May 18, 1652 - Rhode Island passed the first law in English-speaking North America making slavery illegal.
May 18, 1675 – French Jesuit missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette died from the effects of dysentery at the age of 37 near the modern town of Ludington, Mich.
May 18, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Mary Easty was released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she was again arrested. Roger Toothaker was also arrested on charges of witchcraft.
May 18, 1783 - The first United Empire Loyalists arrived in Canada to take refuge under the British.
May 18, 1798 – Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the U.S. Navy, was appointed to office.
May 18, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Georgetown, Ky.
May 18, 1827 – Mark Butler Travis was born at Old Town in Conecuh County, Ala. A veteran of the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, he served as Conecuh County’s Circuit Clerk. He also fought at the Battle of Bull Run.
May 18, 1830 – Confederate soldier John Adville Stacey of Monroe County, Ala. was born. In February 1862, he enlisted in what would become the 36th Alabama Regiment of Volunteers and was mortally wounded at Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863. He died from his wounds on Oct. 9, 1863 and was buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, Ga.
May 18, 1833 – Edward Amos Stacey was born and he later enlisted in what would become Co. F of the 36th Alabama Regiment of Volunteers on April 10, 1862. Edward survived the wounds he received at Nashville and Spanish Fort, where he was captured and imprisoned at Ship Island, Miss. He passed away at the age 74 on May 28, 1907 and was buried near his parents at Polar Bridge Cemetery at Manistee.
May 18, 1858 - Alabama author John Gorman Barr died aboard a ship en route to Melbourne, Australia.
May 18, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward, who later become the United States Secretary of State.
May 18, 1861 - An obscure California newspaper casted first lady Mary Todd Lincoln in an unflattering light. Quoting a report in the Sacramento Union, the Humboldt Times recounted a tale of how Mrs. Lincoln had usurped her husband’s presidential duty of appointing federal offices. According to the report, Mary Todd Lincoln, in an effort to help her beleaguered husband deal with a slew of office-seekers, took it upon herself to appoint a stranger–whom she had met on the train–to any office he desired.
May 18, 1861 - Arkansas was admitted to the Confederacy.
May 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Sewell’s Point, Va. The U.S. Navy essentially sealed off Northern Virginia by its blockade of the Rappahannock River.
May 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, the surrender of Vicksburg, Miss. was demanded by Federal forces. Farragut’s blue water naval vessels had worked their way up the river from New Orleans. The surrender demand was refused by Vicksburg authorities.
May 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Woodstock, Va.
May 18, 1863 – The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss. began as Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounded the city, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. The Confederates did not surrender until July 4.
May 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Cheneyville, Merritt’s Plantation and on the Bayou Sara Road, La.; at Hog Island, Mo.; along Skull Creek and on Pope’s Island, S.C.; on horn Lake Creek, Tenn.; near Island No. 82, about 15 miles from Greenville, Miss.; and in the vicinity of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Federals captured Hayne’s Bluff, Miss.
May 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fletcher’s Ferry, Clarksville, and near Searcy, Ark.; at Cassville, Kingston, and Pine Log Creek, Ga.; in Pike County and along the Wolf River, Ky.; at Yellow Bayou, Bayou De Glaize, Calhoun Station, Norwood’s Plantation, and Old Oaks, La.; in Neosho, Mo., and another at Carthage, Mo.; at City Pont, Va. and at Foster’s Plantation, Va.
May 18, 1864 – During the Civil War, action had been comparatively slow for several days around Spotsylvania Court House, Va. This ended on this day with an assault at dawn by the corps’ of Hancock and Wright on Robert E. Lee’s left flank. This attack and several more all failed. Grant renewed his motion around Lee’s right flank.
May 18, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that, as of that date, the Monroe County Jail in Monroeville, Ala. held 10 inmates.
May 18, 1896 – The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the "separate but equal" doctrine was constitutional. The ruling was overturned 58 years later with Brown vs. Board of Education.
May 18, 1897 - A public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel “Dracula” was staged in London.
May 18, 1897 - William Joyce of the New York Giants set a record when he hit four triples in one game.
May 18, 1897 - Film producer, director and three-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra was born in Bisacquino, Sicily.
May 18, 1905 – The Monroe Journal announced that the Monroeville Library had been moved to the upstairs of a building on the “east side,” formerly occupied by Messrs. Wiggins, Hybart & Bayles. Lucille Bizzelle and Mary Stallworth were in charge of the library’s management. During the summer, the library was open Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and every Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
May 18, 1907 – The first sermon preached in the Old Salem Church’s second building was conducted this day by Elder J.A. Monsus.
May 18, 1908 – Flomaton, Ala. was officially incorporated.
May 18, 1909 – The Andalusia Star newspaper, which was founded in 1896, absorbed The Andalusia News.
May 18, 1910 – The Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley.
May 18, 1911 – During an argument, Henry Barlow of Evergreen, Ala. shot Martin Sheffield in the right arm and chest, and Sheffield’s wound was so serious that his arm had to be amputated at the shoulder in Montgomery. Barlow surrendered to the Sheriff and was released on bond.
May 18, 1915 – On this Tuesday, the Rev. D.F. Ellisor left Monroeville, Ala. to attend the annual session of the Pythian Grand Lodge in Montgomery as the representative of the local lodge.
May 18, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that the Evergreen Equal Suffrage Association was organized on Wed., May 10, with a membership of about 20. Mary Henderson was elected chairman of the association and Mrs. Lewis Crook chairman of the registration committee. On Tues., May 9, the Castleberry Equal Suffrage Association was organized at Castleberry with Mrs. S. Castleberry as chairman. These associations were affiliated with the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, which was in turn affiliated with the National Equal Suffrage Association. Both organizations were effected under the direction of Lola C. Trax, National Organizer of Baltimore, who was touring Alabama under the auspices of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association.
May 18, 1916 – The day’s edition of The Monroe Journal, under the headline “Successful Memorial Service,” contained the following short article – “We the U.D.C.’s of the Monroeville Chapter wish to express through The Journal our deepest thanks to those gentlemen who helped to make our annual memorial service a success. Especial thanks are due Mr. John McDuffie, Prof. Harris, Rev. C.A. Williams and Mr. Kempton who conducted the service. We thank Mrs. Williams for her aid in singing. Monroeville should be proud of her home talent. The patriotic addresses were fervent and inspiring, while the historical sketch by Prof. Harris was a model of style and diction. We also thank the gentlemen of the committee on entertainment and all who contributed anything towards making the day a happy one for those who wore the gray.”
May 18, 1917 – Some six weeks after the United States formally entered World War I, the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed by the U.S. Congress, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription and resulting in the call up of soldiers to fight in World War I.
May 18, 1922 – The Monroe Journal reported that “some of our merchants have begun to observe the six o’clock closing rule which usually prevails during the summer months.”
May 18, 1922 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge Fountain and Dr. S.J. Yarbrough of Monroeville and Dr. D.R. Nettles of Peterman attended the Shriners ceremonial in Mobile during the previous week.
Ma 18, 1931 - The commencement exercises of the Monroe County High School were scheduled to begin on this Monday evening with a recital by the members of Juliette Hardy’s music class. On the following Wednesday evening, John C. Williams was to present the band in a concert. The Junior-Senior play, “Broken Dishes,” was to be presented at the school auditorium on Fri., May 22. The cast included Alice Stallworth, Jack Bowden, Mildred Farish, Jas. A. York, William Barnett, Merwin York, Albert Nettles and Winston Burns. The play was a comedy hinging around a henpecked husband who drinks something from a jug and then trouble begins.
May 18, 1933 – As part of the “New Deal,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a Congressional act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. This New Deal program would have a lasting impact on Alabama, especially the northern third of the state. As its focus, TVA constructed hydroelectric dams on the Tennessee River, which, among other benefits, brought electricity to rural areas and attracted industry.
May 18, 1933 - The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was announced. It was to be played on July 6 at Comiskey Park as part of the Chicago World's Fair.
May 18, 1933 - The Monroeville baseball team played Frisco City on the Monroeville diamond on this Thursday afternoon with Monroeville winning the game, 10-5.
May 18, 1934 - Jimmie Foxx hit the first home run in Comiskey Park.
May 18, 1937 – National Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson was born in Little Rock, Ark. He went on to play his entire career (1955-1977) for the Baltimore Orioles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
May 18, 1937 - Funeral services were held on this Tuesday morning for Alvin Rhoad of Buena Vista, whose body was found in Flat Creek, near Corduroy on Monday morning, May 17. Rhoad left home on Sat., May 15, to go fishing and when he failed to return home, a search of the swamp was made and he was found in a deep hole in the creek. He had evidently slipped from a high bank into the water and in an effort to swim out, was caught by some of the hooks which he had set. Interment was made in the cemetery at Buena Vista.
May 18, 1938 - President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation to create the Natchez Trace Parkway. The parkway closely parallels the original Natchez Trace, and in some locations remnants of the original route may still be seen. The Natchez Trace is a prehistoric route that was used for untold years by herds of bison and other grazing animals to move between salt licks located near Nashville and the southern grasslands along the Mississippi River. Humans later used the worn trail for hunting and trade. In 1801, the U.S. Army began improving the route, making it wide enough to be navigable by wagon. The Trace runs for about 30 miles through the northwestern part of Alabama in Lauderdale and Colbert counties.
May 18, 1942 - New York ended night baseball games for the duration of World War II.
May 18, 1943 - Arrested on charges of sabotage, two Covington County, Ala. farmers were in custody on this Tuesday pending arraignment before the U.S. commissioner in Montgomery, according to D.K. Brown, special agent in charge of the Birmingham Field Division of the FBI. Willard Powell and R.A. “Ab” Roberts were charged with the instigation of 14 forest fires on the property of the Jackson Lumber Co. at Lockhart, between February 1942 and February 1943. The 14 fires did an estimated damage of $25,000, and by federal code, the burning of merchantable timber in wartime was sabotage.
May 18, 1946 – National Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Reggie Jackson was born in Wyncote, Pa. He went on to play for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
May 18, 1948 - A movie version of Alabama author Lillian Hellman's play “Another Part of the Forest” was released.
May 18, 1949 – The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America was incorporated
May 18, 1950 – The Evergreen Greenies of the Dixie Amateur League suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of undefeated, league-leading Monroeville, 8-2.
May 18, 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ended.
May 18, 1956 - Mickey Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the third time.
May 18, 1956 – The first ascent of Lhotse, 8,516 meters, by a Swiss team.
May 18, 1958 – Evergreen High School’s Baccalaureate Service was scheduled to be held on this Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Evergreen. The Rev. Stanley Kelley, a recent graduate of the Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a graduate of Evergreen High School, was to preach the Baccalaureate sermon.
May 18, 1959 – Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman, a prominent Freemason, was presented with his 50-year Award, the only U.S. President to reach that auspicious anniversary.
May 18, 1961 – Construction was completed of a new gym at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala.
May 18, 1966 - U.S. Representative Melvin Laird (R-Wisconsin) stated that because the Johnson administration was not providing the American public with precise information on planned troop deployments to Vietnam, a “credibility gap” was developing.
May 18, 1967 – The Monroe Journal published a photo under the headline, “WHAT IS THIS CRITTER?” that showed Leon Godwin of Mexia with an armadillo, which were almost unheard of in the area at that time. Godwin said he didn’t know what “this critter was” when he got into his car on Thursday night, May 11, at his home and saw it in the driveway. Godwin said whatever it was, he decided to run it over with his car. After killing it, he discovered it was an armadillo, very rare for this part of the country. But there must be some kind of an invasion of them though because Fielder Reed of Mobile killed one at the home of Mrs. Mamie Lynam’s at Excel during the previous weekend.
May 18, 1968 – Army SFC Wallace Sylvester Little, 29, of Riverview in Escambia County, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam. Born on May 18, 1939 in Chambers County, Ala., Little was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Valley in Chambers County. He was a member of Troop C, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam.
May 18, 1969 - More than 1,500 communist troops attacked U.S. and South Vietnamese camps near Xuan Loc, located 38 miles east of Saigon, and after five hours of intense fighting, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces were driven off.
May 18, 1970 – Comedy writer and actress Tina Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pa.
May 18, 1971 – Professional baseball pitcher and Monroe Academy graduate Billy Lyle “B.J.” Wallace was born in Mobile, Ala. He played college baseball at Mississippi State and pitched for the U.S. national team in the 1992 Summer Olympics, where he set an Olympic record for strikeouts in one game (14 against the Italian national team). He was selected in the first round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft by the Montreal Expos.
May 18, 1973 - A donkey basketball game was scheduled to be played at the Lyeffion High School Gymnasium at 8 p.m. on this Friday. In addition to the laugh provoking game, there was to be a contest with a prize awarded to the first person to put a diaper on a donkey. The game was sponsored by the Lyeffion Quarterback Club and admission prices were $1 for adults and 75 cents for students.
May 18, 1974 – Monroe County High School, led by Coach Ronnie Dees, won the Class 3A state baseball title with a 5-0 win over Sheffield. MCHS opened the best-of-three series on May 17 with a 3-2 win over Sheffield. On May 18, MCHS lost its only game of the season, falling to Sheffield, 4-0, before winning the tie-breaker.
May 18, 1976 – NBA small forward and shooting guard Ron Mercer was born in Nashville, Tenn. He went on to play for Kentucky, the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs and the New Jersey Nets.
May 18, 1978 - Girls and boy athletes of Sparta Academy were honored at the Sparta Quarterback Club’s annual Athletic Banquet held in the school gymnatorium on this Thursday night. Wayne Frazier of Brewton was the principal speaker. The Jerry Peacock Memorial Trophy was presented for the first time ever at the banquet with the honor going to Gray Stevens. The trophy was given by the Class of 1977 in memory of their late classmate who was an outstanding athlete and student and drowned in a tragic accident in 1977. The Class of 1977 provided a big, handsome trophy which was to remain at the school with the name of the athlete winning the honor to be engraved on it each year. The Jerry Peacock Memory Trophy was to be awarded to a senior male athlete who has been outstanding in football, basketball and baseball and was selected the most outstanding by the votes of the athletes participating in those sports. Athletes recognized in the various sports were: Girls Basketball, Best Defensive Player, Sharon Johnson; Best Offensive Player, Angie Driver; Best Free Throw Shooter, Michell Joyner; and Most Valuable Player, Mary Claire Robinson. Girls Softball: Hustler, Rosemary Ralls; Best Batting Average, Miss Thacker; and Most Valuable Player, Mary Claire Robinson. Football: Best Offensive Lineman, Harry Crabtree; Best Defensive Lineman, Greg Anthony; Best Offensive Back, Ronny McKenzie; and Best Defensive Back, Johnny Ralls. Basketball: Most Valuable Player, Gray Stevens; Best Rebounder, Tony Raines; Best Scorer, Terry Peacock; and Best Free Throw Percentage, Stevens. Recognized for winning All-District honors were: football, Harry Crabtree and David Sabino; basketball, Gray Stevens; and baseball, Terry Peacock. The girls track team was honored for winning the District III championship. Members of the team who qualified for the state finals and were recognized were: Cathy Johnson, Angie Driver, Cheri Johnson, Lesa Ralls, Leigh Daniels, Miss Price and Melinda Carrier.
May 18, 1980 - Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded in a cataclysm that sent ash 12 miles into the air, and left 57 people dead and caused $3 billion in damages.
May 18, 1986 - A television version of Alabama author Winston Groom's book “As Summers Die” was broadcast.
May 18, 2000 - Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals passed Mickey Mantle on the home run career list. He ended the game with 539.
May 18, 2004 - Forty-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game, leading his team to a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. A “perfect game” is when a pitcher faces a minimum 27 batters, recording 27 outs.
May 18, 2006 – The Biggs Cemetery in Monroe County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.
May 18, 2008 – “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was first released in theaters.
May 18, 2008 - Rev. John King was to be the guest speaker at Sparta Academy’s Baccalaureate services on this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Evergreen Baptist Church.