April 3, 1513 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida after sighting the land on the day before.
April 3, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Sarah Cloyce, after defending her sister, Rebecca Nurse, was accused of witchcraft.
April 3, 1776 - The Continental Congress gave privateers permission to attack any and all British ships.
April 3, 1776 - George Washington received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.
April 3, 1777 - General George Washington wrote to Benedict Arnold and confessed that he had been surprised to not see his name on the list of men promoted to major general.
April 3, 1783 – Author, statesman and short-story writer Washington Irving was born in New York City. His most famous works include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”
April 3, 1798 – American admiral, geographer, and explorer Charles Wilkes was born in New York City. He led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the Civil War. Although credited with several "firsts," including the discovery of Antarctica, his behavior led to two convictions by court-martial.
April 3, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, French general and Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, arrived in Montgomery and was entertained with great fanfare. He was greeted by a crowd of some 3,000 people at Goat Hill, now the site of the capitol building. Gov. Israel Pickens spared no expense for Lafayette's visit to Alabama - which included stops at Cahaba and Mobile - expending more funds than existed in the state treasury.
April 3, 1845 – The First Presbyterian Church of Camden, Ala. was organized by a Commission of Southern Alabama Presbytery to serve the community of Camden in Wilcox County.
April 3, 1846 – British Explorer William Braine British died of lead poisoning at Beechey Island, Nunavut, Canada. A Marine in the Royal Marines, he was part of an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, but he died early in the trip and was buried on Beechey Island. His preserved body was exhumed in 1984 to try to determine the cause of death.
April 3, 1860 – The first successful United States Pony Express run from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, a distance of 1,800 miles, began. The trip across country took about 10 days, but the Pony Express only lasted about a year and a half. The first mail pouch contained 49 letters, five telegrams, and a variety of papers.
April 3, 1862 - Apalachicola, Fla. was occupied by Federal troops.
April 3, 1862 - Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston began an advance on Union troops at Shiloh.
April 3, 1865 - A two-day Federal reconnaissance from Huntsville to Vienna, Ala. began. A skirmish was also fought at Northport, near Tuscaloosa, Ala.
April 3, 1865 – During the Civil War, Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America. Union troops entered and occupied the city and raised the Stars and Stripes.
April 3, 1865 - Petersburg, Va. fell to Union General Grant.
April 3, 1882 - The American outlaw Jesse James was shot in the back and killed by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward. There was later controversy over whether it was actually Jesse James that had been killed.
April 3, 1888 – The first of 11 unsolved brutal murders of women committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London occurred.
April 3, 1894 – Outlaw Wyatt Tate, who murdered constable William Ikner on March 24, shot and killed Monroe County Sheriff J.D. Foster. (See April 3 entry for more details.)
April 3, 1896 – Sidney Stacey born.
April 3, 1916 – San Francisco columnist Herb Caen was born in Sacramento, Calif.
April 3, 1920 – Zelda Sayre married writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Zelda met Scott at a dance in Montgomery in July 1918, barely a month after graduating from Sidney Lanier High School. The couple would come to embody the freedoms and excesses of the 1920s Jazz Age and Zelda became an icon of the "flapper" lifestyle.
April 3, 1926 – Major League Baseball second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and manager Alex Grammas was born in Birmingham, Ala. He would go on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Redlegs and the Chicago Cubs. He would also manage the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.
April 3, 1933 – The first flight over Mount Everest, a British expedition, led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, and funded by Lucy, Lady Houston.
April 3, 1937 – Heavy rains began in Evergreen, Ala. and when they ended around 36 hours later, 8.65 inches had fallen in Evergreen, causing flooded roads, bridges and other damage.
April 3, 1953 – Children’s books writer Sandra Keith Boynton was born in Orange, N.J.
April 3, 1968 - Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in Memphis, Tenn. just 24 hours before he was assassinated.
April 3, 1969 – The Monroe Journal published the Supplemental Issue of its Centennial Edition.
April 3, 1969 - Jim Morrison was arrested by the FBI for interstate flight, which stemmed from obscenity charges after a Miami concert.
April 3, 1974 – On their way to an eventual 3A state baseball title, Monroe County High School beat Jackson, 39-1, in Jackson, Ala. Ronnie Dees was MCHS’s head coach.
April 3, 1974 - The Super Outbreak occurred, the the second largest number of tornadoes in recorded history. In a 24-hour period, 148 twisters were confirmed in 13 U.S. states.
April 3-4, 1974 - During a record outbreak of tornadoes in 12 states and Canada, 86 Alabamians died and 949 were injured. A total of 148 tornadoes caused 315 fatalities, 6,142 injuries, and $600 million in property damage in the United States and Canada.
April 3, 1975 – The Louisville & Nashville Depot in Evergreen, Ala., built in 1907, was placed on National Register of Historic Places. The Wilcox Female Institute in Camden, Ala., built between 1845 and 1850, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
April 3, 1985 - The Major League Baseball Players' Association agreed to a proposal of the team owners to expand the 1985 League Championship Series from the best-of-five games to best-of-seven.
April 3, 1996 - Ted Kaczynski was arrested at his isolated cabin near Lincoln, Montana, where investigators found evidence linking him to the Unabomber crimes. He pled guilty in January 1998 to five Unabomber attacks in exchange for a life sentence without chance for parole.
April 3, 1997 – In what was at the time the largest seizure of cocaine in Alabama history, a routine traffic stop by the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit around 5 p.m. at the northbound rest area on Interstate 65 in Conecuh County netted over 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine in a container in a trailer loaded with 30,000 pounds bananas. Street value was estimated at $24 million.
April 3, 2006 - U.S. President George Bush threw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds opening home game.
April 3, 2007 - Alabama author Thomas Hal Phillips died in Kossuth, Miss.