Oct. 12, 1492 - Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had reached the Indies in Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.
Oct. 12, 1692 – The Salem Witch Trails ended as Massachusetts Gov. William Phips wrote the Privy Council of King William and Queen Mary saying that he had stopped the proceedings and referred to "what danger some of their innocent subjects might be exposed to, if the evidence of the afflicted persons only did prevail," that is, "spectral evidence."
Oct. 12, 1773 – America's first insane asylum opened for 'Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds' in Virginia.
Oct. 12, 1776 - British Generals Henry Clinton and William Howe led a force of 4,000 troops aboard some 90 flat-boats up New York’s East River toward Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in Westchester County, in an effort to encircle General George Washington and the Patriot force stationed at Harlem Heights.
Oct. 12, 1792 - The first monument honoring explorer Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, Md.
Oct. 12, 1810 – The First Oktoberfest began as Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Oct. 12, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in the District of Columbia.
Oct. 12, 1832 – Revolutionary War soldier and Georgia Governor John Clarke passed away from yellow fever at the age of 66 at St. Andrews Bay in present-day Bay County, Fla. Clarke County, Ala. was named in his honor on Dec. 10, 1812. He was originally buried at St. Andrews Bay, but his grave was moved to Marietta National Cemetery in Georgia in 1923.
Oct. 12, 1860 - William Luther Sibert, a civil engineer involved in several of the ambitious construction projects undertaken by the U.S. government, was born in Etowah County. Projects Sibert was involved with include the Panama Canal, the Soo Locks on the Great Lakes, and the Hoover Dam. He also oversaw the construction of the Alabama State Docks at Mobile in the mid-1920s. In addition, Sibert is known as the "father of the Chemical Corps;" he was the first commander of the U.S. Army's Chemical Warfare Service during World War I.
Oct. 12, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Union Hill, Kentucky.
Oct. 12, 1861 – During the Civil War, a naval encounter took place near New Orleans, La. between then USS Richmond, USS Vincennes and the CSS Manassas, with the two Union vessels retreating and the subsequent skirmish being fought at Bayles Crossroads.
Oct. 12, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Union’s first ironclad, the St Louis, was launched in at Carondelet, Missouri.
Oct. 16, 1861 – During the Civil War, multiple skirmishes were fought near Clintonville and on the Pomme de Terro, or Cameron, Missouri. Operations were also conducted in the vicinity of Ironton and Fredericktown, Mo.
Oct. 12, 1862 - Confederate cavalry leader General J.E.B. Stuart crossed the Potomac River after looting Chambersburg, Pa.
Oct. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Buckhorn Tavern, near New Market, Ala.
Oct. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, the U.S. gunboat “Kanawha” and the U.S. tender “Eugenie” attacked the Confederate blockade runner under the walls of Fort Morgan, Ala.
Oct. 12, 1870 - General Robert Edward Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, passed away peacefully at the age of 63 at his home in Lexington, Virginia. Lee suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870, and lingered for two weeks before passing away.
Oct. 12, 1890 – The New York Sun newspaper published an illustration of outlaw train robber Rube Burrow and partner Joe Jackson having a gun battle with a posse on Sun Mountain in North Alabama.
Oct. 12, 1892 - In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing, the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited en masse in public schools by more than two million students. It had been written just a month earlier by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy, who published it in “Youth's Companion” and distributed it across the country.
Oct. 12, 1896: The Alabama Girls’ Industrial School opened its doors as the first state-supported industrial and technical school devoted to training girls to make a living. The school later became known as Alabama College, and is now the University of Montevallo.
Oct. 12, 1901 – President Theodore Roosevelt officially renamed the "Executive Mansion" to the White House.
Oct. 12, 1906 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop and manager Joe Cronin was born in San Francisco, Calif. During his career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox and he also managed the Senators and the Red Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1956.
Oct. 12, 1910 – Poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald was born in Geneva, N.Y. He is best known for his beautiful English translations of Homer's “Odyssey” (1961) and “The Iliad” (1974).
Oct. 12, 1914 – Conecuh County’s Nicholas Stallworth, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Stallworth, was badly bruised and cut after being run down by a runaway horse.
Oct. 12, 1914 – The Jones Mill public school opened for the 1914-15 school year.
Oct. 12, 1915 - Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt criticized U.S. citizens who identified themselves by dual nationalities.
Oct. 12, 1916 – Actress, playwright and novelist Alice Childress was born in Charleston, S.C. She's best known for her novels “A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich” (1973) and “A Short Walk” (1979).
Oct. 12, 1917 – Confederate veteran G.R. Boulware returned to Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday from the “veterans reunion.” He said that “Birmingham entertained the veterans royally – the best reunion he has attended in a long while.”
Oct. 12, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Thomas V. Salter of Atmore, Ala. “died from disease.”
Oct. 12, 1922 - Alabama author Borden Deal was born in Pontotoc, Miss.
Oct. 12, 1928 – An iron lung respirator was used for the first time at Children's Hospital, Boston on a polio sufferer.
Oct. 12, 1929 - The Philadelphia Athletics scored 10 runs in a single inning of a World Series game against the Chicago Cubs. They went on to win the game by two runs, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. They won the championship, their first since 1913, in the fifth game.
Oct. 12, 1929 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author and psychologist Robert Coles was born in Boston, Mass.
Oct. 12, 1939 – The Monroe Journal announced that Dr. W.W. Eddins, a native of Peterman, Ala., would open a doctor’s office in the Hudson Building, across the street from the Monroeville Bus Station. The son of Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Eddins of Peterman, he was a graduate of the University of Alabama and of the University of Chicago and served internships in Mobile and Birmingham.
Oct. 12, 1948 – During their first meeting, new town officials took over in the Town of Castleberry, Ala. during a town council meeting. New town officials including Mayor Forrest Castleberry and aldermen Joe H. Carr, H.S. Green, Haskew Page Jr., L.H. Riggs and L.H. Wilson. Green was elected mayor pro tem, and Wilson was re-elected as clerk-treasurer.
Oct. 12, 1950 - A radio version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's story "The Final Tribute" was broadcast as part of the “Hallmark Playhouse” series.
Oct. 12, 1962 – Greenville High School beat Evergreen High School, 39-21, in Evergreen, Ala. On Greenville’s first play from scrimmage, fullback Lewis Matthews scored on a 55-yard run. Later in the first quarter, Aggie quarterback Sid Lambert scored on a one-yard run, and Jimmy Raines kicked the extra point. Later in the game, Paul Deason scored on a 39-yard run, and Jimmy Raines threw a one-point conversion pass to end Ronnie Jones. Raines also scored Evergreen’s final touchdown on a 37-yard run, and then “ended the evening’s scoring by taking the pigskin into the end zone for the conversion.” Other standout Evergreen players that season included Donnie Jones and Scott Cook.
Oct. 12, 1969 - The "Paul is Dead" craze began when a radio DJ played "Revolution #9" backwards.
Oct. 12, 1976 - Ardis Vardaman (A.V.) “Shorty” Culpepper passed away at the age of 73 and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Frisco City. Culpepper was born at Rossers Ridge in Sumter County, Ala. on Aug. 2, 1903. Ironically nicknamed “Shorty” because he was nearly six and a half feet tall, Culpepper moved to Monroe County, Ala. in 1928 and served as the county’s Farm Service Extension Agent. For a number of years, Culpepper wrote a humorous weekly column for The Monroe Journal newspaper called “Taxes and Termites,” and his book by the same name is a collection of some of his funniest columns.
Oct. 12, 1977 - The psychic Romark attempted to drive blindfolded only to smash into a police van.
Oct. 12, 1979 – “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams, was published.
Oct. 12, 1984 – Wilcox Academy beat Sparta Academy, 14-12, in Camden, Ala. Sparta’s touchdowns were scored by Jim Marino on a two-yard run and on a 62-yard pass from Jeff Walker to Al Etheridge.
Oct. 12, 1984 – In one of the biggest football games ever played in Conecuh County, No. 2-ranked Repton beat No. 1-ranked McKenzie, 12-7, in Repton, Ala. Repton’s first touchdown came on a one-yard run by John Thompson Jr. with 4:25 to go in the first quarter. Repton’s winning touchdown came on a two-yard run by Winston Davison with 10:38 left in the game. McKenzie’s only touchdown came on a one-yard run by David Crittenden with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Stacey Reid added the extra point.
Oct. 12, 1986 - Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears became the first NFL player to accumulate 20,000 yards.
Oct. 12, 1991 - Nirvana's album, "Nevermind" was certified gold by the RIAA.
Oct. 12, 1997 - Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions passed Jim Brown and moved into fourth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 12,513 yards.
Oct. 12, 1997 - Eddie Murray of the Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record when he kicked his 235th consecutive extra point.
Oct. 12, 2000 - In Denver, Colo., the U.S. District Court denied Timothy McVeigh's request for a new trial.
Oct. 12, 2001 - A special episode of America's Most Wanted was aired that focused on 22 wanted terrorists. The show was specifically requested by U.S. President George W. Bush.
Oct. 12, 2010 - The Texas Rangers won the first playoff series in franchise history when they defeated the Tampa Devil Rays.
Oct. 12, 2012 – The Old Robbins Hotel in Beatrice, Ala. was destroyed by fire.
Oct. 12, 2014 – Alabama football great Tommy Lewis, a native of Greenville, Ala., passed away at the age of 83 in Huntsville, Ala. Lewis is best remembered for his second quarter off-the-bench tackle of Rice halfback Dicky Moegle on a running play that started at the Rice 5 yard line in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. Moegle took the handoff and raced along the sideline near the Alabama bench. As Moegle passed midfield, Lewis sprang from the bench to tackle Moegle. The referee awarded Rice a 95 yard touchdown on the play. Rice won the game, 28-6. Incidentally, Lewis, a fullback, scored Alabama’s only touchdown that day.