Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Today in History for April 19, 2017

Downtown Monroeville historical marker.
April 19, 1666 – Diarist Sarah Kemble Knight was born in Boston, Mass.

April 19, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey and Mary Warren were examined. Deliverance Hobbs confessed to practicing witchcraft. Mary Warren reversed her statement made in early April and rejoined the accusers.

April 19, 1764 - The English Parliament banned the American colonies from printing paper money.

April 19, 1770 - Captain James Cook, who at the time held the rank of lieutenant, sighted the eastern coast of what is now Australia and is credited with discovering New South Wales, Australia. Cook originally named the land Point Hicks.

April 19, 1775 – The American Revolutionary War began with an American victory in Concord during the battles of Lexington and Concord. The first shots of the war were fired when British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington.

April 19, 1782 – John Adams secured the Dutch Republic's recognition of the United States as an independent government. The house which he had purchased in The Hague, Netherlands became the first American embassy.

April 19, 1802 - The Spanish reopened the New Orleans port to American merchants.

April 19, 1824 – British poet Lord Byron died while fighting in the Greek War of Independence from Ottoman Turkey.

April 19, 1840 – Confederate soldier Joseph Franklyn Watson was born in Wilcox County, Ala. He was taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and forwarded to Point Lookout, Md. He was paroled on Feb. 14, 1865. He died in Brewton on June 18, 1926 and was buried in Union Cemetery in Brewton.

April 19, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Baltimore riot of 1861 occurred as a pro-Secession mob in Baltimore attacked United States Army troops marching through the city. Four Union soldiers and nine civilians were killed.

April 19, 1861 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Blockade against southern ports. The blockade kept the rural South from being able to stay well supplied for the duration of the war.

April 19, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Yellville and another near Camden, Ark.; on the Trent Road in North Carolina; on Edisto Island, S.C.; and near Luray, Va. The Federal occupation of Sparta, Va. also began.

April 19, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Dickson Station, Ala.

April 19, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Celina and Creelsborough, Ky.; at Pontotoc, Miss. as part of the Grierson raid; at Big Swift Creek and Trenton, Tenn.; and near Suffolk, Va. A two-day Federal operation around Neosho, Mo. also began.

April 19, 1864 – A Confederate operation against Unionists began in Marion County, Ala.

April 19, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on King’s River in Arkansas; in the vicinity of Mechanicsburg, Miss., near present day Yazoo City, Miss.; in the vicinity of Charleston, Mo.; at Waterhouse’s Mill and Boiling Springs, Tenn.; at Leesburg, Va.; and in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. A five-day Federal reconnaissance up the Yazoo River from Vicksburg, Miss. also began. A Naval action was also fought off the coast of Plymouth, N.C.

April 19, 1865 – The funeral service for Abraham Lincoln was held in the East Room of the White House. His body then began a two-week journey back to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.

April 19, 1865 - A Federal movement of troops took place from Memphis, Tenn. to Brownsville, Miss., which was located in present day Bolivar County, Miss.

April 19, 1886 - The spring term of Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court convened on this Monday, with Judge Clarke presiding.

April 19, 1886 - Solicitor Taylor received a telegram on this Monday summoning him to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, Mr. E.H. Metcalf, whose death occurred very suddenly at his home in Montgomery on Sun., April 18. Col. H.T. Taylor, ex-editor of The Choctaw Courier, discharged the duties of solicitor very efficiently in the absence of his brother, according to The Monroe Journal.

April 19, 1889 – According to the Alabama League of Municipalities, the City of Monroeville, Ala. was officially incorporated as a municipality.

April 19, 1897 - The first Boston Marathon was held. It was the first race of its type in the U.S. John J. McDermott of New York won with a time of 2:55:10.

April 19, 1897 – Léo Taxil exposed his own fabrications concerning Freemasonry.

April 19, 1899 - Author James Saxon Childers was born in Birmingham, Ala.

April 19, 1904 – J.B. Barnett Sr. opened Monroe County Bank for the first time on the ground floor of the old pre-Civil War courthouse, between two present day courthouses in Monroeville, Ala. The bank moved to southwest corner of the square in 1909.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that Stanley E. Ferrell had been appointed postmaster at Mount Pleasant.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported in news from the “XBEC” community, that Mary Smith had gone to Mobile to see a doctor after she swallowed a dress pin a few days before.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that the merchants of Monroeville, Ala. had entered into a mutual agreement for the early closure of their places of business during the summer months. Beginning on May 1 and continuing until Sept. 1, all stores were to close at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays excepted.

April 19, 1909 – The Rev. S.O.Y. Ray, the newly elected financial secretary of the Orphans Home in Evergreen, Ala., delivered a sermon at the Baptist Church.

April 19, 1914 – Around 3:30 a.m. (on a Sunday morning), a wood frame house belonging to Mrs. C.S. Rabb on Perryman Street near the cemetery in Evergreen, Ala. caught fire and burned down. Flames spread quickly and the home’s occupants barely escaped with their lives, all contents were destroyed, and the building was a total loss.

April 19, 1915 – Castleberry, Ala. Mayor J.M. Thomas visited Evergreen on business.

April 19, 1916 – A Mrs. Hudson, who had lived near Monroeville, Ala. for nearly half a century, was a visitor to the city on this Wednesday for the first time in 18 years. She “had never before seen the new courthouse, the bank or any of the new brick buildings that have replaced the ancient wooden structures within that time, and scarcely recognized the old town in its new dress,” according to the April 20, 1916 edition of The Monroe Journal. “Mrs. Hudson is upward of 83 years old but is quite active for one of her years.”

April 19, 1917 - The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroe County Board of Equalization was holding several days’ session at the Monroe County Courthouse, going over the assessments of property in the county and determining the taxable value thereof.

April 19, 1919 – On this Saturday before Easter, tense and complicated negotiations began at the Paris peace conference over Italy’s claims to territory in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

April 19, 1927 – The Greenville (Ala.) Grammar School was “gutted by fire” early on this Sunday morning. Nearly 400 students attended the school, which was located on Commerce Street, between Church and Pine Streets. The cause of the fire was unknown.

April 19, 1927 – Actress Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in prison for her role in the play “Sex,” which she also wrote and directed.

April 19, 1931 – Poet Etheridge Knight was born in Corinth, Miss.

April 19, 1934 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Hon. George Ross, ex-representative of Birmingham, was scheduled to speak at several points in Monroe County that week on behalf of the candidacy of Judge Leon McCord of Montgomery for governor of Alabama. Ross was a prominent member of the Alabama bar and was “a splendid speaker.” Speaking dates had been announced for the following places: Excel, Fri., April 20, 8 p.m.; Frisco City, Sat., April 21, 10:30 a.m.; Monroeville, Sat., April 21, 8 p.m.

April 19, 1939 - Connecticut approved the Bill of Rights for the U.S. Constitution after 148 years.

April 19, 1949 – The fourth annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was held in Evergreen, Ala.

April 19, 1956 – The Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held in Evergreen, Ala.

April 19, 1957 – Wayne Davis, a small boy from New Brunswick, N.J who was visiting his grandparents near Evergreen, Ala., was killed on this night when he ran into the path of a car 5.3 miles north of Evergreen on Highway 83.

April 19, 1958 - The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers played the first Major League Baseball game on the West Coast. This was also the first game in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

April 19, 1959 – Astronomer Morris K. Jessup contacted Dr. Manson Valentine and arranged to meet with him the next day, claiming to have made a breakthrough regarding an event known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Jessup would be found dead the next day.

April 19, 1960 – Major League Baseball uniforms began displaying player's names on their backs.

April 19, 1960 – Decatur, Ala. native Marv Breeding made his Major League debut, taking the field for the Baltimore Orioles

April 19, 1960 – Children’s author and illustrator Jon Agee was born in Nyack, N.Y.

April 19, 1965 – The 20th Annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held on this Monday at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard on North Main Street in Evergreen, Ala. Elbert Williams, assistant county agent, was the show chairman.

April 19, 1966 – The California Angels opened Anaheim Stadium against the Chicago White Sox.

April 19, 1967 - Over North Vietnam, Air Force Major Leo K. Thorsness, from the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and his electronic warfare officer, Capt. Harold E. Johnson, destroyed two enemy surface-to-air missile sites, and then shot down a MiG-17 before escorting search-and-rescue helicopters to a downed aircrew. Although his F-105 fighter-bomber was very low on fuel, Major Thorsness attacked four more MiG-17s in an effort to draw the enemy aircraft away from the downed aircrew. Awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous action this day, Major Thorsness did not receive his medal until 1973 – on April 30, 1967, he was shot down over North Vietnam and spent the next six years as a prisoner of war.

April 19, 1968 - In Chicago, the National League approved expansion to Montreal and San Diego. Dallas-Fort Worth failed in its bid for an NL franchise.

April 19, 1971 – As a prelude to a massive antiwar protest, Vietnam Veterans Against the War began a five-day demonstration in Washington, D.C.

April 19, 1976 – Basketball player, coach and radio host Scott Padgett was born in Louisville, Ky. He went on to play for the University of Kentucky, the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets, the New Jersey Nets and the Memphis Grizzlies.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Sawyer Griffin killed a wild turkey that weighed 16 pounds and had a 10 and 3/4-inch beard.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that John P. Bewley, a retired Soil Conservation Service technician, had been presented a gold emblem by the Alabama Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons, in recognition of his 50 years of membership as a Mason. The presentation ceremony was conducted at Greening Lodge No. 53 of which Bewley had been a member since Aug. 13, 1943. He joined the Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 179 in Maryland on March 31, 1928. The 50th anniversary emblem was presented by District Lecturer Jesse L. Byrd of Greenville. Bewley served Greening Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1972-73 and had held other offices. He was serving as Tyler of the local lodge in April 1979.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Lula North of Nichburg Junior High School had won the Conecuh County Spelling Bee. Her instructor and sponsor was Mrs. Edwina Sullivan. Sally Morris of Repton High School was the runner-up in the Spelling Bee. Her instructor and sponsor was the Rev. Bert Wiggers.

April 19, 1979 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Alabama River, which had been continuously rising after heavy rain during the previous few weeks, was expected to crest at 54 feet on Sun., April 22, at the Claiborne Lock and Dam, the highest level since record-keeping began in 1970, according to lockmaster Jerry Brown. The river was at 51 feet on Wed., April 18, about noon, and was rising more than an inch per hour, said Larry Reeves, assistant resource manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The river’s flood stage at the lock and dam is 42 feet, said Reeves. Normal level for the river was about 35 feet.

April 19, 1981 – NFL strong safety Troy Polamalu was born in Garden Grove, Calif. He went on to play at Southern California and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

April 19, 1985 – Two hundred ATF and FBI agents laid siege to the compound of the white supremacist survivalist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord in Arkansas. The CSA surrendered two days later.

April 19, 1987 – “The Simpsons” premiered as a short cartoon on “The Tracey Ullman Show.”

April 19, 1993 – The 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidian building outside Waco, Texas ended when a fire broke out. Eighty-one people die, including 17 children. Nine of the Branch Davidians escaped the fire.

April 19, 1995 – The Oklahoma City bombing occurred as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, killing 168, including 19 children. It was the worst bombing on U.S. territory. Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing on June 2, 1997.

April 19, 1996 - Dateline NBC conducted an interview with former astronaut Edgar Mitchell during which he discussed meeting with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He offered his opinion that the evidence for such "alien" contact was "very strong" and "classified" by governments, who were covering up visitations and the existence of alien beings' bodies in places such as Roswell, New Mexico. He further claimed that UFOs had provided "sonic engineering secrets" that were helpful to the U.S. government.

April 19, 1999 - Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his 19-year career. He was suffering from a back problem.

April 19, 1999 – Austrian-German SS officer Hermine Braunsteiner died at the age of 79 in Bochum, Germany.

April 19, 1999 - Hillcrest High School’s softball team swept a doubleheader from J.U. Blacksher in Evergreen on this Monday. The Lady Jags won the first game, 19-15, and completed the sweep with an 8-4 victory. In the first game, Sabrina Baxter led the Lady Jags with four hits. In the second game, the Lady Jags played a solid defensive game holding the Lady Bulldogs to just four runs. Other players on Hillcrest’s team that year included Latres Likely, Tonya Jackson, Natalie Darden and Shanika Evans. Keith Lett was Hillcrest’s head coach, and Donnie Lee was assistant coach.

April 19-20, 2002 – The Mockingbird Players of Monroeville performed “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Saenger Theatre in Mobile, sponsored by the Mobile Bar Association.

April 19, 2003 – Raoul Finelon established the first ever geocache in Monroe County, “Boo Radley’s Surprise,” on The Square in downtown Monroeville, Ala.

April 19, 2003 – Army Sgt. Troy Jenkins, 25, assigned to B Co., 3rd Bat., 187th Inf. Reg. based in Fort Campbell, Ky.; was wounded by an explosion while on a dismounted patrol with other soldiers in Iraq. He died five days later.

April 19, 2005 – The baseball field at Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala. was renamed the “Ronald M. ‘Ronnie’ Dees Baseball Field” in honor of former coach Ronnie Dees.

April 19, 2006 – The Monch Riley Home in Andalusia, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

April 19, 2009 – The Lifetime Movie Network aired “Natalee Holloway,” a television film based on Beth Holloway's book “Loving Natalee.” Starring Tracy Pollan as Beth Holloway-Twitty, Grant Show as George "Jug" Twitty, Amy Gumenick as Natalee Holloway and Jacques Strydom as Joran van der Sloot, the film retells events leading up to the night of Holloway's disappearance in 2005, and the ensuing investigation in the aftermath.

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