Dec. 23, 1672 - Giovanni Cassini discovered Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon.
Dec. 23, 1779 - In Morristown, New Jersey, Benedict Arnold's court martial reconvened.
Dec. 23, 1783 – Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Va. Washington’s respite proved extremely brief. He was unanimously elected to the first of two terms as president of the United States in 1788.
Dec. 23, 1788 - Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
Dec. 23, 1805 – Swedish explorer and author Pehr Osbeck died at Halland, Sweden at the age of 82.
Dec. 23, 1813 – Brigadier General Ferdinand Claiborne and his Mississippi militiamen stormed the Upper Creek town of Ikanatchaka (Holy Ground) on the south side of the Alabama River, between Pintalala and Big Swamp creeks, in Lowndes County, about 30 miles west of present-day Montgomery, Ala. The Red Sticks, a Creek traditionalist faction led by William Weatherford and others, fought local militia and federal troops, under the command of Claiborne. Fighting with Claiborne were Choctaw warriors under the leadership of Pushmataha. The event was a major battle in Creek War of 1813-14, and one white soldier and 30 Red Sticks were killed. William Weatherford jumped his horse off a bluff and escaped across the river as Claiborne destroyed the town, which was believed by Creek prophets to be invincible. Although the Creeks suffered relatively few casualties, the defeat and the total destruction of the town dealt a great blow to their morale.
Dec. 23, 1823 – The holiday poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” was published anonymously in The Troy Sentinel in New York. According to tradition, it was written by the poet and professor Clement Clarke Moore, who was struck with his vision of St. Nicholas while he was out on a snowy sleigh ride.
Dec. 23, 1844 – Confederate soldier John Monroe Stacey was born, and he would go on to serve in the 36th Alabama Infantry. He was wounded at New Hope Church and, after recovering, he served with the 42nd Alabama Regiment. He passed away at the age of 76 on Jan. 12, 1921 and was buried near his parents at Polar Bridge Cemetery at Manistee, Ala.
Dec. 23, 1858 – Monroe County, Ala. County Commissioners were ordered to “secure plans and report to the Court on building a new jail on Lot 27 and part of Lot 28 as designated on the town plat of Monroeville.”
Dec. 23, 1860 – American editor, literary critic and poet Harriet Monroe was born in Chicago. In 1912, Monroe founded Poetry Magazine, which played an important role in the development of modern poetry. Monroe championed the early work of Wallace Stevens, H.D., Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.
Dec. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, the fire day of an eight day Federal operation in eastern Kentucky began as Federal forces advancd from Louisa, Ky.
Dec. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Dayton, Mo.
Dec. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, Federal operations began in the vicinity of Lexington, Mo.
Dec. 23, 1862 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared Union General Benjamin Butler a felon and insisted that he must be hanged if captured. The Union captured New Orleans in early 1862 and Butler became the military commander of the city, and his actions there soon made him the most hated Yankee in the Confederacy. Despite the Confederate president’s declaration that Butler was a felon, the Union general was never captured by the Rebels.
Dec. 23, 1864 – William Tecumseh Sherman completed his famous “March to the Sea” by capturing Savannah, Ga.
Dec. 23, 1888 - In a fit of madness, Vincent Van Gogh severed part of his ear on this day.
Dec. 23, 1902 – Fisherman, firefighter, scholar and teacher Norman Maclean was born Clarinda, Iowa. He is best known for writing the autobiographical novella, “A River Runs Through It.”
Dec. 23, 1914 – Monroe County High School and Monroeville Grammar School suspended work for the holiday recess.
Dec. 23, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that A.J. Dees, who lived near Peterman, had killed three “fine porkers,” weighing 294, 337 and 358 pounds dressed, a total of 993 pounds.
Dec. 23, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Rev. C.A. Williams, the new pastor of the Monroeville, Ala. group of Methodist churches, was expected to arrive with his family around the first of the New Year.
Dec. 23, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Rev. D.F. Ellisor “spent a few days among Monroeville friends this week while arranging for the shipment of his household effects to his new home at Jackson.”
Dec. 23, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. William C. Gillis of Andalusia, Ala. was killed in action.
Dec. 23, 1921 - Alabama author William Lavender was born in Elrod, Ala.
Dec. 23, 1926 – Poet Robert Bly was born in Madison, Minn.
Dec. 23, 1933 - John Alex Brown, 21, of Skinnerton was shot in the chest with a pistol during a “difficulty” that took place in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday night. Brown was taken to the Betts & Newton hospital, where he was treated for the wound that was allegedly inflicted by E.M. Binion Jr. The bullet, said to have been a 32-calibre, entered the chest on the right side and passed entirely through the body, coming out under the shoulder blade on the same side.
Dec. 23, 1934 - Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Capote and Master Truman Capote arrived in Monroeville on this Sunday from New York City to spend the Christmas season with Misses Callie, Jennie and Nannie Faulk.
Dec. 23, 1940 – Judge L.W. Price dismissed vagrancy charges against Andrew Schwarzmann, a 36-year-old actor, in lieu of the 10 days he spent in jail at Evergreen, Ala. as local officials checked to see if he was wanted by the FBI. When taken into custody, officers found in his possession “many maps, pamphlets (mostly religious), names and addresses, hotel bills, postcards and a newspaper clipping. The maps were chiefly points in Florida and the east coast. One contained a detailed diagram of the Charleston, S.C. harbor.” The clipping told of conflicts between Schwarzmann and Cecil B. DeMille, the famous motion picture producer. Schwarzmann had been arrested in 1936 for sending threatening letters to DeMille. In December 1940, he wasn’t wanted by the FBI.
Dec. 23, 1946 - Alabama author Frye Gaillard was born in Mobile, Ala.
Dec. 23, 1943 – The Monroe Journal reported that Jim Bailey of Frisco City, Ala. had two sons in the military, Hubbard Bailey and J.D. Bailey. Hubbard had been in North Africa for more than a year, and J.D. had been sent there about six weeks before. By the help of the Red Cross, they met each other over in North Africa and spent Thanksgiving and the following Sunday together.
Dec. 23, 1943 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County High School beat Excel High School, 15-3, in “an exciting basketball game last week.”
Dec. 23, 1951 - A National Football League championship game was televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns, 24-17. The DuMont Network had paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.
Dec. 23, 1955 – British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow, Scotland.
Dec. 23, 1972 – The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster were rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism.
Dec. 23, 1972 - The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders, 13-7, in an NFL playoff game on a last-second play that was dubbed the "Immaculate Reception." Pittsburgh's Franco Harris caught a deflected pass and ran it in for the winning touchdown.
Dec. 23, 1974 – Birmingham, Ala. native Lee May was traded from the Houston Astros to the Baltimore Orioles, along with minor league outfielder Jay Schlueter for infielder-outfielder Enos Cabell and second baseman Rob Andrews.
Dec. 23, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Lidge was born in Sacremento, Calif. He went on to play for the Houston Astros, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals.
Dec. 23, 1981 – Polish-Australian technical diver, cave explorer, marine archaeologist underwater photographer, and author Agnes Milowka was born in Częstochowa, Poland. She gained international recognition for penetrating deeper than previous explorers into cave systems across Australia and Florida, and as a public speaker and author on the subjects of diving and maritime archaeology. She died aged 29 while diving in a confined space.
Dec. 23, 1987 - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.
Dec. 23, 1991 - Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll retired after 23 seasons. He was the only coach to win four Super Bowls.
Dec. 23, 1993 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Army Staff Sgt. Willie J. Meeks, a 1980 graduate of Evergreen High School, was one of the more than 3,500 military personnel who participated in “Joint Logistics Over the Shore III,” a month-long joint logistics exercise held at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Dec. 23, 1993 – The first full-color photo appeared in The Evergreen Courant. The photo, which appeared on the front page, was a photo of a live nativity scene sponsored by the Lone Star Reorganized Churches of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Dec. 23, 1993 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Willie Crutchfield had been presented a plaque of appreciation by Hillcrest High School principal Ronnie Brogden for his years of volunteer service to Hillcrest and Evergreen High School. Crutchfield served as public address announcer during football games and was always ready to support other activities through Woodmen of the World. At the time, Ralph Pugh was the president of Hillcrest’s Booster Club, and Dennis Anderson was the school’s athletic director.
Dec. 23, 1993 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Greenville Academy’s varsity boys basketball team had beaten Sparta, 53-49. Senior Britt Ward led Sparta with 18 points, and sophomore Nicholas Jones followed with eight points. Other players on Sparta’s team that year included Brian Gorum, James Johnson, Adrian Mitchell, Casey Grant, Sandy Salo and Larry Wright.
Dec. 23, 1997 – In “V for Vendetta,” Dr. Delia Surridge performed the Bishop’s autopsy. Finch gave her the violet carson found at the scene of the crime. Derek’s frustration grew. Evey swore to V she will never help him kill again. Finch and Dominic connected V to the “resettlement” camps, discovering that both Prothero and Lilliman worked at the Larkhill Resettlement Camp at the same time. They discovered everyone who worked at Larkhill are dead, except for Delia Surridge. V visited and killed Delia Surridge. V also killed Derek Almond who arrived to arrest him. Deliah’s diary was found. Finch swore he’ll see V dead for Deliah’s murder.
Dec. 23, 1997 - Terry Nichols was convicted by a Denver jury on charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people.
Dec. 23, 2002 – Fred “The Town Dog” passed away in Rockford, Ala.
Dec. 23, 2002 – An MQ-1 Predator was shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25.
Dec. 23, 2003 - The first case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States was announced.
Dec. 23, 2005 – American dog sled racer and explorer Norman D. Vaughan died at the age of 100 in the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage at around 10:30 a.m. Vaughn’s first claim to fame was participating in Admiral Byrd's first expedition to the South Pole. He also ran dog teams in a professional capacity as part of a search and rescue unit in World War II, in sporting events like the Olympics and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and in three Presidential Inauguration ceremonies.
Dec. 23, 2008 – In the ongoing lawsuit over Evergreen, Alabama’s disputed mayoral election, Judge Edward McDermott of Mobile gave Pete Wolff III’s attorney, James H. Anderson of Montgomery, a timeline to file his position on a number of legal points in the case. Wolff ran for mayor against incumbent Larry Fluker only to lose by two votes in the Oct. 7 runoff election. Anderson eventually filed his brief on Jan. 20, 2009.
Dec. 23, 2014 – Weather reporter Betty Ellis reported 4.06 inches of rain in Evergreen.