July 2, 1540 – The DeSoto Expedition reached the ancient Indian town of Coste, which was located at the upper end of Pine Island in the Tennessee River in present-day Marshall County, Ala.
July 2, 1566 - French astrologer, physician and prophet Nostradamus passed away at the age of 62 in Salon-de-Provence, Provence, France.
July 2, 1613 – The first English expedition (from Virginia) against Acadia led by Samuel Argall took place.
July 2, 1679 – French soldier and explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, first reached Lake Superior, about where the city that bears his name — Duluth — now lies.
July 2, 1698 – British engineer Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.
July 2, 1776 – The Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia and adopted Richard Henry Lee’s resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not approved until July 4. The resolution put forward by Lee that stated: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." Two days later Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence that had been edited by Thomas Jefferson.
July 2, 1777 - A convention of 72 delegates met in Windsor, Vermont to adopt the state's new constitution. It was formally adopted on July 8, 1777.
July 2, 1777 – Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.
July 2, 1777 - The British began an informal siege of Fort Ticonderoga in New York.
July 2, 1818 – Dr. John Watkins was listed as the post master at Fort Claiborne in what was to become present-day Alabama.
July 2, 1820 – Confederate soldier W.G. Riley born. He was listed as sick at Union Mills, Va. on Aug. 23, 1861 and was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate at Sangster Crossroads near Richmond, Va. on Sept. 17, 1861. He late re-enlisted with Co. G, 7th Alabama Cavalry at Claiborne, Ala. on Aug. 8, 1863. He died on March 4, 1886 and was buried at Buena Vista Cemetery in Buena Vista, Ala.
July 2, 1822 – Thirty-five slaves were hanged in South Carolina, including Denmark Vesey, after being accused of organizing a slave rebellion.
July 2, 1839 – Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinqué took over the Cuban slave ship Amistad, which had been transporting them to a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba.
July 2, 1840 – Confederate officer Thomas Mercer Riley was born at Turnbull in Monroe County. He enlisted in the Monroe Guards on March 15, 1861 and served as 2nd Captain. He enlisted in the 5th Alabama on May 13, 1861 and was elected 2nd Lt. He was appointed a 1st Lt. by the State of Alabama on Oct. 13, 1861. Co. D, 5th Alabama reorganized and became Co. C, 5th Alabama on April 27, 1862 and he was named captain on that date. He was wounded on June 2, 1864 and sent home on a 30-day furlough. He commanded Co. C, 5th Alabama and assumed command of the entire regiment during the battle. He surrendered the regiment at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. After the war, he averted a financial disaster within Monroe County in his position as head of the Bank of Beatrice. He died on March 2, 1935 and was buried at Turnbull Cemetery near Riley Crossing. The post-war Riley home stands today just north of Riley Crossing on the west side of State Highway 21.
July 2, 1854 - Alabama author Anne Newport Royall published the last issue of her newspaper The Huntress.
July 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, what would prove to be 23 days of operation began in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, involving multiple commands.
July 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Falling Water, West Virginia.
July 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, the new legislature of Western Virginia convened at Wheeling, West Virginia, under the auspices of the Federal Government.
July 2, 1862 - Union General John Dix and Confederate General Daniel H. Hill reached an agreement to exchange prisoners. Under the Dix-Hill cartel each soldier was assigned a value based on their rank.
July 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Huntsville, Ala.
July 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Cutterback’s House on Van Dusen’s Creek, California.
July 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Haxall’s Landing, Malvern Hill, near New Kent Courthouse, and up Powell’s Big Fort Valley in Virginia. McClellan pulled his army away from Malvern Hill and continued his retreat to Harrison’s Landing on the James River.
July 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morril Act, which was the measure that made possible a land grant agricultural college in every state.
July 2, 1863 – Fighting continued on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg and at least four members of the Conecuh Guard were wounded in this epic battle. Members of the Conecuh Guard known to have been wounded during this battle included Captain William Lee, First Sergeant Andrew J. Mosley, Second Sergeant Alfred H. Floyd and F.M. Curlee. During this day of the battle, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacked General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac at both Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top, but failed to move the Yankees from their positions. Some of the fiercest fighting took place on this day, and both armies suffered heavy casualties.
July 2, 1863 - Randolph County, Ala. native and Lincoln assassination conspirator Lewis Powell (who was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg) was taken as a prisoner of war at the hospital at Pennsylvania College, and he was later transferred to a Baltimore, Md. hospital.
July 2, 1863 – During the Battle of Gettysburg, Union Colonel Strong Vincent was mortally wounded at Little Round Top. He died on July 7 from his wounds.
July 2, 1863 - In Burkesville, Ky., Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed the Cumberland River with approximately 2,500 cavalry and began a 24-day raid into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. This would be the last of Morgan’s four raids into Union-held territory. Morgan surrendered on July 26.
July 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at the mouth of Coal Run, in Pike County, Kentucky and at Marrowbone, Kentucky; at Springfield Landing during the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana; near Chambersburg and Hunterstown, Pennsylvania; at Estill Springs, Texas; at Baltimore Crossroads and the Baltimore Store, Virginia; and at Beverly, West Virginia. Multiple skirmishes were also fought in Tennessee at Morris’s Ford and at Rock Creek Ford on the Elk River, and at Pelham.
July 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, conditions continued to deteriorate in the Confederate lines during the 46th day of the siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
July 2, 1864 - Confederate General Joseph Johnston vacated his Kennesaw Mountain lines and pulled back to another prepared position below Marietta, Georgia.
July 2, 1864 - The U.S. Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill. The bill required that a majority of a seceded state's white citizens take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and guarantee black equality. President Lincoln pocket vetoed the plan.
July 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, in Mississippi, skirmishing occurred on the Byhalia Road, just south of Collierville, Tennessee.
July 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Fort Johnson, on James Island, Charleston, South Carolina harbor. Another South Carolina skirmish occurred near Secessionville.
July 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Bolivar Heights, West Virginia, as Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early reached Winchester, Virginia and marched on toward Harper’s Ferry.
July 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation began between Vicksburg and the Peal River, in Jackson, Mississippi. The object of the operation was to destroy the bridge over the Peal as the siege at Vicksburg entered Day 47.
July 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, an 11-day operation began against Indians in the vicinity of Camp Lyon in the Idaho Territory.
July 2, 1877 – Hermann Hesse was born in Calw, Germany.
July 2, 1881 – Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield as he walked through a railroad waiting room in Washington, D.C. Garfield, who was shot in the back and the arm, eventually died from an infection on Sep. 19, 1881, and Vice President Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States.
July 2, 1897 – Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained a patent for the radio in London.
July 2, 1903 - Ed Delahanty, 35-year-old left fielder for the Washington Senators, died from a fall from a railroad bridge at Niagra Falls, Ontario.
July 2, 1905 – Monroe County’s Sheriff arrested Andrew Broughton and placed him in jail after a desperate effort to escape. Broughton allegedly shot and killed Bill Henderson during a picnic at Axle in Monroe County, Ala.
July 2, 1906 – The Monroe County Board of Confederate Pension examiners was scheduled to meet in the office of Dr. T.M. McMillan in Monroeville, Ala. for the purpose of hearing applications of Confederate soldiers for pensions. McMillan’s office was to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day for 10 days, not including Sunday. McMillan and Thos. S. Wiggins were the pension examiners for the county.
July 2, 1908 – Civil rights activist, lawyer and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore, Md.
July 2, 1911 – Atmore’s first postmaster and the man responsible for naming the town, William Marshall Carney, passed away at the age of 84 in Atmore. Born on June 1, 1827, Carney became postmaster 1895, when a post office was first established at the freight station at Williams Station. Carney suggested that the name of the location be changed to Atmore to honor C.P. Atmore, general passenger agent for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. When the L&N reached this point around 1867, William L. Williams, who lived a short distance away over the state line in Florida, built a freight station called Williams Station here. Atmore was incorporated in 1907.
July 2, 1921 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Knox–Porter Resolution formally ending hostilities between the United States and Imperial Germany during World War I.
July 2, 1923 – Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska was born in Poland.
July 2, 1927 - Brock Peters, who played the role of Tom Robinson in the 1962 motion picture adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was born in Harlem, New York City.
July 2, 1927 – A $50 prize was to go to anyone who could chop through a log in twice the time it took Peter M’Laren, the “World Champion Axe Chopper,” on this Saturday at Wild Bros. Hardware Co. in Evergreen. M’Laren’s opponent couldn’t use the famous “PLUMB One Piece Axe,” which M’Laren planned to demonstrate. This axe wouldn’t buckle or break, the head wouldn’t “mash down,” the blade cut fast and clean, wouldn’t bind in the wood, held a razor’s edge and was balanced to fall true and hard.
July 2, 1928 - Author Jack Bethea died in Birmingham, Ala.
July 2, 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.
July 2, 1937 – Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in a Lockheed Electra aircraft over the Central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island while attempting the first equatorial round-the-world flight. They lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean. No trace of Earhart or Noonan was ever found.
July 2, 1939 - At Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt's face was dedicated.
July 2, 1941 – Joe DiMaggio broke "Wee" Willie Keeler’s major league record hitting streak of 44 games when he got a hit in his 45th consecutive game.
July 2, 1943 – This was a significant day for the 99th Fighter Squadron, which was deployed in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and the Tuskegee Airmen. The Ninety-ninth earned its first aerial victory when 1st Lt. Charles B. Hall shot down a FW-190 aircraft and the squadron lost its first pilots in combat, 1st Lt. Sherman H. White and 2nd Lt. James L. McCullin, who went missing in action.
July 2, 1947 - An object crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. The U.S. Army Air Force insisted it was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts led to speculation that it might have been an alien spacecraft.
July 2, 1959 – Earl L. Tucker, editor and publisher of The Thomasville Times in Thomasville, Ala., announced the sale of The Times to Clyde Dickey Bozeman, who took over the paper’s operations at the close of business on June 30, 1959.
July 2, 1961 – Pulitzer Prize and Noble Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway, 61, committed suicide at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.
July 2, 1962 – The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.
July 2, 1964 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, meant to prohibit segregation in public places.
July 2, 1964 - At a joint news conference, Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (Illinois) and House Republican leader Charles Halleck (Indiana) said that the Vietnam War would be a campaign issue because “Johnson’s indecision has made it one.”
July 2, 1973 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Chick Hafey died at the age of 70 in Calistoga, Calif. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
July 2, 1976 – During the “Fall of the Republic of Vietnam,” Communist North Vietnam declared their union to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
July 2, 1981 – Former Auburn University All-American cornerback Carlos Rogers was born in Augusta, Ga. After his time at Auburn, he went on to play in the NFL for the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.
July 2, 1982 - Southern California truck driver Larry Walters became airborne with the help of a lawn chair and 42 helium-filled weather balloons.
July 2, 1989 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.22 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
July 2, 1990 - Sam Hollingsworth was to be sworn in as Monroe County’s superintendent of education at a special meeting of the Board of Education on this Monday. Probate Judge Otha Lee Biggs was to administer the oath of office at 10 a.m. at the Resource Center on South Alabama Avenue in Monroeville, Ala. Bobby Grissette, superintendent of education since 1981, announced over a year before his plans to retire at the end of June 1990. In the summer of 1989, Hollingsworth was chosen as the next superintendent by the county’s five elected Board of Education members.
July 2, 1992 - Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking broke British publishing records with his book “A Brief History of Time,” which had been on the nonfiction bestseller list for three and a half years, selling more than 3 million copies in 22 languages.
July 2, 1995 - Hideo Nomo became the first Japanese player to be selected for a Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
July 2, 1996 - Alex Rodriguez became the third youngest player to be selected to the American League All Star team. Dwight Gooden and Ken Griffey Jr. were the two younger than Rodriguez.
July 2, 1997 – The science fiction-comedy “Men in Black” opened in U.S. theatres, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
July 2, 2002 - A record 62 home runs were hit in 16 Major League Baseball games.
July 2, 2002 – Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.
July 2, 2012 – Major League Baseball outfielder Ed Stroud, a native of Lapine, Ala., died in Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 72. During his career, he played for the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Senators.
July 2, 2015 – The Monroe Journal reported that Adam Hood had been hired as the new head baseball coach at Excel High School, succeeding former head coach Wes Overton who resigned in May to accept a teaching job at Spanish Fort High School. Hood came to Excel from Monroe Academy, where he led the Vols to the AISA’s 2015 Class 3A state championship – the first state baseball championship in the school’s 45-year history.
July 2, 2015 – Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders died at the age of 68 in Royal Oak, Mich. During his career, he played at the University of Minnesota and for the Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.