Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today in History for Feb. 16, 2017

Timothy Horton Ball
Feb. 16, 600 A.D. – Pope Gregory the Great declared “God bless you” to be the correct response to a sneeze.

Feb. 16, 1740 – Printer Giambattista Bodoni was born in Saluzzo, Italy.

Feb. 16, 1741 - Benjamin Franklin published America’s second magazine, "The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle."

Feb. 16, 1776 - The Continental Congress decided to allow General George Washington to investigate the practicability of an expedition to Nova Scotia.

Feb. 16, 1778 - Two future presidents of the United States, John Adams and his son, 10-year-old John Quincy Adams, sat in Marblehead Harbor, off the coast of Massachusetts, on board the frigate, Boston, which was to take them to France, where John Adams would replace Silas Deane in Congress’ commission to negotiate a treaty of alliance.

Feb. 16, 1820 – The Rev. Andrew Jay was born about three miles from Jayvilla in Conecuh County, Ala. He went on to serve as a Baptist minister, military officer, commissioner of roads and revenue, tax assessor and state representative. He passed away at the age of 62 on July 18, 1883 and was buried in the Old Beulah Cemetery in Conecuh County.

Feb. 16, 1821 – German explorer and scholar Heinrich Barth was born in Hamburg, Germany.

Feb. 16, 1826 – Timothy Horton Ball was born in Agawam in Hampden County, Mass. A minister, teacher, historian and author, most of his life was spent in Clarke County, Ala. and in 1882, while living in Grove Hill, he would publish “A Glance into the Great South-east; or, Clarke County, Alabama, and its Surroundings, from 1540 to 1877.”

Feb. 16, 1838 – Historian and writer Henry Adams was born in Boston, Mass. The great-grandson of John Adams and the grandson of John Quincy Adams, he would publish his most famous book, “The Education of Henry Adams” in 1918.

Feb. 16, 1845 – Journalist and explorer George Kennan was born in Norwalk, Ohio.

Feb. 16, 1861 - Presidents Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were sworn in at Montgomery, Ala. and Washington City.

Feb. 16, 1861 – During the Civil War, the U.S. Arsenal facility in San Antonio, Texas was seized by Texas troops.

Feb. 16, 1862 – During the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. About 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered during the incident, and this victory gave the Union control of northern Tennessee and paved the way for the occupation of Nashville. The battle earned Grant the nickname "Unconditional Surrender."

Feb. 16, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Pott's Hill, Sugar Creek, Ark.

Feb. 16, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Yazoo Pass, Miss., as Confederates contested the advance of Major General Grant’s Federal forces; at Bradyville, Tenn.; and at Romney, West Virginia.

Feb. 16, 1863 – The United States Senate passed the final version of the first formal draft in the U.S in the Civil War. The action had already passed the House of Representatives, and since President Lincoln had been pressing urgently for its passage his signature was immediately forthcoming. This action had been long anticipated. In the first days of the war men had rushed to take the colors in a flush of patriotism, hopes of adventure, desire to impress female associates, or just because every other unattached male in the neighborhood seemed to be doing it. As the early enlistments were for very short terms, sometimes as little as six or even three months, so men had to be discharged before they were even very well trained, much less seasoned, experienced forces. Some of these men of course reenlisted, but as the war dragged on there was no longer any illusion of romance involved. The South had been using a draft for more than a year now.

Feb. 16, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Federal Navy initiated operations against the forts at the mouth of Mobile Bay, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Caddo Gap along the Saline River, and at Indian Bay, Ark.; at Fairfield, N.C.; and at Lauderdale Springs in the vicinity of Meridian, Miss. An eight-day Federal operation against Indians from Fort Walla Walla to the Snake River in the Washington Territory began.

Feb. 16, 1864 – During the Civil War, Sherman’s troops continued the destruction of anything remotely connected to the Confederacy in Meridian, Miss. After taking the town without a fight, the Federal troops were turned loose to destroy the place. The troops were specifically told to destroy any public places such as train depots, stations and tracks, communications equipment such as telegraphs and wires, warehouses and arsenals, much of which could be considered legitimate military targets. However, they were also given license to rip up hotels, shops of all sorts and other mercantile establishments where the justification was not military, but simply to infuriate people and (hopefully) get them to pressure the government to surrender and end the war. Sherman’s men were told not to molest private residences, but enforcement was not strict.

Feb. 16, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Gurley's Tank, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1865 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Bennet’s Bayou and Tolbert’s Mill, Ark. and a six-day Federal operation originating from Fort Larned, Kansas against Indians began. A four-day Federal reconnaissance from in Ozark Country, Mo. and Marion County, Ark. began and two days of skirmishing about Columbia, S.C. began. Skirmishes were fought near Cedar Keys, Fla. and at Athens and Sweet Water, Tenn.

Feb. 16, 1866 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Hamilton was born in Newark, N.J. He went on to play for the Kansas City Cowboys, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Beaneaters. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1961.

Feb. 16, 1874 – The Silver Dollar became legal U.S. tender.

Feb. 16, 1878 - Pamela Colman Smith, the artist who drew the images on the Rider-Waite Tarot card deck, was born in Pimlico, Middlesex.

Feb. 16, 1894 - Infamous gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, who lived in Pollard, Ala. for about 18 months, was pardoned after spending 15 years in a Texas prison for murder. Hardin, who was reputed to have shot and killed a man just for snoring, was 41 years old at the time of his release.

Feb. 16, 1895 - Alabama formally adopted a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.

Feb. 16, 1895 - Alabama author Florence Glass Palmer was born in Uniontown, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1900 – Passenger service was established on the Louisville & Nashville railroad through Monroeville, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1904 – German SS officer Karl-Heinz Bürger was born in Güstrow, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

Feb. 16, 1916 - After five days of intense fighting, the Russian army defeated the Third Turkish Army to capture Erzerum, a largely Armenian city in the Ottoman province of Anatolia.

Feb. 16, 1917 - Rev. C.W. McConnell of Roy, Ala. was in Monroeville on this Friday to “provide himself with a car so that he may the more conveniently meet his appointments at widely separated points.”

Feb. 16, 1921 – The first ripe strawberries of the season were exhibited in Evergreen, Ala. on this day by E.C. Lee, taken from his Castleberry farm. This was the earliest exhibition of strawberries on record for Evergreen.

Feb. 16, 1921 - The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Country Club in Evergreen was held on this Wednesday afternoon, and officers were elected for ensuing year. They included J.S. Stearns, President; C.R. Taliaferro, Secretary-Treasurer; Board of Directors, W.H. Wild, L.T. Rutland, E.L. Stallworth, J.C. Cheney and E.J. McCreary. Resolutions were passed restricting fishing in the club pond and streams on property owned by it.

Feb. 16, 1922 – In the fictional video game, “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth,” confined in Arkham Asylum once again, private investigator Jack Walters hung himself, unable to handle the reality of himself and what he witnessed in Innsmouth.

Feb. 16, 1923 - Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The next day he entered the chamber with several invited guests. He had originally found the tomb on November 4, 1922.

Feb. 16, 1938 – The first ever meeting of the Evergreen Rotary Club was held on this day in the Evergreen Hotel in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1939 – The Monroe Journal reported that work on the Monroe County School building program was progressing rapidly and was one of the largest PWA Projects in the state, consisting of a brick combination auditorium and gymnasium at Monroeville and Uriah; a brick gymnasium at Frisco City; five-room addition and toilet sanitation at Excel, and four-room addition at Beatrice. Total of these improvements amounted to approximately $105,000 for which the County Board of Education is receiving a 45 percent grant or gift from the United States Government. The completion of these projects was expected to leave Monroe County with what was “generally recognized as the most modern school plant of any rural county in the state.”

Feb. 16, 1944 – Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Miss.

Feb. 16, 1951 – Army SFC Howard W. Hall, 31, of Clarke County, Ala. died of wounds in South Korea. Born on Feb. 13, 1920 in Randolph County, Ala., Hall was a member of the 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. He was seriously wounded by the enemy in South Korea on February 16, 1951 and died of those wounds the following day. His family lived in several places but they were living in Lamar in Randolph County, Ala. when he was born. The son of Martha and John W. Hall, he enlisted in Randolph County and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was buried in Park Hill Cemetery in Columbus, Ga.

Feb. 16, 1954 – Monroe County High School’s varsity boys basketball team picked up their 15th win of the season, and their tenth win in a row, by beating Excel, 68-44, at the coliseum in Monroeville, Ala. Bobby White led MCHS with 21 points; Joe Stevens scored 14; and Paul Fowler scored 12. Matchett led Excel with 16 points, and Stacey scored 12.

Feb. 16, 1960 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton began Operation Sandblast, setting sail from New London, Connecticut, to begin the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe. The trip ended on May 10.

Feb. 16, 1960 – W.S. Neal High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat Evergreen, 66-44, on this Tuesday night.

Feb. 16, 1961 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dazzy Vance died at the age of 69 in Homosassa Springs, Florida. During his career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.

Feb. 16, 1966 – For his actions on this day in Vietnam, Capt. Clinton O. “Neal” Hyde Jr. of Evergreen, Ala. was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism. Hyde was a senior advisor with a paramilitary strike force unit that was conducting a search and destroy operation in the Tion Phuoc District in Vietnam. On two occasions after his force made contact with the Viet Cong, Hyde organized a fire and maneuver tactic that forced the insurgents to withdraw from their positions. While pursuing the enemy, Hyde and his counterpart, along with the lead element of the friendly force, became pinned down by intense hostile automatic weapons fire. With complete disregard for his safety, Hyde exposed himself to deadly fire to move to the rear to radio for an air evacuation of friendly casualties. After the medical evacuation, Hyde further exposed himself to enemy fire while moving to the front of the force to adjust mortar fire on hostile emplacements. His accurate adjustment of supporting fire drove the Viet Cong from their positions and allowed the friendly patrol to continue their mission. Hyde, the son of Mr. and Mrs. C.O. Hyde of Evergreen, was a graduate of Evergreen High School and West Point Military Academy.

Feb. 16, 1968 - The first-ever 911 call was placed in Haleyville, Ala. State Representative Rankin Fite made the call fom the mayor's office and it was answered at the police station by Congressman Tom Bevill. The system was put into operation within weeks of AT&T's announcement that it planned to establish 911 as a nationwide emergency number. The Alabama Telephone Company, in a successful attempt to implement the number before AT&T, determined that Haleyville's equipment could be quickly converted to accommodate an emergency system.

Feb. 16, 1968 - U.S. officials reported that, in addition to the 800,000 people listed as refugees prior to January 30, the fighting during the Tet Offensive had created 350,000 new refugees.

Feb. 16, 1969 – Army Sgt. Ralph Gerald Dunn, 21, of Andalusia, Ala. was killed in action in Kon Tum, Vietnam. Born on Oct. 27, 1947, he was buried in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery.

Feb. 16-20, 1970 – Evergreen High School hosted the 10-team District 1, Region 2, Class 3A Basketball Tournament at Memorial Gymnasium in Evergreen. On Feb. 16, Atmore High School played W.S. Neal High School at 6:30 p.m., and Marshall High School of Evergreen played Jackson High School at 8 p.m. On Feb. 17, Marengo County-Dixon Mills played Escambia County Training School at 6:30 p.m. and Evergreen High School played Camden Academy at 8 p.m. On Feb. 18, Union High School of Monroeville played the winner of the Atmore-Neal game at 6:30 p.m., and Monroeville High School played the winner of the Marshall-Jackson game at 8 p.m. Semifinal round games were played at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 19, and the championship game was played on Feb. 19.

Feb. 16, 1972 – Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis was born in Detroit, Mich. He would go on to play for Notre Dame, the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Feb. 16, 1975 – Weather observer Earl Windham reported 3.0 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Eric Byrnes was born in Redwood City, Calif. He went on to play for the Oakland Athletics, the Colorado Rockies, the Baltimore Orioles, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners.

Feb. 16, 1977 – NFL running back Ahman Green was born in Omaha, Neb. He would go on to play for Nebraska, the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans.

Feb. 16, 1978 – Social networking got its start when the first public, dial-up Computerized Bulletin Board System (CBBS) went online in Chicago, Ill.

Feb. 16, 1980 - One of the world's worst traffic jams took place on a stretch of road in France from Lyon to Paris. Cars were backed up for 109 miles.

Feb. 16, 1982 – In the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A, Area II tournament in Castleberry, Ala., Lyeffion beat Conecuh County High School, 89-65.

Feb. 16, 1984 – The Monroe Journal reported that Chief Warrant Officer George Singleton was given a valuable service award by local Girls Scouts during the previous week. The award was presented by Susan Sanderson, area Girl Scout cookie chairman, for his assistance in Girl Scout cookie sales and for allowing the cookies to be stored at the National Guard Armory in Monroeville before distribution. The annual cookie sale was underway, and cookies were to be available for several weeks.

Feb. 16, 1987 – The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, started in Jerusalem.

Feb. 16, 1989 - Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox signed a three-year contract worth $7,500,000.

Feb. 16, 1991 – Hillcrest High School’s Dameion Fantroy, who competed in the 175-pound weight class, set a state record by bench-pressing 360 pounds at the state powerlifting meet in Eufaula, Ala. The previous state record of 340 pounds was set in 1988.

Feb. 16, 1991 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low temperature of 17 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 16, 1991 – Yellow ribbons were placed on the fence along the railroad tracks in downtown Evergreen, Ala. by the loved ones of military personnel who were serving in the Persian Gulf War.

Feb. 16, 1996 – The Avant House on Sanford Road in Andalusia, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Feb. 16, 1998 – Ethan Eugene Dorsey, 28, of Andalusia, Ala. was scheduled to stand trial in front of Judge Sam Welch on three counts of capital murder in conection with the alleged killings of Richard Cary, 52, Scott Williams, 39, and Timothy Bryan Cane, 13, on Nov. 20 at Cary’s Store in the Brooklyn community. All three victims were found gunned down at the store sometime around 8 p.m., and Calvin Middleton of Andalusia was also charged in the shooting.

Feb. 16, 1999 - O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy was sold for $230,000. A court judgment ordered the trophy to be sold to help settle a $33.5 million civil judgment against Simpson for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.

Feb. 16, 2004 - Baseball commissioner Bud Selig approved the swap of Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers and Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees. The Rangers would also get a minor league player in the deal.

Feb. 16, 2006 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Ernie Stautner died at the age of 80 in Carbondale, Colo. He played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Feb. 16, 2012 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter died at the age of 57 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. During his career, he played for the Montreal Expos, the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Feb. 16, 2013 – Evergreen, Ala. native and NFL running back Ken Clark died of a heart attack at the age of 46 in Minneapolis, Minn. Born Kenneth R. Clark, he attended Bryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska and played collegiate football at the University of Nebraska. While with the Huskers under Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne, Clark became one of the school's all-time greats. He topped the 1,000 rushing yardage mark twice and earned All-Big Eight honor two-times. In 1989, Clark set a single-season rushing yardage record for a junior with 256 in a game against Oklahoma State University. Selected by the Indianapolis Colts during the 8th round of the 1990 NFL Draft, he appeared in 34 regular season games. While attending Nebraska, he was a Human Development major. He was buried in Graceland Park Cemetery in South Omaha, Nebraska.

Feb. 16, 2013 – Bones belonging to a Prichard man who’d been missing since 2009 were discovered beneath the General W.K. Wilson Bridge (Dolly Parton Bridge) near Mobile, Ala.

Feb. 16, 2016 – UFO: Witnesses reported a UFO sighting that occurred around 4:30 p.m. on this Tuesday in Florence, which is in Lauderdale County, in the extreme northwest corner of Alabama. The witness in this case said he was traveling across the Singing River Bridge in Florence around 4:30 p.m. when he spotted a gray, football-shaped object in the sky. The witness said he could see the other side of the river from his position on the bridge and that the object was hovering in the sky just over the tree line. The witness estimated that the object was about the size of a small plane. He also noted that it appeared to swing side-to-side for a few moments before it dipped into the trees for about four seconds. The object then reappeared over the tree line and was visible for a few more seconds before it darted away to the southeast towards Wilson Dam. The witness said he couldn’t see the object once it disappeared around the hills by the dam.

Feb. 16, 2016 – UFO: Witnesses reported a UFO sighting that occurred on this Tuesday around 9:45 p.m., in Eufaula, which is in Barbour County in Southeast Alabama, near the Alabama-Georgia state line. The witness in this case spotted in the sky what he thought was at first a pulsar or two flashing stars, so he grabbed his video camera and filmed the unusual object for an hour. He eventually stopped filming the object and went inside “once the object focused well enough to be observed,” he said. However, when he reviewed the footage he found something unexpected. What he thought was a pulsar or two flashing stars turned out to be a “vision of a materon cube caught on tape,” the witness reported. 

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