May 18, 1652 - Rhode Island passed the first law in English-speaking North America making slavery illegal.
May 18, 1675 – Explorer Jacques Marquette died from the effects of dysentery at the age of 37 near the modern town of Ludington, Mich. Marquette was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
May 18, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Mary Easty was released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she was again arrested. Roger Toothaker was also arrested on charges of witchcraft.
May 18, 1783 - The first United Empire Loyalists arrived in Canada to take refuge under the British.
May 18, 1798 – Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the U.S. Navy, was appointed to office.
May 18, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Georgetown, Ky.
May 18, 1827 – Mark Butler Travis was born at Old Town in Conecuh County, Ala. A veteran of the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, he served as Conecuh County’s Circuit Clerk. He also fought at the Battle of Bull Run.
May 18, 1830 – Confederate soldier John Adville Stacey of Monroe County, Ala. was born and in February 1862 he enlisted in what would become the 36th Alabama Regiment of Volunteers and was mortally wounded at Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863. He died from his wounds on Oct. 9, 1863 and was buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, Ga.
May 18, 1833 – Edward A. Stacey was born and he enlisted in what would become Co. F of the 36th Alabama Regiment of Volunteers on April 10, 1862. Edward survived the wounds he received at Nashville and Spanish Fort, where he was captured and imprisoned at Ship Island, Miss. He passed away at the age 74 on May 28, 1907 and was buried near his parents at Polar Bridge Cemetery.
May 18, 1858 - Alabama author John Gorman Barr died aboard a ship en route to Melbourne, Australia.
May 18, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward, who later become the United States Secretary of State.
May 18, 1861 - An obscure California newspaper casted first lady Mary Todd Lincoln in an unflattering light. Quoting a report in the Sacramento Union, the Humboldt Times recounted a tale of how Mrs. Lincoln had usurped her husband’s presidential duty of appointing federal offices. According to the report, Mary Todd Lincoln, in an effort to help her beleaguered husband deal with a slew of office-seekers, took it upon herself to appoint a stranger–whom she had met on the train–to any office he desired.
May 18, 1861 - Arkansas was admitted to the Confederacy.
May 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Sewell’s Point, Va. The U.S. Navy essentially sealed off Northern Virginia by its blockade of the Rappahannock River.
May 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, the surrender of Vicksburg, Miss. was demanded by Federal forces. Farragut’s blue water naval vessels had worked their way up the river from New Orleans. The surrender demand was refused by Vicksburg authorities.
May 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Woodstock, Va.
May 18, 1863 – The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss. began as Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounded the city, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. The Confederates did not surrender until July 4.
May 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Cheneyville, Merritt’s Plantation and on the Bayou Sara Road, La.; at Hog Island, Mo.; along Skull Creek and on Pope’s Island, S.C.; on horn Lake Creek, Tenn.; near Island No. 82, about 15 miles from Geenville, Miss.; and in the vicinity of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Federals captured Hayne’s Bluff, Miss.
May 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fletcher’s Ferry, Clarksville, and near Searcy, Ark.; at Cassville, Kingston, and Pine Log Creek, Ga.; in Pike County and along the Wolf River, Ky.; at Yellow Bayou, Bayou De Glaize, Calhoun Station, Norwood’s Plantation, and Old Oaks, La.; in Neosho, Mo., and another at Carthage, Mo.; at City Pont, Va. and at Foster’s Plantation, Va.
May 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, action had been comparatively slow for several days around Spotsylvania Court House, Va. This ended on this day with an assault at dawn by the corps’ of Hancock and Wright on Robert E. Lee’s left flank. This attack and several more all failed. Grant renewed his motion around Lee’s right flank.
May 18, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that, as of that date, the Monroe County Jail in Monroeville, Ala. held 10 inmates.
May 18, 1896 – The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the "separate but equal" doctrine was constitutional. The ruling was overturned 58 years later with Brown vs. Board of Education.
May 18, 1897 - A public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel “Dracula” was staged in London.
May 18, 1897 - William Joyce of the New York Giants set a record when he hit four triples in one game.
May 18, 1897 - Film producer, director and three-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra was born in Bisacquino, Sicily.
May 18, 1905 – The Monroe Journal announced that the Monroeville Library had been moved to the upstairs of a building on the “east side,” formerly occupied by Messrs. Wiggins, Hybart & Bayles. Lucille Bizzelle and Mary Stallworth were in charge of the library’s management. During the summer, the library was open Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and every Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
May 18, 1907 – The first sermon preached in the Old Salem Church’s second building was conducted this day by Elder J.A. Monsus.
May 18, 1908 – Flomaton, Ala. was officially incorporated.
May 18, 1909 – The Andalusia Star newspaper, which was founded in 1896, absorbed The Andalusia News.
May 18, 1910 – The Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley.
May 18, 1911 – During an argument, Henry Barlow of Evergreen, Ala. shot Martin Sheffield in the right arm and chest, and Sheffield’s wound was so serious that his arm had to be amputated at the shoulder in Montgomery. Barlow surrendered to the Sheriff and was released on bond.
May 18, 1915 – On this Tuesday, the Rev. D.F. Ellisor left Monroeville, Ala. to attend the annual session of the Pythian Grand Lodge in Montgomery as the representative of the local lodge.
May 18, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that the Evergreen Equal Suffrage Association was organized on Wed., May 10, with a membership of about 20. Miss Mary Henderson was elected chairman of the association and Mrs. Lewis Crook chairman of the registration committee. On Tues., May 9, the Castleberry Equal Suffrage Association was organized at Castleberry with Mrs. S. Castleberry as chairman. These associations were affiliated with the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, which was in turn affiliated with the National Equal Suffrage Association. Both organizations were effected under the direction of Miss Lola C. Trax, National Organizer of Baltimore, who was touring Alabama under the auspices of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association.
May 18, 1917 – During World War I, the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription and resulting in the call up of soldiers to fight in World War I.
Ma 18, 1931 - The commencement exercises of the Monroe County High School were scheduled to begin on this Monday evening with a recital by the members of Miss Juliette Hardy’s music class. On the following Wednesday evening, John C. Williams was to present the band in a concert. The Junior-Senior play, “Broken Dishes,” was to be presented at the school auditorium on Fri., May 22. The cast included Alice Stallworth, Jack Bowden, Mildred Farish, Jas. A. York, William Barnett, Merwin York, Albert Nettles and Winston Burns. The play was a comedy hinging around a henpecked husband who drinks something from a jug and then trouble begins.
May 18, 1933 – As part of the “New Deal,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a Congressional act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. This New Deal program would have a lasting impact on Alabama, especially the northern third of the state. As its focus, TVA constructed hydroelectric dams on the Tennessee River, which, among other benefits, brought electricity to rural areas and attracted industry.
May 18, 1933 - The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was announced. It was to be played on July 6 at Comiskey Park as part of the Chicago World's Fair.
May 18, 1934 - Jimmie Foxx hit the first home run in Comiskey Park.
May 18, 1937 – National Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson was born in Little Rock, Ark. He went on to play his entire career (1955-1977) for the Baltimore Orioles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
May 18, 1938 - President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation to create the Natchez Trace Parkway. The parkway closely parallels the original Natchez Trace, and in some locations remnants of the original route may still be seen. The Natchez Trace is a prehistoric route that was used for untold years by herds of bison and other grazing animals to move between salt licks located near Nashville and the southern grasslands along the Mississippi River. Humans later used the worn trail for hunting and trade. In 1801, the U.S. Army began improving the route, making it wide enough to be navigable by wagon. The Trace runs for about 30 miles through the northwestern part of Alabama in Lauderdale and Colbert counties.
May 18, 1942 - New York ended night baseball games for the duration of World War II.
May 18, 1943 - Arrested on charges of sabotage, two Covington County, Ala. farmers were in custody on this Tuesday pending arraignment before the U.S. commissioner in Montgomery, according to D.K. Brown, special agent in charge of the Birmingham Field Division of the FBI. Willard Powell and R.A. “Ab” Roberts were charged with the instigation of 14 forest fires on the property of the Jackson Lumber Co. at Lockhart, between February 1942 and February 1943. The 14 fires did an estimated damage of $25,000, and by federal code, the burning of merchantable timber in wartime was sabotage.
May 18, 1946 – National Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Reggie Jackson was born in Wyncote, Pa. He went on to play for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
May 18, 1948 - A movie version of Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “Another Part of the Forest” was released.
May 18, 1949 – The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America was incorporated
May 18, 1950 – The Evergreen Greenies of the Dixie Amateur League suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of undefeated, league-leading Monroeville, 8-2.
May 18, 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ended.
May 18, 1956 - Mickey Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the third time.
May 18, 1956 – The first ascent of Lhotse, 8,516 meters, by a Swiss team.
May 18, 1959 – Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman, a prominent Freemason, was presented with his 50-year Award, the only U.S. President to reach that auspicious anniversary.
May 18, 1961 – Construction was completed of a new gym at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala.
May 18, 1966 - U.S. Representative Melvin Laird (R-Wisconsin) stated that because the Johnson administration was not providing the American public with precise information on planned troop deployments to Vietnam, a “credibility gap” was developing. Informed sources reported that 254,000 U.S. troops were serving in Vietnam, and that another 90,000 were performing tasks directly concerned with the war. These numbers were higher than those provided by the government. This was emblematic of the gap between what the administration said and what it did, leading to a growing distrust of the government among a large part of American society.
May 18, 1968 – Army SFC Wallace Sylvester Little of Riverview in Escambia County, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
May 18, 1969 - More than 1,500 communist troops attacked U.S. and South Vietnamese camps near Xuan Loc, located 38 miles east of Saigon. After five hours of intense fighting, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces were driven off. At the U.S. camp, 14 Americans were killed and 39 wounded; 24 enemy soldiers were killed in the action. At the South Vietnamese camp, four South Vietnamese were killed and 14 wounded, with 54 communist soldiers reported killed and nine captured.
May 18, 1970 – Comedy writer and actress Tina Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pa.
May 18, 1971 – Professional baseball pitcher and Monroe Academy graduate Billy Lyle “B.J.” Wallace was born in Mobile, Ala. He played college baseball at Mississippi State and pitched for the U.S. national team in the 1992 Summer Olympics, where he set an Olympic record for strikeouts in one game (14 against the Italian national team). He was selected in the first round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft by the Montreal Expos.
May 18, 1973 - A donkey basketball game was scheduled to be played at the Lyeffion High School Gymnasium at 8 p.m. on this Friday. In addition to the laugh provoking game, there was to be a contest with a prize awarded to the first person to put a diaper on a donkey. The game was sponsored by the Lyeffion Quarterback Club and admission prices were $1 for adults and 75 cents for students.
May 18, 1974 – Monroe County High School, led by Coach Ronnie Dees, won the Class 3A state baseball title with a 5-0 win over Sheffield. MCHS opened the best-of-three series on May 17 with a 3-2 win over Sheffield. On May 18, MCHS lost its only game of the season, falling to Sheffield, 4-0, before winning the tie-breaker.
May 18, 1976 – NBA small forward and shooting guard Ron Mercer was born in Nashville, Tenn. He went on to play for Kentucky, the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs and the New Jersey Nets.
May 18, 1980 - Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded in a cataclysm that sent ash 12 miles into the air, and left 57 people dead and caused $3 billion in damages.
May 18, 1986 - A television version of Alabama author Winston Groom's book “As Summers Die” was broadcast.
May 18, 2000 - Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals passed Mickey Mantle on the home run career list. He ended the game with 539.
May 18, 2004 - Forty-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game, leading his team to a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. A “perfect game” is when a pitcher faces a minimum 27 batters, recording 27 outs.
May 18, 2006 – The Biggs Cemetery in Monroe County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.
May 18, 2008 – “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was first released in theaters.