Aug. 4, 1181 - Chinese and Japanese astronomers first observed and recorded a supernova in the constellation Cassiopeia. The phenomenon was visible in the night sky for around six months.
Aug. 4, 1526 – Spanish explorer and navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano died at the age of 49 or 50 of malnutrition in the Pacific Ocean while on the Loaisa Expedition. Elcano was a Spanish Basque explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth.
Aug. 4, 1577 – “Black Shuck” reportedly appeared at churches in Bungay and Blythburgh in Suffolk. The churches included the Holy Trinity Church at Blythburgh and St. Mary’s Church at Bungay. At Holy Trinity, he killed a man and boy and caused the steeple to collapse and killed two people kneeled in prayer at St. Mary’s.
Aug. 4, 1735 - Freedom of the press was established with an acquittal of John Peter Zenger. The writer of the New York Weekly Journal had been charged with seditious libel by the royal governor of New York. The jury said that "the truth is not libelous."
Aug. 4, 1753 – George Washington, a 21-year-old Virginia farmer, was declared a Master Mason in a Masonic ritual performed by his fellow Freemasons during a secret ceremony at Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Va. Washington had been initiated into the Masons at age 20 on November 4, 1752. The following year, on March 3, 1753, he was passed as a "Fellow Craft," and five months later, Washington was raised to the rank of Master Mason. In 1788, shortly before becoming the first president of the United States, Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22.
Aug. 4, 1782 - The British playwright and general, John Burgoyne, died in England.
Aug. 4, 1790 – A newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service, which was the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard.
Aug. 4, 1792 – Poet and essayist Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Field Place, Sussex, England.
Aug. 4, 1808 - Alabama author Henry W. Hilliard was born in Fayetteville, N.C.
Aug. 4, 1821 – The Saturday Evening Post was published for the first time as a weekly newspaper.
Aug. 4, 1824 – Col. Thomas Levingston Bayne, who lived in Butler County, Ala. for a time as a young man, was born at Clinton, Jones County, Ga. He was the valedictorian at Yale in 1843, later served as City Attorney for New Orleans, fought with the Fifth Co. of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans and was severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh.
Aug. 4, 1830 – The plans for the city of Chicago were laid out on this date. The filing of the plans marked the first official recognition of the municipality of Chicago. It was incorporated as a city on March 4, 1837.
Aug. 4, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Woodville, Ala.
Aug. 4, 1862 – During the Civil War, a 13-day Federal operation began between Helena and Clarendon in Arkansas, and a four-day Federal reconnaissance began from Jacinto to Bay Springs in Mississippi. A two-day Federal operation began between Coggins’ Point and White Oak Swamp Bridge in Virginia.
Aug. 4, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Gayoso, Sinking Creek, and along the White River, near Forsyth, Mo.
Aug. 4, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on Vincent Creek, S.C.; at Amissville, and at Brandy Station in Virginia; and at Burlington, W.Va.
Aug. 4, 1863 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation began in the Rock Island Ferry, Tenn. area. Federals also mounted an operation in the vicinity of Fairfax Courthouse, Va.; and Federal naval operations took place on the James River in Virginia.
Aug. 4, 1864 – The Union operation against Confederate defenses around Atlanta, Ga. stalled when infighting erupted between Yankee generals. The problem arose when Union General William T. Sherman began stretching his force—consisting of the Army of the Ohio, the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland—west of Ezra Church, the site of a major battle on July 28, to Utoy Creek, west of Atlanta.
Aug. 4, 1864 – Union Admiral David Farragut ordered the “Chickasaw,” under Lt. Commander George H. Perkins, to shell Fort Powell, a Confederate fort on a sandbar just north of Heron Island, two miles north of Dauphin Island, near the mouth of Mobile Bay.
Aug. 4, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Antietam Ford, Md.; at Vidalia, La., just across the Mississippi River from Natchez, Miss.; at Rutlege, Mo.; at Tracy City, Tenn.; near Jonesville, and in the vicinity of Harrison’s Landing, Va.; and at New Creek, W.Va.
Aug. 4, 1864 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation took place between Natchez, Miss. and Gillespie’s Plantation, about five miles below Vidalia, La. An 11-day Federal operation also began against Kiowa and Comanche Indians in the Fort Union Nation area of the New Mexico Territory. A Federal operation also took place in the vicinity of Brazos Santiago, Texas.
Aug. 4, 1867 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley was born in Hannibal, Mo. He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, the Pittsburgh Burghers, the Pittsburg Pirates, the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Aug. 4, 1867 – Confederate veteran Dr. John Augutus Baldwin of Butler County married 20-year-old Margaret Narcisses McPherson. Together, they had 10 children in the space of 16 years.
Aug. 4, 1873 – During the American Indian Wars, while protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer clashed for the first time with the Cheyenne and Lakota people near the Tongue River; only one man on each side was killed.
Aug. 4, 1879 – The first bale of the new cotton crop reached Mobile, Ala. and was raised by R.H. Hines of Wilcox County. The 560-pound bale was classed low middling and brought 12 cents a pound at auction.
Aug. 4, 1879 – The Monroe Journal reported that Jonathan L. Marshal had resigned from his position as Justice of the Peace at Beat 2.
Aug. 4, 1879 – The Monroe Journal reported that a black man who worked for Jo. Boyles Jr. was shot and fatally wounded at Mount Pleasant, Ala. a few days after July 5. The man had been walking from his house to his corncrib after supper when an unknown gunman shot him in the thigh with a shotgun.
Aug. 4, 1879 – W.H. Nettles, a wanted murderer who had escaped from the Dallas County Jail, was spotted by several parties in Kempville in Monroe County, Ala. Armed with two derringers and a “navy six,” he swapped horses, “took dinner with an old countryman, secured whiskey from P. McGlinn, got drunk and told “an old college mate” Charlie McClure “all about killing Powell in Selma some time ago.” Nettles claimed that he’d meant to kill Powell’s brother instead, but killed the wrong man. Nettles, who was using the alias “Ledger,” said he was headed for Jacksonville, Fla.
Aug. 4, 1886 - S.P. Gaillard, a “rising young lawyer of the Mobile bar,” who was visiting his father, Dr. S.S. Gaillard of Perdue Hill, was in Monroeville on this Wednesday.
Aug. 4, 1892 – Andrew and Abby Borden, the father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden, were found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Lizzie, Andrew's daughter, was accused of the killings but was later acquitted.
Aug. 4, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that Capt. Geo. H. Gray of Perdue Hill was among his Monroeville friends during the previous week, and that H. Davis, the principal of the Mexia High School, was in town during the previous week.
Aug. 4, 1901 – Jazz musician Louis Armstrong was born in the Storyville neighborhood of New Orleans.
Aug. 4, 1903 – L.T. Rutland entered the hardware business in Evergreen, Ala. when he joined the Dunn Hardware Co. as a clerk. A few years later, he purchased an interest in the store and in 1917 he bought the store and changed its name to Rutland Hardware Co.
Aug. 4, 1913 – Poet and teacher Robert Hayden was born Asa Bundy Sheffey in Detroit, Mich.
Aug. 4, 1914 - Britain declared war on Germany in World War I, and the United States proclaimed its neutrality.
Aug. 4, 1914 - As World War I erupted in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson formally proclaimed the neutrality of the United States, a position that a vast majority of Americans favored.
Aug. 4, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Ed Jackson killed a rattlesnake on the farm of I.L. Mills, three miles from Evergreen, Ala., that measured five feet, six inches in length, 7-1/4 inches in circumference, weighed five pounds and had 20 rattles. The snake had just bitten a dog and was ready to spring at Jackson when he saw the snake and shot him.
Aug. 4, 1915 – During World War I, the German 12th Army occupied Warsaw during the Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive and the Great Retreat of 1915.
Aug. 4, 1916 - Kitchen Willie Smith, who was shot by J.M. Wiggins on July 29, died of his wounds in the sanitarium at Century, Fla., where he had been taken for treatment. His remains were brought to Monroeville for interment that afternoon. Smith was survived by several children, two brothers and numerous relatives.
Aug. 4, 1934 - Mel Ott became the first Major League Baseball player to score six runs in a single game.
Aug. 4, 1937 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “The Outer Gate” was released.
Aug. 4, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. A.C. Lee, Nelle and Edwin Lee had returned home after spending the previous week at Biloxi.
Aug. 4, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Max Bradley planned to open a drug store in the building formerly occupied by the Central Pharmacy about the middle of that month. He was in Monroeville on Tues., Aug. 2, looking after some alterations which were to be made in the building. The front was to be remodeled and the entire building was to be given a new coat of paint.
Aug. 4, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Dr. W.H. Hines, Rabies Inspector for Monroe County, was completing his schedule of dog vaccination clinics that week. Because of this extension of clinic time, Sat., Aug. 6, was to be the final day for vaccination at the regular charge. After that day, the penalty was to be invoked on all dog-owners, the cost being doubled.
Aug. 4, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.B. Barnett, John Barnett and Miss Frances Barnett were spending that week in Washington, D.C.
Aug. 4, 1940 - The Selma Army Air Base became active. Work on the facility began earlier that year as the U.S. military sought to train more pilots as World War II spread in Europe. The base's primary mission was to train pilots on single-engine aircraft. Actual training on the base began in the spring of 1941 using temporary runways. Even under these makeshift conditions, more than 50 North American-made AT-6 Texan training aircraft were operating on the field along with various other types of aircraft. The facility was renamed Craig Army Air Base on August 25, 1941, in honor of Selma-born Lieutenant Bruce K. Craig, who was killed in the crash of a B-24 Liberator bomber during a flight test. At the time of the crash, Craig was working as a civilian performing flight tests on aircraft being readied for shipment to Great Britain. Before his death, Craig had applied for a commission in the Army Air Corps, and this request was granted posthumously, making Craig a lieutenant.
Aug. 4, 1942 – Major League Baseball left fielder Cleon Jones was born in Mobile, Ala. He went on to play for the New York Mets and the Chicago White Sox. In 1969, Jones caught the final out of the "Miracle Mets" World Series Championship over the Baltimore Orioles.
Aug. 4, 1944 – A tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they found and arrested Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family and four others. Anne Frank’s famous diary would be published after her death.
Aug. 4, 1949 – Pro Football Hall of Fame running back John Riggins was born in Centralia, Kansas. He went on to play for Kansas, the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Aug. 4, 1953 – L.T. Rutland observed the 50th anniversary of his entry into the hardware business by entertaining the owners and employees of Canterbury Hardware, Inc. with a party at his home.
Aug. 4, 1953 – The Repton Gin ginned a bale of cotton for Leon Jordan of Excel, Ala. that weighed 611 pounds and sold for 45 cents a pound. The Evergreen Gin ginned a bale for Fairview farmer Brown Hawkins that weighed 385 pounds.
Aug. 4, 1959 – In Evergreen Junior Baseball League action, the Orioles beat the Chicks, 6-2, on this Tuesday night. Jack White gave up one hit to Donnie Pittman, Bobby Sasser and Gary Faulkner pitched for the future Dodgers. Tommy Hartley and Wayne Caylor collected the two Orioles bingles.
Aug. 4, 1959 – In Evergreen Junior Baseball League action, the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 17-1. Scott Cook notched the win on the hill. Vernon Crosby and Don Hansen were belted for nine Yank base hits. Robert Rigsby and Claude Aaron was three-for-four and Scott Cook was one-for-two for the victors. Claude Johnson’s triple was the Red Sox’s only hit.
Aug. 4, 1961 – Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Aug. 4, 1964 – Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21.
Aug. 4, 1964 – During the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident,” U.S. destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Aug. 4, 1967 - The U.S. Court of Military Appeals in Washington upheld the 1965 court-martial of Second Lieutenant Henry H. Howe, who had been sentenced to dismissal from the service and a year at hard labor for participating in an antiwar demonstration.
Aug. 4, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, American representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuân Thuỷ began secret peace negotiations (that would eventually fail).
Aug. 4, 1972 – Arthur Bremer, who attempted to assassinate George C. Wallace, was sentenced to 63 years in prison, later reduced to 53 years. Bremer served 35 years and was released on parole on November 9, 2007.
Aug. 4, 1983 - New York Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield threw a baseball during warm-ups and accidentally killed a seagull. After the game, Toronto police arrested him for "causing unnecessary suffering to an animal."
Aug. 4, 1983 - The Monroe Journal reported that the Excel Angels were the top team in the South Monroe Little League that season, finishing with a 15-5 record. Players on that team included Claude Johnson, Chris Hare, Buddy Hinson, Robert Elsworth, Justin Sawyer, Brad Lynam, Lance Booker, Brad Ueberroth, Jonathan Nelson, Blake Wright, Jimmy Anderson, Chuck Hoven, Tammy Wiggins and Ashley McPhaul. The team’s coach was Burt Alderman.
Aug. 4, 1983 – The Monroe Journal reported that the new officers of the Monroe County Auburn Alumni Association were announced during a recent meeting at the Vanity Fair Golf and Tennis Club. They were Charles Rumbley, first vice president; Judy Burns, secretary; David Steele, president; Mary Ann Brown, treasurer; and Jimmy Tucker, second vice president.
Aug. 4, 1985 - Tom Seaver of the Chicago White Sox recorded his 300th pitching victory.
Aug. 4, 1985 - Rod Carew of the California Angels got his 3,000th Major League hit.
Aug. 4, 1986 - The United States Football League called off its 1986 season. This was after winning only token damages in its antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League.
Aug. 4, 1987 - A new 22-cent U.S. stamp honoring noted author William Faulkner, went on sale in Oxford, Miss. Faulkner had been fired as postmaster of that same post office in 1924.
Aug. 4, 1987 - The Fairness Doctrine was rescinded by the Federal Communications Commission. The doctrine had required that radio and TV stations present controversial issues in a balanced fashion.
Aug. 4, 1990 - The European Community imposed an embargo on oil from Iraq and Kuwait. This was done to protest the Iraqi invasion of the oil-rich Kuwait.
Aug. 4, 1990 – A late night fire that started some time after midnight destroyed the residence of Randy Baggett at 103 South Main St. in Evergreen. No one was at home when the fire began, and the cause was investigated by State Fire Marshal Ken Smith.
Aug. 4, 1998 – Monroeville minister Thomas James Williams Jr., 33, died at USA Medical Center in Mobile, Ala. after a collision with a train at King’s Crossing in Evergreen, Ala. on Aug. 2, 1998.
Aug. 4, 2005 – County officials from all over south Alabama took part in a seminar on the new Alabama Open Meetings Law at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen. The seminar was sponsored by the Alabama Association of County Commissions, and Sonny Brasfield, Assistant AACC Executive Director, was one of the main speakers. The new law was scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, 2005.
Aug. 4, 2009 - Hillcrest High School was scheduled to hold its first official preseason football practice on this Tuesday night in preparation for the upcoming football season. The Jags could have kicked off practice as many teams across the state did on Mon., Aug. 3, but Hillcrest head coach Maurice Belser opted to give players a day off to recover from “Camp Belser,” a rigorous preseason camp geared toward getting the Jags in better shape. After a team meeting on this Tuesday evening, the Jags were scheduled to hold a practice “under the lights” to simulate game conditions during their first practice, Belser said.
Aug. 4, 2012 - Local weather reporter Betty Ellis reported 1.70 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
Aug. 4, 2012 – Football player and coach Bud Riley, a native of Guinn, Ala., died at the age of 86 in Penticton, British Columbia.
Aug. 4, 2013 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Art Donovan died at the age of 89 in Baltimore, Md. During his career, he played for Notre Dame, Boston College, the Baltimore Colts, the New York Yanks, the Dallas Texans and the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.
Aug. 4, 2014 – Hillcrest High School’s varsity football team officially began fall football practice at 5 p.m. under head coach Larry Boykin.