|William Simpson Keller|
Feb. 8, 1762 – Vietnamese emperor Gia Long was born.
Feb. 8, 1776 - General George Washington received a letter from Cumberland, Nova Scotia, and the letter requested that he invade Nova Scotia at his earliest possible convenience.
Feb. 8, 1777 - Major Timothy Bigelow became colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Colonial Line of the Continental Army, after having been a prisoner of war until just six months before, and he went on to fight valiantly in some of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778 and the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781.
Feb. 8, 1804 – English explorer Richard Lemon Lander was born in Truro, Cornwall.
Feb. 8, 1820 – Union General William Tecumseh Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio.
Feb. 8, 1825 – English geographer, biologist and explorer Henry Walter Bates was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom.
Feb. 8, 1828 - Jules Verne, considered the “Father of Science Fiction,” was born in Nantes, France.
Feb. 8, 1831 – West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe was tried for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders for refusing to attend formations, classes or church. Poe tactically pled not guilty to induce dismissal, knowing he would be found guilty.
Feb. 8, 1836 – Former Tennessee Congressman David Crockett arrived in San Antonio de Bexar with 12 other volunteers.
Feb. 8, 1850 – Kate Chopin, who is best known for her 1899 novel, “The Awakening,” was born in St. Louis, Mo.
Feb. 8, 1852 – The Brooklyn Academy in Conecuh County was incorporated by the Alabama legislature.
Feb. 8-9, 1855 – The “Devil’s Footprints” Incident occurred around the Exe Estuary in East Devon and South Devon, England. After a heavy snowfall, trails of hoof-like marks appeared overnight in the snow covering a total distance of some 40 to 100 miles. The footprints were so called because some people believed that they were the tracks of Satan, as they were allegedly made by a cloven hoof. Many theories have been put forward to explain the incident, and some aspects of its veracity have also been called into question.
Feb. 8, 1861 - The Confederate States of America was formed when the Constitution of the Confederates States of America was finalized and adopted in Montgomery, Ala.
Feb. 8, 1861- During the Civil War, Arkansas State Troops seized the arsenal at Little Rock, Ark.
Feb. 8, 1862 - Union General Ambrose Burnside captured Roanoke Island in North Carolina. It was one of the first major Union victories of the Civil War and gave the Yankees control of the mouth of Albemarle Sound, allowing them to threaten the Rebel capital of Richmond, Virginia, from the south. The Federals suffered 37 men killed and 214 wounded, while the Confederates lost 23 men killed and 62 wounded.
Feb. 8, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bolivar, Mo.; at Linn Creek, Va.; and in Mercer County, West Va. Federal gunboats also moved up the Pasquotank River, toward Elizabeth City, N.C.
Feb. 8, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Independence, Mo. and at Camp Sheldon, Miss.
Feb. 8, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Ten-Mile Run near Camp Finegan, Fla., as Federal forces moved inland from Jacksonville, Fla. Skirmishes were also fought at Ringgold, Ga.; at Barboursville, Ky. and at Donaldsonville, La. Multiple skirmishes were also fought at Coldwater Ferry, another in the vicinity of Morton, and another at Senatobia, Miss. Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Maryville, Tenn., on the main Sevierville Road.
Feb. 8, 1865 - The Battle of Dabney's Mill (Hatcher's Run) ended after three days. Neither side ended with a significant advantage after producing about 3,000 casualties.
Feb. 8, 1865 – In the United States, Delaware voters rejected the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and voted to continue the practice of slavery. (Delaware finally ratified the amendment on Feb. 12, 1901.) Massachusetts and Pennsylvania become the ninth and tenth states to ratify the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.
Feb. 8, 1865 - A two-day Federal operation down the Arkansas River, near Little Rock, Ark. began. Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Helena to Madison, Ark.
Feb. 8, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at New Market, Bradfordsville and Hustonville, Ky.; with Indians on the North Platte River, near Rush Creek, the Nebraska Territory; and at White Pond, Williston, Walker’s Bridge and at Cannon’s Bridge on the Edisto River, S.C.
Feb. 8, 1886 – Monroe County (Ala.) Commissioners Court was scheduled to convene on this Monday.
Feb. 8, 1892 - N.C. Thames’ steam saw mill and ginning establishment, located about midway between Monroeville and Perdue Hill, was destroyed by fire on this Monday night, together with a large quantity of lumber and other material. “The fire broke out while the operatives were at supper, and it is believed to be of incendiary origin,” according to The Monroe Journal. “When discovered, the fire had gained such headway that every effort to save the building and machinery proved unavailing.”
Feb. 8, 1896 - The Western Conference was formed by representatives of Midwestern universities. The group later changed its name to the Big 10 Conference.
Feb. 8, 1906 – In this day’s edition of The Monroe Journal, the correspondent from Manistee reported that the members of Pleasant Hill Church had been discussing the construction of a new church at Manistee, but there seemed to be a split among the people. Some wanted it built right in Manistee while others wanted it on the same old church grounds near the cemetery.
Feb. 8, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that two fire alarms were sounded within the past few days. Dr. Russell’s dwelling caught fire on the morning of Sat., Feb. 3, and on Mon., Feb. 5, Misses Patrick’s kitchen was discovered to be on fire. “Both fires were put out before material injury had been done,” The Journal reported.
Feb. 8, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Pineville community, that Larrie Stallworth, who belonged to the light artillery at Fort Barrancas, was at home on a furlough for three months.
Feb. 8, 1910 - William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.
Feb. 8, 1911 – Poet Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Mass.
Feb. 8, 1912 – Aviation pioneer Robert G. Fowler became the first person to fly west to east aross the United States when he arrived in Jacksonville, Fla. He departed San Francisco on Sept. 11, 1911 and stopped in Evergreen, Ala. on Jan. 15, 1912.
Feb. 8, 1915 – D. W. Griffith's controversial film “The Birth of a Nation” premiered at Clune’s Auditorium in Los Angeles. This silent film was America's first feature-length motion picture and a box-office smash, and during its unprecedented three hours Griffith popularized countless filmmaking techniques that remain central to the art today. Actually titled “The Clansman” for its first month of release, the film provided a highly subjective history of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
Feb. 8, 1915 - The first quarterly term of the Commissioners Court for the new year convened in Monroeville, Ala. with Commissioners Lambert, Jackson, Holloman and Holloway in attendance.
Feb. 8, 1916 - A Good Roads Institute was scheduled to be held in Monroeville, Ala. on this Tuesday at 10 a.m. The Institute was to be conducted by William Simpson Keller, State Highway Engineer, and addresses were to be made by a representative of the Federal Department of Good Roads and others. Keller was the half-brother of the world famous, Helen Keller of Tuscumbia, Ala.
Feb. 8, 1917 – The Monroe Journal, under the headline “WAR WITH GERMANY POSSIBLE,” reported that “the long expected break in diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany has occurred and a declaration of actual war by either country is possible at any hour.”
Feb. 8, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that water had “been rather a scarce commodity in Monroeville for the last several days, especially with those dependent upon the city supply. Hard freezes continuing for three or four days in succession practically put the pumping plant out of commission. When the thaw comes, the supply will doubtless be found unavailable because of numerous bursted water pipes.”
Feb. 8, ,1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that Tax Collector J.L. Marshall had announced the issuance of 640 poll tax receipts, representing total collections on this account for the year 1916 up to and including Feb. 1, the date on which opportunity for payment expired.
Feb. 8, 1918 - The United States Army resumes publication of the military newsletter Stars and Stripes and was published weekly during World War I from February 8, 1918, until June 13, 1919.
Feb. 8, 1922 - United States President Warren G. Harding introduced the first radio set in the White House.
Feb. 8, 1922 – In the fictional video game, “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth,” private investigator Jack Walters helped J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI raid the Marsh Gold Refinery in Innsmouth, where he was attacked by an ancient creature known as a Shoggoth and uncovered a Cthulhu shrine before the building was demolished.
Feb. 8, 1926 – Beat Generation icon Neal Cassady was born in Salt Lake City.
Feb. 8, 1936 - The first National Football League draft was held, and Jay Berwanger was the first to be selected, drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Feb. 8, 1938 – Longtime Monroe Journal publisher Q. Salter died after he was stricken when leaving his office at The Monroe County Bank. He died just minutes later without uttering a word. He’s buried in the old Methodist Cemetery on Sumter Ave. in Monroeville.
Feb. 8, 1939 - The Boy Scouts of Frisco City met on this Wednesday and celebrated the beginning of the Boy Scouts Anniversary. The meeting was called to order by the Scoutmaster Fred Broughton. Plans were made to purchase uniforms and to stage all Scouts on a Safety Patrol in Frisco City.
Members of the Boy Scout Troop included Elliot Manning, Francis Nicholas, Johnny Mack Sims, Glenn Russell, J.T. Lee, James McGinty, Billy Hendrix, Malcolm Gulsby, Gerald Sawyer, Otto Thompson and John Eddins Jr.
Feb. 8, 1940 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Conecuh County Superintendent of Education H.D. Weathers and Conecuh County Circuit Court Clerk W.S. Dreaden had qualified to seek reelection in the upcoming primary elections.
Feb. 8, 1949 – Evergreen High School officially dedicated its new, $90,000 basketball gym, which was named “Memorial Gym” in honor of the eight former Evergreen High School students who died during World War II (Laula M. Middleton, Winton McIntyre, Paul Wesley Tranum, William Bucy Stinson, Judson Cary Murphy, John Travis Aaron, James Freeman and Ely H. Cowart). The ceremony was scheduled to take place between Evergreen’s B-team and varsity games against the Loretto Saints. Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive-Secretary J. Cliff Harper, who was also a former Evergreen High School principal, was the guest speaker at the dedication. Conecuh County Education Superintendent Harvey G. Pate acting as the master of ceremonies, and Jack Finklea was Evergreen’s principal. The Rev. Sam Granade, pastor of the Evergreen Baptist Church, gave the invocation. Others present at the event included members of the Conecuh County Board of Education, the high school’s trustees, Evergreen’s mayor and city council, members of the Conecuh County Commission and state legislators, Montgomery Advertiser Sports Editor Max Moseley, Mobile Press sports writer Howard Archer and Col. T.H. Williams of the Hurt School in Montgomery. Evergreen High School’s band, under the direction of Frank Wilkerson, played the National Anthem to end the dedication ceremony. Evergreen’s varsity boys, who were led by head coach Wendell Hart, went on to beat Loretto, 61-37. Guerry Moorer led Evergreen with a team-high 22 points. John Greel Ralls followed with 15 points, and Dickey Bozeman scored eight.
Feb. 8, 1950 - The Associated Press named Jim Thorpe and Baby Didrikson Zaharias the greatest male and female athletes of the first half of the 20th century.
Feb. 8, 1952 – The Manistee & Repton Railroad ceased operations.
Feb. 8-9, 1954 - J.P. Turpin of Peterman and W.F. Wiggins of Monroeville attended the Grand Royal Arch Chapter meeting at Huntsville as representatives of the Monroeville Royal Arch Chapter. Wiggins received the degree of high priesthood at the meeting. Turpin was elevated to the position of Conductor to the Grand Council of High Priesthood of the State of Alabama.
Feb. 8, 1955 – Best-selling novelist John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Ark. His first novel, “A Time to Kill,” was published in 1989.
Feb. 8, 1956 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, manager and owner Connie Mack died at the age of 93 in Philadelphia. During his career, he played for the Washington Nationals, the Buffalo Bisons and the Pittsburgh Pirates and he also managed the Pirates and the Philadelphia Athletics. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.
Feb. 8, 1959 - Alabama author William Miller was born in Anniston, Ala.
Feb. 8, 1961 – John Thomas Coker, 32, of Evergreen, Ala. died from injuries received in an accident on Feb. 7. Coker, a 1949 graduate of Evergreen High School, was working with the Scott Co., dismantling an old bridge across the Chattahoochee River, 17 miles east of Dothan, when he fell 42 feet to the bank of the river before sliding into the river itself. Foreman Billy Biles rescued Coker from the river, and Coker was rushed to hospitals in Dothan and Phenix City.
Feb. 8, 1962 – During what is now known as the “Charonne Massacre,” nine trade unionists were killed by French police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police.
Feb. 8, 1962 - The Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), headed by Gen. Paul D. Harkins, former U.S. Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, was installed in Saigon as the United States reorganized its military command in South Vietnam.
Feb. 8, 1963 - Lamar Hunt, owner of the American Football League franchise in Dallas, Texas, moved the operation to Kansas City. The new team was named the Chiefs.
Feb. 8, 1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba were made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.
Feb. 8, 1963 – The regime of Prime Minister of Iraq, Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Qasim was overthrown by the Ba'ath Party.
Feb. 8, 1963 - Members of the Monroeville Kiwanis Club passed a resolution on this Friday to urge the Monroeville City Council to enforce the law prohibiting minors from frequenting the local pool room. Various residents and groups had complained in recent months that teenagers had been allowed to remain in the pool room. Early in December 1962 Mayor W.H. Hines and the City Council requested parents’ help in enforcing the law which stated that it was unlawful for any person to play billiards, or to be permitted to remain in a billiard room, for any purpose, who had not reached the age of 21 years, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Feb. 8, 1969 - The last issue of the "Saturday Evening Post" was published. It was revived in 1971 as a quarterly publication and later a six times a year publication.
Feb. 8, 1969 – The “Allende meteorite” fell near Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Feb. 8, 1971 – During Operation Lam Son 719, South Vietnamese ground troops launched an incursion into Laos to try to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration.
Feb. 8, 1971 - In Cambodia, Premier Lon Nol suffered a paralyzing stroke and turned his duties over to Deputy Premier Sirik Matak.
Feb. 8, 1976 – Major League Baseball outfielder Adam Piatt was born in Chicago, Ill. He went on to play for the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Feb. 8, 1977 – The Murder Creek Historical Society acquired the title to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. Depot in Evergreen, Ala. The title was transferred to the Society’s officers by I.L. Bell, L&N Superintendent at Mobile, in a brief ceremony at the depot.
Feb. 8, 1984 - Elliott Hendrix, a former Frisco City, Ala. mayor and councilman, was sworn in to fill a vacancy on the Frisco City Town Council. The council picked Hendrix to succeed Councilman Lonnie Watts, who resigned in December 1983 to accept a night watchman’s job with the town. Hendrix was sworn in during the council’s regular meeting on this Wednesday.
Feb. 8, 1985 – Monroe Academy beat Sparta, 67-61, in the District Basketball Tournament in Monroeville, Ala. Al Etheridge, who was named to the all-tournament team, led Sparta with 23 points.
Feb. 8, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low of 23 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Feb. 8, 1985 - "The Dukes of Hazzard" ended its 6-1/2 year run on CBS television.
Feb. 8, 1988 - The Excel (Ala.) Town Council planned to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on this Monday night to hear citizens’ concerns about proposed annexation. On Jan. 18, 1988, the council approved plans to annex about two square miles north of the present town limits into the town. The area included land between Highway 136 and Gardner Gin Road to the east and land on the south side of Highway 84 to the H&R Block building.
Feb. 8, 1991 - Roger Clemens signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox that paid $5,380,250 per year.
Feb. 8, 1991 – Sparta Academy’s varsity boys basketball team beat Hooper Academy, 93-66, in Evergreen, Ala. Steven Gall led Sparta with 22 points.
Feb. 8, 2000 – Pro Football Hall of Fame outside linebacker and defensive end Derrick Thomas died in Miami, Fla. at the age of 33 from injuries suffered in a car accident weeks before. Thomas was an All-American at the University of Alabama and went on to play his entire pro career for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.