Sunday, December 10, 2017

Old newspaper excerpts from The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Alabama

11 YEARS AGO
DEC. 14, 2006

A five-year-long project by an Eliska woman has come to fruition in the form of a new book cataloging cemeteries in Monroe County.
Kathryn Weatherford recently finished the book “Burial Grounds of Monroe County,” which covers 63 cemeteries north of U.S. Highway 84.
The book is dedicated to Alene Brooks and Dorothy Parker, who Weatherford said came up with the idea for the project and helped with the cataloging process.

Panthers are 10-0: Shields’ Panthers defeated MCHS 53-45 Saturday night to win the Hub City Classic in Monroeville and improve their record to 10-0.
(Willie) Nettles, who was named the most valuable player, recorded a double double in the title game. He finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He also had two assists, three steals and three blocks.
(Other top Shields players that season included Jeffrey Austin, Jemarcus Dortch, Wendell Dortch, Demetrius Finklea, Jeffrey Finklea, Steve Finklea, Chris Stallworth and Michael Williams. Jerome Sanders was Shields head coach.)

The Monroe County Commission reappointed six members and made one new appointment to the county’s E911 board at Tuesday’s commission meeting in Monroeville.
Tony Rider, an Emergency Medical Technician with Simmons Ambulance Service in Monroeville, was appointed to replace Tom Lemons on the board.
(Reappointed to the board were Chuck Murph, Tom Boatwright, Rusty Till, Tom Tate, Jimmy Spann and Rudolph Munnerlyn.)

26 YEARS AGO
DEC. 12, 1991

Teen center to open: An open house and ribbon-cutting are scheduled Sunday to showcase the new teen center in Monroeville while other grand-opening activities will be held next week for teens and the public.
On Sunday, the public is invited to tour the center between 1 and 3:15 p.m., said center director Gene Smith, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony following.
The center, named “Our Place, is located just off Agricultural Drive.

Monroe Academy’s boys posted three victories in the Fort Dale-South Butler Academy round-robin basketball tournament last week in Greenville to collect the first-place trophy.
MA, under first-year head coach Jimmy Messer, pounded Fort Dale-South Butler Academy 61-49 Wednesday of last week to tip off the four-team round-robin affair. The Volunteers followed with a 65-61 win over Greenville Academy Thursday and a 61-41 victory over Crenshaw Academy Friday.
(Top players on Monroe’s team that year included Andy Booker, Conan Ivey, Bryan Lee, Jason Moore, Troy Norris, Billy Rice, Landry Sawyer, Shane Stafford, John Thames, Mitchell Turberville and Johnny Weatherford.)

The 108 members of Monroeville’s detachment of the Alabama Army National Guard 778th Maintenance Co. will share Citizen of the Year honors, the Monroeville Kiwanis Club announced last Thursday.
The award was presented during the club’s annual Awards Night at the Vanity Fair Golf and Tennis Club.

41 YEARS AGO
DEC. 9, 1976

Seventeen high school seniors in Monroe County are perfecting talent routines, choosing their gowns and preparing for the star role in a parade and pageant as Monroe County’s annual Junior Miss weekend approaches.
Tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m., the Junior Miss Christmas parade will march around the square in Monroeville, and Saturday at 7 p.m. the public will watch in Greer Auditorium as judges determine Monroe County’s new Junior Miss.
(Junior Miss contestants that year included Toni Allen, Carol Baggett, Susan Bartlett, Diahann Betts, Sandy Blankenship, Marthe Booker, Loretta Brantley, Brenda Gail Brooks, Michele Buskill, Kaye Dees, Janet Huggins, Elizabeth Ann Langlois, Nancy McCrory, Cynthia Marie Smith, Darlu Taylor, Beverly Williams and Diane York.)

The Frisco City Whippets proved that there fine start in the first week of basketball season – winning two and losing one – was no hoax as they dumped two of their toughest opponents in action last week.
Coach Curtis Harris’ Whippets easily defeated W.S. Neal, a 3A school, and Lyeffion, undefeated up until that time.
(Top players on Frisco’s team that year included Blanchard Hunt, Theodore Banks, Randy Houston, Cassie King, Julius Lambert, Allen Lang, Rayford Maye and Larry Walden.)

Mrs. Cornella Wallace, Gov. George Wallace’s wife, and her mother, Mrs. Ruby Folsom Austin, chat with former Monroeville Mayor W.H. (Jack) Hines in front of the city hall Friday. Hines is an old friend of Mrs. Austin, who lived in Monroeville for two short periods during the 1930s. The two were in town to shop and visit.

56 YEARS AGO
DEC. 14, 1961

New Peterman Post Office Building To Be Dedicated Sunday Afternoon: Formal dedication of the Peterman Post Office will be held Sun., Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. in front of the new post office building.
Featured speakers on the program will be Congressman Frank Boykin who will make the presentation of the flag and C.E. Loftin, Senior Field Services Officer for the Post Office Department in the State of Alabama who will formally dedicate the new building.
An address of welcome will be given by Postmaster Charles H. Eddins.

The Pine Belt All-Conference football teams for 1961-62 were picked by the board of coaches at a meeting recently.
All-conference football players and their coaches will be feted at a supper in January.
(Players from Monroe County named to the all-star team included Frisco City end Johnny Dorough, Monroe County High School tackle Bob Burns, Frisco City tackle Mike Lawrence, Frisco City guard Ronnie Wiggins, MCHS halfback Sam Williams, Frisco City halfback Rodney Dunn and MCHS fullback Robert Lloyd.)

A nine-month term for Monroe County schools is practically assured by the passage Tues., Dec. 5, of the one-percent sales tax to be collected in the county, according to R.H. Vickery, superintendent of education.
The final count of votes showed 940 votes for the tax and 655 against.
This tax, which will become law as the result of the election, will remain in effect for 10 years, then will automatically terminate.

71 YEARS AGO
DEC. 12, 1946

Bowden To Erect Hardware Store: Bowden Brothers have purchased a lot where the Jones Mule Stable is now located and expect to build a modern hardware building on the property.
The building is expected to be two stories and built of brick. It is indicated that the mule stable will be taken off the property within the next two weeks and that the Bowden building will be started just after New Year. With this completed building and the new building being erected by W.T. Walker, the entire complexion of the northern part of the square will be changed. These new buildings will answer some of the needs for business buildings.

Basketball Season Opens Here With Chatom Dec. 13: The Monroe County High School basketball team will open their 1946-47 schedule here Friday night, Dec. 13, with Washington County High School of Chatom, Ala. This will be the first game of the season for both teams. Chatom is expected to bring a good, well organized team to Monroeville.
The Sr. I and Jr. III girls of Monroeville will play a preliminary game at 6:55 and the boys will play at 7:30 p.m.

BEATRICE THEATRE – Beatrice, Ala. – Saturday night, 7:30 – Joe E. Brown in “SHUT MY BIG MOUTH” – Buck Brown HIDES AGAIN. He’s hidden from “KILLERS,” in this riotous thriller with Adele Mara, Victor Jory, Fitz Fields, Don Beddo, Lloyd Bridges, Forest Tucker.
Same show at Club House, Vredenburgh, on Friday night, 13th, 7:15.
Wed., 7 p.m. Beatrice, Dec. 18, “GUNS IN THE DARK” with Johnnie Mac Brown, Flash Gordon No. 8 Comedy.

Today in History for Dec. 10, 2017

Dec. 10, 1778 - John Jay, the former chief justice of the New York Supreme Court, was elected president of the Continental Congress.


Dec. 10, 1810 – English mathematician and inventor Ada Augusta Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was born in London, England, the only legitimate child of the tempestuous poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, from his brief marriage to Annabella Milbanke.

Dec. 10, 1812 – Clarke County was created by the Mississippi Territorial legislature from lands taken from Washington County. Bordered on the north by Marengo County, on the east by Wilcox County and Monroe County, on the south by Baldwin County and on the west by Washington County and Choctaw County. The county was named for Revolutionary War soldier and Georgia Governor John Clarke, a Georgian who served as a general in the Creek Indian War of 1813-14. After Alabama became a state, Clarkesville was the county seat until 1831 when the present one, Grove Hill, was chosen.

Dec. 10, 1817 - Mississippi was admitted to the Union as the 20th American state.

Dec. 10, 1817 - The Territory of Mississippi was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 7, 1798 until this day. The western half of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Mississippi and the eastern half became the Alabama Territory until its admittance to the Union as the State of Alabama on Dec. 14, 1819.

Dec. 10, 1830 – Poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Mass.

Dec. 10, 1836 - Approximately 1,600 “friendly” Creek, the second part of the fifth group, arrived on this day at Fort Gibson. The total of both groups would be 2,237.

Dec. 10, 1839 – Dr. James Thomas Searcy was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He would serve as the first superintendent of the Mount Vernon Hospital, which was renamed Searcy Hospital in his honor in 1919.

Dec. 10, 1851 – Melvil Dewey, the librarian who developed the Dewey Decimal System in 1876, was born in Adams Centre, New York.

Dec. 10, 1856 - The town of Cherokee, Alabama came into existence when the Memphis & Charleston Railroad laid tracks through Colbert County in 1856. Since the mail came by rail rather than steamboat, the post office of Newport in the Old Chickasaw Indian Agency on the banks of Agency Creek (present-day Malone Creek) was transferred on this day to a site beside the railroad tracks. The post office was renamed Cherokee with David C. Oats, former postmaster at Newport, remaining as the postmaster in the new post office.

Dec. 10, 1861 – The Confederate States of America accepted a rival state government's pronouncement that declared Kentucky to be the 13th state of the Confederacy.

Dec. 10, 1861 – Forces led by Nguyễn Trung Trực, an anti-colonial guerrilla leader in southern Vietnam, sank the French lorcha L'Esperance.

Dec. 10, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Desert Station, La.; at Plymouth, N.C.; and at Port Royal, Va.

Dec. 10, 1863 – During the Civil War, a nine-day Federal operation began, resulting in the destruction of the Confederate salt works in and about Choctawhatchie Bay, Fla.

Dec. 10, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Hertford, N.C.; and at Gatlinburg, Long Ford, Morristown and Russellville in Tennessee. Affairs also took place at Mount Sterling and Jackson in Kentucky

Dec. 10, 1864 - Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman completed his "March to the Sea" as his Union Army troops reached the outer Confederate defenses of Savannah, Georgia. Since mid-November of that year, Sherman’s army had been sweeping from Atlanta across the state to the south and east towards Savannah, one of the last Confederate seaports still unoccupied by Union forces. Along the way, Sherman destroyed farms and railroads, burned storehouses, and fed his army off the land.

Dec. 10, 1864 – During the Civil War, 13 days of Federal operations began against the Apache Indians in Central Arizona.

Dec. 10, 1864 – During the Civil War, the CSS Ida was captured in the Savannah River, Ga.

Dec. 10, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Savannah and near Springfield in Georgia; and in front of Fort Holly in Petersburg, Va.

Dec. 10, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at one of the Chickasawhay Bridges, in southeastern Mississippi. Also known as the Battle of McLeod’s Mill. Confederate troops under the command of Col. Bob McCulloch prevented Union cavalry from attacking the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

Dec. 10, 1864 – During the Civil War, operations began against Fort Fisher, N.C.; and a five-day Federal reconnaissance from Core Creek to Southwest Creek in North Carolina began. A two-day Federal operation from East Tennessee into Southwestern Virginia to destroy Confederate salt works also began.

Dec. 10, 1868 – Escambia County, Ala. was formed by an act of the Alabama legislature from portions of Conecuh and Baldwin counties.

Dec. 10, 1884 – Mark Twain's “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was first published in Canada and England. It wouldn’t be published in the United States for two more months.

Dec. 10, 1897 – Dr. H.C. Bradley of River Ridge, Ala. passed away.

Dec. 10, 1901 - The first Nobel prizes were awarded.

Dec. 10, 1904 - Ivan Pavlov, who knew a thing or two about making dogs salivate, received the Nobel Prize for physiology.

Dec. 10, 1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize.

Dec. 10, 1911 – English botanist and explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker died at the age of 84 in Sunningdale, Berkshire, England.

Dec. 10, 1914 – Former Conecuh County Probate Judge Perry C. Walker, who was for many years a prominent citizen of Evergreen, Ala., passed away at the age of 64 in Salisbury, N.C. Born in Belleville on Feb. 22, 1850, he was elected to probate judge, succeeding his father, F.M. Walker, each serving in this capacity for 18 years. His remains were taken to Columbia, Ala. for burial.

Dec. 10, 1917 – During World War I, men ordered to report to the Local Board (in Monroeville, Ala.) for military duty and transportation to mobilization camp on this Monday included Burnie E. Jones, James Bernard Wright, Jack Lyon, Oscar William White and Denny C. Coleman.

Dec. 10, 1917 - After three years of war, during which there had been no Nobel Peace Prize awarded, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 1917 prize to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Dec. 10, 1919 - The National League voted to ban spitballs by all new pitchers. The Rules Committee officially worked out the ban the following February.

Dec. 10, 1920 - Richard Furguson claimed to have been robbed of about $13 by a “strange man” near the mineral spring on this evening on his way home from Evergreen, Ala. He said the highwayman held a pistol on him while he was forced to hand over all of his money before the man escaped.

Dec. 10, 1925 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carolyn Kizer was born in Spokane, Wash.

Dec. 10, 1927 - The Grand Old Opry made its first radio broadcast from Nashville, Tenn. and the phrase "Grand Ole Opry" was used for the first time on-air.

Dec. 10, 1929 – Paving equipment began to arrive for use in paving the Evergreen-Castleberry highway in Conecuh County, Ala. The Davis Construction Co. of Atlanta, Ga. was the contractor in charge of the project.

Dec. 10, 1937 – The Monroeville Chamber of Commerce hosted “one of the most delightful affairs ever had in Monroeville” when they held a banquet for the Monroeville High School football team on this Friday evening at the Commercial Hotel. The guest speaker was Ralph Jones. Players who were awarded letters in football at the banquet by MCHS Coach T.C. Huckabee included Joe Carnathan, Mack Hayles, Johnson Lathram, Boyd Pullen, Hunter Skipper, Quentin Lambert, Pete Johnson, Francis Johnson, Ed Lee, Mack Feagin, Doc Stevens, John D. Carnathan, Charles Falkenberry, Clem Clapp, Charles Floyd, Earl Lazenby, Zolen Hall, Willie Joiner and manager Buck Marshall.

Dec. 10, 1938 – Filming on “Gone With the Wind” began with the “Burning of Atlanta” scene, although the role of Scarlett O’Hara still hadn't been cast.

Dec. 10, 1938 – Pearl S. Buck received the Noble Prize in literature for “The Good Earth.”

Dec. 10, 1939 - The National Football League's attendance exeeded one million in a season for the first time.

Dec. 10, 1946 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson died at the age of 59 in Washington, D.C. He played his entire career, 1907-1927, for the Washington Senators, and he also managed the Senators and the Cleveland Indians. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.

Dec. 10, 1947 - A radio version of Alabama author Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was broadcast as part of the “Escape” series.

Dec. 10, 1948 - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on this day (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It declares, for the first time, that fundamental human rights were to be universally protected. UDHR has been translated into over 500 languages.

Dec. 10, 1953 - Hugh Hefner published the first "Playboy" magazine with an investment of $7,600.

Dec. 10, 1053 – The Monroe Journal reported that the dedication of Monroeville’s new $95,000 National Guard Armory had been postponed until early in 1954. Lt. Windell Owens was commanding officer of the local unit and said that the delay of the dedication ceremonies, announced originally for Dec. 19, was requested by the adjutant general’s office of the State National Guard in Montgomery. More time was needed for completion of construction details, Owens said.

Dec. 10, 1957 – Evergreen High School football player Paul Pace, the son of Mr. and Mrs. P.L. Pace of Evergreen was awarded the Most Valuable Player Trophy at the Pix Theatre in Evergreen. The team voted on the award, which was given to the player they “thought was most valuable on both offense and defense.” Pace, who also played basketball, was also a member of the Glee Club, the “E” Club, the Journalism Club, and was on the Echoes Staff.

Dec. 10, 1959 – The Evergreen (Ala.) High School Quarterback Club held its annual banquet at the Evergreen High School lunchroom at 7:30 p.m. University of Alabama assistant football coach Bob Ford was the featured speaker.

Dec. 10, 1962 - Frank Gifford of the New York Giants was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."

Dec. 10, 1970 - The defense opened its case in the murder trial of Lt. William Calley, who was being tried because of his leadership role in the My Lai massacres.

Dec. 10, 1972 - The American League voted to adopt the designated-hitter rule in a three-year experiment. In December 1975, the American League voted to permanently adopt the designated-hitter rule.

Dec. 10, 1972 - The longest non-scoring pass in National Football League history was made when Jim Hart of the St. Louis Cardinals threw a pass from his own one yard-line to Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad). Moore was tackled on the Rams' one-yard line. The pass was officially 98 yards.

Dec. 10, 1972 – During the Vietnam War, technical experts on both sides begin work on the language of a proposed peace accord, giving rise to hope that a final agreement is near. A peace agreement was signed on January 23, 1973.

Dec. 10, 1978 - Ed Wood Jr., the creator of such "classics" as “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” passed away at the age of 54 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Dec. 10, 1978 – The home of Lewie and Nina Wilson in Conecuh County, Ala. (probably in Evergreen) was totally destroyed by fire.

Dec. 10, 1981 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen (Ala.) Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Action Committee had announced that most local stores would be open all day on Wednesdays from that date until Christmas.

Dec. 10, 1981 – Evergreen, Ala. weather observer Earl Windham reported that the area was about 14 inches short of its normal rainfall up to that point in 1981.

Dec. 10, 1983 – Evergreen (Ala.) High School’s Quarterback Club held its annual football banquet in the E.H.S. cafeteria, and Alabama offensive line coach Tom Goode was the guest speaker. Goode, a native of West Point, Miss., played center and linebacker at Mississippi State, where he was a three-time All-SEC selection and a Kodak All-American in 1960. He went on to play for the Houston Oilers, Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Colts. After his NFL career, he coached from from 1972 through 2003.

Dec. 10, 1984 - Terry Brooks of Loango killed a 200-pound trophy buck in Conecuh County. The deer had 15 points.

Dec. 10, 1987 - The creation of a new division, Connie Apparel, by Connie Manufacturing Co. was jointly announced on this Thursday by Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt and John Law Robinson, president of CMC at the governor’s office in Montgomery. Bert Cook, a partner in CMC, was to be president and a partner with Robinson in CMC Apparel, which was to manufacture men’s dress slacks and employ 40 when it went into production in January. The new division was expected to eventually employ 125.

Dec. 10, 1991 - Legislation signed into law on this day by President George H. W. Bush changed the “Custer Monument” to the “Little Big Horn Battleground Monument.” Removing Custer’s name from the National Monument and the Park was an important step in re-imaging the Little Bighorn battlefield. It signaled that Custer’s death should not be considered the most important thing that happened at the Little Bighorn. The legislation also specified that an Indian Memorial should be built near Last Stand Hill.

Dec. 10, 1993 – Episode No. 11 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Eve” – aired for the first time.

Dec. 10, 1994 - Art Monk of the New York Jets set an NFL record of 178 straight games with a reception.

Dec. 10, 1994 - Advertising executive Thomas Mosser of North Caldwell, N.J. was killed by a mail bomb that was blamed on the Unabomber.

Dec. 10, 2003 - The U.S. barred firms based in certain countries, opponents of the Iraq war, from bidding on Iraqi reconstruction projects. The ban did not prevent companies from winning subcontracts.

Dec. 10, 2003 - The National Archives released 240 hours of tape recordings from the Nixon White House from July through October 1972. On the tapes Nixon called Ronald Reagan "strange" and "uncomfortable to be around."

Dec. 10, 2006 - The San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson racks up his 29th touchdown of the year, breaking the National Football League record for touchdowns scored during a single season.


Dec. 10, 2007 - Michael Vick was sentenced by a federal judge in Richmond, Va. to 23 months in prison for bankrolling a dogfighting operation and killing dogs that underperformed.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Dec. 10, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.75 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.95 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 11.15 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 83.75 inches.

Notes: Today is the 344th day of 2017 and the 80th day of Fall. There are 21 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

George Singleton writes of the unusual 'Up-Side-Down Tree' of Monroe County

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “The up-side-down tree” was originally published in the May 20, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Five miles north of the Franklin community, on the left of Highway 41, lives W.J. Knight. Growing between his house and barn is an up-side-down tree.

The tree started out as a clothes-line post. Stuck in the ground upside down, the oak pole sprouted a few leaves and began to grow. Over the years, it has grown into a large shade tree, measuring about five feet in diameter near the bottom (or should we say the top). It stands about 60 feet high, with limbs spread well over a hundred feet apart.

Knight stated that he had planned to cut the tree down, but just never got around to it. Now that it has grown into such a big shade tree, I’m sure he’s glad he didn’t get around to making it into fire wood.

Mr. Knight described how he and his sons built their home on the spot, and how over the years the house was enlarged to accommodate his growing family. Now that the children are grown and married, the Knights’ grandchildren come to visit and play in the shade of the up-side-down tree.

As I stood in the shade of this huge monarch, I could imagine the good times this family has enjoyed under it through the years, eating watermelons or homemade ice cream or even just sipping a cold drink of water from the spring below the house.

As Aaron White and myself prepared to leave this home, one could see that life had been good to this man, who has lived and worked with nature most of his lifetime. I could understand why nature had chosen this spot for the Up-Side-Down Tree.

(This column was also accompanied by a photo by Monroe Journal photographer Aaron White, and the caption beneath that photo read as follows: The Up-Side-Down Tree – Believe it or not, it started out as a clothes-line post.)


(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born during a late-night thunderstorm on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Today in History for Dec. 9, 2017

Christopher “Scottie” Booker of Monroeville, Ala.
Dec. 9, 1531 - On this morning, an Indian peasant in Tepeyac, Mexico City named Juan Diego was said to have encounterd a blinding light and unearthly music. Before him appeared the apparition that was to become known as the Virgin of Guadalupe. Later the image of the Virgin was found imprinted inside Juan's cloak.


Dec. 9, 1608 – John Milton, who is best known for his epic poem “Paradise Lost,” was born in London, England.

Dec. 9, 1729 - The Natchez wanted the Tunica to join them in the war against the French. On this day, the Natchez sent two of their tribe to convince the Tunica. The Tunica would not join them to fight the French.

Dec. 9, 1775 – During the American Revolutionary War, Virginia and North Carolina militias defeated 800 slaves and 200 redcoats serving John Murray, earl of Dunmore and governor of Virginia, at Great Bridge outside Norfolk, ending British royal control of Virginia.

Dec. 9, 1793 - "The American Minerva," founded by Noah Webster, was published for the first time, and it was the first daily newspaper in New York City. The paper was produced on Wall Street, near the Tontine Coffee-House, which was the birthplace of the New York Stock Exchange. The American Minerva ran for 744 issues, from 1793 until 1796.

Dec. 9, 1803 - The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. With the amendment, Electors were directed to vote for a President and for a Vice-President rather than for two choices for President.

Dec. 9, 1815 – Fort Claiborne became the recognized county seat of Monroe County, in present-day Alabama.

Dec. 9, 1835 – During the Texas Revolution, the Texian Army captured San Antonio, Texas.

Dec. 9, 1835 - By a treaty on this day, the United States agreed to convey to the Cherokee Indians "the following additional tract of land, situated between the west line of the State of Missouri and Osage Reservation: Beginning at the southeast corner of the same and running north along the east line of the Osage lands fifty miles to the northeast corner thereof, and thence east to the west line of the State of Missouri; thence with said line south fifty miles; thence west to the place of beginning--estimated to contain eight hundred thousand acres of land."

Dec. 9, 1836 - The Army relieved General Call and turned over command of all Florida's forces on this day to Major General Thomas Sidney Jesup. With the Seminole continuing to raid plantations and settlements almost as they pleased, 1836 has been a disastrous year for the Army.

Dec. 9, 1840 - Forces under Col. Harney located and destroyed a Seminole village on this day in the Everglades. Six women and children were captured. Soldiers pursued and captured two warriors who were immediately hung.

Dec. 9, 1841 – The Grand Lodge of Alabama issued the charter to Greening Masonic Lodge No. 53 in Evergreen.

Dec. 9, 1845 – Writer and folklorist Joel Chandler Harris was born in Eatonton, Ga. He is best known for his 1880 best-seller, “Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings.” (Some sources say he was born in 1848.)

Dec. 9, 1854 - Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was first published in England.

Dec. 9, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at what was later known as Tulsa, Okla. between pro-Confederate Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw and Pro-Federal Creek Indians.

Dec. 9, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Union Mills, Mo.

Dec. 9, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War was established by the U.S. Congress to monitor both military progress and the Lincoln administration. The War Committee, as it was called, was created in the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Ball's Bluff in October 1861 and was designed to provide a check over the executive branch's management of the war. The committee was stacked with Radical Republicans and staunch abolitionists, however, and was often biased in its approach to investigations of the Union war effort.

Dec. 9, 1861 - Pro-Union Creek and Seminole under Muscogee Creek Chief Opothleyahola were at Chusto-Talasah on the Horseshoe Bend of Bird Creek on this day when Col. Douglas H. Cooper’s 1,300 Confederates attacked about 2 p.m. Chief Opothleyahola knew Cooper was coming and had placed his troops in a strong position in heavy timber. For almost four hours, Cooper attacked and attempted to outflank the Federals. His troops finally drove Chief Opothleyahola east across Bird Creek just before dark. The Confederates claimed victory. The Federal loss was estimated by Cooper at 500. Confederate casualties were 15 killed and 37 wounded. Perhaps 1,700 refugees, many of whom were women and children, were with Opothleyahola following his defeat on this day. The loss of horses and supplies, and the arrival of ice, forced Opothleyahola's band to halt before it could reach the safety of Kansas.

Dec. 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal reconnaissance from Corinth, Miss. to Tuscumbia, Ala. began with skirmishes occurring at Cherokee Station and Little Bear Creek in Alabama.

Dec. 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Mudtown, Ark.; and in the vicinity of La Vergne and near Brentwood in Tennessee.

Dec. 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, a seven-day Federal operation from Ozark, Mo. into Marion County Ark. began, resulting in the destruction of the extensive Confederate salt works.

Dec. 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, on the heights opposite Fredericksburg, Va., the Grand Divisions of the Army of the Potomac were being prepared for the strife to come. Orders were issued to the division commanders on this day to supply their men with 60 rounds of ammunition apiece, and to prepare three days’ supply of cooked-in-advance rations. Aside from these preparations there was little going on. The Confederate defenders had burned the bridges over the Rappahannock River, and the waterway was far too deep, not to mention cold, to wade across this time of year. Action had to wait on the arrival of pontoon bridges, which were on the way from Washington, but moving slowly.

Dec. 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, a Federal reconnaissance mission began from Waldron to Dutch Creek in Arkansas.

Dec. 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, the mutiny of black troops at Fort Jackson, La. took place, after two black troops are punished by whipping. There were few dedicated abolitionists like Robert Gould Shaw who were proud to command units of the United States Colored Troops, but many more found it mortifying. One of these latter was in command at Ft. Jackson, Louisiana, downriver from New Orleans. His loathing for this posting was translated into cruel and abusive treatment of the black soldiers under his command. On this day they decided this was behavior with which they would no longer tolerate. There was a mutiny. Other white officers at the installation managed to halt the uprising before blood was shed.

Dec. 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Okolona, Miss.; at Bean’s Station and at Cumberland Mountain, in the vicinity of Crossville, Tenn.; and at Lewinsville, Va.

Dec. 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal scouts departed from Houston, Mo. in pursuit of Rebel partisans.

Dec. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Cuyler’s Plantation, between Eden and Pooler Stations, Monteith Swamp and Ogeechee Canal in Georgia.

Dec. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, the USS Otesgo and the tugboat, Brazely, were sunk by Confederate torpedoes on the Roanoke River, close to Jamesville, N.C.

Dec. 9, 1864 – U.S. General George H. Thomas did not get his nickname of “Old Slow Trot” for nothing. It was not his decision making or command in battle that was slow, as reflected in his other nickname “The Rock of Chickamauga” commemorating his solid defense during that battle which allowed the rest of the Union force to retreat to Chattanooga and safety. But he was not going to attack before he was ready, in this case Hood’s forces outside of Nashville. U.S. Grant had actually written out the orders relieving Thomas of command on this day and his replacement by Schofield. However, protocol required that Grant send this order through Gen. Halleck, while Halleck said it had to come straight from Grant. While this was being settled a heavy ice and sleet storm struck Nashville, making fighting impossible. Thomas’ career remained in the balance.

Dec. 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal reconnaissance to Hatcher’s Run, Va. began.

Dec. 9, 1865 – The organizational charter was issued to Georgiana Masonic Lodge No. 285 in Georgiana, in Butler County, Ala.

Dec. 9, 1871 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder and manager Joe Kelley was born in Cambridge, Mass. He went on to play for the Boston Beaneaters, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Baltimore Orioles, the Brooklyn Superbas, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Doves, and he also managed the Reds and the Doves. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Dec. 9, 1873 - The Colored Normal School at Huntsville, Ala. was created by legislative act. Founded by ex-slave William Hooper Councill, the school educated black teachers for the public schools. It became a land-grant institution in 1891, eventually evolving into Alabama A&M University.

Dec. 9, 1887 – Famous Alabama outlaw Rube Burrow, who would rob a train near Flomaton, Ala. and eventually got gunned down in Linden, Ala., and his gang committed their fifth train robbery near Genoa, Arkansas around 6 p.m.

Dec. 9, 1891 - President Benjamin Harrison delivered his third speech on Indian lands. “The work in the Bureau of Indian Affairs was perhaps never so large as now, by reason of the numerous negotiations which have been proceeding with the tribes for a reduction of the reservations, with the incident labor of making allotments, and was never more carefully conducted… Everything else--rations, annuities, and tribal negotiations, with the agents, inspectors, and commissioners who distribute and conduct them--must pass away when the Indian has become a citizen… The relation of the Five Civilized Tribes now occupying the Indian Territory to the United States is not, I believe, that best calculated to promote the highest advancement of these Indians. That there should be within our borders five independent states having no relations, except those growing out of treaties, with the Government of the United States, no representation in the National Legislature, its people not citizens, is a startling anomaly… Since March 4, 1889, about 23,000,000 acres have been separated from Indian reservations and added to the public domain for the use of those who desired to secure free homes under our beneficent laws.”

Dec. 9, 1899 – Jean de Brunhoff, the man who created Babar, the beloved elephant of children’s literature, was born in Paris, France.

Dec. 9, 1901 – Florala was officially incorporated as a municipality, according to the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Dec. 9, 1906 – Grace Hopper, who helped invent the modern computer, was born in New York City.

Dec. 9, 1914 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the City Grocery in Evergreen, Ala. had closed due to “voluntary bankruptcy.”

Dec. 9, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that Dr. A.B. Coxwell had attended the session of the Masonic Grand Lodge in Montgomery during the previous week.

Dec. 9, 1915 – Turkistan postmistress Jennie C. Turk, the oldest daughter of John Turk, died at the age of 21. Sixteen months before, John Turk lost his wife and baby. Jennie was the postmistress at Turkstan and the office was moved to the store of Mr. W.H. Chase, who was appointed to fill the vacancy. Jennier Turk was buried at Indian Springs Baptist Cemetery, and according to her headstone, she was born on Jan. 3, 1894 and she died on Dec. 31, 1915.

Dec. 9, 1917 – During World War I, Fieldl Marshal Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem, Palestine.

Dec. 9, 1917 - On this morning, after Turkish troops moved out of the region after only a single day’s fighting, officials of the Holy City of Jerusalem offered the keys to the city to encroaching British troops.

Dec. 9, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Ryx Ivey Smith, 18, of Evergreen, Ala. “died from wounds” with serving in Co. I of the 167th Infantry. Born on March 25, 1900, he was buried in the Old Town Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala. (Some sources give his first name as “Roy,” but his headstone does have “Ryx.)

Dec. 9, 1920 – In Conecuh County, Ala., George Ruston, charged with the killing of Will Yates, was given a preliminary trial on this day before Judge Dunn. Ruston was discharged because the evidence proved justifiable homicide.

Dec. 9, 1930 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, manager and owner Rube Foster died at the age of 51 in Kankakee, Illinois. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Dec. 9, 1932 – A fiddlers convention was scheduled to be held at the Effie School building on this Saturday night. Everyone was invited, and admission was free.

Dec. 9, 1934 – James B. Stanley, the founder and longtime editor of The Greenville Advocate, passed away in Greenville, Ala. at the age of 90. Born on Aug. 9, 1844 in Lowndes County, he was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Greenville. He founded The Greenville Advocate in 1865, and served as editor and publisher for almost 70 years. Stanley was the son of Robert H. Stanley, who was born in South Carolina, and Emma Stone, who was born in Paris, France.

Dec. 9, 1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor, investigative journalist and muckraker, was killed in a gangland murder in Minneapolis, Minn. His murder has never been solved.

Dec. 9, 1935 – The Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, was awarded for the first time. The winner was halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.

Dec. 9, 1937 - Alabama author and dramatist Francis Nimmo Greene died in Birmingham, Ala.

Dec. 9, 1938 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones was born in Eatonville, Fla. He would go on to play for the Los Angeles Rams, the San Diego Chargers and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Dec. 9, 1940 - The Longines Watch Company signed for the first FM radio advertising contract with experimental station W2XOR in New York City.

Dec. 9, 1942 – Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus was born in Chicago, Ill. He went on to play for Illinois and the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Dec. 9, 1942 – Evergreen High School’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on the season with a 38-17 win over Conecuh County High School in Castleberry. Johnson led Evergreen with 19 points, and Garrett led CCHS with nine points.

Dec. 9, 1946 – The "Subsequent Nuremberg trials" began with the "Doctors' trial," prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.

Dec. 9, 1948 – Evergreen High School played its first ever game in its new “Memorial Gym,” suffering a 47-32 loss to Pensacola High School. The gym’s playing court was 84x50 feet, and the gym could seat up to 700 fans. About 350 fans turned out for the first game and saw Guerry Moorer lead Evergreen with 12 points.

Dec. 9, 1951 - Bob Waterfield of the Los Angeles Rams became the first professional football player to kick five field goals in one game.

Dec. 9, 1953 – The fourth annual Conecuh County Christmas Carnival was scheduled to be held in downtown Evergreen, Ala.

Dec. 9, 1956 - A radio version of Alabama author Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was broadcast as part of the “Suspense” series.

Dec. 9, 1962 - "Lawrence of Arabia" by David Lean had its world premiere in London.

Dec. 9, 1965 – What is known as the “Kecksburg UFO Incident” occurred when a fireball was seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania. Witnesses reported something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh. In 2005 NASA admitted that it examined the object.

Dec. 9, 1965 - The Cincinnati Reds traded outfielder Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles, in exchange for the pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and the outfielder Dick Simpson. The trade is widely regarded as one of the worst in Major League Baseball history.

Dec. 9, 1965 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, manager and executive Branch Rickey died at the age of 83 in Columbia, Mo. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Browns and the New York Highlanders, and he also managed the Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also served as the general manager for the Browns, Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.

Dec. 9, 1965 - An article in the New York Times asserted that the U.S. bombing campaign had neither destabilized North Vietnam’s economy nor appreciably reduced the flow of its forces into South Vietnam.

Dec. 9, 1967 - Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested onstage in New Haven, Conn. and charged with breach of peace and resisting arrest.

Dec. 9, 1971 - For the first time since the Paris peace talks began in May 1968, both sides refused to set another meeting date for continuation of the negotiations.

Dec. 9, 1973 - Jim Bakken of the St. Louis Cardinals kicked six field goals against the Atlanta Falcons.

Dec. 9, 1976 – Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher Christopher “Scottie” Booker born in Monroeville, Ala. He graduated from Monroe County High School in 1995 and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1995 amateur draft. He made his MLB debut for the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 5, 2005. He would go on to play for the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals. His final MLB appearance was on July 25, 2007 for the Washington Nationals.

Dec. 9, 1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.

Dec. 9, 1984 - Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams became only the second pro football player to run for more than 2,000 yards in a season. O.J. Simpson held the previous record at 2,003.

Dec. 9, 1984 - Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears ran six plays as quarterback. He ran the ball four times and threw two interceptions.

Dec. 9, 1984 - Iranian security men seized control of the plane ending a five-day hijacking of a Kuwaiti jetliner, which was parked at the Tehran airport.

Dec. 9, 1985 - Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers began a streak of over 100 consecutive games with receptions.

Dec. 9, 1989 – NBA guard Eric Bledsoe was born in Birmingham, Ala. After graduating from Birmingham’s Parker High School, he went on to play one year at the University of Kentucky, where he aveaged 11.3 points per game. He went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns.

Dec. 9, 1990 - The first American hostages to be released by Iraq began arriving in the U.S.

Dec. 9, 1991 - Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins reached the 20-touchdown mark for an NFL record ninth season.

Dec. 9, 1996 – United Nations Secretary General Boutros-Ghali approved a deal allowing Iraq to resume its exports of oil and easing the UN trade embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990.

Dec. 9, 1997 – In the first game between the two schools in six years, Class 5A Monroe County High School beat J.U. Blacksher, 78-73, at Uriah. Standout Blacksher players in that game included Anthony Adams, Tony Dean, Larry Nichols, Josh Qualls and Anthony Tucker. Mark Chaney was Blacksher’s head coach.


Dec. 9, 1999 - Alabama author Marian Cockrell died in Roanoke, Va.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Dec. 9, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 1.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.75 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.95 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 11.15 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 83.75 inches.

Notes: Today is the 343rd day of 2017 and the 79th day of Fall. There are 22 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Friday, December 8, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,582 miles down and 197 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging only three miles since my last update. I walked/jogged three miles on Sunday. So far, I’ve logged 1,582 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 197 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 88.9 percent of the total trip.

 

In relation to Frodo Baggins’ overall journey to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom in Mordor, I’m on the 16th day of the trip past Rauros Falls, which is March 11 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on March 16 at Mile 1579, which was where Frodo, Samwise Gamgee and Gollum crossed a deep cleft. Two miles later, at Mile 1581, they traveled around a dark pit, and I’ve traveled one mile beyond this point.

 

The next significant milestone comes two miles later, at Mile 1583, where they go down a bit, but then go up on a longer, steeper slope.

 

For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1, 2015. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,779 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.

 

The folks who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound very familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,779 miles in a year.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/07/23/walking/ and http://home.insightbb.com/~eowynchallenge/. Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.

 


In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least 10 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant newspaper

Grave of infant Joseph L. Watts.
It’s that time of the month again, time to take a trip down memory lane and review all of the interesting things that took place in Conecuh County 100 years ago, way back in December 1917.

In the Dec. 5, 1917 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported “Joseph M. Houston, son of Pinkney Houston of Garland, was killed accidentally on a railroad in France on Nov. 27. He was Regimental Supply Sergeant, joining the Colors last spring while the 4th Alabama was stationed here.”

Also that week, readers learned that J.F. Jones “is yet quite ill, though the news from his beside is more reassuring than at any time since he was taken so seriously ill more than two weeks ago.”

Also that week, under the headline “First Carload of Peanuts Out of Evergreen,” it was reported that “the first carload of peanuts ever shipped out of Evergreen went forward this week to the Southern Cotton Oil Co., purchased by the company’s agent, C.N. Stallworth. The growing of peanuts for commercial purposes is just now beginning in this county, and next season there will be many carloads to go to the various mills from Conecuh. In fact, many farmers will grow peanuts next year to the exclusion of cotton, because they are a surer and more profitable crop under present conditions.”

Salter also reported that week that “Commissioners Court was in session on Saturday and Monday transacting routine business, all members of the board being present.”

In the Dec. 12, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported under the headline “Evergreen to Have Modern School Building,” that “a special election was held on Monday last on the proposition of levying a special three-mill tax in Evergreen school district to provide funds for the construction and equipment of a school building here. There was very little opposition to the proposed levy, 80 votes being cast for and eight against it. It is understood that plans will at once be perfected for the work of constructing the building and it is expected that it will be completed and ready for use by the time of the opening of the next session of the city school next summer. Evergreen people have reason to congratulate themselves on this forward step, but Evergreen people can always be counted upon to do the proper thing at the proper time. Evergreen has long needed a modern school building, but there has been an impediment in the way of securing it. That impediment has now been removed, and we should all rejoice because of it.”

Also that week, readers saw the following sad news under the headline, “Infant Found Dead in Bed” – “The entire community sincerely sympathizes with Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Watts in the death of their infant child six months old which was found dead in bed on last Saturday morning. The little one had not previously been sick, though it had been delicate from birth. It was a great shock to the fond parents.”

Also that week, Salter reported that “the second hog sale occurred yesterday and was decidedly a greater success than the first sale. The day throughout was bitter cold and disagreeable and no doubt prevented many persons from bringing hogs who had intended doing so. However, there were 404 sold at auction besides quite a number that were rejected were sold privately or taken back to the farms.”

In the Dec. 19, 1917 edition of The Courant, under the headline “Bold Attempt to Burn Saw Mill,” readers learned that the “discovery of a bold attempt to destroy the dry kiln at the L.D. King Lumber Co. plant was made early this morning by Foreman A.K. Williams. Upon entering the dry kiln, as is his custom every morning, he found the trap set that would in all probability have caused the most terrible conflagration that ever occurred in Evergreen, had it been successful. The trap set consisted of a round pasteboard box about six inches in diameter and about 12 inches high, filled with lint cotton saturated with kerosene oil, on which was placed a candle. The candle had been lighted and had burned probably half way down when the steam extinguished it. Had the candle burned until it reached the oil-saturated cotton, the conflagration would have been started which would probably have resulted in the destruction of the saw mill plant as well as the veneer plant and ice factory of the Beaven-Jackson Co.

“Shortly after the discovery of the scheme, a strange man was seen on the premises, but quickly made his way to a passing freight train. The sheriff’s department was notified and the man taken up when the trained pulled into town. He gave his name as J.H. Conway. He is evidently a foreigner and is being held pending a thorough investigation.”

That week’s paper also included the following notice – “Twenty-seventh Annual Reunion of U.C.V. of Camp Capt. Wm. Lee No. 338, will be held at Evergreen, Jan. 1, 1918, or first fair day thereafter. All veterans are most earnestly urged to attend this meeting. Business of importance to come up. Election of officers, payment of dues and other business of vital importance. – G.R. Boulware, Commander; M.B. Salter, Sergeant Major, Acting Adjutant.”

In the Dec. 26, 1917 edition of The Courant, under the headline “Death of J.F. Jones,” readers learned that “James F. Jones is dead! The announcement will carry sadness to the hearts of many persons who knew and admired him. The end came on Sunday afternoon.

“Mr. Jones was born near Brooklyn April 12, 1853. He had been a resident of Evergreen for more than 25 years, being a practitioner at the bar during these years and had built up a good practice. He represented the county in the state legislature one term and was county solicitor for several years. He was an active and devoted member of the Baptist Church and always took a lively interest in the work of the church and Sunday school both in town and in rural communities.

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon from the Baptist church conducted by his pastor, Dr. Dickinson, who paid a beautiful tribute to the memory and life work of the deceased.”

Also that week, readers saw under the headline “In Pound,” that Town Marshal J.C. Jones had “one medium-size bay horse, very poor, in pound pen that I will proceed to sell to the highest bidder for expenses if same is not called for by Jan. 1, 1918.”

Salter wrapped up the month by letting readers know that the “University of Alabama Glee Club will be here Friday night, Dec. 28. All those wishing to attend a good entertainment will not fail to see this attraction.”


Well, I guess that’s all that space will allow for this month. Next month, I plan to take a look at the events of January 1918 in Conecuh County. Until then, if you get the urge to research the county’s past yourself, take advantage of the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library’s excellent selection of old newspapers on microfilm and other resources. The library’s friendly and courteous staff will be more than happy to get you started.

Ingram and Norris tie for top honors in local college football pick 'em contest

The final weekend of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest wrapped up on Saturday with unexpected results. For the first time in the history of our local contest, we have a tie for the championship.

Entering Saturday’s slate of games, Hillcrest High School assistant football coach Arthur Ingram III had been in the No. 1 spot for four straight weeks, but past champion Hunter Norris came out of second place to tie him in the final standings, leaving us with co-champions for the first time ever. Ingram and Norris both finished the 14-week season with 592 total points.

Ricky Taylor finished third with 588 points, and I came in fourth with 587 total points. Mike Dailey finished fifth with 580 points, and Casey Grant followed closely with 579 points.

Clint Hyde finished in the No. 7 spot with 575 total points, and Phig Newton was eighth with 573 points. Defending champion Drew Skipper finished ninth with 569 points, and Travis Presley rounded out the Top 10 with 566 points.

In the end, big congratulations go out to Ingram and Norris, who now have bragging rights throughout the next year. If you see them out on the street, congratulate them on their football-picking abilities as our Co-Mr. Football Award winners this year.

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Hillcrest High School’s varsity football team had the opportunity to make even more county history yesterday (Thursday) when they played in the state finals in Tuscaloosa.

In the modern playoff era of high school football in Alabama, which began in 1966, no team from Conecuh County, public or private, has ever won a state championship in football. Some have come very close, but weren’t able to win the big game.

The only Conecuh County public school to ever play in a state football championship game was the 1985 Repton Bulldogs, who were led by head coach Hugh Wilson Jr. Competing in Class 1A, Repton went 8-2 during the regular season, before beating Sweet Water, Frisco City, Dozier and Beulah in the first four rounds of the playoffs. In the state championship game, which was played in Repton, the Bulldogs came up short against Sand Rock, losing 14-6.

Sparta Academy has played in three state championship football games in its history and came up short in all three. Sparta’s first state finals appearance in football came in 1988, when the Warriors, under head coach Mike Bledsoe, lost to Lee-Scott, 14-10, in Evergreen. Competing in Class A, Sparta finished that season with a 12-1 overall record.

In 1991, Sparta, again under head coach Mike Bledsoe, appeared in its second state championship game and suffered a 41-0 road loss to Catherine Academy. Competing in Class A, the Warriors finished that season with an 11-2 overall record.

In 1997, Sparta appeared in its third all-time state championship game and suffered a 45-15 loss in Evergreen at the hands of Crenshaw Christian. Bill McNair was Sparta’s head coach that season. Competing in Class A, Sparta finished that season with 10-3 overall record.


In the end, Hillcrest has a golden opportunity today to claim the title of the best football team in county history if they can defeat Randolph County High School in Tuscaloosa. Opportunities like this don’t come along every day, so I hope that the Jags can make the most of it. They’ve set the bar pretty high already this season, but a win today in Tuscaloosa would push it even higher.  

Today in History for Dec. 8, 2017

Dean Masonic Lodge in Brooklyn, Ala.
Dec. 8, 65 BCE – Lyric poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known to English speakers as Horace, was born in Apulia, Italy.


Dec. 8, 1620 - The Pilgrims were hungry and weak from scurvy after two months at sea by the time the Mayflower anchored in the icy waters on the bay side of Cape Cod. Miles Standish led a small group of explorers on desperate scouting missions that predated the landing at Plymouth Rock. At dawn on this day, the Nauset attack this group. No one was hurt, though one of the Natives gave an “extraordinary cry” after a musket was discharged in his direction and before he disappeared with the rest of the Natives into the brambly forest that covered the dunes. The relieved Pilgrims christened the spot where the skirmish took place, “The First Encounter.” A small monument was placed there in 2001 by the Society of Colonial Wars. The inscription reads: “Near this site the Nauset tribe of the Wampanoag nation, seeking to protect themselves and their culture, had their first encounter, 8 December 1620, with Myles Standish, John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, John Tilley, Edward Tilley, John Howland, Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins, Edward Dotey, John Allerton, Thomas English, Master Mate Clark, Master Gunner Copin and three sailors of the Mayflower company.”

Dec. 8, 1765 - Eli Whitney was born in Westborough, Mass. Whitney invented the cotton gin and developed the concept of mass-production of interchangeable parts.

Dec. 8, 1775 - Beginning on this day, Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Richard Montgomery led an American force in the siege of Quebec. The Americans hoped to capture the British-occupied city and with it win support for the American cause in Canada.

Dec. 8, 1776 - George Washington's retreating army in the American Revolution crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

Dec. 8, 1777 - General William Howe decided to return to the city of Philidelphia after two days of skirmishes north of the city. He made no further attacks on George Washington that winter.

Dec. 8, 1780 - Dragging Canoe led the Chickamauga in a strike at the Cumberland settlements in middle Tennessee and destroyed Mansker’s Station in 1779. In April 1780, he attacked Fort Nashborough but lost the “Battle of the Bluffs”. At Boyd’s Creek, Tenn., near the Little Tennessee River, Dragging Canoe lost 80 men on this day to John Sevier and volunteers from North Carolina.

Dec. 8, 1818 – Patrick W. Hayes became the second postmaster at Burnt Corn Spring, Ala., replacing the first postmaster, William James, who took the job on Oct. 27, 1817.

Dec. 8, 1821 – Sparta Academy in Conecuh County, Ala. was incorporated by state legislature, making it the second chartered private academy in the state.

Dec. 8-9, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette made official visits to the Senate and addressed the U.S. Congress at the House of Representatives.

Dec. 8, 1829 – On this day, in his first “State of the Union Address,” President Andrew Jackson stated his goal to remove all Indians in the southeastern part of the United States to lands west of the Mississippi. A law to that effect would pass Congress on May 28, 1830. “…..Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt. …..” “…..I suggest for your consideration the propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi, and without the limits of any state or territory now formed, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes as long as they shall occupy it, each tribe having a distinct control over the portion designated for its use..…”

Dec. 8, 1850 – The organizational charter was issued to Dean Masonic Lodge No. 112 at Brooklyn, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1850 - The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Mobile, Ala., was dedicated. The cornerstone for the cathedral was laid and blessed in November 1835. The foundations were in place by 1837, but the economic crisis known as the Panic of 1837 and a yellow fever epidemic in 1839 delayed progress. By the mid-1840s, the economy had improved and construction resumed, supported in part by generous contributions from the people of Mobile.

Dec. 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, the CSS Sumter captured the whaling vessel, the Eden Dodge, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Dec. 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Fishing Creek, near Somerset, Ky.

Dec. 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought in the vicinity of Dam No. 5 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, on the Potomac River, Va.

Dec. 8, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought close to Romney, West Va.

Dec. 8, 1861 - The American Bible Society, supported entirely by private donations from individuals and churches, released a remarkable report on this day. Less than a year from the time the War began, they were already to the point where they were printing, shipping and distributing more than 7,000 copies per day of the New Testament to soldiers in the field. A soldier was likely to carry two items of about the same size: his Testament and a pack of playing cards. One, however, was often found dropped on the field when fighting started. There was a common belief that going to meet one’s Maker with gambling paraphernalia on one’s person did not enhance the chances of the gates of Heaven opening. The counter-part of the American Bible Society, the Confederate States Bible Society, printed and shipped New Testaments from Augusta, Ga.

Dec. 8, 1861 - Since the skirmish at Round Mountain in November, Unionist Creeks led by Chief Opothleyahola had withdrawn northeast to Chusto-Talasah (Bird Creek or Caving Banks), in the Cherokee Nation near Tulsey Town (present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma). Following them was the pro-Confederate force of about 1,100 Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and the 9th Texas led by Colonel Douglas Cooper. It was reported to Cooper that 500 of his Cherokees had deserted the ranks due to a “misconception of the character of the conflict between the Creeks, and from an indisposition to engage in strife with their immediate neighbors.” Some Cherokees went home, while others joined the Unionists.

Dec. 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal reconnaissance from Suffolk to the Blackwater River in Virginia began, and a skirmish was fought at Zuni, Va.

Dec. 8, 1863 – Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was captured by the Union at Campbell’s Station, where he’d apparently been sent to recuperate after getting shot in the left leg during an engagement at Knoxville on Nov. 24. Noah was captured when the post was overrun by a detachment of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas’ Union forces.

Dec. 8, 1863 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln offered his conciliatory plan for reunification of the United States with his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. By this point in the Civil War, it was clear that Lincoln needed to make some preliminary plans for postwar reconstruction.

Dec. 8, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Scottsville, Ky.

Dec. 8, 1864 – The organizational charter was issued to Norris Masonic Lodge No. 301 in Brewton, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1864 - Being unable to muster anything near the manpower to directly give battle to Gen. William T. Sherman’s army as they marched from Atlanta to the Sea, desperation forced a resort to weapons both sides really considered illegal: buried “land torpedoes” which exploded when stepped on. What would today be called land mines were considered lawful to use around forts, but not in open roadways. After Sherman came across a young soldier who had had his foot blown off by such a mine, he confirmed an order by Maj. Gen. Frank Blair Jr. that Confederate prisoners should march in the lead to dig up these bombs. These men protested that they had not buried the bombs and had no idea where they might be. Sherman, blunt as ever, told them that if someone had to be blown up, he would rather it be them than his own men.

Dec. 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Tuscumbia, Mo.; at Hatcher’s Run, south of Petersburg, Va.; and near Bryan Courthouse and Ebenezer Creek in Georgia.

Dec. 8, 1881 – Major Jeremiah Austill, a hero of the Canoe Fight of 1813, died in Clarke County, Ala. at the age of 86 and was buried in the Austill Cemetery at Rockville in Clarke County. Born on Aug. 10, 1794 in Pendleton, Anderson County, S.C., to Evan and Lethee/Lethea (Files) Austill. When but 19 years of age, he was one of a party of three men headed by Capt. Samuel Dale, known as the "Daniel Boone of Alabama," in the famous "Canoe Fight" upon the Alabama River near Claiborne on Nov. 12, 1813. In this struggle, three white men, rowed by a negro named Caesar, boldly assailed a war canoe of the Creeks, manned by seven warriors in full trappings in mid-stream, and killed all of them without loss or injury to themselves, except Austill, who was struck on the head with a war club and received a scalp wound. At this time also, he was the bearer of night dispatches of warning between the forts and stockades along the hostile Creek country, often making 40 miles through the trackless forests by night. He once rode from Fort Madison to Fort Carney and thence to Mount Vernon in a single night, through impenetrable darkness and blinding storm. He was married in 1838 to Margaret, daughter of Capt. John Eades, who came to Alabama with his family from Georgia in 1812. They (Jeremiah and Margaret) had four children. (Some sources say he died in 1879.)

Dec. 8, 1886 – Mexican artist Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato.

Dec. 8, 1894 – Cartoonist and writer James Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio.

Dec. 8, 1897 – The organizational charter was issued to Carney Masonic Lodge No. 549 in Atmore, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1897 – English physician Doris Bell Collier was born in Manchester, England. Collier, who, in addition to carving out a successful private practice, also managed to write more than 40 mystery novels, short stories, and radio plays under the pseudonym of Josephine Bell. She was a founder of the Crime Writers’ Association, the British equivalent of the Mystery Writers of America organization.

Dec. 8, 1906 – Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn was born in a suburb of London, England.

Dec. 8, 1908 - W.R. Blackwell visited The Monroe Journal on this Tuesday. Blackwell had just returned from attending the meeting of the Masonic Grand Lodge in Montgomery.

Dec. 8, 1909 – The organizational charter was issued to McKenzie Lodge No. 701 in McKenzie, in Butler County, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1909 – The organizational charter was issued to K.A. Mayer Lodge No. 703 in Pine Hill, in Wilcox County, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1914 – During World War I, a squadron of Britain's Royal Navy defeated the Imperial German East Asia Squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

Dec. 8, 1914 - Amonth after German naval forces led by Admiral Maximilian von Spee inflicted the Royal Navy’s first defeat in a century by sinking two British cruisers with all hands off the southern coast of Chile, Spee’s squadron attempted to raid the Falkland Islands, located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, only to be thwarted by the British navy.

Dec. 8, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that J.T. Vann and his family had moved to Evergreen during the previous week from Monroeville and were occupying the E.C. Page home on Park Street.

Dec. 8, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that two more men had announced their candidacies for office in the upcoming election. They were W.C. Relfe and W.S. Oliver, and each was seeking the office of Conecuh County Tax Assessor.


Dec. 8, 1920 – Walter Solomon of Excel, Ala. allegedly killed Sherman L. English of Repton, Ala. Both men were taxis operators, and the killing appeared to have resulted during an argument over transporting a passenger. Born in 1888, English was buried in the Repton Methodist Church Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1920 – The Rev. David James Wright passed away at the age of 88. He was born in the Sepulga community in Conecuh County, Ala. on March 22, 1832. During the Civil War, he enlisted as a first lieutenant in the Third Georgia Regiment and was “shot down four times on battlefields and from these wounds was maimed for life.” At the time of his death, he had been a Masonic lodge member for 50 years. He was buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala. (Some sources say he was born in 1834.)

Dec. 8, 1921 – The first issue of The Thomasville Times in Thomasville, Ala. was published.

Dec. 8, 1938 - Alabama author Zora Neale Hurston appeared on the radio program “The American School of the Air” to read folk stories from her book “Mules and Men.”

Dec. 8, 1939 – The Montgomery Advertiser released its sixth annual all-state high school football team. Sam Yarbrough of Monroeville, Ala. was named to the third team, and Calvin “Hop” Stevens of Monroeville was named as an honorable mention.

Dec. 8, 1940 - The Chicago Bears trounced the Washington Redskins in the National Football League (NFL) Championship by a score of 73-0, the largest margin of defeat in NFL history.

Dec. 8, 1941 - The United States entered World War II when it declared war against Japan. The act came one day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Britain and Canada also declared war on Japan.

Dec. 8, 1941 – Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bob Brown was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to play for Nebraska, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Dec. 8, 1943 - Jim Morrison of The Doors was born in Melbourne, Fla.

Dec. 8, 1943 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and National Book Award winner James Tate was born in Kansas City, Mo.

Dec. 8, 1949 – Novelist Mary Gordon was born in Far Rockaway, N.Y.

Dec. 8, 1951 – The Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Conecuh County Christmas Carnival held in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday “was a smashing success with an estimated 10,000 people coming to town for the festivities.” The day’s events climaxed with the big Carnival Parade, which featured the arrival of Santa Claus. Miss June Weaver of Castleberry was crowned Queen Joy by the previous year’s Queen, Miss Alice Fay (Petie) Sullivan also of Castleberry. Miss Patricia Hardin of Castleberry and Miss Glenda Potts of Evergreen were crowned Princess Gaity. “Creating considerable excitement” during the event “was the releasing of 20 guineas. Each of these guineas, except for one named “Foul Ball,” had certificates for a number of valuable prizes attached to it. The prizes went to the lucky ones catching the guineas.”

Dec. 8, 1951 – Nonfiction writer Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dec. 8, 1953 - Nelle Harper Lee left Monroeville on this Tuesday for her home in New York City after spending 10 days with her father, A.C. Lee, and Miss Alice Lee.

Dec. 8, 1953 – J.U. Blacksher’s basketball team won their second game of the season on this Tuesday night when they beat Excel, 52-42, in Excel. Frank Hadley, guard, led Blacksher wit 17 points. Sonny Baas and Jack Matchett, forwards, led Excel with 14 points each.

Dec. 8, 1954 - A dramatic version of Alabama author William March's book “The Bad Seed” opened on Broadway.

Dec. 8, 1958 – National Baseball Hall of Fame centerfielder and manager Tris Speaker died at the age of 70 in Lake Whitney, Texas. During his career, he played for the Boston Americans/Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics, and he also managed the Indians for seven seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

Dec. 8, 1959 – Orville Mack brought a mystifying item by The Evergreen Courant office described as a “chunk of black stuff” that was unearthed by a construction crew working on the new interstate highway between Chapman Road and Owassa, about three miles from Evergreen, Ala. A grader making a cut turned up the chunk 45 to 50 below the surface of the earth. It was black, shiny and “very brittle.” When heat was applied to it, it gave off “an odor smelling strongly of oil.” Examiners said it wasn’t coal, but others said that it might have been oil which seeped into a pocket and solidified. The chunk was put on display at The Courant for public viewing.

Dec. 8, 1962 - Workers of the International Typographical Union began striking and closed nine New York City newspapers. The strike lasted 114 days and ended April 1, 1963.

Dec. 8, 1965 - In some of the heaviest raids of the Vietnam War, 150 U.S. Air Force and Navy planes launched Operation Tiger Hound to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the lower portion of the Laotian panhandle, from Route 9 west of the Demilitarized Zone, south to the Cambodian border.

Dec. 8, 1966 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen District of the Alabama Troopers had posted the best traffic safety record in the entire state during November and were presented with a trophy to mark the occasion. Troopers accepting the trophy included Troy Smith, Cpl. Charles Cargile, Sgt. Tom Melton, Tom Hall and Horace Parker. The post reported 85 accidents for the month with 40 persons suffering injuries in 28 of them. There were two fatalities, both in Conecuh County. Capt. A.G. Mitchell commanded the division.

Dec. 8, 1966 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Homer Faulkner, star Evergreen High School quarterback, had announced that he would sign a grant-in-aid with the University of Mississippi. Representatives of the University were to be in Evergreen on Dec. 11 to sign him. Faulkner, six feet five inches and 190 pounds, was “sought by a number of schools as his exploits on the field drew rave notices from college scouts.” Faulkner was the first Aggie to win a football scholarship since Wayne Frazier signed with Auburn. Faulkner was an outstanding punter, place-kicker and kickoff man in addition to handling the quarterback chores at Evergreen.

Dec. 8, 1966 - The International Red Cross announced in Geneva that North Vietnam had rejected a proposal by President Johnson for a resolution of the prisoner of war situation.

Dec. 8, 1969 - At a news conference, President Richard Nixon said that the Vietnam War was coming to a “conclusion as a result of the plan that we have instituted.” Nixon had announced at a conference in Midway in June that the United States would be following a new program he termed “Vietnamization.”

Dec. 8, 1971 – Russian geographer and explorer Ernst Krenkel died at the age of 67.

Dec. 8, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Reed Johnson was born in Riverside, Calif. During his career, he played for the Toronto Blue Jayes, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves, the Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals.

Dec. 8, 1976 – Actor Dominic Monaghan was born in Berlin, West Germany to British parents. He has received international attention from playing Meriadoc Brandybuck in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” (2001–2003), and for his role as Charlie Pace on the television show “Lost” (2004–2010).

Dec. 8, 1978 - Gov. George C. Wallace announced the appointment of Alice Presley of Evergreen to serve as chairman of the Conecuh County Board of Registrars. The appointment represented, perhaps, one of the Governor’s last major appointments in Conecuh County prior to his leaving office in January 1979. Presley’s late husband, James Presley, was the founder of Presley Funeral Home, located on Knoxville Road in Evergreen, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1980 - In New York City, Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon to death in front of The Dakota. Earlier in the day, Lennon had autographed an album for Chapman.

Dec. 8, 1981 – NFL quarterback Philip Rivers was born in Decatur, Ala. He went on to play for Athens High School, North Carolina State and the San Diego Chargers.

Dec. 8, 1981 - Emmie Mildred Pitts Cardwell, a “beloved lady” of Evergreen, Ala. died on this Tuesday in North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. Cardwell was a member of a prominent, pioneer family and lived all of her life in Conecuh County. She attended Troy State Normal and taught in the public schools of Conecuh County for a number of years. Born on Aug. 13, 1899, she was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Evergreen, Ala.

Dec. 8, 1982 - Norman D. Mayer held the Washington Monument hostage, demanding an end to nuclear war. He threatened to blow it up with explosives he claimed were in his van. After a 10-hour stand-off, he was shot to death by police; no explosives were found in the van.

Dec. 8, 1985 – Major League Baseball third baseman Josh Donaldson was born in Pensacola, Fla. Donaldson graduated from Faith Academy in Mobile and went on to play baseball at Auburn University. As a Major Leaguer, he has played for the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dec. 8, 1993 - U.S. President Bill Clinton signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Dec. 8, 1995 - Courtney Love was interviewed by Barbara Walters for ABC's "10 Most Fascinating People of 1995." During the interview Love told Walters that she wished she had done "eight thousand million things" differently to prevent husband Kurt Cobain's death.

Dec. 8, 1999 - In Memphis, Tenn., a jury found that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin.

Dec. 8, 2009 – Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq killed 127 and injure 448.

Dec. 8, 2009- The Obama administration announced on this day that the United States Government would pay Native Americans $3.4 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed “the federal government cheated them for more than a century of royalties for oil, mineral and other leases.” This settlement was to end a 13-year legal battle that led to 3,600 filings, millions of pages of discovery documents and 11 separate appellate decisions. It was the largest settlement Native Americans had ever received from the federal government, and eclipsed the sum of all previous settlements. The dispute stemmed from a 19th century decision to grant parcels of land to individual Indians and place the properties in trust accounts.
  
Dec. 8, 2015 -A UFO was reported around midnight on this Tuesday near the Mercedes manufacturing plant outside Tuscaloosa. The witnes and his wife were traveling west on Interstate Highway 20-59 when they saw a bright, white light just over the western horizon. This unusual light moved from south to north and eventually broke into a “smaller, ascending diamond, with the larger piece staying near level.” In all, this sighting lasted one to two seconds, the witness said.


Dec. 8, 2015 - The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on this day in the case of Dolgencorp, Inc. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on the issue of whether Choctaw Tribal Courts could hear and decide a civil lawsuit brought by Choctaw Tribal members against the Dollar General store located on Choctaw Reservation lands.