Saturday, April 4, 2015

Today in History for April 4, 2015

April 4, 1581 – Francis Drake was knighted for completing a circumnavigation of the world.

April 4, 1776 - General George Washington began marching his unpaid soldiers from their headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. They headed toward New York in anticipation of a British invasion.

April 4, 1796 – Georges Cuvier delivered his first paleontological lecture at École Centrale du Pantheon of the National Museum of Natural History on living and fossil remains of elephants and related species, founding the science of Paleontology.

April 4, 1812 - The territory of Orleans became the 18th U.S. state and would become known as Louisiana.

April 4, 1818 – The United States Congress adopted the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (then 20). It was agreed that a new star would be added for the each new state.

April 4–6, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette's party boarded two boats, the Balize and the Henderson, and made its way over the Alabama River through Selma, Ala., through the ill-fated, newly platted capital city of Cahaba and then met with members of the French Vine and Olive refugee colony (from near present day Demopolis). The Party made a brief stop in Claiborne on April 6.

April 4, 1826 – Young M. Rabb was born at Old Town in Conecuh County, Ala. He would go on to become an Evergreen Baptist Church deacon, planter, businessman, county commissioner, timber man and author of “The Early History of What is Known as the Evergreen Beat.”

April 4, 1840 – The dispensation (organizational meeting) for Greening Lodge No. 53 was held and would lead to the lodge’s charter being granted on Dec. 9, 1841.

April 4, 1841 – William Henry Harrison, 68, died of pneumonia becoming the first President of the United States to die in office and with the shortest term served. Vice President John Tyler became President upon Harrison's death. Harrison had been sworn in only a month before he died in Washington, D.C.

April 4, 1850 – El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula, better known today as Los Angeles, was incorporated as a city.

April 4, 1859 - Daniel Emmett and Bryant’s Minstrels introduced the song "I Wish I was in Dixie’s Land,” which is also known as “Dixie,” in the finale of a show in New York City. About two years later the song became the Civil War song of the Confederacy.

April 4, 1862 - In the U.S., the Battle of Yorktown began as Union General George B. McClellan closed in on Richmond, Va.

April 4, 1865 - According to the recollection of one of his friends, Ward Hill Lamon, President Abraham Lincoln dreamed on this night in 1865 of “the subdued sobs of mourners” and a corpse lying on a catafalque in the White House East Room. In the dream, Lincoln asked a soldier standing guard “Who is dead in the White House?” to which the soldier replied, “the President.he was killed by an assassin.” Lincoln woke up at that point. On April 11, he told Lamon that the dream had “strangely annoyed” him ever since. Ten days after having the dream, Lincoln was shot dead by an assassin while attending the theater.

April 4, 1865 – Union troops occupied Tuscaloosa, Ala. and raided the University of Alabama campus.

April 4, 1865 – During the Civil War, a day after Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln visited the Confederate capital. During a stop at the Confederate White House, he sat for a few moments at the desk of Jefferson Davis.

April 4, 1875 – German explorer and geographer of Africa Karl Mauch passed away at the age of 37 at Stuttgart in modern-day Germany. He reported on the archaeological ruins of Great Zimbabwe in 1871 during his search for the biblical land of Ophir.

April 4, 1884 – James M. Robertson, who served in Co. E, 4th Ala. Infantry during the Civil War, died. He is buried in Robertson Family Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala.

April 4, 1888 – Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder and manager Tris Speaker was born in Hubbard, Texas. He would go on to play for the Boston Americans/Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics and manage the Indians from 1916 to 1926. He was inducted into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

April 4, 1911 – A big storm, one of the worst in years, struck Evergreen on this night with high winds and over six inches of rain. No damage of any importance was done, except that many farmers reported that their land was badly washed and crops damaged to some extent.

April 4, 1914 – “The Perils of Pauline,” the first known serialized moving picture, opened in New York City.

April 4, 1914 – Writer Marguerite Duras was born in a small village in French Indochina near what is now Saigon, Vietnam. Her most famous works include 1984’s “The Lover.”

April 4, 1915 – Blues legend Muddy Waters was born in Rolling Fork, Miss.

April 4, 1915 – Gerald D. Salter, who was born and raised in Evergreen, Ala., passed away in Montgomery after a brief illness. He was a longtime employee of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

April 4, 1924 – Major League Baseball first baseman Gil Hodges was born in Princeton, Indiana. He would go on to play for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. He later managed the Washington Senators and the Mets.

April 4, 1925 – The Schutzstaffel (SS) was founded in Germany. It grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the largest and most powerful organizations in the Third Reich. The SS, along with the Nazi Party, was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal, and was banned in Germany after 1945.

April 4, 1930 – In Conecuh County, Ala., around noon, Mrs. Will Bolden found the body of her 16-year-old sister-in-law Emma Lizzie Bolden suspended from a rafter by a short piece of rope at the home of her brother, Will Bolden. When found, she wasn’t dead, but lived only about 20 minutes after she was found. Funeral services were held the following day at Mt. Zion and she was buried in that church’s cemetery.

April 4, 1942 – Major League Baseball shortstop and manager Jim Fregosi was born in San Francisco, Calif. He went on to play for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Rangers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would later manage the Angels, the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays.

April 4, 1943 – Major League Baseball first baseman Mike Epstein was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Senators, the Oakland Athletics, the Texas Rangers and the California Angels.

April 4, 1943 – During World War II, 1st Lt. Laula M. Middleton of Evergreen, Ala. was declared missing in action over North Africa while serving with the 310 Bomber Group Allied Air Force. He was declared MIA when the bombing plane of which he was crew member was lost in combat over the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Tunisia. A marker was erected in his memory in the Belleville United Methodist Church Cemetery and Evergreen’s airport was later named Middleton Field in his honor.

April 4, 1945 - Sgt. Harmon Rabren of Evergreen received a citation for “heroic” actions on this night at Wildergovern, Germany when a five-man reconnaissance patrol became lost and failed to return. Rabren, a member of Co. B, 309th Infantry Regiment, volunteered to go out alone and locate the lost patrol despite extreme darkness and heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. He found them after several hours, risking capture by the enemy, and guided them to safety without any losses and with important information about enemy defensive positions and possible crossing sites on the Sieg River.

April 4, 1947 – Major League Baseball catcher Ray Fosse was born in Marion, Ill. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Oakland Athletics, the Seattle Mariners and the Milwaukee Brewers.

April 4, 1947 – NFL guard Ed White was born in La Mesa, Calif. He would go on to play for UC-Berkeley, the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers.

April 4, 1967 – Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" speech in New York City's Riverside Church.

April 4, 1968 – At 6:01 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was assassinated by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was standing on the balcony of his room on the second floor.

April 4, 1970 – Thomas Charles Littles of Brooklyn, Ala., who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head in Vietnam, was transferred to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Montgomery.

April 4, 1971 - Veterans stadium in Philadelphia, Pa. was dedicated.

April 4, 1973 – The World Trade Center in New York was officially dedicated.

April 4, 1974 – Alabama native Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's Major League Baseball home run record with his 714th home run.

April 4, 1975 – Major League Baseball third baseman Scott Rolen was born in Evansville, Ind. He would go on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds.

April 4, 1975 – A high school spring football jamboree was held at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. that included CCHS, Repton High School, Lyeffion High School and McKenzie High School. In the first quarter, McKenzie beat CCHS, 6-0, and Repton beat Lyeffion, 7-6, in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Lyeffion beat CCHS, 14-0, and Repton beat McKenzie, 14-8, in the fourth quarter.

April 4, 1979 – Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported that Evergreen, Ala. received 4.05 inches of rain on this day.

April 4, 1983 – Space Shuttle Challenger made its maiden voyage into space.

April 4, 1984 – The fictional character Winston Smith began his 'Down with Big Brother' diary in George Orwell's famed novel “1984.”

April 4, 1986 - The final episode of "Knight Rider" aired.

April 4, 1990 – Early on this Wednesday morning, William James Furger of Wisconsin and Terry Johnson, aka Terry Smith, of Virginia City, Ala. escaped from the Conecuh County, Ala. Jail. They were captured later that same day on the Old Sparta Road.

April 4, 1994 - Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes of the Chicago Cubs became the first player in the National League to hit three home runs on Opening Day.

April 4, 1998 - Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals became the second National League player to hit a home run in the first four games of a season. Willie Mays of the San Francisco had hit home runs in the first four games of the 1971 season.

April 4, 1999 - The Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres played the first Major League season opener to be held in Mexico. The Rockies beat the Padres 8-2. The game was also the first season opener to be held in a country other than the United States or Canada.

April 4, 1999 – Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn, a native of Hartford, Ala., passed away in Venice, Fla. at the age of 79. During his career, he played for the Washington Senators, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.

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