Jan. 4, 1773 – Joel Lee, Conecuh County, Alabama’s first Justice of the Peace, was born in North Carolina.
Jan. 4, 1796 - The House of Representatives accepted the Colors, or flag, of the French Revolutionary Republic, proclaiming it the most honorable testimonial of the existing sympathies and affections of the two Republics.
Jan. 4, 1780 – Alexander Autrey, the second white man to settle in Conecuh County, was born in North Carolina.
Jan. 4, 1847 – Samuel Colt sold his first revolver pistol to the United States government.
Jan. 4, 1853 – After having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regained his freedom. His memoir “12 Years a Slave” later became a national bestseller.
Jan. 4, 1854 – The McDonald Islands were discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang.
Jan. 4, 1861 – A full week before Alabama seceded from the Union, Governor Andrew B. Moore ordered the seizure of federal military installations within the state. By the end of the next day, Alabama troops controlled Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan and the U.S. Arsenal at Mount Vernon.
Jan. 4, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bath, Alpine Depot, Great Cacapon Bridge, Sir John's Run and Slane's Cross Roads in West Virginia.
Jan. 4, 1863 - In Murfeesboro, Tenn., Confederate General Roger Weightman Hanson, age 35, died from wounds that he suffered two days earlier in the Battle of Stones River.
Jan. 4, 1863 – A 13-day Federal expedition by Major General John A. McClernand against Arkansas Post, Arkansas began.
Jan. 4, 1863 – A three-day Federal reconnaissance from Ozark, Mo. to Dubuque, Ark. began.
Jan. 4, 1863 – The first of two days of Federal operations against Indians began in the New Mexico Territory.
Jan. 4, 1863 - Skirmishes were fought on the Manchester Pike, at Monterey and at Murfreesborough, Tenn.
Jan. 4, 1863 – Confederate soldier Pierre Costello, who was Coffee County’s second probate judge, was killed in Murfreesboro, Tenn. As a memorial to Coffee County’s Confederate dead, his wife, Cordelia Lee Costello, led the effort to have stained glass windows placed in the Elba United Methodist Church in their memory.
Jan. 4, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Lockwoods' Folly Inlet, North Carolina and at Sparta, Tennessee.
Jan. 4, 1865 – Skirmishes were fought at Ponds, Miss., along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
Jan. 4, 1865 - A 12-day Federal expedition from Bloomfield to Poplar Bluff, Missouri began.
Jan. 4, 1865 - The second Federal expedition to Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, North Carolina, had a change of leadership. So far, the Union assault on Wilmington, North Carolina, had been a complete failure. Intended as an amphibious assault on Christmas Day, in the opening attack on Ft. Fisher, the gunboats had encountered sand bars in unexpected places, and the troop transports had had foul weather and tossing seas to contend with. Of the 2000 soldiers who were finally landed, some 700 had been abandoned for two days when the others withdrew. In desperation, Admiral D.D. Porter had written to General Grant that the plan was fine but could only succeed with a different Army commander that Ben Butler. Grant agreed entirely, and on this day Butler was replaced by Major General Alfred Terry, who had commanded a corps in Butler’s army
Jan. 4, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Thorn Hill in Marion County, Alabama.
Jan. 4, 1883 – The Pensacola Opera House officially opened its doors for the first time.
Jan. 4, 1883 - The Ontario Rugby Football Union was formed. The organization was the forerunner of the CFL.
Jan. 4, 1896 - Utah was admitted as the 45th U.S. state.
Jan. 4, 1896 - Prof. Ivey of the Perdue Hill High School visited Monroeville, Ala. on this Saturday, and reported to The Monroe Journal that “his school continues to prosper.”
Jan. 4, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that “Christmas in Monroeville was celebrated in an unusually quiet and orderly manner. Not a single incident came under our notice to mar the enjoyment of the occasion.” The Journal also noted that the “Christmas Tree in the courthouse on the evening of Dec. 25 was a very pleasant affair. The tree was loaded with a large number of presents and nearly everyone received some souvenir of the occasion.” Elsewhere in that week’s paper, it was reported that “the local merchants report very gratifying sales during the holidays, and in fact, a prosperous business throughout the fall season.”
Jan. 4, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that David Davis of Manistee, Ala. visited the newspaper office and reported that he was “doing a prosperous mercantile business, as is evidenced by the recent completion of a new and commodious store building.”
Jan. 4, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported “a few business changes… with the opening of the new year.” A.T. Sowell had retired from The J.W. Fore Co., and was to “shortly engage in the mercantile business on his own account. Mr. C.C. Yarbrough will be associated with Mr. H.E. Hudson in the gin and mill business and plant will be enlarged. The Monroe Livery Co., J.F. Hassell, manager, has begun at the Hybart stand while Mr. Hybart’s livery business will be conducted from the Watson stables.”
Jan. 4, 1912 – The Conecuh Record reported that Jas. F. Jones had been appointed county solicitor because J.S. Stevens resigned. G.W. Miller of Herbert was also appointed deputy sheriff by Sheriff E.C. Hines.
Jan. 4, 1913 - German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen, mastermind of an aggressive German military strategy that would soon be used, in modified form, at the start of the Great War, died in Berlin.
Jan. 4, 1915 – The annual meeting of Monroe County Bank’s stockholders was held and the following officers and directors were elected for the ensuing year: President, J.B. Barnett; Vice President, D.J. Hatter, Cashier, D.D. Mims; Directors, C.J. Jackson, Q. Salter, J.M. Coxwell, B.H. Stallworth and M.M. Fountain.
Jan. 4, 1920 - The National Negro Baseball League was organized.
Jan. 4, 1930 – Pro Footbal Hall of Famer Don Shula was born in Grand River, Ohio. He went on to play for the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Colts and the Washington Redskins and also served as the head coach for the Colts and the Miami Dolphins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Jan. 4, ,1935 – Bob Hope made the move to radio when he took over as host of a show called The Intimate Revue, starting a 60-year broadcasting career for Hope, who had been performing since he was 12 years old - first as a street performer, and then in vaudeville.
Jan. 4, 1940 – The Monroe Journal reported that “last weekend marked the completion of all unpaved gaps in the sidewalks around the public square and WPA workers are now employed on sidewalks along the streets which have not heretofore been paved. A sidewalk is being constructed on the east side of Mt. Pleasant Street and will probably extend to the end of the present black top. When completed this street will have concrete sidewalks on both sides for nearly a mile.”
Jan. 4, 1943 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin was born in Brooklyn, New York.
Jan. 4, 1944 – May 9, 1945 – Between these dates, the USS Eldridge of “Philadelphia Experiment” fame sailed on the vital task of escorting to the Mediterranean Sea men and materials to support Allied operations in North Africa and on into southern Europe. It made nine voyages to deliver convoys safely to Casablanca, Bizerte and Oran.
Jan. 4, 1945 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Mrs. Ruth Hall, Repton, Rt. E, received a telegram on Jan. 3 from the War Department announcing that her husband, Private William H. (Billy) Hall had been missing in action in Germany since Dec. 12. Pvt. Hall was believed to have been attached to the Third Army. Mrs. Hall had a letter from him written Dec. 9, three days before he was reported missing, in which he stated that shells were bursting all around him while he was writing.
Jan. 4, 1945 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Staff Sgt. James L. Daniels Jr. had been awarded the Air Medal and Bronze Star for meritorious service with the 15th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theatre of operations. The medal was sent to his mother in Evergreen the previous week. Sgt. Daniels’ outfit had been cited by the President a few months before for outstanding service. When last heard from, Daniels, who went overseas in August 1944, had more than 40 missions to his credit.
Jan. 4, 1946 - Dunk Little, an elderly black man, was burned to death on this Friday night when his house, located near the Monroe Oil Company storage tanks, was razed by fire. The origin of the fire was unknown as of Jan. 10, 1946.
Jan. 4-5, 1947 – Martha Atwater, 51, was struck and killed by a southbound train sometime late on this Saturday night or early on Sunday morning under the bridge in downtown Evergreen, Ala. Her mangled body was found early on Jan. 5 and investigators ruled her death a suicide. She was last seen alive between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Jan. 4 and her winter coat was found draped over a concrete buffer brace beneath the bridge.
Jan. 4, 1951 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the men of Battery “C,” 117th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st (Dixie) Division, Conecuh County unit of the Alabama National Guard, were getting ready to go on active federal duty on Jan. 16. The 31st Division had been called back into national service and was to be sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The local battery expected to move out sometime between Jan. 16 and Jan. 26. Battery “C” guardsmen were drilling on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights at the armory in Evergreen, readying themselves for fulltime service. Battery strength as of Mon., Jan. 1, was 79 officers and enlisted men. The battery was commanded by Capt. John C. Holman, who was executive officer when “C” was mobilized just prior to World War II. The battery was well supplied with experienced and capable officers and non-coms. All of the officers were World War II vets as well as most of the top-ranking NCO’s. In all, there were 21 World War II veterans on the battery roster.
Jan. 4, 1955 - Dr. John Jonathan Dailey, 72-year-old Tunnel Springs physician and chairman of the Monroe County Board of Education for 14 years, died at the Monroeville Hospital at 5:15 a.m. on this Tuesday following an illness of several weeks. Dailey was a native Monroe Countian, having practiced medicine for 49 years in the Tunnel Springs and Beatrice communities. He was first elected to the county board of education in 1938 and has served as its chairman since 1940.
Jan. 4, 1955 - Monroe County High School’s boys basketball rolled to its fifth victory of the season on this Tuesday night by defeating J.U. Blacksher, 65-26, at the MCHS gym. Leading MCHS in scoring was Joe Stevens with 16 points, followed closely by guard Melvin Dulaney with 14 points. Al Gene Hines led Blacksher with 16 points, while Frank Hadley and Jack Madison followed with four each.
Jan. 4, 1955 – Murphy High School’s boys basketball team was scheduled to play Evergreen High School at Memorial Gym in Evergreen, the first game for Evergreen after nearly a three-week layoff for the Christmas holidays. Murphy was led by high-scoring Bobby Jackson, an all-state selection in football at quarterback, and Evergreen was led by Coach Wendell Hart and high-scoring center Randy White, who was averaging more than 21 points per game. A large crowd was expected for the game.
Jan. 4, 1957 - The Dodgers bought a 44-passenger twin-engine airplane for $775,000, becoming the first team to own its own plane.
Jan. 4, 1962 – The undefeated Frisco City High School boys basketball team beat Evergreen High School, 75-62, in Evergreen. Bill Sawyer led Frisco with 20 points, and Joe Kelly scored 19. Mike Ward led Evergreen with 34 points, “the highest individual total for any Aggie cager in several seasons.”
Jan. 4, 1962 – German SS officer Hans Lammers died at the age of 82 in Düsseldorf.
Jan. 4, 1965 – Nobel Prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot died in London at the age of 76.
Jan. 4, 1965 – During the Vietnam War, in his State of the Union message, President Lyndon B. Johnson reaffirmed U.S. commitment to support South Vietnam in fighting communist aggression.
Jan. 4-13, 1968 – Seaman Milton L. Hardee of Evergreen, Ala. participated in Operation Bead Stringer as a crew member of the USS Long Beach, a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser. “Bead Stringer” was a U.S. First Fleet training exercise conducted off the Southern California coast.
Jan. 4, 1969 – Frisco City High School’s varsity boys basketball team was scheduled to play Dixie Academy, a private school in Louisville, Ala., at 7 p.m. on this Saturday. Frisco was 7-3 overall and Dixie, coached by former Excel coach Lee Holliday, was 6-1 overall.
Jan. 4, 1971 – Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace wed the former Cornelia Ellis Snively (1939–2009), a niece of former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, known as "Big Jim". The couple divorced in 1978.
Jan. 4, 1974 – United States President Richard Nixon refused to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
Jan. 4, 1974 - South Vietnamese troops reported that 55 soldiers had been killed in two clashes with communist forces, causing South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to claim that the war had “restarted,” essentially marking the end of attempts to adhere to the agreements of the Paris Peace Accords.
Jan. 4, 1975 – A dove shoot to benefit the McKenzie High School Quarterback Club was scheduled to be held at J.M. Hawsey’s place on this Saturday. Admission was $1.
Jan. 4, 1976 - The Dallas Cowboys became the first wild-card team to make it to the Super Bowl. They beat the Los Angeles Ram, 37-7, in the NFC title game.
Jan. 4, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Ted Lilly was born in Lomita, Calif. He went on to play for the Montreal Expos, the New York Yankees, the Oakland Athletics, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jan. 4, 1977 - Mary Shane was hired by the Chicago White Sox as the first woman TV play-by-play announcer.
Jan. 4, 1978 – Scott’s Arcade, located on Highway 31 South in Evergreen, Ala., opened for the first time, offering pinball, billiards, air hockey, foosball and more.
Jan. 4, 1979 – Sparta Academy’s girls basketball team was scheduled to play Greenville Academy in Evergreen, Ala.
Jan. 4, 1980 – The Oakey Streak Methodist Episcopal Church off State Route 59 near Greenville, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Jan. 4, 1983 - The USFL (United States Football League) held its first player draft.
Jan. 4, 1996 - Don Shula announced his retirement from coaching the Miami Dolphins after 26 seasons.
Jan. 4, 1998 - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasted the first episode of “Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy,” a television series based on books written by Alabama author Richmond P. Hobson Jr.
Jan. 4, 1999 – Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota.
Jan. 4, 2000 – Pro Football Hall of Fame split end Tom Fears died at the age of 77 in Palm Desert, Calif. During his career, he played for UCLA and the Los Angeles Rams and also served as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970.
Jan. 4, 2001 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen-Conecuh Chamber of Commerce President Alesia Stuart had announced that the Board of Directors had elected new officers for the year 2001 at its meeting in December. John Raines was elected president; Brent Salter, vice-president; and Terry Jackson, treasurer. The newly elected officers and directors were to be installed at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Banquet to be held Thurs., Jan. 25, at the Hillcrest High School Cafetorium.
Jan. 4, 2003 - The Green Bay Packers lost 27-7 to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC wild card game. It was the first time that the Packers had lost a playoff game at home.
Jan. 4, 2006 - University of Texas quarterback Vince Young made an eight-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 19 seconds left in the game, capping one of the best individual performances in college football history while leading his team to a Rose Bowl victory and a national championship title over the University of Southern California (USC).
Jan. 4, 2008 – In the fictional Bigfoot movie “Hunting the Legend,” the father of 15-year-old Chris Copeland was killed and disappeared while deer hunting in Wilcox County, Ala. Only the father’s rifle, lots of blood on the ground and a giant footprint are found, and investigators eventually rule that the man was killed by a wild boar.
Jan. 4, 2011 – Hillcrest High School’s varsity boys basketball team, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, beat 4A Area 2 rival Thomasville High School, 57-46, in Evergreen, Ala. Standout Hillcrest players in that game included Barron Smith and DeAundre Lyons. Hillcrest’s girls suffered a 42-26 loss to Thomasville.
Jan. 4, 2011 - Despite having three players post double doubles, Sparta Academy came up two points shy of a win in a double overtime game against East Memorial Christian Academy on this Tuesday in Prattville. EMCA won, 54-52. Devlin Crosby, Garrett McClain and Dalton Baggett finished the game with a double double each. Crosby led with 15 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, six assists and five blocks. McClain followed with 11 points, 12 rebounds and a steal. Baggett finished the game with 10 points, 18 rebounds, a steal, an assist and a block. Other standout Sparta players that season included Tom Andrews, Allen Stuart, Jacob Hendrix, Hunter Hanks, Michael Cook, Drew Hardin, Michael Brown and Dylan Middleton.
Jan. 4, 2011 – After nearly 2-1/2 weeks off, Sparta Academy’s varsity girls basketball team came up one point shy on this Tuesday against East Memorial Christian Academy in Prattville. Sparta, ranked No. 4 in the statewide basketball poll, lost to EMCA, 31-30, in Sparta’s first game since winning the Fort Dale Tournament title game on Dec. 18. April Palmer led Sparta with 18 points, two rebounds and five steals. Other standout players on Sparta’s team that season included Savannah Brown, Emily Booker, Madelyn Black, Grace Matlock and Stephanie Martin.