April 20, 1534 – Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, set sail from St. Malo, beginning his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, the island of Newfoundland and Labrador.
April 20, 1775 – During the Revolutionary War, the Siege of Boston began, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.
April 20, 1775 - Virginia's Royal Governor Lord Dunmore attempted to take the gunpowder from the Williamsburg magazine. Patrick Henry led Patriots in standoff with Dunmore's troops until a settlement was negotiated by Carter Braxton.
April 20, 1777 - In Kingston, the first New York state constitution was formally adopted by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York.
April 20, 1789 – George Washington arrived at Grays Ferry, Philadelphia while en route to Manhattan for his inauguration.
April 20, 1801 – John Sampey Sr., one of Conecuh County, Alabama’s original settlers, cattle farmers and Methodists, was born in Belfast, Ireland.
April 20, 1818 – Burnt Corn was first mentioned on this day in the Acts of the Post Roads, an act that established a postal road “from Fort Mitchell, by Fort Bainbridge, Fort Jackson, Burnt Corn Springs, Fort Claiborne and the Town of Jackson to St. Stephens.”
April 20, 1832 - Hot Springs National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress. It was the first national park in the U.S.
April 20, 1836 – U.S. Congress passed an act creating the Wisconsin Territory.
April 20, 1841 - In Philadelphia, Pa., Edgar Allen Poe's first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," was published in Graham's Magazine. His story has been credited with launching the detective genre or the 'whodunit' into popular culture.
April 20, 1850 – Sculptor Daniel Chester French 1850 was born in Exeter, N.H. He created the Minute Man statue in Concord, Mass. and the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
April 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia. Two days earlier he had been offered command of the Union army.
April 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Federal arsenal at Liberty, Mo. was seized by state troops.
April 20, 1862 – Durig the Civil War, Federal naval forces removed some of the Confederate-placed obstacles from the Mississippi River below Fort Jackson and Fort St Philip, La.
April 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bloomfield and Patterson, Mo.; and at Sandy Ridge, N.C. A 10-day Federal operation between Murfreesborough and McMinnville, Tenn. began. A three-day Federal operation between Belle Paine and Port Royal, Va. began. Federal reconnaissance from Winchester to Wardenville and then to Strasburg, Va. began. Opelousas and Washington, La. were occupied by Federal forces.
April 20, 1864 - The Battle of Plymouth ended with the rebels capturing Plymouth, N.C. Confederates had attacked four days before in an attempt to recapture forts that had been lost to the Union two years before.
April 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Camden and Jacksonport, Ark.; and at Natchitoches and Waterproof, La.
April 20, 1865 – During the Civil War, Federal forces occuppied Macon, Ga.
April 20, 1871 - With passage of the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Act, Congress authorized President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations, and use military force to suppress the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Passage of the Ku Klux Act led to nine South Carolina counties being placed under martial law and thousands of arrests. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Ku Klux Act unconstitutional, but by that time Reconstruction had ended, and the KKK had faded away.
April 20, 1889 - Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary.
April 20, 1895 – Three days after the “atrocious murder” of Watts Murphy, the posse having custody of the murderers were met by an armed mob near the Buckalew place on this Saturday night, and took the prisoners by force and hung them, leaving their bodies dangling from the limbs of trees.
April 20, 1896 - The Spring Term of the Circuit Court of Monroe County, Ala. was scheduled to convene on this Monday with the petit jury to be organized on Thurs. April 23. Emmons was Circuit Clerk and Anderson was the Judge. There were two to three capital cases on the criminal docket.
April 20, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that Will Ptomey, who shot and seriously injured Prof. Claude Hardy at Pine Apple, Ala. a few weeks before, had supposedly been captured at Waco, Texas. A reward of several hundred dollars had been offered.
April 20, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Brewton, Ala. grand jury had indicted F.L. Hancock, who was charged with first-degree muder in connection with the killing Prof. Jessee Troutman at Canoe on Jan. 1, 1905.
April 20, 1907 – A large “Memorial Day” celebration was held at Tunnel Springs, Ala. and the featured speaker was the Hon. W.R. Sawyer of Montgomery.
April 20, 1912 – Opening day for baseball's Tiger Stadium in Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston.
April 20, 1914 – The Ludlow Massacre occurred in Ludlow, Colo. after the National Guard opened fire on a group of striking coal miners.
April 20, 1915 – Confederate veteran W.T. Waren passed away at the age of 80 at Roy, Ala. while visiting one of his sons, Tunly Waren. Born on Nov. 30, 1834, he enlisted in Co. A, 23rd Alabama Regiment in August 1861 and returned home in April 1865.
April 20, 1916 – The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds, 7–6, in 11 innings.
April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that, after spending the winter at their ranch home at Perdue Hill, Ala., Mr. and Mrs. V.J. Reinke returned to LaSalle, Ill. for a few months.
April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that it was learned as The Journal went to press that Capt. Thos. S. Wiggins was “seriously ill and grave apprehensions are felt by his family and friends.” Wiggins had been in poor health for several months.
April 20, 1916 – In this day’s edition of The Conecuh Record, “Hughes the Jeweler” announced that “during the month of April I am going to sell my beautiful $10.75 diamond rings for $8.50 and my $15.75 ones for $11.50. They are 14-karat solid gold mountings and beautiful genuine cut diamonds.”
April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.L. McKinley had been advised of his reappointment as rural carrier on motor Rural Route No. 1. The route was to be extended so as to cover a much wider area and to serve a larger population.
April 20, 1920 - In Starkville, Miss. and Waco, Ala., 88 people were killed by a tornado.
April 20, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that more than six inches of rain had fallen during the past week, including 3.5 inches on April 11 and nearly three inches on April 15.
April 20, 1921 – In Butler County, Ala. Circuit Court, Jake Crenshaw, who was charged with the murder of Mrs. Foster Gafford, was convicted the second time and sentenced by Judge Gamble to hang on May 30.
April 20, 1925 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Ernie Stautner was born in Prinzing near Cham, Bavaria, Germany. He went on to play for Boston College and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.
April 20, 1930 – Lambert C. Mims, who would serve four terms as Mayor of Mobile, was born in Uriah, Ala.
April 20, 1937 – Ralph Clyde “Shorty” Propst, former Alabama football star, visited Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala. during a recruiting trip for Memphis College (now Rhodes College).
April 20, 1939 – Fantasy writer Peter S. Beagle was born in New York City. He is best known for his 1968 book, “The Last Unicorn.”
April 20, 1939 – Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday was celebrated as a national holiday in Nazi Germany.
April 20, 1945 – Heisman Trophy winning football player and coach Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Fla.
April 20, 1945 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface from his Führerbunker to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
April 20, 1949 - H.L. Riley assumed his duties as policeman for the City of Evergreen, Ala. on this Wednesday, succeeding R.Z. Wells, who resigned the week before to enter business for himself. Riley had been assigned to daytime duties. He was elected at a special meeting of the City Council held Monday morning, April 18. Riley was no novice at this job, he having served the City in this capacity for a number of years once before.
April 20, 1951 – The first organizational meeting of what would become Monroeville Little League was held at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Ala.
April 20, 1953 – British novelist Sebastian Faulks was born in Newbury, England.
April 20, 1959 – Astronomer Morris K. Jessup, the author of “The Case for the UFO,” was found dead in Dade County, Fla., and his death was ruled a suicide. He was heavily involved in earlier research of the “Philadelphia Experiment.”
April 20, 1959 – The 13th Annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyards. Assistant County Agent John Horne, J.H. Witherington and W.S. Coker made up a committee in charge of the show, and the committee took the place of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce as sponsors of the show. The local Jaycees founded the show in 1947 and had sponsored it each year since, but the group disbanded in the fall of 1958. About 40 head of cattle were expected to be shown during the event.
April 20, 1961 - FM stereo broadcasting was approved by the FCC.
April 20, 1964 - County 4-H’ers and FFA’ers were scheduled to exhibit some 50 fine, fed fat calves in the annual Conecuh County 4-H & FFA Fat Calf Show on this Monday. The show was scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. in the show ring at Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard on North Main Street in Evergreen, Ala.
April 20, 1970 - In a televised speech, President Nixon pledged to withdraw 150,000 more U.S. troops over the next year “based entirely on the progress” of the Vietnamization program.
April 20, 1971 - The Pentagon released figures confirming that fragging incidents are on the rise. In 1970, 209 such incidents caused the deaths of 34 men; in 1969, 96 such incidents cost 34 men their lives. Fragging was a slang term used to describe U.S. military personnel tossing of fragmentation hand grenades (hence the term “fragging”) usually into sleeping areas to murder fellow soldiers. It was usually directed primarily against unit leaders, officers, and noncommissioned officers.
April 20, 1976 – Actor, game show host and singer Joey Lawrence was born in Philadelphia, Pa.
April 20, 1979 - Millie Steans Cunningham, a native of Evergreen, Ala. who died on Nov. 18, 1978 in the infamous massacre and mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, was buried at First Zion Church Cemetery in Conecuh County.
April 20, 1981 – The 36th Annual Conecuh County 4H and FFA Steer Show was scheduled to be held at the Evergreen, Ala. Cooperative Stockyard Livestock Arena.
April 20, 1985 – The ATF raided The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas.
April 20, 1986 – Pitcher Roger Clemens, then just 23 years old, had broken Steve Carlton’s modern (post-1900) record of 19 strikeouts in a single game during an outing against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.
April 20, 1998 – According to the “USA Snapshots” feature in this day’s issue of USA Today, 52 percent of all adult Americans believe that encounters with the dead (ghosts) are possible.
April 20, 2010 - In the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. Eleven workers were killed.
April 20, 2015 – Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bob St. Clair died at the age of 84 in Santa Rosa, Calif. During his career, he played for the University of San Francisco, Tulsa and the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.