Aug. 7, 1574 – English explorer and cartographer Robert Dudley was born in Richmond Palace, Surrey. In 1594, he led an expedition to the West Indies, of which he wrote an account, and later designed and published “Dell'Arcano del Mare,” the first maritime atlas to cover the whole world.
Aug. 7, 1779 – French explorer Louis de Freycinet was born in Montélimar, Drôme. He circumnavigated the earth, and in 1811 published the first map to show a full outline of the coastline of Australia.
Aug. 7, 1782 – In Newburgh, N.Y., George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart.
Aug. 7, 1789 – The United States Department of War was established by the U.S. Congress.
Aug. 7, 1813 – Gen. Ferdinand Claiborne, who was commanding at Mount Vernon, inspected Fort Mims and recommended that at least two and possibly three additional blockhouses be built, but those orders were never accomplished.
Aug. 7, 1836 - Confederate General Evander Law was born in Darlington, S.C. and went on to open a new military school in Tuskegee, Ala. When the war broke out, Law became a lieutenant colonel in the 4th Ala. Infantry and he went on to have a distinguished career in the Confederate army, earning a reputation as a brave and effective field commander. He was the last surviving Confederate general before his death in 1920.
Aug. 7, 1861 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation in the communities of Price’s Landing, Commerce, Benton, and Hamburg, Missouri began.
Aug. 7, 1861 - The US War Department signed a contract with Mr. James E. Eads for the construction of seven iron clad gunboats which would become the main naval force of the Union’s western river operations, the Cairo, Carondolet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis. Unrelated to the Civil War, James Eads was responsible for conducting the multitude of surveys prior to the war that resulted in much of the present day system of levees along the Mississippi River.
Aug. 7, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Moseley’s Plantation, in the vicinity of Decatur, Ala.
Aug. 7, 1862 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal reconnaissance from Pensacola to Bagdad and Milton, Fla. began.
Aug. 7, 1864 – During the Civil War, in direct disobedience to his orders, the Confederate commander of Ft Gaines, on Dauphin Island, Ala., Colonel Charles D. Anderson, spent this day arranging terms and making out rolls of men to be surrendered to Admiral Farragut and General Granger. A number of the surrendered personnel spent the rest of the war a relatively short distance away on Ship Island, Mississippi. Others were not so fortunate.
Aug. 7, 1876 – Dutch dancer and spy Mata Hari was born Margaretha Zelle in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
Aug. 7, 1882 - Isaac “Honest Ike” Vincent was elected to an unprecedented third term as Alabama State Treasurer. Thanking the Democratic Convention that had nominated him two months earlier, Vincent promised that he would “endeavor in the future, as I have in the past, to guard and advance your interests as faithfully as I would my own.” On Jan. 31, 1883, Gov. Edward A. O’Neal reported to the Legislature that Treasurer Vincent had absconded from office and that state funds totaling more than $200,000 were missing.
Aug. 7, 1904 – Anthropologist and archeologist Louis Leakey was born in Kabete, Kenya.
Aug. 7, 1907 - Senator pitcher Walter Johnson won his first Major League Baseball game by defeating the Indians, 7-2.
Aug. 7, 1914 – In the first of a three-game series, Brewton’s baseball team beat Monroeville, 9-3, in Monroeville, Ala.
Aug. 7, 1915 – Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Ralph Clark was shot through the right lung while attempting to arrest a man who was wanted for a minor offense at the Alger-Sullivan headquarters camp on this Saturday night. Clark returned fire and mortally wounded the shooter, who was then strung up by a mob and riddled with bullets. Clark was taken to Century for medical attention.
Aug. 7, 1918 – During World War I, Army 2nd Lt. Claud M. McCall of Brewton, Ala. was killed in action.
Aug. 7, 1919 – Lewis Lavon Peacock’s wife, Safronia Caroline Martin, died of typhoid fever.
Aug. 7, 1930 – The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurred in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were killed.
Aug. 7, 1933 – In what is now known as the “Simele Massacre,” the Iraqi government slaughtered over 3,000 Assyrians in the village of Simele. The day became known as Assyrian Martyrs Day.
Aug. 7, 1938 – American journalist Jane Kramer was born in Providence, Rhode Island.
Aug. 7, 1942 - The U.S. 1st Marine Division began Operation Watchtower, the first U.S. offensive of the war, by landing on Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands.
Aug. 7, 1942 - Alabama author Judith Richards was born in McLeansboro, Ill.
Aug. 7, 1945 – The USS Eldridge arrived at Okinawa for local escort and patrol, and with the end of hostilities a week later, continued to serve as escort on the Saipan–Ulithi–Okinawa routes until November.
Aug. 7, 1946 - Lt. Gen. Holland "Howlin' Mad" Smith retired from the Marines after a 40-year career. A veteran of World Wars I and II, the Russell County, Ala. native became known as "the father of amphibious warfare," and was honored for his years of service by being retired as a full general.
Aug. 7, 1947 - Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. On this day, the raft smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after its journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that prehistoric peoples could have traveled from South America.
Aug. 7, 1953 – City Furniture Co. in Evergreen, Ala. held its grand opening in the location formerly occupied by the Olen Department Store in the Binion Building on West Front Street.
Aug. 7, 1953 – Essayist and journalist Anne Fadiman was born in New York City.
Aug. 7, 1954 – The Evergreen Chamber of Commerce planned to auction off the first bale of cotton of the 1954 season in Evergreen’s “No Man’s Land” around 1 p.m. on this Saturday. The first bale was ginned at the Evergreen Gin by Castleberry farmer J.W. Reeves.
Aug. 7, 1958 - Emilia Newcomb, age 22, spontaneously combusted while dancing at a party. She was reduced to a small pile of ash after a brief, intense flare, with only her shoes, slightly scorched, remaining.
Aug. 7, 1960 - David Duchovny, who played FBI Agent on “The X-Files,” was born in New York City.
Aug. 7, 1964 – Monroe County’s first reported cotton bale was ginned at the Kelly Mill at Dottelle. Steve Dailey at Mexia owned the bale, which weighed 568 pounds.
Aug. 7, 1966 - Alabama author Richmond P. Hobson Jr. died at his ranch near Vanderhoof, British Columbia.
Aug. 7, 1968 - In his Major League Baseball debut, Joe Keough of the A's hit a home run in his first at-bat.
Aug. 7, 1969 – Alabama Gov. Albert Brewer named Evergreen Mayor Wm. H. Sessions to the Region Six Planning Board for Law Enforcement. The board was one of seven established throughout the state by Brewer to assist in implementing the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act in Alabama.
Aug. 7, 1969 - Johnny Middleton, a native of Evergreen, announced the opening of his accountant and tax consultant office in the office space in the Jr. Food Store building in Evergreen, Ala.
Aug. 7, 1969 – The Evergreen Quarterback Club was scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. at Evergreen City Hall.
Aug. 7, 1974 – The Seaboard Coastline Depot in Enterprise, in Coffee County, Ala, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Aug. 7, 1974 – French stuntman Philippe Petit performed a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center - 1,368 feet in the air.
Aug. 7, 1981 – The Washington Star ceased all operations after 128 years of publication.
Aug. 7, 1985 - A five-year agreement between the Major League Baseball players union and team owners ended a two-day mid-season players’ strike. The season resumed the next day.
Aug. 7, 1987 - Bill Mazeroski's No. 9 uniform jersey was officially retired from active service by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Aug. 7, 1988 – Liz Cochran, who was later named Miss Alabama 2009, was born in Helena, Ala.
Aug. 7, 1990 - President George Herbert Walker Bush ordered the organization of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2. The order prepared American troops to become part of an international coalition in the war against Iraq that would be launched as Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. To support Operation Desert Shield, Bush authorized a dramatic increase in U.S. troops and resources in the Persian Gulf.
Aug. 7, 1999 - Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres got his 3,000th hit of his Major League Baseball career.
Aug. 7, 2003 - In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would run for the office of governor.