Sept. 20, 1519 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe and to find a route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Magellan was killed during the trip, but one of his ships eventually made the journey.
Sept. 20, 1746 – Slovak-Hungarian explorer Maurice Benyovszky was born in Verbó, Kingdom of Hungary (today Vrbové, Slovakia).
Sept. 20, 1776 - The Great Fire of New York began.
Sept. 20, 1777 - Near Paoli, Pa., General Charles Grey and nearly 5,000 British soldiers launched a surprise attack on a small regiment of Patriot troops commanded by General Anthony Wayne in what became known as the Paoli Massacre. Not wanting to lose the element of surprise, Grey ordered his troops to empty their muskets and to use only bayonets or swords to attack the sleeping Americans under the cover of darkness. With the help of a Loyalist spy who provided a secret password and led them to the camp, General Grey and the British launched the successful attack on the unsuspecting men of the Pennsylvania regiment, stabbing them to death as they slept.
Sept. 20, 1778 – Russian admiral, cartographer, and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen was born at Lahhentagge manor, Ösel Island, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now in Salme Parish, Saare County, Estonia). He participated in the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe and subsequently became a leader of another circumnavigation expedition, which discovered the continent of Antarctica.
Sept. 20, 1806 - After nearly 2-1/2 years spent exploring the western wilderness, the Corps of Discovery arrived at the frontier village of La Charette, the first white settlement they had seen since leaving behind the outposts of eastern civilization in 1804. Entirely out of provisions and trade goods and subsisting on wild plums, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their men were understandably eager to reach home. Upon arriving at La Charette, the men fired a three-round salute to alert the inhabitants of their approach and were answered by three rounds from the trading boats moored at the riverbank.
Sept. 20-21, 1819 - The first general election in Alabama for governor, members of the U.S. Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs was held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state’s first governor.
Sept. 20, 1844 – Lewis Lavon Peacock was born in Coffee County, Ala. The son of Joseph Tarpley Peacock, he apparently got his first name from his uncle Lewis Levi Peacock back in Georgia, but where the “Lavon” came from remains a mystery, perhaps its was a variant of Levi. He was raised in Coffee and Dale counties, never got much schooling, never learned to read or write and was never very well off in a material sense.
Sept. 20, 1845 – Russian explorer Matvei Gedenschtrom died in extreme poverty at the age of 65 in the village of Kaidukovaya near Tomsk.
Sept. 20, 1848 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science was established in Philadelphia. Its stated purpose was to “procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a wider usefulness.”
Sept. 20, 1859 – William Rabb Sr., who settled in Conecuh County, Ala. in 1819, died. He was one of Conecuh’s first store owners and farmers.
Sept. 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought along Seneca Creek, Md.
Sept. 20, 1861 - Union troops at Lexington, Mo. surrendered to Confederate General Sterling Price, and Confederate forces occupied Lexington.
Sept. 20, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Helena, Arkansas; near Williamsport and near Hagerstown, Maryland; on the Fulton Road, south of Iuka, Mississippi; at Shirly's Ford on the Spring River, Missouri; near Shiloh, North Carolina; at La Grange, Tennessee; at Ashby’s Gap, Virginia; and at Point Pleasant and Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Chickamauga, Tenn. concluded in northwestern Georgia. It was the bloodiest two-day battle of the conflict, and the only significant Confederate victory in the war's Western Theater. One of the largest battles of the war, Chickamauga resulted in 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union casualties
Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 10-day Federal operation began between Paducah, Ky. and McLemoresville, Tenn.
Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Morgan’s Ferry on the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana; at Hornersville, Missouri; at Carter’s Depot and Zollicoffer, Tennessee; and on Shaver Mountain, in the vicinity of Buckhannon and Huttonsville, West Virginia.
Sept. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Arkadelphia and Roseville Creek, Arkansas; at Bayou Rapids, on the Red River, Louisiana; at Ponder's Mill, Missouri; near Fort Cottonwood, Nebraska; and at Middletown, Strasburg, and near Cedarville, Virginia.
Sept. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, a 10-day Federal operation began in La Fayette and Jackson Counties, Missouri.
Sept. 20, 1876 – Curveball inventor Candy Cummings of the Hartford (Conn.) Dark Blues pitched two complete games in one day. He won, 14-4, and, 8-4.
Sept. 20, 1878 – Muckraking pioneer Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Md. He is best known for his 1906 novel, “The Jungle.”
Sept. 20, 1881 – U.S. President Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st U.S. President, the morning after becoming President upon James A. Garfield's death from wounds inflicted in an assassination attempt.
Sept. 20, 1887 – Rube Burrow, who would rob a train near Flomaton and eventually get gunned down in Linden, and his gang committed their fourth train robbery at Mary’s Creek near Benbrook, Texas. They robbed the evening train bound for Fort Worth.
Sept. 20, 1897 – A quarantine was declared by the health officials of the town and county against Mobile, Ala. on account of yellow fever. Later, train service between Flomaton and Repton was discontinued on account of sporadic cases of fever at or near Flomaton.
Sept. 20, 1902 - Jim Callaghan pitched the first no-hitter in Chicago White Sox history.
Sept. 20, 1902 – Poet and novelist Stevie Smith was born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull, Yorkshire, England.
Sept. 20, 1915 – The public school in Conecuh County, Alabama’s Mt. Zion community opened on this Monday with an enrollment of 40 pupils. W.F. Chandler of China was the principal, and Stella Mason of Wilcox County was assistant.
Sept. 20, 1921 - KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa. started a daily radio newscast, one of the first in the U.S.
Sept. 20, 1922 – “Mr. Pugh” of the Conecuh County, Alabama’s Fairfield community killed a five-foot-long rattlesnake with 21 rattles on Bankston Creek.
Sept. 20, 1927 - Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season. He beat his own record of 59 that he set in 1921.
Sept. 20, 1928 – Poet, editor and literary critic Donald Hall was born in Hamden, Conn. He was named the 14th poet laureate of the United States in 2006.
Sept. 20, 1930 – Russian anthropologist and explorer Gombojab Tsybikov died at the age of 57 in Aginskoye, Buryat-Mongol ASSR, Soviet Union. Tsybikov is mostly credited for being the first photographer of Tibet, including Lhasa.
Sept. 20, 1931 – Huntsville, Ala. native Gabby Street made his final Major League Baseball appearance, taking the field for the St. Louis Cardinals
Sept. 20, 1935 – Pro Football Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor was born in Baton Rouge, La. He went on to play for LSU, the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.
Sept. 20, 1940 – Pensacola “Radio Stars” Tex Dunn and his Virginia Hillbillies were scheduled to perform at the Megargel (Ala.) School House on this Friday night. The event was sponsored by the PTA and included ice cream, drinks and sandwiches.
Sept. 20, 1942 – During the Holocaust at Letychiv, Ukraine, in the course of two days the German SS murdered at least 3,000 Jews.
Sept. 20, 1945 – American occultist, journalist, and explorer William Seabrook committed suicide by drug overdose at the age of 61 in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Sept. 20, 1950 – Army Pvt. Dixie C. Pritchett of Clarke County, Ala. was killed in action in Korea.
Sept. 20, 1951 – Excel High School beat Lyeffion High School, 20-0, in Monroeville, Ala.
Sept. 20, 1955 - Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs set a major league record with his fifth grand slam of the year.
Sept. 20, 1957 – Evergreen High School beat Monroe County High School, 6-0, at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen, Ala. Robert Ellington scored Evergreen’s lone touchdown.
Sept. 20, 1966 – On this night, the Castleberry (Ala.) Gin Co. caught fire, but Evergreen firefighters responded to the fire and quickly brought the blaze under control, holding the damage to a minimum.
Sept. 20, 1966 – The Evergreen (Ala.) City Council granted Harry Ellis and Charles Burt, the owners of Miller Trading Co., a building permit to construct a building next door to its main store building on Cooper Street for the handling of bulk fertilizer.
Sept. 20, 1968 - Denny McClain of the Detroit Tigers became the first player to achieve 31 wins in 37 years.
Sept. 20-22, 1968 – Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” was scheduled to be shown at the Pix Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.
Sept. 20, 1968 - U.S. military spokesmen defended the use of defoliants in Vietnam at a news conference in Saigon, claiming that the use of the agents in selected areas of South Vietnam had neither appreciably altered the country’s ecology, nor produced any harmful effects on human or animal life.
Sept. 20, 1970 - Jim Morrison was found guilty, in Miami, Fla. of indecent exposure and profanity. He was acquitted on charges of "lewd and lascivious" behavior. The charges were related to a performance by the Doors.
Sept. 20, 1972 - The USAF revealed that U.S. planes had been mining the coastal rivers and canals of northern Quang Tri province below the DMZ, the first mining of waterways within South Vietnam.
Sept. 20, 1973 - Willie Mays announced that he would retire at the end of the season.
Sept. 20, 1973 – College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ronald McKinnon was born in Elba, Ala. He went on to play for the University of North Alabama, the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints.
Sept. 20, 1974 – Lyeffion High School, under veteran head coach Wendell Hart, beat previously unbeaten McKenzie High School, 13-0, in Lyeffion. Quarterback Raymond Brown scored both touchdowns on runs of five and 10 yards. Joey Garrett added an extra point.
Sept. 20, 1974 – In a “thriller” in Monroeville, Ala., Evergreen High School beat Monroe County High School, 8-7. Albert Stallworth scored on an eight-yard run for Evergreen, and the two-point conversion came on a pass from Mike Faulkner to Darris Champion. Other standout Evergreen players in that game included Marvin Williams, Pat Dawson and Willie Ingram. Standout Monroe County High Scholl players in that game included Willie Lett and Johnny Bartlett.
Sept. 20, 1974 – Macon Academy beat Sparta Academy, 35-20, in Tuskegee, Ala. Outstanding Sparta players in that game included Joe Andrews, Eddie Hooks, Bobby Johnson, Ronnie Pugh, Walker Scott and Sam Skipper. Richard Brown was Sparta’s head coach.
Sept. 20, 1977 – The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations.
Sept. 20, 1978 – The Henry-Beeland-Stanley House in Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Sept. 20, 1979 - The first episode of "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" aired on NBC.
Sept. 20, 1981 - Marcus Allen of the University of Southern California rushed for 274 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 21-0 victory over Indiana.
Sept. 20, 1982 - The NFL Players Association announced that a strike would begin at the completion of the Packers-Giants game on Monday night. The strike would last for 57 days.
Sept. 20, 1982 - The first episode of the television series “Madame's Place,” co-written by Alabama author Carter Crocker, was broadcast.
Sept. 20, 1984 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds recorded his 100th hit of the season. It was the 22nd consecutive season he had recorded at least 100 hits in a season.
Sept. 20, 1985 - Tommy Kramer of the Minnesota Vikings threw for 436 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-24 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Sept. 20, 1986 - Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres stole five bases in one game against Houston.
Sept. 20, 1987 - Walter Payton scored his 107th touchdown to break the NFL record held by Jim Brown.
Sept. 20, 1989 – Frank Rankins, 56, of Burnt Corn downed in a family fish pond behind his brother’s house at Burnt Corn on this Wednesday night. Investigators believed that Rankins was fishing alone in a boat when he fell out while trying to retrieve a snagged hook and line. Sheriff’s Departments and Rescue Squads from Conecuh and Monroe counties responded to the incident, and Conecuh County Rescue Squad members found his body in about 10 feet of water a short time later.
Sept. 20, 1993 - John Carney of the San Diego Chargers kicked six field goals to extend his consecutive field goal streak to 29 straight games. The Chargers beat the Houston Oilers, 18-17.
Sept. 20, 1996 – Sparta Academy improved to 3-1 on the season with a 7-6 win over Fort Dale-South Butler in Greenville, Ala. Lyle Bell led Sparta’s offense with 88 yards on 21 carries.
Sept. 20, 1996 – Monroe County High School’s Bucky Busby kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:12 left in the game to give Monroe a 17-16 win over Hillcrest-Evergreen in Monroeville.
Sept. 20, 1996 – Joe Hyde officially retired from The Evergreen Courant after 53 years. He was hired to work at the paper in 1943 by R.G. Bozeman Sr. and saw the paper go from hand set type to the computer era.
Sept. 20, 1998 - Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles ended his record streak of playing in 2,632 games. He had played in every game since May 30, 1982.
Sept. 20, 2001 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a "War on Terror."
Sept. 20, 2002 - Tom Gamboa, coach of the Kansas City Royals, was attacked by a man and his son while he was standing near first base. The two fans were arrested and charged with battery.
Sept. 20, 2013 – Bubba’s BBQ in Evergreen was scheduled to be featured on WSFA’s “County Road 12” segment on this Friday at 6 p.m. TV news anchor Judd Davis and cameraman Jeff Harrison interviewed Bubba’s owner Pat Poole for two hours on Sept. 17 during a visit to the restaurant.