Jan. 5, 842 A.D. – Al-Mu'tasim, the Iraqi 8th Abbasid caliph, died at the age of 45 or 46 in Samarra.
Jan. 5, 1587 – Chinese geographer and explorer Xu Xiake was born in what is today Jiangyin (in Jiangsu province) as Xu Hongzu, as the second son of Xu Yu'an and Wang Ruren.
Jan. 5, 1643 – The first legal divorce recorded in the American colonies – between Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and her estranged husband Dennis Clarke, was finalized.
Jan. 5, 1709 - A sudden, extreme cold killed thousands in Europe.
Jan. 5, 1713 – French explorer and author Jean Chardin died at the age of 69 in Chiswick, London.
Jan. 5, 1778 – American general and explorer Zebulon Pike was born in Lamberton, New Jersey.
Jan. 5, 1781 – During the American Revolution, traitor and British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold enjoyed his greatest success as a British commander when his 1,600 largely Loyalist troops sailed up the James River and captured the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond, Va.
Jan. 5, 1834 – English surgeon and explorer William John Wills was born in Totnes, Devon, England.
Jan. 5, 1861 - Alabama troops seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines at Mobile Bay. Making this a more interesting incident is the fact that the state of Alabama had yet to even succeed from the Federal union. On Jan. 3, 1861, Gov. Moore activated six companies of the Volunteer Corps of Alabama, which had been created the previous year. The next day, in a daring move justified as necessary to secure peaceful secession, Moore ordered the state troops to seize federal installations in Alabama before the state seceded. By Jan. 5, Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, and the United States Arsenal at Mount Vernon were controlled by the state of Alabama.
Jan. 5, 1861 - The U.S. Senators from the southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas met in Washington, D.C. to discuss options of seceding from the United States.
Jan. 5, 1861 - The Star of the West, a Union merchant vessel, left New York with supplies and 250 men to relieve Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina. On Jan. 9, the ship turned around after being hit once by cannon fire from the South Carolina militia. The standoff in Charleston Harbor continued until April when South Carolinians opened the massive bombardment that started the Civil War.
Jan. 5, 1862 – During the Civil War, the bombardment of Hancock, Maryland began.
Jan. 5, 1862 – During the Civil War, seven days of Federal operations began in Johnson and La Fayette Counties, Mo.
Jan. 5, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Lytle’s Creek, on the Manchester Pike and along the Shelbyville Pike, Tenn.; Cub Run, Va.; and Moorefield, West Va. Murfreesborough, Tenn. was also occupied by Federal forces.
Jan. 5, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmish were fought at Little Ogeechee River and near Dalton, Ga.; with Navajo Indians on the Pecos River, near Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory; and at Lawrence’s Mill, Tennessee.
Jan. 5, 1867 – The earliest issue of The Monroe Journal still known to exist – Vol. 1, No. 29 – was published on this day. It contained, among other things, a “Letter from the Piney Woods” datelined “Wild Fork,” several ads about land sales, an ad for the Battle House Hotel in Mobile.
Jan. 5, 1885 – The Monroe Journal announced that Q. Salter had become one of the newspaper’s publishers. Salter “had charge of the composing room and business department” of The Journal during the preceding 12 months. H.R. Hood was the newspaper’s editor.
Jan. 5, 1886 – A “cold wave” struck Monroeville, Ala. on this Tuesday evening.
Jan. 5, 1897 – The Locklin House and the store of R.F. Lowrey at Perdue Hill, Ala. were destroyed by fire, a loss of $7,500.
Jan. 5, 1902 – English novelist and poet Stella Gibbons was born in London.
Jan. 5, 1911 – The Conecuh Record reported that the thermometer in Evergreen, Ala. reached 12 degrees on this day.
Jan. 5, 1911 – Evergreen councilman W.H. Moorer was appointed mayor of Evergreen, Ala. to fill the unexpired term of Capt. J.C. Cheney, who moved with his family to Montgomery to take a position in state government. E.J. McCreary was appointed to fill Moorer’s council seat.
Jan. 5, 1913 – Henderson Stokes of Loree died and was buried with Masonic honors at Owassa, Ala.
Jan. 5, 1916 - With the Great War edging into its third calendar year, British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced the first military conscription bill in his country’s history to the House of Commons, and it was passed into law as the Military Service Act later that month, going into effect on Feb. 10.
Jan. 5, 1919 – The German Workers' Party, which would become the Nazi Party, was founded.
Jan. 5, 1920 - The New York Yankees purchased "Babe" Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $125,000.
Jan. 5, 1922 – Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton died of a heart attack at the age of 47 while his ship was moored in South Georgia.
Jan. 5, 1923 - Record producer Sam Phillips was born in Florence, Ala. His first hit record, in 1951, was "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, which is considered by many to the first rock and roll record. A few of the super stars who worked with Phillips included B. B. King, Chester Arthur Burnett (Howlin' Wolf), Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
Jan. 5, 1926 - Attorney General Harwell G. Davis visited The Courant office on this Tuesday and stated that he was enroute to Castleberry to attend a Knights of Pythias meeting.
Jan. 5, 1926 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.D. (William DeWitt) Snodgrass was born in Wilkinsburg, Pa.
Jan. 5, 1927 - A three-day public hearing began on the charges that four Major League Baseball games played between Chicago and Detroit on Sept. 2 and 3 of 1917 had been thrown.
Jan. 5, 1931 - Lucille Thomas became the first woman to buy a professional baseball team when she bought the Topeka franchise of the Western League.
Jan. 5, 1931 - Edward Robison Morrissett, a prominent Mobilian, died on this Monday afternoon at his residence at 59 North Monterey St. Morrissette, who had been retired from business for some time, was a native of Monroe County, but had resided in Mobile for more than 26 years. Funeral services were to be held on Jan. 6 at 3 p.m. from his residence with interment to follow in Magnolia Cemetery.
Jan. 5, 1932 – Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Noll was born in Sewickley, Pa. He would play for the Cleveland Browns from 1953 to 1959 and would serve as the head coach of the Pittsburg Steelers from 1969 to 1991. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Jan. 5, 1932 – Umberto Eco was born in the Piedmont region of Italy. He's the author of the novels “The Name of the Rose” (1981), “Foucault's Pendulum” (1989), and The Cemetery of Prague (2010).
Jan. 5, 1933 – Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in the San Francisco Bay.
Jan. 5, 1934 - Both the National and American baseball leagues decided to use a uniform-size baseball. It was the first time in 33 years that both leagues used the same size ball.
Jan. 5, 1936 - Barney Blair, a 28-year-old Conecuh County farmer, was killed on this Sunday afternoon “with a pistol bullet through the center of his forehead” and four of his neighbors were held in connection with the death. Blair was killed at the home of Riley Merritt, 10 miles southwest of Castleberry, and Daniel Kent confessed to Conecuh County Sheriff Moore that he did the shooting. Kent, however, claimed that it was an accident and that a pistol which he had in his hands went off when he was attempting to tighten a crew with his knife. In addition to Daniel Kent, officers also took into custody as possible accessories, his brother, Ben Kent; Riley Merritt and his father, Travis Merritt. All four were in the Conecuh County Jail on murder charges as of Jan. 9, 1936.
Jan. 5, 1937 – Phillip “Old Buck” Samuel was struck and killed by a freight train in Evergreen, Ala. and his white friends erected a tombstone for him in the Old Evergreen Cemetery.
Jan. 5, 1938 – Pro Football Hall of Fame center Jim Otto was born in Wausau, Wisconsin. He went on to play for the University of Miami and the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
Jan. 5, 1938 – Author Ngugi wa Thiong’o was born James Ngugi in Limuru, Kenya.
Jan. 5, 1940 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) got its very first demonstration of FM radio.
Jan. 5, 1944 - The London "Daily Mail" became the first transoceanic newspaper to be published.
Jan. 5, 1948 - Warner Brothers-Pathe showed the very first color newsreel. The footage was of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football classic.
Jan. 5, 1951 - Repton High School’s boys basketball team did what no other Conecuh County team had done in some nine or 10 years on this Friday night when they beat Evergreen High School, 44-30. The game was played in Repton’s “fine gym before a crowd of several hundred fans.” Outstanding players on Repton’s team, which was led by head coach Charles Pouncey, included Andrews, Burt, Butts, Kelly and McMillan. Outstanding players on Evergreen’s team included Gwyn Daniels, Ed Hooks, Gillis Morgan, Jeff Moorer, Bill Watson and Bobby Wells.
Jan. 5, 1959 - A replica of the miraculous 11-inch Mexican statue, the Holy Infant of Good Health was given to Pope John XXIII.
Jan. 5, 1959 - Mrs. Ralph Lazenby, prominent Monroeville, Ala. resident, was to represent Monroeville in a special interview on a Montgomery television station on this Monday. Monroeville Mayor Leonard Morris said Lazenby was to represent town officials on a program to promote the local area. She was to appear on the “Catherine Wright Show” on WSFA TV, Channel 12, at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 5, 1963 – National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman and manager Rogers Hornsby died at the age of 66 in Chicago, Ill. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Giants, the Boston Braves, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Browns, and he also managed the Cardinals, the Giants, the Braves, the Cubs, the Browns and the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1942.
Jan. 5, 1967 - On this day during the Vietnam War, 1st Battalion, 9th U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese Marine Brigade Force Bravo conducted amphibious operations in the Kien Hoa Province in the Mekong Delta, located 62 miles south of Saigon, as part of Operation Deckhouse V, the first time that U.S. combat troops were used in the Mekong Delta.
Jan. 5, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, President-elect Richard Nixon named Henry Cabot Lodge to succeed W. Averell Harriman as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks, Lawrence Edward Walsh, a New York lawyer and former deputy attorney general, was named deputy chief negotiator to replace Cyrus R. Vance, and Marshall Green, an Asian affairs expert and ambassador to Indonesia, was assigned to assist the negotiating team.
Jan. 5, 1970 – Army Spc. Max Duane Kersey of Opp, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam. Kersey served in Co. B, 7th Infantry, 3rd Battalion. His tour of duty in Vietnam started on July 22, 1969. The Combat Area Casualties record shows his casualty type was "Non-Hostile - Died of Other Causes" & casualty reason was "Other Accident."
Jan. 5, 1972 – Gaineswood in Demopolis, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Jan. 5, 1984 – Liberty Hall near Camden, Ala., which was built in 1855, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Jan. 5, 1993 – Silk International Floral Imports on the corner of Rural Street and West Front Street in Evergreen, Ala. caught fire while owner Bill Durant was cleaning the building’s windows.
Jan. 5, 1993 - Mike Ditka was fired as coach of the Chicago Bears.
Jan. 5, 2001 – Scottish Natural Heritage announced that it would establish a panel of environmental experts to form a Loch Ness Monster Board.
Jan. 5, 2001 – A feature article by Angela Aeliss in this day’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Nicholas Strathloch, who claimed to be one of 300,000 worldwide members of an ancient vampire religion.
Jan. 5, 2005 - Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system (27 percent more massive than Pluto) was officially identified.
Jan. 5, 2008 – The Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama (CCSA) held its one-year anniversary celebration to mark the group’s first year of work against a proposed landfill in Conecuh County. The event began at 11 a.m. at the Lenox Community Center. CCSA organized in January 2007 when the development company Conecuh Woods expressed interest in constructing a landfill in Conecuh County.
Jan. 5, 2014 – “The Curse of Oak Island” television series, which detailed the history of Oak Island and the ongoing search for treasure there, premiered on the History Channel.
Jan. 5, 2015 – Around 8 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala., a UFO witness was walking to his car when he saw an object in the sky that looked like a star. Suddenly, the object disappeared “as if someone flipped a switch,” the witness reported.