March 18, 1314 – Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake.
March 18, 1541 - Hernando de Soto observed the first recorded flood of the Mississippi River.
March 18, 1760 – American Revolutionary War soldier William Hillhouse was born (some sources say 1752) in South Carolina. One of the founders of the Greensboro, Ala. Presbyterian Church, he served as a private, sergeant and lieutenant in the South Carolina militia. He died on April 28, 1848 in Oktibbeha County, Miss. and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Starkville, Miss.
March 18, 1766 – During the American Revolution, after four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act of 1765, which was passed on March 22, 1765 to raise raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Parliament also passed a Declaratory Act that asserted the British government's total legislative control over the colonies.
March 18, 1774 - Lord North brought up the Port Bill (The Boston Port Act).
March 18, 1778 - British Loyalists and Hessian mercenary forces assaulted the local New Jersey militia at Quinton's Bridge in New Jersey.
March 18, 1783 - General George Washington wrote a letter to Congress to assure them that the unrest with army officers was over.
March 18, 1790 – John Greene Sr. was born in Abbeville District, S.C. He moved to Conecuh County in 1816 and later established the first school in Conecuh County. He was selected as a State Representative in 1824 and 1828 and represented Conecuh County at the Secession Convention in 1861 and at the Constitutional Convention in 1875.
March 18, 1813 - David Melville patented the gas streetlight.
March 18, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Beaufort, South Carolina to a 13-gun salute and spoke to citizens from the John Mark Verdier House.
March 18, 1830 – Scottish author and newspaperman James Stuart, who was traveling by stage from Montgomery to Mobile, wrote in his book “Three Years in North America” that on this day he “proceeded on the stage from Greenville to Price’s Hotel, 15 miles. Price himself had driven me from Greenville; his wife had an excellent breakfast prepared… She had lived a long time in South Carolina, but liked Alabama quite as well, were it not for the want of schools for her children, the climate was more healthy, and her husband better paid… The population in this neighborhood is still very thin; but there are patches here and there of corn crops. The wheat is already in the ear on the 18th of March.”
March 18, 1834 - The first railroad tunnel in the U.S. was completed in Pennsylvania.
March 18, 1835 - Charles Darwin left Santiago Chile on his way to Portillo Pass.
March 18, 1837 - Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th presidents of the United States, was born in Caldwell, N.J.
March 18, 1837 – William Lawrence Locklin passed away at Claiborne, Ala. at the age of 62. He moved to Georgia to Claiborne in 1812 and established Alabama’s first cotton gin there in 1817. He was buried in Claiborne Cemetery in Monroe County, but his gravestone no longer exists.
March 18, 1842 – French poet Stephane Mallarme was born in Paris.
March 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Arkansas State Convention in Little Rock, Ark., voted 39 to 35 against seceding, but decided to conduct another vote later in the year. The governor of Texas, Sam Houston, quietly departed the state rather than swear allegiance to the Confederacy. A skirmish was fought with Indians near the Kootenay River in the Washington Territory.
March 18, 1862 – Butler County native Thomas H. Watts began serving as the Confederate States Attorney General. His term ended on Oct. 1, 1863, two months before he began serving as Alabama’s Confederate governor.
March 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Spring River (or Salem), Ark.; at Point Pleasant, Mo.; and near Middletown, Va. Confederate troops began arriving in the vicinity of Corinth, Miss. from Tennessee. A 12-day Federal operation in Johnson, Saint Clair and Henry Counties, Mo. began.
Marc 18, 1862 - Very nearly all the high cabinet positions in the Confederate government changed hands on this day. Judah Benjamin, who had been criticized frequently for his handling of the War Department, was shifted to Secretary of State. The criticism followed him to his new job, even though he performed brilliantly; the fact of the matter was that many Southerners were uncomfortable with a Jew in a position of such authority. The newly appointed head of the Department of War was George W. Randolph of Virginia. Gen. Thomas Bragg was replaced by Thomas Watts. The party who started the whole shuffle, ex Secretary of State R. M. T. Hunter, departed for the Senate.
March 18, 1864 - The U.S. Sanitary Commission Fair in Washington, D.C. closed with President Abraham Lincoln commending the organization for its work on behalf of Union soldiers.
March, 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Monticello and Spring Creek, Ark. Sherman and Grant plotted military strategy at Cincinnati, Ohio. A Federal operation from Island No. 10 to New Madrid, Mo. began.
March 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Congress of the Confederate States adjourned for the last time.
March 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Amite River, La.; at Livingston, Tenn.; in the vicinity of Dranesville, Va.; and in the vicinity of Benton’s Crossroads, Bushy Swamp and at Mingo Creek, N.C.
March 18, 1865 – During the Civil War, the final movement of Sherman’s army began near Bentonville, N.C. The left wing under General Slocum was preceded by Kilpatrick’s cavalry. Facing him was General Wade Hampton, famous horseman in his own right. The two began with a skirmish at Benton’s Cross Roads. Johnston began maneuvering his 20,000 Confederates to oppose Slocum’s 30,000 Federals. The full Union army opposing him numbered nearly 100,000.
March 18, 1877 – Former Selma resident Edgar Cayce was born in Hopkinsville, Ky. Known as the "sleeping prophet," he was considered the most documented psychic of the 20th century, giving readings to thousands of seekers while in a trance state. He lived in Selma, Ala. from 1912 to 1925.
March 18, 1893 – Poet Wilfred Owen was born in Shropshire, England. Two years after his death at the age of 25 in World War I, the “Poems of Wilfred Owen” was published in 1920.
March 18, 1909 - Einar Dessau of Denmark used a short wave transmitter to become the first person to broadcast as a "ham" operator.
March 18, 1909 – Future U.S. President Harry S. Truman was raised to the degree of Master Mason at Belton Lodge No. 450 in Grandview, Missouri.
March 18, 1911 - Theodore Roosevelt opened the Roosevelt Dam in Arizona. It was the largest dam in the U.S. at the time.
March 18, 1915 – Miss Christine J. Tinling of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union spoke at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. at 8 p.m.
March 18, 1918 - Alabama author and Poet Laureate Morton D. Prouty was born in Illinois.
March 18, 1919 - The Order of DeMolay was established in Kansas City.
March 18, 1927 – Writer and editor George Plimpton was born in New York City.
March 18, 1928 – Former Confederate soldier James Hiram Rachels passed away at the age of 83 and was buried in the Red Hills Cemetery near Franklin, Ala. Born on Oct. 17, 1844, Rachels served with Co. H of the 62nd Alabama Infantry, which was called the “Boy Brigade” because it was formed from boys ages 16 to 19, who made up a company of Alabama Reserves. The unit was organized as the 62nd Alabama Regiment at Mobile. Stationed at Fort Gaines, the regiment was in the bombardment of that place, losing several killed and wounded, and the remainder captured. The prisoners were taken to New Orleans and Ship Island, and were subjected to brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy. They were exchanged in Mobile Bay on Jan. 4, 1865 and placed in garrison at Spanish Fort, as part of Thomas' brigade (with the 63rd Alabama). The regiment withstood the siege there for six days, with some losses, and was then relieved by Holtzclaw's brigade. It served through the siege and bombardment of Blakeley, losing a number killed and wounded, and was captured in the assault on the works. Taken to Ship Island, the men were exchanged in time to be surrendered with the department. The regiment was composed wholly of young men, and was complimented in special orders by Gen. Liddell for its conduct at Spanish Fort.
March 18, 1932 – Writer John Updike was born in Reading, Pa.
March 18, 1936 – “These Three,” a movie version of Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “The Children's Hour,” with a screenplay written by Hellman, was released.
March 18, 1940 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a meeting at the Brenner Pass in the Alps. The Italian dictator agreed to join in Germany's war against France and Britain during the meeting.
March 18, 1942 - The third military draft began in the U.S. because of World War II.
March 18, 1952 – Pro Football Hall of Fame center Mike Webster was born in Tomahawk, Wisc. He went on to play for the University of Wisconsin, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
March 18, 1953 - National League owners approved the move of the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee. It was the first Major League Baseball franchise shift since 1903.
March 18, 1959 - U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill.
March 18, 1964 – Evergreen (Ala.) city councilman and mayor pro tem W.H. “Henry” Sessions qualified to run for the mayor’s seat in the upcoming municipal election. Sessions was the owner of Conecuh Quick Freeze, led the ticket for council in his first political race in 1960 and was serving on Governor George C. Wallace’s Committee of 100.
March 18, 1969 – The United States began secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail in Cambodia, used by communist forces to infiltrate South Vietnam. U.S. B-52 bombers were diverted from their targets in South Vietnam to attack suspected communist base camps and supply areas in Cambodia for the first time in the war. President Nixon approved the mission – formally designated Operation Breakfast – at a meeting of the National Security Council on March 15. This mission and subsequent B-52 strikes inside Cambodia became known as the “Menu” bombings. A total of 3,630 flights over Cambodia dropped 110,000 tons of bombs during a 14-month period through April 1970. This bombing of Cambodia and all follow up “Menu” operations were kept secret from the American public and the U.S. Congress because Cambodia was ostensibly neutral. To keep the secret, an intricate reporting system was established at the Pentagon to prevent disclosure of the bombing. Although the New York Times broke the story of the secret bombing campaign in May 1969, there was little adverse public reaction.
March 18, 1970 - The NFL selected Wilson to be the official football and scoreboard as official time.
March 18, 1970 - A movie version of Alabama author Jesse Hill Ford's book, “The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones,” was released.
March 18, 1970 - Returning to Cambodia after visits to Moscow and Peking, Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted as Cambodian chief of state in a bloodless coup by pro-western Lt. Gen. Lon Nol, premier and defense minister, and First Deputy Premier Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, who proclaimed the establishment of the Khmer Republic. Sihanouk had tried to maintain Cambodian neutrality, but the communist Khmer Rouge, supported by their North Vietnamese allies, had waged a very effective war against Cambodian government forces. After ousting Sihanouk and taking control of the government, Lon Nol immediately set about to defeat the communists. Between 1970 and 1975, he and his army, the Forces Armees Nationale Khmer (FANK), with U.S. support and military aid, would battle the Khmer Rouge communists for control of Cambodia.
March 18, 1974 – NFL quarterback Brian Griese was born in Miami, Fla. He would go on to play for Michigan, the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears.
March 18, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Tomo Ohka was born in Kyoto, Japan. He went on to play for the Boston Red Sox, the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians.
March 18, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Scott Podsednik was born in West, Texas. He went on to play for the Seattle Mariners, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies, the Kansas City Royals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox.
March 18, 1981 - The first episode of "The Greatest American Hero" aired on ABC.
March 18, 1989 - A 4,400-year-old mummy was discovered at the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.
March 18, 1990 - The 32-day lockout of Major League Baseball players ended.
March 18, 1990 - In Tampa, Fla. a Little League Baseball player was killed after being hit with a pitch.
March 18, 1990 – The “Gardner Heist,” the largest art theft in U.S. History, occurred at the Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum in Boston, Mass.
March 18, 1994 – Episode No. 18 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Miracle Man” – aired for the first time.
March 18, 1994 - Four guns and 25 boxes of ammo were confiscated from Kurt Cobain after his wife, Courtney Love, called police fearing he was going to commit suicide. He did commit suicide about three weeks later.
March 18, 1997 – Conecuh County, Alabama’s “Mystery Crack” appeared sometime between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Conecuh County Road 73, 4.8 miles east of Repton, in the Springhill community. The crack grew to 300 yards in length and as much as 60 feet wide in some places with varying depths of up to five to 23 feet. A thick, slippery layer of clay was blamed.
March 18, 2004 – Gov. Bob Riley vetoed House Joint Resolution No. 100, which proposed making Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey the state spirit, saying that Alabama “should not set a precedent of endorsing a commercially sold product.” In response, the Alabama Legislature acted quickly and in a rare move overrode Riley’s veto by a vote of 54-7 in the House on March 18 and 19-8 in the Senate on April 6.