|William Sooy Smith|
Feb. 20, 1726 – American Revolutionary soldier William Prescott was born in Groton, Province of Massachusetts Bay. He is best known for quote, "Don't fire until you see the white's of their eyes."
Feb. 20, 1792 – The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, was signed by United States President George Washington.
Feb. 20, 1835 - Young Mobile, Ala. printer Charles R.S. Boyington (of Boyington Oak fame) was hanged for the murder of Nathaniel Frost.
Feb. 20, 1836 – Edmund P. Gaines, who arrested former Vice President Aaron Burr near Fort Stoddert, Ala. in 1807, and his men were the first U.S. soldiers to revisit the scene of the Dade Massacre in Central Florida, where they identified and interred the bodies.
Feb. 20, 1861 - The Confederate Legislature, meeting in Montgomery, Ala., established the Confederate Department of the Navy.
Feb. 20, 1862 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son, Willie, died from typhoid fever. The probable cause was polluted drinking water in the White House.
Feb. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Olustee, the largest battle fought in Florida during the war, occurred in Baker County, Fla. During the battle, Confederate forces under General Joseph Finegan defeated an army led by Union General Truman Seymour, allowing the Confederates to keep control of Florida for the rest of the war.
Feb. 20, 1864 - Union General William T. Sherman left Meridian, Miss. and headed for Vicksburg. He had waited five days for Union General William Sooy Smith to arrive. Smith never reached Meridian after being defeated by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and forced to return to Memphis.
Feb. 20, 1865 - Union General William T. Sherman's army left Columbia, S.C. Soldiers under Sherman had begun ransacking the city three days earlier.
Feb. 20, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Tuscumbia, Ala.
Feb. 20, 1878 - The West Alabamian newspaper reported that windows were being installed in the Pickens County Courthouse on this date. These windows were the windows in the main courtroom, which were the first windows installed due to a court session due to take place in the middle of March. The garret windows, including the one with the ghostly face, were supposedly not installed until weeks after Wells’ death.
Feb. 20, 1887 - The first minor league baseball association was organized in Pittsburgh.
Feb. 20, 1910 – Little League Baseball founder Carl Stotz was born in Williamsport, Pa.
Feb. 20, 1915 – Evergreen’s boys basketball team beat Effie, 21-18, at Effie. Effie’s girls beat Evergreen, 16-15.
Feb. 20, 1915 - “Miss Topsy Turvy” or the “Courtship of the Deacon,” a comedy in three acts was presented at the high school auditorium by the Excel Dramatic Club in Excel, Ala.
Feb. 20, 1926 – Horror writer Richard Matheson was born in Allendale, N.J. He wrote for television shows, including “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek,” and he wrote more than 20 novels and 100 short stories. His most famous books include “I Am Legend” (1954), “The Shrinking Man” (1956), later retitled “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” and “What Dreams May Come” (1978).
Feb. 20, 1928 – Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Face was born in Stephentown, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Detroit Tigers and the Montreal Expos.
Feb. 20, 1929 - The Boston Red Sox announced that they would begin playing games on Sundays.
Feb. 20, 1934 - The Utopian Society in Los Angeles started a chain-letter campaign proclaiming that "profit is the root of all evil."
Feb. 20, 1936 – Maryland native and former slave Flora Stallworth dies at Nichburg in Conecuh County, Ala.
Feb. 20, 1939 - A radio version of Alabama author William March's story "Nine Prisoners" was broadcast as part of “The Columbia Workshop” series.
Feb. 20, 1941 – Major League Baseball pitcher Clyde Wright was born in Jefferson City, Tenn. He would go on to play for the California Angels, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Texas Rangers.
Feb. 20, 1944 – 100 Nazi POWs arrived in Greenville, Ala. by special train, guarded by 25 U.S. soldiers and military police. They were transported to Camp Greenville, four miles north of the city, where they were to be quartered while working at the Greenville and Chapman plants of W.T. Smith Lumber Co. They were mostly young men around 20 years of age.
Feb. 20, 1952 - The movie “The African Queen,” screenplay by Alabama author James Agee, was released.
Feb. 20, 1962 - John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the globe three times at more than 17,000 mph.
Feb. 20, 1963 – College and NBA basketball legend Charles Barkley was born in Leeds, Ala. He would go on to play for Auburn University, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pheonix Suns and the Houston Rockets.
Feb. 20, 1967 – Music legend Kurt Cobain was born in Aberdeen, Wash.
Feb. 20, 1967 – In the Area I basketball tournament at the Coliseum in Monroeville, Ala., second-seeded Lyeffion played Coffeeville, and Beatrice played fourth-seeded Fruitdale.
Feb. 20, 1982 – Lyeffion High School won the Class A, Region I basketball championship by beating A.L. Johnson, 72-58, at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, earning a berth in the state tournament with a 24-3 overall record. Donald Lee led Lyeffion with 22 points, and Michael Grace had 21 points.
Feb. 20, 1987 - A bomb exploded in a computer store in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the blast was blamed on the Unabomber.
Feb. 20, 1993 - The Florida Marlins opened their first spring training camp.
Feb. 20, 1994 - Alabama author and Poet Laureate Carl Patrick Morton dies in Helena, Ala.
Feb. 20, 1997 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants signed a contract worth $22.9 million over two years.
Feb. 20, 2000 - Garth Brooks began training with the New York Mets.
Feb. 20, 2002 - ESPN and the Liberty Bowl signed a contract that extended through 2008.
Feb. 20, 2004 - Alabama author Babs H. Deal died in Montgomery, Ala.
Feb. 20, 2005 – Hunter S. Thompson died at his home in Woody Creek, Colo. of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 76 years old.