|Billy Wayne Pettis of Castleberry, Ala.|
May 31, 1578 – Martin Frobisher sailed from Harwich in England to Frobisher Bay in Canada, eventually to mine fool's gold, used to pave streets in London.
May 31, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin and Gednew examined Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe and Phillip English. Alden and English later escaped from prison and did not return.
May 31, 1775 – During the American Revolution, the Mecklenburg Resolves were allegedly adopted in the Province of North Carolina.
May 31, 1801 – The Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite was founded.
May 31, 1819 – Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, New York.
May 31, 1852 – Argentinian explorer and academic Francisco Moreno was born in Buenos Aires.
May 31, 1859 - The Philadelphia Athletics were formally organized to play the game of Town Ball.
May 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, P. G. T. Beauregard was ordered to assume command of the Alexandria Line.
May 31, 1862 – During the Civil War’s Peninsula Campaign, the Battle of Seven Pines (or Battle of Fair Oaks) occurred as Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G.W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Va. Robert Rose of the Conecuh Guards was killed during this battle, and James H. Thomas of the Conecuh Guards was wounded. The Yankees lost 5,000 casualties to the Rebels’ 6,000.
May 31, 1863 – Pakistani-English captain and explorer Francis Younghusband was born in Murree, British India.
May 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege of Vicksburg, Miss. entered Day 13.
May 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, an affair took place near Patterson, Missouri.
May 31, 1864 – During the Civil War’s Overland Campaign, the Battle of Cold Harbor began near Mechanicsville, Va. as the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engaged the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade. The battle continued until June 12. Nicholas “Nick” Stallworth of Evergreen, who joined the Conecuh Guards at age 15, was wounded here. He became an attorney after the war, state representative and solicitor of 11th Judicial Circuit. First Lt. Archibald D. McInnis of the Conecuh Guards was also wounded at Cold Harbor.
May 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, combats occurred at Bethesda Church, Mechump's Creek, Shallow Creek and Turner's Farm in Virginia.
May 31, 1864 - A small convention in Cleveland of Republican abolitionists unhappy with Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and other things, nominated John C. Fremont for president.
May 31, 1879 – Gilmores Garden in New York, New York, was renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and was opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
May 31, 1889 – During what is now known as the Johnstown Flood, over 2,200 people died after a dam failed and sent a 60-foot wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
May 31, 1906 – The Monroe Journal, in news from the Poplar Springs community, reported that the Rev. G.W. McRae had changed his regular appointment at Poplar Springs from the first to the second Sunday in each month, and had also sold his home in Atmore and moved his family to Grove Hill in Clarke County.
May 31, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that W.A. Mooney, the “efficient photographer of Excel,” was in Manistee during the previous week.
May 31, 1909 – The National Negro Committee, forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, convened for the first time.
May 31, 1911 – Postmaster Dean reported that during the month of May 1911, the Evergreen Post Office handled 127,450 pieces of mail, an average of 4,253 pieces each day.
May 31, 1911 – The hull of the ocean liner RMS Titanic was launched.
May 31, 1913 - The crack baseball team of Belleville defeated Evergreen in a one-sided game on this Saturday afternoon, 28-3. The features of the game were the pitching by Avant and the homerun by Perrin Lindsey with two men on bases, both of Belleville. Batteries for Belleville, Avant and R. Lindsey; batteries for Evergreen, Whitley, Johnson and Blake, Williams and Blake.
May 31, 1915 – The second day of Monroe County High School’s four-day fourth-annual commencement exercises continued on this Monday with a concert by the school’s music department at 8 p.m.
May 31, 1916 – As part of the closing exercises of the Second District Agricultural School in Evergreen, this Wednesday was graduation day and the auditorium was filled on that night “with friends of the graduates, who entertained them with essays and orations,” according to The Conecuh Record. Misses Mamie Lou Smith, Mae and Aline Chapman, Annie Lovelace Moorer and Messrs. J.G. Lundy, Thomas Jackson, Bryan Northcutt and Percy Chapman composed the graduating class. The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Zebulon Judd of Auburn.
May 31, 1916 – A large crowd gathered for Monroe County High School’s annual graduation exercises in the school auditorium. Dr. J.S. Thomas of the University of Alabama delivered the graduation address.
May 31, 1916 – During World War I, at the Battle of Jutland, the British Grand Fleet under the command of John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe and David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty engaged the Imperial German Navy under the command of Reinhard Scheer and Franz von Hipper in the largest naval battle of the war, which proves indecisive.
May 31, 1917 - The Conecuh Record reported that several heavily loaded troop trains passed through Evergreen during the previous few days en route to Chickamauga. The troops were from Arizona.
May 31, 1917 – The Conecuh Record reported, in news from the Castleberry community, that Capt. E. Downing Jr. of the First Regiment, stationed at Mobile, came home for a few days that week.
May 31, 1917 – The Conecuh Record published the following advertisement – “Washington, D.C. and return, $18.95, United Confederate Veterans Reunion, June 4-8, Tickets sold June 1 to 6, Limit June 21, Extended limit July 6, Extension fee 50 cents, Let us arrange your trip now as the attendance will be large, Ask us about regular and special service, C.H. Mann, D.P.A., Pensacola, Fla., C. Hawkins, Agent.”
May 31, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that completion of plans for the 27th annual reunion of the United Confederate Veterans to be held in Washington from June 4 to 8 was announced by Col. Robert N. Harper, chairman of the citizens’ reunion committee. Harper stated that 16 hours of each day would be filled with patriotic, social and spectacular events. President Wilson was expected to address the opening session of the veterans on June 5. The parade was to take place on June 7. The visitors were also to go to the battlefield of Gettysburg June 8 to take part in the dedication of the Virginia memorial of which an equestrian state of General Robert E. Lee was the central figure.
May 31, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that the sheriff’s department effected a few days ago the capture of a negro labor agent who had been operating in that section in violation of state laws. Officers had been on the lookout for such agents for some time but previously were unable to secure conclusive proof of guilt. The capture was effected at the L&N Railroad station where the agent was awaiting transportation for himself and several negro laborers whom he had engaged and for which he had wired his employers. The negro gave his name as Sam Moore, claiming to hail from Bagdad, Fla. When taken into custody a concealed pistol was found on his person, hence he was held on two charges.
May 31, 1919 - Capt. Raymond Brown stopped off in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday for a few hours to renew old acquaintances. Capt. Brown was “with Co. E, the old Fourth,” which was encamped in Evergreen for a few months in the spring 1917, shortly after the declaration of war by the United States against Germany. He was first lieutenant at that time but after being in France a short time he was promoted to the captaincy of his company.
May 31, 1919 - John Lassiter reached home on this Saturday from overseas. He was wounded in one of the fierce engagements in France but was at that time in excellent shape, according to The Evergreen Courant.
May 31, 1921 - Suffy McInnis began an errorless streak of 1,700 chances.
May 31, 1922 - Commencement exercises were scheduled to be held at the State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. on this Wednesday at 8 p.m. The keynote speaker was Dr. Spright Dowell, President of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn. The senior class was the largest in the history of the institution up to that point, numbering 17 boys and 15 girls. The class roll was as follows: Ruby Allen, Annie D. Brooks, Ira Mae Bryant, Julius Edward Chapman, Harry Edwin Dickinson, Reginald Rex Golson, Eva Myrtle Hurst, Daisy Leigh Harvell, Helen Lucille Hagood, Charles Thaddeus Ivey, Aline Marie Johnson, Battie Drucilla Johnson, Mary Allen Johnson, Martha Jennings Lundy, Carl Henry Middleton, Algia French Miller, Benjamin Franklin Miller, Carlos Holgrove Mills, Samuel Robert Morris, Claudia Oswald, Ollie Phares, John Carey Pritchett, James Edward Ridgeway, Joseph Pickett Rutland, Lucy Clare Shannon, Johnnie Mae Shoemaker, Henry James Smith, Lemuel Robert Stallworth, Robert Lee Stallworth, John Deming Stearns, Charles Robert Taliaferro Jr. and Sara Elsie Williamson.
May 31, 1922 – In connection with the ongoing commencement exercises at the State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala., a baseball game was scheduled to be held on this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
May 31, 1927 - Johnny Neun of the Detroit Tigers made an unassisted triple play.
May 31, 1927 – The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.
May 31, 1930 – Clint Eastwood was born in San Francisco.
May 31, 1934 – On this Thursday, Evergreen’s baseball team played the Andalusia Senators on the Evergreen field and lost, 10-6. Andalusia left fielder Nelson led in the defeat of Evergreen with four runs. Evergreen’s lineup in that game included Kendall, second base; Hanna, center field; Melton, right field; Steen, third base; Fergison, shortstop; Hansen, left field; English, catcher; Jones, pitcher; and Barfield, first base.
May 31, 1935 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Miskatonic University’s Peaslee Australian Expedition reached the Great Sandy Desert.
May 31, 1935 – The State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. was scheduled to hold its 43rd annual commencement exercises. Dr. S.J. Hocking of the University of Alabama was scheduled to deliver the baccalaureate address, and the school’s principal, Prof. W.Y. Fleming, was to present the seniors with their diplomas.
May 31, 1935 - Alabama author Sara Haardt died in Baltimore, Md.
May 31, 1937 - The Brooklyn Dodgers ended Carl Hubbell's of the New York Giants 24-game winning streak.
May 31, 1941 - The first issue of "Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper" went on sale.
May 31, 1941 – During the Anglo-Iraqi War, the United Kingdom completed the re-occupation of Iraq and returned 'Abd al-Ilah to power as regent for Faisal II.
May 31, 1943 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath was born in Beaver Falls, Pa. He went on to play for the University of Alabama, the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
May 31, 1945 – Italian-Austrian SS officer Odilo Globocnik, around 11:30 a.m., committed suicide by biting on a cyanide capsule in Paternion, Austria. He was 41 years old.
May 31, 1955 – Award winning pilot and engineer Dave McKenzie graduated from Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala.
May 31-June 5, 1956 – In the first game of the season in Evergreen’s Pony League, the Chicks beat the Pelicans, 14-12. The game started on Thurs., May 31, but was called at the end of the third inning due to darkness as the Chicks led, 7-4. The game resumed on Tues., June 5, and the Chicks went on to win. Carl Dyess was the manager of the Chicks, and Moreno White was the manager of the Pelicans.
May 31, 1961 - Jimi Hendrix enlisted in the U.S. Army.
May 31, 1963 - Graduation exercises at Repton High School were scheduled to be held at 8 p.m. on this Friday night. Betty Jo Richards was named valedictorian of the graduating class of 1963, which was announced by H.E. Penny, principal of Repton High School. Faye Ellis had been chosen as salutatorian. Twenty-five seniors were slated to receive diplomas.
May 31, 1965 – Lyeffion High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Monday night at 8 p.m. in the school auditorium in Lyeffion, Ala. Keith Holcombe was the valedictorian, and Bobbie J. Carter was the salutatorian. Twenty-four seniors were expected to receive diplomas.
May 31, 1965 – As part of Operation Rolling Thunder, U.S. planes bombed an ammunition depot at Hoi Jan, west of Hanoi, and tried again to drop the Than Hoa highway bridge.
May 31, 1968 – Army PFC Jimmy Ray Thomas, 20, of Brewton, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam. Born on Sept. 9, 1947, he was a member of Troop A, 1st Cavalry, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. He was buried in the Catawba Springs Cemetery in the Keego community of Escambia County, Ala.
May 31, 1969 – U.S. Army PFC Billy Wayne Pettis, 21, of Castleberry, Ala., was killed in action in Ben Luc, Long An, Vietnam. Up to that point, he was the fifth Conecuh Countian to lose his life in Vietnam, where he arrived on March 10, 1969. Funeral services were held June 7 at Oak Grove Holiness Church at Sandcut with the Rev. L.L. Smith and the Rev. Cobb officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery. Born on Feb. 29, 1948 in Castleberry, he was an infantryman in Co. B, 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 199th Infantry Brigade. Pettis was featured in the June 27, 1969 edition of LIFE magazine in a cover story entitled “The Faces of the American Dead in Vietnam: One Week's Toll.” Pettis was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
May 31, 1970 - About 75 communist soldiers who had seized key outposts in the city of Dalat, 145 miles northeast of Saigon, managed to slip past 2,500 South Vietnamese militiamen and soldiers who had surrounded their positions.
May 31, 1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurred on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.
May 31, 1972 – Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Fla. was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
May 31, 1973 – Joseph “Joe” Leon Reddoch, probably Monroe County’s most avid sports fan, died on this Thursday in Monroe County Hospital. He was 74 years old. He was active in the Monroe County Little League and was a renowned supporter of all the school teams in the county. He belonged to several school booster clubs in the area and was perhaps Patrick Henry’s most enthusiastic Patriot fan. He was instrumental in raising money for scholarships for PHJC athletes.
May 31, 1973 - The Monroe County Babe Ruth League opened its season with a bang on this Thursday night at the local Babe Ruth Park, with the Reds and Tigers capturing wins. The Tigers shut out the Yanks, 13-0, as the Tigers’ pitcher, Rhett Barnes, threw a no-hitter. In the process, Barnes struck out 12 batters.
May 31, 1974 - Alabama naturalist and author Blanche Evans Dean died in Goodwater, in Coosa County, Ala.
May 31, 1976 – Irish actor Colin Farrell was born in Baldoyle, Dublin, Ireland.
May 31, 1976 – NBA small forward Matt Harpring was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He went on to play for Georgia Tech, the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz.
May 31, 1981 – Major League Baseball starting pitcher Jake Peavy was born in Mobile. So far during his career, he has pitched for the San Diego Padres, the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants.
May 31, 1982 – Italian mountaineer and explorer Carlo Mauri died in Lecco, Italy.
May 31, 1990 - The first episode of "Seinfeld" aired on NBC.
May 31, 1992 - The final episode of "Night Court" aired on NBC.
May 31, 1997 - Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch in a minor league baseball game, when she entered a game in relief for the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. Mike Veeck, son of famous baseball impresario and promoter Bill Veeck, owned the Saints, and signed Borders to garner publicity for his team and the Northern League, an independent minor league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Borders, though, was more than an attraction: She could throw strikes, and she went on to pitch in the Northern League for three years.
May 31, 1999 - Weather observer Harry Ellis reported that total rainfall for the month of May 1999 was 5.17 inches.
May 31, 2003 - In North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph was captured. He had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing.
May 31, 2005 – Vanity Fair magazine revealed that Mark Felt was Deep Throat, the secret source that led to the uncovering of the Watergate scandal. The family of Mark Felt, a former FBI official, revealed that he had been the source for the Washington Post.
May 31, 2011 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Andy Robustelli died at the age of 85 in Stamford, Conn. During his career, he played for the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.