Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Today in History for June 24, 2015

Birmingham, Ala. native Lee May.
June 24, 1374 – A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion. This outbreak of dancing plague or dancing mania is also known as St. Vitus’ Dance. Scientists tend to believe it was due to ergot poisoning or mass hysteria.

June 24, 1497 – Italian explorer John Cabot, sailing in the service of England, landed in North America at Newfoundland leading the first European exploration of the region since the Vikings.

June 24, 1597 – The first Dutch voyage to the East Indies reached Bantam (on Java).

June 24, 1604 – Samuel de Champlain discovered the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

June 24, 1664 - New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey, was founded.

June 24, 1717 – The Premier Grand Lodge of England, the first Masonic Grand Lodge in the world (now the United Grand Lodge of England), was founded in London.

June 24, 1777 – Scottish commander and Arctic explorer John Ross was born in Inch, Wigtownshire, Scotland.

June 24, 1778 - The Continental Congress returned to Philadelphia. They had been in York, Pa. during the British occupation of Philadelphia.

June 24, 1779 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Great Siege of Gibraltar began.

June 24, 1803 - Matthew Thornton, one of New Hampshire’s delegates to the second Continental Congress and an ex post facto signer of the Declaration of Independence, died at age 89 while visiting his daughter in Newburyport, Mass.

June 24, 1831 - Alabama author Rebecca Harding Davis was born in Washington, Pa.

June 24, 1842 - Alabama author Ambrose Bierce was born near Horse Cave Creek in Meigs County, Ohio. He wrote essays, journalism, and satire, and he’s well known for his short stories, especially “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890) and “The Devil’s Dictionary” (1906). He volunteered for the Union Army when the Civil War broke out and fought in some of its bloodiest battles.

June 24, 1861 - Federal gunboats attacked Confederate batteries at Mathias Point, Va.

June 24, 1862 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln met with retired General Winfield Scott to discuss Union strategy in Virginia. Scott was a hero of the Mexican War and the commander of all Union forces at the outbreak of the Civil War.

June 24, 1864 - Union commander Ambrose Burnside approved the plan for troops to dig a tunnel toward the Confederates at Petersburg, Va. with the intention of using gunpowder to blow a gap in the Rebel fortifications. The explosion was successfully set off on July 30.

June 24, 1896 - Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute, became the first African American to be awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. Born into slavery in Virginia, Washington moved to Alabama in 1881 to open Tuskegee Normal School. He soon gained fame as an educational leader among black Americans, a fact which Harvard recognized with a Master of Arts degree.

June 24, 1900 - Alabama author Zelda Fitzgerald was born in Montgomery, Ala.

June 24, 1908 – Former U.S. President Grover Cleveland died of a heart attack at the age of 71 in Princeton, N.J. He had served as President of the United States for two separate terms (1885-1889 and 1893-1897).

June 24, 1914 - The Monroeville, Ala. baseball team played Atmore and “as usual came off victor, the score being four to three.”

June 24, 1915 – On this Wednesday morning, John Salter and Robert Watkins were arrested at a residence in Evergreen, Ala. They would later confess 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 24, 1916 – Poet John Ciardi was born in Little Italy in Boston’s North End.

June 24, 1922 - The American Professional Football Association took the name of the National Football League.

June 24, 1935 - Journalist Pete Hamill is born on this day in 1935 to Irish immigrants in Brooklyn. He is best known for his 1995 book, “A Drinking Life.”

June 24, 1937 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Col. Jim Walton of Meridian, Miss., the Secretary-Director of the General Sam Dale Historical Society, was in Conecuh County, Ala. that week, “checking records and unraveling the ancient history of Sam Dale and his connection with history of the county, especially the battle of Burnt Corn.”

June 24, 1937 – Baseball teams from Evergreen and Brewton were scheduled to play a doubleheader at Gantt Field in Evergreen, Ala. on this Thursday, starting at 2:30 p.m.

June 24, 1937 – Novelist Anita Desai was born in Mussoorie, India.

June 24, 1938 – Pieces of a meteor, estimated to have weighed 450 metric tons when it hit the Earth's atmosphere and exploded, land near Chicora, Pennsylvania.

June 24, 1938 – Major League Baseball first baseman Don Mincher was born in Huntsville, Ala. He would go on to play for the Washington Senators, the Minnesota Twins, the California Angels, the Seattle Pilots, the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers.

June 24, 1939 – Poet Stephen Dunn was born in Forest Hills, N.Y. His poetry collection, “Different Hours,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001.

June 24, 1947 - Pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine UFOs over Mount Rainier, Wash., which he described as like "saucers skipping over the water." His sighting was the first widely reported UFO sighting, kicked off the modern UFO era and led the press to coin the phrase 'flying saucers.'

June 24, 1952 – In their first game of the season, Evergreen’s Junior American Legion baseball team lost to Andalusia, 8-7, in Andalusia, Ala. Evergreen pitcher Hugh Ellington struck out three, walked one and gave up six hits on the mound and led the team at the plate with two hits.

June 24, 1962 – Greening Masonic Lodge No. 53 was scheduled to install its newly elected officers during a regular meeting on this day.

June 24, 1962 - The New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers, 9-7, after 22 innings.

June 24, 1968 - Jim Northrup of the Detroit Tigers tied a Major League Baseball record when he hit two grand slams in one game.

June 24, 1970 – Birmingham, Ala. native Lee May hit the last home run in the history of Cincinnati’s Crosley Field during the park’s final game. The game-winning shot came in the eighth inning off San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal.

June 24, 1974 - Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" was released.

June 24, 1979 - Bob Watson of the Houston Astros hit for the cycle against San Francisco. On Sept. 15, 1979, he became the first player to hit for the cycle in both leagues when he did it with the Boston Red Sox.

June 24, 1983 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Conecuh County Sheriff’s Department, under Sheriff Edwin L. Booker, had seized 75 marijuana plants from a field in northeast Conecuh County, Ala., between McKenzie and Travis Bridge. The plants were six to 10 feet in height and had an estimated street value of $15,000. The marijuana was spotted from the air by a helicopter used by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

June 24, 1993 - Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter was seriously injured while opening his mail when a padded envelope explodes in his hands. The attack just came two days after a University of California geneticist was injured by a similar bomb and was the latest in a string of bombings since 1978 that authorities believed to be related. In the aftermath of the attack on Gelernter, various federal departments established the UNABOM Task Force, which launched an intensive search for the so-called “Unabomber.”

June 24, 1997 – The U.S. Air Force issued a 231-page report, titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed,” dismissing the long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. They suggested that recovered bodies were not those of aliens but crash test dummies used in parachute experiments.

June 24, 1997 – The 12-2 Braves were named the league champions on this Tuesday night as Evergreen Little League closed out the 1997 season. The members of the Braves were Jonathan Booth, Bryan Boykin, Pierre Evans, Robert Kent, Josh Macks, Anthony Maxwell, Jonathan Rodgers, Bryson Stallworth, Edward Thomas, Josh Watson and Josh Williams. The team’s coaches were Jackie Gorum, Ronnie Kent and Jerry Evers.

June 24, 2003 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants became the first player to reach 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases.

June 24, 2005 – The first geocache ever established in Conecuh County was placed near the southbound rest stop on Interstate Highway 65, south of Evergreen, Ala.

June 24, 2013 - The pilot episode of "Under the Dome" aired.

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