Dec. 3, 1776 - General George Washington wrote to Congress from his headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey to report that he had transported much of the Continental Army’s stores and baggage across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania. In his letter Washington wrote, “Immediately on my arrival here, I ordered the removal of all the military and other stores and baggage over the Delaware, a great quantity are already got over, and as soon as the boats come up from Philadelphia, we shall load them, by which means I hope to have every thing secured this night and tomorrow if we are not disturbed.” Washington then made the critical strategic move of confiscating and burning all the boats along the Delaware to prevent British troops from pursuing his beleaguered forces across the river.
Dec. 3, 1776 - General Washington received a letter dated Nov. 30 from his second-in-command, General Charles Lee, reporting that he was about to cross into New York near Peekskill on this day (Dec. 3). In an apt reflection of the state of the American fortunes, the British captured General Lee nine days later in New Jersey. Richard Stockton, a leading New Jersey patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was also in British custody and was forced to swear an oath of allegiance to the British king along with thousands of his New Jersey neighbors.
Dec. 3, 1777 - Philadelphia housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh gave information to Colonel Thomas Craig that she had overheard from the British the previous day. The information was that the British were planning a surprise attack on George Washington's army the next day at Whitemarsh, Pa.
Dec. 3, 1818 - Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the union.
Dec. 3, 1821 – Town of Sparta incorporated by the Alabama legislature.
Dec. 3, 1826 - Union General George McClellan was born in Philadelphia. Although McClellan emerged early in the war as a Union hero, he failed to effectively prosecute the war in the East.
Dec. 3, 1828 - Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States.
Dec. 3, 1831 - Alabama author Anne Newport Royall published the first issue of her newspaper “Paul Pry.”
Dec. 3, 1845 –Scottish soldier and explorer Gregor MacGregor died at the age of 58 in Caracas, Venezuela.
Dec. 3, 1856 – The organizational charter was issued to Fairmount Masonic Lodge No. 238 in Red Level in Covington County, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1857 – Joseph Conrad, who wrote “Heart of Darkness” in 1899, was born in Berdichev, Poland (now Ukraine).
Dec. 3, 1861 – During the Civil War, an action occurred at Salem, Mo.
Dec. 3, 1861 – During the Civil War, Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi, was occupied by Federal forces under the command of Major General Benjamin F. Butler, with the assistance of the steamship, USS Constitution.
Dec. 3, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Vienna Va.
Dec. 3, 1864 - A Methodist minister named William “Bill” Sketoe was lynched just north of Newton, Ala. by local Home Guardsmen led by Captain Joseph Brear. Since Sketoe was tall, a hole had to be dug beneath his feet to accommodate his large frame. Local legend insists that "the hole that won't stay filled" never vanished—even after being filled in numerous times during the years that followed. Though covered in 1979 by a new bridge and tons of rip-rap, "Sketoe's hole" remains a local attraction, and was immortalized by Alabama writer Kathryn Tucker Windham in her “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.” A monument to Sketoe was dedicated near the hanging site in 2006, and the local museum displays items of Sketoe memorabilia.
Dec. 3, 1870 – George Hutcheson Denny, who served as president of the University of Alabama from 1911 to 1936, was born in Hanover County, Va.
Dec. 3, 1890 – Masonic Lodge No. 849 was organized at Burnt Corn, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1898 – The Duquesne Country and Athletic Club defeated an all-star collection of early football players, 16-0, in what is considered to be the very first all-star game for professional American football.
Dec. 3, 1901 – In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt asked Congress to curb the power of trusts "within reasonable limits.”
Dec. 3, 1902 – Organizational charters were issued to Repton Masonic Lodge No. 575 and Blacksher Masonic Lodge No. 592 at Uriah, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1912 – The organizational charter was issued to North Creek Masonic Lodge No. 746 in Florala, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1919 – H.P. Lovecraft completed “The Doom That Came to Sarnath,” which was originally published in Issue No. 44 of “The Scot” in June 1920.
Dec. 3, 1919 – After nearly 20 years of planning and construction, including two collapses causing 89 deaths, the Quebec Bridge opened to traffic. It remains the world’s longest cantilever bridge.
Dec. 3, 1924 – Dr. John Johnathan Dailey of Tunnel Springs, Ala. married Ethel Busey in Monroeville, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1928 – Walter Eugene “Gene” Garrett of Uriah, Ala. was born. He would go on to graduate from Marion Institute in 1947 and from the University of Alabama in 1953. He received his law degree from Alabama in 1953 and went on to serve as a state legislator, special judge and member of the Alabama Constitution Revision Committee. In 1963, he purchased the historic King Plantation House at Packer’s Bend and moved it board by board to Uriah.
Dec. 3, 1929 - Alabama author Zitella Cocke died in Gadsden, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1931 – H.P. Lovecraft completed “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” which was originally published in 1936’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”
Dec. 3, 1947 - The Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theater.
Dec. 3, 1949 – Evergreen, Ala. native Andrew Riley collapsed and died during the Alabama-Auburn football game at Legion Field Stadium.
Dec. 3, 1950 - Paul Harvey began his national radio broadcast.
Dec. 3, 1950 - Tom Fears of the Los Angeles Rams caught an NFL-record 18 passes against the Green Bay Packers. Terrell Owens (San Francisco 49ers) broke the record with 20 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 17, 2000.
Dec. 3, 1953 – The Martin Theatres Football Trophies were to be awarded to the top players on Evergreen High School’s varsity and junior varsity teams during an award presentation ceremony at Evergreen, Alabama’s Pix Theatre at 8 p.m. The awards were selected based on ballots cast by fans at the theatre, and Pix manager Gladys Barron was to present the trophies on stage.
Dec. 3, 1959 – About 500 people attended a “George Grant Appreciation Day” event to honor veteran 2nd District Congressman George Grant, who was completing 21 years in office. The event was held at Evergreen, Alabama’s Recreation Center.
Dec. 3, 1960 - The Lerner and Loewe musical “Camelot” opened on Broadway on this date in 1960. It was an adaptation of “The Once and Future King,” T.H. White's retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1958). The original cast recording — featuring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet — was a favorite of President Kennedy and his family.
Dec. 3, 1961 - George Blanda of the Houston Oilers kicked a 55-yard field goal.
Dec. 3, 1962 – Lee Roy Jordan of Excel, an All-American center and linebacker at Alabama, was one of five Southeastern Conference players drafted on this Monday in the first round of the 14-team NFL draft. Jordan was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, and Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys personnel man, said Jordan would be perfect as a middle linebacker in Tom Landry’s style of defense.
Dec. 3, 1968 - The rules committee of Major League Baseball announced that in 1969 the pitcher's mound would be lowered from 15 to 10 inches. This was done in order to "get more batting action." The strike zone was also reduced from the knees to the shoulders to the top of the knees to the armpits.
Dec. 3, 1976 – Monroe Academy senior offensive guard and defensive tackle Bobo Jay played in the first ever Alabama Private School All-Star Game, which was played at Fort Dale Acadmey in Greenville, Ala.
Dec. 3, 1976 - Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt, in which he was shot twice, two days before the "Smile Jamaica" concert aimed at restoring peace amongst warring political factions. Despite fear of a follow-up attack, he would go on to play the concert for a crowd of over 80,000 people. When asked why he was going forward with the concert, Marley famously replied "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I?"
Dec. 3, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Gary Glover was born in Cleveland, Ohio. During his career, he played for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago White Sox, the Anaheim Angles, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays and the Detroit Tigers.
Dec. 3, 1976 – NFL and Alabama defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin was born in Troy, Ala. He graduated from Pike County High School in 1995, went on to play at Alabama and was a second-round draft pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. In the NFL, he played for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
Dec. 3, 1979 – “Friendships, Secrets and Lies,” a television version of Alabama author Babs H. Deal's book “The Walls Came Tumbling Down,” was broadcast.
Dec. 3, 1983 – Castleberry, Alabama’s annual Christmas parade was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 3, 1988 - Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State University won the Heisman Trophy.
Dec. 3, 2010 – The John Green Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.