Friday, March 31, 2017

Today in History for March 31, 2017

General John Herbert Kelly
March 31, 1596 – Philosopher Rene Descartes, who has been called the “Father of Modern Philosophy,” was born in La Haye en Touraine, France.

March 31, 1621 – Poet Andrew Marvell was born in Winestead, England.

March 31, 1774 – During the American Revolution, the Kingdom of Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

March 31, 1776 - Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John that women were "determined to foment a rebellion" if the new Declaration of Independence failed to guarantee their rights.

March 31, 1790 - Thomas Bigelow died in prison, where he’d been imprisoned for failure to pay his debts even though he had earned 23,000 acres of land for his military service.

March 31, 1809 - Ukrainian-born Russian humorist, novelist, and dramatist Nikolai Gogol was born in the Cossack village of Sorochintsy.

March 31, 1810 – Old Bassett’s Creek Baptist Church, the second oldest Baptist church in the state, was established near Walker Springs in Clarke County, Ala.

March 31, 1825 – During his historic tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived at the Fort Mitchell crossing of the Chattahoochee River, where he was welcomed by, among others, General Sam Dale, hero of the “Canoe Fight” near Claiborne. Because Lafayette entered Alabama in what was technically Creek territory, General Thomas S. Woodward, who was himself part Creek, led an Indian escort through the region. After staying overnight at the fort, they begin their route west to Montgomery via military escort through Creek territory.

March 31, 1826 – The steamboat “Herald” broke the Henderson’s record for fastest trip from Mobile to Montgomery, Ala.

March 31, 1831 – An arrest warrant was issued for the heavily indebted William B. Travis at Claiborne, Ala.

March 31, 1836 – The first monthly installment of Charles Dickens’ first novel, “The Pickwick Papers,” was published under the pseudonym Boz.

March 31, 1840 – John Herbert Kelly, who would become known as the “Boy General of the Confederacy,” was born in Carrollton, Ala. to Isham and Elizabeth Kelly. Both of his parents died before his eighth birthday, leaving he and his brother as orphans. At that time, they moved to Wilcox County, Ala., where they were raised by their grandparents, Col. Joseph Richard Hawthorne and Harriet Herbert Hawthorne. Kelly went on to study at the U.S. Military Academy and eventually became an officer in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Due to his outstanding service, Kelly rose through the ranks and on Nov. 16, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. At the time of his promotion, at the age of 23, Kelly was the youngest brigadier general in the entire Confederate Army, which is why we know him today as the “Boy General of the Confederacy.”

March 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, Federal forces abandoned Fort Bliss, Texas.

March 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Pink Hill, Mo.; in the vicinity of Deep Gully, N.C.; and near Adamsville, Tenn., on the Purdy Road. A three-day Federal operation also began in the vicinity of Paris, Tenn.

March 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishing between Rebels and Union forces took place at Island 10 on the Mississippi River.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Crooked Creed and Cross Hollow, Ark.; at Richmond, La.; and in the vicinity of Franklin, Tenn.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, after burning most of it, Jacksonville, Fla. was evacuated by Federal forces.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, a Naval engagement was fought on the Savannah River in Georgia.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, an 18-day Federal operation began between Milliken’s Bend and New Carthage, La.; and a four-day Federal operation began between Lexington and the mouth of the Duck River in Tennessee.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Federal vessels Albatross, Harford and Switzerland successfully passed the batteries at Grand Gulf, Mississippi.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil war, a Confederate assault began on the Federal garrison of Washington, N.C. A largish quantity of Confederate artillery was used to keep the offshore Union gunboats from getting close enough to assist. Although they were not much use militarily, the gunboats did run in supplies that enabled the garrison to resist.

March 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Arkadelphia, Ark.; near Palatka, Fla.; in eastern Kentucky at Forks of Beaver; out from Natchitoches, La.; and at Spring Island, S.C.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Aquia Eria in the New Mexico Territory.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Gulley and Hookerton, N.C.; at Magnolia, Tenn.; and at Crow’s House, along Hatcher’s Run, and on the White Oak Road in Virginia.

March 31, 1865 - Union troops under the command of General James H. Wilson destroyed the Brierfield Ironworks, which was located between Centreville and Montevallo, Ala. The facility was established in 1862 with the construction of a 36-foot-high brick blast furnace. In 1863, the works were sold, along with nine slaves, to the Confederacy for $600,000, making it the only ironworks owned by the Confederacy. The iron produced at the site was shipped to the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, where it was fashioned into cannon and plate armor.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, Federal forces occupied Asbyville, Ala. A skirmish was also fought at Montevallo and at Six Mile Creek, Ala. Major General Steele’s column also reached Stockton, Ala.

March 31, 1865 - Fighting occurred at White Oak Road and the Dinwiddie Court House.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Battle of White Oak Road (also known as The Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Gravelly Run, Boydton Plank Road and White Oak Ridge) was fought at the end of the Petersburg, Va. line near Dinwiddie Court House. During the battle, Union General Philip Sheridan moved against the left flank of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, near Dinwiddie Court House. The limited action set the stage for the Battle of Five Forks, Va. on the following day. The 59th Alabama Infantry Regiment, of which Lewis Lavon Peacock was a member, lost a number of men in this battle.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that there were five prisoners confined in the Monroe County Jail awaiting the action of the courts.

March 31, 1887 - Mr. W.C. Stevens, who was connected with the live grocery house of S. Richard & Sons of Mobile, was in Monroeville during this week.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. DeLoach, the mother of Capt. John DeLoach, had been quite sick for several days.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that several “commercial tourists” were in Monroeville that week.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. Jno. I. Watson, who had been ill for several days, was improving slowly.

March 31, 1889 – The Eiffel Tower was officially opened with a dedication ceremony in Paris, France.

March 31, 1894 – Drs. J.F. Busey, W.L. Abernathy and G.L. Lambert, all of Monroe County, Ala. were granted diplomas by the Alabama Medical College.

March 31, 1905 - Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany arrived in Tangiers to declare his support for the sultan of Morocco, provoking the anger of France and Britain in what would become known as the First Moroccan Crisis, a foreshadowing of the greater conflict between Europe’s great nations still to come, the First World War.

March 31, 1906 – The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later the National Collegiate Athletic Association) was established to set rules for college sports in the United States.

March 31, 1909 – Construction of the ill-fated RMS Titanic began.

March 31, 1914 – Alabama Congressional Representative Richmond P. Hobson, who received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish-American War, spoke before a large crowd at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala.

March 31, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the basketball team in the Effie community was “progressing nicely at present.”

March 31, 1917 – The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renamed the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

March 31, 1918 – Daylight saving time went into effect in the United States for the first time.

March 31, 1930 – The Motion Picture Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film, in the U.S. for the next 38 years.

March 31, 1931 – TWA Flight 599 crashed near Bazaar, Kansas killing eight, including University of Notre Dame head football coach Knute Rockne.

March 31, 1933 – The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment in the United States.

March 31, 1933 - The "Soperton News" in Georgia became the first newspaper to publish using a pine pulp paper.

March 31, 1936 – Poet and novelist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit.

March 31, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroeville’s new post office was to be completed and ready for occupancy within the next 10 days. Workmen were finishing the interior of the building and placing office equipment. All patrons of the post office, who had rented boxes in the past, were to be assigned boxes in the new building without application. Instead of using combination locks as in the old office, the new boxes were to have Yale locks and keys. The basement of the building was to be occupied by the Monroe County Farm Bureau.

March 31, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. C.A. Gentry, who had been connected with the Alabama Power Co. in Atmore, had been transferred to the office in Monroeville to assume the position left vacant by the promotion of John H. Finklea.

March 31, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Margaret Turberville of Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala., had been selected as county champion in The Birmingham News-Age Herald oratorical contest on “Jefferson and Marshall,” and would represent the county in the congressional district competitions for this district at Grove Hill High School on Mon., April 11, at 7:30.

March, 31, 1943 – “Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway.

March 31, 1944 - Ensign R.G. Kendall Jr. was scheduled to leave on this Friday for Hollywood, Fla., where he was to go for training, according to The Evergreen Courant.

March 31, 1945 - "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.

March 31, 1947 – Evergreen’s Fat Calf Show was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Stock Yard in Evergreen, Ala. and guest speakers were to include Alabama Gov. “Big Jim” Folsom. The event was sponsored by the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Extension Service and Vocational Ag. Dept. and was open to 4-H Club Boys & Girls, FFA and FHA members. The event was to include a formal dedication of the Conecuh Producer’s Cooperative, and special music was to be provided by the Maxwell Field Band.

March 31, 1950 – NFL running back Ed Marinaro was born in New York City. He went on to play at Cornell, the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks.

March 31, 1950 - A radio version of Alabama author T. S. Stribling's story "Green Splotches" was broadcast as part of the “Escape” series.

March 31, 1951 – The Remington Rand Corporation signed a contract to deliver the first UNIVAC computer to the U.S. Census Bureau. UNIVAC I (which stands for Universal Automatic Computer) took up 350 square feet of floor space - about the size of a one-car garage - and was the first American commercial computer. It was designed for the rapid and relatively simple arithmetic calculation of numbers needed by businesses, rather than the complex calculations required of the sciences.

March 31, 1954 – Evergreen High School wrapped up spring football practice with a “Green and Red” intra-squad game at 7:30 p.m. at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.

March 31, 1965 - Responding to questions from reporters about the situation in Vietnam, President Johnson said, “I know of no far-reaching strategy that is being suggested or promulgated.”

March 31, 1967 – The annual Miss Evergreen Pageant was held in Evergreen, Ala. The pageant was sponsored by the Evergreen High School Band Boosters.

March 31, 1968 - Seattle chose the nickname “Pilots” for their new American League baseball franchise.

March 31, 1968 - In a televised speech to the nation, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced a partial halt of bombing missions over North Vietnam and proposes peace talks.

March 31, 1972 - The Major League Baseball Players Association voted to go on strike on April 1.

March 31, 1972 - After firing more than 5,000 rockets, artillery, and mortar shells on 12 South Vietnamese positions just below the Demilitarized Zone, the North Vietnamese Army launched ground assaults against South Vietnamese positions in Quang Tri Province, but the attacks were thrown back, with 87 North Vietnamese killed.

March 31, 1974 - James “Pappy” Ellis officially retired from his position as Evergreen’s police chief, and he was replaced by incoming chief, Russell Phillips on April 1. Phillips was a retired state trooper sergeant and former police chief in McIntosh. Ellis was honored with a “prayer breakfast” on Fri., March 29. Phillips had been on duty with the Evergreen Police Department since March 1 to get familiar with the city and department personnel.

March 31, 1981 – The organizational meeting Conecuh County’s “New Courthouse Committee,” which was formed by the Conecuh County Commission to study and make recommendations regarding the construction of a new county courthouse, was held. Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key was the committee’s chairman and other members of the committee included William D. Melton, David L. Burt Jr., Larry Fluker, Richard Rabb, Robert Floyd, Lee F. Smith, W.J. Barlow, Billy Mims, Alton Johnson, Oliver Pugh, Aubrey D. Padgett, Judge Frank T. Salter, Anne T. Cook, Elizabeth W. Salter, Prather N. Smith and Willene Whatley.

March 31, 1983 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County State Trooper Marion Craft had received an award from the state Department of Public Safety in appreciation of “the extra effort in attempting to save the life of an infant and for control of onlookers at the scene of an accident Oct. 4, 1981.”

March 31, 1988 - The staff of the Alabama Journal were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting for their investigation into infant mortality in Alabama.

March 31, 1994 – The journal “Nature” reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.

March 31, 1995 – The longest strike in Major League Baseball history ended as players were sent back to work. Because of the strike, the 1994 World Series was cancelled. It was the first time baseball did not crown a champion in 89 years.

March 31, 1998 - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks debuted in the major leagues.

March 31, 1998 - Pokey Reese of the Cincinnati Reds tied a Major League record when he had four errors on opening day.

March 31, 1999 - The sci-fi film “The Matrix,” with its influential mix of cyberpunk, anime, postmodernism, and metaphysics opened on this day.

March 31, 2003 - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the season opener between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

March 31, 2003 - U.S. military officials accused Geraldo Rivera of disclosing unauthorized military movements. Rivera had outlined military movements in the dirt while embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.

March 31, 2003 - NBC fired Peter Arnett after he gave an unauthorized interview with state-run Iraqi TV. During the interview Arnett said that the American-led war effort had initially failed because of Iraqi resistance.

March 31, 2004 – In Fallujah, Iraq, four American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA were killed after being ambushed.

March 31, 2004 - NFL owners adopted a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebrations. The penalty was added to the fines previously in place for choreographed and multiplayer celebrations. Also, if the infraction was flagrant the player would be ejected. The previous day the owners had instituted a modified instant replay system for five years.

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