Nov. 17, 1685 – Canadian commander and explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye was born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. In the 1730s he and his four sons opened up the area west of Lake Superior and thus began the process that added Western Canada to the original New France in the Saint Lawrence basin. He was also the first known European to reach North Dakota and the upper Missouri River.
Nov. 17, 1777 - Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification. Bickering over land claims between Virginia and Maryland delayed final ratification for almost four more years, and Maryland became the last state to approve the Articles on March 1, 1781, affirming them as the outline of the official government of the United States. The nation was guided by the document until the implementation of the current U.S. Constitution in 1789.
Nov. 17, 1790 - Mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius was born in Schulpforta, Electorate of Saxony. He's remembered today for creating the curious topological surface called the Möbius strip.
Nov. 17, 1800 – The United States Congress met in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for the first time.
Nov. 17, 1808 – Benjamin Faneuil Porter was born on Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, S.C. to Benjamin Richardson Porter and Eliza Seabrook Fickling Porter. He would go on to become a doctor and lawyer, live in Claiborne, Ala. for about six years, before becoming a state legislator, judge and Mayor of Greenville, Ala.
Nov. 17, 1813 – Arriving at the Alabama River, General Ferdinand Claiborne’s army camped for the night upon the western bank and the following day came across the river on rafts. There according to Pickett’s History of Alabama, “Claiborne constructed a stockade, 200 square feet, defended by three block houses and half moon battery, which commanded the river.”
Nov. 17, 1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer became the first American to see Antarctica. (The Palmer Peninsula was later named after him.)
Nov. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Cypress Bridge, near Rumsey, McClean County, Ky.
Nov. 17, 1862 - The USS San Jacinto laid in wait off the Caribbean island of Martinique for the Confederate steamer, CSS Alabama, but failed to prevent her from leaving port.
Nov. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Siege of Knoxville began as Confederate General James Longstreet placed the city of Knoxville, Tenn. under siege. After two weeks and one failed attack, he abandoned the siege and rejoined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Longstreet could not cut off Union supplies, and Confederate reinforcements arrived on Nov. 28.
Nov. 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Maysville and New Market, Ala.
Nov. 17, 1871 – The National Rifle Association was granted a charter by the state of New York.
Nov. 17, 1875 - The American Theosophical Society was formed.
Nov. 17, 1895 – On this Sunday, traveling shoe salesman J.H. Douglas of Nashville hired a team and driver from a Mr. Irwin in order to travel to Repton, Ala. Night overtook them about a mile from Repton and in a dark place in the road, two men appeared, stepped “up deliberately to the buggy, thrust a pistol in” Douglas’ face and commanded him to halt. Instead, Douglas “put whip to the horses and left the would-be robbers standing in the road.”
Nov. 17, 1913 - The steamship Louise became the first ship to travel through the Panama Canal.
Nov. 17, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that L.D. King, the “lumber King,” had set a “remarkable record” when he hauled 91 bushels of corn all in one wagon while harvesting his corn crop a few days before. Several yokes of steers were required to move the “immense load.”
Nov. 17, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that W.M. Newton, J.D. Deming, Eugene Salter, C.P. Deming Jr. and A. Cunningham, all of Evergreen, Ala., attended the Shrine “ceremonial” in Montgomery the week before.
Nov. 17, 1916 – Historian and novelist Shelby Foote was born in Greenville, Miss.
Nov. 17, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Frank Hill of Roy, Ala. (present-day Frisco City) and Army Pvt. Charlie B. Covin of Georgiana, Ala. “died from disease.”
Nov. 17, 1929 – Major League Baseball first baseman Norbert “Norm” Henry Zauchin was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. He started his professional career in 1950 with the Double-A Birmingham Barons, where he set a Rickwood Field field record with 35 home runs. He would go on to play for the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators. He passed away in Birmingham, Ala. at the age of 69 on Jan. 31, 1999.
Nov. 17, 1935 - The Ralph Kennedy residence in Monroeville, Ala. was badly damaged by fire on this Sunday morning. The alarm, sounded about 10 a.m., brought the volunteer fire department and others to assist fighting the blaze, and eventually the flames were put under control, but not until serious damage had been done, including the destruction of the roof and the second story of the house. The fire was thought to have caught from a defective chimney in the main part of the house.
Nov. 17, 1940 - The Green Bay Packers became the first NFL team to travel by plane.
Nov. 17, 1944 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver was born in Fresno, Calif. He would go on to play for the New York Mets, the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Nov. 17, 1955 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the pump on one of the City of Evergreen, Alabama’s two water wells was out of order, and all of the city’s water customers were urged to conserve water while repairs were being made. G.L. Wilkinson was Evergreen’s City Clerk.
Nov. 17, 1968 - NBC cut away from the final minutes of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to begin a TV special, "Heidi," on schedule. The Raiders came from behind to beat the Jets, 43-32, and viewers in the eastern U.S. were denied the opportunity to watch its exciting finish, prompting changes to sports broadcasting in the U.S.
Nov. 17, 1970 – The Evergreen (Ala.) City Council approved a budget of $597,954.45, which was the largest budget up to that point in the city’s history, according to City Clerk Miller Sellers.
Nov. 17, 1977 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the bypass (now called Wild Avenue) from State Highway 83 to U.S. Highway 31 in Evergreen, Ala. was nearing completion.
Nov. 17, 1977 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen Mayor O.B. “Bert” Tuggle had signed a proclamation making Sat., Nov. 19, “Clint Jackson Day” in the City of Evergreen, Ala. Attending the signing ceremony were NAACP members Mr. and Mrs. James A. Powell, Mr. and Mrs. O.F. Frazier, Richard Rabb, Edith Gray, Larry Fluker and Jerome Gray.
Nov. 17, 1978 – The Liddell Archeological Site in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The site covers 50 acres and shows evidence of human occupation from 9000 BC to 1800 AD.
Nov. 17, 1979 - Maverick catastrophist Immanuel Velikovsky passed away at the age of 84 in Princeton, New Jersey.
Nov. 17, 1982 - The National Football League reduced its 16-game season to nine as a result of a 57-day players' strike.
Nov. 17, 1982 - The Empire State Building was added to the National Register of Historical Places.
Nov. 17, 1983 – Sparta Academy’s varsity girls basketball team beat Jackson Academy, 33-28, in Jackson, Ala. Jan Coker led Sparta with 12 points. Sparta’s varsity boys lost, 75-66. Al Etheridge led Sparta with 22 points.
Nov. 17, 1983 – Evergreen, Ala. weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 29 degrees.
Nov. 17, 1991 - Mike Utley of the Detroit Lions suffered a spinal injury in a game against Los Angeles that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Nov. 17, 1993 - Alabama author Sara W. Glendinning died in Marietta, Ga.
Nov. 17, 1993 - Annie Proulx won the National Book Award for her novel “The Shipping News,” which also won the Pulitzer Prize.
Nov. 17, 2003 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants became the first Major League Baseball player to receive six National League MVP awards.
Nov. 17, 2003 - Actor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th governor of California at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger, who became a major Hollywood star in the 1980s with such action movies as “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Terminator,” defeated Governor Gray Davis in a special recall election on Oct. 7, 2003. English, and went on to win a dozen more world bodybuilding titles. In 1977, he gained After winning the election and serving out the remainder of former governor Gray Davis’s term, “The Governator,” as he was dubbed, was re-elected in November 2006 to serve a full term in office.
Nov. 17, 2010 – Birmingham, Alabama’s Sloss Furnaces were featured on an episode of “Ghost Hunters.”