Sunday, February 12, 2017

Today in History for Feb. 12, 2017

U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan
Feb. 12, 1502 – Vasco da Gama set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.

Feb. 12, 1630 – English explorer and author Fynes Moryson died in England at the age of 63 or 64.

Feb. 12, 1733 – Englishman James Oglethorpe founded Georgia, the 13th colony of the Thirteen Colonies, and its first city at Savannah.

Feb. 12, 1776 - British Major General Sir Henry Clinton departed New York en route to Cape Fear, N.C.

Feb. 12, 1778 - Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

Feb. 12, 1789 – American Revolutionary War leader Ethan Allen, the patriotic leader of the Green Mountain Boys, died of a stroke at the age of 52 on his farm near the Winooski River in Vermont.

Feb. 12, 1793 - Congress passed the first fugitive slave law, requiring all states, including those that forbid slavery, to forcibly return slaves who have escaped from other states to their original owners. The laws stated that “no person held to service of labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such labor or service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

Feb. 12, 1809 - Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born in a log cabin at Sinking Spring Farm, near Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Feb. 12, 1809 – Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

Feb. 12, 1825 – Creek Indians ceded the last of their lands in Georgia to the United States government by the Treaty of Indian Springs and migrated west.

Feb. 12, 1828 - Confederate General Robert Ransom Jr. was born in Warren County, North Carolina. During the Civil War, he fought at Chickamauga and the Knoxville campaign before returning to command the Richmond defenses in 1864. He commanded a force that faced Union General Benjamin Butler southeast of the city, and his leadership helped bottle Butler's force inside of a bend in the James River called the Bermuda Hundred.

Feb. 12, 1840 – American Revolutionary War soldier Patrick Norris passed away in Greene County, Ala. One of the founders of the Greensboro Presbyterian Church in Hale County, Norris served as a private in the South Carolina militia.

Feb. 12, 1850 – A bill passed the Alabama legislature incorporating the Conecuh Navigation Co., a final effort to secure steam navigation between Brooklyn, Ala. and Pensacola, Fla. The company was headed by J.W. Etheridge, H.L. Stearns, J.H. McCreary, C. Johns, Benjamin Hart, A. Perryman “and their associates.” The company was charged with the responsibility of providing the operation of steamboats between Montezuma on the Conecuh River and Brooklyn on the Sepulga.

Feb. 12, 1850 – Winston County was created by the Alabama legislature from lands formerly held by Walker County.

Feb. 12, 1861 – During the Civil War, at Napoleon, Ark., the U.S. Ordnance Depot was seized by Arkansas state troops.

Feb. 12, 1861 – Noble Leslie DeVotie, the first Alabama soldier to die in the Civil War, drowned while on duty as chaplain of Alabama troops at Fort Morgan. Before enlisting, he was pastor of Selma Baptist Church. He was 23 years old at the time of his death. DeVotie graduated in 1856 from the University of Alabama; Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Princeton in 1859. In 1856, at the University of Alabama, he was chief founder of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the only national social fraternity founded in the Deep South.

Feb. 12, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Springfield, Mo.; at Edenton, N.C.; and in the vicinity of Moorefield, West Va.

Feb. 12, 1862 – During the Civil War, the siege that would eventually lead to the capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. began. U. S. Grant’s Federal army, under the command of General McClernand, was on this day arrayed on the hills around the west side of Ft. Donelson. The delay was caused by the fact that the gunboats, which had left Ft. Henry at the same time as the army, had to travel about eight times further to arrive. Although the Confederate defenders could still enter and exit the fort to the east, it was in fact under siege.

Feb. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 16-day Federal operation on Bayou Plaquemine and the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana began.

Feb. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, the USS Queen of the West, although unsuccessful as a ram ship during the previous week in front of Vicksburg, Miss., was still an implacable hunter on the waters and tributaries of the Mississippi. On this day, she took a jaunt up the Red River. Her commander, Col. C.R. Ellet, took a landing party as far as the Atchafalaya, where he came upon a Confederate wagon train. The 12 wagons were destroyed, along with 70 barrels of beef, ammunition and stores from another train.

Feb. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal reconnaissance from Batchelder’s Creek began. Skirmishes were also fought at Sandy Ridge, N.C.; at Bolivar, Tenn. and near Smithfield and Charlestown, West Va.

Feb. 12, 1863 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began from Belle Plain, aboard the steamer, Edwin Lewis, to Mattox Creek, Currioman, and Momini Bays, Va. A Federal expedition began from Pratt’s Landing, aboard the steamer, Alice Price, down the Potomac to the Coan River and Heatherville, Va.

Feb. 12, 1864 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Batesville, Ark. Skirmishes were fought at Caddo Gap, Ark.; at Holly Springs and Wall Hill, Miss.; near Marion Station, north of Meridian, Miss.; near California House and Macon, Mo.; in Overton County, Tenn.; at Rock House, West Va.

Feb. 12, 1864 – John McGee Parkman, a local banker, purchased Sturdivant Hall in Selma, Ala. from Edward Watts. (13 Alabama Ghosts)

Feb. 12, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought 20 miles north of Lewisburg, Ark.; near Columbia and at Macon, Mo.; and along the North Edisto River in South Carolina. An eight-day Federal operation began between Fort Riley and Fort Larned, Kansas.

Feb. 12, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Waterloo in Lauderdale County, Ala.

Feb. 12, 1865 - The Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet, the first African American to address the U.S. House of Representatives, delivered a sermon to a crowded House chamber. His sermon commemorated the victories of the Union army and the deliverance of the country from slavery. Garnet, a former slave himself, was a pastor of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln, with the unanimous consent of his Cabinet and the two congressional chaplains, had arranged for the special Sunday service to be held on February 12, the president’s 56th birthday.

Feb. 12, 1869 – Vietnamese emperor Kiến Phúc was born.

Feb. 12, 1870 – Prominent Conecuh County, Ala. farmer, state senator, state representative, William Adam Ashley, age 47, died at his home at Hampden Ridge. Born on Feb. 1, 1823, he was buried in the Ashley-Anderson Family Cemetery in Evergreen.

Feb. 12, 1876 – Future Evergreen Courant editor and publisher Lamar W. Matkin was born in Red River County, Texas. An 1894 graduate of the Marengo Military Academy in Demopolis, he bought The Marengo Democrat and The Linden Reporter and combined those two papers. He later worked for The Montgomery Reporter and bought The Evergreen Courant on June 9, 1924. He was also a member of Greening Lodge No. 53 in Evergreen.

Feb. 12, 1878 - Frederick W. Thayer patented the baseball catcher’s mask.

Feb. 12, 1885 – Six inches of snow fell in Monroeville, Ala.

Feb. 12, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. M.M. Graham had been appointed Superintendent of Education of Monroe County and that his bond had been filed.

Feb. 12, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroe County Jail contained only three prisoners.

Feb. 12, 1892 - President Abraham Lincoln's birthday was declared to be a national holiday.

Feb. 12, 1903 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Chick Hafey was born in Berkeley, Calif. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Feb. 12, 1906 – Colin Falkenberry, who was believed to have been in his 90s, burned to death in a house fire on this Monday night at Tunnel Springs, Ala. Falkenberry lived in a small house in the yard behind his son’s house, and he was know to get up at all hours of the night, light a fire and sit by it until he became drowsy. His family woke up in the middle of the night on this night to find the house “in flames and the roof falling in.” The house was so far gone that it was impossible to get inside to rescue Falkenberry. Also, it was “only by the most heroic efforts of neighbors” that the son’s dwelling was saved from the fire.

Feb. 12, 1906 - The first regular term of the Monroe County Commissioners Court for 1906 convened on this Monday with all members of the board in attendance.

Feb. 12, 1908 - The Great Car Race from New York to Paris began.

Feb. 12, 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.

Feb. 12, 1911 – The Elba United Methodist Church in Coffee County, Ala. officially opened.

Feb. 12, 1915 - The cornerstone of the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 12, 1915 - One of the biggest air raids of World War I occurred on this day when 34 planes from the British Naval Wing attacked the German-occupied coastal towns of Blankenberghe, Ostend and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Feb. 12, 1917 – Major League Baseball centerfielder Dom DiMaggio was born in San Francisco, Calif. The brother of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, Dom played his entire 11-year career for the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 12, 1917 - On this day, the Austrian submarine U-35 bombed and sank the American schooner Lyman M. Law in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cagliari, Sardinia.

Feb. 12, 1924 - U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made the first presidential political speech on radio.

Feb. 12, 1924 – George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” received its premiere in a concert titled "An Experiment in Modern Music," in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano.

Feb. 12, 1926 – Major League Baseball catcher Joe Garagiola was born in St. Louis, Mo. He went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants.

Feb. 12, 1938 – Children’s author Judy Blume was born in Elizabeth, N.J.

Feb. 12, 1940 - Mutual Radio presented the first broadcast of the radio play "The Adventures of Superman."

Feb. 12, 1941 – Japanese mountaineer and explorer Naomi Uemura was born in Hidaka, now part of Toyooka, Hyōgo, Japan.

Feb. 12, 1942 – Monroe County High School and Excel were scheduled to play each other in basketball on this Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Monroe County High School auditorium.

Feb. 12, 1947 – The largest observed iron meteorite until that time created an impact crater in Sikhote-Alin in the Soviet Union.

Feb. 12, 1948 – The Monroe Journal reported that Coach E.H. Penny had resigned from the faculty of Monroe County High School to accept the head coaching position at Atmore High School. Head athletic coach at MCHS for the previous 2-1/2 years, he came to Monroeville in November 1945, following service in the Navy, and subsequently produced winning teams in both basketball and football. In two seasons of football coaching, he established a record of 14 games won against five defeats, while his basketball teams of 1946 and 1947 lost a total of only three games.

Feb. 12, 1960 – Georgiana High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat Evergreen, 50-39. Bateman led Evergreen with 16 points, and Mixon led Georgiana with 22 points.

Feb. 12, 1963 – Construction began on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo.

Feb. 12, 1963 - The City of Monroeville placed the order for a new fire truck at a regular meeting of the City Council on this Tuesday night. The contract for the fire equipment was awarded to L.P. Harless Co. of Birmingham at a price of $7,281, the low bid. The new tank was to hold 500 gallons, with a pump capable of pumping 500 gallons per minute.

Feb. 12, 1968 – Adventurer and hiker Christopher McCandless was born in El Segundo, California.

Feb. 12, 1970 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen High School basketball player John Earl Skipper was ranked fifth in the South Alabama Conference’s scoring standings. In 15 games, he had scored 308 total points, an average of 20.5 points per game.

Feb. 12, 1972 - About 6,000 Cambodian troops launched a major operation to wrestle the religious center of Angkor Wat from 4,000 North Vietnamese troops entrenched around the famous Buddhist temple complex, which had been seized in June 1970.

Feb. 12, 1973 - The release of U.S. POWs began in Hanoi as part of the Paris peace settlement.

Feb. 12, 1979 – Future college and NFL wide receiver and punt returner Antonio Chatman was born in Jackson, Ala. He attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, El Camino College and the University of Cincinnati. He later went on to play for the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Feb. 12, 1993 - U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan, R-Mobile, was scheduled to speak during the Monroeville Kiwanis Club’s weekly luncheon meeting at noon on this Friday at the Vanity Fair Golf & Tennis Club in Monroeville, Ala.

Feb. 12, 1994 - Art thieves stole the iconic painting “The Scream” from an Oslo museum.

Feb. 12, 1999 – The Thomasville (Ala.) Historic District added to the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district is centered on the old business district and is roughly bounded by U.S. Highway 43, West Front Street, Wilson Street, and West Third Street.

Fe. 12, 2000 – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry died at the age of 75 in Dallas, Texas. He coached the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1988. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Feb. 12, 2001 - NEAR Shoemaker became the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

Feb. 12, 2002 - Baseball owners approved the sale of the Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos.

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