Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today in History for June 30, 2015

Charles J. Guiteau
June 30, 1520 – Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés fought their way out of Tenochtitlan.

June 30, 1685 – Poet and dramatist John Gay was born in Barnstaple, England.

June 30, 1775 - The Continental Congress drafted its rationale for taking up arms against Great Britain in the Articles of War. In the Articles of War, written one year before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Congress referred to “his Majesty’s most faithful subjects in these Colonies” and laid the blame for colonial discontent not on King George III, but on “attempts of the British Ministry, to carry into execution, by force of arms, several unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the British parliaments for laying taxes in America.” By phrasing their discontent this way, Congress attempted to notify the king that American colonists were unhappy with parliamentary policy.

June 30, 1805 – The U.S. Congress organized the Michigan Territory.

June 30, 1817 – English botanist and explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker was born in Halesworth, Suffolk, England. Hooker was one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany, and Charles Darwin's closest friend.

June 30, 1859 – French acrobat Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

June 30, 1860 - A debate on the merits of the theory of evolution took place at Oxford University. It occurred as part of the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Darwin's book “On the Origin of Species” (1859) had just been published seven months earlier, and was hotly contested by scientists and theologians on both sides of the issue.

June 30, 1862 – The Seven Days’ Battles continued at Glendale (White Oak Swamp), Va. as Robert E. Lee had a chance to deal a decisive blow against George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had already won the Seven Days’ Battles, but the Confederates’ attempt to rout McClellan cost many Southern casualties. Lee’s failure at Glendale permitted McClellan’s army to fall back to higher, more defensible locations.

June 30, 1881 – Lobina Knight Mitchell was mistakenly murdered in Cragford, Ala. by Charles J. Waldrop, who was hanged for the crime on July 3, 1881.

June 30, 1882 – Charles J. Guiteau was hanged in Washington, D.C. for the assassination of U.S. President James Garfield.

June 30, 1906 – Prof. L.K. Benson, a graduate of Southern University, was named principal of the Monroeville Institute in Monroeville, Ala. He replaced I.A. Weaver, who took the job as editor of the Lineville Headlight.

June 30, 1908 – The famous Tunguska event explosion occurred in Siberia near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. This meteor (or comet) explosion flattened nearly 770 square miles of trees and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away. Commonly thought to be caused by the air burst of a comet or meteor over the area, the impact was a 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and it knocked over an estimated 80 million trees.

June 30, 1911 - Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz was born in Szetejnie, Lithuania.

June 30, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the following officers had been recently elected at Downing Lodge, No. 580, in Castleberry, Ala. Those officers included S. Castleberry, Worshipful Master; J.W. Thurmond, Senior Warden; L.A. Kirkland, Junior Warden; J.F. Albreast, Treasurer; E.A. White, Secretary; R.A. Baird, Senior Deacon; E.L. Connor, Junior Deacon; J.D. Davis, Tyler; Rev. S.B. Strout, Chaplain; John L. Monk and J.M. Branch, Stewards.

June 30, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that J.G. Barrow was now in charge of Hotel Evergreen in Evergreen, Ala.

June 30, 1915 – The Conecuh County Grand Jury was scheduled to meet in Evergreen, Ala. in regard to the trial of John Salter and Robert Watkins who made a full confession to the brutal murder of Martha Lassiter, the attempted murder of Wiley House and the robbery and burning of House’s residence on June 23, 1915.

June 30, 1921 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft Chief Justice of the United States.

June 30, 1928 - As mandated by the state legislature, convict leasing ended in Alabama. While many southern states leased convicts to private industry as laborers, Alabama's program, begun in 1846, lasted the longest, and for much of that time the notorious system was a key revenue source for the state.

June 30, 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler's violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, took place.

June 30, 1936 - Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for a blockbuster 1939 movie, was published on this day.

June 30, 1941 - A radio version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “I Love You Again” was broadcast as part of “The Lux Radio Theatre” series.

June 30, 1946 – The Louisville & Nashville Railroad announced a number of train schedule changes for its depot in Evergreen, Ala. that took effect one minute after midnight on this date. Train No. 5 for Mobile and New Orleans was changed to No. 7 and began leaving at 6:15 a.m. instead of 5:40 a.m. Train No. 4 for Montgomery, Atlanta, Washington, Birmingham, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Chicago began leaving at 4:10 p.m. instead of 4:20 p.m. Train No. 38 for Jacksonville, Montgomery, Atlanta, Washington and New York began leaving at 5:22 a.m. instead of 5:03 a.m. Train No. 6 for Montgomery began leaving at 1:59 p.m. instead of 1:50 p.m.

June 30, 1956 – A TWA Super Constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 collided above the Grand Canyon in Arizona and crashed, killing all 128 on board both airliners.

June 30, 1958 - The U.S. Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union.

June 30, 1959 – At the close of business on this day, Clyde Dickey Bozeman took over the operations of The Thomasville Times in Thomasville, Ala. after buying it from Times editor and publisher Earl L. Tucker.

June 30, 1967 – Morris T. Ward resigned as principal at Evergreen High School, where he had served as principal for six years, to accept a position as assistant to Wilcox County Superintendent of Education Guy S. Kelly. Ward, who had been a successful coach at Lyeffion and Thomaston, had been Evergreen’s principal since July 1, 1961. Harvey G. Pate was Conecuh County’s Superintendent of Education at the time of Ward’s resignation.

June 30, 1969 – In an incident often attributed to the Bermuda Triangle, the 60-foot Maple Bank was found drifting north of Bermuda with no trace of survivors.

June 30, 1962 - Sandy Koufax struck out 13 batters and walked five to lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets, 5-0, with his first career no-hitter.

June 30, 1970 - The Cincinnati Reds moved to their new home at Riverfront Stadium.

June 30, 1971 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government could not prevent the Washington Post or the New York Times from publishing the “Pentagon Papers.”

June 30, 1976 – “The Outlaw Josie Wales,” a movie version of Alabama author Forrest Carter's book “Gone to Texas” (also called “The Rebel Outlaw Josie Wales”), was released.

June 30, 1978 - At Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, Mobile, Ala. native Willie McCovey hit his 500th home run.

June 30, 1984 - Alabama author Lillian Hellman died in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

June 30, 1988 – In Conecuh County, Ala. Odis Mims caught an 18-1/2 pound catfish on this Thursday evening.

June 30, 1989 – Eleven people were injured, but no one was killed, when a van belonging to the Springhill Church of God in Mobile, Ala. suffered a blow out, struck a guard rail and turned over just north of the Conecuh County, Ala. line on Interstate Highway 65.

June 30, 1995 – Moore Academy School at Pine Apple in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

June 30, 1995 – The Givens House in Andalusia, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 222: Watch the Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park - June 28, 2015
I’ve been a baseball fan all my life, but I’ve seen very few professional games in person. Growing up in Southwest Alabama, the closest Major League team to my hometown has always been the Atlanta Braves (260 or so miles), and I’ve been to several of their games over the years. However, I’ve always wanted to watch some of the other teams within a day’s drive of my hometown, which is why I put “Watch the Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Park” on my bucket list several years ago.

Yesterday (Sunday), my family and I were in Houston, so we seized the day and got tickets to watch the Astros play the New York Yankees. The Astros won, 3-1, and to the best of my knowledge this was the first time I’ve ever seen two American League teams play in person. We had a great time, and I really enjoyed scratching another baseball-related item off my bucket list.

Growing up, I listened to my dad tell tales of the time that he got to watch the 1968 Major League All-Star Game at the old Astrodome in Houston. That game featured such greats as Steve Carlton, Don Drysdale, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Luis Tiant and Carl Yastrzemski. Having heard so much about that game, I’ve always associated great baseball with Houston.

The Astrodome, which opened in April 1965, and closed in 2006, about 10 years after it was last used as a Major League baseball park. The Astros moved into Minute Maid Park in 2002, and it’s been their home ever since. (The park was originally called Enron Field, but was renamed Minute Maid Park in 2002.)

One thing that makes Minute Maid Park a great place to watch a baseball game is its retractable roof. Lets face it, the hot weather in late June in Texas can be a beat down, but we found the park fully air-conditioned and very comfortable. There was also a high chance of rain for the Houston area on Sunday, but the retractable roof kept conditions nice and dry and prevented a rainout.

Yesterday’s game was a good one. The score was tied, 1-1, until the bottom of the seventh and the Astros added two runs in the late innings to get the win.

I especially enjoyed getting to see Yankees designated Alex Rodriguez play in person. “A-Rod,” who was lustily booed by just about all of the 31,961 in attendance, went 1-for-4, striking out three times. The jury’s still out on whether or not Rodriguez will make it into the Hall of Fame, but few will argue that he’s not one of the best players ever.

Other outstanding players in the game for the Yankees included Michael Pineda, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Didi Gregorius and Carlos Beltran. Top players for the Astros included Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Evan Gattis and Jason Castro.

In the end, how many of you have ever watched the Astros play at Minute Maid Park? What did you think about it? Did they win? Who were they playing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Today in History for June 29, 2015

Wilbert Robinson
June 29, 1534 – Jacques Cartier beame the first European to reach Prince Edward Island.

June 29, 1613 - London's Globe Theatre burned to the ground during a performance of Henry VIII. The fire was thought to have been triggered by a sound-effects cannon.

June 29, 1652 - Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth.

June 29-June 30, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe were tried, pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

June 29, 1767 - The British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts. The act placed import taxes on many of the British products bought by Americans, including lead, paper, paint, glass and tea.

June 29, 1776 - The Virginia constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor.

June 29, 1776 – The first privateer battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought at Turtle Gut Inlet near Cape May, New Jersey.

June 29, 1776 - Edward Rutledge, one of South Carolina’s representatives to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, expressed his reluctance to declare independence from Britain in a letter to the like-minded John Jay of New York. Contrary to the majority of his Congressional colleagues, Rutledge advocated patience with regards to declaring independence. In a letter to Jay, one of New York’s representatives who was similarly disinclined to rush a declaration, Rutledge worried whether moderates like himself and Jay could “effectually oppose” a resolution for independence.

June 29, 1804 - Privates John Collins and Hugh Hall of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were found guilty by a court-martial consisting of members of the Corps of Discovery for getting drunk on duty. Collins received 100 lashes on his back and Hall received 50.

June 29, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette met with women’s groups in Montpelier, Vermont and then departed Montpelier for Burlington and Whitehall, New York.

June 29, 1835 - Determined to win independence for the Mexican State of Texas, William Travis raised a volunteer army of 25 soldiers and prepared to liberate the city of Anahuac. The next day, the small army easily captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the leader of Santa Anna’s forces in Anahuac, and forced the troops to surrender.

June 29, 1846 - The 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment organized in Mobile, Ala. to fight in the Mexican War. Alabamians volunteered in large numbers to fight against Mexico when war came over the annexation of Texas, but only this single regiment, a battalion, and several independent companies actually were received into federal service from the state. During its 11 months of service, the 1st Alabama lost only one man in battle but 150 died from disease.

June 29, 1862 – The Battle of Savage’s Station took place in Henrico County, Va. Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacked Union General George McClellan as he was pulling his army away from Richmond, Va. in retreat during the Seven Days’ Battles. Although the Yankees lost 1,000 men–twice as many as the Rebels–they were able to successfully protect the retreat.

June 29, 1862 – During the Civl War, the blockade runner, Ann, was captured by the Federal Navy under the guns of Fort Morgan, Ala.

June 29, 1863 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and manager Wilbert Robinson was born in Bolton, Mass. During his career, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles and the St. Louis Cardinals and he managed the Orioles and the Brooklyn Robins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945.

June 29, 1864 – During the Civl War, a skirmish was fought at Pond Springs in Northern Alabama.

June 29, 1892 - Sigmund Freud first referred to the unconscious, calling it a "second state of consciousness."

June 29, 1897 - The Chicago Cubs scored 36 runs in a game against Louisville, setting a record for runs scored by a team in a single game.

June 29, 1900 – French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in Lyons.

June 29, 1901 - The first edition of "Editor & Publisher" was issued.

June 29, 1911 – The baseball season was scheduled to open in Evergreen, Ala. on this day with three games between Evergreen and Andalusia on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. George Farnham was Evergreen’s manager.

June 29, 1914 – Jina Guseva attempted to assassinate Grigori Rasputin at his home town in Siberia.

June 29, 1915 – Merchants and business owners of Evergreen, Ala. signed an agreement on this Tuesday to close for business on Mon., July 5, in observance of the Fourth of July holiday, which fell on a Sunday.

June 29, 1936 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman, third baseman and left fielder Harmon Killebrew was born in Payette, Idaho. During his career, he played for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

June 29, 1941 – Joe DiMaggio broke George Sisler’s 1922 American League record of 41 consecutive games with a hit at Griffith Stadium in Washington, and four days later, on July 2, DiMaggio broke "Wee" Willie Keeler’s major league record streak of 44 games.

June 29, 1956 – The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.

June 29, 1965 – Army Capt. Rubin Fletcher Bradley of Jackson, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.

June 29, 1970 – Thomas Charles Littles, who was fatally wounded in Vietnam, was honorably discharged from the Army and placed on the Army’s Permanent Disability Retired List. He received care at the Montgomery hospital for 415 days and died from pneumonia on June 3, 1971.

June 29-30, 1988 – The annual Evergreen Rotary Club Fish & Wildlife Camp was held at Tal Stuart’s Pond near Belleville, Ala. Award-winners at the camp included Best Archer, Tommy Byrd; Best Fly Caster, Brandon Monk; Best Spin Caster, John Henry Sessions; Best Senior Camper, Ron English; Best Junior Camper, Joey Brewton; Best Bait Caster, Bobby Townson; Best Rifle Shot, Chip Gibson; Best Canoeist, Mike Smith and Best Shotgun Shot, Joey Taylor.

June 29, 1988 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a high of 100 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

June 29, 1989 – A Conecuh County, Ala. Circuit Court jury found former Olympic boxer Clint Jackson of Evergreen guilty on charges of first-degree kidnapping in connection with the August 1988 kidnapping of Evergreen banker Tom Salo. Dale R. Smith was found guilty of second-degree kidnapping in the same trial, which was one of the longest in county history.

June 29, 2007 – Marlon Anderson of Montgomery, Ala. was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on June 29, 2007, ending his tenure with the club. He cleared waivers and became a free agent on July 11. He was promptly signed to a minor league contract by the Mets on July 12.

June 29, 2008 – Birmingham, Ala. native David Robertson made his Major League debut, taking the field for the first time for the New York Yankees

June 29, 2014 – Through the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), a witness in Atmore, Ala. reported seeing a UFO around 9:30 p.m. The witness had just parked his car at his house, and when he got out, he saw a strange light about 500 feet or so above a tree near a school building. The witness described the strange light as an “orange, moving ball.” The light moved about one mile in 45 seconds and eventually disappeared, the witness said.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Today in History for June 28, 2015

Robert Louis Stevenson
June 28, 1635 - The French colony of Guadeloupe was established in the Caribbean.

June 28, 1703 – John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England.

June 28, 1712 – Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva.

June 28, 1773 - Off the coast of South Carolina, British Commodore Sir Peter Parker, aboard the HMS Bristol opened fire on the Patriot fortification at Sullivan's Island. The Patriots only suffered minor casualties while the cost to the British was 261 injured or dead.

June 28, 1775 – Outstanding American Revolutionary soldier Marinus Willett of New York was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel. He would go on to become the 48th Mayor of New York City.

June 28, 1776 – The Battle of Sullivan's Island ended with the first decisive American victory in the American Revolutionary War as American colonists repulsed a British sea attack on Charleston, S.C. and leading to the commemoration of Carolina Day.

June 28, 1776 - A draft of the formal Ceclaration of Independence, known as “The Lee Resolution, was presented to the Continental Congress.

June 28, 1776 – Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, was hanged for mutiny and sedition.

June 28, 1778 – The American Continentals engaged the British in the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, resulting in a standstill and British withdrawal under cover of darkness. Mary "Molly Pitcher" Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth and, supposedly, took her husband's place at his gun after he was overcome with heat.

June 28, 1813 – General Flournoy ordered Brigadier General Ferdinand L. Claiborne, with his 600 Mississippi volunteers, to march from Baton Rouge to Mount Vernon, in order to be ready there “to repel any attack that may be made on any part of the frontier of the Mississippi Territory, either from Indians, Spaniards or English.” Leaving Baton Rouge on June 28, the brigade reached Mount Vernon on July 30. The defense of Mobile, Ala. was to be Claiborne’s primary concern.

June 28, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette crossed into Vermont at the Cornish Bridge early in the morning. He traveled north, passing through Woodstock at 11a.m., taking a stagecoach through the mountains to Barnard and Royalton. He passed through Randolph; where he is said to have met a young Justin S Morrill and eventual Senator Dudley Chase. He was escorted with Governor Cornelius P. Van Ness and others through Barre to large festivities in Montpelier that included speeches by supreme Court Judge Elijah Paine and others. He spent the night in Montpelier at The Pavilion, an historic and politically important structure.

June 28, 1836 – The last of the Founding Fathers, James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, died at the age of 85 on his tobacco plantation in Orange, Va. and was buried in the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier. He was a drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention and author of the "Federalist Papers.”

June 28, 1838 – The coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom took place.

June 28, 1857 - Emerson Hough, one of the most successful writers of adventure novels of the romantic western genre, was born in Newton, Iowa.

June 28, 1862 - Confederates captured the commercial vessel St. Nicholas on Chesapeake Bay. The plan was the brainchild of George Hollins and Richard Thomas Zarvona, who hatched a plan to capture the St. Nicholas and use it to marshal other Yankee ships into Confederate service.

June 28, 1863 - U.S. President Lincoln appointed General George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Meade, who replaced General Hooker, was the fifth man to command the Army in less than a year.

June 28, 1865 – The Army of the Potomac was disbanded.

June 28, 1888 – Robert Louis Stevenson set sail for the South Seas about the schooner yacht Casco.

June 28, 1902 – Elijah Byrd Jenkins, who was aboard the CSS Selma when it was captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay, filed for his Confederate pension in Wilcox County. Jenkins was born in Wilcox County on Dec. 13, 1842 to Thomas Jenkins and wife. At the age of 19, he enlisted on Nov. 1, 1862 in Montgomery as a private with Co. K 1st Ala. Artillery. He re-enlisted on Feb. 11, 1863 at Port Hudson, La. with Co. K, 1st Ala. Artillery before joining the Confederate Navy and transferring to serve aboard the CSS Selma on March 5, 1864, served on that ship until it was captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay. He was then imprisoned at Ship Island, Miss. for the rest of the war. Elijah Jenkins is buried at New Hope Cemetery at Dottelle.

June 28, 1902 – The U.S. Congress passed the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

June 28, 1904 - John S. McDuffie of River Ridge in Monroe County, Ala. was shot and killed during an argument with Edward English. McDuffie was one of the captures of famous train robber, Rube Burrow.

June 28, 1909 – Eric Ambler, the first author to write stories about international espionage that were based on real life, was born in London.

June 28, 1914 – In an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

June 28, 1915 – On this Monday morning, Judge Gamble came to Evergreen, Ala. and arranged for a special term of the Conecuh County Circuit Court to try John Salter and Robert Watkins who made a full confession to the brutal murder of Martha Lassiter, the attempted murder of Wiley House and the robbery and burning of House’s residence on June 23, 2015.

June 28, 1919 – The Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending the state of war between Germany and the Allies of World War I.

June 28, 1928 – Repton’s baseball team beat Castleberry, 6-2, in Castleberry, Ala. on this Thursday. Warren Kelly, Bradley, Andrews and B. Kelly pitched for Repton, and Loris Hyde and Voline pitched for Castleberry. Haskew Page and Holland led Repton at the plate.

June 28, 1928 – Louis Armstrong and his band, the Hot Five, recorded “West End Blues.”

June 28, 1947 - Four Army officers at Maxwell airfield in Montgomery claimed that they saw “an unusual circular object perform inconceivable midair maneuvers for more than 20 minutes.” That same day, an Army F-51 Mustang pilot near Lake Meade, Nevada claimed to have seen five circular objects pass him off his right wing. In Wisconsin on that same day, two farmers said that they saw 10 “saucer-shaped objects” fly over at high speed.

June 28, 1958 - A movie version of Alabama author Joe David Brown's book “Kings Go Forth” was released.

June 28, 1962 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane passed away at the age of 59 in Lake Forest, Ill. During his career, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics and the Detroit Tigers and managed the Tigers from 1934 to 1938. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.

June 28, 1970 - Author Ace Atkins was born in Troy, Ala.

June 28, 1973 – The Evergreen Rotary Club installed its new slate of officers during a meeting at noon on this Thursday at the Evergreen United Methodist Church in Evergreen, Ala. The officers were Treasurer James Ansley, Secretary David Hyde, Past President Emmett Dale, President Fred Stevens and Vice President Luther Gowder.

June 28, 1974 – Dr. Hugh Clingman Fountain, 94, passed away in the Evergreen Nursing Home in Evergreen, Ala. An active Freemason, he practiced dentistry for over 60 years, including over 50 years in Evergreen after moving to Evergreen from Burnt Corn.

June 28, 1990 - Alabama author Carter Crocker won a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Animated Program for his work as story editor for the television series “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”

June 28, 1996 - Darryl Strawberry hit his 300th home run.

June 28, 1997 – The Evergreen Little League All Stars were scheduled to open play in the district tournament against the Opp All Stars on this Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Brewton, Ala. The members of Evergreen’s team included Jeremy Anderson, Josh Bates, Jonathan Booth, Bryan Boykin, Wiley Cobb, Christopher Garner, Anthony Maxwell, Thomas Nielsen, Matt Robinson, Jonathan Rodgers, Eric Taylor, Josh Watson and Joe Windham.

June 28, 2000 - Jeff Cirillo of the Colorado Rockies hit three home runs and a double against San Francisco.

June 28, 2004 – Sovereign power was handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

George Singleton enjoyed traveling down, fishing on Flat Creek

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Beauty of Flat Creek spoiled,” was originally published in the Jan. 17, 1985 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

To the ones who have traveled down Flat Creek by small boat or canoe, it would be a waste of time to try and describe the raw and primitive beauty that abounds there. But to the ones who have never made the journey, time is running out.

The quiet, scenic surroundings are fast being turned into a floating garbage dump. Some among us have decided that Flat Creek is the place to throw their filth and garbage.

The last thing I would ever want would be to get involved in a dispute about the garbage situation, but I feel that I must bring this to the attention of the citizens who still love nature and enjoy its beauty.

Picture yourself floating down this beautiful stream on a lazy afternoon, as I have, fishing a little hear and there. But mostly floating along, moving in and out of the deep, clear water, casting over its edges, not really caring whether you get a strike from a big, beautiful trout or not.

You slowly round a bend in the creek, and there is a drift of logs in the water. This is commonplace, but you don’t understand the huge, bloated white and yellow garbage bags that fill the creek. The rotten garbage reeks a terrible odor. There are paper and filth floating over the water. The beauty and peace that were witnessed a short time earlier have come to a sudden stop.

The primitive surroundings have ceased to be. Modern man has begun his war here against nature and the environment. How sad when we cannot live in harmony with nature! What is wrong when the human race has to deface and destroy that which God has made so beautiful for all to enjoy?

Where there was beauty and peace, there is now filth and decay. Where once wild flowers and the smell of ferns filled the air, now there is the odor of rotten filth, the mark of man and his stupidity.

We must not forget that our days on this planet earth are numbered. Man does not control nature. One day nature will rebel, and man will be the most helpless of all creatures.

Our waste and filth will spread across the land like a killer plague, along with all the chemicals that we have foolishly used in the name of progress.

What a pity that it must all end with only a few caring. Sickness and death will cover the land, and a cup of pure, clean water will be worth its weight in gold. Filth and decay will greet us on every turn, and the smell of rotten waste will ride the winds always. The words of a little-known poet will take on new meanings:

Let me taste the wind,
O Creator of all the universe.
Let me feel the warmth of
The golden sun on my weary body.

Let me rest my soul
By the side of the rippling stream.
Let me look upon Thy wonders
At the close of a perfect day.

Let me be for a time atop a high
Hill, and feel Your presence.
Let my restless spirit reach beyond
The sunset, where the air is pure,
And the sky is forever blue.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Today in History for June 27, 2015

Joshua Slocum
June 27, 1775 - The Continental Congress dispatched Major General Philip John Schuyler to Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point to examine the troops, their supplies and their ability to navigate Lake Champlain and Lake George, as well as “obtain the best intelligence he can of the disposition of the Canadians and Indians of Canada.”

June 27, 1778 – During the Battle of Monmouth, Aaron Burr collapsed on the battlefield with heat stroke and even though Burr recovered, a dramatic decline in his health would cause him to resign his commission with the army in 1779.

June 27, 1787 - Edward Gibbon completed the final volume of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" in his garden in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was published the following May.

June 27, 1811 – Tecumseh again visited Governor Harrison at Vincennes. He objected persistently to the treaties that had been made, wherein lands were said to be sold to the U.S. by single tribes of Indians. He claimed that one tribe could not sell lands belonging more or less, as he claimed, to all the tribes in common.

June 27, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived late (around 10 p.m.) in Claremont, New Hampshire.

June 29, 1829 – In Genoa, Italy, English scientist James Smithson died after a long illness, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Six years after his death, his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, indeed died without children, so on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson’s gift, and on August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.

June 27, 1842 – Confederate soldier John A. McCants was born. He served as a private with the Monroe Guards and enlisted on March 26, 1861 at Pineville in Monroe County. He was promoted to corporal and was present at all musters between May 13, 1861 and Dec. 31, 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863 and furloughed home for 30 days. He was admitted into the Selma General Hospital while on furlough and remained on furlough until July 30, 1863. Was listed as a prisoner of war on May 5, 1864. He died on March 5, 1915 and is buried at Bells Landing Presbyterian Cemetery at Tinela.

June 27, 1844 - Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Latter-day Saints movement, and his brother Hyrum Smith, were killed by an anti-Mormon mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.

June 27, 1857 – In an expedition funded by the Royal Geographical Society, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke set out from the east coast of Zanzibar in Africa, heading west in search of an “inland sea” that had been described by Arab traders and slavers. Burton’s mission was to study the area's tribes and to find out what exports might be possible from the region. It was hoped that the expedition might lead to the discovery of the source of the River Nile, although this was not an explicit aim.

June 27, 1862 – The Battle of Gaines's Mill, sometimes known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River, took place on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as the third of the Seven Days Battles (Peninsula Campaign) of the Civil War. Jerre Downs, John Gaff, Caleb Garner and John Garner, all of the Conecuh Guards killed at the Battle of Gaines’s Farm. Capt. William Lee, 1st Lt. James W. Darby, 2nd Lt. John G. Guice, Sgt. William D. Clarke, 4th Cpl. Joseph A. Thomas, John D. Hyde, Julius A. Mertins and Fielding Lynch, all of the Conecuh Guards, were all wounded at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill in Va. Charles Floyd of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm and moved to Texas after the war. Francis M. Grice of the Conecuh Guards lost his left arm at Gaines’s Farm, became sutler for the 4th Alabama Infantry and moved to Escambia County after the war. William Hodges of the Conecuh Guard was wounded at Gaines’s Farm only to be taken prisoner later at Lookout Mountain and died near Washington, Ga. in 1865. William Horton of Conecuh Guards was wounded in the shoulder and leg at Gaines’s Farm and returned to live in Butler County after war. William W. Johnson of Conecuh Guards was wounded and disabled at Gaines’s Farm, was honorably discharged and returned to Conecuh County after war. John Myers of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm, dropped from the unit’s roll in 1863 and was killed in Butler County after war. William Quinley of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm, was later wounded at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 and deserted to the enemy in 1865. Thomas Robbins of the Conecuh Guards died from wounds received at Gaines’s Farm. Henry C. Stearns of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm and returned to Conecuh County after war. Nick Stallworth of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm, was honorably discharged in 1862 and returned to Conecuh County. Mich. B. Salter of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’s Farm and later at Gettysburg, where he had his right arm amputated. He was honorably discharged and returned to Conecuh County. Evans Sheffield of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Gaines’ Farm and later wounded at Gettysburg, returned to Conecuh County, where he was killed by a falling tree.

June 27, 1864 – Confederate and Union forces clash at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia as Union General William T. Sherman launched a major attack on Confederate General Joseph Johnston's army.

June 27, 1876 - Dave Force of the Philadelphia Athletics became the first National League player to get six hits in a nine-inning game.

June 27, 1880 – Helen Adams Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Ala. Having lost both sight and hearing by illness as a small child, Keller's life story and activism inspired new attitudes toward those with handicaps.

June 27, 1898 – The first solo circumnavigation of the globe was completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.

June 27, 1915 – Writer and activist Grace Lee Boggs was born in Providence, R.I.

June 27, 1920 – “Dollars and Sense,” a movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “Two Cents Worth of Humaneness,” was released.

June 27, 1922 – The American Library Association awarded the first Newberry Medal for children’s literature to “The Story of Mankind” by Hendrik Willem van Loon.

June 27, 1939 - Principal filming ended on “Gone With the Wind” as one of the most famous scenes in movie history was filmed - Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara parting in “Gone with the Wind.” Director Victor Fleming also shot the scene using the alternate line, “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care,” in case the film censors objected to the word “damn.” The censors approved the movie but fined producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for including the curse.

June 27, 1939 - Cleveland Municipal Stadium hosted its first night game. The Indians beat the Tigers, 5-0.

June 27, 1953 – Mary Anderson of Greene County, Ala., the inventor of the windshield wiper, died at the at of 87 in Monteagle, Tenn.

June 27, 1953 – National Book Award-winning novelist Alice McDermott was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

June 27, 1959 – Frank Pate of Castleberry, Ala. was bit by rattlesnake that was 5-1/2 feet long, weighed 12 pounds and had 11 rattles. He saved his own life by gashing his leg with a pocketknife, causing it to bleed, before seeking treatment at the Conecuh County Hospital.

June 27, 1961 - A television version of Alabama author Babs H. Deal's story "Make My Death Bed" was broadcast as part of the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” series.

June 27, 1966 - The gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” premiered on ABC. One of the most beloved characters from the cult TV show, 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins, was added ten months into the series run in an effort to boost low ratings.

June 27, 1968 – U.S. forces begin to evacuate Khe Sahn. The U.S. command in Saigon confirmed that U.S. forces have begun to evacuate the military base at Khe Sanh, 14 miles below the Demilitarized Zone and six miles from the Laotian border.

June 27, 1973 - Former White House counsel John W. Dean told the Senate Watergate Committee about an "enemies list" that was kept by the Nixon White House.

June 27, 1974 – Alabama State Trooper Sgt. Julian D. Stuckey, 36, commander of the Dothan State Trooper Post, was killed in an accident about one mile south of the Owassa, Ala. Exit on Interstate Highway 65 about 1 p.m. He was traveling south when a tire blew out, causing his car to leave the road and strike a guardrail, killing him instantly.

June 27, 1977 - During a game against the Cincinnati Reds, Mobile, Ala. native Willie McCovey became the first player to hit two home runs in one inning twice in his career. The first was on April 12, 1973.

June 27, 1985 – American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials voted to decertify the iconic Route 66 after 59 years and remove all its highway signs. Measuring 2,200 miles, it stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., passing through eight states. According to a New York Times article about its decertification, most of Route 66 followed a path through the wilderness forged in 1857 by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale at the head of a caravan of camels and over the years, wagon trains and cattlemen eventually made way for trucks and passenger automobiles.

June 27, 1986 - Robby Thompson of the San Francisco Giants was caught stealing bases four times in one game.

June 27, 1990 - Jose Canseco signed a contract with the Oakland A's worth $4,700,000 per year.

June 27, 1991 – Evergreen’s 13-year-old Babe Ruth all-stars were scheduled to represent Conecuh County, Ala. in the all-star tournament in Brewton. They were scheduled to play Atmore’s all-star team on this day at 7:30 p.m.

June 27, 2004 - The Boston Red Sox scored 10 runs before making an out against the Florida Marlins. The final score was 25-8.

June 27, 2007 – The Mizzell Mansion in Opp, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. 

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., June 27, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.85 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 3.60 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.35 inches

Summer to Date Rainfall: 3.60 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 27.65 inches

Notes: Today is the 178th day of 2015 and the seventh day of Summer. There are 187 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Friday, June 26, 2015

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 236 miles down and 1,563 miles to go

Frodo's buddy, Samwise Gamgee.

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 13 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday, three miles on Wednesday and five miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 236 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 1,563 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 13.1 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the fourteenth day of his trip, which is Oct. 6 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off on my last update on Day 13, at Mile 223, which was 12 miles from the start of Day 13. Six miles later, at Mile 229, Frodo’s group reached the foot of the Weather Hills and camped there at the end of Day 13.


Day 14, the seventh from Bree, begins when Frodo’s group breaks camp and follows the path south toward Weathertop. This path is cunningly hidden and is edged with stones where the land is open. It’s during this leg of the trip that Samwise Gamgee recites part of “The Fall of Gil-galad.”


From the start of Day 14, it’s 10 miles to the next milestone of the trip, Mile 239, which is where, around midday, Frodo’s group comes near to the south end of the path and reach the dell at the western foot of the hill. I’ve got three more miles to go before I reach this milestone.


For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,799 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.


The folks who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound very familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,799 miles in a year.


If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/07/23/walking/ and http://home.insightbb.com/~eowynchallenge/. Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.


In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least 13 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

Today in History for June 26, 2015

Abner Doubleday
June 26, 1284 - It was said that the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany lured 130 children out of town, and they were never seen again.

June 26, 1541 - Spanish explorer and politician Francisco Pizarro, who was between 65 and 70 years old, was assassinated while eating dinner at his palace in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed. Pizarro was the governor of Peru and conqueror of the Inca civilization.

June 26, 1776 - John Adams, who would go on to become the second President of the United States of America, wrote a letter to his wife Abigail in which he complained that the Congress was giving him "more business than I am qualified for, and more than, I fear, that I can go through, with safety to my health."

June 26, 1784 - Delaware Patriot Caesar Rodney passed away at the age of 55 in Kent County, Delaware. Rodney is best remembered for his overnight ride from Dover, Delaware to Philadelphia, Pa. to cast the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The image of Rodney on horseback riding for Philadelphia appears on the Delaware quarter, issued in 1999.
June 26, 1804 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the mouth of the Kansas River after completing a westward trek of nearly 400 river miles.

June 26, 1819 – Union General Abner Doubleday was born in Ballston Spa, N.Y. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war, and had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. Doubleday has been historically credited with inventing baseball, although this appears to be untrue.

June 26, 1862 - At the Battle of Mechanicsville, Va., Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia struck Union General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, beginning the Seven Days' Battles. This was Lee’s first battle as commander of the army. McClellan eventually withdrew back toward Washington after both sides suffered heavy losses.

June 26, 1891 - Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen was born in Charleston, S.C.

June 26, 1892 – Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Pearl Buck was born in Hillsboro, W.V. Her most famous novel, “The Good Earth,” was published in 1931.

June 26, 1898 – Blues musician Big Bill Broonzy was born in Scott, Miss. (Some sources say he was born in Lake Dick, Ark. and in 1893.)

June 26, 1900 - A commission that included Dr. Walter Reed began the fight against the deadly disease yellow fever.

June 26, 1912 – Confederate soldier Capt. Jas. W. Darby of Garland, Ala. passed away. He was about 73 years old.

June 26, 1914 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the thermometer topped 106 degrees in Evergreen, Ala., making it “the hottest day known in Evergreen for many years. The temperature for four days previous ranged from 102 to 105. The weather bureau states it a fact that this has been the hottest June since 1881.”

June 26, 1915 – On this Saturday afternoon John Salter and Robert Watkins made a full confession to the brutal murder of Martha Lassiter, the attempted murder of Wiley House and the robbery and burning of House’s residence on June 23, 2015. Also on this afternoon, Sheriff Williams and several deputies, as a precaution, transferred Salter and Watkins to the Montgomery County, Ala. Jail by automobile.

June 26, 1916 - The Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians appeared in a game with numbers on their sleeves. The event marked the first time that players were identified by numbers that corresponded to the scoreboard.

June 26, 1917 – The first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops begin arriving in France at the port of Saint Nazaire during World War I.

June 26, 1923 - Alabama author Alfred Maund was born in Jennings, La.

June 26, 1928 - Alabama author Amelie Rives's play “Say When” opened on Broadway.

June 26, 1934 - Alabama author Carl Carmer's book “Stars Fell on Alabama” was published.

June 26, 1938 - Lonney Frey of the Cincinnati Reds had eight hits in a doubleheader split with the Philadelphia Phillies.

June 26, 1944 - The New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees played against each other in a six-inning contest in a war bonds fund-raiser. Over 50,000 people watched the game. The final score was Dodgers 5, Yankees 1 and the Giants 0.

June 26, 1946 - A movie version of Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “The Searching Wind” was released.

June 26, 1948 – Shirley Jackson's short story “The Lottery” was published in The New Yorker magazine.

June 26, 1952 – Evergreen’s Junior American Legion baseball team was scheduled to play a rematch against Andalusia at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala. on this Thursday afternoon. Two days before, Andalusia beat Evergreen, 8-7, in Andalusia.

June 26, 1952 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the “sweltering weather” that had gripped Conecuh County, Ala. for the previous two weeks looked to continue with little relief in sight. Conecuh County had received scattered showers during this time, but there had been no “general rains” thus far in June. Virtually every day during this time, the temperature had “soared into the upper nineties” with the high reaching 100 degrees on June 15.

June 26-27, 1952 – “A Streetcar Named Desire,” starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Lee, was scheduled to be shown at The Pix Theater in Evergreen, Ala.

June 26, 1959 – Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson became world champion of heavy weight boxing, by defeating american Floyd Patterson on technical knockout after two minutes and three seconds in the third round at Yankee Stadium.

June 26, 1961 - A Kuwaiti vote opposed Iraq's annexation plans.

June 26, 1962 - Earl Wilson of the Boston Red Sox pitched a 2-0 no-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels. Wilson also hit a home run.

June 26, 1970 - Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles hit two grand slams against the Washington Senators in a 12-2 win.

June 26, 1971 - The U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant for Daniel Ellsberg, accusing him of giving away the “Pentagon Papers.”

June 26, 1974 - Supermarket scanning of UPC codes began with a pack of chewing gum in Troy, Ohio. The first scan was made at a Marsh’s Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, which had agreed to serve as a test facility for the new technology, and the first item scanned was a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Gum. That pack of gum is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

June 26, 1976 - Shortstop Toby Harrah of the Texas Rangers played an entire doubleheader without handling a batted ball from the Chicago White Sox.

June 26, 1982 – The Lyeffion Saddle Club was scheduled to hold a horseshow on this Saturday starting at 5 p.m.

June 26, 1982 – A ladies slow pitch softball tournament, sponsored by the China Ladies Softball Club, was scheduled to be held on this Saturday at Evergreen Municipal Park in Evergreen, Ala.

June 26, 1985 - Wilbur Snapp was ejected after playing "Three Blind Mice" during a baseball game. The incident followed a call made by umpire Keith O'Connor.

June 26, 1987 – “Full Metal Jacket,” a movie version of Alabama author Gustav Hasford's book “The Short-Timers,” was released.

June 26, 1993 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella passed away at the age of 71 in Woodland Hills, Calif. He played his entire career (1948-1957) for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

June 26, 1993 – In retaliation for an Iraqi plot to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during his April visit to Kuwait, President Bill Clinton ordered U.S. warships to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in downtown Baghdad.

June 26, 1997 – Hillcrest High School’s band boosters were scheduled to hold a reception in the school cafetorium in Evergreen, Ala. on this Thursday at 6 p.m. to introduce and welcome the school’s new band director, Christal Carter.

June 26, 1997 – The first book in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” was published in Britain.

June 26, 1998 – The Oak Hill Historic District in Oak Hill in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The district is roughly centered on the intersection of State Highway 10 and State Highway 21. It contains 6,750 acres, 56 buildings and seven structures.

June 26, 1998 – The classic Civil War-era blockbuster “Gone with the Wind,” originally released in 1939, is re-released in U.S. theaters by New Line Pictures.

June 26, 1999 - Sammy Sosa of the Chicago White Sox hit his 300th career home run.

June 26, 1999 - Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles got his 995th extra base hit.

June 26, 2000 - Alex Cabrera of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a two-run home run in his first major league at-bat.

June 26, 2003 – Indian Springs Baptist Church in Monroe County, Ala. was listed on Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

June 26, 2005 - Paulus van der Sloot and Steve Gregory Croes were ordered to be released from jail after their arrests in connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala. 

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., June 26, 2015

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 2.75 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 4.50 inches

Summer to Date Rainfall: 2.75 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.80 inches

Notes: Today is the 177th day of 2015 and the sixth day of Summer. There are 188 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Major J.P. Walker describes last sighting of Laula Middleton

Laula Middleton
From the front page of the July 1, 1943 edition of The Evergreen Courant newspaper:

"More Information On Lt. Laula Middleton"

A letter from Maj. J.P. Walker, commanding officer of the squadron in which Lt. Laula Middleton was serving at the time he was reported missing in action, was received last week by Miss Lyndall Middleton, sister of the missing soldier. The letter gives such of the details as are known about the action in which young Middleton was reported missing. The letter is reproduced herewith:

“I received your letter a few days ago in regard to your brother. I know that you are greatly concerned and I will endeavor to tell you all I can about him. Laula was a very dear friend of mine, as well as the other officers of the squadron. He joined us back in Columbia and was always a jolly, good-natured boy that everyone thought lot of.

“Laula was flying on my left wing at the time of the accident. An enemy fighter hit his ship, knocking off the tail. His ship spiraled down toward the ocean. Three parachutes were seen to come out of the ship. They had life vests on and were near an enemy convoy. I feel that it is very probable that they were picked up by the enemy ships and he is now a prisoner of war. At least, we hope and pray that this is the case.

This is all I know and if I find out anything more I will let you know. I am only too glad to help you in any way that I can.”

Armond Boudreaux's outstanding 'That He May Raise' set for July 20 release

During the past week, I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time, “That He May Raise” by Armond Boudreaux.

Scheduled to be released on July 20 by Livingston Press at the University of West Alabama, this collection of loosely connected short stories takes an interesting look at the ways in which our actions – good and bad – echo down through the years. Boudreaux skillfully leads his readers into the lives of his characters, warts and all, and looks at how their sins and suffering sometimes leads to redemption.

This 209-page book was also highly entertaining and contains a lot that will interest a wide variety of readers. It’s got everything from wild hog hunting to snake handlers to poetry readings to Catholic confessional booths. It’s funny in parts, creepy in parts and so engrossing that, at times, I forgot that I was even reading a book.

Many of you will also enjoy the book because much of it is set in Alabama, which should come as no surprise since Boudreaux is a native of Thomasville. The book opens in Jackson County, which is located in northeast Alabama near the borders of Tennessee and Georgia. Later in the book, an entire chapter is set in the fictional community of Landon, which is said to be located in the northeast corner of Monroe County, which puts it pretty close to Conecuh County.

Many of you will also want to get a copy of this book because its cover was designed by former Lenox resident Josh Dewberry, who is known throughout this part of world for his work as an award-winning writer and photographer at The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville. Boudreaux took the photo featured on the cover of the book, and Dewberry was responsible for designing the cover. The book has a very slick look to it, and while it’s said that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I think it’s more than OK to do so in this case.

This book is so good that it was named the runner-up winner of the 10th Annual Tartt First Fiction Award. This prestigious award is given annually in memory of Works Project Administration writer Ruby Pickens Tartt, who collected slave narratives in Alabama. Having read “That He May Raise,” I want to read the overall winner, “Two Legs, Bad” by Pat Mayer, because if Mayer’s book was judged to be better than Boudreaux’s outstanding book, it must really be something.

As mentioned, Boudreaux is a native of Thomasville and he was especially suited to write this book. He attended Alabama Southern Community College and the University of West Alabama, and he later earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. Currently, Boudreaux lives with his wife and four children in Georgia, where he is an English professor at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro.

In the end, I highly recommend “That He May Raise,” especially to those of you in the audience who enjoy a really good book. Also, Boudreaux is a young writer, so I suspect that there will be even more books of his to follow in the years to come. If those books are anywhere close to being as good as “That He May Raise,” then we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

Montgomery Rebels baseball team visited Evergreen, Ala. on June 25, 1940

Ivy "Poison Ivy" Andrews of Dora, Ala.
Today, June 25, marks the anniversary of a somewhat unique sports-related event in the history of Evergreen. It was on this day in 1940 – 75 years ago – that the Montgomery Rebels of the Southeastern Baseball League stopped in Evergreen to eat on their way to Mobile for a series against the Mobile Shippers.

This event was such a big deal at the time that The Evergreen Courant newspaper had a front page story about their visit to Evergreen in the June 27, 1940 edition. That story read as follows:

“MONTGOMERY BALL CLUB PAYS VISIT HERE TUESDAY MORNING: The Montgomery Rebels of the Southeastern baseball league honored our fair city with a visit Tuesday morning when they stopped to dine at a local café, enroute for a series with the Mobile Shippers. The Rebs are holding down third place in the league standings, and are enjoying the best season they have had in years. More power, we say, to the capital city horsehiders.”

The Southeastern Baseball League was an old minor league organization that dated back to 1910, and in 1940 it was considered a Class B league, that is, it was four levels below Major League Baseball. Over the years, a wide variety of teams were part of the Southeastern League, but in 1940 the league included the Montgomery Rebels, the Mobile Shippers, the Gadsden Pilots, the Jackson (Miss.) Senators, the Pensacola Pilots, the Anniston Rams, the Selma Cloverleafs and the Meridian Bears.

Montgomery had a middle-of-the-pack team in 1940. They finished the season in fourth place behind first-place Gadsden, second-place Jackson and third-place Pensacola. Anniston came in fifth, and Selma was sixth. Mobile finished the season seventh overall, just ahead of Meridian.

The 1940 Rebels, who played their home games at Cramton Bowl on Madison Avenue in Montgomery, had an impressive roster, including at least seven players who played in the Majors. Those Major League players included second baseman Bill Adair of Mobile, pitcher Ivy Andrews of Dora, pitcher Orville Armbrust of Beirne, Ark., outfielder Tom Cafego of Whipple, W.V., pitcher Larry Crawford of Swissvale, Pa., first baseman Bob Prichard of Paris, Texas and pitcher Ernie Wingard of Prattville.

Adair played his entire career for a long list of minor league teams, but never cracked the Major Leagues as a player. However, after his playing days, he became a successful coach and manager. He made his official Major League debut in 1970 when he was named the manager of the Chicago White Sox.

When the Rebels stopped in Evergreen, Andrews, a right-handed pitcher nicknamed “Poison Ivy,” had already played for four different Major League teams. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 15, 1931 when he took the mound for the New York Yankees. He went on to play for the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Browns and the Cleveland Indians before appearing in his final MLB game on Sept. 28, 1938.

Armbrust was also a right-handed pitcher, and like Andrews, he had already had a taste of the Majors. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 18, 1934 when he took the mound for the Washington Senators. He went on to appear in two more games for the Senators, appearing in his final game on Sept. 30, 1934. He died in 1967 without ever appearing in another Big League game.

Cafego had also had a short stint in the Bigs before the Rebels stopped to eat in Evergreen. He made his Major League debut with the St. Louis Browns on Sept. 3, 1937 and played in four total games before making his last MLB appearance on Sept. 9, 1937. Cafego, who threw right-handed but hit left-handed, was still a pretty good hitter in 1940, when he finished the season with a .371 batting average.

Crawford, a right-handed pitcher, was also a Major League veteran. He made his Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on July 27, 1937 and played in his final MLB game on Aug. 20, 1937. In 1940, he played in 17 games for the Rebels and finished the season with a 4-8 record.

Prichard also had some Major League experience under his belt. He made his Major League debut with the Washington Senators on June 14, 1939 and played in his final MLB game on Aug. 24, 1939, less than a year before the Rebels visited Evergreen. The 1940 season was Prichard’s last with the Rebels, but he went on to play for at least seven other minor league teams before hanging up his spikes in 1949.

Wingard, who was 39 years old when the Rebels came to Evergreen, which is ancient for a ball player, was also a Major League veteran, but he hadn’t appeared in a Big League game in 13 years by the time the Rebels stopped in Evergreen. He made his MLB debut for the St. Louis Browns on May 1, 1924 and was on the team for three more years, making his final MLB appearance on Sept. 25, 1927. His official MLB pitching record was 29-43.

In the end, if you’re interested in learning more about these players, the Southeastern Baseball League or the Montgomery Rebels, be sure to check out one of my favorite Web sites, Baseball Reference.com, www.baseball-reference.com, which is where I found a lot of the information above.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for June 25, 2015

Wendell Hart
JUNE 26, 1997

“These Evergreen Little League All Stars will open play in the District Tournament Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Brewton. They will be playing the Opp All Stars. 1997 Little League All Stars are Joe Windham, Josh Bates, Bryan Boykin, Anthony Maxwell, Thomas Nielsen, Christopher Garner, Jeremy Anderson, Wiley Cobb, Matt Robinson, Jonathan Rodgers, Jonathan Booth, Eric Taylor and Josh Watson.”

“The Little League Braves were named as league champions Tuesday night to close out the 1997 season. The Braves finished with a 12-2 record for the season. Pictured are Bryson Stallworth, Edward Thomas, Pierre Evans, Anthony Maxwell, Bryan Boykin, Josh Macks, Josh Williams, Jonathan Rodgers, Robert Kent, Jonathan Booth and Josh Watson. Coaches for the Braves were Jackie Gorum, Ronnie Kent and Jerry Evers.”

“Applications Being Accepted For Wendell Hart Scholarship: The Evergreen Rotary Club, administrators of the Wendell Hart Scholarship Fund, announces that applications for a $2,500 scholarship are now available. To qualify: 1.) Must be a graduate of a Conecuh County high school (not solely for 1997 graduates); 2.) Must have a sincere desire to further education. This scholarship is dedicated to the memory of the late Coach Wendell Hart, who deeply cared for his students and desired that all deserving young men and women be able to advance their education.”

JUNE 24, 1982

“The Lyeffion Saddle Club is having a horseshow Sat., June 26, starting at 5 p.m. Shown above is Saddle Club member Harriet Oswald riding her beautiful Tennessee Walking Horse, ‘Alley Cat.’ Events will include halter, western and field pleasures, racking, timed events and roping. There will be plenty of barbecue and other food served on the grounds. Harriet and ‘Alley Cat’ will be there competing with some of the best horses in this area, ‘so come ready to eat and have a good ol’ time!,’ say show sponsors.”

“Ladies softball meet local park Saturday: There will be a ladies slow pitch softball tournament Saturday at the Evergreen Municipal Park. The tournament is being sponsored by China Ladies Softball Club. Everyone is cordially invited to attend.”

JUNE 22, 1967

“JR. LEAGUE REPORT: Orioles 18, Pelicans 2: A big, 11-run second inning is all that the Orioles needed to crush the Pelicans, 18-2. Two singles by Mark Daniels and a single by Larry Darby were the big blows for the Orioles in the second inning. Charlie Ward had the only hit the Pelicans got all night against Bruce Hutcheson.”

“Yankees 4, Giants 2: Gary McInvale, Billy Hall and Steve Hall combined their talents to hurl the fourth no-hitter of the Junior League season, but it was all in vain as the Yankees rallied and edged the Giants, 4-2. Travis Sims was the inning hurler and struck out 14 batters; Hall, Hall and McInvale combined to mow down 16 batters. Daniel Byrd also struck out a batter for a total of 31 strikeouts.”

“Chicks 7, Orioles 2: Keith Pugh fired fastballs and struck out the side four innings in a row as the Chicks won their fourth straight game. Keith was tough as he mowed down 12 batters and yielded no hits. Jerry Peacock, Keith Pugh and Dwight Bennett each collected a hit for the Chicks in the second inning.”

“Dodgers 5, Giants 2: A four-run fifth inning powered the Dodgers past the Giants, 5-2. Johnny Andrews doubled, David Majors doubled and Jerry Daw singled to provide the offense for the Dodgers in their big inning. Johnny Andrews was the winning hurler and mowed down 10 Giants.”

“Dodgers 27, Yankees 2: The Yankees had a night in the field, but it was the wrong kind of night as their defense fell apart and 27 runs crossed home plate for the Dodgers. Sammy Garrett led the Dodgers as he went three-for-five and collected two singles and a triple in the process. The Yankees didn’t come to life until the bottom of the fifth as they scored two runs on two walks and a single by Daniel Byrd and a double by Kenny Dittman.”

“Chicks 7, Orioles 6: The Chicks made it five victories in a row as they edged the Orioles, 7-6. The Chicks started the scoring in the first inning as they pushed two runs across on two errors and a triple by Lonnie Finley. The Orioles concluded the night’s scoring as they pushed three runs over in their half of the second inning. The big blow in that frame was a single by Bruce Hutcheson.”

JUNE 26, 1952

“Legion Baseball Team Loses To Andalusia: The Evergreen Jr. American Legion Baseball Team lost a close tilt to the Andalusia team in their first start Tuesday afternoon. The boys played well and with a little more practice under their belts should turn into a first-class team.
“The game was played in Andalusia and the local team lost after leading for the first five and one half innings. The final score was 8 to 7. Regulation for Jr. A.L. Baseball is seven innings. The locals scored one run in the first while Andalusia scored two, but Evergreen pushed across five big tallies in the second frame that kept them the lead until the bottom half of the fifth when the Andalusia nine tied the count. Andalusia scored two more in the bottom of the sixth to ice the game. The locals tried hard to come back in the top of the seventh and last inning but could tally but one run.
“Hugh Ellington, pitching for Evergreen, surrendered only six hits but his backing was a little loose. He walked only one man and struck out three. Ellington also led his team in batting with two hits. Lewis and McLendon each had a hit for the locals to account for the only safe blows for the Evergreen team. Massey led the Andalusia batters with two safeties. Green was the winning pitcher. Andalusia will face Evergreen here in Brooks Stadium Thursday afternoon. After the close title in Andalusia, the local team is confident of a win. Regardless, the fans will be offered a well played, interesting contest."

JUNE 24, 1937

“Century Wins Two Games From Locals: Evergreen and Brewton meet here today in a double header, the twin bill to be played at Gantt Field, beginning at 2:30.
“The local baseball club extended its losing streak to five straight by yielding to Century on the Floridians’ grounds last Thursday by a score of 11 to 3, and repeating the loss by a 9 and 5 score at Gantt Field Sunday.
“Thursday’s contest found the locals hard-pressed for pitching, Bob Kendall and Mack Binion sharing the work on the hillock. Misplays afield contributed to the scoring by Century, although Century earned enough runs to win. The winners secured 18 base hits.
“Young Jim Lane went to the hill Sunday, in an effort to break the losing streak. He did well for four innings, turning over the hurling to Al Hansen in the fifth, who in turn yielded the mound to Doc Jones.
“Century cinched Sunday’s game with a six-run rally in the eighth inning at the expense of Hansen and Jones, scoring six runs on five hits, a wild pitch and two errors.
“Lefty Adams led the hitters, as well as being listed as winning pitcher, getting three bingles out of five tries.
“Lane, Hall and Seabrook with two hits each led the Evergreen hitters, one of Lane’s clouts being a left field homerun drive, the smack coming in the eighth inning.

“Hansen also smacked a round tripper down the left field dump, the blow scoring Lane ahead of big Al, accounting for both of Evergreen’s second-inning runs.”