Feb. 14, 278 A.D. - Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Feb. 14, 1530 – Spanish conquistadores, led by Nuño de Guzmán, overthrew and executed Tangaxuan II, the last independent monarch of the Tarascan state in present-day central Mexico.
Feb. 14, 1778 – The United States flag was formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine-gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.
Feb. 14, 1779 – At the Battle of Kettle Creek in Kettle Creek, Ga., a Patriot militia force of 340 led by Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina with Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia defeated a larger force of 700 Loyalist militia commanded by Colonel James Boyd. By the end of the action, the Loyalists suffered 70 killed and another 70 captured, compared to nine killed and 23 wounded for the Patriots. The victory was the only significant Patriot victory in Georgia and delayed the consolidation of British control in the largely Loyalist colony.
Feb. 14, 1779 – English explorer and navigator James Cook, age 50, was killed by native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
Feb. 14, 1836 – About a month after their divorce, William Barrett Travis’ ex-wife, Rosanna Cato Travis, married Samuel G. Cloud in Monroeville, Ala. They would both die of Yellow Fever during an epidemic that afflicted the state in 1848.
Feb. 14, 1836 – William B. Travis and Jim Bowie agreed to share command at San Antonio de Bexar after Col. James Neill received a temporary leave of absence.
Feb. 14, 1842 – The Valentine’s Day “Boz Ball” was held in New York City’s Park Theater in honor of novelist Charles Dickens, who published his early stories under the pseudonym “Boz.”
Feb. 14, 1849 - The first photograph of a U.S. President, while in office, was taken by Matthew Brady in New York City. President James Polk was the subject of the picture.
Feb. 14, 1855 – Texas was linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.
Feb. 14, 1859 - Oregon became the 33rd member of the Union.
Feb. 14, 1862 – During the Civil War, Bowling Green, Ky. was evacuated by Confederate forces. Skirmishes were also fought at Flat Lick Ford, Ky.; at Crane Creek, Mo.; in the vicinity of Cumberland Gap, Tenn.; and at Bloomery Gap, West Va. The Federal vessels, St. Louis and Louisville, were also damaged during the naval action in front of Ft Donelson, Tenn.
Feb. 14, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 13-day Federal operation to Greenville, Miss. and Cypress Bend, Ark. began. Skirmishes also occurred at Cypress Bend, Deer Creek, and Fish Lake Bridge, all in the vicinity of Greenville, Miss. and at Union Mills, and Leesburg, VA.
Feb. 14, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were at Ross Landing and at Scott’s Farm, near Washita Cove, Ark.; at Gainesville, FL.; and at Brentsville, Va.
Feb. 14, 1864 - Union General William T. Sherman entered Meridian, Mississippi, during a winter campaign that served as a precursor to Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign in Georgia. This often-overlooked Mississippi campaign was the first attempt by the Union at total warfare, a strike aimed not just at military objectives but also at the will of the Southern people. Sherman launched the campaign from Vicksburg, Mississippi, with the goal of destroying the rail center at Meridian and clearing central Mississippi of Confederate resistance.
Feb. 14, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Larkinsville, Ala.
Feb. 14, 1865 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal operation from Donaldsonville to Grand Bayou and Bayou Goula, La. began. Skirmishes were also fought at Gunter’s Bridge on the North Edisto River, and at Wolf’s Plantation.
Feb. 14, 1884 - Future President Theodore Roosevelt's wife and mother died, only hours apart. Roosevelt was in New York when he was summoned home by his family. He returned home to find his mother, Mittie, had succumbed to typhoid fever. On the same day, his wife of four years, Alice Lee, died of Bright's disease, a severe kidney ailment.
Feb. 14, 1888 – The first train ran through Thomasville, Ala. It was carrying a group to Mardi Gras in Mobile, on a line from Mobile to Birmingham, via Selma.
Feb. 14, 1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, who is credited with the phrase "War is hell," died at the age of 71 in New York City.
Feb. 14, 1894 - Venus appeared as both a morning star and evening star.
Feb. 14, 1895 - Oscar Wilde's final play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," opened at the St. James' Theatre in London.
Feb. 14, 1898 – English mountaineer and explorer Bill Tilman was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England.
Feb. 14, 1912 - Arizona was admitted as the 48th U.S. state.
Feb. 14, 1912 – Hungarian explorer and author Tibor Sekelj was born in Spišská Sobota (part of Poprad), Austria-Hungary.
Feb. 14, 1913 – American labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975, was born in Brazil, Indiana.
Feb. 14, 1913 – College Football Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes was born in Clifton, Ohio. He would go on to coach Ohio State from 1951 to 1978.
Feb. 14, 1930 – Conecuh County High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat T.R. Miller, 36-14, in Castleberry, Ala. Skinner led CCHS with 21 points, and Matthews scored 10. Other top CCHS players included Weaver, Day and Howington. Earlier in the season, Miller beat CCHS, 33-18, in Brewton.
Feb. 14, 1933 - The first episode of the radio play “The Townsend Murder Mystery” by Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen was broadcast.
Feb. 14, 1948 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown died at the age of 71 in Terre Haute, Ind. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Terriers (which he also managed one season), the Brooklyn Tip-Tops and the Chicago Whales. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1949.
Feb. 14, 1949 – Iraqi politician Yusuf Salman Yusuf, age 48 or 49, was hanged in al-Karkh, in a square that was later named the Square of the New Museum in Baghdad. He had been sentenced to death for organizing communist activities from prison.
Feb. 14, 1954 - A capacity crowd of persons, including outstanding citizens from throughout Alabama, attended the dedication of Monroeville, Alabama’s new National Guard armory on this Sunday afternoon. With little standing room remaining, in the recently completed $95,000 structure, they heard ceremonies dedicating it as Fort Short Millsap, in honor of Monroe County’s Probate Judge E.T. Millsap. Making the official dedication was Major General Walter J. Hanna, Adjutant General of the State of Alabama.
Feb. 14, 1960 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was born in East Brady, Pa. He would go on to play for the University of Miami, the Houston Gamblers and the Buffalo Bills. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Feb. 14, 1962 - President John F. Kennedy authorized U.S. military advisors in Vietnam to return fire if fired upon. At a news conference, he said, “The training missions we have [in South Vietnam] have been instructed that if they are fired upon, they are of course to fire back, but we have not sent combat troops in [the] generally understood sense of the word.” In effect, Kennedy was acknowledging that U.S. forces were involved in the fighting, but he wished to downplay any appearance of increased American involvement in the war. The next day former Vice President Nixon expressed hopes that President Kennedy would “step up the build-up and under no circumstances curtail it because of possible criticism.”
Feb. 14, 1966 - Rick Mount of Lebanon, Indiana became the first high school, male athlete to be pictured on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."
Feb. 14, 1966 - CBS bought the rights to the NFL's 1966 and 1967 Championship Games for $2 million per game.
Feb. 14, 1970 - Despite an increasingly active antiwar movement, a Gallup Poll showed that a majority of those polled (55 percent) opposed an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. Those that favored American withdrawal had risen from 21 percent, in a November poll, to 35 percent. President Nixon had taken office in January 1969 promising to bring the war to an end, but a year later the fighting continued and support for the president’s handling of the war had begun to slip significantly.
Feb. 14, 1972 - John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-hosted the Mike Douglas Show for an entire week.
Feb. 14, 1972 – NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe was born in Ellensburg, Wash. He would go on to play for Washington State, the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys.
Feb. 14, 1973 – NFL quarterback Steve McNair was born in Mount Olive, Miss. He would go on to play for Alcorn State, the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens.
Feb. 14, 1975 – Weather observer Earl Windham reported a low of 30 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Feb. 14, 1976 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 30 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Feb. 14, 1976 – Actress Erica Leerhsen was born in New York City.
Feb. 14, 1977 - The B-52's performed their first concert together in Athens, Ga.
Feb. 14, 1977 - Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" was first released.
Feb. 14-15, 1985 – Lyeffion High School hosted the regional basketball tourmanet, which featured teams from McKenzie, Castleberry, Lyeffion, Southern Normal and W.J. Jones.
Feb. 14, 1985 – The Evergreen Courant announced the release of the local history book, “Sparta, Alabama: 1821-1866” by Pat Poole. The book was printed by Harold Adams at the Conecuh Printing Co.
Feb. 14, 1989 - The first satellite of the Global Positioning System was placed into orbit around Earth.
Feb. 14, 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verses.”
Feb. 14, 1991 – Stacey White was named Miss Alpha 1991 at the annual Miss Alpha Pageant at Sparta Academy in Evergreen, Ala. Valerie Griffin was named Jr. Miss Alpha.
Feb. 14, 1991 - A dramatic version of Alabama author Zora Neale Hurston's book “Mule Bone” opened on Broadway.
Feb. 14, 1998 - U.S. authorities officially announced that Eric Rudolph was a suspect in a bombing of an abortion clinic in Alabama.
Feb. 14, 2001 - The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft became the first vehicle to land on an asteroid.
Feb. 14, 2003 - A Florida judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Jose Canseco. Canseco had violated his probation that stemmed from a nightclub brawl in 2001. On March 17, he was sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years of probation.
Feb. 14, 2005 – YouTube was launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.