March 23, 1066 - The 18th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet took place.
March 23, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Salem Marshal Deputy Samuel Brabrook arrested four-year-old Dorothy Good.
March 23, 1699 – Botanist, horticulturist and explorer John Bartram was born in Darby, Pennsylvania Colony.
March 23, 1743 - Handel's "Messiah" was performed in London for the first time at the Covent Garden theatre. It was presented under the name "New Sacred Oratorio" until 1749.
March 23, 1775 – During the American Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry delivered his speech – "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" – at St. John's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia. The speech was delivered to the Second Virginia Convention, a meeting of American colonial leaders, and Henry urged them to ally themselves with besieged Boston. There were 120 delegates at the meeting, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry.
March 23, 1806 – Thomas W. Simpson, an early Conecuh County, Ala. settler and Freemason, was born in South Carolina.
March 23, 1806 – After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their "Corps of Discovery" began their arduous journey home.
March 23, 1814 – Judge John K. Henry was born in Hancock County, Ga. He moved to Alabama in 1819 and was elected Circuit Court Judge in Butler County in 1860. He was elected in 1884 to represent Butler and Conecuh counties in the State Senate.
March 23, 1823 – A mail route from Hartford, Ga. to Sparta, Ala. was established.
March 23, 1835 - Charles Darwin reached Los Arenales in the Andes.
March 23, 1839 - The first recorded printed use of "OK" [oll korrect] occurred in Boston's Morning Post.
March 23, 1857 – Fannie Merritt Farmer was born in Boston, Mass. She’s known for publishing the first cookbook in American history that came with simple, precise cooking instructions.
March 23, 1860 - Husband poisoner Ann Bilansky became the first and only woman hanged by the state of Minnesota on this date.
March 23, 1861 – A flag was presented to the Claiborne Guards at the Masonic Hall in Claiborne, Ala.
March 23, 1862 – The First Battle of Kernstown, Va. marked the start of Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson's Valley Campaign. Though a Confederate defeat, the engagement distracted Federal efforts to capture Richmond.
March 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Dannelly’s Mill, Ala.
March 23, 1865 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln boarded the "River Queen" with his wife and son Tad. The first family was headed to General Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia.
March 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, “Spurling’s Raid” into Conecuh County, Ala. began.
March 23, 1881 – French author Roger Martin du Gard, who won the 1937 Noble Prize in literature, was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
March 23, 1887 - Writer Josef Čapek was born in Hronov in what is now the Czech Republic. He is best known for inventing the word “robot.”
March 23, 1889 - U.S. President Benjamin Harrison opened Oklahoma for white colonization.
March 23, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County Deputy Sheriff B.H. Stallworth arrested a man on charges of carrying concealed weapons and also on the belief that he was one of the men involved in the shooting of Prof. Claude Hardy near Pine Apple.
March 23, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that Miss Callie Faulk had returned home to Monroeville from Bay Minette, where she’d been teaching for several months. Now back in Monroeville, she planned to join her sister, Miss Jennie Faulk, in operating a millinery business.
March 23, 1909 - British Lt. Ernest Shackleton found the magnetic South Pole.
March 23, 1909 – Theodore Roosevelt left New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society.
March 23, 1911 – The Conecuh Record reported that Capt. Lewis has been arrested in connection with the death of his brother, Andrew Lewis, who was shot and killed in Brooklyn that week. Capt. Lewis, who was the only person present at the shooting, claimed it was suicide.
March 23, 1912 - Alabama author Wernher Von Braun was born in Wirsitz, Germany. Von Braun, a rocket scientist, is generally regarded as the father of the United States space program.
March 23, 1913 – California novelist Jack London wrote to six writers, including H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, asking how much they were paid for their writing. London, who grew up in extreme poverty, always claimed that his chief motive for writing was money. He told his colleagues, “I have published 33 books, as well as an ocean of magazine stuff, and yet I have never heard the rates that other writers receive.”
March 23, 1915 – The temperature dropped to 31 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
March 23, 1918 – Reuben F. Kolb (Kolb’s Battery) passed away at the age of 78. He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Ala.
March 23, 1925 – In H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional work, “The Call of Cthulhu,” the surviving crew of the Emma, which had commandeered the “Alert” after the “Emma” was lost in a battle the day before, discovered an island in the vicinity of co-ordinates of—despite there being no charted islands in the area. They had the misfortune to encounter Cthulhu itself. With the exception of Johansen and another man, the remaining crew died on the island, but Johansen was apparently "queerly reticent" about the circumstances of their death.
March 23, 1933 – The German Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
March 23, 1943 - Alabama author Winston Groom was born in Washington, D.C.
March 23, 1943 – Major League Baseball first baseman and designated hitter Lee May was born in Birmingham, Ala. After starring in baseball and football at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, May, who was known as the “Big Bopper,” went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, the Houston Astros, the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals.
March 23, 1955 – Mobile, Alabama’s Milt Bolling had a career-threatening injury when he broke his left elbow in a Spring Training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals after he had already won the starting role at shortstop for the season. He was expected to return after six weeks, but ended up playing in only six games for the entire season. By the time Bolling got a clean bill of health, he had lost his starting job to Don Buddin for the 1956 season.
March 23, 1959 – Catherine Ann Keener was born in Miami, Fla. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for her role as Harper Lee in 2005’s “Capote.”
March 23, 1971 - The Boston Patriots officially announced their name would change to the New England Patriots.
March 23, 1985 – NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew was born in Oakland, Calif. He would go on the play for UCLA, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders.
March 23, 1990 – The Cathcart House in Alberta in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
March 23, 1991 - The London Monarchs beat the Frankfurt Galaxy, 24-11, in the World League of American Football's (WLAF) first game.
March 23, 1992 - Author John Hazard Wildman died in Mobile, Ala.
March 23, 1998 – During a closed, executive session, the Conecuh County Board of Education interviewed three candidates for the vacant Hillcrest High School head football coach position.
March 23, 1998 - The movie "Titanic" won 11 Oscars at the Academy Awards.
March 23, 1999 - Bestselling author Thomas Harris delivered his 600-page manuscript for his new novel, “Hannibal,” to Delacorte press. He had promised the book more than 10 years earlier as part of a two-book contract that paid him a $5.2 million advance. The book was the third novel featuring serial killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter, who first appeared in Harris’ 1981 book “Red Dragon” as a minor character. He played a larger role in “The Silence of the Lambs” (1988), which sold some 10 million copies and was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1991.
March 23, 2001 - Mir, the Russian space station, met its fiery end on this day, as it broke up in the atmosphere before falling into the Pacific Ocean near Fiji.
March 23, 2003 – The Battle of Nasiriyah, the first major conflict during the invasion of Iraq, occurred.
March 23, 2009 – NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver John Stallworth, a native of Alabama, was announced as becoming part-owner of his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, as part of the Rooney family restructuring ownership of the team.
March 23, 2013 – Baseball great Virgil Trucks passed away at the age of 95 in Calera, Ala. At the time of his death, he was one of the oldest living former major league players.