Oct. 31, 1776 - In his first speech before British Parliament since the leaders of the American Revolution came together to sign of the Declaration of Independence that summer, King George III acknowledged that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States. In his address, the king spoke about the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the revolutionary leaders who signed it, saying, “for daring and desperate is the spirit of those leaders, whose object has always been dominion and power, that they have now openly renounced all allegiance to the crown, and all political connection with this country.” The king went on to inform Parliament of the successful British victory over General George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, but warned them that, “notwithstanding the fair prospect, it was necessary to prepare for another campaign.”
Oct. 31, 1776 - General George Washington chose to withdraw his forces to New Jersey before British General Howe could plan another attack with his newly arrived reinforcements.
Oct. 31, 1789 – In Lovecraftian fiction, preacher James Boon and his congregation attempted a ceremony contained within Ludwig Prinn’s “De Vermis Mysteriis.” On that night, all of the people of Jerusalem’s Lot vanished and were never seen again.
Oct. 31, 1795 – Romantic poet John Keats was born in London.
Oct. 31, 1843 - Alabama author Idora McClellan Moore was born on her family's plantation near Talladega, Ala.
Oct. 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Morgantown, Ky. with a Confederate attack on a Federal camp repulsed.
Oct. 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Greenbrier, West Virginia.
Oct. 31, 1861 - Union General Winfield Scott stepped down as general in chief citing failing health, and George B. McClellan was elevated to the position. Scott, a hero of the Mexican War, recognized early in the Civil War that his health and advancing years were a liability in the daunting task of directing the Federal war effort. His resignation on October 31 did not end his influence on the war, however, as President Abraham Lincoln occasionally sought his counsel, and many of his former officers commanded forces and executed the same maneuvers that he had used in Mexico.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal forces advanced from Bolivar, Tenn. and Corinth, Miss. upon Grand Junction, Tenn.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, an 11-day series of operations began on the Mississippi Central Railroad from Bolivar, Tenn. to Coffeeville, Miss.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance was conducted in Monroe County, Mo.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Federal bombardment of Lavaca, Texas took place.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Aldie, Franklin, Mountville and Snickersville, Va. and near the Falls of the Kanawha, West Va.
Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Congress of the Confederate States of America passed a bill authorizing two new divisions of the Navy Department. Brig. Gen. Gabriel J. Rains was placed in charge of the Torpedo Bureau, and Lt. Hunter Davidson was named to command the Naval Submarine Battery Service. The purpose of both bureaus was to investigate, organize and improve creative methods of “torpedo” warfare, what would today be described as mines.
Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Barton’s Station, Ala.
Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Washington, La.; at Yazoo City, Miss.; and near Weaverville, Va.
Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Federal bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, S.C. continued to reduce the fort to rubble.
Oct. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Shoal Creek, Ala. as Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, CSA, prepared to move his Confederate Army in Tennessee, assuming Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, USA, would pursue him. Instead, Sherman moved in the opposite direction toward Savannah, GA, and the sea.
Oct. 31, 1864 - Nevada became the 36th state to join the United States.
Oct. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Federal naval occupation of Plymouth, N.C. began.
Oct. 31, 1876 – Hugh T. Fountain was named postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.
Oct. 31, 1892 - On this day, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Arthur Conan Doyle, was published. The book was the first collection of Holmes stories, which Conan Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887.
Oct. 31, 1893 - Alabama author Hudson Strode was born in Cairo, Ill.
Oct. 31, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that C.W. Zimmerman of the Bear Creek Mill Co. had visited Monroeville during the preceding week and informed the newspaper that the company had completed and was operating about three miles of its railroad.
Oct. 31, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that in Monroe County Circuit Court, Lazarus James had been sentenced to work four years “in the coal mines” for burning J.H. Moore’s warehouse some months before. Albert Jackson was also sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary, and Mose Hall was given a three-year sentence.
Oct. 31, 1903 – The Purdue Wreck, a railroad train collision in Indianapolis, killed 17 people, including 14 players of the Purdue University football team.
Oct. 31, 1906 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a “handsome new organ” had been placed in the Evergreen Methodist Church.
Oct. 31, 1908 – The members of Camp William Lee, No. 338, were scheduled to meet at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday “for the transaction of business in connection with the state reunion to be held at Mobile” on Nov. 24-26, 1908. G.R. Boulware was the camp’s commander and J.C. Travis was the camp’s adjutant.
Oct. 31, 1910 – Confederate veteran Francis Marion Grice, a member of the Conecuh Guards, died at the age of 73. He was buried in the Fort Crawford Cemetery in East Brewton.
Oct. 31, 1913 – The Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road to traverse the entire continental United States, was officially dedicated. The highway ran from New York City’s Times Square to San Francisco’s Lincoln Park and was the first national memorial to Abraham Lincoln, predating Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial by nine years.
Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 1914 – The four-part “Photo-Drama of Creation” was shown for free at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala.
Oct. 31, 1926 – Magician Harry Houdini, 52, died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged 12 days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.
Oct. 31, 1926 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Lavinia Whateley, the albino daughter of Wizard Whateley and mother of Wilbur by an unknown father, vanished, perhaps killed by Wilbur. She first appeared in “The Dunwich Horror” by H.P. Lovecraft.
Oct. 31, 1939 – South African cyclist Rowan Peacock was born in Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa. He competed in the team pursuit at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
Oct. 31, 1941 - Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. At the time, the 60-foot busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were finished.
Oct. 31, 1943 – Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo was born in Pittsfield, Mass.
Oct. 31, 1944 – Erich Göstl, a member of the Waffen-SS, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, to recognise extreme battlefield bravery, after losing his face and eyes during the Battle of Normandy.
Oct. 31, 1951 – During the Korean War, Army Pfc. Leonard E. Worrell of Conecuh County, Ala. was killed in action.
Oct. 31, 1951 – University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was born in Fairmont, West Va.
Oct. 31, 1954 - Martin Luther King Jr. of Atlanta was installed as minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. A little more than a year later, on the first day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he was named president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a role which made him a national civil rights figure.
Oct. 31, 1955 – Journalist and writer Susan Orlean was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Oct. 31, 1956 - Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.
Oct. 31, 1959 - Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, announced that he would never return to the U.S. At the time he was in Moscow, Russia.
Oct. 31, 1960 - On Halloween, an eight-foot-tall cross was burned at the home of Hazel Brannon Smith in Holmes County, Miss.; Smith blamed local teens influenced by adults' hate. Etowah County, Ala. native Hazel Brannon Smith (1914-1994) was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and supported the civil rights movement while running newspapers in Mississippi. She was awarded the prize in 1964 for her career of editorializing in the face of strong racial opposition and threat of violence.
Oct. 31, 1963 – Major League Basebal first baseman Fred McGriff was born in Tampa, Fla. He would go on to play for the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Oct. 31, 1968 – Thomas Charles Littles of Brooklyn, Ala. was inducted into the U.S. Army. He would be fatally wounded in Vietnam.
Oct. 31, 1968 – Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to the nation that he had ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.
Oct. 31, 1970 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu delivered a speech on the state of the nation before a joint session of the South Vietnamese National Assembly, asserting that 99.1 percent of the country had been “pacified.” The pacification program that he alluded to had been a long-term multi-faceted effort to provide territorial security, destroy the enemy’s underground government, reassert political control, involve the people in their own government, and provide for economic and social reforms. Citing success in this program, Thieu said that a military victory was close at hand and that “we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” With regard to the ongoing peace talks in Paris, the South Vietnamese president declared that the Communists viewed negotiations merely as a way to gain time and “to achieve victory gradually.” He said he would never accept a coalition government with the Communists, because “countless past experiences” had already shown that such an approach would not bring peace.
Oct. 31, 1980 – On homecoming night at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, Sparta Academy lost to South Butler Academy, 13-12. Andy Hammonds scored both of Sparta’s touchdowns, the first on a four-yard run and the second on a 23-yard touchdown reception from Jeff Johnson. Karen Brown was crowned Miss Homecoming, and she was escorted by Mike Raines. Jeena Simpson was crowned Miss Football, and she was escorted by Scott Baggett. Jack Miller was Sparta’s headmaster.
Oct. 31, 1982 – An air show, sponsored by the Conecuh County (Ala.) Rescue Squad, was scheduled to be held Sunday afternoon from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Evergreen’s Middleton Field Municipal Airport.
Oct. 31, 1983 – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and player George Halas died at the age of 88 in Chicago, Ill. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963, he is considered one of the original founders of the NFL.
Oct. 31, 1988 - Debbie Gibson held a séance at her Halloween party to contact the spirits of Liberace and Sid Vicious.
Oct. 31, 1992 – Auburn University officially retired Bo Jackson’s No. 34 football number during a halftime ceremony.
Oct. 31, 1998 - Iraq announced that it was halting all dealings with U.N. arms inspectors. The inspectors were investigating the country's weapons of mass destruction stemming from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Oct. 31, 1999 - Bryan White sang the National Anthem at the Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville prior to the game between the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams. Following the game, White gave his second annual Howl-O-Ween concert at the north end of the coliseum.
Oct. 31, 1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returned to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.
Oct. 31, 2001 - In Miami Beach, Fla., Jose Canseco was involved in a nightclub brawl. Canseco later violated his probation and was sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years probation.
Oct. 31, 2001 - Evergreen weather reporter Harry Ellis reported that total rainfall for the month of October 2001 was 3.50 inches.
Oct. 31, 2003 – Two Mobile, Ala. residents lost their lives in a four-car accident on Interstate Highway 65 at the Owassa exit in Conecuh County, Ala.
Oct. 31, 2003 – Sparta Academy wrapped up the 2003 football season with a 26-16 win over Ashford Academy in Evergreen, Ala. Quarterback Will Ivey led Sparta’s offense with 17 carries for 170 yards and completed three passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Other outstanding Sparta players in that game included Brandon Burleson, Paul Castleberry, Perry Castleberry, Patrick Cumagun and Cody Lowery.
Oct. 31, 2003 - Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.73 inches of total rainfall in Evergreen, Ala. for the month of October 2003 and year-to-date rainfall was 54.0 inches.
Oct. 31, 2007 – The episode of CSI: NY first broadcast on this date was a Halloween edition based on “The Amityville Horror.: Entitled "Boo," it featured a house in Amityville where a family has died in circumstances similar to the DeFeo murders.
Oct. 31, 2010 - For the first time in Major League Baseball history, two former presidents attended the same World Series Game. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both attended Game 4 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Oct. 31, 2010 – “The Walking Dead” TV series debuted on AMC.
Oct. 31, 2012 – Searcy Hospital at Mount Vernon, Ala. closed permanently.