Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today in History for May 25, 2017

State Senator Maston Mims
May 25, 240 BC – Chinese astronomers noted the earliest recorded sighting of Halley’s comet at perihelion - its closest approach to the sun. Of course, it wasn't called Halley's comet then; it wasn't given that name until the 18th century, when English astronomer Edmond Halley first speculated that similar comets observed in 1531, 1607, and 1682 were probably actually the same comet, returning at regular intervals. He predicted its return, and though he didn't live to see it, his prediction was correct: the comet returned on Christmas Day, 1758 - the year he had predicted.

May 25, 1420 – Henry the Navigator was appointed governor of the Order of Christ.

May 25, 1787 - The Constitutional convention opened in Philadelphia with George Washington presiding.

May 25, 1803 – Philosopher, poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Mass.

May 25, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Washington, Pennsylvania, dining at the Pioneer Grill, the George Washington Hotel and staying at the Globe Inn.

May 25, 1844 - The first telegraphed news dispatch, sent from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Md. appeared in the Baltimore "Patriot."

May 25, 1856 - Abolitionist John Brown and his sons attacked three cabins along Pottawatomie Creek. They killed five men. The attack was Brown's revenge for an attack on Lawrence, Kansas on May 21.

May 25, 1861 – Maryland state legislator John Merryman, a vocal secessionist, was arrested in Cockeysville, Maryland for attempting to hinder Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War. He appealed for his release under a writ of habeas corpus. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus between Washington and Philadelphia on April 27. The move was made to give the military the necessary power to silence dissenters and rebels.

May 25, 1862 – Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson led Confederates to victory at the First Battle of Winchester, Va., as part of his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union casualties included 62 killed, 243 wounded and over 1,700 captured or missing, while 68 of Jackson’s men died and another 329 were wounded.

May 25, 1862 – During the Civil War, Halleck arrived outside of Corinth. It had taken him 26 days to march 20 miles from Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh),Tenn., virtually unopposed.

May 25, 1863 - Clement Vallandigham was banished to the Confederacy for his “pro-Confederate remarks.” Vallandigham had been found guilty by a military tribunal of violating General Ambrose Burnside's Order No. 38. The order stated that public criticism of the war would not be tolerated. He was exchanged at Murfreesboro, Tenn.

May 25, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege at Vicksburg entered its seventh day.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, an affair occurred at Jackson's Bridge and a skirmish was fought at Camp Finegan, Florida.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishing began around New Hope Church, Ga. and continued until June 5.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, engagements were fought with the Union ships Curlew and Lebanon in Arkansas. A skirmish was also fought near Cripple Creek, Tennessee.

May 25, 1865 - During the early weeks of Federal occupation of Mobile, the city suffered one of its worst disasters as 20 tons of captured Confederate gunpowder exploded in a warehouse being used as an arsenal. Property loss was put at $5,000,000 and the number of casualties was never determined, although it has been estimated at possibly 300. The entire northern part of the city was laid in ruins by the explosion. Many of the dead were never identified. The blast, which leveled eight square blocks of Mobile, was centered near the site of the present day International Trade Center on Water Street. Fires and explosions continued throughout the day. Ships were set afire and sank along the waterfront. Windows were broken all over town, to include those in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that is still in present day downtown Mobile.

May 25, 1865 – During the Civil War, Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson's command was paroled in Arkansas.

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that L.H. Henley of Burnt Corn was in Monroeville “a short time ago” and “took the first degree in Masonry.”

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that W.B. Jones had plans to again open his beef market in Monroeville, Ala. The market was scheduled to open every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the northeast corner of the public square.

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal editorialized that “the draught and backgammon board furnish an unending source of amusement to the ‘gentlemen of leisure’ of this place. It is a more sensible source of pleasure than roller skating or baseball.” (This is one of the earliest mentions of baseball that I’ve found in The Journal.)

May 25, 1886 - Mr. Brown of Camden, who had been engaged in painting Capt. Wiggins’ store, completed the job on this Tuesday and returned to Camden, according to The Monroe Journal.

May 25, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that chancery court was in session in Monroeville, Ala. during the past week. Chancellor Thomas H. Smith presided.

May 25, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that “two more shooting scrapes” occurred in Monroe County during the past week, one with fatal results. The first involved an 11-year-old boy, who killed his father, in the King community. The second involved a man, who shot a woman in the arm, in the Scotland community. Both incidents were said to be accidental.

May 25, 1908 – Flomaton was officially incorporated as a municipality, according to the Alabama League of Municipalities.

May 25, 1908 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Mich.

May 25, 1910 - The first-ever nighttime airplane flight was made at Orville Wright's flying school near Montgomery, Ala. Walter Brookins and Archibald Hoxsey piloted the plane, which the Montgomery Advertiser described as "glinting now and then in the moonlight" during flight. The flying school closed shortly after the historic event, but the site eventually became home to Maxwell Air Force Base.

May 25, 1914 – Prof. W.C. Blasingame was elected principal of the Southwest Alabama Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala during a meeting of the school’s board of control in Montgomery. He replaced Prof. J.T. McKee, who took a faculty position at the State Normal School in Florence. Blasingame was a graduate of the State Normal College, the University of Tennessee and the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Evergreen, he’d been in charge of schools in Demopolis and Thomaston.

May 25, 1915 – The closing exercises of the Orphanage School in Evergreen, Ala. were scheduled to be held in the orphanage chapel at 8 p.m. Certificates were to be presented to four pupils for completing the seventh grade.

May 25, 1915 - In the latest of a disturbing series of Turkish aggressions against Armenians during World War I, Mehmed Talat, the Ottoman minister of the interior, announced that all Armenians living near the battlefield zones in eastern Anatolia (under Ottoman rule) would be deported to Syria and Mosul.

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported, in news from the Brooklyn community, that G.R. Boulware, J.L. Williamson, John Stamps and H.A. Chambless attended the United Confederate Veterans Reunion at Birmingham during the previous week and reported a “most enjoyable trip.” Boulware was accompanied home by W.R. Hodges and his son, Dr. R.H. Hodges of Texas, who planned to spend some time with relatives and friends in the Brooklyn vicinity. W.R. Hodges was born and reared near Brooklyn but shortly after his return from the army, with which he served during the Civil War, he moved to the state of Texas, where he had since “resided and prospered.”

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Clarence Hawkins surprised his many friends when he returned from the United Confederate Veterans reunion at Birmingham accompanied by a Mrs. Hawkins. “No one suspected that he contemplated matrimony, even in the remote future, but everyone is congratulating him on his good fortune in winning such a charming lady for his life-partner. Mrs. Hawkins was Miss Corinne Schwaemmle of Mobile.”

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Robt. H. Jones, Esq., was in Montgomery, Ala. that week attending the Knights of Phythias Lodge.

May 25, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that T.G. Fountain, renewing his subscription, wrote the following note from Reagan, Texas under date of May 22 – “The Journal has been coming to me for several years. I take several papers, none however, so much appreciated as The Journal, owing to the fact that I have many relatives and friends in Old Monroe. I enlisted in the Confederate war and served to the close in the cavalry service, was never wounded, sick or in prison. Several of my comrades were from Monroeville – A.B. McCorvey, T.J. Stevens, T.S. Wiggins, the Spottswood boys and others. Very few are left to answer roll call now.”

May 25, 1920 – The commencement exercises at the Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. came to a close with senior class exercises on this day. On May 23, the commencement sermon was delivered at the Baptist Church by the Rev. Norman McLeod of Auburn. On May 21, commencement exercises began with the school play, a four-act drama that was present by pupils from several departments.

May 25, 1922 - Babe Ruth was suspended for one day and fined $200 for throwing dirt on an umpire.

May 25, 1926 – Graduation exercises were held on this Tuesday night at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. The commencement address was delivered by Judge W.H. Thomas of Montgomery.

May 25, 1927 – Novelist Robert Ludlum was born in New York City. He is best known for his thriller novels about Jason Bourne.

May 25, 1928 - The graduation exercises at the State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. were scheduled to be held on this Friday night, and the address was to be delivered by Dr. Jno. W. Abercrombie, assistant state superintendent, formerly state superintendent. The ceremony was scheduled to be held at the Evergreen City School auditorium.

May 25, 1933 – The Monroe Journal reported, under the headline “Typhoid Fever In Monroeville,” that Health Officer, Dr. T.E. Tucker, reported that there were two cases of Typhoid fever in Monroeville, a colored woman and a white man. He also reported that clinics were being conducted in several places in the county each week, including at Fountain, Monroe Station, Mineola School, A.E. Tucker’s place and Mexia. These clinics were conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On other days, vaccine could be secured at his office.

May 25, 1933 – Chapman’s baseball team was scheduled to play Monroeville on this Thursday afternoon on the Monroeville, Ala. diamond. “A hotly contested game” was anticipated, according to The Monroe Journal. A grandstand had recently been completed at the Monroeville diamond and comfortable seats had been installed.

May 25, 1933 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.C. Hudson was building a swimming pool and fish pond on Hudson branch about one-half mile east of the Monroe County Courthouse. Workmen had been engaged for about a week, cutting the foundation ditch for the dam and spillway. According to the survey made by an engineer, the several springs at the head of the branch were to afford a pond covering about two acres, the deepest point being about seven to eight feet.

May 25, 1935 - Babe Ruth hit his final homerun, his 714th, and set a record that would stand for 39 years.

May 25, 1935 – Oakville, Ala. native Jesse Owens of Ohio State University broke three world records and tied a fourth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Owens tied the world record for the 100-yard dash, running it in 9.4 seconds.

May 25, 1938 – Short-story writer and novelist Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon.

May 25, 1944 – Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. was scheduled to hold its graduation exercises at 8 p.m. Those receiving diplomas included Jessie Ruth Godwin, Mabel Green, Doris Davis, Lois Ward, Virginia Griffin, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Clara Evelyn Albreast, Mary Ellen Dolihite, John Josey, Joe Josey, Hairston Powell, Lamar Stapleton and Kenneth Brooks.

May 25, 1949 – Writer Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson in St. John’s, Antigua.

May 25, 1950 – The Evergreen Greenies were scheduled to play Atmore in a Dixie Amateur League game at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.

May 25, 1951 – Westfield, Ala. native Willie Mays made his debut with the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds.

May 25, 1955 – The first ascent of Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, was made by a British expedition led by Charles Evans. Joe Brown and George Band reached the summit on May 25, followed by Norman Hardie and Tony Streather the next day.

May 25, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy made his historic speech before a joint session of Congress, declaring that America would aim to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

May 25, 1963 – Hartford, Ala. native Early Wynn won his 300th baseball game.

May 25, 1964 - Pfc. Ralph W. Phillippi, the son of Mrs. Dovie Jaye of 104 Poplar St. in Monroeville, completed training with the Special Forces Training Group at the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, N.C. With his branch training behind him, Phillippi was then a qualified Special Forces soldier and was entitled to wear the coveted mark of the elite force, the green beret, which was distinguished by the late President Kennedy as a “badge of courage.” Phillippi entered the Army in April 1963 and completed training at Fort Polk, La.

May 25, 1968 - The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Mo. was dedicated.

May 25, 1968 - The communists launched their third major assault of the year on Saigon.

May 25, 1969 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu assumed personal leadership of the National Social Democratic Front at its inaugural meeting in Saigon.

May 25, 1971 - President Richard Nixon visited Mobile, Ala. to mark the start of construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The waterway, when completed in 1985, ran from Pickwick Lake to Demopolis, Alabama, to connect the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River. A link between the two rivers had long been desired, having been first proposed by the French in the eighteenth century.

May 25, 1974 - Pam Morrison, Jim Morrison's widow, died of a drug overdose.

May 25, 1976 – NFL offensive tackle Tarik Glenn was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to play for the University of California and the Indianapolis Colts.

May 25, 1976 – Irish actor Cillian Murphy was born in Blackrock, Cork, Ireland.

May 25, 1976 – Actor Ethan Suplee was born in Manhattan, N.Y.

May 25, 1977 - "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" opened in theaters and became the largest grossing film to date.

May 25, 1978 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Tony Rogers, outstanding quarterback for the Evergreen High School Aggies, had signed a full grant-in-aid scholarship to Livingston State University. Rogers was an outstanding passer and runner for the Aggies, playing under head coach Charles Branum.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that bulldozers were clearing the land for the construction of a Monroeville city recreational park in Clausell, which was expected to be completed and ready for use by the end of that summer, according to city Public Works Superintendent Lyle Salter. Clearing began the first of May 1978 and had been hampered only slightly by rainy weather.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that Coach Bill McPherson of Frisco City High School had recently presented V.P. “Junie” Burns with a plaque holding the names of Frisco City football players who had received the school’s most valuable player award named in his honor. Burns, a former Frisco City athlete, played college ball at Auburn University, where he was selected to the Coaches’ All-SEC team. He coached rather than accept offers to play pro football, carrying his team to a state championship. During World War II, he was wounded in the Normandy Invasion and has numerous medals. Each year the recipient of the award receives a trophy and his name was to be added to the plaque.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that, reversing himself, state senator Maston Mims of Uriah, Ala. that week announced that he would not seek re-election. Mims, a first-term senator who was chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in the fall of 1977 became the first person to announce intention to run in the Sept. 5 Democratic primary for his District 31 seat. But during the week of May 25, 1978, Mims said “new opportunities” had surfaced “which conflict with (Mims’) running for the state Senate in this year’s election.”

May 25, 1981 – In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council was created between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

May 25, 1982 - Ferguson Jenkins became the seventh pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters.

May 25, 1983 - "The Return of the Jedi" opened nationwide. It set a new record in opening day box office sales. The gross was $6,219,629.

May 25, 1993 - The ferry serving Packer’s Bend had been declared unsafe for use and needed to be repaired or replaced, the Monroe County Commission was told on this Tuesday. County Engineer Robert English said the ferry was brought in for a routine maintenance inspection about two weeks before, and it was discovered that the bottom was rotting. The ferry was to be out of service until the problem was solved. English estimated the monthly traffic on the ferry, which operated eight hours a day Monday through Friday, at 300 trips per month.

May 25, 1997 - The Minnesota Twins retired Kirby Puckett's number.

May 25, 1997 - Todd and Mel Stottlemyre became the first father and son duo to win 100 baseball games.

May 25, 2001 – Erik Weihenmayer, 32, of Boulder, Colorado became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

May 25, 2001 - Sherman Bull, 64, of New Canaan, Conn. became the oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

May 25, 2012 – Renovations were completed at the Historic Louisville & Nashville Depot in downtown Evergreen, Ala.

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