March 8, 1576 – Spanish explorer Diego García de Palacio first sighted the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Copán.
March 8, 1641 – Chinese geographer and explorer Xu Xiake died in China at the age of 54.
March 8, 1655 – John Casor became the first legally-recognized slave in England's North American colonies where a crime was not committed.
March 8, 1746 – French botanist and explorer André Michaux was born in Versailles.
March 8, 1775 – An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, published “African Slavery in America,” the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.
March 8, 1777 – Regiments from Ansbach and Bayreuth, sent to support Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, mutined in the town of Ochsenfurt.
March 8, 1782 – During what is now known as the “Gnadenhütten Massacre,” 96 Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity were killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.
March 8, 1790 – John Greene Sr., who established the first school in Conecuh County, Ala., was born in Abbeville District, South Carolina.
March 8, 1805 – State legislator J. Richard Hawthorne, who moved to Conecuh County, Ala. in 1817, was born in Robinson County, N.C.
March 8, 1817 – The New York Stock Exchange was founded.
March 8, 1853 - The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson was unveiled in Washington, D.C.
March 8, 1855 - A train passed over the first railway suspension bridge at Niagara Falls, New York.
March 8, 1859 – Novelist Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is best known for his famous children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows.”
March 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, the iron-clad CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) was launched and wreaked havoc on a Yankee squadron off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Virginia attacked the U.S.S. Cumberland, firing several shots into her before ramming the Federal ship and sinking it. The other Union ships fired back, but the shots were, in the words of one observer, “having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun.” Ninety-eight shots hit the Virginia, but none did significant damage. The Virginia then attacked the U.S.S. Congress, which exploded when fires caused by the Confederate barrage reached the powder magazine. The Virginia next ran the U.S.S. Minnesota aground before calling it a day. It had been the worst day in U.S. naval history and signaled the end of the wooden ship era.
March 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, a two-day operation in and around Rolla, Mo. began. Chattanooga, Tenn. was occupied by Confederate forces, and a skirmish was fought near Nashville, Tenn. Leesburg, Va. was occupied by Federal forces.
March 8, 1863 – The Louise Short Baptist Widows and Orphans Home opened in Evergreen, Ala.
March 8, 1863 – During the Civil War, Confederate operations were conducted against New Berne, N.C., which featured skirmishes at Deep Gully and in the vicinity of Ft Anderson. Skirmishes were fought near Carthage, Collierville, Franklin, Columbia, Thompson’s Station, Rutherford’s Creek, La Grange, Covington and on the Harpeth River (near Triune), all in Tennessee.
March 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes occurred at Courtland and Moulton, Ala.
March 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Baton Rouge and at Cypress Creek, La. For the first time, President Abraham Lincoln met with his new Lieutenant General, Ulysses Simpson Grant in Washington City, D.C.
March 8, 1865 - Alabama author Mary McNeil Fenollosa was born on her grandparents' plantation in southern Alabama.
March 8, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Kinston, or Wise’s Forks, took place in North Carolina. Skirmishes were also fought at Love’s Bridge (sometimes called Blue’s Bridge), S.C.; in Jackson County, Tenn.; with Indians at Poison Creek, in the Idaho Territory; and in the vicinity of Duguidsville, Va.
March 8, 1874 - The thirteenth president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, passed away at the age of 74 in Buffalo, New York.
March 8, 1895 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau Station at Claiborne, Ala. recorded 2.1 inches of rainfall.
March 8, 1904 – A Chapter of Royal Arch Masons was instituted in Evergreen, Ala. by Grand Secretary Geo. A. Beauchamp, assisted by Grand High Priest C.R. Bricken, and a number of Masons from Monroeville. Degrees were conferred upon 20 candidates. The following officers were elected: Geo. W. Salter Sr., High Priest; P.M. Bruner Sr., King; R.T. Holland, Scribe; E. Downing, C. of S.V.; W.F. Betts, P.S.; Y.M. Long, Y.M.C.; P.S. McKinley, M. 3rd V.; C. Rubach, M. 2nd V.; S.B. Lister, M. 1st V.; J.T. Williams, Treasurer; E.E. Newton, Secretary; Wm. Ellis, Sentinel.
March 8, 1906 - Miss Lucille Bizzelle of Monroeville, Ala. was scheduled to give a recital in the Monroe County circuit courtroom on this evening for the benefit of the new Methodist church. Bizzelle had studied under prominent teachers at Wheatcroft Dramatic School and Lawrence School of New York City, Morgan School of Chicago, and had only recently returned from Boston where she took a special course in Emerson College. She had given recitals in New York City and in a number of towns and cities in Alabama and “had been given the most flattering press notices of her splendid ability to entertain.”
March 8, 1916 – During World War I, a British force unsuccessfully attempted to relieve the siege of Kut (present-day Iraq) in the Battle of Dujaila.
March 8, 1930 - The twenty-seventh president of the United States, William Howard Taft, passed away at the age of 72 in Washington, D.C.
March 8, 1930 - The New York Yankees signed Babe Ruth to a two-year contract worth $160,000.
March 8, 1931 – Writer John McPhee was born in Princeton, N.J.
March 8, 1934 – Major League Baseball second baseman Marv Breeding was born in Decatur, Ala. He would go on to play for the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Senators and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
March 8, 1935 – Construction of Pickwick Dam, located 52 miles below Wilson Dam in Florence, Ala., began.
March 8, 1935 – Thomas Wolfe’s novel “Of Time and the River” was first published.
March 8, 1939 – Major League Baseball pitcher and author Jim Bouton was born in Newark, N.J. He would go on to play for the New York Yankees, the Seattle Pilots, the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. He is arguably most famous for his classic baseball book, “Ball Four,” which was published in 1970.
March 8, 1948 – Evergreen (Ala.) High School, under head coach Wendell Hart, began spring football practice.
March 8, 1949 – President of France Vincent Auriol and ex-emperor of Annam Bảo Đại signed the Élysée Accords, giving Vietnam greater independence from France and creating the State of Vietnam to oppose Viet Minh-led Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
March 8, 1953 – National Baseball Hall of Fame left fielder and designated hitter Jim Rice was born in Anderson, S.C. He would go on to play his entire career for the Boston Red Sox (1974-1989). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
March 8, 1956 – Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team, which finished second the previous week in the First District Class AA Tournament in Mobile, was scheduled to play Kinston High School in the opening round of the State Class AA Basketball Tournament at 3:30 p.m. in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Aggies were paced by Randy White, said to be the highest scorer in the history of the school with a total of 833 points in 28 games that year, a 30-point per game average. Wayne Frazier, Eddie Kelly, Mickey Joyner and Robert King made up the rest of the starting team for Evergreen. Substitutes were Ronnie Edson, Harry Pugh, Wendell Tolbert, Walter Carrier and Timmie Boykin.
March 8, 1956 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the “Repton-Burnt Corn Road” was soon to be a reality as Conecuh County planned to begin work on the road soon, according to John Tranum, Chairman of the Conecuh County (Ala.) Board of Directors. Negotiations between the State of Alabama Highway Department and the Board of Directors had been in progress for about 12 months, and word was received early on Mon., March 5, “flashing a green light on the project.” The road was to be built through Bermuda, connecting both Repton and Burnt Corn with that community, as well as providing a closer route from Burnt Corn to Evergreen. Much of the new road was to be along the route of the Old Federal Stage Road.
March 8, 1964 - A television version of Alabama author Borden Deal's story "For the Love of Willadean: A Taste of Melon" was broadcast as part of the “Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color” series.
March 8, 1965 – Thirty-five hundred United States Marines were the first American land combat forces committed during the Vietnam War.
March 8, 1965 - The USS Henrico, Union and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch, took up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang. First ashore was the Battalion Landing Team 3/9, which arrived on the beach at 8:15 a.m. Wearing full battle gear and carrying M-14s, the Marines were met by sightseers, South Vietnamese officers, Vietnamese girls with leis, and four American soldiers with a large sign stating: “Welcome, Gallant Marines.” Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Saigon, was reportedly “appalled” at the spectacle because he had hoped that the Marines could land without any fanfare. Within two hours, Battalion Landing Team 1/3 began landing at Da Nang air base. The 3,500 Marines were deployed to secure the U.S. airbase, freeing South Vietnamese troops up for combat.
March 8, 1970 – NFL place kicker Jason Elam was born in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He would go on to play for the University of Hawaii, the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons.
March 8, 1971 - Harris Johnston Williamson, 55, died on this Monday in a Birmingham, Ala. hospital after a long illness. He was assistant postmaster of the Evergreen Post Office and a veteran postal employee. Williamson began his career in the postal service on Aug. 1, 1938 and was named assistant postmaster in June 1957. A lifelong resident of Evergreen, Williamson’s entire career was with the Evergreen Post Office. He served with distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
March 8, 1971 – High flood waters on the Alabama River on this Monday rose over the top of the lock at the Claiborne Dame in Monroe County, Ala. Flooding was also visible along the river, which left its banks and ranged as far as two and three miles inland in places. As of March 11, 1971, at last report, the river was at an elevation of 51.8 feet – nearly two feet above the lock. Donald Bast, manager of the dam project, said the flooding would have been worse than the 1960 flood if it were not for the river’s newly constructed dams.
March 8, 1972 – German SS officer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski died at the age of 73 in Munich, Bavaria, West Germany.
March 8, 1975 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered the withdrawal of South Vietnamese forces from the Central Highlands. In late January 1975, just two years after the cease-fire had been established by the Paris Peace Accords, the North Vietnamese launched Campaign 275. The objective of this campaign was the capture of Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands.
March 8, 1976 – NFL wide receiver Hines Ward was born in Seoul, South Korea. He would go on to play for the University of Georgia and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
March 8, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Juan Encarnación was born in Las Matas de Farfán, Dominican Republic. He went on to play for the Detroit Tigers, the Cincinnati Reds, the Florida Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
March 8, 1976 – Major League Baseball utility player Ryan Freel was born in Jacksonville, Fla. He went on to play for the Toronto Blue Jayes, the Cincinnati Reds, the Baltimore Orioles, the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals.
March 8, 1976 – Actor, producer and screenwriter Freddie Prinze Jr. was born in Los Angeles, Calif.
March 8, 1978 – The first radio episode of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams was transmitted on BBC Radio 4.
March 8, 1986 - Monroe County High School’s girls basketball team came up on the short end of a 56-53 score in the state title match on this Saturday against Wenonah High, after playing “giant killers” on Fri., March 7, in the state semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament at Decatur, Ala. The Lady Tigers, who finished as the state’s Class 5A runners-up for the second straight season, lost to state champion Wenonah, 56-53, on Sat., March 8, after handing previously unbeaten and top-ranked Hartselle a 42-40 defeat at John C. Calhoun Community College on Fri., March 7. Players on MCHS’s team that season included Bridgett Brown, Barbara Lang, Samantha Malone, Stephanie Richardson and Jennifer Stallworth. Ronald Jackson was MCHS’s head coach.
March 8, 1993 – Hillcrest High School’s baseball team opened the 1993 season by beating Wilcox Central, 19-0, in Evergreen, Ala. Hillcrest senior pitched the complete game shutout, allowing just three hits and striking out 10 opposing batters. Hillcrest’s Mario McDaniel also hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
March 8, 1994 – The William Carter Home (Pine Flat Plantation) near Forest Home was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
March 8, 1998 – Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Nitschke died at the age of 61 in Venice, Fla. During his career, he played at the University of Illinois and the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
March 8, 1999 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Timothy McVeigh for the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
March 8, 1999 – National Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder Joe DiMaggio died in Hollywood, Fla. He played his entire career for the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.
March 8, 2001 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Sally Hartley, daughter of Tommy Hartley and Gloria Hartley, had been elected to serve as a member of the Auburn Tigerettes/Tiger Hosts for the 2001-2002 football recruiting season. The Tigerettes and Tigers Hosts were the official hostesses and hosts of the Auburn University Athletic Department. In addition to providing moral support to the Auburn Tigers, they were active in football recruiting and act as tour guides to people visiting Auburn. Sally was a freshman from Evergreen, majoring in Public Relations.
March 8, 2001 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the extremely heavy rains that fell on Fri., March 2, and Sat., March 3, throughout Conecuh County, Ala. did extensive damage to several roads. This bridge on County Road 30 going to Fairnelson washed out so badly that residents had to travel the Seven Bridges Road to get to Evergreen. County workers were trying to have the bridge repaired and open for traffic again by March 8.
March 8, 2001 - The Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to hold its annual membership dinner on this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Monroeville First Baptist Church on Pineville Road in Monroeville, Ala. Special guest speakers for the event were to be Ralph Stacey, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, and Milton Brown, Mobile real estate entrepreneur and songwriter and force behind the soon to be completed film, “Mi Amigo.” At the chamber dinner meeting, Brown was to show clips from Monroe County scenes in the movie and discuss making the film.
March 8, 2004 – A new constitution was signed by Iraq's Governing Council.
March 8, 2006 - NFL owners and the players' union agreed on a union proposal which extended the collective bargaining agreement for six years.
March 8, 2008 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low of 29 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
March 8, 2009 – Country music singer-songwriter Hank Locklin passed away in Brewton, Ala. at the age of 91. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.
March 8, 2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia with the loss of all 239 people aboard.