Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today in History for April 3, 2016

St. John Philby
April 3, 1513 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida after sighting the land on the day before.

April 3, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Sarah Cloyce, after defending her sister, Rebecca Nurse, was accused of witchcraft.

April 3, 1776 - The Continental Congress gave privateers permission to attack any and all British ships.

April 3, 1776 - George Washington received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.

April 3, 1777 - General George Washington wrote to Benedict Arnold and confessed that he had been surprised to not see his name on the list of men promoted to major general.

April 3, 1783 – Author, statesman and short-story writer Washington Irving was born in New York City. His most famous works include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”

April 3, 1798 – American admiral, geographer, and explorer Charles Wilkes was born in New York City. He led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the Civil War. Although credited with several "firsts," including the discovery of Antarctica, his behavior led to two convictions by court-martial.

April 3, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, French general and Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, arrived in Montgomery, Ala. and was entertained with great fanfare. He was greeted by a crowd of some 3,000 people at Goat Hill, now the site of the capitol building. Gov. Israel Pickens spared no expense for Lafayette's visit to Alabama - which included stops at Cahaba, Claiborne and Mobile - expending more funds than existed in the state treasury.

April 3, 1845 – The First Presbyterian Church of Camden, Ala. was organized by a Commission of Southern Alabama Presbytery to serve the community of Camden in Wilcox County.

April 3, 1846 – British explorer William Braine died of lead poisoning at Beechey Island, Nunavut, Canada. A Marine in the Royal Marines, he was part of an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, but he died early in the trip and was buried on Beechey Island. His preserved body was exhumed in 1984 to try to determine the cause of death.

April 3, 1860 – The first successful United States Pony Express run from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, a distance of 1,800 miles, began. The trip across country took about 10 days, but the Pony Express only lasted about a year and a half. The first mail pouch contained 49 letters, five telegrams, and a variety of papers.

April 3, 1861 – During the Civil War, Confederate batteries on Morris Island, in Charleston Harbor, S.C., fired on the schooner, Rhoda H. Shannon.

April 3, 1862 - Apalachicola, Fla. was occupied by Federal troops.

April 3, 1862 - Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston began an advance on Union troops at Shiloh.

April 3, 1862 – During the Civil War, Confederate forces began their departure from Corinth, Miss., enroute to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. Skirmishes were also fought in the vicinity of Monterey, Tenn. and at Moorefield, West Virginia. A two-day Federal reconnaissance in force from Ship Island, Miss. to Biloxi and Pass Christian, Miss. began.

April 3, 1863 - A four-day Federal operation from Camp Piatt through Cogan and Cabell Counties, West Virginia began, and a skirmish was fought at Mud River, West Virginia. A four-day Federal operation also began between Fairfax Courthouse to Middleburg, Va.

April 3, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Clarksville and another at Elkin’s Ferry, on the Little Missouri River in Arkansas; at Ducktown Road, Ga.; in the vicinity of Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory; at Grand Ecore, La.; at Clinton, Miss.; and at Cypress Swamp and Raleigh, Tenn.

April 3, 1865 - A two-day Federal reconnaissance from Huntsville to Vienna, Ala. began. A skirmish was also fought at Northport, near Tuscaloosa, Ala.

April 3, 1865 – During the Civil War, Union forces captured Richmond, Va., the capital of the Confederate States of America, the most significant sign that the Confederacy was nearing its final days. Union troops entered and occupied the city and raised the Stars and Stripes.

April 3, 1865 - Petersburg, Va. fell to Union General Grant.

April 3, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Farmington, Mo.; at Mount Pleasant, Tenn.; and at Hillsville, Va. A nine-day Federal operation also began in the vicinity of Ashville, N.C.

April 3, 1882 - The American outlaw Jesse James was shot in the back and killed by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward. There was later controversy over whether it was actually Jesse James that had been killed.

April 3, 1885 – English explorer St. John Philby was born in Badulla, British Ceylon.

April 3, 1888 – The first of 11 unsolved brutal murders of women committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London occurred.

April 3, 1894 – Outlaw Wyatt Tate, who murdered constable William Ikner on March 24, shot and killed Monroe County Sheriff J.D. Foster. (See April 3 entry for more details.)

April 3, 1896 – Sidney Stacey born in Monroe County, Ala.

April 3, 1916 – San Francisco columnist Herb Caen was born in Sacramento, Calif.

April 3, 1920 – Zelda Sayre married writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Zelda met Scott at a dance in Montgomery, Ala. in July 1918, barely a month after graduating from Sidney Lanier High School. The couple would come to embody the freedoms and excesses of the 1920s Jazz Age, and Zelda became an icon of the "flapper" lifestyle.

April 3, 1926 – Major League Baseball second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and manager Alex Grammas was born in Birmingham, Ala. He would go on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Redlegs and the Chicago Cubs. He would also manage the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.

April 3, 1933 – The first flight over Mount Everest occurred. The flight was a British expedition, led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, and funded by Lucy, Lady Houston.

April 3, 1934 – Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jim Parker was born in Macon, Ga. He went on to play for Ohio State and the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.

April 3, 1937 – Heavy rains began in Evergreen, Ala. and when they ended around 36 hours later, 8.65 inches had fallen, causing flooded roads, bridges and other damage.

April 3, 1953 – Children’s books writer Sandra Keith Boynton was born in Orange, N.J.

April 3, 1968 - Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in Memphis, Tenn. just 24 hours before he was assassinated.

April 3, 1969 – The Monroe Journal published the Supplemental Issue of its Centennial Edition.

April 3, 1969 - Jim Morrison was arrested by the FBI for interstate flight, which stemmed from obscenity charges after a Miami concert.

April 3, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, United States Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced that the United States would start to "Vietnamize" the war effort. By this, he meant that the responsibility for the fighting would be gradually transferred to the South Vietnamese as they became more combat capable. However, Laird emphasized that it would not serve the United States’ purpose to discuss troop withdrawals while the North Vietnamese continued to conduct offensive operations in South Vietnam.

April 3, 1969 - U.S. military headquarters in Saigon announced that combat deaths for the last week of March had pushed the total number of Americans killed during eight years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam to 33,641. This was 12 more deaths than during the Korean War. By the end of the war, 47,244 Americans had been killed in action in Vietnam. An additional 10,446 died as a result of non-hostile causes like disease and accidents.

April 3, 1972 - The United States prepared hundreds of B-52s and fighter-bombers for possible air strikes to blunt the recently launched North Vietnamese invasion. The aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk was sent from the Philippines to join the carriers already off the coast of Vietnam and provide additional air support.

April 3, 1974 – On their way to an eventual 3A state baseball title, Monroe County High School beat Jackson, 39-1, in Jackson, Ala. Ronnie Dees was MCHS’s head coach.

April 3, 1974 - The Super Outbreak occurred, the second largest number of tornadoes in recorded history. In a 24-hour period, 148 twisters were confirmed in 13 U.S. states.

April 3-4, 1974 - During a record outbreak of tornadoes in 12 states and Canada, 86 Alabamians died and 949 were injured. A total of 148 tornadoes caused 315 fatalities, 6,142 injuries, and $600 million in property damage in the United States and Canada.

April 3, 1975 – The Louisville & Nashville Depot in Evergreen, Ala., built in 1907, was placed on National Register of Historic Places. The Wilcox Female Institute in Camden, Ala., built between 1845 and 1850, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

April 3, 1985 - The Major League Baseball Players' Association agreed to a proposal of the team owners to expand the 1985 League Championship Series from the best-of-five games to best-of-seven.

April 3, 1996 - Ted Kaczynski was arrested at his isolated cabin near Lincoln, Montana, where investigators found evidence linking him to the Unabomber crimes. He pled guilty in January 1998 to five Unabomber attacks in exchange for a life sentence without chance for parole.

April 3, 1997 – In what was at the time the largest seizure of cocaine in Alabama history, a routine traffic stop by the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit around 5 p.m. at the northbound rest area on Interstate 65 in Conecuh County netted over 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine in a container in a trailer loaded with 30,000 pounds bananas. Street value was estimated at $24 million.

April 3, 2006 - U.S. President George Bush threw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds opening home game.

April 3, 2007 - Alabama author Thomas Hal Phillips died in Kossuth, Miss.

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