Monday, February 23, 2015

Today in History for Feb. 23, 2015

John Quincy Adams
Feb. 23, 1757 – Ephraim Kirby, the first Judge of the Superior Court of the Mississippi Territory, was born in Woodbury, Conn. A Revolutionary War soldier and the first General High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons of the United States, he died of fever and was buried at Fort Stoddert near Mount Vernon, Ala. A marker in his memory can be seen today at the intersection of Old US Highway 43 and Military Road in Mount Vernon.

Feb. 23, 1778 – During the American Revolutionary War, Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and began training soldiers in close-order drill, instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army. Based on his efforts, General George Washington recommended to Congress that von Steuben be assigned inspector general of the Continental Army.

Feb. 23, 1813 - The first U.S. raw cotton-to-cloth mill was founded in Waltham, Mass.

Feb. 23, 1836 - Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his troops arrived at San Antonio and began siege preparations at the Alamo. William B. Travis immediately sent a request to Gonzales for help.

Feb. 23, 1847 – The Mexican-American War Battle of Beuna Vista occurred at Puerto de la Angostura, Coahuila, and American troops under future president General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The community of Beuna Vista in Monroe County was named after this battle because the community’s first postmaster J.W. Perrin fought at the battle.

Feb. 23, 1848 – During the Mexican War, Co. E (McAlpin’s), 1st Battalion of Alabama Volunteers mustered at Mobile, Ala. This unit included 2nd Lt. William R. King of Belleville and Pvt. Mark B. Travis, the younger brother of William Barrett Travis, who died at the Alamo.

Feb. 23, 1848 - The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, passed away at the age of 80 in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 23, 1861 - President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland. Seven states had already seceded from the Union since Lincoln's election.

Feb. 23, 1861 - Texas became the seventh state to secede from the Union.

Feb. 23, 1870 – During the Reconstruction Era, post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ended and it was readmitted to the Union.

Feb. 23, 1883 – Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.

Feb. 23, 1885 - English authorities attempted to hang convicted murderer John Lee. Despite three attempts at execution, the hanging gallows would not work. Bewildered by this turn of events, the court considered the unexplained malfunction to be an "act of God" and spared Lee's life.

Feb. 23, 1904 – Journalist and author William Shirer was born in Chicago, Ill. He is best known for his 1960 book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”

Feb. 23, 1915 – Range, Ala. postmaster Minnie Hart became sick while on duty at the post office and had to be carried to her sister’s house near the post office, where she was confined to bed. James J. Lee ran the post office in her absence.

Feb. 23, 1916 - The U.S. Congress authorized the McKinley Memorial $1 gold coin.

Feb. 23, 1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill by Congress establishing the Federal Radio Commission, which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States. The Federal Radio Commission began assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for radio broadcasters. On July 1, 1934 the name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Feb. 23, 1929 – Major League Baseball catcher and left fielder Elston Howard was born in St. Louis, Mo. He would go on to play for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 23, 1929 – Capt. Thomas Mercer Riley died at his home near Beatrice, Ala. Riley commanded Co. C of the 5th Ala. Regiment, which was noted for the attack on the Federal right flank at Chancellorsville and the stand in Bloody Lane at Antietam. He was buried at Turnbull, where he was likely born.

Feb. 23, 1943 – Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff was born in Erie, Pa. He would go on to play for Florida State and the Oakland Raiders.

Feb. 23, 1945 – During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a commonly forgotten U.S. Navy Corpsman, reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag.

Feb. 23, 1946 – Major League Baseball second baseman Ken Boswell was born in Austin, Texas. He would go on to play for the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

Feb. 23, 1950 – NFL linebacker Jim Youngblood was born in Union, S.C. He would go on to play for Tennessee Tech, the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL defensive end Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones was born in Jackson, Tenn. He would go on to play for Tennessee State and the Dallas Cowboys.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL cornerback and safety Ray Oldham was born in Gallatin, Tenn. He would go on to play for Middle Tennessee State, the Baltimore Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions.

Feb. 23, 1957 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NFL operations did fall within the coverage of antitrust laws.

Feb. 23, 1961 – The annual organizational meeting of the Evergreen Junior Baseball League was held at 7:30 p.m. at the Conecuh County Courthouse. Wendell Hart was president of the league.

Feb. 23, 1963 – Major League Baseball third baseman and right fielder Bobby Bonilla was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles, the Florida Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Feb. 23, 1967 – Cope Funeral Home owner Sam Cope announced that he was being forced to cease operating the funeral home’s ambulance service, effective March 1, 1967. His decision was reached because of the “impossibly high costs brought on by coverage under the wage and hour which started Feb. 1.”

Feb. 23, 1976 – The Buena Vista Post Office in Monroe County, Ala., which opened in 1849, was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Feb. 23, 1978 - The first Writing Today writing conference opened at Birmingham-Southern College.

Feb. 23, 1983 - Herschel Walker signed a $5 million 3-year contract with the USFL's New Jersey Generals.

Feb. 23, 1985 – Walter Lee Harper, a “well-known” 56-year-old Marine Corps World War II Pacific Theatre veteran, was killed in a house fire about five miles from Evergreen, Ala. on the Brooklyn Road. Known as “Buster” and “Red,” Harper’s body was found in the back part of the house, and deputies assumed he was trying to get to the back door. The Evergreen Fire Department was called to the scene at 12:43 a.m.

Feb. 23, 1989 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low temperature of 18 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 23, 1991 – During the Persian Gulf War, ground troops crossed the Saudi Arabian border and entered Iraq, thus beginning the ground phase of the war. Less than four days later the war was over due to the surrender or withdrawal of Iraqi forces.

Feb. 23, 1998 – In “V for Vendetta,” V takes over the NTV Studios in Jordan Towers and commandeers the airwaves. A strike team reclaims the building, but V’s broadcast airs uninterrupted. Peter Creedy, Almond’s replacement at The Finger, is punched by Finch after commenting on Finch’s affair with Deliah Surridge. Finch is reprimanded, and told to go on an extended holiday. By this time, Evey Hammond has become a border at Gordon’s house.

Feb. 23, 1999 - Garth Brooks attended spring training camp with the San Diego Padres as a non-roster player. The Padres Foundation agreed to contribute to the Touch 'Em All Foundation in lieu of a salary to Brooks.

Feb. 23, 2011 – Mark Childress’ seventh novel, “Georgia Bottoms,” was released by Little, Brown & Co. 

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