Oct. 21, 1496 – Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto was born in Barcarrota, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain.
Oct. 21, 1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovered a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.
Oct. 21, 1520 – João Álvares Fagundes discovered the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, bestowing them their original name of "Islands of the 11,000 Virgins".
Oct. 21, 1772 – English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England.
Oct. 21, 1774 – The first display of the word "Liberty" was seen on a flag raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.
Oct. 21, 1779 – During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress of the United States elected former congressman Henry Laurens minister to Holland. Laurens’ first and most crucial duty as the new minister was to negotiate an alliance with Holland, which he did in 1780.
Oct. 21, 1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.
Oct. 21, 1858 – Dr. Charles Brooks Thomas was born. He would later buy a plantation where Thomaston, Ala. is now located and would be appointed postmaster. Thomaston was named in his honor and he would become the town’s first mayor and had the land surveyed and laid out the town.
Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, an action took place at Rockcastle Hills (or Camp Wildcat), Ky.
Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, an engagement took place at Fredericktown, Mo.
Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Young’s Mill, near Newport News, Va.
Oct. 21, 1861 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Union troops under Col. Eward Baker suffered a defeat by Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war, which occurred in Loudoun County, Virginia. Colonel Edward Baker, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, was killed in the battle becoming the first martyr of the war and led to the creation of a Congressional committee to monitor the conduct of the war. The Union suffered 49 killed, 158 wounded, and 714 missing and captured, while the Confederates suffered 33 killed, 115 wounded, and one missing.
Oct. 21, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Cherokee Station, Ala. on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
Oct. 21, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Leesburg, Ala.
Oct. 21, 1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison finally struck upon the idea for a workable electric light.
Oct. 21, 1888 - Margaret Fox, one of the Fox sisters, confessed that the "spirit rappings" she and her sisters made were a hoax, created by the cracking of their toe joints.
Oct. 21, 1895 – The Fall term of the Monroe County Circuit Court was scheduled to convene on this day in Monroeville, Ala.
Oct. 21, 1904 – Swiss explorer and journalist Isabelle Eberhardt was killed in a flash flood at the age of 27 in Aïn Séfra, Algeria.
Oct. 21, 1905 - The fall term of Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court adjourned on this Saturday morning.
Oct. 21-22, 1905 – The Rev. J.B. Kilpatrick filled his regular appointment at Pleasant Hill Church on this Saturday and Sunday. He was assisted by Rev. Mr. Cohron of Excel, Ala., who preached at the Grimes’ school house on the night of Sat., Oct. 21.
Oct. 21, 1917 – During World War I, four months after the first U.S. troops arrived in France, the first Americans entered combat when units from the U.S. Army's First Division were assigned to Allied trenches in the Luneville sector near Nancy, France.
Oct. 21, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Wm. S. Millican of Jackson, Ala. and Army Pvt. John Butler of Furman in Wilcox County, Ala. “died from disease.”
Oct. 21, 1921 – The Troy State Normal School (present-day Troy University) beat Repton High School, 12-6, in a football game in Troy, Ala. Troy would finish the season with a 1-7 record.
Oct. 21, 1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivered in Alabama the first speech by a sitting U.S. President against lynching in the deep South. Harding was the great-grandson of Conecuh County’s Henchie Warren, who is said to have hid a chest of gold in Shipps Pond during the Civil War.
Oct. 21, 1926 – As The Evergreen Courant began its 32nd year of publication, it began publishing on Thursdays each week instead of Wednesdays as it had in the past.
Oct. 21, 1927 - In New York City, construction began on the George Washington Bridge.
Oct. 21, 1928 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford was born in New York, New York. He spent his entire major league career with the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Oct. 21, 1929 – Science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, Calif.
Oct. 21-22, 1932 – “Huddle: A Thrilling Football Picture,” starring Ramon Novarro, Una Merkle and Madge Evans, was scheduled to be shown at the Evergreen Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.
Oct. 21, 1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was published.
Oct. 21, 1948 – Major League Baseball shortstop and manager Bill Russell was born in Pittsburgh, Kansas. He would go on to play for and manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Oct. 21, 1953 – Well known Belleville, Ala. merchant Charles Wesley Reid, 73, died in a Greenville, Ala. hospital around 7 a.m. from injuries received in an automobile accident five days before. The accident occurred on the afternoon of Fri., Oct. 16, about mile east of Belleville.
Oct. 21, 1956 - Billy Howton of the Green Bay Packers caught seven passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams. The final score was, 42-17.
Oct. 21, 1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public.
Oct. 21, 1959 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.
Oct. 21, 1960 – A major fire completely destroyed the Evergreen Heading Co. mill and warehouse on this early Friday morning. The mill, which manufactured wooden, paper-coated barrelheads, was founded in 1938, and Ward Alexander was the manager. It was believed that an electrical spark or spark from a boiler might have ignited shavings in the mill.
Oct. 21, 1960 – On homecoming night in Evergreen, Ala. Evergreen High School beat Frisco City, 21-14. Mary Hunter was named Miss Homecoming, and Joy Lure’ Davis was named Miss Football.
Oct. 21, 1962 – On Layman’s Day, J. Herbert Orr, industrialist, churchman and civic leader of Opelika, was scheduled to be the guest speaker on this Sunday at the Evergreen Methodist Church in Evergreen, Ala. Orr was one of America’s pioneers in the field of magnetic recording tape, and founded Orradio Industries, Inc., one of the first tape manufacturing plants in the nation.
Oct. 21, 1966 - The U.S. Congress approved the American Football League – National Football League merger.
Oct. 21, 1966 – On homecoming night at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala., Evergreen High School beat Frisco City High School, 39-6. Chan Fendley was crowned Miss Homecoming at Evergreen High School, and Faye Cook was named Miss Football.
Oct. 21, 1966 – The Conecuh County Board of Education opened bids for a major adition to Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala. The addition consisted of five classrooms, a band room, restrooms and some basement storage area. Construction was to begin immediately.
Oct. 21, 1967 – Future J.U. Blacksher High School head coach and principal Keith Cardwell scored a 21-yard touchdown and kicked the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 win over Excel High School.
Oct. 21, 1967 - At an antiwar rally in Washington, D.C., the protests included an exorcism of the Pentagon.
Oct. 21, 1973 - Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL player to record two safeties in a single game. The Rams defeated the Green Bay Packers, 24-7.
Oct. 21, 1975 - Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox hit a home run in the 12th inning in a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds in Game Six of the World Series. The Sox went on to lose the championship, of course. Still, even 30 years later, the films and photos of Fisk urgently trying to wave the ball into fair territory provide some of the game’s most enduring and exciting images. As team president Larry Lucchino pointed out, “the appeal of baseball at its best was illustrated that night.”
Oct. 21, 1980 - The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series.
Oct. 21, 1984 - Steve Cox of the Cleveland Browns kicked a 60-yard field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the second longest field goal in NFL history. The Browns lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 12-9.
Oct. 21, 1986 – The Monroeville (Ala.) City Council appointed Bill Dailey as Monroeville Police Chief. He replaced Charles Colbert, who had been chief for 12 years.
Oct. 21, 1986 – Natalee Ann Holloway was born in Clinton, Miss. At the age of 18, on May 30, 2005, she would disappear while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba, six days after her graduation from Mountain Brook High School in Alabama.
Oct. 21, 1995 – The 15th Annual Conecuh Heritage Day Festival was scheduled to be held in downtown Evergreen, Ala. Christian Country Music recording artist Jimmy Whitt and his 15-year-old daughter, Jamie, were scheduled to headline the entertainment.
Oct. 21, 1998 - The New York Yankees set a Major League Baseball record of 125 victories for the regular and postseason combined.
Oct. 21, 2000 - The New York Yankees defeated the New York Mets, 4-3, in 12 innings. It was the longest World Series game at four hours and 51 minutes.
Oct. 21, 2011 – “The Last Ride,” a film about the death of Hank Williams Sr., was released in theaters.
Oct. 21-22, 2011 – Three members of the Singleton Society of Paranormal Investigators spent the night at the supposedly haunted Rikard’s Mill, north of Beatrice, Ala.
Oct. 21, 2015 - Marty McFly and Doc Brown blasted their DeLorean into the future at the end of the 1985 cult classic "Back to the Future" and landed in Hill Valley on the date of October 21, 2015, at the start of "Back to the Future Part II."