May 31, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin and Gednew examined Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe and Phillip English. Alden and English later escaped from prison and did not return.
May 31, 1775 – During the American Revolution, the Mecklenburg Resolves were allegedly adopted in the Province of North Carolina.
May 31, 1801 – Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite was founded.
May 31, 1819 – Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, New York.
May 31, 1852 – Argentinian explorer and academic Francisco Moreno was born in Buenos Aires. He was a prominent explorer and academic in Argentina, where he was usually referred to as Perito Moreno (perito means "specialist, expert"). Moreno has been credited as one of the most influential figures in the Argentine incorporation of large parts of Patagonia.
May 31, 1859 - The Philadelphia Athletics were formally organized to play the game of Town Ball.
May 31, 1862 – During the Civil War’s Peninsula Campaign, the Battle of Seven Pines (or Battle of Fair Oaks) occurred as Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G.W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Va. Robert Rose of the Conecuh Guards was killed during this battle, and James H. Thomas of the Conecuh Guards was also wounded.
May 31, 1863 – Pakistani-English captain and explorer Francis Younghusband was born in Murree, British India. He is remembered for his travels in the Far East and Central Asia; especially the 1904 British expedition to Tibet, led by him, and for his writings on Asia and foreign policy. Younghusband held positions including British commissioner to Tibet and President of the Royal Geographical Society.
May 31, 1864 – During the Civil War’s Overland Campaign, the Battle of Cold Harbor began near Mechanicsville, Va. as the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engaged the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade. Nicholas “Nick” Stallworth of Evergreen, who joined the Conecuh Guards at age 15, was wounded here. He became an attorney after the war, state representative, solicitor of 11th Judicial Circuit. 1st Lt. Archibald D. McInnis of the Conecuh Guards was also wounded at Cold Harbor.
May 31, 1879 – Gilmores Garden in New York, New York, was renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and was opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
May 31, 1915 – The second day of Monroe County High School’s four-day fourth-annual commencement exercises continued on this Monday with a concert by the school’s music department at 8 p.m.
May 31, 1921 - Suffy McInnis began an errorless streak of 1,700 chances.
May 31, 1927 - Johnny Neun of the Detroit Tigers made an unassisted triple play.
May 31, 1935 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Miskatonic University’s Peaslee Australian Expedition reached the Great Sandy Desert.
May 31, 1935 – The State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. was scheduled to hold its 43rd annual commencement exercises. Dr. S.J. Hocking of the University of Alabama was scheduled to deliver the baccalaureate address, and the school’s principal, Prof. W.Y. Fleming, was to present seniors with their diplomas.
May 31, 1935 - Alabama author Sara Haardt died in Baltimore, Md.
May 31, 1937 - The Brooklyn Dodgers ended Carl Hubbell's of the New York Giants 24-game winning streak.
May 31, 1941 - The first issue of "Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper" went on sale.
May 31, 1943 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath was born in Beaver Falls, Pa. He went on to play for the University of Alabama, the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
May 31, 1955 – Award winning pilot and engineer Dave McKenzie graduated from Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala.
May 31-June 5, 1956 – In the first game of the season in Evergreen’s Pony League, the Chicks beat the Pelicans, 14-12. The game started on Thurs., May 31, but was called at the end of the third inning due to darkness as the Chicks led, 7-4. The game resumed on Tues., June 5, and the Chicks went on to win. Carl Dyess was the manager of the Chicks, and Moreno White was the manager of the Pelicans.
May 31, 1961 - Jimi Hendrix enlisted in the U.S. Army.
May 31, 1965 – Lyeffion High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Monday night at 8 p.m. in the school auditorium in Lyeffion, Ala. Keith Holcombe was the valedictorian, and Bobbie J. Carter was the salutatorian. Twenty-four seniors were expected to receive diplomas.
May 31, 1968 – Army PFC Jimmy Ray Thomas of Brewton, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
May 31, 1969 – Army PFC Billy Wayne Pettis of Castleberry, 21, was killed in action in Vietnam. Up to that point, he was the fifth Conecuh Countian to lose his life in Vietnam, where he arrived on March 10, 1969.
May 31, 1972 – Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Fla. was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
May 31, 1974 - Alabama naturalist and author Blanche Evans Dean died in Goodwater, Ala.
May 31, 1976 – Irish actor Colin Farrell was born in Baldoyle, Dublin, Ireland.
May 31, 1981 – Major League Baseball starting pitcher Jake Peavy was born in Mobile. So far during his career, he has pitched for the San Diego Padres, the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants.
May 31, 1982 – Italian mountaineer and explorer Carlo Mauri died in Lecco, Italy.
May 31, 1990 - The first episode of "Seinfeld" aired on NBC.
May 31, 1992 - The final episode of "Night Court" aired on NBC.
May 31, 1997 - Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch in a minor league baseball game, when she entered a game in relief for the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. Mike Veeck, son of famous baseball impresario and promoter Bill Veeck, owned the Saints, and signed Borders to garner publicity for his team and the Northern League, an independent minor league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Borders, though, was more than an attraction: She could throw strikes, and she went on to pitch in the Northern League for three years.
May 31, 2003 - In North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph was captured. He had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing.
May 31, 2005 – Vanity Fair revealed that Mark Felt was Deep Throat, the secret source that led to the uncovering of the Watergate scandal. The family of Mark Felt, a former FBI official, revealed that he had been the source for the Washington Post.