Jan. 3, 1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther for condemning the Catholic Church in his 95 theses.
Jan. 3, 1543 – Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo died of gangrene, at the age of 43 or 44, on Santa Catalina Island.
Jan. 3, 1722 – Swedish biologist and explorer Fredrik Hasselqvist was born at Törnevalla, Östergötland.
Jan. 3, 1749 – The first issue of Berlingske, Denmark's oldest continually operating newspaper, was published.
Jan. 3, 1777 – During the American Revolution, American General George Washington defeated British General Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.
Jan. 3, 1781 – British General John Campbell ordered Capt. Von Hanxleden to attack Spanish Fort, which was located in present-day Alabama.
Jan. 3, 1812 – Joseph Morgan Wilcox, 21, graduated at the top of his class at the U.S. Military Academy. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Army’s 3rd Infantry. Wilcox County, Ala. was later named in his honor.
Jan. 3, 1819 – Alabama governor, state legislator and attorney Thomas Hill Watts was born in Butler County, Ala.
Jan. 3, 1841 – Herman Melville, age 21, set sail aboard the whaling vessel Acushnet on this date in 1841 from the port of New Bedford, Mass. bound for the Pacific Ocean.
Jan. 3, 1861 – Just two weeks after South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, the state of Delaware rejected secession when its legislature voted overwhelmingly to remain with the United States.
Jan. 3, 1861 – During the Civil War, Fort Pulaski, Savannah River, Ga. was seized by Georgia state troops by order of Governor Joseph E. Brown.
Jan. 3, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Hunnewell, Missouri and at Bath and Huntersville, both in West Va. A Federal reconnaissance mission also began from Camp Hamilton to Big Bethel, Virginia.
Jan. 3, 1863 - During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Plaquemine, La.; Burnsville, Miss.; near Clifton, at Somerviller, and at the Insane Asylum, or Cox’s Hill, Tenn.; and near Moorefield, West Virginia.
Jan. 3, 1864 – During the Civil War, U.S. Major General Stephen Hurlbut was commander of Union forces in Memphis, Tennessee, but that was far from his only area of interest or responsibility. He had a source of information deep within Confederate lines, who reported to him from Mobile, Ala. Today the news was not good. As Hurlbut reported to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, “The “Tennessee” at Mobile will be ready for sea in 20 days. She is a dangerous craft, Buchanan thinks more so than the “Merrimack”...” Hurlbut was not exaggerating, either. The “Tennessee” was the largest ironclad ever built by the Confederacy, 209 feet long and 48 feet in the beam. The “Buchanan” mentioned in the telegram was the ship’s designer, Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan, who had apparently never heard the saying that “loose lips sink ships.”
Jan. 3, 1864 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation began from Memphis, Tenn. toward Hernando, Miss. A skirmish was also fought at Jonesville, Va. A Federal reconnaissance mission from Charlestown, West Virginia to Winchester, Va. also resulted in a skirmish near Berryville, Va.
Jan. 3, 1864 – During the Civil War, Confederate cavalry operations took place in Hampshire and Hardy Counties, West Virginia.
Jan. 3, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Mechanicsburg, Miss. and near Hardeeville, N.C. A Federal expedition began resulting in the eventual capture of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
Jan. 3, 1892 – J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was born to English parents in Blomfontein, South Africa, where his father worked in a bank. Raised primarily in England, he would one day write “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
Jan. 3, 1901 – Ngô Đình Diệm, the first President of the Republic of Vietnam, was born in Quảng Bình, French Indochina.
Jan. 3, 1908 – In Monroe County, H.C. Walston and Edward English killed one another in a shootout in a dispute over a black worker named Jesse Thompson. English killed John S. McDuffie in a shooting in 1904.
Jan. 3-4, 1915 – Capt. Reuben F. Kolb, Alabama’s Commissioner of Agriculture, visited Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 3, 1916 - The first term of Monroe County Court for 1916 was held on this Monday, with Judge I.B. Slaughter presiding. “The docket was somewhat lighter than on some former occasions.”
Jan. 3, 1917 - You never know what is going to happen from one day to the next, nurse Marion Rice wrote on this day in 1917, from an army hospital in Caux Seine Auf, France.
Jan. 3, 1919 – At the Paris Peace Conference, Emir Faisal I of Iraq signed an agreement with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann on the development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East.
Jan. 3, 1923 – Pro Football Hall of Fame back and head coach Hank Stram was born in Chicago, Ill. He went on to play for Perdue and coached the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Jan. 3, 1924 - English explorer and Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the stone sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt.
Jan. 3, 1924 - The regular annual meeting of the stockholders of the Bank of Excel was scheduled to be held at the bank in Excel on this Thursday at 10 a.m. D.D. Mims was president of the bank.
Jan. 3, 1941 - The National Collegiate Football Rules Committee announced a new rule that permitted the free substitution of football players.
Jan. 3, 1945 – Former Selma, Ala. resident Edgar Cayce died in Virginia Beach, Va. Known as the "sleeping prophet," he was considered the most documented psychic of the 20th century, giving readings to thousands of seekers while in a trance state. He lived in Selma, Ala. from 1912 to 1925.
Jan. 3, 1945 – Polish journalist and explorer Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski died at the age of 68 in Żółwin, Poland.
Jan. 3, 1946 – William Joyce, an American-born Irish-British Fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster, was hanged at the age of 39 in Wandsworth Prison, London, England. Nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw, he was convicted of one count of High Treason in 1945.
Jan. 3, 1947 - Al Herrin passed away at age 92 in Trenton, New Jersey. He claimed that he had not slept at all during his life.
Jan. 3, 1947 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team beat Castleberry, 31-18, in Evergreen, Ala. Aggie forward Melvin Brantley led Evergreen with 12 points, and James Carpenter followed with 10 points. Dees led Castleberry with eight points.
Jan. 3, 1951 – Army Cpl. Robert E. Godwin of Escambia County, Ala. “died while missing” in Korea. Godwin was a resident of Atmore when he entered the service and was a member of the 7th Reconnaissance Company, 7th Infantry Division. He was seriously injured in South Korea on Sept. 28, 1950 and returned to duty on Nov. 4, 1950. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy in South Korea on Jan. 3, 1951 and was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. Godwin was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Jan. 3, 1953 – “The Lawless Breed,” a film based on the life of outlaw John Wesley Hardin, was released in theaters. Portions of the film were shot in Pollard, and Rock Hudson starred in the role of Hardin, who once lived in Pollard for about 18 months.
Jan. 3, 1959 – Alaska became the 49th state to enter the United States.
Jan. 3, 1961 – The Monroeville Study Club honored Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” during a meeting at the home of Mrs. P.S. Jackson in Peterman, Ala. The entire meeting was devoted to Lee and her book, and Mrs. Lois Bowden led a round table discussion and question-and-answer session with Lee.
Jan. 3, 1962 - Work began on the construction of the Houston Astrodome.
Jan. 3, 1963 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Bill Sawyer, a senior at Frisco City High School, had been chosen as an end on the Class B All-State Football Team, which was selected by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Parvin Sawyer of Frisco City, Ala., and he was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Hart of Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 3, 1963 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen, Ala. would get dial phones for the first time in late 1964. Evergreen was one of the last cities of its size in the Alabama to go to dial phones and was one of the last exchanges of its size in the country to still be operated manually.
Jan. 3, 1965 – During the Vietnam War, the political crisis that had been undermining the South Vietnamese government and military for months was aggravated when thousands of antigovernment demonstrators in Saigon clashed with government marines and police.
Jan. 3, 1966 - Tuskegee native Samuel Younge Jr. was killed when he attempted to use the whites-only bathroom at a gas station in Macon County, Ala. He was 21 years old. After receiving a medical discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1964, Younge returned home, enrolled in college, and became involved in the civil rights movement. He was one of the demonstrators in Montgomery on March 10, 1965, who were protesting the March 7 "Bloody Sunday " violence in Selma. In September 1965, Younge was arrested in Opelika, along with six other students, while attempting to transport individuals to register to vote in Lee County. At the time he was killed, he was working a voter-registration drive in Macon County.
Jan. 3, 1967 - Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.
Jan. 3, 1968 – During the Vietnam War, Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minnesota) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. McCarthy had been a contender to be President Lyndon B. Johnson’s running mate in the 1964 election, but since then he had become increasingly disenchanted with Johnson’s policies in Vietnam and the escalation of the war. In 1967, he published The Limits of Power, an assessment of U.S. foreign policy that was very critical of the Johnson administration.
Jan. 3, 1969 – Army SPC5 Ted Arnold White of Dickinson (in Clarke County, Ala.) was killed in action in Vietnam.
Jan. 3, 1969 - New officers of the Kiwanis Club of Monroeville, Ala. were to be installed by Conrad S. Wall of Beatrice at the first regular meeting of the year on this Friday. Wall was Lt. Governor of Division Seven. New officers to be installed were Jim McAlarney, president; Bill Nettles, vice president; Larry Knight, second vice president; John Bowden, secretary; and L.C. Hendrix, treasurer. New directors to be installed were Wayne Elliott, Fred Nall, Tandy Culpepper, Joe Nettles, Jim Nicholson and Carl Langlois.
Jan. 3, 1972 - Alabama's legislative districts were reapportioned by federal court order to bring them in line with the principle of "one man/one vote." Neither the first nor the last such federal court action, this plan established single-member districts, which no longer necessarily followed county boundaries.
Jan. 3, 1973 - The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sold the New York Yankees to a 12-man syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner for $10 million.
Jan. 3, 1976 – Actor and producer Nicholas Gonzalez was born in San Antonio, Texas.
Jan. 3, 1977 - The Kansas City Royals releases pitcher Lindy McDaniel, ending his 21-year career.
Jan. 3, 1978 - Louphenia Thomas became the first black woman elected to the Alabama Legislature, filling the unexpired term of John T. Porter.
Jan. 3, 1979 – Ann Bedsole began serving in the Alabama State House as the Representative for District 101 (Mobile) after being the first Republican woman to have been elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. She would serve in the State House until Jan. 3, 1983.
Jan. 3, 1983 – Ann Bedsole began serving in the Alabama Senate as the Senator for District 34 (Mobile) after being the first Republican woman to have been elected to the Alabama State Senate. She would serve in the State Senate until Jan. 3, 1995.
Jan. 3, 1983 - Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys made the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Dorsett ran 99 yards in a game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Jan. 3, 1985 – The Monroe Journal reported that the page width of that week’s Journal was slightly over an inch less than that of previous editions, and the change was permanent – designed to make The Journal’s size equal to those of other newspapers. Newspapers throughout the United States had been changing in recent months to approximately the same page and column widths that The Journal had then. Prior to this date, The Journal last narrowed its page width in January 1979, and at that time converted from eight to six columns per page, widening the columns to make them more readable.
Jan. 3, 1985 – The Monroe Journal reported that several Frisco City volunteer firemen received awards at the department’s barbecue in December. Receiving awards for 1984 were Curtiss Owens, Fireman of the Year; Leonard Racca, achievement award; Darren Wilson, Fireman of the Year and an achievement award; fire chief Ray Owens, honorary Fireman of the Year; Larry Pugh, honorary Fireman of the Year and an achievement award; and Andrea Owens, Rookie of the Year.
Jan. 3, 1985 – The Monroe Journal reported that the University of South Alabama women’s basketball team was off to a fine start that season under the direction of head coach Charles Branum, a native of Monroeville, Ala. The Lady Jaguars had posted a 9-0 record prior to the holiday break. Branum, 43, took the helm of the Lady Jaguars four seasons before after coaching the boys varsity team for 12 years at Evergreen High. Branum was a graduate of Monroe County High School and Livingston University.
Jan. 3, 1993 - Backup quarterback Frank Reich led the Buffalo Bills to a 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an American Football Conference (AFC) wild card playoff game that will forever be known to football fans as "The Comeback."
Jan. 3, 2003 – Pro Football Hall of Fame end Sid Gillman died at the age of 91 in Carlsbad, Calif. During his career, he played at Ohio State and for the Cleveland Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
Jan. 3, 2005 - Former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann declared his candidacy for Pennsylvania governor.
Jan. 3, 2008 - Alabama author Olivia Solomon died in Tallassee, Ala.
Jan. 3, 2010 - Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans set the NFL single-season record for yards from scrimmage. He finished the season with 2,509 yards.
Jan. 3, 2010 - Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys set a team record when he took every snap for the entire regular season.
Jan. 3, 2013 – Czech cryptozoologist, explorer, and author Ivan Mackerle died at the age of 70 in Praque. He organized expeditions to search for the Loch Ness monster of Scotland, the Tasmanian tiger in Australia, and the elephant bird in Madagascar. He was most notable for his search of the Mongolian death worm, and he conducted three trips to Mongolia in 1990, 1992, and 2004.
Jan. 3, 2015 – Weather reporter Betty Ellis reported 1.22 inches of rain in Evergreen.