Oct. 8, 1492 - Italian explorer Christopher Columbus reached the New World as one of the sailors on the Pinta sighted land, an island in the Bahamas, after 10 weeks of sailing from Palos, Spain, with the Santa María, the Pinta, and the Niña. Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World during his lifetime. And over the next century, his discovery made Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
Oct. 8, 1540 – The DeSoto Expedition visited the ancient Indian town of Uxapita at the mouth of Pursley Creek, at its junction with the Alabama River, eight miles southwest of Camden, in present-day Wilcox County, Ala.
Oct. 8, 1604 - Astronomer Johannes Kepler and others were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky. It later became known as Kepler's Supernova.
Oct. 8, 1778 – A group of Continental Army soldiers under the command of Colonel William Butler launched an evening attack on Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant’s home village of Unadilla on the Susquehanna River in what is now Otsego County, New York. The assault was retaliation for Brant’s September 17 raid on the town of German Flats, New York. The Continentals were prepared for a full-scale assault, but as they approached Unadilla, about 50 miles west of German Flats, they realized that Chief Brant and the entire encampment of Mohawk Indians had recently deserted the village, which the Continental soldiers burned, reducing it to ashes.
Oct. 8, 1860 – Telegraph line between Los Angeles and San Francisco opened.
Oct. 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, an action occurred at Hillsborough, Ky.
Oct. 8, 1862 – Confederate soldier Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was released from the hospital on this day and went on to fight at the Battle of Fredericksburg on Dec. 13.
Oct. 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Perryville, Ky., Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army was defeated by Union General Don Carlos Buell, thereby halting the Confederate invasion of Kentucky. Buell was replaced on Oct. 24 because of his ineffective pursuit of the Confederates after the battle. Of the 23,000 Yankees engaged in the battle, 4,200 were killed, wounded, or missing and of the 15,000 Confederates involved, 3,400 were lost.
Oct. 8, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Salem, Miss.; near Chattanooga, Tenn.; and near James City and along Robertson River, Va.
Oct. 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Jefferson City and in Barry County, Mo.; at Rogersville, Tenn.; and in Luray Valley and Tom’s Brook, Va.
Oct. 6, 1869 - Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, who had been a heavy drinker for much of his life, died of severe chrrhosis of the liver at the age of 64 in Concord, New Hampshire.
Oct. 8, 1871 - The Great Chicago Fire began that left four square miles of the city in ruins. Legend has it that the fire started when a cow kicked over a lantern in Mrs. O'Leary's barn, though other theories suggest arson, or even a comet was responsible. The fire broke destroyed about 17,450 buildings, about 250 people were killed and 90,000 were left homeless.
Oct. 8, 1872 - British novelist, essayist, poet, philosopher, and orator John Cowper Powys was bor in Derbyshire, England.
Oct. 8, 1884 - Future Alabama governor George Chauncey Sparks was born in Barbour County, Ala. Sparks served as governor during the height of World War II, from 1943-1947.
Oct. 8, 1890 – Famous outlaw Rube Burrow, age 35, was killed after escaping from jail in Linden, Ala. A native of Lamar County, Burrow robbed his first train in 1886 and by 1890 was the most wanted outlaw in the South.
Oct. 8, 1896 - George Washington Carver arrived in Macon County, Ala. to direct Tuskegee Institute's agricultural school. Born a slave in Missouri during the Civil War, Carver was studying in Iowa when school president Booker T. Washington invited him to Alabama. He remained at Tuskegee until his death in 1943, and although he dedicated much of his work to helping black farmers in the South, Carver's international fame came from his innovative uses of peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other southern products.
Oct. 8, 1917 – Historian and nonfiction author Walter Lord was born in Baltimore, Md.
Oct. 8, 1918 – During World War I, in the Argonne Forest in France, U.S. Corporal Alvin C. York killed 28 German soldiers and captured 132, for which he is awarded the Medal of Honor. That same day, Army Pvt. Benjamin F. Arant of Belleville, Ala. died from wounds, Army Cpl. Berkley H. Cook of Georgiana, Ala. was killed in action and Army Pvt. Grover Miles Strickland of Opp, Ala. “died from disease.”
Oct. 8, 1920 – Science fiction author Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Wash. He's best known for his science fiction masterpiece “Dune,” which was published in 1965.
Oct. 8, 1921 - KDKA in Pittsburgh's Forbes Field conducted the first live broadcast of a football game.
Oct. 8, 1925 – Poet Philip Booth was born in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Oct. 8, 1926 – Greenville High School beat Evergreen High School, 25-7, in Greenville, Ala. Evergreen’s team included quarterback Dreaden, wing backs Northcutt and Salter and half back Gaston. Evergreen’s only touchdown came when Salter scooped up a Greenville fumble and returned it for 50 yards with Greenville’s “Speedy Lewis” on his heels.
Oct. 8, 1930 – U.S. Senator Hugo L. Black, age 44, spoke in Monroeville, Ala. He went on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court from Aug. 18, 1937 to Sept. 17, 1971.
Oct. 8, 1938 - The cover of "The Saturday Evening Post" portrayed Norman Rockwell.
Oct. 8-9, 1939 The motion picture, “Inside the Maginot Line,” which was part of “The March of Time” series, was shown at the Monroe Theatre in Monroeville, Ala. Bill Hendrix was the theatre’s manager.
Oct. 8, 1939 – Comic book writer and essayist Harvey Pekar was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the creator of “American Splendor,” one of the first-ever autobiographical comic book series, which was eventually made into a movie starring Paul Giamatti.
Oct. 8, 1948 – Before a crowd of 1,100, Evergreen High School remained undefeated by beating Frisco City, 33-6, at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala. Frisco halfback John McGinity scored Frisco’s only touchdown, becoming first player to score a touchdown against Evergreen that season. Touchdowns for Evergreen were scored by Billy Mudge Lee, John Greel Ralls (2) and John Law Robinson (2).
Oct. 8, 1956 – In front of 61,519 people at Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees right-hander Don Larsen pitched the first no-hitter and perfect game in the history of the World Series, and it came against his team’s cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Oct. 8, 1957 - The Brooklyn Baseball Club announced that it had accepted a deal to move the Dodgers to Los Angeles.
Oct. 8, 1968 - Operation Sealords was launched in the Mekong Delta by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces.
Oct. 8, 1969 – The Marcus O’Gwynn Memorial Library was officially dedicated at the Evergreen City School in Evergreen, Ala. O’Gwynn, a former princpal at the school, started the library prior to his death. Retired fifth-grade teacher Lisbeth McMillan and Alabama Library Services Director Elizabeth Beamgard conducted the dedication.
Oct. 8, 1970 - Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for literature.
Oct. 8, 1970 – During the Vietnam War, in Paris, a Communist delegation rejected US President Richard Nixon's October 7 peace proposal as "a manoeuvre to deceive world opinion".
Oct. 8, 1971 – Wilcox Academy beat Sparta Academy, 32-12, at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, Ala. Don Owens scored on a 68-yard pass from Dwight Watson, and Larry Tranum scored on a 38-yard pass from Watson. Other standout Sparta players in that game included Tubby McInvale.
Oct. 8, 1971 – W.S. Neal High School beat Evergreen High School, 49-6, in East Brewton, Ala. Willie Paige kept the Aggies from being shut out when he darted 31 yards for the only Aggie score, following a punt by the Eagles. The conversion attempt failed on a Paige pass to wide receiver Julius Booker.
Oct .8, 1972 - Rumors arose that there was a breakthrough in the secret talks that had been going on in a villa outside Paris since August 1969. Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon’s national security advisor, and North Vietnamese negotiators conducted the peace talks.
Oct. 8, 1984 – Conecuh County, Alabama’s annual Junior Miss competition was scheduled to be held at the Evergreen City School at 7 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Pilot Club of Evergreen with franchise fees paid by the First Alabama Bank of Conecuh County.
Oct. 8, 1991 - A slave burial site was found by construction workers in lower Manhattan. The "Negro Burial Ground" had been closed in 1790. Over a dozen skeletons were found.
Oct. 8, 1992 – Singleton wrote about seeing a Civil War statue weep tears of blood in Vicksburg, Miss.
Oct. 8, 1993 – The fifth episode of “The X-Files” – entitled “The Jersey Devil” – aired for the first time.
Oct. 8, 1993 - The U.S. government issued a report absolving the FBI of any wrongdoing in its final assault in Waco, Texas on the Branch Davidian compound. The fire that ended the siege killed as many as 85 people.
Oct. 8, 1996 – The resident of a house on the Old Stage Road near Excel, Ala. shot and killed a rabid fox that had attacked his dogs that night and the night before. The fox was sent to the Public Health Laboratory in Mobile, where its brain tissue tested positive for the rabies virus.
Oct. 8, 2001 - U.S. President George W. Bush announced that the United States had launched an attack against Taliban forces and military targets in Afghanistan.
Oct. 8, 2001 – U.S. President George W. Bush announced the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security.
Oct. 8, 2002 - CIA Director George Tenet said that Saddam Hussein, if provoked, might help extremists launch terror attacks.
Oct. 8, 2011 – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and executive Al Davis died at the age of 82 in Oakland, Calif.