Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today in History for Sept. 15, 2016

John Hanning Speke
Sept. 15, 1254 – Italian merchant and explorer Marco Polo was born in Venice, Republic of Venice. Polo’s travels were recorded in “The Travels of Marco Polo,” a book that introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. Polo was not the first European to reach China, but he was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience, and his book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travelers.

Sept. 15, 1440 – Gilles de Rais, one of the earliest known serial killers, was taken into custody upon an accusation brought against him by the Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Nantes.

Sept. 15, 1492 – While within the western part of the Sargasso Sea, Columbus and his increasingly nervous crew observed a huge, unexplained “bolt of fire” shoot across the sky and fall or disappear into the ocean.

Sept. 15, 1613 – Famous author François VI, duke de La Rochefoucauld was born in Paris. His entire literary reputation is based on a single slim book that he published in 1665 called “Maxims,” a collection of humorous and ironic maxims about human life and behavior.

Sept. 15, 1775 – During the American Revolution, an early and unofficial American flag was raised by Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Mott after the seizing of Fort Johnson from the British. The flag was dark blue with the white word "Liberty" spelled on it.

Sept. 15, 1776 – During the American Revolution, British troops captured and occupied New York City. The city stayed under British control until the end of the war.

Sept. 15, 1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, 4,000 British troops under General Howe landed at Kip's Bay during the New York Campaign and took control of the island.

Sept. 15, 1779 - French Commander Charles Count d'Estaing captured two British frigates and two British supply ships in the Savannah River.

Sept. 15, 1784 - The first successful balloon ascent in England was demonstrated for a crowd. "Daredevil Aeronaut" Vincenzo Lunardi took off in a brightly decorated balloon, along with a cat, dog, and pigeon. His friend George Biggin was left behind however, because the balloon embarked on its 24-mile journey, without being fully inflated.

Sept. 15, 1789 – James Fenimore Cooper, considered to be the first true American novelist, was born in Burlington, N.J.

Sept. 15, 1789 – The United States "Department of Foreign Affairs", established by law in July, was renamed the Department of State and given a variety of domestic duties.

Sept. 15, 1812 – During the War of 1812, a second supply train sent to relieve Fort Harrison was ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.

Sept. 15, 1814 – A British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting the British to abandon plans to capture Mobile (in present-day Alabama) and turn towards New Orleans.

Sept. 15, 1834 – Stephen S. Andress was commissioned as Monroe County, Alabama’s Sheriff.

Sept. 15, 1835 – The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reached the Galápagos Islands. The ship landed at Chatham or San Cristobal, the easternmost of the archipelago.

Sept. 15, 1857 - Timothy Alder earned a patent for the typesetting machine.

Sept. 15, 1857 - William H. Taft, the 27th President of the United States, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sept. 15, 1861 – During the Civil War, Federal General Charles Fremont, commander of Union forces in St. Louis, Missouri, was under pressure on two fronts. He was supposed to be organizing a march of 38,000 troops to Lexington, Missouri, where a Federal force was holding out against a siege of Sterling Price. Fremont was also under pressure from President Lincoln, who was furious about Fremont’s orders freeing all the slaves in Missouri, and Lincoln’s friend, the politician-colonel Frank Blair Jr. who was furious about a recent audit of Fremont’s books. Fremont’s response was to place Blair under arrest and cancel the march to Lexington.

Sept. 15, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Darnestown, Va.

Sept. 15, 1862 - Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson captured Harpers Ferry, Virginia (present-day West Virginia) and some 12,000 Union soldiers as General Robert E. Lee’s army moved north into Maryland. Union General Dixon Miles surrendered after offering little resistance.

Sept. 15, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Boonesboro, Maryland, and a five-day Federal operation began in Ralls County, Missouri.

Sept. 15, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Catlett’s Gap, Summerville and Trion Factory, Georgia; near Greenfield and Enterprise, Missouri; and near Kempsville, Virginia.

Sept. 15, 1863 – During the Civil War, a five-day Federal operation began against Navajo Indians form Fort Wingate to Ojo Redondo in the New Mexico Territory, and a five-day Federal expedition began from Great Bridge, Virginia to Indiantown, North Carolina.

Sept. 15, 1863 - The “writ of habeas corpus” is a fairly simple concept, despite its Latin name. It refers to the right of an arrested person to know what charges are being brought against them and of the obligation of the state to produce evidence that the person charged was the one who committed the offense. It was one of the shining lights of the United States Constitution and it went right out the window on this day. Due to the existence of a “state of rebellion,” wrote Abraham Lincoln, the right was to be suspended in cases of people arrested by military authorities whenever they deemed fit.

Sept. 15, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in Lumpkin County and at Snake Creek Gap, Georgia; and at Seiver's Ford on Opequon Creek and near Dinwiddie Courthouse, Virginia.

Sept. 15, 1864 – During the Civil War, a five-day Federal series of operations began in Randolph, Howard and Boone Counties in Missouri.

Sept. 15, 1864 - Admiral David Farragut had had a busy war. Right at the moment he was probably wishing for greater haste from the U.S. postal authorities, because he had sent a letter Aug. 27 to Navy Secretary Gideon Welles asking for a little time off. Secretary Welles just received the letter on this day and it rather ruined his plans. Despite the fact that, as Farragut pointed out in his letter, he had been on duty for more than five years with only one short furlough during that time, Welles had planned to assign him to command of the assault on Wilmington, North Carolina. In view of Farragut’s request Welles changed his plans. He assigned Admiral D. D. Porter to the job--Farragut’s adoptive brother.

Sept. 15, 1864 – John Hanning Speke was found lying near a stone wall on the estate of a relative, felled by a fatal gunshot wound from a hunting rifle. His death was ruled accidental, and an obituary surmised that Speke, while climbing over the wall, had carelessly pulled the gun after himself with the muzzle pointing at his chest and shot himself.

Sept. 15, 1875 – Jesse James robbed the Huntingdon Bank in Huntingdon, Tenn. At about noon, James, accompanied by Cole Younger and two members of his gang, leisurely entered the bank and took $10,252 from the cashier at gunpoint.

Sept. 15, 1889 – Humorist, essayist, actor and drama critic Robert Benchley was born in Worcester, Mass.

Sept. 15, 1890 – Mystery writer Agatha Christie was born Mary Clarissa Agatha Miller in Torquay, Devon, England.

Sept. 15, 1897 – The Citronelle Call newspaper in Citronelle, Ala. was established.

Sept. 15, 1911 – Dr. Luther Terry was born in Red Level, Ala. He would go on to become a doctor and public health official. He was appointed the ninth Surgeon General of the United States from 1961 to 1965, and is best known for his warnings against the dangers and the impact of tobacco use on health.

Sept. 15, 1912 - Joe Wood of the Boston Red Sox won his 16th consecutive Major League game.

Sept. 15, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the “new school building” at Lenox, Ala. was nearing completion.

Sept. 15, 1915 – A mass meeting of 250 to 500 citizens was held at the Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Ala. for the purpose of recommending persons for appointment by the governor to the county’s new board of revenue, which had recently been created by the state legislature and combined the Commissioners Court and County Highway Commission. The following were recommended to the governor - first district, W.S. Bowden; second district, T.E. Dennis Sr.; third district, G.A. Fountain; and fourth district, W.L. Shannon.

Sept. 15, 1922 – J. Taylor Ball, about 33 years old, passed away at his home near Mt. Zion in Conecuh County, Ala. from influenza and double pneumonia. He was the son of the late Albert M. Ball and was buried at the Owassa cemetery with Masonic honors.

Sept. 15, 1923 - Oklahoma was placed under martial law by Gov. John Calloway Walton due to terrorist activity by the Ku Klux Klan.

Sept. 15-16, 1927 – The annual institute for Conecuh County teachers was scheduled to be held in Evergreen, Ala. M.A. Hanks was Conecuh County’s Superintendent of Education.

Sept. 15, 1928 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Miskatonic University librarian Henry Armitage and Profesors Rice and Morgan performed an exorcism on Sentinel Hill, bringing the “Dunwich Horror,” a son of Yog-Sothoth, to an end.

Sept. 15, 1931 - The Philadelphia Athletics beat the Cleveland Indians to clinch their third consecutive American League pennant. The win was the ninth and final American League championship of legendary manager Connie Mack’s storied career.

Sept. 15, 1931 - Alabama author Zora Neale Hurston's play “Fast and Furious” opened on Broadway.

Sept. 15, 1935 - The Nuremberg Laws were enacted by Nazi Germany. The act stripped all German Jews of their civil rights and the swastika was made the official symbol of Nazi Germany.

Sept. 15, 1938 - Lloyd and Paul Waner became the first brothers to hit back-to-back home runs in a Major League Baseball game. It was Lloyd's last home run.

Sept. 15, 1938 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry was born in Williamston, N.C. He went on to play for the San Francisco Giants, the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, the San Diego Padres, the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sept. 15, 1940 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Merlin Olsen was born in Logan, Utah. He went on to play for Utah State and the Los Angeles Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Sept. 15, 1946 - A Brooklyn Dodgers-Chicago Cubs game was called when players, umpires and fans were attacked by gnats.

Sept. 15, 1952 – J.N. Andrews, a barber, beat incumbent mayor H.L. Dees Jr., a grocery merchant, 30-28, in a municipal election in the Town of Repton, Ala. Dees contested the election, alleging that illegal votes were cast and five absentee ballots were improperly thrown out. Council members elected were G.H. Dees, Dr. W.R. Carter, J.L. Dees, John E. Davison and Lee Stallworth.

Sept. 15, 1961 – Pro Footbal Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He went on to play for Pitt and the Miami Dolphins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sept. 15, 1963 - All three Alou brothers - Felipe, Matty and Jesus - played in the outfield at the same time for the San Francisco Giants in a 13-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sept. 15, 1963 - Four black girls were killed and 21 others are injured when a bomb exploded at Birmingham, Alabama's 16th Street Baptist Church, a center for nearby civil rights demonstrations the previous spring. The girls, ranging between the ages of 11 and 14, were preparing for Youth Day activities when the Sunday morning explosion occurred. Three Klansmen accused of the bombing were convicted: one each in 1977, 2001, and 2002. A fourth suspect who died in 1994 was never put on trial.

Sept. 15, 1964 - The Rev. K. L. Buford and Dr. Stanley Hugh Smith become the first black elected officials in Alabama since Reconstruction when they won seats on the Tuskegee City Council. Buford, a civil rights leader, and Smith, a sociology professor at Tuskegee Institute, defeated white incumbents in a run-off election.

Sept. 15, 1964 - The National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, or as it was more popularly known, the National Liberation Front (NLF), called for a general military offensive to take advantage of the ‘disarray’ among the South Vietnamese, particularly after the abortive coup attempt against General Khanh’s government in Saigon on September 13 and 14.

Sept. 15, 1965 - Twenty-five workers employed by the Monroe County, Ala. road department walked off their jobs on this Wednesday morning in an attempt to get higher wages. The workers, meeting with four members of the Monroe County Commission, didn’t state how much of a raise they wanted. The commissioners said they gave the men the opportunity to return to their jobs following the meeting but the men refused.

Sept. 15, 1966 – Thomas Lloyd Kendrick, 49, of Lyeffion was killed instantly when his car was struck by a train at the railroad crossing at Binion’s Pool, about six miles south of Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 15, 1967 – In a football game attended by over 2,000 paid spectators, Evergreen High School dropped to 0-2 on the season after a 14-13 loss to Monroe County High School in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 15, 1967 – In their home opener, Repton High School improved to 2-1 on the season with an 18-0 win over Lyeffion in Repton, Ala.

Sept. 15, 1967 – John B. Privette Jr., 37, of Andalusia, Ala. was killed when the car he was driving ran off the road and hit a light pole at 1:40 a.m. on State Highway 41, seven miles south of Repton, Ala.

Sept. 15, 1969 - Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 19 Mets for a nine-inning game record.

Sept. 15, 1972 - The Watergate indictments began against seven perpetrators.

Sept. 15, 1972 - ARVN forces recaptured Quang Tri City after four days of heavy fighting, with the claim that over 8,135 NVA had been killed in the battle.

Sept. 15, 1974 - Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox hit a home run in his very first Major League Baseball at-bat.

Sept. 15, 1976 – Major League Baseball relief pitcher Matt Thornton was born in Three Rivers, Mich. He went on to play for the Seattle Mariners, the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres.

Sept. 15, 1978 - The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first Major League Baseball team to pass the three-million mark in home attendance.

Sept. 15, 1979 - Bob Watson of the Boston Red Sox became the first player to hit for the cycle in both leagues. He hit for the cycle with the Houston Astros on June 23, 1977.

Sept. 15, 1981 – Evergreen, Ala. weather reporter Earl Windham reported 1.82 inches of rain.

Sept. 15, 1981 – Some time this night, four men broke into the Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. and vandalized the building’s interior. The crime was reported the next morning, and Conecuh County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the four men later that day around 8 p.m.

Sept. 15, 1981 – The John Bull became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operated it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.

Sept. 15, 1982 - The first issue of "USA Today" was published.

Sept. 15, 1983 – The Evergreen Courant reported that work was underway on renovations to the second floor of the Conecuh Count Courthouse and those renovations would result in a second, smaller courtroom, a jury room, witness rooms and restrooms for jurors and witnesses.

Sept. 15, 1990 - Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox became the first relief pitcher with 50 saves in a season.

Sept. 15, 1990 - France announced that it would send an additional 4,000 soldiers to the Persian Gulf. They also expelled Iraqi military attaches in Paris.

Sept. 15, 1996 - The Baltimore Orioles broke the Major League Baseball record for most home runs in one season. They finished with a total of 243. The New York Yankees had set the record at 240 in 1961.

Sept. 15, 1997 - Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners hit his 51st and 52nd home runs to become the sixth player to hit 100 or more home runs over two consecutive seasons. He had hit 49 home runs the previous season.

Sept. 15, 1998 - Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals hit his 63rd home run of the season.

Sept. 15, 1998 - Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners became the fourth-youngest player to reach 1,000 RBIs when he hit his 52nd home run of the season.

Sept. 15, 1998 – The Evergreen (Ala.) City Council appointed Pete Wolff III, David Taylor and James East to another term on the Evergreen Industrial Development Board. The council also approved the payment of $37,102.22 to Duncan Builders for work done on the depot.

Sept. 15, 2001 – George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, 46th Governor of Texas, gave a Post 9-11 Weekly Address, foreshadowing an interventionist United States foreign policy, leading to the Iraq, and Afghanistan wars]].

Sept. 15, 2002 - Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks struck out eight to reach 300 for the season. Schilling and Randy Johnson became the first teammates in baseball history to each strike out 300 in the same season.

Sept. 15, 2011 – Rufus David Blair, 77, of Appleton, Ala., who’d been missing since Sept. 13, was found by searchers at 10:37 a.m. in a wooded area off East Railroad Street in Castleberry.

Sept. 15, 2013 – Joey and Ava Brewton of Lyeffion, Ala. picked a gigantic watermelon that weighed 206.4 pounds, just four pounds shy of the state record, on this Sunday. The melon was transported to the Evergreen Nursing Home the following day, where it was consumed by the residents.

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