Saturday, January 16, 2016

Today in History for Jan. 16, 2016

Mabel Sanders Amos
Jan. 16, 1362 - A great storm tide in the North Sea destroyed the German city of Rungholt on the island of Strand.

Jan. 16, 1605 – Book One of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes was published and is now considered to be the first modern novel.

Jan. 16, 1780 – During the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Cape St. Vincent, British Admiral Sir George Rodney, with 18 ships-of-the-line, engaged an inferior Spanish squadron of 11 battleships commanded by Don Juan de Langara off the southwestern coast of Portugal at Cape St. Vincent, in what comes to be known as “The Moonlight Battle.” (Ships-of-the-line is the 18th century term for ships substantial enough to be used in a battle line, a tactic of war in which two lines of ships faced off against each other.)

Jan. 16, 1830 - A charter was granted by the Alabama state legislature to the Tuscumbia Railroad Company. Tracks were built approximately two miles to Sheffield, Ala. and were completed in 1832. Though the rail cars were horse drawn and never powered by steam locomotives, it is still considered the first railroad in Alabama.

Jan. 16, 1833 – Dr. A.J. Robinson of Brooklyn, Ala. was born in Fayette County, Ga. He went on to become a teacher, farmer, physician and state representative.

Jan. 16, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Crittenden Compromise, the last chance to keep North and South together, was killed in Senate. Proposed by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, the compromise was a series of constitutional amendments that sought to alleviate all concerns of the southern states, four of which had already left the Union. The vote was 25 against the compromise and 23 in favor of it. All 25 votes against it were cast by Republicans, and six senators from states that were in the process of seceding abstained.

Jan. 16, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Federal Navy descended on Cedar Keys, Fla., with the subsequent destruction of seven small blockade runners by the USS Hatteras. In Kentucky, Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer had taken his mostly flintlock-armed troops from Mill Springs north across the Cumberland River. Once in place he was then ordered back to his previous position. Zollicoffer stayed where he was, unaware that Federal forces under Gen. Thomas were a good deal closer than he realized. Close enough that by Jan. 19 there would be battle.

Jan. 16, 1863 - The CSS Florida, a Confederate privateer raider, had been in Mobile, Ala. for four months undergoing repairs which were completed on this day. Her commander, Lt. John N. Maffitt, fired up her boilers and evaded the USS R.R. Cuyler, which they passed within 300 yards off the mouth of Mobile Bay. CSS Florida went on to capture a ship, taking the confiscated cargo to sell in Havana.

Jan. 16, 1863 – During the Civil War, the USS Baron DeKalb, under command of Lt. Commander J.G. Walker, went up the White River as far as Devall’s Bluff, Ark. Lt. Commander Walker sent ashore a landing party and took possession of all “public property” he could find, specifically guns and munitions. When Gen. Willis Gorman arrived with infantry, Walker turned the spoils over to him and sailed off on his next project, the capture of the Confederate steamer Blue Wing.

Jan. 16, 1863 – During the Civil War, a Federal expedition from Fort Henry to Waverly, Tenn. began.

Jan. 16, 1864 – During the Civil War, a 13-day Federal operation began in Northwestern Arkansas. Skirmishes were also fought at Oak Ridge, Miss. and Turkey Creek, Va.

Jan. 16, 1864 – During the Civil War, Dandridge, Tenn., and its environs (Kimbrough’s Cross Roads and on the Bend of Chucky Road) was the scene of a sizeable cavalry battle on this day and the next. The Federal forces were somewhat undermanned because Gen. William Sooy Smith had led a cavalry expedition from Memphis, Tenn. towards Meridian, Miss., where he would eventually run into trouble of his own in the form of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Back and forth the action went today, extending nearly to Clark’s Ferry, and inflicting large numbers of casualties on both sides. At the end of the engagement the Federals withdrew to the area of Strawberry Plains, Tenn. Additional skirmishing took place in White County, Tenn.

Jan. 16, 1865 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation from Brashear City to Whiskey Bayou, La. began. A seven-day Federal operation began about Waynesville Mo., with skirmishes at McCourtney Mills on the Big Piney, Mo. Over a two-day period, Fort Caswell, N.C. was blown up and the works in the vicinity of Reeves’ Point and Smithville were abandoned by Confederate forces. A skirmish out from Franklin, Tenn. was also fought.

Jan. 16, 1865 – During the Civil War, one of the war’s tragedies occurred after Fort Fisher, N.C., had been captured, when its powder magazine accidentally exploded. In excess of 100 Federal casualties resulted from this accident. No one was ever charged but suspicions were the explosion was caused by drunken Federal soldiers and/sailors.

Jan. 16, 1906 – Braxton Bragg “B.B.” Comer, who was then the president of the Alabama Railroad Commission, delivered a two-hour campaign speech to a crowd at the Monroe County Courthouse, starting at 1 p.m. In November 1906, he was elected Alabama’s 33rd governor.

Jan. 16, 1908 – The Conecuh Record reported that L.D. Gardner, the new chancellor of the southeastern court division, held his first term of the Chancery Court in Conecuh County, Ala. Gardner was the youngest chancellor in the state at that time.

Jan. 16-23, 1909 - Newspapers of the time published hundreds of claimed encounters with the “Jersey Devil” from all over the state of New Jersey. Among alleged encounters publicized that week were claims the creature "attacked" a trolley car in Haddon Heights and a social club in Camden. Police in Camden and Bristol, Pennsylvania supposedly fired on the creature to no effect. Other reports initially concerned unidentified footprints in the snow, but soon sightings of creatures resembling the Jersey Devil were being reported throughout South Jersey and as far away as Delaware and Western Maryland. The widespread newspaper coverage led to a panic throughout the Delaware Valley prompting a number of schools to close and workers to stay home.

Jan. 16, 1909 – Ernest Shackleton's expedition found the magnetic South Pole.

Jan. 16, 1910 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean was born in Lucas, Arkansas. He went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Browns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.

Jan. 16, 1914 - The total number of bales of cotton ginned in Conecuh County, Ala. was 16,228, compared with 14,646 to the same date in 1913.

Jan. 16, 1919 – The United States ratified the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.

Jan. 16, 1920 - Prohibition went into effect in the U.S. and lasted until 1933.

Jan. 16, 1929 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team beat East Brewton, 41-17, and the Night Hawks of Evergreen, 24-17.

Jan. 16, 1933 – Novelist and essayist Susan Sontag was born Susan Rosenblatt in New York City.

Jan. 16, 1938 – Dr. Walter B. Moorer, who practiced medicine in Repton, Ala. passed away at his home around 9 p.m. from a “heart ailment.” A native of Lowndes County, he attended medical school at Birmingham Medical College. He practiced medicine in McKenzie for a number of years and moved to Repton about 20 years prior to his death.

Jan. 16, 1945 – Adolf Hitler moved into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.

Jan. 16, 1948 – Film director John Carpenter was born in Carthage, N.Y. His most famous movies included “Halloween” (1978), “The Fog” (1980), “Escape From New York” (1981) and “The Thing” (1982).

Jan. 16, 1949 - The first television version of Alabama author William March's story "The Little Wife" was broadcast.

Jan. 16, 1951 – Evergreen’s National Guard unit, Battery C of the 177th Field Artillery Battalion, under command of Capt. John C. Holman, was called to active, Federal service at Fort Jackson, S.C. The local unit, which was composed of about 80 officers and men, was part of the 31st Infantry Division, which earned fame as the Dixie Division in the South Pacific in World War II. The Dixie Division was made up of guardsmen from Alabama and Mississippi. The January 1951 mobilization marked the second federal mobilization of Evergreen’s guard unit in only a little over 10 years. “C” went on active duty in November of 1940 and was moved shortly thereafter to Camp Blanding, Fla. Holman was executive officer under Capt. (later Major) Dave Lewis when the battery mobilized for World War II.

Jan. 16, 1955 – Poet and memoirist Mary Karr was born in Groves, Texas.

Jan. 16, 1958 – Russian mountaineer and explorer Anatoli Boukreev was born in Korkino, Russian SFSR.

Jan. 16, 1959 – Vietnamese journalist and author Phan Khôi died at the age of 71 in Hanoi, North Vietnam.

Jan. 16, 1961 - Mickey Mantle signed a contract that made him the highest paid baseball player in the American League at $75,000 for the 1961 season.

Jan. 16, 1964 – Bill Griffin of Evergreen, Ala. visited Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean aboard the attack aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. Griffin was a Navy ship serviceman third class.

Jan. 16, 1964 - President Lyndon Johnson approved Oplan 34A, operations to be conducted by South Vietnamese forces supported by the United States to gather intelligence and conduct sabotage to destabilize the North Vietnamese regime. Actual operations began in February and involved raids by South Vietnamese commandos operating under U.S. orders against North Vietnamese coastal and island installations. Although American forces were not directly involved in the actual raids, U.S. Navy ships were on station to conduct electronic surveillance and monitor North Vietnamese defense responses under another program called Operation De Soto. The Oplan 34A attacks played a major role in what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. On Aug. 2, 1964, North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the destroyer USS Maddox, which was conducting a De Soto mission in the area. Two days after the first attack, there was another incident that still remains unclear. The Maddox, joined by destroyer USS C. Turner Joy, engaged what were believed to be more attacking North Vietnamese patrol boats. Although it was questionable whether the second attack actually happened, the incident provided the rationale for retaliatory air attacks and the subsequent Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which became the basis for the initial escalation of the war in Vietnam and ultimately the insertion of U.S. combat troops into the area.

Jan. 16, 1967 – Mabel Amos of Brooklyn, Ala. took the oath of office as Alabama Secretary of State becoming the first Conecuh County citizen to be elected to a statewide office.

Jan. 16, 1967 – George C. Wallace began his time as the First Gentleman of Alabama while his wife served as Alabama’s governor. His time as First Gentleman would end on May 7, 1968.

Jan. 16, 1967 – Lurleen Wallace was inaugurated as Alabama’s first female governor – and only the third nationwide – as an estimated 150,000 looked on. On May 7, 1968, she died in office of cancer at the age of 41, amid her husband George C. Wallace's ongoing second presidential campaign. On her death, she was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Albert Brewer, who had run without Republican opposition in the Wallace-Martin race.

Jan. 16, 1968 – The Evergreen City Council accepted a low bid of $162,922 submitted by Clark Hardware Co. of Red Level for the construction of a new city hall in downtown Evergreen, Ala. The project was scheduled to take 240 days and construction was scheduled to get underway 45 to 60 days after the bid opening.

Jan. 16, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, an agreement was reached in Paris for the opening of expanded peace talks. It was agreed that representatives of the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front would sit at a circular table without nameplates, flags or markings. The talks had been plagued from the beginning by procedural questions, and the participants literally jockeyed for desirable positions at the negotiating table. Prolonged discussions over the shape of the negotiating table were finally resolved by the placement of two square tables separated by a round table. Seemingly insignificant matters as the table placement and seating arrangement became fodder for many arguments between the delegations at the negotiations.

Jan. 16, 1970 - Seven-time Golden Glove-winning center fielder Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals filed suit in a New York federal court against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the presidents of the American and National Leagues and all 24 teams in the Major League Baseball (MLB) organization, protesting the league’s player reserve clause, which prevented players from moving to another team unless they were traded.

Jan. 16, 1972 – Lee Roy Jordan of Excel, Ala. started at middle linebacker in Super Bowl VI for the Dallas Cowboys. The NFC Champion Cowboys, under Tom Landry, beat the AFC Champion Miami Dolphins, led by Don Shula, 24-3, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Other famous starters in that game included Mike Ditka (Dallas TE), Bob Griese (Miami QB), Roger Staubach (Dallas QB), Larry Csonka (Miami RB),

Jan. 16, 1979 – German SS officer August Heissmeyer died at the age of 81 at Schwäbisch Hall, a district (Kreis) in the north-east of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Jan. 16, 1991 - The White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm, as Coalition Forces went to war with Iraq, beginning the Gulf War. The operation was designed to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

Jan. 16, 1998 - The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah cancelled the premiere of Nick Broomfield's documentary "Kurt and Courtney" due to unresolved legal issues.

Jan. 16, 2001 – U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish–American War.

Jan. 16, 2002 - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that John Walker Lindh would be brought to the United States to face trial. He was charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA, with conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, providing support to terrorist organizations, and engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban of Afghanistan.

Jan. 16, 2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously established an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
Jan. 16, 2015 – Around 2 a.m. in Monrovia, which is in Madison County, Ala., a UFO witness was getting into her boyfriend’s car when she looked up and saw what looked like a strobe light in the sky. They began driving towards the light and as they got closer, they realized it was a slow-moving, triangular-shaped “flying object.” In all, they watched the object for about four minutes.

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