May 18, 1652 - Rhode Island passed the first law in English-speaking North America making slavery illegal.
May 18, 1675 – Explorer Jacques Marquette died from the effects of dysentery at the age of 37 near the modern town of Ludington, Mich. Marquette was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
May 18, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Mary Easty was released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she was again arrested. Roger Toothaker was also arrested on charges of witchcraft.
May 18, 1783 - The first United Empire Loyalists arrived in Canada to take refuge under the British.
May 18, 1798 – Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the U.S. Navy, was appointed to office.
May 18, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Georgetown, Ky.
May 18, 1827 – Mark Butler Travis was born at Old Town in Conecuh County, Ala. A veteran of the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, he served as Conecuh County’s Circuit Clerk. He also fought at the Battle of Bull Run.
May 18, 1833 – Edward A. Stacey was born and he enlisted in what would become Co. F of the 36th Alabama Regiment of Volunteers on April 10, 1862. Edward survived the wounds he received at Nashville and Spanish Fort, where he was captured and imprisoned at Ship Island, Miss. He passed away at the age 74 on May 28, 1907 and was buried near his parents at Polar Bridge Cemetery.
May 18, 1858 - Alabama author John Gorman Barr died aboard a ship en route to Melbourne, Australia.
May 18, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward, who later become the United States Secretary of State.
May 18, 1861 - Arkansas was admitted to the Confederacy.
May 18, 1863 – The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss. began as Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounded the city. The Confederates did not surrender until July 4.
May 18, 1896 – The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the "separate but equal" doctrine was constitutional. The ruling was overturned 58 years later with Brown vs. Board of Education.
May 18, 1897 - A public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel “Dracula” was staged in London.
May 18, 1897 - William Joyce of the New York Giants set a record when he hit four triples in one game.
May 18, 1897 - Film producer, director and three-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra was born in Bisacquino, Sicily.
May 18, 1905 – The Monroe Journal announced that the Monroeville Library had been moved to the upstairs of a building on the “east side,” formerly occupied by Messrs. Wiggins, Hybart & Bayles. Lucille Bizzelle and Mary Stallworth were in charge of the library’s management. During the summer, the library was open Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and every Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
May 18, 1907 – The first sermon preached in the Old Salem Church’s second building was conducted this day by Elder J.A. Monsus.
May 18, 1908 – Flomaton, Ala. was officially incorporated.
May 18, 1909 – The Andalusia Star newspaper, which was founded in 1896, absorbed The Andalusia News.
May 18, 1910 – The Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley.
May 18, 1911 – During an argument, Henry Barlow of Evergreen, Ala. shot Martin Sheffield in the right arm and chest, and Sheffield’s wound was so serious that his arm had to be amputated at the shoulder in Montgomery. Barlow surrendered to the Sheriff and was released on bond.
May 18, 1915 – On this Tuesday, the Rev. D.F. Ellisor left Monroeville, Ala. to attend the annual session of the Pythian Grand Lodge in Montgomery as the representative of the local lodge.
May 18, 1917 – During World War I, the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription and resulting in the call up of soldiers to fight in World War I.
May 18, 1933 – As part of the “New Deal,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a Congressional act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. This New Deal program would have a lasting impact on Alabama, especially the northern third of the state. As its focus, TVA constructed hydroelectric dams on the Tennessee River, which, among other benefits, brought electricity to rural areas and attracted industry.
May 18, 1933 - The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was announced. It was to be played on July 6 at Comiskey Park as part of the Chicago World's Fair.
May 18, 1934 - Jimmie Foxx hit the first home run in Comiskey Park.
May 18, 1942 - New York ended night baseball games for the duration of World War II.
May 18, 1946 – National Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Reggie Jackson was born in Wyncote, Pa. He went on to play for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
May 18, 1948 - A movie version of Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play Another “Part of the Forest” was released.
May 18, 1949 – The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America was incorporated
May 18, 1956 - Mickey Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the third time.
May 18, 1956 – The first ascent of Lhotse, 8,516 meters, by a Swiss team.
May 18, 1959 – Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman, a prominent Freemason, was presented with his 50-year Award, the only U.S. President to reach that auspicious anniversary.
May 18, 1961 – Construction was completed of a new gym at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala.
May 18, 1968 – Army SFC Wallace Sylvester Little of Riverview in Escambia County, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
May 18, 1970 – Comedy writer and actress Tina Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pa.
May 18, 1971 – Professional baseball pitcher and Monroe Academy graduate B.J. Wallace was born in Mobile, Ala. He played college baseball at Mississippi State and pitched for the U.S. national team in the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was selected in the first round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft by the Montreal Expos.
May 18, 1974 – Monroe County High School, led by Coach Ronnie Dees, won the Class 3A state baseball title with a 5-0 win over Sheffield. MCHS opened the best-of-three series on May 17 with a 3-2 win over Sheffield. On May 18, MCHS lost its only game of the season, falling to Sheffield, 4-0, before winning the tie-breaker.
May 18, 1980 - Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded in a cataclysm that sent ash 12 miles into the air, and left 57 people dead and caused $3 billion in damages.
May 18, 1986 - A television version of Alabama author Winston Groom's book “As Summers Die” was broadcast.
May 18, 2000 - Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals passed Mickey Mantle on the home run career list. He ended the game with 539.
May 18, 2004 - Forty-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game, leading his team to a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. A “perfect game” is when a pitcher faces a minimum 27 batters, recording 27 outs. Through the 2006 season, only 17 perfect games had been thrown, including 15 in the modern era (post-1900).
May 18, 2006 – The Biggs Cemetery in Monroe County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.
May 18, 2008 – “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was first released in theaters.