|Congressman James Blair.|
April 2, 1412 – Spanish explorer and author Ruy González de Clavijo died.
April 2, 1513 – Said to be in search for the Fountain of Youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first sighted land in what is now Florida.
April 2, 1565 – Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman was born in Gouda, Holland, Seventeen Provinces.
April 2, 1725 – Italian explorer and author (and the world’s most famous womanizer) Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice, Republic of Venice.
April 2, 1777 - The Continental Congress promoted Colonel Ebenezer Learned to the rank of brigadier general of the Continental Army.
April 2, 1780 - The British began a siege of Charleston, S.C. On May 12, the Patriots suffered their worst defeat of the revolution with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln.
April 2, 1805 – Danish author and poet Hans Christian Anderson was born in 1805 in the town of Odense.
April 2, 1814 – After the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, General Andrew Jackson arrived back at Fort Williams in Talladega County (in present-day Alabama) with his wounded, many of which died there and were buried near the fort.
April 2, 1834 - John Quincy Adams recorded in his diary on this day that Congressman James Blair (of South Carolina) "shot himself last evening at his lodgings ... after reading part of an affectionate letter from his wife, to Governor (John) Murphy, of (Monroe County) Alabama, who was alone in the chamber with him, and a fellow-lodger at the same house." Blair, who was around 44 years old, was the first U.S. congressman to commit suicide while in office.
April 2, 1840 – Writer Emile Zola was born in Paris.
April 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, General Albert Sidney Johnston was the general to end all generals in the estimation of the Confederate high command. He had been put in charge of the defenses of the West. His command was an agglomeration of units formerly scattered over this immense area. They were on this day gathering in Corinth, Miss. The Federal forces, under the command of a failed Illinois businessman with a reputation for drunkenness, were coming up the Tennessee River to camp at a place called Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. That was just 22 miles up the road. The idea was Johnston and his men would march there, fight them, and throw Ulysses S. Grant and his Yankees back into the Tennessee River.
April 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began, encompassing Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Whitewater and Dallas, Mo. Skirmishes were also fought near Doniphan, at Putnam’s Ferry and another at Walkersville, Mo.; and near Edenburg, Va. at Stony Creek.
April 2, 1863 – In what is now known as the “Richmond Bread Riot,” food shortages incited hundreds of angry women to riot in Richmond, Virginia, and demand that the Confederate government release emergency supplies. For several hours, the mob moved through the city, breaking windows and looting stores, before Confederate President Jefferson Davis threw his pocket change at them from the top of a wagon. Davis ordered the crowd to disperse or he would order the militia to fire upon them. The riot ended peacefully, although 44 women and 29 men were arrested.
April 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the Little Rock Road, Ark.; in Jackson County, Mo.; between Confederate artillery and Federal naval gunboats on the Pamlico River, at Hills’ Point, N.C.; and on the Carter Creek Pike in Tennessee. A 12-day Federal operation through the Mississippi Delta also began, with skirmishes at Greenville, Miss. and along Black Bayou and Deer Creek.
April 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a five-day Federal operation to Beaver Creek Swamp, Tenn. began. Another five-day Federal operation that included Murfreesborough, Auburn, Liberty, Snow Hill, Cherry Valley, Statesville, Gainesville and Lebanon, Tenn. began. A third Federal operation that originated at Readyville and went to Woodbury, Tenn. began. A five-day Federal operation between Camp Douglas and Spanish Fork in the Utah Territory also began.
April 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Antoine (or Terre Noir Creek,) Wolf Creek and Okolona, Ark.; at Crump’s Hill (Piney Woods,) La., and another at Grossetete Bayou, La.; at Cape Lookout, N.C.; and at Cleveland, Tenn. A three-day Federal operation that included Powder Springs Gap, Rogersville and Bull’s Gap, Tenn. began.
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, the siege of Fort Blakeley, Ala. began. Skirmishes were also fought near Centerville, Summerfield and Scottsville, Ala. The Battle of Selma, Ala. also took place.
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War at the Third Battle of Petersburg, Va., the Siege of Petersburg was broken after a 10-month siege by Union Army troops capturing trenches and breaking Confederate States Army lines, forcing the Confederates under General Robert E. Lee to retreat in the Appomattox Campaign.
April 2, 1865 - General U.S. Grant's forces began a general advance all along the Petersburg, Va. line, and Confederate General Ambrose P. Hill was killed. Confederate General Lee evacuated Petersburg after writing to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, "I think it absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position tonight..."
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, after a 10-month siege, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
April 2, 1865 – Pinckney D. Bowles was promoted to brigadier general for “gallant and meritorious conduct in the field.”
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Van Buren, Ark. and near Goldsboro, N.C. An eight-day Federal operation that included Thibodeaux, Bayou Boeuf, Brashear City, Lake Verret and Grand Bayou, La. began.
April 2, 1869 – National Baseball Hall of Fame infielder and manager Hughie Jennings was born in Pittston, Pa. He went on to play for the Louisville Colonels, the Baltimore Orioles, the Brooklyn Superbas, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Detroit Tigers. He also managed the Tigers and the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945.
April 2, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that it began raining on Sat., March 27, and rained almost incessantly until Tuesday evening, March 30.
April 2, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the work of repairing the Methodist parsonage was going rapidly on and it would be ready to be occupied in a short time.
April 2, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Col. D.L. Neville went to Mobile, Ala. on business during the previous week.
April 2, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that C.T. Simmons was making “some needed repairs on the Clausell place.”
April 2, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge Wm. E. Clarke of Marengo County, who, for the previous five years, had “presided with so much ability and dignity as judge of this circuit,” was a candidate for the position before the nominating committee. For many years, Judge Clarke had “been a prominent citizen of this state, and is a democrat of the old school.”
April 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that Dr. D.C. Burson, who had been attending lectures at the Atlanta Dental College for several months, had “returned with his sheepskin.”
April 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that Capt. W.S. Wiggins was “erecting an extensive addition to his residence, adding greatly to its attractiveness as well as utility.”
April 2, 1896 – The Monroe Journal, in news from the Manistee community, reported that the Bear Creek Mill was “running regular now under the supervision of their skillful sawyer, Mr. Lupkin.”
April 2, 1902 – The "Electric Theatre," the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opened in Los Angeles.
April 2, 1905 – Col. Bertrand Leslie Hibbard, a prominent Monroeville, Ala. attorney, passed away at his home around 10 a.m. He was 63 years old. Born on June 11, 1842 in London County, Va. He came to Monroeville in the 1870s and married Miss Sallie Leslie. To them was born an only son who died on the eve of his graduation from the State University. In his honor, Col. and Mrs. Hibbard created the John Hibbard Memorial Library consisting of a thousand or more volumes and presented them to the University. Col. Hibbard represented Monroe County in the 1896-1897 legislative session. He was buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Monroeville.
April 2, 1905 – The five-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Evan Manning went missing for several hours in the vicinity of Tekoa in Monroe County, Ala. He’d been in the woods with several older boys who left him behind when they began chasing a rabbit. Search parties eventually found him “several miles from home.”
April 2, 1906 - The spring term of the Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court convened on this Monday with Judge J.T. Lackland presiding and Solicitor Gray representing the state. The civil docket was not unusually heavy and the attendance was small.
April 2, 1907 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Luke Appling was born in High Point, N.C. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox and manage the Kansas City Athletics. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
April 2, 1912 – The ill-fated RMS Titanic began sea trials.
April 2, 1914 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroeville attorney F.W. Hare had informed The Journal that appeals had been taken by the government in the peonage cases upon which Judge Toulmin had recently rendered decision upholding the state law. A number of Monroe County citizens were “directly concerned in the ultimate decision of these cases,” The Journal reported.
April 2, 1915 – The first episode of “Zudora” was shown at the Arcade Theater in Evergreen, Ala. on this Friday night.
April 2, 1915 – On this Friday, an Easter egg hunt was held at 4 p.m. at Evergreen (Ala.) Baptist Church. Admission was 10 cents.
April 2, 1916 - Solicitor John McDuffie left on this Sunday for Grove Hill where Clarke County Circuit Court was to convene on Mon., April 3.
April 2, 1917 – In the lead-up to World War I, United States President Woodrow Wilson called Congress into special session at 8:35 p.m. and asked them to declare war on Germany. Appearing before a joint session of the Senate and House, he said, "The world must be made safe for democracy." When the war ended, a year and a half later (November 11, 1918), 9½ million soldiers had died, in addition to 13 million civilians, who perished from massacres, starvation, and disease.
April 2, 1920, Author Hilary H. Milton was born in Jasper, Ala.
April 2, 1920 - Dr. W.A. Stallworth, a well-known citizen and prominent physician, died at his home in Beatrice on this Friday night, at the age of about 58 years. Funeral services were held Sun., April 4, in Beatrice. Dr. Stallworth had been in ill health for several months, necessitating his retirement from professional engagements.
April 2, 1922 - Hermann Rorschach, the Swiss psychiatrist who created the ink blot test, passed away at the age of 37 in Herisau, Switzerland.
April 2, 1924 – Major League Baseball second baseman Bobby Avila was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox and the Milwaukee Braves.
April 2, 1925 – In Lovecraftian fiction, the island of R’lyeh sank once more, and Cthulhu and his star spawn were again imprisoned beneath the waves. Many consider this event the beginning of a modern era of increasing Mythos activity.
April 2, 1925 – The Saenger Theatre at 118 South Palafox St. in Pensacola, Fla. officially opened for business.
April 2, 1932 – Col. Thomas Chalmers McCorvey, a native of Monroe County, Ala. passed away in Tuscaloosa at the age of 80. A teacher, poet and historian, he was an active officer and professor at the University of Alabama for 50 years. Born on Aug. 18, 1851 in Monroe County, he is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
April 2, 1945 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton was born in Clio, Ala. He would go on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics and the California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
April 2, 1945 – Major League Baseball right fielder and centerfielder Reggie Smith was born in Shreveport, La. He would go on to play the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and the Yomiuri Giants.
April 2, 1953 - The Repton PTA was scheduled to sponsor a barbecue on this Thursday night on the high school football field. The T.R. Miller High School Band was scheduled to play and parade on the field. T.R. Miller had one of the better bands in the State of Alabama at that time. Bewley’s Chuck Wagon Gang, a string band from Texas, was scheduled to play when the high school band was not playing. The Orange Bowl football game was to be shown in the high school auditorium.
April 2, 1955 - George Denny, who served as president of the University of Alabama for 25 years, died. When Denny took office in 1919, the university had only nine major buildings, 400 students, and no paved streets or sidewalks on campus. By the time of his retirement in 1936, there were 23 major buildings, nearly 5,000 students, and a greatly expanded football program.
April 2, 1959 – The Monroe Journal reported that a bill to extend the city limits of Monroeville, Ala. a quarter of a mile would be introduced into the state legislature, Mayor L.D. Morris stated in a legal notice published in this edition of the newspaper. Notice of the extension of the boundary lines of the town were to be published for four successive weeks before the measure could be introduced by State Rep. Ralph L. Jones of Monroeville. Local bills were generally passed by the legislature as a courtesy, according to the newspaper.
April 2, 1963 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, Ala.
April 2, 1965 – Conecuh County Circuit Clerk and Register Ralph Holland Crysell, 43, died unexpectedly on this Friday. Crysell became ill while at his office shortly before noon. A doctor was summoned and treatment given and County Solicitor Henry J. Kinzer was driving Crysell home when he suffered an attack, apparently a stroke. In 1958, Crysell ran for the office of Circuit Clerk and Register in his first political bid and was elected. He was elected without opposition to a second term in 1964.
April 2, 1966 – NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski was born in Rockville, Conn. He would go on to play for Boston College, the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders.
April 2, 1967 - The Beatles finished recording the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
April 2, 1972 - Soldiers of Hanoi’s 304th Division, supported by Soviet-made tanks and heavy artillery, took the northern half of the Quang Tri province.
April 2, 1975 - As North Vietnamese tanks and infantry continued to push the remnants of South Vietnam’s 22nd Division and waves of civilian refugees from the Quang Ngai Province, the South Vietnamese Navy began to evacuate soldiers and civilians by sea from Qui Nhon.
April 2, 1976 – After winning three World Series titles, two home run crowns and an AL MVP Award, Reggie Jackson joined the Baltimore Orioles. He fit in nicely with manager Earl Weaver’s winning formula of “pitching, defense and the three-run homer.” Jackson belted 27 big flys and drove in 91 runs, helping Baltimore to a second-place finish in the AL East Division. It was Jackson’s sole season with the team.
April 2, 1980 - A couple in Tokyo set the record for the longest underwater kiss - two minutes and 18 seconds.
April 2, 1981 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen, Ala. native Clint Jackson, an internationally ranked welterweight boxer who was living in Nashville, Tenn., had contracted for his 11th fight, which was scheduled to take place on April 2 in Tampa against Bruce Johnson, the top-ranked welterweight in Florida. Jackson was ranked No. 8 in the world and was 10-0 with eight wins by knock out.
April 2, 1982 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Fred Burt killed his first-ever wild turkey over the previous weekend. The Tom was a fine one, weighing 19 pounds and carrying a 10-1/4 inch beard.
April 2, 1984 - President Ronald Reagan threw out the first ball in the season opener between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox in Baltimore.
April 2, 1986 – Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace announced at a press conference in Montgomery that he would not run for a fifth term as Governor of Alabama, and would retire from public life after leaving the governor's mansion in January 1987. Wallace achieved four gubernatorial terms across three decades, totaling 16 years in office.
April 2, 1994 – Max McAliley, a professional photographer in Monroe County, Ala. for many years and an assistant editor for The Monroe Journal, passed away.
April 2, 1995 - The costliest strike in professional sports history ended when Major League Baseball owners agreed to let players play without a contract.
April 2, 1996 – New York Yankee Derek Jeter hit his first Major League home run by going deep on opening day in Cleveland. Batting ninth in the order – a position that would be upgraded as the season wore on – Jeter lined a leadoff home run to left in the fifth inning. He would go on to win the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award.
April 2, 2003 - Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers became the youngest player to hit 300 homeruns, beating Jimmie Foxx's record by 79 days.
April 2, 2004 - The first Eugene Walter Writers Festival opened in Mobile, Ala.
April 2, 2004 – The “Hellboy” movie was first released in theaters.
April 2, 2008 – Ed Stafford began his expedition to walk the entire length of the Amazon River with Luke Collyer on the southern coast of Peru. Collyer left after three months, and Stafford completed the journey with Gadiel “Cho” Sánchez Rivera.
April 2, 2012 – Australian explorer, author and engineer Warren Bonython passed away at the age of 95. He is best known for his role, spanning many years, of working towards the promotion, planning and eventual creation of the Heysen Trail.