Feb. 4, 1703 – In Edo (now Tokyo), 46 of the Forty-seven Ronin committed seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master's death.
Feb. 4, 1783 - Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.
Feb. 4, 1789 – George Washington was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
Feb. 4, 1792 - George Washington repeated the feat of being the only president to be unanimously elected by the Electoral College.
Feb. 4, 1794 – The French legislature abolished slavery throughout all territories of the French First Republic. It would be reestablished in the French West Indies in 1802.
Feb. 4, 1818 – Lawrence County was created by the Alabama legislature and Melton’s Bluff was selected as the first county seat.
Feb. 4, 1826 – “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fennimore Cooper was first published. One of the earliest distinctive American novels, the book is the second of the five-novel series called the “Leather-stocking Tales.” The other books in the series include “The Deerslayer” (1841), “The Pathfinder” (1840), “The Pioneers” (1823) and “The Prairie” (1827).
Feb. 4, 1847 - In Maryland, the first U.S. Telegraph Company was established.
Feb. 4, 1861 - Delegates from six break-away U.S. states that had recently seceded from the Union met in Montgomery, Ala. to establish the Confederate States of America. Four days later this provisional Confederate Congress, comprising representatives of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, organized the Confederacy with the adoption of a provisional constitution.
Feb. 4, 1862 – During the Civil War, a Naval reconnaissance of Fort Henry, Tenn. was conducted.
Feb. 4, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Batesville, Ark.; Lake Providence, La.; and Murfreesborough, Tenn.
Feb. 4, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Hot Springs, Mountain Fork and Rolling Prairie, Ark.; Columbia, La.; Bolton Depot, Champion's Hill, Edward's Ferry, Liverpool Heights, and Queen's Hill, Miss. (all part of the Meridian Expedition); and at Moorefield, West Va.
Feb. 4, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Park, La. and at Angley's Post Office and Buford's Bridge, S.C. Three days of skirmishing also began at Mud Springs, Nebraska, with Indians. A three-day Federal operation between Winchester, Va. and Moorefield, West Va. began.
Feb. 4, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Ladd's House, Ala.
Feb. 4, 1887 – Confederate veteran Joseph A. Adams, the founder of The Southern Star newspaper in Dale County, Ala., passed away at the age of 43 in Ozark, Ala.
Feb. 4, 1902 – Pilot and explorer Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris, was born in Detroit, Michigan.
Feb. 4, 1904 – Journalist, novelist and screenwriter MacKinlay Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956 for his 1955 novel “Andersonville,” about the Confederate prisoner of war camp.
Feb. 4, 1913 – Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Ala.
Feb. 4, 1914 - Alabama journalist Hazel Brannon Smith was born in Alabama City, Ala.
Feb. 4, 1915 – Conecuh County, Ala. convicts commenced working on public roads, and work was progressing “satisfactorily.” There were 10 convicts at work at that time, and “two portable steel cages were received and put into use.”
Feb. 4, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that “notable improvements have been made in the condition of streets and roads within the corporate limits of Monroeville within the last few months, and the public square is now being graded and all stumps, decayed trees and other unsightly objects removed. A movement is on foot to enclose the square so as to prevent indiscriminant travel over it by vehicles and livestock.”
Feb. 4, 1916 – Poet Gavin Ewart was born in London, England.
Feb. 4, 1919 – During World War I, Army soldier James O. Merrill of Andalusia, Ala. “died from disease.”
Feb. 4, 1920 – The Evergreen Courant reported that H.S. Hagood had announced his candidacy for re-election to the office of county tax assessor.
Feb. 4, 1921 – Betty Friedan, the author of 1963’s “The Feminine Mystique,” was born in Peoria, Ill.
Feb. 4, 1923 - A movie version of Alabama author Milford W. Howard's book “The Bishop of the Ozarks,” starring the author, was released.
Feb. 4, 1932 – Novelist and short-story writer Robert Coover was born in Charles City, Iowa.
Feb. 4, 1935 – Jack Robinson of Baltimore, Md. arrived in Evergreen, Ala. to assume a position with the firm of I. Long & Sons. Robinson was the nephew of Evergreen businessmen, Robert Long and Haiman Long.
Feb. 4, 1938 - The play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, opened in New York City.
Feb. 4, 1940 - The Coast Guard cutter Cartigan found the Gloria Colita “adrift, crippled and unmanned” about 150 miles south of Mobile, Ala. in the Gulf of Mexico. On Jan. 21, 1940, the Gloria Colita, a 125-foot schooner, sailed from Mobile, loaded with a cargo of lumber bound for Guantanamo, Cuba.
Feb. 4, 1952 - Jackie Robinson was named Director of Communication for NBC.
Feb. 4, 1955 – Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat W.S. Neal, 59-44, in East Brewton, Ala. Randy White led Evergreen with 31 points, and Ward Alexander followed with 14 points.
Feb. 4, 1959 – Pro Football Hall of Fame outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor, one of the best defensive players in NFL history, was born in Williamsburg, Virginia. Taylor went on to play his entire 13-season professional career with the New York Giants and is credited with redefining the position of outside linebacker and terrorizing a generation of NFL quarterbacks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Feb. 4, 1961 – Writer Stewart O’Nan was born in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Feb. 4, 1962 - The first U.S. helicopter was shot down in Vietnam. It was one of 15 helicopters ferrying South Vietnamese Army troops into battle near the village of Hong My in the Mekong Delta. The first U.S. helicopter unit had arrived in South Vietnam aboard the ferry carrier USNS Core on Dec. 11, 1961. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.
Feb. 4, 1964 – A meeting was held at 7 p.m. in the Civic Room at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. to organize a women’s auxiliary for the Conecuh County Hospital.
Feb. 4, 1964 - The Administrator of General Services announced that the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. The amendment banned the poll tax.
Feb. 4, 1965 – The Evergreen Courant reported that construction would begin right away on the new addition to the educational building of the Evergreen Baptist Church. The new building joined the existing building, which was built in 1950, in the rear and was about the same size, i.e., 6,000 square feet and two stories tall. John Nielsen was the chairman of the building committee and the Rev. Sam Granade was the church’s pastor.
Feb. 4, 1965 - McGeorge Bundy, American Special Assistant for National Security, arrived in Saigon for talks with U.S. Ambassador General Maxwell Taylor. Two days later Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin arrived in Hanoi. There was worldwide speculation that their visits were linked–that the United States and the Soviet Union had agreed to pressure their “clients” into negotiations–but this was denied by all the principals.
Feb. 4, 1969 - John Madden was named the head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
Feb. 4, 1971 - “I Walk the Line,” a movie version of Alabama author Madison Jones's book “The Exile,” was released.
Feb. 4, 1972 - A force of 824 soldiers, the last of Thailand’s 12,000 troops serving in South Vietnam, departed. The Thai contingent, which had first arrived in country in the fall of 1967, had been part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the United States and South Vietnam.
Feb. 4, 1974 - Heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army from her Berkeley, Calif. apartment.
Feb. 4, 1988 – The Monroe Journal reported that construction of the “new fire station” on East Claiborne Street in Monroeville, Ala. was nearing completion and would replace the old station behind City Hall. At that same time, another fire station was also under construction in front of the Whetstone Street Recreation Center.
Feb. 4, 1993 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Hillcrest High School’s varsity basketball team was experiencing unprecedented success for the school that season, thanks to Coach Danny Covin and players Isaac McMillan, Derrick Averett and Bryant Richardson, who were all named to the All-Tournament Team following the Third Annual Hillcrest High School Invitational Tournament the week before. The Jaguars took first place in the tournament, defeating Charles Henderson High School of Troy, 73-64. Averett was named the tournament’s most valuable player by a vote of the coaches from the six teams participating.
Feb. 4, 1993 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the trial dates for the two men accused of the murder of Clarene Haskew had been changed in an order by Circuit Judge Sam Welch so that defense attorneys could examine evidence in the case which they claimed had not been made available to them as a previous order by the judge decreed. In a motion hearing on Tues., Feb. 2, the defense attorney for Wayne Travis alleged that evidence in the possession of the state had not been made available to him and other evidence was made available to him only as late as Jan. 28. Judge Welch agreed to move Travis’ trial to Feb. 22, the date originally scheduled for (co-defendant Steven Wayne) Hall’s trial.
Feb. 4, 1994 – Episode No. 15 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Lazarus” – aired for the first time.
Feb. 4, 1997 - A civil jury in California found O.J. Simpson liable in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Goldman's parents were awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages.
Feb. 4, 1998 - Bill Gates got a pie in the face while entering the European Union Building in Brussels.
Feb. 4, 2000 – New Hope Baptist Church in Beatrice, Ala. was added to Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage by the Alabama Historical Commission.
Feb. 4, 2000 – Sparta Academy’s varsity girls basketball team won the AISA Class AA, East Area II Regional Tournament in Evergreen, Ala. by beating Greenville Academy, 48-45. Katie Etheridge was named Tournament MVP and Ashley Hammonds and Jill Pate were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Feb. 4, 2001 – “Bojangles,” a television version of Alabama author James Haskins' book “Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of Bill Robinson,” was broadcast.
Feb. 4, 2001 - Jimmy Buffet was ordered by NBA referee Joe Forte to give up his courtside seat due to the use of profanity. After a several-minute delay, the game between the Miami Heat and the visiting New York Knicks continued.
Feb. 4, 2002 - Minnesota's Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal by the Minnesota Twins of an injunction that would force the Twins to fulfill their lease at the Metrodome.
Feb. 4, 2004 – Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.