April 23, 1348 - The first English order of knighthood, the Order of the Garter, was founded by King Edward III, announcing it on St. George's Day.
April 23, 1500 - Pedro Cabal claimed Brazil for Portugal.
April 23, 1564 – Poet and playwright William Shakespeare is believed to have been born on this day in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He wrote 38 plays and more than 150 sonnets.
April 23, 1635 – The first public school in the United States, the Boston Latin School, was founded in Boston.
April 23, 1778 - Commander John Paul Jones launched a surprise attack on the two harbors at Whitehaven, England and burned the southern fort. This was the only American raid on English shores during the American Revolution.
April 23, 1778 - Commander John Paul Jones, aboard the USS Ranger, captured the British ship HMS Drake.
April 23, 1781 - Reinforcements arrived for Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez's siege of Pensacola, Fla.
April 23, 1789 - U.S. President George Washington moved into Franklin House in New York. It was the first executive mansion.
April 23, 1791 - James Buchanan, the 15th U.S. President, was born in Cove Gap, Pa.
April 23, 1839 – French admiral and explorer Jacques Félix Emmanuel Hamelin died in Paris at the age of 70.
April 23, 1861 - Arkansas troops seized Fort Smith.
April 23, 1861 - Nominated by Governor Letcher of Virginia and approved by the Assembly on the previous day, Robert E. Lee assumed command of Virginia's militia.
April 23, 1861 – The Virginia secessionist convention ratified a temporary union with the Confederacy and accepted the Southern Constitution, subject to approval of the ordnance of secession
April 23, 1861 - Several Federal officers were arrested on this day in Texas, not as criminals but as prisoners of war. Jefferson Davis was frantically encouraging Gov. Claiborne Jackson of Missouri to first seize the Federal arsenal in St. Louis, then join the Confederacy.
April 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Bridgeport, Ala.
April 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal, N.C. was successfully blocked by Federal forces. A skirmish was also fought at Grass Lick, West Virginia.
April 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Dickson Station, Tuscumbia, Florence and Leighton, Ala.
April 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Creek Head, Ky.; near Independence, Mo.; along the Shelbyville Pike in Tennessee; and in the vicinity of Suffolk, Va., at Chuckatuck.
April 23, 1863 - Interest in spiritualism was intense in mid-century America, during this era it was considered a combination of scientific investigation and parlor entertainment. On this night a séance was held at the White House. Among the participants were the President and First Lady, as well as several cabinet members. There were reports that after Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln left, the “spirits” tweaked the nose of Secretary of War Stanton and tugged on Navy Secretary Welles’ beard.
April 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Camden and another at Swan Lake, Ark.; at Nickajack Trace, Ga.; at Monett’s Ferry (or Cane River Crossing) and Cloutierville, La.; at Independence, Mo.; and near Hunter’s Mills, in Fairfax County, Va.
April 23, 1864 - William Tecumseh Sherman was in charge of a considerable operation in central Tennessee. He was in need of rail transportation. He had cancelled civilian railroad operations and taken over the trains for the military, but could only manage 60 train cars a day. He begged, he pleaded, he ordered twice the number but the trainmen said their operation only allowed 60. The train personnel said more traffic would wear out the rails. Sherman didn't care about the rails other than meeting his needs. He put soldiers in to run the trains and was soon up to 193 cars per day from Nashville to Chattanooga.
April 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Mumford’s Station, Ala.
April 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal reconnaissance from Pulaski, Tenn. to Rogersville, Ala. began.
April 23, 1865 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis wrote to his wife, Varina, of the desperate situating facing the Confederates. “Panic has seized the country,” he wrote to his wife in Georgia. Davis was in Charlotte, North Carolina, on his flight away from Yankee troops.
April 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought along the Snake Creek in the Arizona Territory; with Indians near Fort Zarah, Kansas; and at Hendersonville, N.C.
April 23, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the work of repairing the Methodist parsonage was progressing.
April 23, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the hotels seemed to be doing a good business that week. “The ‘twe twe’ of the violin, the ‘trump trump’ of the guitar and gingle of the triangle reverberates upon the midnight air,” the newspaper reported.
April 23, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that, among the prominent visiting attorneys in attendance upon Monroe County Circuit Court that week were Col. S.J. Cumming of Camden, Col. C.J. Torrey of Mobile and Joseph Cloud, Esq., of Mobile.
April 23, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Methodist pulpit would be filled on the next Sabbath by Rev. E.E. Cowan.
April 23, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the contract was closed on April 16 between the Confederate monument executive committee and Alexander Doyle of New York for the building of the Confederate monument for about $45,000. It was to be erected on capitol hill in Montgomery. The height was to be 85 feet, with a base 30 feet square.
April 23, 1886 - The case of the State v. Charlie Tatum, charged with murder, was tried on this Friday in Monroe County, and “to the great surprise and mortification of nearly all who heard the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty and sentenced him to penitentiary for life,” according to The Monroe Journal.
April 23, 1896 – The Monroe Journal, in news from the Buena Vista community, reported that Miss Mamie Boroughs was preparing for the closing exercises of her school there.
April 23, 1896 – The Monroe Journal, in news from the Mexia community, reported that J.M. Gardner, the “well known mill man,” had rented the large steam mill owned by the Hixon brothers, which was located in the “suburbs” of Mexia and would “soon be running on full time.”
April 23, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that George W. Salter Sr. of Evergreen was visiting relatives and friends in Monroeville that week.
April 23, 1899 – Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote the controversial novel “Lolita” in 1953, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia.
April 23, 1900 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Bottomley was born in Oglesby, Ill. He went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Browns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
April 23, 1908 - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signed an act creating the U.S. Army Reserve.
April 23, 1910 - The first movie version of Alabama author Augusta Jane Evans Wilson's book “St. Elmo” was released.
April 23, 1910 – American President Theodore Roosevelt made his "The Man in the Arena" speech.
April 23, 1911 – On this night, a large meteor, emitting sparks, illuminated the sky in Evergreen, Ala. “as bright as day and was a beautiful sight.” It fell “somewhere in the state,” the local newspaper reported.
April 23, 1914 – The first Major League Baseball game at Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park in Chicago, was played. The Federals defeated Kansas City, 9-1.
April 23, 1915 – On this Friday night, in the grove in front of the Evergreen City School, the “Whites” entertained the “Golds.” All “leaguers” were invited to attend.
April 23, 1915 - Rupert Brooke, a young scholar and poet serving as an officer in the British Royal Navy, died of blood poisoning from an insect bite on a hospital ship anchored off the Greek island of Skyros, while awaiting deployment in the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
April 23, 1916 - The Rev. T.O. Reese, “one of the most successful” evangelists of the Baptist Home Mission Board of Atlanta, Ga., with his singer, Mr. Scofield, was scheduled to begin a revival meeting at the Baptist Church of Evergreen on this Sunday morning.
April 23, 1916 - While working as a drawbridge tender at Three Mile Creek on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, just north of Mobile, Ala., James Samuel Shell, “one of Conecuh County’s best citizens, met a horrible death” on this Sunday morning about 2 a.m., “being killed by Train No. 3. His body was mangled beyond recognition. It will never be known how the accident occurred as Mr. Shell was alone on the bridge at the time.” His remains were brought to Owassa on Train No. 6 later that same day, and he was buried in the cemetery at Antioch church on Mon., April 24.
April 23-24, 1917 – Conecuh County’s commissioners court was in session on this Monday and Tuesday, transacting unfinished business left over from the last meeting. All members of the board were present.
April 23, 1918 – During World War I, the British Royal Navy made a raid in an attempt to neutralize the Belgian port of Bruges-Zeebrugge.
April 23, 1921 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn was born in Buffalo, N.Y. He went on to play for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves, the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.
April 23, 1926 – Novelist James Patrick (J.P.) Donleavy was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
April 23, 1927 – Virgil Murphy was executed in Alabama’s electric chair at 12:30 a.m. at Kilby Prison in Montgomery, Ala. Murphy had been convicted of killing his wife, but he contended “to the last that he had no recollection of the crime and that he was insane with drink when he killed his wife.” He was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. by Dr. R.A. Burns, physician inspector for the convict department, and Dr. J.F. Sewell of Wetumpka.
April 23, 1936 – Singer and songwriter Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas.
April 23, 1937 – Poet and translator Coleman Barks was born in Chattanooga, Tenn.
April 23, 1940 - Walter Ramer, 34, of Repton died on this Tuesday night at St. Margaret’s in Montgomery from burns received while working as patrol driver for the state, 15 miles from town on the Evergreen-Midway highway. According to The Evergreen Courant, it seemed that a vehicle, presumably a truck, had given out of gasoline and Ramer had poured some into the supply tank, but as the motor was slow in picking up the fuel, Ramer attempted to hasten the action by standing on the running board of the truck and pouring gasoline into the carburetor. The truck on which Ramer was standing was being pushed from front by another vehicle, trying to start the stalled motor. While he was thus occupied on the running board, the truck ahead backfired, sending out a spark that ignited the flowing gasoline. Attempting to get out of the way, Ramer jumped backward from the running board, tilting the fuel container, drenching himself with the flaming liquid. In his first moments of fright and pain, as is common with most people whose clothes catch fire, Ramer’s first impulse was to run, which of course increased the fury of the flames. When the other members of the crew finally stopped the flaming figure of Ramer, the whole of his chest and arms were badly burned. Ramer was immediately put under a doctor’s attention, but as his condition called for more extensive medical care, he was removed Fri., April 19, to St. Margaret’s hospital in Montgomery, where he died.
April 23, 1942 – Novelist and short-story writer Barry Hannah was born in Meridian, Miss.
April 23, 1942 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen Rotary Club had elected its new slate of officers, including W.O. Henderson, president; D.T. Stuart Jr., vice-president; and P.L. Pace, secretary-treasurer. Old officers included E.C. Page Jr., president; W.N. McGehee, vice-president; H.J. Kinzer, secretary-treasurer.”
April 23, 1943 – Grady Gaston of Frisco City, a 23-year-old ball turret gunner on the “Little Eva,” was rescued when found walking on the beach by an aborigine. Gaston became famous for having lived through an epic struggle for survival in the Australian wilderness after a plane crash 141 days earlier. Gaston’s story of survival was so remarkable that he was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” for having survived “141 days of hell.”
April 23, 1945 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler's designated successor Hermann Göring sent him a telegram asking permission to take leadership of the Third Reich, which caused Hitler to replace him with Joseph Goebbels and Karl Dönitz.
April 23, 1954 – Wilcox County, Ala. native Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves hit his first Major League home run.
April 23, 1957 - An earthquake with its epicenter near Guntersville, Ala. affected parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, but caused little damage. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that "thousands of light sleepers were awakened by the shock" at about 3:30 a.m.
April 23, 1963 - At the outset of his one-man march against segregation, William Moore was slain alongside an Etowah County, Ala. highway when he was shot by a rifle fired at close range. Moore, a white postal worker from Binghamton, N.Y. had begun his march in Chattanooga intending to travel to Jackson, Mississippi. A white storeowner from DeKalb County was implicated in the shooting but was never indicted.
April 23, 1964 - Ken Johnson of the Houston Astros threw the first no-hitter for a loss. The game was lost, 1-0, to the Cincinnati Reds due to two errors.
April 23, 1968 – During the Vietnam War, student protesters at Columbia University in New York City took over administration buildings and shut down the university.
April 23, 1970 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen United Methodist Church would be participating in the Greater Montgomery Fellowship for Christian Athlete’s Rally by having Jerry Leachman, a member of the University of Alabama football team and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, speak at the 11 o’clock worship service (presumably on Sun., April 26).
April 23, 1970 – The Evergreen Courant reported that there had been a number of changes in personnel at the Evergreen Post of the Alabama State Troopers in recent months, and the newspaper printed a picture of the men who are patrolling the highways in Conecuh and Monroe counties. They were Lt. W.W. Nettles, assistant district commander; Post Sgt. O.J. Nelson, Troopers R.H. Cottingham and T.W. Hall, Evergreen, Trooper J.D. Stuckey, Monroeville, Troopers W.E. Gill and F.D. Brackin and Cpl. B.E. Bozeman, Evergreen. Not present with the picture was made were Capt. W.O. Nichols, district commander, and Trooper M.E. Craft of Monroeville.
April 23, 1970 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the March of Dimes Certificate of Appreciation had been awarded to David T. Hyde Jr. and Mrs. H.A. Deer in grateful recognition of their devoted and energetic efforts toward realizing the National Foundation’s mission of preventing birth defects and their disabling after effects. Making the presentation was Julian H. Maynard, field representative of the Foundation.
April 23, 1971 – The Second Annual Monroe County Choral and Band Festival was scheduled to be held on this Friday at 8 p.m. at Patrick Henry Junior College in Monroeville, Ala. Excel High School’s first chorus, under the direction of Ben Rackard, was to be among the musical groups participating in the event. Also participating was to be the Excel High School band, which was directed by John R. Carder.
April 23, 1972 – Prominent Conecuh Countian and Evergreen Livestock Co. operator James Henry Witherington, 76, passed away in a Mobile, Ala. hospital.
April 23, 1975 - At a speech at Tulane University, President Gerald Ford said the Vietnam War was finished as far as America is concerned.
April 23, 1976 – Actor Gabriel Damon was born in Reno, Nevada.
April 23, 1976 - A movie version of Alabama author Charles Gaines's book “Stay Hungry” was released.
April 23, 1977 – Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter Andruw Jones was born in Willemstad, Curaçao. He went on to play for the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees.
April 23, 1982 - The Unabomber mailed a pipe bomb from Provo, Utah to Penn State University.
April 23, 1985 - The Coca Cola company unveiled their New Coke formula for their signature beverage. The result was outrage from Coke drinkers across the country, who bombarded the company with demands to return to the original formula. Less than three months later, 'old Coke' was re-introduced as 'Coca Cola Classic' and New Coke became known as the modern-day equivalent to the Edsel.
April 23, 1991 - Crawford T. Johnson III at the Annual Shareholders Meeting of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United, Inc. announced his retirement as Chief Executive Officer of the company and the appointment of Claude B. Nielsen as President and Chief Executive Officer. Nielsen had served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United, Inc. since Feb. 1, 1990. He was to assume the responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer effective May 1, 1991.
April 23, 1994 - Evergreen Little League was scheduled to hold Opening Day ceremonies on this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Evergreen Municipal Park in Evergreen, Ala. Players on T-Ball, Minor League and Little League teams were to be introduced at this time.
April 23, 1994 - Rikard’s Mill was scheduled to open to the public for the first time as a living history museum after being still for more than 30 years. The mill was to open to the public on this Saturday at 9 a.m.; the ribbon-cutting was to be held between 10 and 10:30 a.m. The mill is 22 miles north of Monroeville, just off Alabama Highway 265 north of Beatrice, Ala.
April 23, 1998 - James Earl Ray died in Nashville, Tenn. at age 70 while serving a life sentence for the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Ray had confessed to the crime and then later insisted he had been framed.
April 23, 1999 - U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions was scheduled to visit Conecuh County, Ala. on this Friday at 4 p.m. for a town hall meeting at the renovated historic depot in Evergreen.
April 23, 2005 – The first video was uploaded to YouTube, titled "Me at the zoo."
April 23, 2013 – At least 28 were dead and more than 70 were injured as violence broke out in Hawija, Iraq.
April 23, 2014 – Eight members of the “Three River Adventurers” departed on historic 139-mile canoe trip from Travis Bridge in Conecuh County, Ala. to Pensacola, Fla. The group included Dalton Campbell of Owassa, Frank Murphy of Herbert, Sam Peacock of Repton, John Potts of Flat Rock, Ed Salter of Repton, Joel Williams of Evergreen, Marc Williams of Evergreen and Evergreen native Larry Yeargan of Coosada. On April 28, they arrived at Swamp House Landing near Pensacola.
April 23, 2014 – Meb Keflezighi threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park in Boston. The first American male to win the Boston Marathon in more than 30 years, Keflezighi was a natural choice to throw out the first pitch before the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway. He wore his marathon medal and a jersey emblazoned with No. 26.2 – a nod to the mileage of the marathon event.