|Brock Peters in 1961|
July 2, 1540 – The DeSoto Expedition reached the ancient Indian town of Coste, which was located at the upper end of Pine Island in the Tennessee River in present-day Marshall County, Ala.
July 2, 1566 - French astrologer, physician and prophet Nostradamus passed away at the age of 62 in Salon-de-Provence, Provence, France.
July 2, 1613 – The first English expedition (from Virginia) against Acadia led by Samuel Argall took place.
July 2, 1679 – French soldier and explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, first reached Lake Superior, about where the city that bears his name — Duluth — now lies.
July 2, 1698 – British engineer Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.
July 2, 1776 – The Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia and adopted Richard Henry Lee’s resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not approved until July 4. The resolution put forward by Lee that stated: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." Two days later Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence that had been edited by Thomas Jefferson.
July 2, 1777 - A convention of 72 delegates met in Windsor, Vermont to adopt the state's new constitution. It was formally adopted on July 8, 1777.
July 2, 1777 – Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.
July 2, 1777 - The British began an informal siege of Fort Ticonderoga in New York.
July 2, 1818 – Dr. John Watkins was listed as the post master at Fort Claiborne in present-day Alabama.
July 2, 1820 – Confederate soldier W.G. Riley born. He was listed as sick at Union Mills, Va. on Aug. 23, 1861 and was discharged on surgeon’s certificate at Sangster Crossroads near Richmond on Sept. 17, 1861. He enlisted with Co. G, 7th Alabama Cavalry at Claiborne, Ala. on Aug. 8, 1863. He died on March 4, 1886 and was buried at Buena Vista Cemetery in Buena Vista, Ala.
July 2, 1822 – Thirty-five slaves were hanged in South Carolina, including Denmark Vesey, after being accused of organizing a slave rebellion.
July 2, 1839 – Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinqué took over the Cuban slave ship Amistad, which had been transporting them to a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba.
July 2, 1840 – Confederate officer Thomas Mercer Riley was born at Turnbull in Monroe County. He enlisted in the Monroe Guards on March 15, 1861 and served as 2nd Captain. He enlisted in the 5th Alabama on May 13, 1861 and was elected 2nd Lt. He was appointed a 1st Lt. by the State of Alabama on Oct. 13, 1861. Co. D, 5th Alabama reorganized and became Co. C, 5th Alabama on April 27, 1862 and he was named captain on that date. He was wounded on June 2, 1864 and sent home on a 30-day furlough. He commanded Co. C, 5th Alabama and assumed command of the entire regiment during the battle. He surrendered the regiment at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. After the war, he averted a financial disaster within Monroe County in his position as head of the Bank of Beatrice. He died on March 2, 1935 and was buried at Turnbull Cemetery near Riley Crossing. The post-war Riley home stands today just north of Riley Crossing on the west side of State Highway 21.
July 2, 1854 - Alabama author Anne Newport Royall published the last issue of her newspaper The Huntress.
July 2, 1862 - Union General John Dix and Confederate General Daniel H. Hill reached an agreement to exchange prisoners. Under the Dix-Hill cartel each soldier was assigned a value based on their rank.
July 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Huntsville, Ala.
July 2, 1863 – Fighting continued on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg and at least four members of the Conecuh Guard were wounded in this epic battle. Members of the Conecuh Guard known to have been wounded during this battle included Captain William Lee, First Sergeant Andrew J. Mosley, Second Sergeant Alfred H. Floyd and F.M. Curlee.
July 2, 1863 - Randolph County, Ala. native and Lincoln assassination conspirator Lewis Powell (who was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg) was taken as a prisoner of war at the hospital at Pennsylvania College, and he was later transferred to a Baltimore, Md. hospital.
July 2, 1863 – During the Battle of Gettysburg, Union Colonel Strong Vincent was mortally wounded at Little Round Top. He died on July 7 from his wounds.
July 2, 1863 - In Burkesville, Ky., Confederate General John Hunt Morgan began the last of his four raids into Union-held territory. Morgan surrendered on July 26.
July 2, 1864 - Confederate General Joseph Johnston vacated his Kennesaw Mountain lines and retreated toward Atlanta.
July 2, 1864 - The U.S. Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill. The bill required that a majority of a seceded state's white citizens take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and guarantee black equality. President Lincoln pocket vetoed the plan.
July 2, 1877 – Hermann Hesse was born in Calw, Germany.
July 2, 1881 – Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield as he walked through a railroad waiting room in Washington, D.C. Garfield, who was shot in the back and the arm, eventually died from an infection on Sep. 19, 1881, and Vice President Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States.
July 2, 1897 – Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained a patent for radio in London.
July 2, 1903 - Ed Delahanty, 35-year-old left fielder for the Washington Senators, died from a fall from a railroad bridge at Niagra Falls, Ontario.
July 2, 1921 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Knox–Porter Resolution formally ending hostilities between the United States and Imperial Germany during World War I.
July 2, 1927 - Brock Peters, who played the role of Tom Robinson in the 1962 motion picture adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was born in Harlem, New York City.
July 2, 1928 - Author Jack Bethea died in Birmingham, Ala.
July 2, 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.
July 2, 1937 – Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in a Lockheed Electra aircraft over the Central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island while attempting the first equatorial round-the-world flight. They lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean. No trace of Earhart or Noonan was ever found.
July 2, 1939 - At Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt's face was dedicated.
July 2, 1941 – Joe DiMaggio broke "Wee" Willie Keeler’s major league record hitting streak of 44 games when he got a hit in his 45th consecutive game.
July 2, 1947 - An object crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. The U.S. Army Air Force insisted it was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts led to speculation that it might have been an alien spacecraft.
July 2, 1959 – Earl L. Tucker, editor and publisher of The Thomasville Times in Thomasville, Ala., announced the sale of The Times to Clyde Dickey Bozeman, who took over the paper’s operations at the close of business on June 30, 1959.
July 2, 1961 – Pulitzer Prize and Noble Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway, 61, committed suicide at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.
July 2, 1982 - Southern California truck driver Larry Walters became airborne with the help of a lawn chair and 42 helium-filled weather balloons.
July 2, 1989 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.22 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
July 2, 1992 - Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking broke British publishing records with his book “A Brief History of Time,” which had been on the nonfiction bestseller list for three and a half years, selling more than 3 million copies in 22 languages.
July 2, 1995 - Hideo Nomo became the first Japanese player to be selected for a Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
July 2, 1996 - Alex Rodriguez became the third youngest player to be selected to the American League All Star team. Dwight Gooden and Ken Griffey Jr. were the two younger than Rodriguez.
July 2, 1997 – Science fiction-comedy “Men in Black” opened in U.S. theaters, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
July 2, 2002 - A record 62 home runs were hit in 16 Major League Baseball games.
July 2, 2002 – Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.