Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today in History for July 29, 2015

Marie Isabella 'Belle' Boyd.
July 29, 1776 - Silvestre de Escalante and Francisco Dominguez, two Spanish Franciscan priests, left Santa Fe for an epic journey through the Southwest. Escalante and Dominguez hoped to blaze a trail from New Mexico to Monterey, California, but their main goal was to visit with the native inhabitants and convert as many as possible to the Catholic faith.


July 29, 1778 - French Vice-Admiral Count d’Estaing established contact with the Continental Army, which was waiting for his help to retake Rhode Island.

July 29, 1786 - "The Pittsburgh Gazette" became the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies to be published. The paper's name was later changed to "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."

July 29, 1793 – John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto, having sailed into the bay there.

July 29, 1805 – Writer Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris. He is best known for his 1835 book, “Democracy in America.”


July 29, 1833 - The Alabama State Bank opened a branch in Decatur. The building was constructed in fewer than nine months at a cost of around $10,000. It is noted for its Jeffersonian-style architecture featuring a rare five-column design and two sets of double front doors. The stone for the columns was mined nearby and each column weighs one hundred tons. Most of the construction was done by enslaved workers from the plantation of James Fennell, one of Decatur's founders. The Old State Bank Building was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and is believed to be the oldest surviving bank building in the state. Today the building houses a museum with exhibits that include three teller cages built in 1833, currency issued from the bank, numerous maps and photographs, and other artifacts that tell the history of the Bank. The second floor of the building is the preserved residence of the bank's first manager.

July 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, skirmishes was fought at Edward’s Ferry, Md. and at Marlborough Point, Va.

July 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd ws arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war.

July 29, 1862 - The Confederate cruiser, “Alabama,” (known in Britain as “Enrica”) left Liverpool, unarmed, ostensibly on a trial run. On July 31, she proceeded from the Irish Sea into the Atlantic for a rendezvous to receive her arms and ammunition before commencing her attacks on Federal commerce shipping.

July 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Law’s Landing and Old Deposit Ferry, Ala.

July 29, 1864 – Robert W. McCants, who served with the Monroe County Militia in Beats 8 and 9 and with Co. C of the 5th Alabama Regiment, enlisted in the Confederate army. He is buried in the Bells Landing Presbyterian Cemetery in Tinela.

July 29, 1865 – John DeLoach was commissioned for his third term as Monroe County, Alabama’s Circuit Court Clerk, and Samuel H. Dailey was commissioned as Monroe County’s Sheriff.

July 29, 1878 – Newspaper columnist Don Marquis was born in Walnut, Ill.

July 29, 1905 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester, Mass.

July 29, 1907 – Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp ran from Aug. 1 to Aug. 9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

July 29, 1911 – Capt. T.M. Riley held the annual reunion of Co. C, 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment, CSA, at his home at Riley, Ala. Men attending the reunion included Capt. T.M. Riley, 71, of Riley; C.C. Nettles, 73, of Mobile; H.E. Courtney, 69, of Beatrice; Fern Metts, 78, of Monroeville; W.E. Wiggins, 68, of River Ridge; Jos. A. McCants, 68, of Tinela; Joe F. Watson, 71, of Brewton; W.G. Riley, 69, of Evergreen; R.W. McCants, 65, of Tinela; and George C. Nettles, 72, of Natchez. Others visitors included T.A. Nettles of Tunnel Springs; F.M. McKenzie of Riley; W.W. Riley of Beatrice; C.R. Riley of Drewry; J.E. Robinson of Repton; Hugh Courtney Jr. of Beatrice; Miller Stallworth of Pineville; and Robert L. Lyon of Riley.

July 29, 1914 – The three-day Conecuh County Masonic Conference began at Sepulga Lodge and was conducted by District Lecturer B.H. Whittington.

July 29, 1915 – The three-day Conecuh County Masonic Conference began at Dean Lodge, No. 112, at Brooklyn, Ala. J.F. Hattmer was in charge of the work, and G.W. Mixon was worshipful master of the county conference.

July 29, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that the McCorvey Bridge over Limestone Creek collapsed under its own weight sometime “within the past week.”

July 29, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. James F. Smith of Brewton, Ala. “died from wounds.”

July 29, 1921 – Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party. Under Hitler, the Nazi Party grew into a mass movement and ruled Germany as a totalitarian state from 1933 to 1945.

July 29, 1938 – Troy beat the Evergreen Greenies, 6-1, in Troy, Ala.

July 29, 1939 – On this Saturday night, Frank Sheffield, the manager of the Alabama Water Service Co. in Monroeville, Ala., was severely cut in an altercation at “Lambert’s place,” north of Monroeville. On the way to seek medical treatment in Frisco City, Sheffield crashed into a car driven by a Jackson man, south of Monroeville. Sheffield was able to return to work two days later.

July 29, 1946 – James Conrad Marshall was born on this day in Monroeville, Ala. On Jan. 31, 1968, he would be killed while defending the American Embassy in Vietnam as a United States Marine Corps Corporal.

July 29, 1946 – Italian mountaineer and adventurer Alessandro Gogna was born in Genoa, Italy. He is a key figure of Italian mountaineering, both as an active climber and as one of the foremost writers about the mountain world.

July 29, 1947 - A gas leak explosion in a beauty parlor caused the death of 10 women in Harrisonburg, Va.

July 29, 1953 - American director and producer Ken Burns was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

July 29, 1958 – In response to the Soviet’s 1957 launch of Sputnik, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the civilian agency that coordinates America's space exploration. In 1960, NASA arrived in Alabama and established NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. Since then, the Center has been the heart of the U.S. space program providing the rockets that took the first man to the Moon, developing the first space station (Skylab), and playing integral roles in the programs that oversee the Hubble Space Telescope, the Shuttle, and the International Space Station.

July 29, 1972 – Army Col. Philip Doyle Sellers of Greenville, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.

July 29, 1976 – The Evergreen Courant reported that C.A. Walden of Owassa, Ala. had grown a “giant” rutabaga that weighed over 10 pounds and was 27 inches in diameter.

July 29, 1976 – The Evergreen Courant reported that an appeal of a five-year sentence given to the Rev. H.K. Matthews, who was a minister in Evergreen, Ala., on an extortion charge stemming from civil rights demonstrations in February 1975 at the Escambia County Jail in Pensacola, Fla. was denied by the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee.

July 29, 1976 – In New York City, David Berkowitz (a.k.a. the "Son of Sam") killed one person and seriously wounded another when he pulled a gun from a paper bag and fired five shots at Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti of the Bronx while they are sitting in a car, talking. Lauria died and Valenti was seriously wounded in the first in a series of shootings by the serial killer, who terrorized New York City over the course of the next year. Once dubbed the “.44 Caliber Killer,” the Son of Sam eventually got his name from letters he sent to both the police and famed newspaper writer Jimmy Breslin that said, “…I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam. I love to hunt, prowling the streets looking for fair game.”

July 29, 1983 - Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers set the National League consecutive game record at 1,207.

July 29, 1987 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France Fran├žois Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).

July 29, 1989 - Against the Baltimore Orioles, Bo Jackson, batting against Jeff Ballard, turned to the home plate umpire and attempted to call time out as Ballard was delivering the ball. The time-out wasn't granted, but Jackson recovered to swing and hit the pitch over the left-field wall for a home run despite only really seeing the ball as it was on its way to the plate.

July 29, 1998 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.35 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.

July 29, 2003 - Bill Mueller of the Boston Red Sox became the first player in major league baseball history to hit grand slams from both sides of the plate in a game. He had a total of three home runs in the game and collected nine RBI. It was only the 12th time that a player hit two grand slams in a single game.

July 29, 2003 - Marcus Giles of the Atlanta Braves tied a major league record when he went 5-for-5 to give him hits in nine straight at-bats. The record was shared by 10 players at the time.




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