|Huddie William Ledbetter|
Jan. 20, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, 11-year-old Abigail Williams and nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris begin behaving much as the Goodwin children of Boston acted three years earlier. Soon Ann Putnam Jr. and other Salem girls begin acting similarly.
Jan. 20, 1702 - French colonists, led by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, established Fort Louis de la Mobile on a bluff twenty-seven miles up the Mobile River from Mobile Bay. The settlement, soon known simply as "Mobile," moved to its permanent site at the mouth of the Mobile River in 1711. It served as the capital of the colony of Louisiana from its founding to 1718.
Jan. 20, 1777 - Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson led 400 raw men from the New Jersey militia and 50 Pennsylvania riflemen under Captain Robert Durkee in an attack against a group of 500 British soldiers foraging for food led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Abercromby near Van Nest’s Mills in Millstone, New Jersey. The mills lay at a strategic point between New Brunswick and Princeton, New Jersey, where General George Washington had defeated the British on Jan. 3. After that victory, Washington had decided to divide his forces in order to harass British installments in the New Jersey towns of New Brunswick and Amboy.
Jan. 20, 1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signed a peace treaty with France and Spain, officially ending hostilities in the American Revolutionary War.
Jan. 20, 1785 – Invading Siamese forces attempted to exploit the political chaos in Vietnam, but were ambushed and annihilated at the Mekong river by the Tây Sơn in the Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút.
Jan. 20, 1788 – The third and main part of First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decided that Botany Bay was unsuitable for the location of a penal colony, and decided to move to Port Jackson.
Jan. 20, 1818 – The City of Mobile, Ala. was officially incorporated as a municipality.
Jan. 20, 1820 – John Dudley Cary was born in Sumter District, S.C. He would eventually move to Conecuh County, where he served as Conecuh County Clerk and as a state legislator.
Jan. 20, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette left Baltimore on a steamboat bound for Norfolk, on his way to visit the legislature of Virginia at Richmond.
Jan. 20, 1830 - Lowndes County was established by an act of the Alabama General Assembly. The county was named in honor of William Lowndes, a U.S. congressman from South Carolina. The earliest settlers came to the area from Georgia and Tennessee.
Jan. 20, 1841 – Danish adventurer Jørgen Jørgensen died at the age of 60 in the Colonial Hospital in Hobart, Van Diemen's Land.
Jan. 20, 1841 – Vietnamese emperor Minh Mạng died at the age of 49 in Phú Xuân, Đại Nam.
Jan. 20, 1858 - On this night, the USCS Robert J. Walker was at Pensacola, Fla. when a major fire broke out at Fort Pickens. The ship's men and boats, along with the hydrographic party of the U.S. Coast Survey steamboat USCS Varina, rallied to fight the fire. The next day, the commanding officer of the Robert J. Walker received a communication from Captain John Newton of the Army Corps of Engineers, who commanded the harbor of Pensacola, acknowledging the important firefighting service rendered by the Robert J. Walker.
Jan. 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, the unfinished Fort Twiggs, later named Fort Massachusetts, on Ship Island, off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, was seized by Mississippi State troops.
Jan. 20, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal operations began in the vicinity of Atchison, Kansas. Also on that day, a second stone barricade was put in place at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, S.C. by the Federals in an attempt to prevent Confederate blockade runners from entering.
Jan. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, Patterson, Mo. was captured by Confederate Brig. Gen. John Marmaduke. A skirmish was also fought out from Jacksonville, N.C.
Jan. 20, 1863 - Union General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac began an offensive, now known as the “Mud March,” against General Robert E. Lee. The operation quickly bogs down as several days of heavy rain turn the roads of Virginia into a muddy quagmire. The campaign was abandoned three days later, and the campaign was considered so disastrous that Burnside was removed as commander of the army on January 25.
Jan. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, naval reconnaissance began of Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan, at the mouth of Mobile Bay in Mobile, Ala. Skirmishes were also fought at Island Number 76 on the Mississippi River and a Tracy City, Tenn. An eight-day Federal operation also began in the District of North Carolina.
Jan. 20, 1874 – Hugh T. Fountain was named postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.
Jan. 20, 1885 – Monroe Journal editor Horace Hood left Monroeville, Ala. for Montgomery to be present at the opening of the state legislature on Jan. 21.
Jan. 20, 1889 – Musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, was born on or near this day in Mooringsport, La.
Jan. 20, 1891 - In Italy, a luminous object or meteor was seen, accompanied by a fall of stones from the sky and an earthquake.
Jan. 20, 1906 – J.W. Wilkinson of Manistee, Ala. attended the Masonic lodge at Blacksher on this Saturday, according to The Monroe Journal.
Jan. 20, 1911 – Around 6 p.m., the Dunn Hardware Co. garage and warehouse in Evergreen, Ala. was totally destroyed by fire. Caused by an oil explosion, the fire resulted in a “mass of flames” and several employees barely escaped. The next door building, which belonged to Jas. F. Jones, was almost totally destroyed and several other buildings were threatened.
Jan. 20, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Capt. J.C. Cheney had made a donation of “several volumes of very valuable reference books” to the Evergreen City School Library.
Jan. 20, 1915 - Author John Craig Stewart was born in Selma, Ala.
Jan. 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroeville had “experienced this week the first real breath of winter during the season. Following the rain on Sunday, the temperature dropped with marked suddenness and sleet and ice were in evidence for three days.”
Jan. 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that The Peoples Bank of Roy (present-day Frisco City) had held its annual meeting of stockholders a few days before and had elected the following officers and directors: W.M. Newton, President; J.F. Busey, Vice President; D.M. Maxwell, Cashier; W.H. Tucker, W.H. Pearce, C.P. Deming, W.R. Blackwell, W.M. Newton, J.F. Busey, D.M. Maxwell.
Jan. 20, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that thermometers in Evergreen, Ala. dipped down to 20 degrees during a recent cold snap.
Jan. 20, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that an inmate died a “few nights ago” in the county jail.
Jan. 20, 1937 - L.W. Locklin, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Locklin of Monroeville, Ala., and the grandson of the late L.W. Locklin, whose name he bore, passed away shortly after 5 a.m. on this Wednesday morning in a Mobile hospital. He was stricken on Jan. 13 and was rushed to Mobile for an operation for appendicitis. Complications followed and throughout his illness his condition was critical. “Monroeville was stunned… at the news of the death of this popular child,” The Monroe Journal reported.
Jan. 20, 1938 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Deputy Sheriff J. Greely Moore, who was also a former county sheriff, had qualified as a candidate for Sheriff in the upcoming primary election.
Jan. 20, 1942 – During World War II, at the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discussed the implementation of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question.”
Jan. 20, 1945 – Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist and short-story writer Robert Olen Butler was born in Granite City, Ill.
Jan. 20, 1946 – Novelist Susan Vreeland was born in Racine, Wisc.
Jan. 20, 1947 – James “Big Jim” Folsom began his first term as Alabama governor on this date after being elected in 1946. His first term ended on Jan. 22, 1951 when he was succeeded by Gordon Persons.
Jan. 20, 1947 – Lloyd G. Hart began his term as Conecuh County (Ala.) Probate Judge. Roy L. Moorer was his chief clerk. Assisting clerks included Mrs. Robbye A. Hart and Miss Perry Mae Darby.
Jan. 20, 1947 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson died at the age of 35 in Pittsburgh, Pa. He played his entire career in the old Negro Leagues. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
Jan. 20, 1948 – Millry, Ala. was officially incorporated as a municipality.
Jan. 20, 1949 - Free substitution was adopted for one year in the National Football League.
Jan. 20, 1950 – Poet and author Edward Hirsch was born in Chicago, Ill.
Jan. 20, 1952 - The second annual Camellia Show in Monroeville, sponsored by the Monroe Men’s Camellia Club, was scheduled to be held at the local regional livestock coliseum on this Sunday, when camellia blooms were to be on display from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. This was to be the second show of this kind to be staged by the local group which was organized approximately three years before.
Jan. 20, 1959 – Greenville High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat Evergreen High School, 74-35, in Greenville. Billy Melton led Evergreen with 11 points.
Jan. 20, 1959 – Alabama Recording Secretary Mabel Amos of Conecuh County, Ala. administered the oaths of office to the cabinet of new, incoming Alabama governor, John Malcolm Patterson.
Jan. 20, 1959 – Alabama Gov. John Patterson, who took office the day before, announced that Mabel Amos of Brooklyn, Ala. would remain in the governor’s office during the new administration. Amos, who had served in the office for 20 years, began work there in 1939 under Gov. Frank M. Dixon. She went on to serve under governors Chauncey Sparks, Jim Folsom and Gordon Persons.
Jan. 20, 1961 - The inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States was held on this Friday at the eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. This 44th presidential inauguration marked the commencement of the term of John F. Kennedy as President and Lyndon B. Johnson as Vice President. According to the Jan. 12, 1961 edition of The Monroe Journal, Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Garrett of Uriah planned to be included in the delegation of Alabamians to attend the inauguration.
Jan. 20, 1965 - The period of unemployment for former Conecuh County (Ala.) Probate Judge Lloyd G. Hart was very brief. The veteran judge of probate of Conecuh County ended his 18th year in office at midnight on Mon., Jan. 18, and went to work in a position with the Alabama Public Service Commission at eight o’clock on this Wednesday morning.
Jan. 20, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president of the United States and said, “After a period of confrontation [in Vietnam], we are entering an era of negotiation.” Eight years after losing to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election, Nixon had defeated Hubert H. Humphrey for the presidency. Shortly after taking office, Nixon put his new team in place. William Rogers replaced Dean Rusk as Secretary of State, Melvin Laird replaced Clark Clifford as Secretary of Defense, and Henry Kissinger replaced Walt Rostow as National Security Adviser.
Jan. 20, 1972 – During the Vietnam War, in continued efforts to disrupt an anticipated communist offensive, a contingent of more than 10,000 South Vietnamese troops begin a sweep 45 miles northwest of Saigon to find and destroy enemy forces. There was much speculation that the North Vietnamese would launch such an offensive around the Tet (Chinese New Year) holiday. Although the communists did not attack during the Tet holiday in early February, in March they launched a massive invasion involving more than 150,000 main force troops and large amounts of tanks and artillery pieces. The battles raged throughout South Vietnam into the fall and resulted in some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
Jan. 20, 1973 – Army Sgt. Spencer E. Taylor, a 1964 graduate of Marshall High School in Evergreen, was among a group of handpicked soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg to provide a cordon along Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon.
Jan. 20, 1973 – Fred David McClammy of “Mystery Stone” fame passed away at the age of 33.
Jan. 20, 1974 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported. 4.6 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 20, 1974 – Around 4:25 p.m. on this Sunday afternoon, Evergreen (Ala.) Assistant Police Chief Talmadge Hampton (Tal) Smith, age 65, was killed in the line of duty when he was struck by a car while crossing U.S. Highway 31 South on foot. Smith, an eight-year veteran of the police force, had just checked the doors of Taylor Auto parts and was returning to his patrol car, which was parked in front of Barlow’s Paint & Body. The car that struck Smith was driven by R.C. Trawick of Flomaton, and witnesses said the accident was unavoidable.
Jan. 20, 1979 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported 1.87 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 20, 1979 – John Coburn, 71, of Evergreen, Ala. passed away after a long illness. Coburn was a retired contractor who was associated with the group that built the houses in the first subdivision in Evergreen. He was also the contractor for many other homes, churches and buildings in Evergreen and the surrounding area.
Jan. 20, 1979 – Monroe Academy’s varsity boys basketball team remained undefeated by beating Sparta Academy, 62-44, in the Sparta Academy Invitational Tournament championship game in Evergreen, Ala. Terry Peacock led Sparta with 15 points. Peacock and Bobby Padgett were named to the all-tournament team.
Jan. 20, 1982 - Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off of a bat in Des Moines, Iowa and was hospitalized to undertake a series of rabies shots.
Jan. 20, 1985 - The most-watched Super Bowl game in history was seen by an estimated 115.9 million people. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16. Super Bowl XIX marked the first time that TV commercials sold for a million dollars a minute. Joe Montana was awarded his third MVP award.
Jan. 20, 1986 - New footage of the 1931 movie "Frankenstein" was found. The footage was originally deleted because it was considered to be too shocking.
Jan. 20-21, 1995 - Heather Watson, Conecuh County’s Junior Miss, participated in the Alabama State Junior Miss Finals in Montgomery.
Jan. 20, 2007 – A three-man team, using only skis and kites, completed a 1,093-mile trek to reach the southern pole of inaccessibility for the first time since 1958 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance.
Jan. 20-21, 2009 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported low temperatures of 19 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 20, 2009 – Sparta Academy’s varsity girls basketball team, ranked No. 2 in the state, beat Warrior Academy, 57-17, in Eutaw, Ala.
Jan. 20, 2009 – Montgomery attorney James H. Anderson, who was representing Pete Wolff III in the ongoing lawsuit over Evergreen, Alabama’s disputed mayoral election, filed a brief in Conecuh County Circuit Court, giving his position on a number of legal points in the case. Anderson’s brief, a six-page document, made the argument that the outcome of past lawsuits and state law support Wolff’s side of the case. Wolff ran for mayor against incumbent Larry Fluker only to lose by two votes in the Oct. 7 runoff election.