Jan. 15, 1622 – French playwright and actor-manager Moliere, who was born Jean-Baptisste Poquelin, was baptized in Paris.
Jan. 15, 1759 – The British Museum opened.
Jan. 15, 1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, New Connecticut (present-day Vermont) declared its independence. Having recognized the need for their territory to assert its independence from both Britain and New York and remove themselves from the war they were waging against each other, a convention of future Vermonters assembles in Westminster and declares independence from the crown of Great Britain and the colony of New York on this day in 1777. The convention’s delegates included Vermont’s future governor, Thomas Chittenden, and Ira Allen, who would become known as the “father” of the University of Vermont.
Jan. 15, 1814 – Lt. Joseph Morgan Wilcox engaged in a heroic fight with a Creek war party and was tomakawked and scalped on the banks of the Alabama River where it flows between Canton and Prairie Bluff. He was initially buried at Fort Claiborne in Monroe County, but was later reburied in Camden in Wilcox County.
Jan. 15, 1825 – John Watkins became Burnt Corn, Alabama’s postmaster.
Jan. 15, 1831 – Victor Hugo finished writing “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Jan. 15, 1844 - The University of Notre Dame received its charter from the state of Indiana.
Jan. 15-18, 1861 – Lt. Adam J. Slemmer at Fort Pickens refused demands for surrender from Florida militia Colonel William Henry Chase, who had designed and constructed the fort while a captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Also on that day, Fort Pike, near present-day Slidell, La., was seized by Louisiana State Troops.
Jan. 15, 1862 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation that took in Benton, Bloomfield, and Dallas, Mo. began. A five-day Federal reconnaissance between Paducah, Ky. to Fort Henry, Tenn. began.
Jan. 15, 1862 – During the Civil War, Edwin McMasters Stanton was confirmed by Congress as Secretary of War two days after being nominated. Formerly Attorney General during the Buchanan Administration, the choice of Stanton had political elements of a most interesting nature. Stanton had made a number of public statements exceedingly critical of Lincoln. Moreover, he was quite well known to be a friend of Gen. McClellan, who was not devoid of political dreams of his own. Stanton would be a controversial figure in history--held by some analysts to be sneaky, dishonest and underhanded; regarded by others as one of the prime movers in the victory of the Union in the War.
Jan. 15, 1863 - "The Boston Morning Journal" became the first paper in the U.S. to be published on wood pulp paper.
Jan. 15, 1863 – During the Civil War, Mound City, Ark. was burn by Federal forces.
Jan. 15, 1864 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Round Prairie, Jackson County, Mo. A skirmish was also fought at Middleton, Tenn.
Jan. 15, 1865 – During the Civil War, Fort Fisher in North Carolina fell to the Union, thus cutting off the last major seaport of the Confederacy and the Confederacy’s most important blockade-running port.
Jan. 15, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Madison County, Ark., and a three-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Pine Bluff, Ark. A six-day Federal operation also began against Sioux Indians in the vicinity of Smoky Hill River, Kansas.
Jan. 15, 1865 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began between New Orleans and Mandeville, La. The US monitor, USS Patapsco, was also destroyed in Charleston Harbor, S.C., after striking a Confederate torpedo.
Jan. 15, 1867 – New Burial Ground cemetery in Mobile, Ala., which included Jewish Rest, Confederate Rest and the Mobile National Cemetery annex, was renamed Magnolia Cemetery.
Jan. 15, 1870 - A cartoon by Thomas Nast titled "A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" appeared in "Harper's Weekly." The cartoon used the donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party for the first time.
Jan. 15, 1879 - The Alabama State Bar Association held its organizational meeting in the State Capitol with former Gov. Thomas H. Watts presiding. During its first year, 81 lawyers were admitted for membership.
Jan. 15, 1889 – The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jan. 15, 1892 – James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.
Jan. 15, 1906 – The Hon. B.B. Comer was scheduled to deliver a speech at the Conecuh County (Ala.) Courthouse on this day, which was also “the first day of court, in the interest of his candidacy for governor.”
Jan. 15, 1906 - The regular meeting of Camp Capt. William Lee, United Confederate Veterans, was scheduled to be held on this Monday at 10 a.m. in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 15, 1906 - The special term of the circuit court in Conecuh County was scheduled to convene on this Monday at noon. The more important cases on the criminal docket set for trial at this term included the following: The two cases against Jack Thompson, charged with murder, set for trial on Monday, Jan. 22. The two cases against Dave Adams, charged with murder, set for trial on Tuesday, Ja. 23. The cases against Wade Oliver and Mack Knight, each charged with murder, set for trial on Jan. 24. The cases against Crawford Jackson and Henry Smith, each charged with murder, set for trial on Jan. 25.
Jan. 15, 1912 – First Baptist Church of Frisco City (Ala.) was organized when four Baptist ministers met to organize a new church in the Jones Mill area. The Rev. E.B. Farrar served as the church’s first pastor.
Jan. 15, 1919 – During what’s now known as the “Boston Molasses Disaster,” a large molasses tank in Boston, Massachusetts, burst and a wave of 2.3 million gallons of molasses rushed through the streets in a 30-foot wave, killing 21 people and injuring 150 others. Some residents claim that on a hot summer day the area still smells of molasses.
Jan. 15, 1920 – Major League Baseball pitcher Steve Gromek was born in Hamtramck, Michigan. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers.
Jan. 15, 1923 – A number of Conecuh County public officials took office on this day. Arthur Monroe Barfield began his term in office as Sheriff, and W.S. Dreaden began his term as Circuit Clerk. A.E. Johnson and C.C. Gaston began their terms as county commissioners. Judge Dunn began his second term as probate judge. W.A. Moore of Beat 8 was Barfield’s chief deputy.
Jan. 15, 1924 – New Zealand-English mountaineer and explorer George Lowe was born in Hastings, New Zealand. Lowe passed away on March 20, 2013 and was the last surviving member of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition, during which his friend Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first known people to summit the world's highest peak.
Jan. 15, 1929 – Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Ga.
Jan. 15, 1933 – A 12-year-old girl experienced the first Marian apparition of Our Lady of Banneux in Banneux, Belgium.
Jan. 15, 1934 - Babe Ruth signed a contract for $35,000.
Jan. 15, 1938 – Dr. Charles Edward Chapman, 60, a native of Evergreen, passed away at his home in Mobile, Ala. around 6:45 a.m. Chapman had lived in Mobile since 1896 when he entered the Mobile Medical College. After graduation, he continued to live in Mobile, where he practiced medicine. He was a member of Garland Lodge No. 684, A.F.&A.M. in Garland, Ala.
Jan. 15, 1942 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Major League Baseball the approval to play despite World War II. He encouraged night games so that war workers could attend.
Jan. 15, 1943 – National League 1974 Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall was born in Adrian, Michigan. He would go on to play for the Atlanta Braves, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins, the Montreal Expos, the New York Mets, the Seattle Pilots and the Texas Rangers.
Jan. 15, 1943 – The world's largest office building, The Pentagon, was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.
Jan. 15, 1947 – The brutalized corpse of Elizabeth Short (The "Black Dahlia") was found in Los Angeles' Leimert Park.
Jan. 15, 1948 – The theatre at Uriah, Ala. officially opened for business.
Jan. 15, 1951 – The USS Eldridge was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance program to Greece, with whom it served as HS Leon (D-54). Leon was decommissioned on Nov. 5, 1992, and on Nov. 11, 1999 it was sold as scrap to the Piraeus-based firm V&J Scrapmetal Trading Ltd.
Jan. 15, 1951 - John H. Brock succeeded W.D. Lewis as Sheriff of Conecuh County (Ala.) on this Monday. Brock defeated Lewis in a close race in the Democratic Primary in May 1950. Nomination in the primary in Conecuh County was equivalent to election as there was no active Republican organization in the county at that time. Lewis was elected to the office of sheriff in 1946, actually taking office in January 1947. He was a veteran of both World Wars and was commanding officer of the local National Guard Battery “C” when it was mobilized for World War II. He held the rank of major when discharged. Brock was a Navy veteran of World War II. He had farmed and operated a cotton gin in Conecuh County and was for some time a lumberman. He served for some months as a deputy under Lewis.
Jan. 15, 1951 – Ilse Koch, "The Witch of Buchenwald", wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in West Germany.
Jan. 15, 1953 - Harry S Truman became the first U.S. President to use radio and television to give his farewell as he left office.
Jan. 15, 1953 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Conecuh County Training School’s boys basketball team had beaten Monroeville Rosenwald, 70-29; Georgiana, 54-40; and Mobile, 58-7. Leonard Goldsmith led CCTS with 23 points against Monroeville and 21 points against Mobile. Floyd Watts led CCTS with 21 points against Georgiana. CCTS’s girls basketball team, led by Coach Mike Cheatham, lost to Monroeville, 37-32, but had beaten Georgiana, 50-25, and Mobile County Training, 58-7. Clementine Dukes led CCTS with 25 points against Georgiana and 15 points against Mobile.
Jan. 15, 1953 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle and linebacker Randy White was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He would go on to play for the University of Maryland and the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
Jan. 15, 1957 – Former Alabama All-American defensive tackle Marty Lyons was born in Takoma Park, Md. Selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft, he played his entire 11-year professional career for the NFL's New York Jets. He was a member of the Jets' famed "New York Sack Exchange," the team's dominant front four in 1981 and 1982 that also featured Mark Gastineau, Abdul Salaam and Joe Klecko.
Jan. 15, 1958 - The New York Yankees announced that they would televise 140 games in the 1958 season.
Jan. 15, 1962 – Wayne Frazier Day was held in Evergreen, Ala. in honor of 230-pound Auburn University senior center Wayne Frazier, a native of Evergreen, a Scholastic All-American and a member of the SEC scholastic team. Wayne Frazier Day included a special program at Evergreen High School, a parade through downtown Evergreen and a program in “No Man’s Land.” A banquet was also held that night at 7 p.m. at the Evergreen Recreation Center.
Jan. 15, 1962 - Asked at a news conference if U.S. troops were fighting in Vietnam, President Kennedy answers “No.” He was technically correct, but U.S. soldiers were serving as combat advisers with the South Vietnamese army, and U.S. pilots were flying missions with the South Vietnamese Air Force. While acting in this advisory capacity, some soldiers invariably got wounded, and press correspondents based in Saigon were beginning to see casualties from the “support” missions and ask questions.
Jan. 15, 1962 – The Derveni papyrus, Europe's oldest surviving manuscript dating to 340 BC, was found in northern Greece.
Jan. 15, 1967 - The first National Football League Super Bowl was played at the Los Angeles Coin Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League. The final score was, 35-10. Evergreen’s Wayne Frazier participated in the game as Kansas City’s center. The game was televised by both CBS and NBC. The game was played before a non-sell-out crowd of 61,946.
Jan. 15, 1969 – Army Spc. Larry Benjamin Thomas of Atmore, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
Jan. 15, 1973 – During the Vietnam War, President Richard M. Nixon suspended military action in North Vietnam on this day in 1973, giving peace talks between his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, and North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho a chance to succeed. When Nixon inherited the war from President Lyndon Johnson with his election to the presidency in 1969, he embarked on a campaign to end it that involved the gradual withdrawal of troops punctuated by intense bombing attacks on North Vietnam. Since assuming the presidency, Nixon had managed to reduce American troop strength to 95,000 from 540,000 and still maintain a terrifying show of force against the enemy. However, repeated attempts to negotiate a settlement between the U.S. and North Vietnam failed, and with the discovery of another North Vietnamese plan resembling the brutal Tet Offensive, Nixon ordered a massive bombing campaign of Viet Cong bases in the North and South in December 1972. In a taped conversation in 1969, Nixon revealed his madman theory for ending the Vietnam War to his advisor H.R. Haldeman, saying, I want the North Vietnamese to think I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war, we’ll just slip the word to them that for God sakes, you know Nixon is obsessed about communists, and he has his hand on the nuclear button’ and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace. The final bombing campaign on Christmas 1972 may have convinced the North Vietnamese that Nixon was indeed a madman capable of using nuclear weapons. Scarcely a month later, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger succeeded in negotiating peace terms with Le Duc Tho, finally ending the long and bloody conflict.
Jan. 15, 1976 – In connection with the “Amityville Horror” case, a day after the Lutz family move out of their supposedly haunted house, a mover came in to remove all of the possessions to send to the Lutzes. He reported no paranormal phenomena while inside the house.
Jan. 15, 1976 – Gerald Ford's would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, was sentenced to life in prison.
Jan. 15, 1976 – Basketball player and sportscaster Doug Gottlieb was born in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Jan. 15, 1978 - The Super Bowl was played indoors for the first time at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos, 27-10.
Jan. 15, 1979 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 19 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 15, 1980 – Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team improved to 13-1 on the season by beating Greenville High School, 73-51, in Greenville, Ala. Top Evergreen players in that game included Johnny Allen, Russell Bozeman, Joe Mitchell, Sanford Moye, Perona Rankins, Philander Rodgers and Arturo Scott.
Jan. 15, 1981 - The first episode of "Hill Street Blues," television’s landmark cops-and-robbers drama, debuted on NBC.
Jan. 15, 1991 – The United Nations deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait expired, preparing the way for the start of Operation Desert Storm.
Jan. 15, 1995 - Southern Alabama began using new area code 334.
Jan. 15, 2001 – Vredenburgh, Ala. native Mike Stewart’s second novel, “Dog Island,” was released for the first time.
Jan. 15, 2001 - An anonymous bidder paid just over $3 million for the 70th home run baseball hit by Mark McGwire.
Jan. 15, 2007 – Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former Iraqi intelligence chief and half-brother of Saddam Hussein, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, were executed by hanging in Baghdad, Iraq.