Jan. 31, 1606 - Guy Fawkes was executed after being convicted for his role in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I.
Jan. 31, 1686 – Norwegian missionary and explorer Hans Egede was born in Harstad, Northern Norway.
Jan. 31, 1729 – Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen died at the age of 69 in Middelburg, Netherlands.
Jan. 31, 1752 – American Revolutionary Patriot Gouverneur Morris was born to the wealthy Morris family in New York City, New York.
Jan. 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, in New Orleans, La., the U.S. Branch Mint, the Customs House, and U.S. schooner “Washington” were seized by Louisiana State Troops.
Jan. 31, 1862 - Telescope maker Alvin Clark discovered the dwarf companion of Sirius.
Jan. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, Special War Order Number 1 was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The order was directed toward Union Major General George B McClelland to advance toward Manassas prior to Feb. 22, 1862.
Jan. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought on Bull Island, and Confederates attacked the Federal blockading squadron of Charleston, S.C. Also on that day, a Federal operation took place between Murfreesborough and Franklin, Tenn., with skirmishes at Unionville, Middleton and Rover, Tenn.
Jan. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation between Maryville, Tenn. and Quallatown, N.C. began. A Federal cavalry reconnaissance also took place between Madison Courthouse and Mount Carmel Church, Va.
Jan. 31, 1865 - General Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies.
Jan. 31, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and it was submitted to the states for ratification. It was ratified by the necessary number of states on Dec. 6, 1865.
Jan. 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Oxford, Kansas. Three months of Federal operations in North Alabama and East Tennessee also began. A Federal expedition began from Fort Pike (near present day Slidell, La) to Bayou Bonfouca, La. A two-day Federal expedition from Morganza to New Roads, La. began.
Jan. 31, 1872 – Western writer Zane Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio. He is best known for his novel, “Riders of the Purple Sage,” which was published in 1912.
Jan. 31, 1876 - All Native American Indians were ordered to move into reservations.
Jan. 31, 1893 - The trademark "Coca-Cola" was first registered in the United States Patent Office.
Jan. 31, 1902 - Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, was born in Huntsville, Ala. The daughter of U.S. Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in “The Little Foxes” (1939) and her part in the film “Lifeboat” (1943). (There is some question of the exact birthdate; this is the most generally accepted.)
Jan. 31, 1905 – Writer John O’Hara was born in Pottsville, Pa.
Jan. 31, 1912 – The home of J.S. Daw near Hampden Ridge, Ala. was destroyed by fire.
Jan. 31, 1913 – Pro Football Hall of Fame split end, safety and kicker Don Hutson was born in Pine Bluff, Ark. Hutson was an All-American at Alabama and played his entire pro career for the Green Bay Packers.
Jan. 31, 1914 – This day, a Saturday, was the deadline to pay poll taxes in Conecuh County, Ala. because Feb. 1 fell on a Sunday.
Jan. 31, 1914 - Alabama author and illustrator Dorothy Warren Fox was born in Birmingham, Ala.
Jan. 31, 1915 – Author, poet and diarist Thomas Merton was born in Prades, France.
Jan. 31, 1915 – Musicologist Alan Lomax was born in Austin, Texas
Jan. 31, 1915 – During World War I, Germany was the first to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare in the Battle of Bolimów against Russia.
Jan. 31, 1916 – According to The Conecuh Record, “Chief Jones created a ripple of excitement” in Evergreen, Ala. on this Monday “by shooting a dog on the streets.”
Jan. 31, 1917 – During World War I, Germany announced the renewal of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic as German torpedo-armed submarines prepared to attack any and all ships, including civilian passenger carriers, said to be sighted in war-zone waters.
Jan. 31, 1919 – National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Ga. He played his entire Major League career (1947-1956) with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
Jan. 31, 1923 – Norman Mailer, the author of 1948’s “The Naked and the Dead,” was born in Long Branch, N.J.
Jan. 31, 1931 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop and first baseman Ernie Banks was born in Dallas, Texas. He played his entire Major League career (1953-1971) with the Chicago Cubs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
Jan. 31, 1938 - Alabama author Faye Gibbons was born in Carter's Quarter, Ga.
Jan. 31, 1939 – The GA-ANA Theatre was first opened in Georgiana, Ala. by Fred McClendon.
Jan. 31, 1945 – U.S. Army private Eddie Slovik of Detroit, Mich. was executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.
Jan. 31, 1946 – The Democratic Republic of Vietnam introduced the đồng to replace the French Indochinese piastre at par.
Jan. 31, 1947 – Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was born in Refugio, Texas and raised in Alvin, southeast of Houston. He would go on to play for the N.Y. Mets, the California Angels, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Jan. 31, 1957 - A.C. Lee and Miss Alice Lee visited on this Thursday afternoon in Pensacola, Fla. with Mr. Lee’s brother, H.A. Lee.
Jan. 31, 1959 – Members of the Dyatlov Expedition arrived at the edge of a highland area and began to prepare for climbing. In a wooded valley, they cached surplus food and equipment that would be used for the trip back.
Jan. 31, 1961 - Voters approved financing for a domed stadium in Houston, Texas.
Jan. 31, 1963 – Lyeffion High School junior Peggy Tanner was crowned Miss Lyeffion 1963 during a program held on this Thursday night in the school auditorium. Nancy Ikner, an eighth-grader, was named Junior Miss Lyeffion.
Jan. 31, 1963 - Conecuh County businessman Frank Preston Sharpe was killed when his pickup crashed into a truck early on this Thursday night near Evergreen, Ala. Sharpe, 56, was killed instantly when the pickup he was driving crashed into a truck about 2.4 miles north of Evergreen on Highway 83 at 7:15 p.m. He was driving toward Evergreen after completing his day’s route selling fish. Sharpe was the owner of a seafood market in Evergreen and resided on a McKenzie Route. He was well and favorably known in the Evergreen area.
Jan. 31, 1967 – The Conecuh County CowBelles and Cattlemen held their annual banquet meeting at the Evergreen High School lunch room. The following CowBelle officers were elected for 1967: Katie Sue Burt, President; Myrtle Robison, vice president; Louise Ptomey, treasurer; Marjorie Stacey, secretary.
Jan. 31, 1968 – As part of the Tet Offensive, a squad of Viet Cong guerillas attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, and Marine Cpl. James Conrad Marshall of Monroeville, a 1964 graduate of Monroe County High School, died defending the embassy. The guerillas managed to seize the embassy and held it for six hours until an assault force of U.S. paratroopers landed by helicopter on the building’s roof and routed the Viet Cong. Marshall Hall, the Marine Corps Security Guard training center at Quantico, Va. was later named in James Marshall’s honor.
Jan. 31, 1971 – The Winter Soldier Investigation, organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicize war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, began in Detroit.
Jan. 31, 1972 - In a communiqué charging President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger with “unilaterally” divulging the substance of the secret talks, creating the impasse at the secret meeting, and distorting the facts, North Vietnam published the nine-point plan they submitted during the secret talks.
Jan. 31, 1976 – Race car driver Buddy Rice, who won the 2004 Indianapolis 500, was born in Phoenix, Az.
Jan. 31, 1976 – Comedian, actor, producer and screenwriter Paul Scheer was born in Huntington, N.Y.
Jan. 31, 1977 – Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low of 16 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 31, 1979 – The Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Greenville was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Jan. 31, 1986 - The movie “Stripper,” screenplay by Alabama author Charles Gaines, was released.
Jan. 31, 1988 - The first episode of "The Wonder Years" aired on ABC.
Jan. 31, 1988 - Herb Alpert performed the U.S. national anthem at Super Bowl XXII. The Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos, 42-10.
Jan. 31, 1993 - Weather observer Harry Ellis recorded 6.14 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala. during the month of January 1993.
Jan. 31, 1999 - The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII, their second consecutive Super Bowl win. Cher sang the national anthem.
Jan. 31, 1999 – Former Major League first baseman Norm Zauchin passed away in Birmingham, Ala. at the age of 69. He started his professional career in 1950 with the Double-A Birmingham Barons, where he set a Rickwood Field record with 35 home runs. He went on to play for the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Senators.
Jan. 31, 2000 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a total of 4.42 inches of rain during the month of January 2000.
Jan. 31, 2003 - The Chicago White Sox announced a deal that would change the name of Comiskey Park after a 93-year association with the Comiskey name.
Jan. 31, 2005 – Hillcrest High School retired the basketball jersey of player Chris “C.J.” Riley, who died over the Christmas holidays.
Jan. 31, 2007 – Suspects were arrested in Birmingham in the UK, accused of plotting the kidnap, holding and eventual beheading of a serving Muslim British soldier in Iraq.
Jan. 31, 2013 – Major League Baseball first baseman Fred Whitfield, a native of Vandiver, Ala., passed away at the age of 75 in Gadsden due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He played pro baseball from 1962 to 1970 for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cleveland Indians, the Cincinnati Reds and the Montreal Expos.
Jan. 31, 2016 – A UFO was reportedly seen around 6:22 p.m. on this Sunday in Leeds, a suburb of Birmingham. The witness in this case was outside helping his son work on his truck when they looked up and saw a bright, slow-moving light coming from the southwest. The father ran inside for a pair of binoculars and through the binoculars he could see the light had a “fog-like hue” around it. They continued to watch as the object, which emitted no sound, made a 45-degree turn “really different than a normal aircraft.” They watched the object until it disappeared from view behind the tree line.