Sept. 17, 1540 – The DeSoto Expedition reached the ancient Indian town of Talisi, which was located on the Alabama River at Durant’s Bend, 15 miles northeast of Selma, in Dallas County.
Sept. 17, 1574 – Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés died at the age of 55 in Santander, Spain.
Sept. 17, 1630 – The city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded.
Sept. 17, 1683 – Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote a letter to the Royal Society, sharing his discovery of “animalcules” or what we know as bacteria. The Royal Society was skeptical of his discovery at first, and there was much discussion about his mental status, but today he is considered the “Father of Microbiology.”
Sept. 17, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Earnes, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster and Abigail Hobbs were tried and sentenced to hang. Sheriffs administered Peine Forte Et Dure (pressing) to Giles Corey after he refused to enter a plea to the charges of witchcraft against him.
Sept. 17, 1775 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Invasion of Canada began with the Siege of Fort St. Jean.
Sept. 17, 1778 – The Treaty of Fort Pitt was signed and was the first formal treaty between the United States and a Native American tribe (the Lenape or Delaware Indians).
Sept. 17, 1778 - At 6 a.m. on this day, Mohawk Indian chief and British Loyalist leader and freemason Joseph Brant led a force of 150 Iroquois Indians and 300 British Loyalists under the command of Captain William Caldwell in a surprise attack on the area of German Flats, New York. German Flats, now known as Herkimer, New York, was left virtually undefended by Patriot troops prior to the raid. The Indian and Loyalist raiders captured hundreds of head of cattle and sheep before setting fire to every house, barn and mill in German Flats and killed three men.
Sept. 17, 1781 - American Colonel Daniel Brodhead was replaced as the commander of the Western Department under charges that he had mishandled finances. He was later cleared of most charges and was made a brigadier general by George Washington later that year.
Sept. 17, 1787 - The Constitution of the United States of America was signed by delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
Sept. 17, 1796 - U.S. President George Washington's Farewell Address was read before the U.S. Congress.
Sept. 17, 1803 – Enoch Hooper Cook Sr. of Wilcox County, Ala. was born in Caldwell County, Ky. He, his 10 sons and two grandsons, 13 in all, served in the Civil War, said to be the “greatest number from one family that had served either side in the war.”
Sept. 17, 1814 – Francis Scott Key finished his poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," later to be the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Sept. 17, 1849 – American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.
Sept. 17, 1859 – Joshua A. Norton declared himself "Norton I, Emperor of the United States."
Sept. 17, 1861 - Confederate General Sterling Price encircled a Union garrison at Lexington.
Sept. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Point of Rocks, Md.
Sept. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, an action occurred at Blue Mills Landing and Morristown, Md.
Sept. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Liberty, Mo. was fought. The Union had about 600 men, some Iowa Infantry, some Missouri Home Guards, and a bit of artillery; and the Confederates had elements of the 4th Division, Missouri State Guard. Losses were about 60 on each side.
Sept. 17, 1861 - There had been a meeting of certain members of the Maryland state legislature scheduled for this day. Despite the fact that the capital of the state was in Annapolis, this little get-together had been planned to take place in Frederick. The reason for the solitude, not to mention the lack of publicity, was that these members were Southern sympathizers, and their intention was to work out a way for Maryland to secede from the Union. Their attempts at secrecy had not been entirely successful, however, and a number of the gentlemen had been arrested by Federal officials on their way to the meeting. They were now on their way to prison on an island in Boston Harbor.
Sept. 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Allegheny Arsenal explosion resulted in the single largest civilian disaster during the war.
Sept. 17, 1862 – The Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, took place in Washington County, along the banks of Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Md. General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army were stopped by General George B. MeClellan and his numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall about 26,000 men were dead, wounded or missing. Lee began withdrawing to Virginia after dark on September 18. It was the bloodiest day in American military history. To put the human cost in perspective, a man was killed or wounded, every two seconds for 14 hours. Another way of looking at it is 35 were killed per minute. D-Day casualties were 6,603, and World Trade Center casualties were 2,998. Total Antietam casualties were 23,100.
Jacob Hirschfelder and James C. Thomas, both of the Conecuh Guards, where killed at Antietam. Thomas E. Ray (deserted to enemy in 1864) and Third Cpl. James Robertson (wounded in three places), both of the Conecuh Guards, were wounded at Antietam.
Sept. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, Braxton Bragg had had a chance for the previous week to attack Rosecrans' exceedingly scattered forces. Although several orders had admittedly been issued, for one reason or another no actual attacks had taken place. One result of this was that acrimonious notes, nastiness and name-calling were making the rounds between Bragg and his corps commanders. The other result of this was that the Union army was now reassembled in much better order.
Sept. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Raccoon Ford, Virginia and on Horse Creek, Missouri.
Sept. 17, 1864 – John C. Fremont, “The Pathfinder,” former commander of the U.S. forces in St. Louis where he spent far more time fighting with Frank Blair Jr. than marching to fight Sterling Price’s Confederates, did a noble deed on this day. He informed a committee of the Radical Republicans that he was declining their request that he run for President in the primary against Abraham Lincoln. Although he regarded Lincoln as a failure (the fact that Lincoln had relieved him of command in St. Louis earlier in the war may have influenced this opinion), he disliked the Democrat, McClellan, even more. McClellan’s victory, Fremont said, would result in “separation or re-establishment [of the Union] with slavery” still intact.
Sept. 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Thomasville, Missouri, and an affair took place at Limestone Ridge, Virginia.
Sept. 17, 1869 – The original First Presbyterian Church of Camden, Ala. building, which was erected in 1856, burned.
Sept. 17, 1878 – French adventurer Orélie-Antoine de Tounens died at the age of 53 in Tourtoirac, France.
Sept. 17, 1879 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, manager and owner Rube Foster was born in Calvert, Texas. He went on to play for the Chicago Union Giants, the Cuban X-Giants, the Philadelphia Giants, the Leland Giants and the Chicago Americe Giants and he managed the Leland Giants and the Chicago American Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.
Sept. 17, 1883 – American poet William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, N.J.
Sept. 17, 1895 - George Salter Jr. left Monroeville, Ala. on this Tuesday for Evergreen, where he was to “be associated with Prof. J.F. Marsh in the publication of The Courant, Evergreen’s new paper.”
Sept. 17, 1897 – George Bradley was hung for the June 17 murder of Richard Rumbley at Rumbley’s store near Pleasant Ridge. This was the second hanging in Monroe County, Ala. since the end of the Civil War.
Sept. 17, 1903 – Irish writer Frank O’Connor was born Michael O’Donovan in Cork, Ireland.
Sept. 17, 1905 – Jim Johnson, alias Jim Caldwell, shot and killed Wade Coleman at McWilliams, near the Monroe-Wilcox County line. Johnson was later captured and placed in the Monroe County Jail in Monroeville, Ala.
Sept. 17, 1913 - Author Sara W. Glendinning was born in Birmingham, Ala.
Sept. 17, 1914 – The Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. opened for the 1914-15 school year with 90 pupils on the rolls.
Sept. 17, 1914 – The Monroe Journal reported that “Contractor Lambert” had “begun the demolition of the old Presbyterian church building preparatory to the reconstruction and remodeling of the building.”
Sept. 17, 1917 – During World War I, Army Pvt. John E. Maldin of Opp, Ala. “died from disease.”
Sept. 17, 1920 - The American Professional Football Association was formed in Canton, Ohio. It was the precursor to the National Football League.
Sept. 17, 1923 – Hiram “Hank” Williams Sr. was born at Mount Olive in Butler County, Ala. As a child he became enthralled with music, playing harmonica, learning the organ from his mother, and acquiring his first guitar around the time he was eight years old. He started performing on Montgomery's WSFA radio station as a teenager and eventually formed a band called the Driftin' Cowboys. In early 1949 Williams released a recording of "Lovesick Blues," which became a national hit, topping Billboard magazine's country chart for 16 weeks. A few months later he was performing on country music's premier radio show, the Grand Ole Opry. By the end of 1951, Williams had amassed 24 top 10 singles, with six reaching number one. Revered by fans drawn to the sincerity of his songs and his singing, Williams was instrumental in turning "hillbilly" music into "country" music. In April 2010, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded Williams with a posthumous Special Citation lifetime achievement award to honor his contributions to music. After his first appearance on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry in 1949, the singer-songwriter went on to become a country music legend despite his death in 1953 at age 29. His grave is located in Montgomery's Oakwood Cemetery.
Sept. 17, 1927 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and placekicker George Blanda was born in Youngwood, Pa. He would go on to play for Kentucky, the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Colts, the Houston Oilers and the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.
Sept. 17, 1928 - The Town of Jones Mill, Ala. officially changed its name to Frisco City after a 153-50 vote in favor of the change.
Sept. 17, 1930 – Retired American astronaut Edgar Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas. The Apollo astronaut, who was the sixth man to walk on the moon, has had a long standing interest in consciousness and the paranormal. In 2008, he stirred up controversy with this statement in a radio interview: "I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real."
Sept. 17, 1930 – The construction on Boulder Dam, later renamed Hoover Dam, began in Black Canyon, near Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sept. 17, 1935 – Ken Kesey, who is best known for his 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” was born in La Junta, Colo.
Sept. 17, 1937 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He went on to play for the San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves, the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Sept. 17, 1937 - At Mount Rushmore, Abraham Lincoln's face was dedicated.
Sept. 17, 1939 – In the final game of the Interstate Baseball League championship series, Evergreen was scheduled to play Flomaton on this Sunday in Brewton, Ala. at 3:30 p.m. Both teams entered the game with one win each in the series.
Sept. 17, 1939 – During World War II, the Soviet Union joined Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland during the Polish Defensive War of 1939.
Sept. 17, 1940 – During World War II, following the German defeat in the Battle of Britain, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion indefinitely.
Sept. 17, 1944 – Italian mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner was born in Bixen, Italy. He is renowned for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen along with Peter Habeler, and for being the first climber to ascend all fourteen "eight-thousanders" (peaks over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) above sea level).
Sept. 17, 1948 – In their first game of the 1948 football season, Evergreen High School, under head coach Wendell Hart, beat cross-county rival Repton High School, 44-0, in Evergreen, Ala. Roy Davis was Repton’s head coach.
Sept. 17, 1953 - Ernie Banks became the first black baseball player to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform. He retired in 1971 and was known as “Mr. Cub.”
Sept. 17, 1953 – The Evergreen Courant reported that rural mail carrier R.H. Meacham of Castleberry, Ala. had retired after almost 40 years of service with the U.S. Postal System. Meacham, who began carrying the mail in the “horse and buggy days,” served under six different postmasters and was acting postmaster of the Castleberry Post Office for 10 months at one time.
Sept. 17, 1954 – Repton High School, under head coach Albert Arnold, opened the 1954 football season against Coffeeville High School in Coffeeville, Ala. and lost, 6-0. Players on Repton’s team that season included William Ashcraft, Erwin Baggett, Franklin Baggett, Ray Blackwell, Williebe Crutchfield, Billy Farrish, Clarence Goneke, Eddie Kelly, Charles Lee, Lowell Lee, Johnny McInnis, Floyd Morgan, Cleveland Morris, Jerry Nall, Terry Nall, Tommy Nall, Johnny Owens, Selvyn Roberson, Wendell Roberson, Braxton Ryland, Clinton Ryland, Thomas Salter, Harold Smith, Bert Stacey, Raybon Waters and Warren Watson.
Sept. 17, 1956 - Castleberry’s municipal election was scheduled to be held on this day. Incumbents were: mayor, Jack Holland; councilmen, Joe H. Carr, B.H. Mahoney, Henry Kirksey, R.T. Bagget, and C.N. Jackson. As of Aug. 16, only one man had qualified for office. Hassett Green had qualified for mayor. He owned a grocery store in Castleberry, and was a retired electrician. Qualifying began on Aug. 8 and was to remain open until Aug. 28.
Sept. 17, 1958 - A movie version of Alabama author Lonnie Coleman's book “Hot Spell” was released.
Sept. 17, 1961 - The Minnesota Vikings made their debut as the newest National Football League team.
Sept. 17, 1964 – Ernest Ward beat J.U. Blacksher, 7-6, in Uriah. Buddy Rhodes was Blacksher’s head coach.
Sept. 17, 1965 – The Town of Excel, Ala. was scheduled to open bids for the completion of its new water works system. Mayor J.L. McQueen told The Journal that the town had already drilled a well behind Excel Town Hall.
Sept. 17, 1967 - The Doors appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show" and performed "Light My Fire" and "People Are Strange."
Sept. 17, 1968 – The Evergreen City Council granted a building permit to Poole Truck Line for the construction of a new terminal that included three buildings on the access road between Highway 83 and the Loree Road, parallel to Interstate Highway 65, in Evergreen, Ala.
Sept. 17, 1968 – This night’s meeting of the Evergreen City Council was the final regular meeting for two city councilmen, W.T. (Jack) Wild, who didn’t seek a third term, and Bob Bozeman, who was defeated in a bid for his second term. The two new councilmen-elect, Clarence E. (Buddy) Evers and Robert H. Moorer, were in attendance at the meeting.
Sept. 17, 1969 – Noted television and concert organist Louis V. Bass, president of the Melody Carrousel in Andalusia, was scheduled to perform in a concert at the Evergreen (Ala.) City School auditorium on this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 17, 1970 - The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) for South Vietnam presented a new peace plan at the Paris talks.
Sept. 17, 1972 - Three U.S. pilots were released by Hanoi. They were the first POWs released since 1969.
Sept. 17, 1974 – Norwegian skier and explorer Tormod Granheim was born in Trondheim, Norway.
Sept. 17, 1976 – The Wilson-Finlay House (also known as Mist Lady, the Joshua Wilson House and the Finlay House) in Gainestown in Clarke County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Sept. 17, 1976 – The Folsom Home near Elba, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Sept. 17, 1976 – The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, was unveiled by NASA.
Sept. 17, 1978 - The series "Battlestar Galactica" began airing on ABC.
Sept. 17, 1979 – In an issue of People magazine published on this date, William Weber, the defense lawyer for Ronald DeFeo, Jr. at his trial, wrote: "I know this book (“The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson) is a hoax. We created this horror story over many bottles of wine."
Sept. 17, 1980 – The Rawls Hotel in Enterprise, in Coffee County, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Sept. 17, 1981 - Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela threw his eighth shutout of the season to set a new National League rookie record. Valenzuela’s three-hitter beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 and put an exclamation point on one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history.
Sept. 17, 1982 – The last tie football game involving a Monroe County team was played between Frisco City High School and Leroy High School in Leroy, Ala. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Vance McCrory was Frisco City’s head coach.
Sept. 17, 1983 - Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds retired after 16 years as a catcher.
Sept. 17, 1983 - Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox broke Hank Aaron's Major League record for games played when he started his 3,299th game.
Sept. 17, 1984 - Reggie Jackson hit his 500th career home run. It was exactly 17 years from the day he hit his first Major League home run.
Sept. 17, 1993 – The second episode of “The X-Files” – entitled “Deep Throat” – aired for the first time.
Sept. 17, 1996 – Homer Chavers defeated incumbent Jerry Caylor, 101-58, in a runoff election for the District 1 seat on the Evergreen (Ala.) City Council.
Sept. 17, 1998 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a ribbon cutting had recently been held at the new Office Connection office supply store next door to Regions Bank on East Front Street in Evergreen, Ala. The store, which was co-owned by Pat Dannelly and Jasper Davis, was located in the old Dress For Less location.
Sept. 17, 1999 – The baseball movie, “For Love of the Game,” premiered in theaters. Based on the posthumously published novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Shaara, the movie starred Kevin Kostner and Kelly Preston.
Sept. 17, 2001 – The New York Stock Exchange reopened for trading after the September 11 attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.
Sept. 17, 2004 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 700th home run.
Sept. 17, 2011 – Tuskegee University freshman quarterback Justin Nared of Evergreen, Ala. made his college football debut in a 21-6 loss to Alabama A&M in Huntsville. He quarterbacked the Golden Tigers on their final possession of the game.
Sept. 17, 2011 – Derek Smith of Evergreen, Ala., a redshirt sophomore defensive back at Memphis, recorded a tackle and returned a kickoff for 18 yards in Memphis University’s 27-6 win over Austin Peay at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.