Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today in History for Feb. 23, 2017

Feb. 23, 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.

Feb. 23, 1633 – Diarist Samuel Pepys was born in London.

Feb. 23, 1685 – Composer George Handel, who wrote the famous oratorio “Messiah,” was born in Halle, Germany.

Feb. 23, 1757 – Ephraim Kirby, the first Judge of the Superior Court of the Mississippi Territory, was born in Woodbury, Conn. A Revolutionary War soldier and the first General High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons of the United States, he died of fever and was buried at Fort Stoddert near Mount Vernon, Ala. A marker in his memory can be seen today at the intersection of Old US Highway 43 and Military Road in Mount Vernon.

Feb. 23, 1778 – During the American Revolutionary War, Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and began training soldiers in close-order drill, instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army.

Feb. 23, 1813 - The first U.S. raw cotton-to-cloth mill was founded in Waltham, Mass.

Feb. 23, 1836 - Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his Centralist troops arrived at San Antonio de Bexar and began siege preparations at the Alamo. William B. Travis immediately sent a request to Gonzales for help. (The Alamo)

Feb. 23, 1847 – The Mexican-American War Battle of Beuna Vista occurred at Puerto de la Angostura, Coahuila, and American troops under future president General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The community of Beuna Vista in Monroe County was named after this battle because the community’s first postmaster J.W. Perrin fought at the battle.

Feb. 23, 1848 – During the Mexican War, Co. E (McAlpin’s), 1st Battalion of Alabama Volunteers mustered at Mobile, Ala. This unit included 2nd Lt. William R. King of Belleville and Pvt. Mark B. Travis, the younger brother of William Barrett Travis, who died at the Alamo.

Feb. 23, 1848 - The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, passed away at the age of 80 in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 23, 1861 - President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland. Seven states had already seceded from the Union since Lincoln's election.

Feb. 23, 1861 - Texas became the seventh state to secede from the Union, by a three to one vote.

Feb. 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Greenville, Mo. and at Pea Ridge Prairie, Mo. Federal reconnaissance of the Bull River and Schooner Channel in South Carolina was conducted. Confederate forces evacuated Nashville, Tenn.

Feb. 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Athens, Ky. and at Deer Creek and Fish Lake Bridge, Miss.

Feb. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Tunnel Hill, Dalton and Catoosa Station, Ga.; and at New Albany, Miss. A 15-day Federal operation from Springfield, Mo. into Northern Arkansas began.

Feb. 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishing took place between Barrancas and Milton, Fla., and a skirmish was fought near Camden, S.C.

Feb. 23, 1868 – Scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass.

Feb. 23, 1870 – During the Reconstruction Era, post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ended and it was readmitted to the Union.

Feb. 23, 1883 – Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.

Feb. 23, 1885 - English authorities attempted to hang convicted murderer John Lee. Despite three attempts at execution, the hanging gallows would not work. Bewildered by this turn of events, the court considered the unexplained malfunction to be an "act of God" and spared Lee's life.

Feb. 23, 1885 – During the Sino-French War, the French Army gained an important victory in the Battle of Đồng Đăng in the Tonkin region of Vietnam.

Feb. 23, 1895 – A “serious accident” occurred on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, three miles south of Greenville, Ala. on this Saturday morning. The accident was caused by the “spreading of the rails,” and the engine, express car, baggage cars and several passenger coaches “precipitated down an embankment.” A large number of Mardi Gras excursionists were on board, and one man was killed. A number of other passengers were “painfully injured.”

Feb. 23, 1896 - W.H. Louiselle of Manistee was in Monroeville, Ala. on this Sunday. Miss Ella Neville returned also returned on this Sunday from a visit to friends at Manistee.

Feb. 23, 1904 – Journalist and author William Shirer was born in Chicago, Ill. He is best known for his 1960 book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”

Feb. 23, 1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen met for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world's first service club.

Feb. 23, 1915 – Range, Ala. postmaster Minnie Hart became sick while on duty at the post office and had to be carried to her sister’s house near the post office, where she was confined to bed. James J. Lee ran the post office in her absence.

Feb. 23, 1916 - The U.S. Congress authorized the McKinley Memorial $1 gold coin.

Feb. 23, 1916 – A meeting of the “Forrest Highway boosters” to decide whether or not the Forrest Highway Association would adopt the road through Monroe County via Monroeville or through Escambia County via Brewton was held in Brewton, Ala. and was attended by L.J. Bugg of Monroeville, the secretary of the Old Federal Road Association and a large party of Monroe County citizens. “The object of the meeting was to consider the respective advantages of the Old Federal Road via Monroeville and the route paralleling the Louisville & Nashville Railroad via Evergreen and Brewton.” A decision was not announced at this meeting. Members of the Monroe County delegation were W.G. McCorvey, G.B. Barnett, C.E. Barker, P.W. Turner, J.B. Barnett, J.T. Salter, F.W. Hare, and T.T. Ivey and others.

Feb. 23, 1917 - German troops began a well-planned withdrawal - ordered several weeks previously by Kaiser Wilhelm - to strong positions on the Hindenburg Line, solidifying their defense and digging in for a continued struggle on the Western Front in World War I.

Feb. 23, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Dr. H.H. Kendrick was in Atlanta taking a special course “in certain important work in dentistry” and would be absent several days.

Feb. 23, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that 175 to 200 cars was the estimate local growers and shippers were placing on the size of the 1921 strawberry crop.

Feb. 23, 1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill by Congress establishing the Federal Radio Commission, which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States. The Federal Radio Commission began assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for radio broadcasters. On July 1, 1934, the name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Feb. 23, 1929 – Major League Baseball catcher and left fielder Elston Howard was born in St. Louis, Mo. He would go on to play for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 23, 1940 – Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith was born in Columbia, Miss. He would go on to play for Northwestern State, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Feb. 23, 1940 – Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land” – now one of America’s most famous folk songs.

Feb. 23, 1943 – Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff was born in Erie, Pa. He would go on to play for Florida State and the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Feb. 23, 1944 – Suspense novelist John Camp, also known by his pen name John Sandford, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Feb. 23, 1945 – During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a commonly forgotten U.S. Navy Corpsman, reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag.

Feb. 23, 1946 – Major League Baseball second baseman Ken Boswell was born in Austin, Texas. He would go on to play for the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

Feb. 23, 1950 – NFL linebacker Jim Youngblood was born in Union, S.C. He would go on to play for Tennessee Tech, the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins.

Feb. 23-25, 1950 – The First District, Class A, Basketball Tournament was held in Monroe County High School’s gymnasium in Monroeville on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Players from Monroe County schools named to the all-tournament team included Tommy Durden and Kenneth Hundley, of Monroe County High School; Curtis Jordan, of Excel; Dale Brown, of Beatrice; and T.J. King, of Frisco City.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL defensive end Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones was born in Jackson, Tenn. He would go on to play for Tennessee State and the Dallas Cowboys.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL cornerback and safety Ray Oldham was born in Gallatin, Tenn. He would go on to play for Middle Tennessee State, the Baltimore Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions.

Feb. 23, 1954 – The first large field trial of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was held at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh.

Feb. 23, 1957 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NFL operations did fall within the coverage of antitrust laws.

Feb. 23, 1961 – The annual organizational meeting of the Evergreen Junior Baseball League was held at 7:30 p.m. at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. Wendell Hart was president of the league.

Feb. 23, 1963 – Major League Baseball third baseman and right fielder Bobby Bonilla was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles, the Florida Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Feb. 23, 1966 - According to the U.S. military headquarters in Saigon, 90,000 South Vietnamese deserted in 1965.

Feb. 23, 1967 – Cope Funeral Home owner Sam Cope announced that he was being forced to cease operating the funeral home’s ambulance service, effective March 1, 1967. His decision was reached because of the “impossibly high costs brought on by coverage under the wage and hour which started Feb. 1.”

Feb. 23, 1971 - In Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese advance into Laos ground to a halt.

Feb. 23, 1973 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team, led by head coach Charles Branum, beat Jackson, 75-69, in the 3A Region 1, Area 2 tournament championship game.

Feb. 23, 1976 – The Buena Vista Post Office in Monroe County, Ala., which opened in 1849, was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Feb. 23, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Scott Elarton was born in Lamar, Colo. He went on to play for the Houston Astros, the Colorado Rockies, the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals.

Feb. 23, 1976 – Actress Kelly Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland.

Feb. 23, 1978 - The first Writing Today writing conference opened at Birmingham-Southern College.

Feb. 23, 1983 - Herschel Walker signed a $5 million 3-year contract with the USFL's New Jersey Generals.

Feb. 23, 1985 – Walter Lee Harper, a “well-known” 56-year-old Marine Corps World War II Pacific Theatre veteran, was killed in a house fire about five miles from Evergreen, Ala. on the Brooklyn Road. Known as “Buster” and “Red,” Harper’s body was found in the back part of the house, and deputies assumed he was trying to get to the back door. The Evergreen Fire Department was called to the scene at 12:43 a.m.

Feb. 23, 1989 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low temperature of 18 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 23, 1991 – During the Persian Gulf War, ground troops crossed the Saudi Arabian border and entered Iraq, thus beginning the ground phase of the war. Less than four days later the war was over due to the surrender or withdrawal of Iraqi forces.

Feb. 23, 1998 – In “V for Vendetta,” V took over the NTV Studios in Jordan Towers and commandeered the airwaves. A strike team reclaimed the building, but V’s broadcast aired uninterrupted. Peter Creedy, Almond’s replacement at The Finger, was punched by Finch after commenting on Finch’s affair with Deliah Surridge. Finch was reprimanded, and told to go on an extended holiday. By this time, Evey Hammond had become a border at Gordon’s house.

Feb. 23, 1999 - Garth Brooks attended spring training camp with the San Diego Padres as a non-roster player. The Padres Foundation agreed to contribute to the Touch 'Em All Foundation in lieu of a salary to Brooks.

Feb. 23, 2011 – “Georgia Bottoms,” the seventh novel by Monroeville, Ala. native Mark Childress, was released by Little, Brown & Co.

Feb. 23, 2012 – A series of attacks across Iraq left at least 83 killed and more than 250 injured.

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