Dec. 15, 37 A.D. – Roman emperor Nero was born in Antium, near Rome.
Dec. 15, 1654 - A meteorological office established in Tuscany began recording daily temperature readings.
Dec. 15, 1776 - General Charles Lee was captured in Basking Ridge, New Jersey by British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the 16th Queen's Light Dragoons. He had left his troops in seach of female company on Dec. 12.
Dec. 15, 1778 – During the American Revolutionary War, British and French fleets clashed in the Battle of St. Lucia.
Dec. 15, 1791 – The United States Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia's ratification created the three-fourths majority required for the amendments to become law.
Dec. 15, 1815 - Jane Austen's "Emma" was published for the first time.
Dec. 15, 1821 – West Point graduate and lawyer Edmund W. Martin was born near Montgomery, Ala. He led the “Lowndes County Volunteers” during Mexican-American War and served as an officer in the Civil War. He also represented Conecuh and Butler counties in the State Senate.
Dec. 15, 1821 – The Murder Creek Navigation Company was incorporated by the Alabama legislature and was formed to provide water transportation between Sparta, Ala. and Pensacola, Fla. The Sparta Bridge was named as the starting point.
Dec. 15, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette was feted at the first commencement ceremony of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Dec. 15, 1827 – Joseph Ganes Sanders, the “Turncoat of Dale County,” was born in South Carolina.
Dec. 15, 1832 – Civil engineer Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France. He went on to build the Eiffel Tower for the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889.
Dec. 15, 1853 – Methodist minister Robert Shaw Rabb was assigned as the first minister to the Elba, Ala. Circuit on this day.
Dec. 15, 1861 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began on the lower Potomac River in Maryland that resulted in the capture of the Confederate sloop, Victory.
Dec. 15, 1861 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Meadow Bluff, West Va. A skirmish was also fought in Roane County, West Va.
Dec. 15, 1862 - In Fredericksburg, Va., a truce was called so that Union forces could collect their dead and wounded after the Battle of Fredericksburg on Dec. 13.
Dec. 15, 1863 - Confederate General Archibald Gracie Jr. was wounded at the Battle of Bean's Station.
Dec. 15, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Nashville began in Nashville, Tenn. Over a two-day period, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General John Bell Hood suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Union forces under George Thomas. More than 6,000 Rebels were killed or wounded and 3,000 Yankees lost their lives.
Dec. 15, 1888 – Rube Burrow and Leonard “Joe Jackson” Brock carried out Burrow’s sixth train robbery, robbing the northbound Illinois Central passenger train around 10 p.m. near Duck Hill, Miss. Robert Chester Hughes, 32, of Jackson, Tenn. was murdered during the robbery, and it was reportedly Burrow’s first murder.
Dec. 15, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that two threshing machines had been in operation in Evergreen for the past 10 days and had “attracted considerable interest and attention.” Hundreds of bushels of velvet beans were threshed, bagged and made ready for the market.
Dec. 15, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Alto L. Floyd of Opp, Ala. “died of disease.”
Dec. 15, 1920 – Major League Baseball first baseman Eddie (William Edward) Robinson was born in Paris, Texas. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators, the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia Athletics, the New York Yankees, the Kansas City Athletics, the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles.
Dec. 15, 1928 – NFL fullback and punter Clarence “Butch” Edmund Avinger was born in Beatrice, Ala. Avinger was a first round selection (ninth overall pick) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1951 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama where he had played quarterback. As a professional, he only saw action in 1953 when he played for the New York Giants.
Dec. 15, 1930 – Novelist Edna O’Brien was born in County Clare, Ireland.
Dec. 15, 1933 – The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution officially became effective, repealing the 18th Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.
Dec. 15, 1936 - Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “Days to Come” opened on Broadway.
Dec. .15, 1938 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presided over the ground-breaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
Dec. 15, 1939 – “Gone with the Wind” debuted in Atlanta and became an instant hit, breaking all box office records. Produced by David O. Selznick and based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, it premiered at Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta. The movie starred Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.
Dec. 15, 1940 – NFL Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti was born in Springfield, Mass. He would go on to play for the Boston Patriots and the Miami Dolphins.
Dec. 15, 1942 – A large search party departed Escott Station in Australia in search of the Little Eva crash site, 13 days after the plane crashed.
Dec. 15, 1943 – NFL defensive end Pete Duranko was born in Johnstown, Pa. He would play his entire pro career for the Denver Broncos.
Dec. 15, 1944 – Major League Baseball pitcher Stan (Stanley Raymond) Bahnsen was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He would go on to play for the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland Athletics, the Montreal Expos, the California Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Dec. 15, 1944 - A single-engine plane carrying U.S. Army Major Glenn Miller disappeared in thick fog over the English Channel while en route to Paris. The true fate of the plane and its passengers has never been determined.
Dec. 15, 1948 – Major League Baseball pitcher Doug (Douglas James) Rau was born in Columbus, Texas. He would go on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the California Angels.
Dec. 15, 1950 – Lyeffion’s boys basketball team beat Repton, 28-20, in Repton, Ala. Miller Dees led Lyeffion with 10 points. James Andrews and Junior McMillan scored six points each to lead Coach Charles Pouncey’s Repton team.
Dec. 15, 1950 – Conecuh County Training School opened its 1950-51 basketball season with a pair of wins over Andalusia in Evergreen, Ala. The CCTS boys team beat Andalusia, 105-20, with Herbert Rankins leading CCTS with 42 points. The CCTS girls team beat Andalusia, 48-7.
Dec. 15, 1953 – Evergreen High School’s Sam Cope signed a football scholarship with the University of Alabama.
Dec. 15, 1953 – “Santa Claus” was scheduled to make his annual trip to Monroeville, Ala. on this Tuesday as he was scheduled to arrive at the local airport around 2 p.m. via a special plane “direct from the North Pole.” He was to be met at the city water pump by the band from the Monroeville Rosenwald School after he’d been escorted to the city limits by the State Highway Patrol. Santa’s appearance was being held as part of the annual Christmas program, sponsored by the Monroeville Kiwanis Club.
Dec. 15, 1960 – Sidney Earnest Manning, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I, passed away at the age of 68. He’s buried in Little Escambia Cemetery in Flomaton, Ala.
Dec. 15, 1960 – Richard Pavlick was arrested for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy.
Dec. 15, 1961 – NFL wide receiver Daryl Turner was born in Wadley, Ga. He played his entire pro career for the Seattle Seahawks.
Dec. 15, 1966 - The New Orleans Saints became the 16th NFL franchise.
Dec. 15, 1966 – Walt Disney passed away, and it was rumored that he was rushed into cryogenic suspension.
Dec. 15, 1966 – “A Joyful Noise,” a musical version of Alabama author Bordon Deal's book “The Insolent Breed,” opened on Broadway.
Dec. 15, 1967 – The Silver Bridge across the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapsed, killing 46 people. The tragedy is forever linked in esoteric circles with the infamous cryptid Mothman who reportedly made multiple appearances in the Point Pleasant area in the weeks preceding the event.
Dec. 15, 1969 - Alabama author Michael Knight was born in Mobile, Ala.
Dec. 15, 1970 - The Pinckney D. Bowles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy met in the home of Mrs. Aubrey Griffin.
Dec. 15, 1974 - The Miami Dolphins won at the Orange Bowl for the 31st consecutive time.
Dec. 15, 1976 – Major League Baseball second baseman Aaron Miles was born in Pittsburgh, Calif. He would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dec. 15, 1976 – Major League Baseball umpire Todd Tichenor was born in Lincoln, Neb.
Dec. 15, 1981 – A suicide car bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, leveled the embassy and killed 61 people, including Iraq's ambassador to Lebanon. The attack is considered the first modern suicide bombing.
Dec. 15, 1982 - Paul "Bear" Bryant announced his retirement as head football coach at the University of Alabama.
Dec. 15, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 18 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 15, 1989 – Carlisle Hall, near Marion, Ala., was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and History. (13 Alabama Ghosts)
Dec. 15, 1992 - Nirvana released "Incesticide," a collection of b-sides and rarities.
Dec. 15, 1996 - Troy Aikman surpassed Roger Staubach's Dallas Cowboy record of 22,700 passing yards.
Dec. 15, 1996 - John Elway of the Denver Broncos won his 126th game to set an NFL record.
Dec. 15, 1996 - The television program “The Summer of Ben Tyler,” teleplay by Alabama author Robert Inman, was broadcast.
Dec. 15, 1997 - The San Francisco 49ers retired Joe Montana's No. 16 jersey during halftime of a game against the Denver Broncos.
Dec. 15, 1997 – In “V for Vendetta,” Evey wished to assist V in his work, and V accepted.
Dec. 15, 2002 - Edgardo Alfonzo and the San Francisco Giants agreed on a four-year contract worth $26 million.
Dec. 15, 2010 - The U.N. Security Council gave a vote of confidence to the government of Iraq when they lifted 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power.
Dec. 15, 2010 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller died at the age of 92 in Cleveland, Ohio. He played his entire career for the Cleveland Indians. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
Dec. 15, 2011 – The Clive Shell Farm at Chapman in Butler County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.