numbered around 304, surrendered.

Galvez was an interesting guy. Born on July 23, 1746 in Macharaviaya, Kingdom of Granada, Spain, he helped the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Galveston, Texas was later named in his honor and he passed away at the age of 40 on Nov. 30, 1786 in Tacubaya, Kingdom of Mexico, New Spain.

Durnford, who was born on June 13, 1739 in Ringwood, Hampshire, England, is best known for being the man who first surveyed Pensacola and laid out the plan for the town. He was taken prisoner after the Battle of Fort Charlotte, but after the war, he and his family returned on England. He eventually died at the age of 55 from yellow fever on the island of Tobago.

Also, if you visit the historical marker described above, you’ll also see a small plaque that’s been set in a block of cement near the foot of the marker. That plaque says, “Site of Mobile’s First Theater, Erected in 1824 by N.M. Ludlow, Whence Theater Street Derives Its Name, Placed by Historic Mobile Preservation Society, 1938.”

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 Feb. 25, 2015

James W. Fannin
Feb. 25, 1692 – During the events leading up to the Salem witchcraft trials, Mary Sibley, a neighbor of the Samuel Parris family, told John Indian, the husband of Tituba, the recipe to make a "witch cake" of rye meal and the girls' urine to feed to a dog in order to discover who is bewitching the girls, according to English folk "white magic" practices.

Feb. 25, 1779 - The British surrendered Fort Sackville in present-day Indiana, marking the beginning of the end of British domination in America's western frontier.

Feb. 25, 1793 - The department heads of the U.S. government met with U.S. President George Washington for the first Cabinet meeting on U.S. record.

Feb. 25, 1836 – Samuel Colt received U.S. Patent No. 138 (later 9430X) for a "revolving-cylinder pistol,” better known as the “Colt revolver.”

Feb. 25, 1836 - A two-hour engagement occured when Santa Anna’s troops attempted to occupy jacales (picket and thatch huts) located near the southwest corner of the Alamo compound. Members of the garrison ventured out and burned the jacales on this night.  Santa Anna’s soldiers constructed artillery batteries south of the Alamo. James W. Fannin left Goliad with a relief column bound for the Alamo.

Feb. 25, 1862 - The U.S. Congress passed the Legal Tender Act. The act authorized the use of paper notes to pay the government's bills. This ended the policy of using only gold or silver in transactions.

Feb. 25, 1862 – The USS Monitor was commissioned. Designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, the Monitor had an unusually low profile, rising from the water only 18 inches. The flat iron deck had a 20-foot cylindrical turret rising from the middle of the ship; the turret housed two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The ship had a draft of less than 11 feet so it could operate in the shallow harbors and rivers of the South.

Feb. 25, 1864 – Maj. Edmund W. Martin of Sparta, Ala. was wounded by a shell fragment at the Battle of Dalton, Ga.

Feb. 25, 1864 – At the Battle of Dalton, Georgia, Union General George Thomas ceased his attack on Confederate Joseph Johnston's troops. The Union had begun the offensive the prevoius day.

Feb. 25, 1865 – Union Brigadier General James Veatch assumed command of Federal forces on Dauphin Island, Ala.

Feb. 25, 1865 – After getting captured by the Union on Dec. 8, 1863, Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was exchanged at City Point, Va.

Feb. 25, 1865 – Joseph G. Sanders, aka “The Turncoat of Dale County,” was ordered to take 20 men and proceed to the East Pass at Santa Rosa Island, where he was to recruit new soldiers for his regiment, as well as “confiscate” cattle and horses belonging to “Rebel” civilians in nearby Walton and Holmes counties. He was given 14 days to perform this mission, after which he was ordered to return to Pensacola. But instead of obeying this directive, Sanders and his men made their way into the Forks of the Creek Swamp near Campbellton, where they hid out and waited for an opportunity to attack the small town of Newton, which was then the county seat of Dale County. Sanders knew that the courthouse there contained records of his former Confederate service (and those of other men in his unit), and he apparently wished to destroy them.

Feb. 25, 1866 – Miners in Calaveras County, Calif. discovered what is now called the Calaveras Skull, human remains that supposedly indicated that man, mastodons and elephants had co-existed.

Feb. 25, 1900 – Around 4:05 a.m., a northbound “double-header” train loaded with Mardi Gras revelers derailed due to damaged rail switch north of Flomaton, Ala. Fireman Sol Abner was crushed to death during the incident as he tried to jump between the two engines. Engineer Henry Copeland was only slightly injured.

Feb. 25, 1913 - The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized a graduated income tax.

Feb. 25, 1914 – It snowed in Monroeville and Jeddo in Monroe County, Ala.

Feb. 25, 1917 – English novelist Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester, England. He would publish “A Clockwork Orange” in 1962.

Feb. 25, 1919 – During World War I, Army Pvt. John C. Sawyer of Roy (present-day Frisco City, Ala.) “died from disease.”

Feb. 25, 1919 – Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin was born in Haleburg, Ala. in Henry County near Dothan. He grew up in Orange, N.J. and went on to play for the New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs.

Feb. 25, 1930 – In Lovecraftian fiction, all of the inhabitants of Stillwater, Manitoba disappeared and only one body from the town was ever found. The town first appeared in 1933’s “The Thing That Walked on the Wind” by August Derleth.

Feb. 25, 1932 – Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship by naturalization, which allowed him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident.

Feb. 25, 1937 – Evergreen High School’s boys and girls basketball teams played Lyeffion in Lyeffion, Ala.

Feb. 25, 1937 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the fund for erecting a memorial marker over the grave of Philip “Old Phil” Samuel was “progressing rapidly” with contributions coming in from four different states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. The article described Samuel as an “aged Evergreen eccentric.”

Feb. 25, 1939 – Major League Baseball pitcher Denny Lemaster was born in Corona, Calif. He would go on to play for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, the Houston Astros and the Montreal Expos.

Feb. 25, 1940 – Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Ron Santo was born in Seattle, Wash. He would go on to play for the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.

Feb. 25, 1942 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. He would go on to play for the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks.

Feb. 25, 1951 – Major League Baseball center fielder Cesar Cedeno was born in Santo Domingo, Domician Republic. He would go on to play for the Houston Astros, the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Feb. 25, 1957 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that baseball was the only professional sport exempt from antitrust laws.

Feb. 25, 1958 – The Washington Senators traded Mobile, Alabama’s Milt Bolling to the Cleveland Indians for Pete Mesa. It didn't work out, however, as a month later the Indians swapped him with the Detroit Tigers for Pete Wojey and $20,000. He became teammates with his brother, Frank Bolling, a five-year veteran for the Tigers as their starting second baseman.

Feb. 25, 1960 - Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “Toys in the Attic” opened on Broadway.

Feb. 25, 1969 – Army SFC James Kenneth Sutton of Andalusia, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.

Feb. 25, 1985 – Troy State University athletic trainer Marshall Smith was the guest speaker at the Evergreen High School Quarterback Club meeting, which began at 7 p.m. in the Old Armory behind the school. He presented a program on knees, knee injuries and knee braces.

Feb. 25, 1987 – Southern Methodist University's football program became the first college football program to receive the death penalty by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. It was revealed that athletic officials and school administrators had knowledge of a "slush fund" used to make illegal payments to the school's football players as far back as 1981.

Feb. 25, 1989 - Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, fired head coach Tom Landry after a 29-year career.

Feb. 25, 1990 - The television program “Far Below,” teleplay by Alabama author Robert McDowell, was broadcast as part of the “Monsters” series.

Feb. 25, 1991 – During the Gulf War, an Iraqi scud missile hit an American military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killing 28 U.S. Army Reservists from Pennsylvania.

Feb. 25, 1995 - Major league baseball announced that regular season games would be played in Hawaii for the first time.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Feb. 25, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): Trace.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 1.00 inches

Winter to Date Rainfall: 11.85 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 4.90 inches

NOTES: Today is the 56th day of 2015 and the 67th day of Winter. There are 309 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. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Feb. 24, 2015

FEB. 25, 1985

Weather reporter Earl Windham reported .51 inches of rain on Feb. 15 and .54 on Feb. 16. He reported a high of 81 on Feb. 19 and a low of 36 on Feb. 20.

“Tragic fire kills Harper Tuesday night: Tragedy struck Tuesday night when a well-known lifetime resident of Evergreen apparently lost his life when the house in which he lived went up in flames.
“Walter Lee Harper, 56, who was called ‘Buster’ and ‘Red’ by many friends, was the victim of the fire which destroyed the house located some five miles from Evergreen on the Brooklyn Road.
“Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Lambert said that the fire was reported to the Sheriff’s Office about midnight by Buddy Carrier. Lambert said that he was on another call when notified and reached the house, which was then engulfed in flames, at 12:34 a.m.
“The body of Harper was found in the back part of the house. It is assumed that he was trying to get to the back door. The fire is under investigation.
“The Evergreen Fire Department was called at 12:43 a.m. to cool down the fire so that the body could be found and recovered, according to Deputy Lambert.
“Harper attended Evergreen schools. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II, seeing combat duty in the Pacific Theatre.”

“The 11th Annual Miss Alpha Pageant at Sparta Academy will be held Friday night, Feb. 26. The pageant will begin in the school gymnatorium at 7:30 p.m.”

FEB. 23, 1967

“Cope Funeral Home will be forced to cease operating its ambulance service effective March 1, Sam Cope said today. He said that impossibly high costs brought on by coverage under the wage and hour which started Feb. 1 made this move necessary.”

“The Spring Term of Circuit Court will be concluded here the week of March 13 with the trial of criminal cases. Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key will preside. District Attorney Ralph L. Jones of Monroeville and County Solicitor Henry J. Kinzer of Evergreen will prosecute for the state.
“Twelve cases are set for trial on the docket, which runs through Thurs., March 16, according to Circuit Clerk Leon A. Salter.”

“The annual Miss Evergreen Pageant will be held on March 31, it is announced today by the Evergreen Band Boosters. The pageant is the one big money-raising project for the boosters each year with all funds realized being used in support of the Evergreen High Band.”

“The Conecuh County CowBelles and the Cattlemen held their annual banquet meeting on Jan. 31, 1967, at the Evergreen High School lunch room.
“The following CowBelle officers were elected for 1967: Katie Sue Burt, President; Myrtle Robison, vice president; Louise Ptomey, treasurer; Marjorie Stacey, secretary.”

FEB. 28, 1952

“FINISHES TRAINING COURSE: Camp Drum, N.Y. – Pfc. William H. Peacock, Rt. 1, Owassa, Ala., is preparing to return to Fort Campbell, Ky. after several weeks of extensive training in cold weather warfare during Exercise Snow Fall in northern New York state.
“He is a member of the 11th Airborne Division, the largest unit to participate in the Army-Air Force winter maneuver.
“In the exercise involving more than 33,000 soldiers and airmen, an aggressor force invading the United States from the St. Lawrence valley was completely repulsed.
“Peacock, a gunner with the 188th Airborne Regiment’s Support Command, completed Parachutist School at Fort Benning.
“Before entering the Army in October 1949, he attended Evergreen High School.”

“The Evergreen Kiwanis Club enjoyed one of its most interesting programs of the year Tuesday night when State Geologist Dr. Walter B. Jones was guest speaker. Kiwanis President Chesley Robinson presided over the meeting at the Evergreen City School Lunchroom and introduced the speaker.
“Dr. Jones made a frankly optimistic talk on the recent oil discovery near Pollard and its effect on this county. He warned the Kiwanians not to become too optimistic, however, as only about one well out of a hundred is a producer.
“Dr. Jones said that there is no longer any doubt that there is oil in this section. In his opinion, there will be a lot of drilling activity in this county in the very near future.”

FEB. 25, 1937

“Herbert Recovering From Crash Injuries: Bolling Herbert, popular carrier of the mail on Evergreen Route One, is rapidly recovering from minor injuries, suffered when his automobile crashed into the home of Maury Thames on Cary Street Monday morning. The crash occurred when ‘Bo’ lost control of his machine, and it was at first feared that he was seriously injured. Severely shaken up and multitudinous bruises, however, were the extent of the injuries.”

“Fund Is Growing For ‘Old Phil’ Memorial: Plans for erecting a memorial marker over the grave of ‘Old Phil’ – Philip Samuel, the aged Evergreen eccentric whose death occurred recently, are progressing rapidly, according to Cal N. Stallworth, who announces receipt of contributions from four different states, as well as local subscriptions.
“A suggestion has been advanced in connection with the marker that a photograph of Phil emblazoned on porcelain, be imbedded in the stone gravemarker, which will also bear a suitable epitaph.
“Among the contributions received was one from Dr. Perry Crumpton Walker (‘Crump’ to those who knew him as a boy in Evergreen) who is now pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hopkinsville, Ky., serving his thirteenth year there.
“Also contributing by check from afar were Dr. Sam Long of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Liston Cunningham of Tupelo, Miss.; and Leon Wiggins of New Orleans, all of who recalled human interest incidents in connection with the old darkey.
“Those who wish to contribute to the fund may do so by turning their subscriptions over to Cal Stallworth, George Farnham, Mack Binion, J.H. Dey, or any other local businessman.”

FEB. 22, 1922

“Mark L. McClammy, age about 80, prominent citizen and Confederate veteran, passed away on Sunday at his home in the northern part of the county.”

“S.A. Lowrey, former citizen of this county, died at his home near Bay Minette on Saturday last, aged 72 years. The remains were brought here on Sunday morning and conveyed to Puryearville church near Burnt Corn for interment.
“Deceased was for many years a prominent citizen of this county. He devoted the best years of his life to teaching school. He also served as superintendent of education for several years.”

“Senior Boys Minstrel: On the night of Feb. 24 at eight o’clock the Senior boys at S.S.A.S. will present a minstrel. There will be two hours good, clean fun and will be well worth your time. Admission 25 cents and 50 cents.”

“Prof. W.R. Bennett furnished the school (at Lenox) with a supply of privet hedge, which was appreciated very much. Prof. Williams, Vocational Agriculture teacher, and his class of boys have very carefully set these around the plots by the fence, and up the walk, which has helped the looks of the grounds very much.”

Today in History for Feb. 24, 2015

Union General George Thomas
Feb. 24, 1786 – Folklorist Wilhelm Grimm was born in Hanau, Hesse-Kassel.

Feb. 24, 1803 – In “Marbury v. Madison,” the Supreme Court of the United States established the principle of judicial review.

Feb. 24, 1831 – The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, was proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.

Feb. 24, 1836 – William Barrett Travis assumed overall command of the Alamo after Jim Bowie became too ill to serve as co-commander. Santa Anna ordered an artillery battery constructed on the west side of the river. Travis sent out his famous “Victory or Death” letter that began with the words “To the People of Texas & all Americans in the World” and dispatched couriers to San Felipe and Goliad for assistance.

Feb. 24, 1862 – Col. Pinckney D. Bowles married Alice Irene, daughter of Judge H.F. and Anna C. Stearns, at Sparta.

Feb. 24, 1863 – Arizona was organized as a United States territory.

Feb. 24, 1864 - The Battle of Dalton, Georgia began. Union General George Thomas attacked Confederate Joseph Johnston's troops near Dalton, Georgia. The Union ceased the offensive the next day.

Feb. 24, 1868 - First U.S. parade with floats held during Mardi Gras in Mobile Alabama.

Feb. 24, 1868 – Andrew Johnson became the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives due to his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. He was later acquitted in the Senate.

Feb. 24, 1872 – The Town of Pine Apple in Wilcox County, Ala. was officially incorporated.

Feb. 24, 1874 – Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner was born in Chartiers, Pa. He would go on to play for the Louisvile Colonels and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would also manage the Pirates in 1917.

Feb. 24, 1905 - Alabama author John Weld was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Feb. 24, 1915 – Alabama Gov. Charles Henderson approved the Monroe County Highway Commission Act and appointed three men to the commission: L.J. Bugg, Monroeville, chairman, two years; Dr. W.G. Hairston, Burnt Corn, four years; and J.U. Blacksher, Uriah, six years.

Feb. 24, 1920 – The Nazi Party was founded.

Feb. 24, 1927 – JFK assassination conspiracy theorist Mark Lane was born.

Feb. 24, 1928 – Major League Baseball third baseman and outfielder Bubba Phillips was born in West Point, Miss. He would go on to play for the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians.

Feb. 24, 1937 – Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig did a screen test for the role of Tarzan, but Johnny Weissmuller eventually got the part.

Feb. 24, 1942 – The “Battle of Los Angeles,” one of the largest documented UFO sightings in history, occurred as eyewitness reported an unknown object or objects over Los Angeles, California. This triggered a massive anti-aircraft artillery barrage, and a photo posted in the LA Times showed nine beams of light converging on an aerial object. The event lasted into the early hours of February 25.

Feb. 24-25, 1943 – Little Eva crash survivor 2nd Lt. Arthur Speltz (co-pilot) died in Australia.

Feb. 24, 1952 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Fred Dean was born in Arcadia, La. He would go on to play for Louisiana Tech, the San Diego Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers.

Feb. 24, 1953 – Major League Baseball pitcher Frank Riccelli was born in Syracuse, N.Y. He would go on to play for the San Francisco Giants and the Houston Astros.

Feb. 24, 1953 – NFL linebacker Greg Westbrooks was born in Chicago, Ill. He would go on to play for Colorado, the New Orleans Saints, the Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams.

Feb. 24, 1953 – Major League Baseball third baseman Mike Sember was born in Hammond, Indiana. He would go on to play his entire career for the Chicago Cubs.

Feb. 24, 1956 – Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman and designated hitter Eddie Murray was born in Los Angeles, Calif. He would go on to play for the Baltimore Orioles, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, the Cleveland Indians and the Anaheim Angels.

Feb. 24, 1967 – Alabama defensive tackle Richard Cole was the featured speaker at the annual Sweetheart Banquet at the Evergreen Baptist Church in Evergreen, Ala. Cole, an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was a key player on Alabama’s 1966 team. During his career at Alabama, the Crimson Tide went 30-2-1 and won three straight SEC titles.

Feb. 24, 1970 – NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia was born in Gilroy, Calif. He would go on to play for San Jose State, the Calgary Stampeders (CFL), the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Oakland Raiders, the Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) and the Houston Texans.

Feb. 24, 1974 – Major League Baseball third baseman Mike Lowell was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He would go on the play for the New York Yankees, the Florida Marlins and the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 24, 1974 – NFL defensive end Simeon Rice was born in Chicago, Ill. He would go on the play for Illinois, the Arizona Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Denver Broncos, the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Sentinels.

Feb. 24, 1982 – Lyeffion High School played Brilliant in the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A state tournament at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Lyeffion entered the tourney as the 1A Area II and 1A Region I champs and with a 24-3 overall record.

Feb. 24, 1992 - Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were married in Hawaii.

Feb. 24, 1995 – The Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute and the Tait-Ervin House, both in Wilcox County, were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Feb. 24, 2000 – Four locations in Clarke County, Ala. were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Those locations included the Airmount Grave Shelter, also known as the Hope Family Grave Shelter, located in Airmount Cemetery near Thomasville; the Doit W. McClellan Lustron House and the J.P. McKee Lustron House, both in Jackson; and the Isaac Nettles Gravestones in the Mount Nebo Baptist Church Cemetery near Carlton.

Feb. 24, 2013 – The Frisco City United Methodist Church was devastated by fellowship hall fire.