|Union General Nathaniel Banks|
April 8, 6 BC - Gautama Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha in India, in the sixth century B.C.E., and his parents were told by mystics that he would grow up to be either a great political leader or a supremely enlightened teacher.
April 8, 1513 - Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain.
April 8, 1732 – Astronomer, mathematician and surveyor David Rittenhouse was born near Germantown, Pa. During the Revolutionary War, Rittenhouse worked as a weapons engineer, improving designs for cannons and rifles. George Washington named him first director of the United States Mint in 1792. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson held Rittenhouse in high regard, and Philadelphia’s Southwest Square was renamed “Rittenhouse Square” in his honor in 1825.
April 8, 1778 - John Adams arrived in Paris to replace Silas Deane as a member of the American commission representing United States interests.
April 8, 1789 - The U.S. House of Representatives held its first meeting.
April 8, 1818 – General Andrew Jackson ordered his men to hang Francis the Prophet and Micco Homollimico, Creek Indians who had been captured a few days earlier.
April 8, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette was accompanied by Alabama Governor Pickens by steamboat down Mobile Bay to Mobile Point, where he joined an official welcoming party from Louisiana. He boarded the original steamer Natchez (built in 1823) which took him to New Orleans to continue his tour of America.
April 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, federal reinforcements for Fort Pickens, Fla. sailed from New York Harbor, N.Y.
April 8, 1864 - The U.S. Senate passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 38 to 6.
April 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Paint Rock Bridge, Ala.
April 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Mansfield, Union forces were thwarted by the Confederate army at Mansfield, Louisiana. During the battle, Confederate General Richard Taylor attacked and routed troops under Union General Nathaniel Banks. The Union troops held off attacks the next day.
April 8, 1865 – Union Gen. E.R.S. Canby secured Spanish Fort and immediately began to shift his men northward for three miles to join Union Major General Frederick Steele at Fort Blakeley.
April 8, 1865 - U.S. President Lincoln headed back to Washington, D.C. He had been in Richmond since April 4. While there, Lincoln had visited the Confederate White House and the chambers of the Confederate Congress.
April 8, 1904 – British mystic and occultist Aleister Crowley transcribed the first chapter of “The Book of the Law,” which he said was authored by a being called Aiwass.
April 8, 1911 - An explosion at Jefferson County’s Banner Mine killed 129 miners. Most of the miners were prisoners leased to Pratt Consolidated Coal Company under the state’s notorious convict lease system. While many southern states leased convicts, Alabama’s program lasted the longest, from 1846 to 1928. In 1883 at least 10 percent of state revenue was derived from the convict lease program.
April 8, 1911 - Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity.
April 8, 1912 – The plant of the Evergreen Manufacturing Co., owned by W.K. Horton, was totally destroyed by fire in a blaze that began a little before 8 p.m.
April 8, 1913 – The 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution, requiring direct election of Senators, became law.
April 8, 1914 - State Superintendent of Education W.F. Feagin spoke at an educational rally in Castleberry, Ala.
April 8, 1918 – William Jennings Bryan, famed orator, congressman and three-time Democratic Presidential nominee, spoke at the Old Monroe County Courthouse in favor of national prohibition.
April 8, 1920 – Dr. James Thomas Searcy passed away in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at the age of 80 and was buried in Tuscaloosa’s Evergreen Cemetery. He served as the first superintendent of the Mount Vernon Hospital, which was renamed Searcy Hospital in his honor in 1919.
April 8, 1927 – Major League Baseball left fielder Charlie‘Smokey’ Maxwell was born in Lawton, Michigan. He went on to play for the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox.
April 8, 1927 - Horace Devaughn, a black man convicted of double murder in Jefferson County, was executed at Kilby Prison, marking Alabama's first use of the electric chair. Two weeks later, Virgil Murphy, a veteran of World War I who was convicted in Houston County of murdering his wife, became the first white man electrocuted in the chair. Before the state's use of the electric chair, executions generally were carried out in the counties by hanging.
April 8, 1935 – The Works Progress Administration was formed when the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 became law.
April 8, 1943 – Major League Baseball pitcher John Hiller was born in Toronto, Ontario. He went on to play his entire career for the Detroit Tigers.
April 8, 1946 – Pro Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter was born in Hertford, N.C. He would go on to play for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
April 8, 1947 - Estimated at seven billion square miles, the largest sunspot group was observed on the sun's southern hemisphere.
April 8, 1954 – Pro Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter was born in Culver City, Calif. He would go on to play for the Montreal Expos, the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
April 8, 1955 – Novelist Barbara Kingsolver was born in Annapolis, Maryland.
April 8, 1963 – Gregory Peck received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the 35th Academy Awards in Santa Monica, Calif.
April 8, 1974 – At Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Mobile native Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run off Cincinnati’s Jack Billingham to break Babe Ruth's longstanding record. Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs.
April 8, 1975 – Frank Robinson managed the Cleveland Indians in his first game as major league baseball's first African American manager.
April 8, 1986 – Will Clark made his Major League Baseball debut, taking the field for the first time with the San Francisco Giants. Clark debuted with a home run off future Hall of Fame member Nolan Ryan.
April 8, 1987 – Los Angeles Dodgers executive Al Campanis resigned amid controversy over racially charged remarks he had made while on Nightline. While on ABC's "Nightline" Campanis said that blacks "may not have some of the necessities" to hold managerial jobs in major-league baseball.
April 8, 1989 – Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, made his Major League debut, taking the field for the first time with the California Angels.
April 8, 1990 - The first episode of "Twin Peaks" aired on ABC-TV.
April 8, 1991 - Oakland A's stadium became the first outdoor arena to ban smoking.
April 8, 1994 - Kurt Cobain of Nirvana was found dead at the age of 27. He had committed suicide three days before.
April 8, 1994 - The RIAA announced that Pink Floyd's 1973 album "Dark Side of the Moon" had become the fourth biggest-selling album in U.S. history. It had passed the 13 million mark in sales.
April 8, 1996 - Alabama author Rick Bragg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his stories about contemporary America.
April 8, 1998 - The widow of Martin Luther King Jr. presented new evidence in an appeal for new federal investigation of the assassination of her husband.
April 8, 2004 – The Clerk of the House certified the actions of the Alabama Legislature and House Resolution No. 100 was assigned Act. No. 2004-97, which declared Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey as Alabama’s Official State Spirit.
April 8, 2008 - The Mets lost their last home opener at Shea Stadium to Philadelphia Phillies.