Thursday, March 2, 2017

Today in History for March 2, 2017

Thomas Mercer Riley
March 2, 1498 – Vasco da Gama's fleet visited the Island of Mozambique.

March 2, 1770 - British soldiers and Bostonian laborers fought at John Hancock's wharf. The soldiers were confined to their barracks after the incident.

March 2, 1776 - In advance of the Continental Army’s occupation of Dorchester Heights, Mass., General George Washington ordered American artillery forces to begin bombarding Boston from their positions at Lechmere Point, northwest of the city center.

March 2, 1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, Patriot militia units arrested the Royal Governor of Georgia James Wright and attempted to prevent the capture of supply ships in the Battle of the Rice Boats.

March 2, 1793 - Sam Houston, the first President of the Republic of Texas, was born in Rockbridge County, Va.

March 2, 1807 – The U.S. Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, disallowing the importation of new slaves into the country. The act prohibited “the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States... from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

March 2, 1819 - President James Monroe signed the Alabama enabling act.

March 2-3, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Raleigh, North Carolina where he was reunited with Colonel William Polk who had fought beside him at the Battle of Brandywine where both had been wounded.

March 2, 1836 - The siege at the Alamo continued. Unbeknownst to defenders of the Alamo, the provisional Texas government at Washington-on-the-Brazos declared independence from Mexico, officially establishing the Republic of Texas.

March 2, 1836 - Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed.

March 2, 1855 - Congress appropriated $30,000 on this day to install camels in the American Southwest, as part of the U.S. Army. Though they proved successful as pack animals, after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the camels became all but forgotten about.

March 2, 1859 – Sholem Aleichem, one of the world’s most prolific and widely read Yiddish-language writers, was born in Pereyaslave, Ukraine.

March 2, 1861 - The U.S. Congress created the Territory of Nevada.

March 2, 1861 – During the Civil War, the US revenue cutter, Henry Dodge, was seized in Galveston, Texas. The U.S. Congress voted to create the Dakota Territory, comprising present day North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

March 2, 1862 - The Confederate forces under General Ben McCulloch, General Earl Van Dorn and General Sterling Price joined together in preparation to advance on Union General Samuel Curtis' army.

March 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, Columbus, Ky. was evacuated by Confederate Major General Leonidas Polk, and a skirmish was fought near New Madrid, Mo. Albuquerque, in the New Mexico Territory, was abandoned by Federal forces, and a Naval engagement took place near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., involving the Federal gunboats, Lexington and Tyler.

March 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 28-day Federal expedition from New Orleans, La., to the mouth of the Rio Grande River in Texas, began. Skirmishes were fought in the vicinity Neosho, Mo.; near Eagleville, Tenn.; in the vicinity of Petersburg, Tenn. and at Aldie, Va. A two-day Federal operation between La Grange, Tenn. and Salem, Miss. began.

March 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation began between Larkin’s Landing and Guntersville, Ala.

March 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Canton, Miss. and at Old Church and Walkerton, Va.

March 2, 1865 - Union General George Custer's troops defeated Confederate General Jubal Early's forces at the Battle of Waynesboro, Virginia. The battle brought an end to fighting in the Shenandoah Valley.

March 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Chesterfield and Thompson’s Creek, S.C. A three-day Federal operation in the vicinity of Athens, Tenn. began.

March 2, 1867 - The United States Congress passed the First Reconstruction Act, which divided the South into five military districts.

March 2, 1871 - James Osgood Andrew passed away in Mobile, Ala. at the age of 76. He was the first native of Georgia to enter the Methodist ministry, and the Andrews Chapel in McIntosh, Ala. was named in his honor.

March 2, 1877 – Just two days before his inauguration, the U.S. Congress declared Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the 1876 election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on Nov. 7, 1876.

March 2, 1882 – Queen Victoria narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor.

March 2, 1885 – During the Sino-French War, the French victory in the Battle of Hòa Mộc occurred near Tuyên Quang, northern Vietnam.

March 2, 1895 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau Station at Claiborne, Ala. recorded 1.10 inches of rainfall.

March 2, 1899 - Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress.

March 2, 1900 – Astronomer Morris K. Jessup, the author of “The Case for the UFO,” was born near Rockville, Indiana. He was heavily involved in early research of the “Philadelphia Experiment.”

March 2, 1901 - Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History met in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency. Charged with, among other responsibilities, "the care and custody of official archives [and] the collection of materials bearing upon the history of the State," the department was housed in the capitol until 1940. In that year it moved across Washington Avenue to the War Memorial Building, which had been constructed for the Archives.

March 2, 1904 - The "Official Playing Rules of Professional Base Ball Clubs" were adopted.

March 2, 1904 – Writer and illustrator Theodor Geisel, also known as “Dr. Seuss,” was born in Springfield, Mass. His most famous books included “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), “The Cat in the Hat” (1957) and “Green Eggs and Ham” (1960).

March 2, 1906 - Prof. B.F. Hale closed his school at Chapman school house on this Friday and returned to his home at Pine Apple.

March 2, 1909 – National Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Mel Ott was born in Gretna, Ala. He would go on to play for and manage the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951.

March 2, 1915 - The Monroeville, Ala. Lodge of the Knights of Pythias held a meeting under special permit for the election of officers. The former officers were elected for a semi-annual term.

March 2, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Judge Thames of Brooklyn had withdrawn from the race for Conecuh County Probate Judge.

March 2, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Miss Jennie Faulk had returned from market and was preparing the formal opening of her new spring stock of millinery.

March 2, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Hare, Miss Eppes and Master Nicholas Hare made an auto trip to Montgomery, Ala. one day during the previous week “to witness the great movie play,” “The Birth of a Nation.”

March 2, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that C.C. Wiggins had established “an Auto Bus Line” between Monroeville and West Monroeville, the local station on the Gulf, Florida and Alabama railroad. The bus was to meet both the north and southbound passenger trains daily.

March 2, 1917 - Barely a month before the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth act, granting U.S. citizenship to the inhabitants of Puerto Rico.

March 2, 1925 - State and federal highway officials developed a nationwide route-numbering system and adopted the familiar U.S. shield-shaped, numbered marker.

March 2, 1927 - Babe Ruth signed a three-year contract with the New York Yankees worth $70,000 a year.

March 2, 1931 – Journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe was born in Richmond, Va. His most famous books include “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby” (1965), “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (1968), “The Right Stuff” (1979) and “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1987).

March 2, 1933 – The film “King Kong” opened at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

March 2, 1935 – Confederate officer Thomas Mercer Riley died at the age of 94 and was buried at Turnbull Cemetery near Riley Crossing in Monroe County, Ala. He was born on July 2, 1840 at Turnbull in Monroe County. He enlisted in the Monroe Guards on March 15, 1861 and served as 2nd Captain. He enlisted in the 5th Alabama on May 13, 1861 and was elected 2nd Lt. He was appointed a 1st Lt. by the State of Alabama on Oct. 13, 1861. Co. D, 5th Alabama reorganized and became Co. C, 5th Alabama on April 27, 1862 and he was named captain on that date. He was wounded on June 2, 1864 and sent home on a 30-day furlough. He commanded Co. C, 5th Alabama and assumed command of the entire regiment during the battle. He surrendered the regiment at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. After the war, he averted a financial disaster within Monroe County in his position as head of the Bank of Beatrice. The post-war Riley home stands today just north of Riley Crossing on the west side of State Highway 21.

March 2, 1935 – Former University of Alabama head coach Gene Stallings was born in Paris, Texas.

March 2, 1936 – The Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation was organized by some 83 members from Clarke and Washington counties. This was the first rural electrical co-op organized in Alabama under an executive order signed by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 11, 1935.

March 2, 1942 – Novelist John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. His most famous books include “The World According to Garp” (1978), “The Cider House Rules” (1978) and “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (1989).

March 2, 1946 – Ho Chi Minh was elected the President of North Vietnam.

March 2, 1950 – A raging fire, fanned by strong winds, completely destroyed J.U. Blacksher High School’s main building at Uriah, Ala. early on this Thursday morning. The blaze, which started about 7:40 a.m. originated when an oil stove in the school sick room exploded. The building, which burned to the ground in about an hour, provided classroom accommodations for 562 students – 284 elementary students and 278 high school students. No other buildings at the school burned. However, eye witness accounts reported that only a prevailing wind from the direction of the cafeteria toward the fire kept the cafeteria from going up in smoke, also. The high school gymnasium did not catch fire. Volunteers formed a bucket brigade to attempt to halt the raging fire but their efforts proved in vain.

March 2, 1950 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen High School’s varsity boys basketball team, led by head coach Wendell Hart, wrapped up their regular season schedule with a 42-41 win over Andalusia, which was coached by Bill Stanford, in Andalusia, Ala. Guerry Moorer led Evergreen with 16 points; Jack Cunningham scored 11; Gwyn Daniels, nine; Bobby “Pistol Pete” Wells, four; Dickey Bozeman, two. Evergreen played without John Greel Ralls, who missed the game due to sickness.

March 2, 1950 – The First District AA Basketball Tournament was scheduled to begin in Evergreen, Ala. with a game between W.S. Neal and Robertsdale at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym in Evergreen. Also that night, top-seeded McGill of Mobile was scheduled to play Choctaw County High School of Butler at 8:15 p.m., and after that UMS of Mobile was to play Clarke County High School. Other teams in the tournament included Bay Minette, Citronelle, Murphy, Semmes Tech, Fairhope, Evergreen, Jackson, Foley and Atmore. The three-day tournament was scheduled to end on Sat., March 4. Both the tournament winner and runner-up were to enter the state AA tournament in Tuscaloosa March 10-11. At the end of the final game, the all-district team selections were to be announced and trophies were to be awarded.

March 2, 1950 – The Evergreen Courant reported that March 2-4 had been proclaimed Tournament Days in Evergreen, Ala. by Major J.H. Robison. The Mayor’s Proclamation was issued to encourage cooperation of local people during the First District AA Tournament, which was scheduled to begin on March 2 in Memorial Gym at Evergreen High School and continue through Saturday night, March 4. In his proclamation, the mayor asked the merchants and businessmen in Evergreen to fly their United States flags on each of the three days the tournament is in progress, and urged the cooperation and support of townspeople during the meet.

March 2, 1956 – Evergreen High School beat Monroe County High School, 63-41, in the opening round of the First District Class AA Tournament in Mobile on this Friday afternoon. In quarterfinal round action later that night, Evergreen beat Clarke County High School, 71-24.

March 2, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy appointed Red Level, Ala. native Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry U. S. Surgeon General. Terry was born in Red Level in 1911 and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1931. As Surgeon General he issued a landmark report on smoking and health that raised awareness among policymakers and the public about the dangers of smoking. The report, “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States,” was released on Jan. 11, 1964 and concluded that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally related to cigarette smoking. Terry served as Surgeon General until Oct. 1, 1965.

March 2, 1965 – Operation Rolling Thunder began with more than 100 United States Air Force jet bombers striking an ammunition depot at Xom Bang, 10 miles inside North Vietnam.

March 2, 1967 - Senator Robert Kennedy (D-New York) proposed a three-point plan to help end the Vietnam War.

March 2, 1971 - Ralph Byron Barlow, 56, died as the result of an accident at a Pensacola motel where he was working as caretaker. He was buried March 8 with military honors at Fort Barrancas, according to The Evergreen Courant.

March 2, 1972 – A tornado struck Evergreen, Ala. and demolished a lumber shed at the Conecuh Lumber Co. and a number of other buildings. No injuries were reported.

March 2, 1980 - Weather observer Earl Windham reported a low of 20 degrees on this day in Evergreen, Ala.

March 2, 1982 – NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was born in Lima, Ohio. He would go on to play for Miami (Ohio) and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

March 2, 1984 – Kenneth Ausby, son of Dot Floyd of Evergreen, Ala., graduated from the Southwest Alabama Police Academy at Faulkner State Junior College in Bay Minette. Ausby, who had been a member of the Evergreen Police Department since July 1983, finished No. 4 in his class.

March 2, 1985 – NFL running back Reggie Bush was born in Spring Valley, Calif. He would go on to play for Southern Cal, the New Orleans Saints, the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions.

March 2, 1986 - Weather observer Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 23 degrees on this day in Evergreen, Ala.

March 2, 1986 - Steve Stewart, editor of The Monroe Journal, was installed as first vice president of the Alabama Press Association in Birmingham. He served as second vice president during the past 12 months.

March 2, 1990 – College and NFL cornerback Malcolm Butler was born in Vicksburg, Miss. He went on to play for Vicksburgh High School, the University of West Alabama and the New England Patriots.

March 2, 1991 – The Battle at Rumaila Oil Field brought an end to the 1991 Gulf War.

March 2, 1992 - Ryne Sandberg signed a five-year contract with the Chicago Cubs worth $30.5 million.

March 2, 1993 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.00 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala. Evergreen received .06 inches on March 1 and .35 inches on March 3 for a three-day total of 1.41 inches.

March 2, 1995 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen (Ala.) Baptist Church was celebrating its Sesquicentennial during March 1995. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Jack Williamson, and its Sesquicentennial Committee invited the public to participate in special services scheduled for March 5, March 12 and March 19. The Founders Day Service was to be observed on Sun., March 19, and was to be followed by a noon meal in the Activities Building. Historical items were to be displayed all month.

March 2, 1995 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Betty Oliver had been named as the Employee of the Year at Natural Decorations, Inc. She was presented a cash award by Joe Gordy, co-owner of NDI, and she also received a plaque.
March 2, 2001 – Weather observer Harry Ellis reported 3.50 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.

March 2, 2001 - Skydivers Jeff Nettles of Excel, Ed Gideon of Atmore and Dan Symm jumped into the football stadium at J.U. Blacksher High School on this Friday afternoon at Uriah to celebrate “Aerospace Week” at the school.

March 2, 2004 - The Indianapolis Colts signed Peyton Manning to a seven-year, $98-million deal with a $34.5 million signing bonus. It was the largest package to date in the NFL.

March 2, 2004 – During the War in Iraq, Al-Qaeda carried out the Ashoura Massacre in Iraq, killing 170 and wounding over 500.

March 2, 2005 - At a White House ceremony, President George W. Bush congratulated the 2005 World Champion Boston Red Sox baseball team for winning their first World Series since 1918. Massachusetts Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, and former Red Sox players were among those on hand for the event.

March 2, 2010 – On this Tuesday night, nearly 100 people registered for the annual Peddlin’ for a Cure bicycle ride to benefit Relay for Life of Monroe County, according to Peddlin’ Coordinator Debbie Lee. Founder Fred Kelley announced that the would be riding in honor of Dwight Harrigan, who was announced as this year’s honorary chairperson.

March 2, 2011 – The James Landing Cemetery in Clarke County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.

March 2, 2011 – The Lamb Cemetery and the James Whitley Family Cemetery in Butler County, Ala. were added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.

March 2, 2012 – The Yancey-Crane Cemetery in Baldwin County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.

March 2, 2012 – South African environmentalist, explorer and author Lawrence Anthony died at the age of 61.

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