Monday, January 2, 2017

Today in History for Jan. 2, 2017

Edwin Booker in 1974.
Jan. 2, 1776 - The Continental Congress published the “Tory Act” resolution, which described how colonies should handle those Americans who remained loyal to the British and King George.

Jan. 2, 1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, American forces under the command of George Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.

Jan. 2, 1788 - Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Jan. 2, 1805 – The Rev. Thomas Sydenham Witherspoon was born. He would go on to serve as one of the early pastors at Greensboro Presbyterian Church. He passed away on Oct. 19, 1845 and was also buried in Stokes Cemetery in Greensboro, Ala.

Jan. 2, 1832 - Benjamin Faneuil Porter was commissioned the Judge of the Circuit Court of Monroe County, Ala. by Gov. John Gayle. A native of South Carolina and also a doctor, he lived in Claiborne for about six years, before becoming a state legislator, judge and Mayor of Greenville. In 1832, he was elected to the legislature from Monroe County, the first of three successive sessions.

Jan. 2, 1860 - The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Academie des Sciences in Paris by mathematician Urbain Le Verrier.

Jan. 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, Fort Johnson, adjacent to Charleston Harbor, S.C., which had been previously evacuated by Federal forces, was occupied by South Carolina state troops.

Jan. 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, the first New Year’s holiday of the War had come and gone, and both sides were frustrated and in states of confusion. In the North, Gen. George McClellan had bullied and backstabbed his way to command of the Army of the Potomac, and indeed was turning it from an undisciplined, untrained mob into something more resembling an army. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to put them to use in anything resembling a battle, and had then come down with typhoid fever, rendering him incapacitated for weeks. In the South, some of the initial patriotic fervor was wearing a little thin. Newspapers such as the Memphis, Tenn., “Argus” were noting that the Confederate armies were taking huge numbers of men out of productive work, and they weren’t doing any fighting either. Plus, taxes were too high.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at White Springs, Boston Mountains, Ark.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, after an unsuccessful attack at Chickasaw Bluffs, Miss., Federal forces re-embarked upon naval vessels and proceeded to Milliken’ Bend, La.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, New Madrid, Mo. was once again occupied by Federal forces.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought between Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, Tenn.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Jonesville, Lee County, Va.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Bath Springs, West Va.

Jan. 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal expedition between Moorefield and Petersburg, West Va. began.

Jan. 2, 1863 - In Murfeesboro, Tenn., the Battle of Stones River ended when Union troops under William Rosecrans defeated Confederates under Braxton Bragg. Confederate General Roger Weightman Hanson was wounded and died two days later. The battle was a crucial engagement in the contest for central Tennessee, and provided a Union victory during a bleak period for the North.

Jan. 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Federal occupation of Santa Catalina Island, off Los Angeles, Calif. began.

Jan. 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at La Grange, Tenn.

Jan. 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Franklin and Lexington, Miss.

Jan. 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal operation in Shannon County, Mo. began.

Jan. 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation began against Indians between Fort Wingate and Sierra del Datil in the New Mexico Territory.

Jan. 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation between Benvard’s Mills to South Quay, Va., on the Blackwater River, began.

Jan. 2, 1886 – English explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard was born in Lansdowne Road, Bedford, England. He was a member of the Terra Nova Expedition and is acclaimed for his historical account of this expedition, “The Worst Journey in the World.”

Jan. 2, 1892 - Ellis Island opened as America's first federal immigration center. Annie Moore, at age 15, became the first person to pass through.

Jan. 2, 1896 – In this day’s issue of The Monroe Journal, publisher Q. Salter reported that “With this issue, The Journal enters upon the 29th year of its existence. The proprietor is profoundly grateful to the public for past liberal support and encouragement and hopes to merit a continuation of the same.”

Jan. 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that Jeff and Fate Salter, two young white men wanted in Conecuh County for various offenses, and under indictment for the murder and robbery of Silas Hobley, a black mail carrier, near Belleville some months before, had been captured in Cameron, Texas.

Jan. 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that the “little son” of Uriah Crawford, living near Burnt Corn, had recently killed eight quail on the wing, with a single shot.

Jan. 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that Julius Wiggins, who had lived in Texas for several years, had returned with his family to reside with his wife’s father, Capt. C.R. Broughton, to care for the “old gentleman in his declining years.”

Jan. 2, 1904 - Confederate General James Longstreet passed away at the age of 82 in Gaineville, Ga.

Jan. 2, 1905 – A dwelling belonging to J.M. Grimes on his plantation at Manistee, Ala. burned down and arson was suspected.

Jan. 2, 1905 - In a crucial turning point of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan captured Port Arthur, a major Russian naval base on the Liaodong Peninsula in China.

Jan. 2, 1913 – Norman A. Staples, owner of the ill-fated steamboat James T. Staples, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a shotgun. He was buried in the (supposedly haunted) Bladon Springs Cemetery in Choctaw County.

Jan. 2, 1913 – Camp Capt. William Lee, United Confederate Veterans, met at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala., and the old officers were reelected for the ensuing year - G.R. Boulware, commander; J.T. Fincher, lieutenant commander; J.A. Jones, adjutant; M.B. Salter, sergeant major; and J.D. Wright, chaplain. Dr. Skinner was elected surgeon of the camp. Wm. J. Tomlinson, J.T. Fincher and J.W. Cook were elected as delegates to the national reunion at Chattanooga next June. The Conecuh Record reported that “there is said to be only about 100 Confederate veterans in this county at the present time, and the ranks are thinning rapidly.”

Jan. 2, 1916 – A “Sacred Harp” singing convention was scheduled to be held on this Sunday in Goodway, Ala. All “singing people of Monroe County” were cordially welcomed.

Jan. 2, 1918 – During World War I, Army Cpl. John D. Chapman of Grove Hill, Ala. “died from disease.”

Jan. 2, 1920 – Science fiction author Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russian.

Jan. 2, 1929 – The Monroeville Methodist Church building, located on the southeast corner of the square where Lee Motor Company is now, burned down.

Jan. 2, 1929 - The United States and Canada reached an agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.

Jan. 2, 1930 – The Evergreen Courant reported that farmer J.H. Ryland of Rt. E, Repton, recorded 151 rainy days on his farm during 1929. It also snowed on one day and sleeted on two others. September led with 19 rainy days; October and December had the fewest with only eight each. The record by months was as follows: January, 13; February, 13; March, 10; April, 12; May, 15; June, 15; July, 10; August, 12; September, 19; October, eight; November, 16; December, eight rain, one snow. Ryland kept no record of the amount of rainfall in inches.

Jan. 2, 1931 - The Physical Education Club and Senior Home Economics Department at Excel High School hosted a banquet for the school’s football players at the school on this Friday night. “The guests were led to the auditorium where games and contests were held,” The Monroe Journal reported. “The dining room was beautifully decorated for the occasion. Each of the boys was asked to make and three best ‘side-liners,’ Aletta Knight, Mattie Dee Faircloth and Minnie L. Mann gave their ideas of football boys.”

Jan. 2, 1931 – Two prisoners – Reed and Hendrix of Pensacola, escaped from the Monroe County Jail early on this Friday morning. “They are alleged to have made a key which fitted all doors between their cells and the street,” The Monroe Journal reported. The prisoners remained at large at of Jan. 8, 1931.

Jan. 2, 1941 – Future Conecuh County (Ala.) Sheriff Edwin L. Booker was born at Booker’s Mill to James Miller Booker and Ruth Grandeeze McPherson Booker. He would go on to be elected Conecuh County Sheriff in 1975 and would serve as sheriff for 28 total years.

Jan. 2, 1944 - The State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the “First Oil Well in Alabama,” the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown in Choctaw County. Drilling commenced on Jan. 10, 1944 and was completed approximately one month later. The discovery of this well led to the creation of the State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama in 1945, and to the development and growth of the petroleum industry in the state. Alabama's major oil- and gas-producing regions are located in the western part of the state, along with a coalbed methane region underlying substantial portions of Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties.

Jan. 2, 1949 – Playwright Christopher Durang was born in Montclair, New Jersey.

Jan. 2, 1956 - Oklahoma University’s champion football team, the Sooners, defeated Maryland, 20-6, in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., winning the national championship and recording their 30th straight victory in the middle of a winning streak that went on to stretch to 47 games.

Jan. 2, 1956 – James Richard Merritt, 23, of Cincinnati, Ohio and three companions allegedly robbed the London Store near Castleberry, Ala. In all, they got $200 and Merritt would eventually be arrested. He would escape from the Conecuh County Jail on May 22.

Jan. 2, 1963 – During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong won its first major victory in the Battle of Ap Bac, a village in the Mekong Delta 50 miles southwest of Saigon, inflicting heavy casualties on a much larger South Vietnamese force.

Jan. 2, 1965 – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference held its first mass meeting in Selma, Ala. at Brown Chapel, the church that would become the headquarters for the Selma movement.

Jan. 2, 1965 - "Broadway" Joe Namath signed the richest rookie contract ($400,000) in the history of pro football.

Jan. 2, 1967 - In what is described as the biggest air battle of the war to date, U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets downed seven communist MiG-21s over North Vietnam. During this operation, Col. Robin Olds shot down one of the MiGs, becoming the first and only U.S. Air Force ace with victories in both World War II and Vietnam (“ace” was a designation traditionally awarded for five enemy aircraft shot down)

Jan. 2, 1974 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signed a law setting the national speed limit at 55 miles per house as part of the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, which was a response to an oil embargo put in place by the Arab members of OPEC - the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries - in protest of the United States' support of Israel.

Jan. 2, 1975 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Chris Booker of Belleville, a 220-pound offensive guard and defensive end at Monroe Academy, had signed a four-year football grant-in-aid to Troy State University. He was a three-year starter for the Vols who during that time won two state championships and were runners-up the other year. Chris Booker was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Booker of Belleville, and Booker was recruited for Troy by Jim Thompkins, offensive line coach, who indicated that Chris would be playing on the offensive line.

Jan. 2, 1976 – Legendary baseball owner and showman Bill Veeck passed away from lung cancer at the age of 71 at the Illinois Masonic Center in Chicago, Ill.

Jan. 2, 1981 – One of the largest investigations by a British police force ended when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper," was arrested in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Jan. 2, 1983 - Ken Anderson of the Cincinnati Bengals completed 20 consecutive passes to set an NFL record for passing accuracy.

Jan. 2, 1995 - The most distant galaxy discovered to date was first spotted from the Keck Observatory, which perches atop Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, above the clouds at an altitude of almost 14,000 feet.

Jan. 2, 2003 - It was announced that Bill Parcells would be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jan. 2, 2011 – The January 2011 Baghdad shootings took place.

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