Nov. 18, 1307 - Legend has it that on this day, William Tell shot an apple off his son's head. He'd been ordered to do this as punishment for disrespecting an authority figure.
Nov. 18, 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sighted the island now known as Puerto Rico.
Nov. 18, 1727 – French physician and explorer Philibert Commerson was born in Châtillon les Dombes, France. He is best known for accompanying Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his voyage of circumnavigation in 1766–1769.
Nov. 18, 1776 - In honor of Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, who had stormed the post five days earlier, British Commander in Chief General William Howe renamed Fort Washington “Fort Knyphausen.” Knyphausen and a force of 3,000 Hessian mercenaries and 5,000 Redcoats had laid siege to Fort Washington at the northern end and highest point of Manhattan Island on Nov. 16, 1776. Throughout the morning, Knyphausen met stiff resistance from the Patriot riflemen inside, but by afternoon, the Patriots were overwhelmed, and the garrison commander, Colonel Robert Magaw, surrendered the fort, which stood at the current location of Bennet Park in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, near the George Washington Bridge, at the corner of Fort Washington Avenue and 183rd Street.
Nov. 18, 1789 – Louis Daguerre, the man who helped invent the art of photography, was born just outside of Paris, France.
Nov. 18, 1813 – The “Hillabee Massacre” occurred at Hillabee, an important Muscogee (Creek) town in east central Alabama. During the massacre, General James White dispatched a force of allied Cherokee under Gideon Morgan to surround the main Hillabee town. The Hillabee, believing they had made peace, were unprepared for an attack, and were unable to resist Morgan's assault. The town was destroyed, 64 Hillabees were killed, and several hundred were captured.
Nov. 18, 1832 – Finnish-Swedish geologist and explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld was born in Helsinki, Finland. He is most remembered for the Vega expedition along the northern coast of Eurasia, which he led in 1878 and 1879. This was the first complete crossing of the Northeast Passage.
Nov. 18, 1836 – Sir William Schwenk “W.S.” Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, was born in London.
Nov. 18, 1853 – Iyra H. Malden became postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.
Nov. 18, 1859 – At 1 p.m., brothers Irvin and Stephen Ward were hung for the murder of Allen Page during a failed cotton wagon robbery near Brewer Creek in Conecuh County, Ala. A posse caught the brothers, who confessed. The posse marched on to the place of execution where Patrick Page and William Wright (sons of Allen Page and John Wright) adjusted the hanging nooses around the necks of the condemned murderers. The old gallows were not removed following the execution, and it stood for many decades as a reminder of the tragic murder at Fork Sepulga. The location of that murder and hanging, where the old gallows stood, known thereafter as “Gallows Hollow,” was located on the road that turned south from the Federal road near Cokersville (Activity) and led past the Sepulga community through Sparta Station.
Nov. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Palmyra, Price‘s Landing and Warrensburg, Mo.
Nov. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought along Doe River, in east Tenn.
Nov. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Cofer Creek, N.C.
Nov. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought on the road between Falls Church and Fairfax Court House, Va.
Nov. 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, Kentucky, which had had a popular vote rejecting secession but declaring neutrality in any combat, was the scene of a “convention” in Russellville, Ky. This meeting, held by Confederate soldiers, issued a declaration of secession and formation of a Confederate state government. On the other hand, a group of North Carolinians met in Hatteras on this day for a similar cause, but they repudiated secession and declared loyalty to the Union.
Nov. 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Doby River, Ga.; at Core Creek, N.C.; at Double Bridge and Rural Hills, Tenn.; and at Franklin, Va.
Nov. 18, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln boarded a train for Gettysburg, Pa. to deliver a short speech at the dedication of a cemetery for soldiers killed during the battle there on July 1-3, 1863. The address Lincoln gave in Gettysburg became one of the most famous speeches in American history.
Nov. 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Trenton, Ga.; at Carrion Crow Bayou, La.; on Shoal and Turkey Creek, in Jasper County, Mo.; and near Germanna Ford and Vienna, Va. A five-day Federal expedition from Skipwith’s Landing to Roebuck Lake, Miss. also began.
Nov. 18, 1863 - Confederate operations commenced against United States gunboats USS Carondelet, USS Choctaw and USS Franklin and assorted Federal transport vessels near Hog Point, Miss., along the Mississippi River.
Nov. 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Lake Fause Point, La.; at Fayette, Mo.; and at Kabletown, West Virginia.
Nov. 18, 1864 – Normally, armies in the Civil War period marched in columns, usually four men wide. The army would be strung out for miles. Include what today we would call supply wagons and the army occupied even more space. The army William T. Sherman led out of Atlanta reversed this procedure. The two wings were stretched out at times to a distance of 60 miles from the far left of the Left Wing to the far right of the Right Wing. Initially, the only Confederate opponent available was Gen. Howell Cobb in Macon, Ga. He received a telegram from Jefferson Davis on this day imploring him to use any means necessary to resist Sherman, including employing slaves to build roadblocks.
Nov. 18, 1865 – Mark Twain's short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published in the New York Saturday Press.
Nov. 18, 1871 – W.B. Kemp was commissioned as Monroe County, Alabama’s Sheriff.
Nov. 18, 1883 – American and Canadian railroads instituted five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
Nov. 18, 1886 - The twenty-first president of the United States, Chester Alan Arthur, died at the age of 57 in New York City.
Nov. 18, 1889 – The trial of State of Alabama vs. I.S. Lambert was held in Monroe County, Ala. Circuit Court. Lambert was charged with assault with the intent to murder T.D. Hestle. Lambert was represented by attorneys D.L. Neville of Monroeville and G.L. Smith of Mobile and he pleaded insanity. The case “attracted wide interest and a large audience of spectators,” and the entire day was “consumed in the examination of the witnesses, of whom there were about 40, after which the court adjourned until the following morning, when the case was argued with much ability on both sides. The plea of the defense was insanity and was most ably and eloquently argued by Col. D.L. Neville of our local bar and G.L. Smith, esq., of Mobile. The jury sustained the plea and the defendant was sent to the insane asylum in compliance with the provisions of an act passed by the last legislature, bearing on cases of that character.”
Nov. 18, 1901 - American statistician George Ballup was born in Jefferson, Iowa. He was a pioneer in scientific polling techniques, and his name became a household word synonymous with the opinion poll.
Nov. 18, 1903 - The Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone and allowing them to build the Panama Canal.
Nov. 18, 1915 – On this Thursday night, the large, two-story home of Byron Dean, one of the “largest and commodious homes in Evergreen,” Ala., was completely destroyed by fire. The house was located too far from a water plug for the fire department to put out the fire. It was believed that a spark from waste paper burned earlier in the night started the fire.
Nov. 18, 1927 – Italian race car driver, explorer and politician Scipione Borghese, 10th Prince of Sulmona was born in Migliarino, Italy.
Nov. 18, 1928 – The animated short “Steamboat Willie,” the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, was first released and was shown as New York’s Colony Theatre. Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, this cartoon featured the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey's birthday, and in 1998, "Steamboat Willie" was one of 25 films added by the Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board to the National Film Registry.
Nov. 18, 1939 - Alabama author Nancy Van Laan was born in Baton Rouge, La.
Nov. 18, 1939 – Novelist Margaret Atwood was bon in Ottawa, Ontario.
Nov. 18, 1940 – During World War II, German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous Italian invasion of Greece.
Nov. 18, 1940 – A crew of about 40 WPA workers began work on Evergreen, Alabama’s new municipal golf course, four miles north of town on Highway 31, on about 80 acres of land in front of Lemley’s Station.
Nov. 18, 1941 – In Conecuh County (Ala.) Circuit Court, Alvin Wilkinson faced charges of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of his mother-in-law, Josephine Zellers, in July 1939.
Nov. 18, 1943 - Philadelphia Phillies President William Cox was banned from baseball for betting on his team.
Nov. 18, 1949 - Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
Nov. 18, 1951 - Chuck Connors of the Los Angeles Angels became the first player to oppose the Major League draft. Connors later became the star of the television show "The Rifleman."
Nov. 18, 1953 – Varnie Neal Peavy, 53, of Belleville, Ala. was killed in a one-vehicle accident around 7 p.m. a short distance from Belleville.
Nov. 18, 1955 - Dr. W.W. Eddins, prominent Monroeville physician and Monroe County Health Officer, announced that he had leased the Monroeville Hospital from Mrs. T.E. Nettles, widow of the late Dr. T.E. Nettles. Mrs. Nettles had been operating the hospital on a temporary basis since the death of Dr. Nettles in an automobile accident in September. Dr. Eddins planned to assume operation of the hospital sometime around Dec. 1, 1955.
Nov. 18, 1955 – In the final game of the season, Monroe County High School beat in-county rival Frisco City High School, 19-12, in Frisco City. Seniors on MCHS’s team that year included Co-Capt. Grayson Simmons, Co-Capt. William Nettles, Danny Morgan, Hank Williams, Ray Sirmon, Boone McNorton, John Fowler, Aubrey Tatum and Gilbert Jernigan. LeVaughn Hanks was MCHS’s head coach.
Nov. 18, 1956 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon was born in Los Angeles, Calif. He would go on to play for the Houston Oilers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Nov. 18, 1961 – United States President John F. Kennedy sent 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
Nov. 18, 1964 - In the largest air assault of the war thus far, 116 U.S. and South Vietnamese aircraft flew 1,100 South Vietnamese troops into Binh Duong and Tay Ninh Provinces to attack what was believed to be a major communist stronghold. General Nguyen Khanh personally directed the operation, but the troops made only light contact with the Viet Cong.
Nov. 18, 1965 – The Monroe Journal reported that the first three buildings of the Patrick Henry Junior College in Monroeville, Ala. were under construction and were expected to be completed next spring. The buildings included the administration, the library and the science buildings. Classes were to be held in the First Baptist Church and the Methodist Church until the new buildings are ready for occupancy.
Nov. 18, 1966 - Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, retired from baseball. He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season - he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young Award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all.
Nov. 18, 1967 – English footballer and sportscaster Gavin Peacock was born in Eltham, England.
Nov. 18, 1969 - Sixty South Vietnamese men were killed or wounded when their troops clashed with communist forces in the Mekong Delta. The North Vietnamese lost only 14 men. A South Vietnamese spokesman said that the high South Vietnamese casualties were “due to bad fighting on our part.” The battle was the first major action in the northern delta since the U.S. 9th Division was withdrawn and the South Vietnamese assumed responsibility for the area.
Nov. 18, 1970 - President Nixon asked Congress for supplemental appropriations for the Cambodian government of Premier Lon Nol. Nixon requested $155 million in new funds for Cambodia—$85 million of which would be for military assistance, mainly in the form of ammunition. He also asked for an additional $100 million to restore funds taken from other foreign appropriations during the year by “presidential determination” and given to Cambodia.
Nov. 18, 1977 – In the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs, Repton High School saw its season come to an end with a 27-13 loss to Brantley in Brantley, Ala. Repton finished the season 10-1-1.
Nov. 18, 1978 – Millie Steans Cunningham, a native of Evergreen, Ala., died in the infamous massacre and mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, South America. She was buried at First Zion Church Cemetery in Conecuh County on April 20, 1979. Cunningham was among the more than 900 people who died at Jonestown after Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, including 270 children. Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.
Nov. 18, 1984 - The television program “Inside the Closet,” teleplay by Alabama author Robert McDowell, was broadcast as part of the “Tales from the Darkside” series.
Nov. 18, 1985 - Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins broke his leg after being hit by Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants. The injury ended Theismann's 12 year NFL career.
Nov. 18, 1996 - Chris Boniol of the Dallas Cowboys tied an NFL record when he kicked seven field goals against the Green Bay Packers.
Nov. 18, 1997 - The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays participated in their initial expansion draft.
Nov. 18, 1998 – Alice McDermott won the National Book Award for her novel, “Charming Billy.”
Nov. 18, 2002 – During the Iraq disarmament crisis, United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrived in Iraq.
Nov. 18, 2005 – Marlon Anderson of Montgomery, Ala. signed a two-year contract with the Washington Nationals.
Nov. 18, 2005 – Former Sparta Academy coach and headmaster Richard Brown was to be inducted into the Florida Community College Athletics Association Hall of Fame. Brown’s 1972 men’s team at North Florida Community College set a national all-time scoring record, averaging 115.3 points per game. During his 38 years in the Florida coaching ranks, he had 35 winning seasons and his players had a 96 percent graduation rate.
Nov. 18, 2011 – The “Mystery Booms” first widely reported in Monroe and Conecuh counties in Southwest Alabama.