Oct. 23, 1777 - A British Royal Navy fleet of ships, trying to open up supply lines along the Delaware River and the occupying British army in Philadelphia, was bombarded by American cannon fire and artillery from Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Six British ships were severely damaged, including the 64-gun battleship HMS Augusta and the 20-gun sloop Merlin, which both suffered direct hits before they were run aground and subsequently destroyed. More than 60 British troops aboard the Augusta were killed, while the crewmembers aboard the Merlin abandoned ship, narrowly avoiding a similar fate.
Oct. 23, 1791 – Armstead Dudley Cary, who was Conecuh County, Alabama’s first probate judge, was born in Gloucester County, Va. Also served as Receiver of the Land Office for the Sparta District and as Conecuh County Circuit Court Clerk.
Oct. 23, 1813 – German-Australian explorer Ludwig Leichhardt was born in Sabrodt, Germany (Kingdom of Prussia). He is most famous for his exploration of northern and central Australia.
Oct. 23, 1850 – The first National Women's Rights Convention began in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Oct. 23, 1861 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C. for all military-related cases.
Oct. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at West Liberty and near Hodgensville, Kentucky.
Oct. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fough at Gauley, West Virginia, and a five-day Federal reconnaissance began in the Kanawha Valley, West Virginia.
Oct. 23, 1863 – Joel Lee, Conecuh County’s first Justice of the Peace, died at his home in Burnt Corn, Ala.
Oct. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at King's Hill, Alabama.
Oct. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Westport, Mo., Union forces led by General Samuel R. Curtis defeated the Confederate forces in Missouri that were under General Sterling Price at Westport, near Kansas City. This battle was the biggest conflict west of the Mississippi River during the Civil War. Price’s force was soundly defeated, though each side lost about 1,500 men.
Oct. 23, 1864 - Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered parts of three army corps, commanded by Generals Winfield Hancock, Gouverneur K. Warren and John Parke, to advance toward Confederate trenches along Hatcher's Run near Petersburg, Va. The goal was to cut the railroad supply line for the Confederates. On October 25, Union troops were turned back.
Oct. 23, 1882 – Dr. John Johnathan Dailey was born at Tunnel Springs, Ala. He attended Marion Military Institute and graduated from the University of Alabama Medical School in Mobile in 1906. He later practiced medicine in Beatrice, Skinnerton and Tunnel Springs.
Oct. 23, 1883 – The Greenville Advocate in Greenville, Ala. was awarded the First Premium of $100 and a Gold Medal at the Southern Exposition in Louisville, Ky. for being the best county weekly newspaper printed in the southern states.
Oct. 23, 1889 – B.F. Lambert, who’d been confined at the Monroe County (Ala.) Jail for weeks, was transported by Monroe County Sheriff Harrengton to the insane asylum in Tuscaloosa. Lambert was charged with assault on his mother, who he nearly killed, and he was the brother of I.S. Lambert, who was charged with the shooting of T.D. Hestle in 1888.
Oct. 23, 1920 – The novel “Main Street” by Sinclair Lewis was first published.
Oct. 23, 1931 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning was born in Southgate, Ky. He went on to play for the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Oct. 23, 1936 – Repton High School and Conecuh County High School played to a scoreless tie in Repton, Ala.
Oct. 23, 1941 – Mobile, Ala. native Florence Maybrick passed away at the age of 79 in South Kent, Conn. In 1889, she was convicted in Great Britain of poisoning her husband, James Maybrick, who was a suspect in the Jack the Ripper killings.
Oct. 23, 1942 – “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton was born in Chicago.
Oct. 23, 1943 – The mysterious Philadelphia Experiment was said to have been carried out on this day by the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pa.
Oct. 23, 1945 - The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson.
Oct. 23, 1948 – North Dakota National Guard pilot Lt. George F. Gorman gave a sworn account of the widely publicized “Gorman UFO Dogfight” incident to investigators. His statement has since often been reprinted in future years in numerous books and documentaries about UFOs.
Oct. 23, 1951 – The Fall Term of Conecuh County Circuit Court reconvened in Evergreen, Ala. Due to the illness of Circuit Court Judge F.W. Hare, who was confined to his bed with the flu, Attorney Ralph Jones of Monroeville presided as acting judge. On Oct. 22, the first degree murder trial against Willie J. Lassister began. Lassister was charged with the alleged killing of Carlton Crosby and was tried in the spring of 1951, but that trial ended in a mistrial.
Oct. 23, 1956 - Alabama poet Louise Crenshaw Ray died in Birmingham, Ala.
Oct. 23, 1958 - Russian poet and novelist Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He was forced to refuse the honor due to negative Soviet reaction. Pasternak won the award for writing "Dr. Zhivago".
Oct. 23, 1962 – Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Doug Flutie was born in Manchester, Maryland.
Oct. 23, 1962 – NFL quarterback Mike Tomczak was born in Calumet City, Ill.
Oct. 23, 1963 – Peterman Constable Aubrey Helton and Beat 3-Monroeville Constable Aubrey Kilpatrick raided a whiskey still near Drewry, Ala. and arrested one man early on this Wednesday morning. The man was charged with distilling and possession of a still.
Oct. 23, 1972 - The fall term of Circuit Court was scheduled to get under way in Monroeville, Ala. on this Monday morning at 9 a.m., and 97 Monroe County citizens had been summoned for possible jury duty. The grand jury was expected to be empaneled by Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key and hearings on the first of some 25 civil suits was scheduled to start soon thereafter.
Oct. 23, 1973 – During the Watergate scandal, US President Richard M. Nixon agreed to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.
Oct. 23, 1975 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Brenda Royster had been selected as Miss Homecoming at Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala. First alternate was Patricia Gardner and second alternate was Judy Williams. Members of the homecoming court were Joan Gorum, Angela Ballard, Cathy Ballard, Marsha Kimbrough, Anita House, Sandra Reese, Alma Ray and Diane Weaver.
Oct. 23, 1976 – Canadian-American actor and producer Ryan Reynolds was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Oct. 23, 1981 – Excel High School head football coach Lee Holladay led Excel to a 35-23 win over Conecuh County High School, recording his 100th win at Excel.
Oct. 23, 1988 - Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins passed for 521 yards, three touchdowns and completed 35 of 60 passes against the New York Jets. It was considered the single-best passing day in NFL history.
Oct. 23, 1993 - Toronto Blue Jay Joe Carter won the World Series for his team by hitting a ninth-inning home run over the SkyDome’s left-field wall. It was the first time the World Series had ended with a home run since Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski homered to break a 9-9 tie with the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1960 series, and it was the first time in baseball history that a team won the championship with a come-from-behind home run.
Oct. 23, 2005 - In Chicago, Ill., Lou Rawls gave his last performance when he performed the national anthem of the United States to start Game Two of the 2005 World Series.