May 5, 1494 – During his second trip to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Jamaica and claimed it for Spain. He named the island Santa Gloria.
May 5, 1776 - In North Carolina, British Lieutenant General Henry Clinton issued a proclamation denouncing the Patriots’ “wicked rebellion” and recommended that the inhabitants of North Carolina return their allegiance to the king. He offered full pardon to all persons, except Continental Army Brigadier General Robert Howe and North Carolina Patriot Cornelius Harnett.
May 5, 1799 – U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary (McLeary) and soldiers of the 2nd U.S. Infantry, after marching from Natchez, took possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and the United States flag was raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.
May 5, 1813 - Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen.
May 5, 1819 – William Cato (William Barrett Travis’ father-in-law) settled near the present day city limits of Monroeville, Ala. He was born in Downing Creek, N.C. in 1780. He was the head of several families that moved from Claiborne to the area that became known as Centerville and, later, Monroeville. His settlement predated the establishment of the Walker’s Tavern. Cato married Sarah Massey and they had one daughter, Rosanna Elizabeth Cato, 1812-1848, the wife of William Barrett Travis.
May 5, 1822 – Butler County, Ala. commissioners appointed this day as the day for laying out the town of Buttsville (present-day Greenville) and locating the courthouse.
May 5, 1843 – Richard Francis Burton passed the regimental exam for Hindustani.
May 5, 1859 – St. James Episcopal Church of Claiborne, Ala., now located on Whetstone Street in Monroeville, was organized and admitted to the Diocesan Convention. The church’s first place of worship was the lower floor of Claiborne’s Masonic Hall.
May 5, 1861 – During the Civil War, security around Washington City was a constant worry for the United States for very nearly the entire war. Troops to protect the government were now being brought in by ship, as the rail lines were either in Confederate hands or in constant danger from partisan saboteurs. On this day, General Benjamin Butler improved the situation somewhat by capturing the Railroad Relay House on the B&O line. This effectively secured the line from Washington, through Annapolis, to Baltimore.
May 5, 1861 – During the Civil War, Alexandria, Va. was abandoned by Virginia state troops. Fort Arbuckle and Fort Cobb, in the Indian Territory, were also abandoned by Federal forces.
May 5, 1862 - Mexican forces defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. In a David-and-Goliath confrontation, the 8,000-strong, well-armed French army was routed by 4,000 ill-equipped Mexican soldiers, and though it wasn't a decisive battle in the course of the war, it became a symbol of Mexican pride.
May 5, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Dresden, Ky. and at Lebanon, Tenn.
May 5, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Williamsburg was fought in Virginia.
May 5, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Sherwood, Mo.; at Big Sandy Creek, Miss.; at King’s Creek, near Tupelo, Miss.; at Peletier’s Mill, N.C.; at Obion Plank Road Crossing, Tenn.; at Rover, Tenn.; and at Thompson’s Crossroads, Va.
May 5, 1863 - As morning dawned on this day, General Robert E. Lee prepared to launch another attack on Hooker’s Union army, but found that they were in full retreat across the Rappahannock and cancelled the plan. Both sides had more than enough to do in treating the wounded, burying the dead, and tallying the survivors. In three days of battle in Fredericksburg and around the Chancellor house the bloodshed had been horrific: from an army of 134,000 the Union had suffered around 17,000 casualties. The southern losses were lower in numbers but higher in percent - 12,800 out of an army of 60,000, including the irreplaceable “Stonewall” Jackson. He was on injured reserve after surgeons decided the wound in his shoulder was so severe as to require amputation of the limb.
May 5, 1864 – After remaining a private in Co. D for most of the Civil War, Lewis Lavon Peacock, was promoted to Fourth Corporal "no doubt for service in the Bermuda Hundred campaign, where the 59th so distinguished itself."
May 5, 1864 – During the Civil War, the forces of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee clashed in the Wilderness forest in Virginia, beginning an epic campaign. Lee had hoped to meet the Federals, who plunged into the tangled Wilderness west of Chancellorsville, Va., the day before, in the dense woods in order to mitigate the nearly two-to-one advantage Grant possessed as the campaign opened.
May 5, 1864 – Journalist Nellie Bly was born in Armstrong County, Pa.
May 5, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near the mouth of Richland Creek in Arkansas; near Tunnel Hill, Ga.; and at Graham’s Plantation and a Natchitoches, La. A naval skirmish was also fought on the Roanoke River, N.C.
May 5, 1864 - Federal forces landed at Bermuda Hundred and City Point (now Hopewell), Va. A five-day Federal operation in Craighead and Lawrence Counties, Ark. began. Federal operation in Meade and Breckinridge Counties, Ky. began.
May 5, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S.
May 5, 1865 – In North Bend, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), the first train robbery in the United States took place.
May 5, 1865 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation between Pulaski, Tenn. and New Market, Ala. began.
May 5, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Confederate District of the Gulf surrendered about 4,000 men at Citronelle, Alabama.
May 5, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Confederate government was declared dissolved at Washington, Georgia.
May 5, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Summerville, Ga. and in the Perche Hills of Missouri.
May 5, 1866 – Memorial Day was first celebrated in United States at Waterloo, New York.
May 5, 1884 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Baltimore Terrapins, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.
May 5, 1885 - The Third Regiment, Alabama State Troops, was formed in Selma on this Tuesday. Elected officers and noncommissioned officers included S.W. John of Selma, Colonel; W.E. Yancey of Talladega, Lieutenant Colonel; W.R. Oliver, Major; N.G. Winn, Adjutant; Z.J. White, Surgeon; T.F. Mangum Jr., Sergeant Major; Christian Laubeinheimer, Color Sergeant. Units registered in the regiment included the Talladega Rifles, the Morgan Rifles, the Pelham Guards, the Wilcox Greys, the Pelham Rifles, the Selma Guards and the Pettus Rifles.
May 5, 1890 – Novelist Christopher Morley was born in Haverford, Pa.
May 5, 1895 – On this Sunday afternoon in Monroeville, an out house near Judge Sowell’s residence “was discovered to be one fire, and but for the prompt arrival of assistance, the dwelling would have been consumed.”
May 5, 1895 - Mr. and Mrs. Jno. I. Watson departed for Mobile on this Sunday on the steamer Nettie Quill. They returned on May 8, a Wednesday.
May 5, 1904 – Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, Cy Young of the Boston Americans threw the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball. It was the third perfect game of the Major Leagues overall.
May 5, 1905 – Former Marengo County (Ala.) Probate Judge S.B. Prowell (possibly Powell) shot and instantly killed J.S. Trigg, an intimate friend, at Linden on this Friday. Prowell was angry over a report charging Prowell with an “extensive shortage.” Trigg was trying to restrain Prowell during an argument, and Prowell dropped a pistol, which went off, killing Trigg. (Trigg's tombstone in the Old Spring Hill Methodist Cemetery in Marengo County, Ala. indicates that his first name was John and that he actually died on May 4, 1905.)
May 5, 1905 – The train between Pine Apple and Beatrice, Ala. wrecked on this Friday. The same train wrecked again the following day, a Saturday.
May 5, 1910 - An explosion at Palos Coal Mine No. 3 in Jefferson County, Ala. killed 84 miners. At the time it was the second-worst mine disaster in Alabama history, and it followed on the heels of a mine explosion at nearby Mulga that killed 40 miners. The Palos tragedy also marked the first time that the Red Cross led a disaster relief effort in Alabama.
May 5, 1913 - A movie version of Alabama author Mary McNeil Fenollosa's book “The One Hundred Dollar Elopement” was released.
May 5, 1914 – Early that mornng, the Negro Baptist Church near the orphanage in Evergreen, Ala. burned down. The fire was discovered around 4 a.m. and was a total loss. Arson was suspected as the cause.
May 5, 1916 - Fanny Whitcomb died in Evergreen, Ala. at an early hour on this Friday morning at the home of her son, J.C. Whitcomb, on Main Street. She was the oldest woman in Evergreen, being about 83 years of age, and was “much beloved by the entire community.” She was the widow of the late H.J. Whitcomb and before her marriage was Miss Fanny Chapman of Lancaster, New Hampshire. In 1865, Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb moved from New Hampshire to Chicago, where they made their home until about 1901, when they moved to Evergreen. The Whitcombs were among the first northern people to spend the winters in Evergreen and the largest tourist hotel, ‘Hotel Whitcomb,’ which burned some years prior to 1916, was named for Mr. H.J. Whitcomb. At the time of her death, she was survived by one son, J.C. Whitcomb, editor of The Conecuh Record. After religious services, conducted by Dr. Dickinson at her home, Mrs. Whitcomb was laid to rest by the side of her husband in the Evergreen Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Sat., May 6.
May 5, 1918 – The cornerstone for the new industrial school for Negroes at Evergreen, Ala. was scheduled to be lain during a ceremony that was to include an address by Major R.R. Moton, who was head of the Tuskegee Institute. Morton was the successor to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee.
May 5, 1940 - Al Schacht, Clown Prince of Baseball and sometimes self-styled Baseball’s Goodwill Ambassador, was booked to appear in Brewton, Ala. on this Sunday afternoon before a game with Tallassee. Schacht, billed as Public Laughmaker No. 1 and also Baseball’s Greatest Drawing Card, had broken more than 150 attendance records in the previous three years. During his third season as a traveling baseball clown, 1939, Schacht traveled 50,000 miles, showing in 111 cities and towns, from Coast to Coast, in 40 leagues, adding over a half-million paid admissions to the minor league attendance for 1939.
May 5, 1945 - A Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children.
May 5, 1946 – Evergreen’s baseball team was scheduled to play Milton, Fla. in Evergreen on this Sunday at 3 p.m.
May 5, 1947 - Alabama journalist Eddy Gilmore of the Associated Press was awarded the Pulitizer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting (International) for his correspondence from Moscow in 1946.
May 5, 1958 - Alabama author James Agee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his book “A Death in the Family.”
May 5, 1962 – Senegalese explorer, author, and director Nicolas Vanier was born in Senegal.
May 5, 1965 – The Warlocks, later known as The Grateful Dead, made their first public appearance in Menlo Park, California.
May 5, 1970- In Cambodia, a U.S. force captured Snoul, 20 miles from the tip of the “Fishhook” area (across the border from South Vietnam, 70 miles from Saigon). A squadron of nearly 100 tanks from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and jet planes virtually leveled the village that had been held by the North Vietnamese. No dead North Vietnamese soldiers were found, only the bodies of four Cambodian civilians. This action was part of the Cambodian “incursion” that had been launched by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces on April 29.
May 5, 1972 - South Vietnamese troops from the 21st Division, trying to reach beleaguered An Loc in Binh Long Province via Highway 13, were again pushed back by the communists, who had overrun a supporting South Vietnamese firebase. The South Vietnamese division had been trying to break through to An Loc since mid-April, when the unit had been moved from its normal area of operations in the Mekong Delta and ordered to attack in order to relieve the surrounded city. The South Vietnamese soldiers fought desperately to reach the city, but suffered so many casualties in the process that another unit had to be sent to actually relieve the besieged city, which was accomplished on June 18.
May 5, 1978 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds registered his 3,000th Major League hit.
May 5, 1985 – Ronald Reagan visited the military cemetery at Bitburg, Germany, and the site of the Nazi concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, where he made a speech.
May 5, 2000 - The Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer was given to Alabama author Helen Norris at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Ala.
May 5, 2000 - An unusual planetary alignment occurred on this day with Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn more or less positioned in a line with the Sun. Though some predicted it, this event did not herald the end of the world.
May 5, 2006 - The Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer was given to Alabama author Wayne Greenhaw at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Ala.