|1st Lt. Harry I. Savage of Camden, Ala|
Dec. 17, 1777 – During the American Revolution, France formally recognized the United States and American independence when French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, count of Vergennes, officially acknowledged the United States as an independent nation.
Dec. 17, 1790 – The Aztec calendar stone was discovered.
Dec. 17, 1807 – Poet John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Mass.
Dec. 17, 1812 – During the War of 1812, U.S. forces attacked a Lenape village in the Battle of the Mississinewa.
Dec. 17, 1821 – The Alabama legislature authorized the opening of a road from Cahaba, Ala. to Pensacola, Fla.
Dec. 17, 1821 – Covington County was created by the Alabama legislature.
Dec. 17, 1821 – Kentucky became the first state to abolish debtors’ prison.
Dec. 17, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived at Annapolis, Md. at 3 p.m. He was received in the Senate chamber, visited Fort Severn and attended a ball that night.
Dec. 17, 1848 – Gadi Finklea Jr. was born. He served with the Monroe County Militia in Beats 8, 9 and 10. He apparently enlisted late in the war and served as a private in Co. C of the 5th Alabama Infantry. Federal records indicate he was taken prisoner at Petersburg and was imprisoned at Point Lookout, Md. He took the Oath of Allegiance on June 12, 1865 and was released. He stood six-feet tall, had a light complexion, brown hair and blue eyes and lived in Monroe County. He died in Coleman County, Texas in September 1928 and was buried in Coleman Cemetery in Coleman County.
Dec. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Woodsonville, Ky.
Dec. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on Chisolm’s Island and another near Hilton Head, S.C.
Dec. 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, five days of Confederate operations began against Dam No. 5, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Potomac River, Va.
Dec. 17, 1862 - Confederate General Earl Van Dorn gathered three cavalry brigades and left Grenada, Miss. He attacked Union General Ulysses S. Grant's supplies at Holly Springs, Mississippi on Dec. 20. The attacked thwarted Grant's first attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Dec. 17, 1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11, lashing out at at Jewish cotton speculators, who he believed were the driving force behind the black market for cotton, and issued an order expelling all Jewish people from his military district, which encompassed parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.
Dec. 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, Baton Rouge was reoccupied by Federal forces.
Dec. 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, a Federal expedition from New Madrid to Clarkton, Mo. began. A Federal operation was also carried out at Dudley Station, N.C.
Dec. 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Goldsborough and Thompson‘s Bridge, N.C.; and at Diascund Bridge and Burnt Ordinary, in the vicinity of Richmond, Va.
Dec. 17, 1863 – Alexander Travis Henderson of Brooklyn, Ala. was said to have been “killed in action” near Claiborne, Ala. His wife, Amanda Floyd Henderson, learned of his death a short time later, traveled to Claiborne by wagon with an infant daughter, “her trusted slaves” and several shovels. They dug up her husband’s body and returned it to Brooklyn for burial.
Dec. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federals recaptured the merchant ship, Chesapeake, from Northern Copperheads, at Sambro Harbor, Nova Scotia Canada, by the USS Ella and Annie.
Dec. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal operations were carried out from Washington to Chicoa Creek, N.C.
Dec. 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Rodney and Port Gibson, Miss.; and at Sangster’s Station Va.
Dec. 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, operations continued against Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, N.C. The USS Louisiana, loaded with 350 tons of black powder, was towed into position to be exploded as the naval flotilla with Major General Benjamin F. Butler’s 6,500 men sail from Fortress Monroe, Hampton Roads, Va.
Dec. 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Franklin, Hollow Tree Gap, and along the West Harpeth River, in Tennessee. The first day of two days of sustained skirmishing occurred near Marion, Va., and another skirmish was fought at Mount Airy, Va.
Dec. 17, 1864 - The shattered Army of Tennessee was still reeling in retreat from the devastating Battle of Nashville two days before. Pursuing them was the Federal cavalry of James H. Wilson, along with some detachments of infantry. The flight was essentially along the Franklin Pike in the direction of Columbia, Tenn. Skirmishes broke out repeatedly, with one at Franklin, then another at Hollow Tree Gap, then along the West Harpeth River. Every time the Federals got close enough to be a serious threat, a rear-guard stood to fend them off to allow the rest to escape. Hood had lost most of his supply wagons as well as nearly all his artillery at Nashville, so mounting an offensive effort was impossible.
Dec. 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, lead mines in Southwest Virginia were captured and destroyed.
Dec. 17, 1867 – Greenville (Ala.) Advocate founder and longtime editor James B. Stanley married Lulu Reid.
Dec. 17, 1892 - Alabama author Henry W. Hilliard died in Atlanta, Ga.
Dec. 17, 1892 – “The Nutcracker” ballet premiered at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Dec. 17, 1893 – Butler County, Ala. Tax Collector C.J. Armstrong was robbed and murdered by outlaws John Hipp and Charles Kelley. They were lynched in Greenville, Ala. on Dec. 28.
Dec. 17, 1900 - A prize of 100,000 francs was offered for contact with extraterrestrials by the French Academy of Science. Martians were excluded however, as at the time, their civilization was considered an established fact.
Dec. 17, 1903 - The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, N.C. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.
Dec. 17, 1903 – Writer Erskine Caldwell was born in Moreland, Ga. His most famous books include “Tobacco Road” (1932) and “God’s Little Acre” (1933).
Dec. 17, 1914 – The Monroe Journal reported “A Singular Accident” involving A.J. Petty, his wife and their five-year-old son, Horace. The three were at a “sand gully near Mexia” where they hoped to procure “some white sand.” While the husband tended the horses and wagon, the wife became “covered up in the sand.” The husband and four men worked frantically to free her, and she eventually survived thanks to intensive medical car by Dr. Bayles and Dr. Aaron White.
Dec. 17, 1916 – Booker Prize-winning novelist Penelope Fitzgerald was born in Lincoln, England
Dec. 17, 1918 – During World War I, Army 1LT Harry I. Savage of Camden, Ala. “died from disease.”
Dec. 17, 1919 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Lewis Richardson of Pollard, Ala. “died from disease.”
Dec. 17, 1928 - Actor George Lindsey was born in Fairfield, Ala. He earned a bachelor's degree from Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in 1952, where he was quarterback for the football team and participated in the school's theater productions. Lindsey's successful acting career included musicals and film, but his most famous role on television as Goober Pyle in The Andy Griffith Show.
Dec. 17, 1933 - The Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants in the first National Football League interdivisional championship game. The Bears won, 23-21.
Dec. 17, 1936 – Train engineer Joe (or Lee) Gorey of Montgomery, engineer Philip Grizzard of Montgomery and train fireman Barnes were killed when two Louisville & Nashville passenger trains collided head-on in heavy fog around 5 a.m. in Castleberry, Ala. The crash involved Passenger Train No. 3, which was traveling rapidly south when it collided with Passenger Train No. 2, which was sitting at a water tank on the main line at the Castleberry train station. The No. 2 train ran from Mobile to Cincinnati, and the No. 3 ran from Cincinnati to Mobile. Grizzard was driving No. 3, and Gorey was driving No. 2. Barnes was on No. 3.
Dec. 17, 1939 – After a public hearing in which no protest or higher offers were received, Conecuh Circuit Judge F.W. Hare approved the sale of the Peoples Bank of Evergreen (Ala.) building to Mrs. V.W. Millsap for $16,000. This sale marked the first transfer of the property in more than 29 years, the bank having purchased it on April 5, 1906 from J.D. Deming and his wife, Fannie D. Deming.
Dec. 17, 1939 – W.R. Shaver was elected to the District 4 seat on the Conecuh County, Ala. Board of Revenue. He had previously served five years and three months on the board and was chosen to fill the unexpired term of M.A. Travis, who resigned to become chairman.
Dec. 17, 1940 – Navy Ensign Clarence Moore Dannelly Jr. was killed in an airplane crash during a training accident in Pensacola, Fla. Dannelly, who was born on Feb. 3, 1916 in Evergreen, Ala. to former Conecuh County Superintendent of Education C.M. Dannelly, grew up in Montgomery and is considered to be the first casualty of World War II from Montgomery. Dannelly Field (now Montgomery Regional Airport) was named in his honor in July 1943.
Dec. 17, 1942 – The Evergreen Courant reported, under the headline “Saw Action At Pearl Harbor,” that First Sgt. Fred F. Dean had recently spent a short furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey Dean of McKenzie, Ala., Route 2. Dean had served with the Air Force in Hawaii for three years. “He saw plenty of action on Dec. 7 and was ‘standing by’ at Midway. He did not talk much on duties performed by his squadron.” He had been chosen to attend Officers Candidate School, Miami Beach, Fla. and was attending that school on Dec. 17.
Dec. 17, 1944 – During World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, the “Malmedy massacre” took place as American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion POWs were shot by Waffen-SS Kampfgruppe Joachim Peiper.
Dec. 17, 1948 – Auburn University head football coach Earl Brown was the guest speaker at Evergreen High School’s annual football banquet, which was sponsored by the Evergreen Quarterback Club and held in thhe school’s newly completed gym on this Friday night. Brown was accompanied by McCoy Hewitt, assistant freshman coach at Auburn, and Jimmie Lay, who flew them down. They were introduced by QB President Tal Stuart, who acted as master of ceremonies. Local men of prominence who took part on the program were Judge Lloyd G. Hart, Conecuh County Superintendent of Education H.B. Pate, Evergreen Mayor J.H. Robison, R.G. Bozeman, chairman of the Conecuh County Board of Education, and J.J. (Jack) Finklea, Evergreen High School principal. Coach Wendell Hart gave letters to eight seniors. Heading the list of graduates are co-captains Sammy Hanks and John Law Robinson. Hanks, 210-pound tackle, was named on two all-state selections and will go to Auburn next fall. He received his third letter and John Law, who was the team workhorse and has letters at three positions, received his fourth monogram. Other seniors receiving letters and the number of years they had lettered were Pete White (2), Nick Stallworth (2), Dean Shaver (2), Dudley Bartlett (2), Tommy White (2) and Thomas Coker (2). Juniors receiving letters: John Greel Ralls (2), Jack Cunnigham (2), James Ryan (3), Dickey Bozeman (2), Bertie Hassel (1) and Bruce Johnson (2). Sophomores that received letters: Shelton Craig (2), Billy Mudge Lee (2), Edward Hooks (1), Jeff Moorer (1) and Max Pope (1). Donahue Edson received his first monogram and was the only freshman to letter. At the conclusion of the banquet next season’s Captain Jack Cunningham and Alternate Captain John Greel Ralls, were introduced. On behalf of the team, Cunningham gave an initialed cigarette lighter to Coach Hart, who also received a bonus check from the school.
Dec. 17, 1948 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team won their first game of the season on this Friday afternoon when they beat Repton High School, 43-27, in Repton’s new gymasium. Guerry Moorer led Evergreen with 15 points, and Dickey Bozeman followed wit 11 points. Thompson scored 12 points to lead Repton, which was coached by Roy Davis.
Dec. 17, 1950 – The Birmingham News announced the Class A All-State Football Team, and 197-pound senior Douglas Potts of Evergreen (Ala.) High School was named a second team all-state tackle. Potts had already signed a football scholarship with the University of Alabama. Max Pope, a senior guard at Evergreen High School, received honorable mention on The Montgomery Advertiser-Journal all-state football team.
Dec. 17, 1955 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team won the T.R. Miller Invitational Tournament in Brewton, Ala. In the opening game, Evergreen beat Flomaton, 73-26. Randy White led Evergreen with 28 points. In the semi-finals, Evergreen beat Excel, 52-31. White led Evergreen with 24 points. In the finals, Evergreen beat W.S. Neal, 50-41, with White scoring a team-high 25 points.
Dec. 17, 1953 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to approve RCA’s color television specifications.
Dec. 17, 1955 - A large number of people were present for the grand opening of Miller Trading Company’s new Check-R-Mix Feed Mill in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 17, 1957 - The Evergreen (Ala.) City Council approved two building permits at its meeting on this Tuesday night. Robert East was given a permit for a residence on Reynolds Avenue. Knud Nielsen Co. was granted a permit for addition to its manufacturing plant. The council also approved the placing of stop signs on Shipp and McMillan Streets.
Dec. 17, 1960 – Lee Roy Jordan of Excel, Ala. was named the MVP of the Bluebonnet Bowl, which ended in a 3-3 tie. This game was played between Alabama and Texas at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. Alabama was coached by Bear Bryant, and Texas was led by head coach Darrell Royal.
Dec. 17, 1967 - Noland Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs ran a kickoff return back 106 yards to set an NFL record.
Dec. 17, 1967 – Marine Cpl. Luther J. Upton Jr. of Uriah would be awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his actions on this day in Vietnam. While participating in Operation Kentucky, three miles east of Con Thien, elements of the 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, came under heavy fire from North Vietnamese mortars and automatic weapons. Upton was in charge of two demolition teams in support of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. Though wounded himself, he demonstrated outstanding leadership and courage as he assisted in the evacuation of the other wounded personnel. Upton, the son of Mr. and Mrs. L.J. Upton Sr. of Uriah, was also awarded the Purple Heart in December 1967.
Dec. 17, 1969 - The U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
Dec. 17, 1969 - Employees of City Drug Store in Evergreen were surprised and frightened on this Wednesday when a car crashed into the front of the store. The woman driving the car reported that its brakes failed. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Proprietor Cecil Hagood said that there was some damaged stock but that damage to the store was slight.
Dec. 17, 1971 - Cambodian government positions in Prak Ham, 40 miles north of Phnom Penh, and the 4,000-man base at Taing Kauk were the targets of continuous heavy bombardment by communist forces.
Dec. 17, 1972 – Around 8 p.m. in Brewton, Ala., Charles Brooks, 34, of Brewton was arrested on charges of burglary and grand larceny for allegedly breaking into O.L. Higdon’s Store at Brantley Switch late on the night of Dec. 15.
Dec. 17, 1975 – Actress Milla Jovovich was born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union.
Dec. 17, 1976 – NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes was born in Augusta, Ga. He went on to play for Sandersville (Ga.) Washington High School, Auburn University and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills, the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers. He was a first-round draft pick (13th pick overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Dec. 17, 1980 – Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang was born in Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand.
Dec. 17, 1984 - Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins set NFL season records for touchdowns (48), completions (362) and yards (5,084).
Dec. 17, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 23 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 17, 1988 - A bit of Frisco City’s history was preserved on this Saturday when town officials buried a time capsule in a vault at Jones Park. Minutes before sealing the steel box containing the material, Mayor Billy McCrory enclosed a Christmas card and a copy of the New Testament. He then read aloud letters written by Probate Judge Otha Lee Biggs and himself, also stored in the capsule, to commemorate the event. In the first letter, Biggs congratulated Frisco City on celebrating its 100th birthday that year and said he was pleased to have attended the celebration held in October.
Dec. 17, 1989 – The first episode of the television series “The Simpsons,” "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," aired on Fox.
Dec. 17, 1992 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Dec. 17, 1993 - FOX outbid CBS for the National Football Conference TV package.
Dec. 17, 1993 – Jennings Faulk Carter became the first and believed to be the only Monroe County, Ala. native to be inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Mobile.
Dec. 17, 1993 – Episode No. 12 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Fire” – aired for the first time.
Dec. 17, 1993 - Keith Harrison Pugh of Evergreen, Ala. received the Master of Divinity degree on this day at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Pugh, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Ala., was married to the former Teresa Winter of Huntsville, Ala. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Pugh of Evergreen, Pugh’s home church was Evergreen Baptist Church in Evergreen.
Dec. 17, 1994 - Monroe Academy’s varsity boys basketball team wrapped up its pre-Christmas basketball schedule on this day when they drilled South Choctaw Academy, 83-40, in Selma. Senior forward Johnny Pickens scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Vols in both categories. Other standout Monroe players in that game included Robin Chandler, Brian Cumbie, Jeff Fountain, Bud Hare, Paul Nielson, Brent Ray, Adam Till, Brian Walker and Wesley Welch.
Dec. 17, 1999 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 1284 relating to Iraq was adopted.
Dec. 17, 2000 – Alexander City, Ala. native Terrell Owens of the San Francisco 49ers caught an NFL-record 20 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. The previous record was held by Tom Fears of the Los Angeles Rams with 18 catches on Dec. 3, 1950, against the Green Bay Packers. Owens also broke Jerry Rice's franchise record of 16 receptions set in 1994 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Dec. 17, 2002 - The Conecuh County (Ala.) Commission announced on this Tuesday that the opening of bids for the new courthouse had been postponed. The original opening was scheduled to be done on Dec. 19 at 2 p.m., but it was rescheduled for Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. with all bidders being notified of the change.
Dec. 17, 2002 – The Evergreen Courant reported the results of the Evergreen (Ala.) Chamber of Commerces Entrance Decoration Contest. Sonny Bradley of 422 Belleview Ave. won first place, and Mr. and Mrs. Rex Golson of 316 Liberty Hill Drive won Most Elegant. Travis and Addie Bee Richardson of 112 Pierce St. were double winners, claiming prizes for Most Original and Best in Children’s Christmas.
Dec. 17, 2003 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and coach Otto Graham died at the age of 82 in Sarasota, Fla. During his career, he played for Northwestern and for the Cleveland Browns and went on to coach Coast Guard and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965.