Sunday, March 26, 2017

Today in History for March 26, 2017

Air Force Lt. Col. William E. Molett 
March 26, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin and Rev. John Higginson questioned Dorothy Good, who was in jail.

March 26, 1776 - The Provincial Congress of South Carolina approved a new constitution. The legislature renamed itself the General Assembly of South Carolina and elected John Rutledge as president, Henry Laurens as vice president and William Henry Drayton as chief justice.

March 26, 1780 - The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor was published for the first time, becoming the first Sunday newspaper in Britain.

March 26, 1804 - The U.S. Congress ordered the removal of Indians east of the Mississippi to Louisiana.

March 26, 1804 - The Louisiana Purchase was divided into the District of Louisiana and the Territory of Orleans.

March 26, 1812 – A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coined the term "gerrymander" to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection.

March 26 ,1818 – William Wyatt Bibb, governor of the Alabama territory, sent a letter to Big Warrior at Coosada, a village north of Montgomery. The letter reported that “on Friday night, the thirteenth of this month, a family consisting of men, women and children, while sitting peacefully around their fire on the Federal Road about 65 miles this side of Claiborne, was attacked by a party of red men and eight killed. The next Friday, five men riding quietly along the road in the same neighborhood were fired on, three killed and one badly wounded.”

March 26, 1827 - Composer Ludwig van Beethoven passed away at the age of 56 in Vienna.

March 26, 1830 – The Book of Mormon was first published in Palmyra, New York.

March 26, 1859 - Poet and classical scholar A.E. Housman was born in Fockbury, Worcestershire, England.

March 26, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought between Federals and Confederates near Denver City, Colorado; in the vicinity of Boonville, Mo., at Gouge’s Mill, another at Humansville and Warrensburg, Mo.; and near Apache Canyon in the New Mexico Territory.

March 26, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Palatka, Fla.; at Madisonville, Ky.; with Apache Indians on the Rio Bonito River in the New Mexico Territory; and on the Woodbury Pike in Tennessee.

March 26, 1864 - General James B. McPherson assumed command of the Union Army of the Tennessee after William T. Sherman was elevated to commander of the Division of the Mississippi, the overall leader in the West.

March 26, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Quitman, Ark.; at Campti, La.; at Clinton, Miss.; and out from Greenville, S.C. at Black Jack Church.

March 26, 1864 – During the Civil War, a nine-day Federal operation between Camp Douglas and the Cedar Mountains in the Utah Territory began against the Goshute Indians, who were suspected of receiving aid from the Mormons. Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant also joined the Federal Army of the Potomac, whose headquarters was in the field at Culpepper Courthouse, Va.

March 26, 1865 – Lt. Col. Andrew Barclay Spurling’s Union troops reached Pollard, in present-day Escambia County, Ala., around 6 p.m. Between Sparta and Pollard, Spurling captured 20 prisoners in skirmishes and reached Pollard without losing a single man.

March 26, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Muddy Creek, Ala. Muddy Creek was listed on a period map as being south of Bon Secour along what is the present day intercoastal canal. A skirmish was also fought in the vicinity of Spanish Fort, Ala.

March 26, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought in Bath County, Ky.; and a four-day Federal operation between Bonnet Carre to the Amite River, La. began.

March 26, 1865 – During the Civil War, under the watching eyes of President Lincoln, the cavalry forces of Gen. Phil Sheridan crossed the James River, 15,000 strong. On his way to join Grant’s forces around Petersburg, Sheridan took advantage of the fact that Lincoln was on a tour of the City Point area to review the troops and consult with the generals. The aggressive Sheridan would assist Grant in pressuring the Petersburg line.

March 26, 1874 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, Calif.

March 26, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the work of repairing the Methodist parsonage had commenced.

March 26, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge Sowell had “quite an extensive new ground cleared just outside of town (Monroeville) on the Evergreen road.”

March 26, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that a new post office, called Carlisle, had been established about eight miles west of Kempville.

March 26, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County Sheriff Burns was visiting his family at Newtown Academy.

March 26, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Jones Mill community, that there was “a flourishing literary school” at New Hope a few miles from the mill.

March 26, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Tinela community, that the community now had two stores, a post office and a blacksmith shop, besides three churches and Knights of Pythias Castle Hall.

March 26, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Manistee community, that “a certain gentleman near this place ploughed up two acres of land last week and killed 69 rattlesnakes and hit at the 70th one.”

March 26, 1896 - Col. B.L. Hibbard spoke at Pineville to an audience of about 200 people. “He is an able advocate of the free and unlimited coinage of silver and of the nomination of Capt. Johnston for governor,” according to The Monroe Journal. “The Col. is himself a candidate for representative.”

March 26, 1897 – The “Money Pit” at Oak Island claimed its second victim when Maynard Kaiser, a worker, fell to his death.

March 26, 1906 – The school at McWilliams, with Mr. J.W. Riley as principal and Gladys McClelland as his assistant, closed on this day.

March 26, 1908 – Austrian-German SS officer Franz Stangl was born in Altmünster, Austria-Hungary.

March 26, 1910 - Orville Wright piloted the first plane in Alabama, causing the Montgomery Advertiser to report “a strange new bird soared over the cotton fields west of Montgomery.” The Wright brothers came to Montgomery to set up a pilots’ training school. Several pilots were trained, but the brothers left the area by the end of May. Replacement parts for broken machinery were difficult to locate in the area and the flyers' efforts were frustrated by numerous spectators during their stay.

March 26, 1911 – Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus, Miss.

March 26, 1914 – The Evergreen Courant reported that “a northern gentleman, who is spending some time in Evergreen, says he saw the first shot fired on Fort Sumter.”

March 26, 1916 - A movie version of Alabama author Mary Johnston's book “Audrey” was released.

March 26, 1916 – Dr. W.B. Sanders of Troy, a candidate for congress, spent this day in Evergreen, Ala.

March 26, 1917 – During World War I’s First Battle of Gaza, British troops were halted after 17,000 Turks blocked their advance.

March 26, 1920 – “This Side of Paradise” was first published, launching 23-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald to fame and fortune.

March 26, 1922 – The German Social Democratic Party was founded in Poland.

March 26, 1923 – Confederate veteran James Thomas “Jim” Fincher died on this Monday afternoon at his home in Evergreen, Ala. after about two weeks’ illness, aged 81 years. Fincher had lived in Conecuh County “for many years and was held in high esteem by all who knew him as an upright, honorable citizen. He served four years in the Confederate army and his record as a soldier was without blemish. At the time of his death, and for several years previous, he was Commander of the local camp of Confederate Veterans. In his passing we have another striking reminder that the thin gray line is becoming fewer in numbers.” Fincher was born in June 1842 in Stewart County, Ga. (Some sources say he was born in 1844 at Pond Town, Macon County, Ga) He first enlisted in a local militia, the Simpson Rangers in Florida and was transferred to Co. E, 3rd Bn. Florida Cav. Later, he served with Co. I, 15th Confederate Cav. Still later, he was transferred to Co. E, 15th Conf. Cav. better known as Amos' Cavalry. They were mainly from Santa Rosa County, Fla. Fincher drew a pension from Conecuh and also applied for a Florida pension, unsure if he drew from both places. He was enumerated in Conecuh in the 1907 and 1921 Ala. Confederate censuses. He fought at the Battle of Mt. Pleasant in Monroe County. He was buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery in Conecuh County.

March 26, 1923 - The Monroeville Electric Light Plant was finally completed and the current was turned on on this Monday evening for the first time in a test run with a maximum load. All connections appeared to have been properly made and the plant operated to the entire satisfaction of the superintendent, owners and patrons. Barring unforeseen emergencies, light and power was to be available daily from this point on. The city authorities had eight lamps of approximately 100 candle power placed at intervals around the public square while a large number of dwellings and business places were also being served.

March 26, 1923 - Congressman John McDuffie arrived in Monroe County from Washington on this Monday, having made the trip by automobile, the trip taking six days. He was accompanied by Mrs. McDuffie and their daughter.

March 26, 1928 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “Lone Babies” was released.

March 26, 1930 – Beat poet Gregory Corso was born on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.

March 26, 1931 - Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Mass. He was best known for his role as Mr. Spock of the Star Trek franchise.

March 26, 1931 – The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union was founded in Vietnam.

March 26, 1938 - Senator D. Hardy Riddle, candidate for Governor of Alabama, addressed a small crowd of Monroe County citizens at the courthouse on this Saturday night. His coming was not well advertised, and it being Saturday night, kept the attendance down. While the crowd was not large, they were very attentive, according to The Monroe Journal.

March 26, 1941 – Around 10:30 p.m. on this Wednesday night, flying cadet J.D. Eiland Jr. of Maxwell Field crash landed an “advance trainer” plane at the Evergreen, Ala. airport. On only his second cross-country night flight ever, Eiland became lost and began running low on fuel when he discovered he was over Evergreen and headed for the airport. The plane’s left wheel, propeller and left wing were damaged, but Eiland was not injured.

March 26, 1942 – Novelist and poet Erica Jong was born in New York City. She is best known for her 1973 novel, “Fear of Flying.”

March 26, 1943 – Investigative journalist and non-fiction author Bob Woodward was born in Geneva, Ill.

March 26, 1945 – Pfc. Elly Hubbard Cowart Jr., 25, of Conecuh County, Ala. was killed in Germany while crossing the Rhine River. Born on March 23, 1920, he is buried in Witherington Cemetery in Conecuh County.

March 26, 1947 - R.C. Snowden issued a call on this Wednesday for candidates to practice and start training on Sun., March 30, at the Monroe County High School athletic field. Snowden explained that he hoped to put together a team representing Monroeville in the Tri-County League that summer. The league was composed of teams in Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties.

March 26, 1953 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen City Clerk John Hunter Thornley had tendered his resignation to the City Council and Mayor Vernon B. Millsap said the resignation had been accepted. Thornley agreed to serve on in the post of city clerk until some time in April so that city officials could have adequate time to hire a replacement. Thornley became city clerk in September of 1945 and had served continuously in that post until his resignation.

March 26, 1953 - The Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. discontinued its Montgomery and New Orleans trains No. 7 and No. 8. Both of these trains were “locals” and had been handling the mail service for all the local stops between Montgomery and New Orleans.

March 26, 1953 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroeville’s new deep water well, with a guaranteed capacity of 900 gallons of water per minute, would be put into operation within a week. This announcement was made by local water board officials, who stated the 1,500-foot well would be joined to the town water main within a few days. During the previous several months, the Layne Central Drilling Co. had been installing the pump and motor for the well, on which drilling operations were completed in December 1952.

March 26, 1953 – The Monroe Journal reported that sealed proposals would be received in the office of the Monroe County Board of Education in Monroeville until 9 a.m. on April 17 when they were to be publicly opened and read for the purchase of the Megargel school building. Superintendent of Education H.G. Greer said the proposal was limited to the sale of the building and the successful bidder would be given until Nov. 1, 1953 to remove the building from the Megargel school land site.

March 26, 1959 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Star-Crest Recording Company of Hollywood, Calif. had announced that it was considering for recording and national album release a song written by a local composer, Miss Lucile Ross of 114 Belleville St., Evergreen, Ala. Her song was “Separation: Two Friends Part.”

March 26, 1960 – “Wild River,” a movie version of Alabama author Borden Deal's book “Dunbar's Cove” and Alabama author William Bradford Huie's book “Mud on the Stars,” was released.

March 26, 1960 – Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen was born in San Diego, Calif. He would go on to play for the USC, the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

March 26, 1964 – Evergreen High School’s Athletic Booster Club held the school’s annual “All Sports Banquet” in the school’s lunchroom. Coach Tom Jones of Lee High School in Montgomery was the invited guest speaker. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of letters by John Law Robinson and Henry Allman.

March 26, 1965 - A young truck driver, delivering a load of bananas to Scranton, Pa. lost control of his vehicle, and careened into town at 90 miles an hour, spilling bananas all along the way. The incident, which unfortunately ended in the driver's death, inspired the Harry Chapin song, “30,000 Pounds of Bananas.”

March 26, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, a group called Women Strike for Peace demonstrated in Washington, D.C., in the first large antiwar demonstration since President Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January.

March 26, 1970 – South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu implemented a land reform program to solve the problem of land tenancy.

March 26, 1973 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman George Sisler passed away at the age of 80 in Richmond Heights, Missouri. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Browns, the Washington Senators and the Boston Braves. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.

March 26, 1975 – Don L. McInnis was accepted as a recruit by the Alabama State Troopers.

March 26, 1975 - The city of Hue, in northernmost South Vietnam, fell to the North Vietnamese.

March 26, 1976 – Actress Amy Smart was born in Topanga, Calif.

March 26, 1981 - Tammy Michelle Elliott, a fifth-grader at Southside Elementary School, won the Conecuh County Spelling Bee at the Conecuh County Board of Education office in Evergreen, Ala.

March 26, 1982 – A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C.

March 26, 1983 - Sparta Academy was scheduled to begin the 1983 baseball season against Hooper Academy in Evergreen, Ala. The rest of Sparta’s schedule was as follows: March 29, at Fort Deposit; April 1, v. South Butler; April 2, Monroe Academy Tournament; April 5, at Monroe Academy; April 8, v. Greenville Academy; April 12, v. Escambia Academy; April 14, at Fort Dale; April 16, at Hooper; April 19, v. Wilcox Academy; April 23-26, District Playoffs; May 9, Regional Playoffs.

March 26, 1983 – Jennifer Till, 10, of Excel broke her old limbo skating “world record” on this Saturday at Skate World in Mobile, Ala. Till guided her 4-foot-4, 62-pound frame under a limbo stick just 6.75 inches off the floor, breaking her old world record of seven inches, which was set during the summer of 1982. Till first rolled under 7 inches and then, in front of an estimated 450 persons including a camera crew, she glided under the 6.75-inch mark. Till was a fourth-grader at Excel School and was a member of the Blanton’s Roller Rink junior skate team. She was featured on WKRG-TV’s 10 p.m. news broadcast that night.

March 26, 1992 – The Monroe Journal reported that, for the seventh straight year, the Heart of Dixie Trailride wagon train, passed through the Monroe County area on its way to the World Championship Rodeo, which was scheduled to be held in Montgomery on April 1-4. The 21 old, new and mixed-style wagons reached Repton on the afternoon of Sun., March 22, and set up camp in the old elementary school parking lot. From there they traveled through Bermuda and camped at the Burnt Corn Fox Hunting Club on the night of Mon., March 23. The next stop was at Old Texas.
March 26, 1997 - The 39 bodies of Heaven's Gate members are found in a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The group had committed suicide thinking that they would be picked up by a spaceship following behind the comet Hale-Bopp.

March 26, 1998 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a North Carolina family had hired the Jones Company, a private investigation firm in Asheville, to help find Betty Lou Dougherty, 57, of Asheville, whose car was found in Conecuh County, Ala. in February 1998.

March 26, 2000 - The Seattle Kingdome was imploded to make room for a new football arena.

March 26, 2005 – Retired Air Force Lt. Col. William E. Molett passed away at the age of 86 and was buried in West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Memphis. He graduated from the Southwest State Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. in 1936 and then joined the military, became a master navigator, recorded 6,000 hours as an aircraft navigator, including 91 flights over the North Pole. He also taught polar aviation for three years and returned as a Lt. Col. in the Air Force. During his career, he served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. In 1996, he wrote a book called “Robert Peary and Matthew Henson at the North Pole.” Born in Orrville, Ala. on Jan. 26, 1919, he was also a comic strip writer for Stars and Stripes and was a recipient of the Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air War Medal. He was a master duplicate bridge player and director.

March 26, 2014 - The National Labor Relations Board ruled that college football players at Northwestern University could unionize.

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