Thursday, February 23, 2017

Evergreen's Edmund W. Martin was wounded at the First Battle of Dalton in Georgia

Grave of Edmund W. Martin
This coming Saturday – Feb. 25 – will mark the passage of 153 years since Edmund W. Martin, one of the most accomplished men to ever walk the streets of Evergreen, was severely wounded while leading troops during the First Battle of Dalton in Whitfield County, Ga. That battle was fought in late February 1864.

At the time, Martin was a 42-year-old major in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, which was led by famous Confederate general, Joseph E. Johnston. In this five-day engagement, Johnston’s army of around 40,000 defeated a force of 25,000 soldiers led by Union General George H. Thomas. The end result was a Confederate victory as Thomas eventually decided to withdraw his troops when it became apparent that continued attacks against Johnston’s army would be fruitless.

Even though the Rebels won, it didn’t come without a cost. Casualties and losses on both sides were relatively light with the Union losing around 300 men to 140 on the Confederate side. However, among those Confederate casualties was Martin, who was severely wounded and knocked out of the battle when he was wounded by a shell fragment. As you’ll see, his story doesn’t end there.

According to B.F. Riley’s book, “The History of Conecuh County,” Martin was born near Montgomery on Dec. 15, 1821 and through the help of friend and relative, Senator Dixon H. Lewis, Martin received an appointment to West Point Military Academy. Martin later graduated from West Point, and he returned home to Alabama, where he became a lawyer in Hayneville around 1843.

When the Mexican-American War began in 1846, Martin raised a “gallant company” called the “Lowndes County Volunteers,” and Martin served as the company’s captain, according to Riley’s book. This relatively short war ended in February 1848 and after the war, in 1849, the 27-year-old Martin moved to Sparta, which was then the county seat of Conecuh County. Martin made “quite a reputation for himself” as a lawyer, Riley wrote, and his fellow lawyers regarded him as a “close, calm reasoner, dignified and keenly conscientious with regard to all questions of ethics.”

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Martin raised a company of volunteers, and he served as the unit’s captain. When that company was attached to a regiment, Martin was promoted to regimental major. He apparently served throughout the war until his wounding at the First Battle of Dalton.

Union soldiers burned Sparta near the end of the war, which is what likely prompted Martin to move to Evergreen, the county’s new county seat. Martin became active in the Democratic party and he was elected to the Alabama Senate in 1872, representing a district that was made up of Conecuh and Butler counties. Later, The Montgomery Advertiser described Martin as “an able and watchful Senator,” who possessed to the “fullest extent, the confidence and esteem of his associates.” Martin sought the Democratic nominations for lieutenant governor in 1874 and for U.S. Congress in 1878, but he came up short in both conventions.

Martin died relatively young, passing away on Oct. 22, 1878 at the age of 56, and one is left to wonder if the wounds he received at the First Battle of Dalton may have contributed to his death at such a young age. Today, Martin’s grave can be found beside that of his wife, Mary Virginia Sophia Hunley Martin, in the Old Evergreen Cemetery.

Is this year's girls team at Hillcrest High School the best in school history?

Hillcrest's 1995 girls basketball team.
There’s a lot happening on the local sports scene this week as high school basketball continues and baseball, softball and soccer begins.

Conecuh County was well-represented at the South Region basketball tournament in Dothan on Saturday, and all of the coaches and players appreciated the support. I know that a lot of local fans attended the game because I saw more than a few 21 tags on the way to and from the game on Saturday.

Many fans have asked me about how this year’s girls basketball team at Hillcrest stacks up against past teams at the school. As of Monday, the Lady Jags, under head coach Tammie Patrick, were 23-1 overall, and my gut feeling is that this is the best ever record in the history of the school. However, I can’t say this with any degree of certainty because I’m not 100 percent sure.

Hillcrest first opened during the 1989-1990 school year, which is when they fielded their first football team. While I’m not sure, I think that they also fielded their first boys basketball team during the 1989-1990 season. In all likelihood, Hillcrest probably also fielded its first girls team that season as well, but I can’t swear to it. The girls program may have started at some point after that.

I did do a little research on Monday and learned some things for sure about Hillcrest’s girls basketball program. First, Alabama High School Athletic Association records show that Hillcrest has never won a state title in girls basketball. (Hopefully, that will change very soon.)

However, Hillcrest has made it to the state finals before. In 1995, they lost, 68-61, to Hazel Green High School in the Class 5A state championship game. That game was played on March 4, 1995.

According to newspaper accounts, Hillcrest’s girls finished the 1995 season with a 27-4 overall record, a winning percentage of .871. Three of their losses that season came against T.R. Miller High School, who won the 4A state title that year. Their other loss was to Hazel Green in the state title game.

Players on Hillcrest’s girls that season included Natasha Walton, Kwanis Bryant, Kanescha Nevlous, Cammie Roach, Christy Maxwell, Beverly Riley, Gennifer Meeks, Tamila Lampley, Shantell Scott and Dina Bartkowiak.

In my opinion, prior to this season, the 1995 was likely the best girls team that Hillcrest has ever put on the court. However, I can’t say that with any certainly, so if anyone out there knows of another Hillcrest girls team that had a better record please let me know by e-mailing me at

With that said, everyone here at The Courant is wishing the Lady Jags good luck as they continue to represent Conecuh County in their quest for a 3A state title. As of Monday, they had to win just three more games in order to claim this year’s 3A state championship.

That would mark the first girls state basketball title in school history and would also leave the Lady Jags with a 26-1 overall record, a winning percentage of .962. At that point, I think you could safely say that this year’s team is the best in school history. However, they would fall one win shy of the 1995 team when it comes to most wins in a single season.

Today in History for Feb. 23, 2017

Feb. 23, 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.

Feb. 23, 1633 – Diarist Samuel Pepys was born in London.

Feb. 23, 1685 – Composer George Handel, who wrote the famous oratorio “Messiah,” was born in Halle, Germany.

Feb. 23, 1757 – Ephraim Kirby, the first Judge of the Superior Court of the Mississippi Territory, was born in Woodbury, Conn. A Revolutionary War soldier and the first General High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons of the United States, he died of fever and was buried at Fort Stoddert near Mount Vernon, Ala. A marker in his memory can be seen today at the intersection of Old US Highway 43 and Military Road in Mount Vernon.

Feb. 23, 1778 – During the American Revolutionary War, Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and began training soldiers in close-order drill, instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army.

Feb. 23, 1813 - The first U.S. raw cotton-to-cloth mill was founded in Waltham, Mass.

Feb. 23, 1836 - Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his Centralist troops arrived at San Antonio de Bexar and began siege preparations at the Alamo. William B. Travis immediately sent a request to Gonzales for help. (The Alamo)

Feb. 23, 1847 – The Mexican-American War Battle of Beuna Vista occurred at Puerto de la Angostura, Coahuila, and American troops under future president General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The community of Beuna Vista in Monroe County was named after this battle because the community’s first postmaster J.W. Perrin fought at the battle.

Feb. 23, 1848 – During the Mexican War, Co. E (McAlpin’s), 1st Battalion of Alabama Volunteers mustered at Mobile, Ala. This unit included 2nd Lt. William R. King of Belleville and Pvt. Mark B. Travis, the younger brother of William Barrett Travis, who died at the Alamo.

Feb. 23, 1848 - The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, passed away at the age of 80 in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 23, 1861 - President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland. Seven states had already seceded from the Union since Lincoln's election.

Feb. 23, 1861 - Texas became the seventh state to secede from the Union, by a three to one vote.

Feb. 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Greenville, Mo. and at Pea Ridge Prairie, Mo. Federal reconnaissance of the Bull River and Schooner Channel in South Carolina was conducted. Confederate forces evacuated Nashville, Tenn.

Feb. 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Athens, Ky. and at Deer Creek and Fish Lake Bridge, Miss.

Feb. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Tunnel Hill, Dalton and Catoosa Station, Ga.; and at New Albany, Miss. A 15-day Federal operation from Springfield, Mo. into Northern Arkansas began.

Feb. 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishing took place between Barrancas and Milton, Fla., and a skirmish was fought near Camden, S.C.

Feb. 23, 1868 – Scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass.

Feb. 23, 1870 – During the Reconstruction Era, post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ended and it was readmitted to the Union.

Feb. 23, 1883 – Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.

Feb. 23, 1885 - English authorities attempted to hang convicted murderer John Lee. Despite three attempts at execution, the hanging gallows would not work. Bewildered by this turn of events, the court considered the unexplained malfunction to be an "act of God" and spared Lee's life.

Feb. 23, 1885 – During the Sino-French War, the French Army gained an important victory in the Battle of Đồng Đăng in the Tonkin region of Vietnam.

Feb. 23, 1895 – A “serious accident” occurred on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, three miles south of Greenville, Ala. on this Saturday morning. The accident was caused by the “spreading of the rails,” and the engine, express car, baggage cars and several passenger coaches “precipitated down an embankment.” A large number of Mardi Gras excursionists were on board, and one man was killed. A number of other passengers were “painfully injured.”

Feb. 23, 1896 - W.H. Louiselle of Manistee was in Monroeville, Ala. on this Sunday. Miss Ella Neville returned also returned on this Sunday from a visit to friends at Manistee.

Feb. 23, 1904 – Journalist and author William Shirer was born in Chicago, Ill. He is best known for his 1960 book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”

Feb. 23, 1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen met for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world's first service club.

Feb. 23, 1915 – Range, Ala. postmaster Minnie Hart became sick while on duty at the post office and had to be carried to her sister’s house near the post office, where she was confined to bed. James J. Lee ran the post office in her absence.

Feb. 23, 1916 - The U.S. Congress authorized the McKinley Memorial $1 gold coin.

Feb. 23, 1916 – A meeting of the “Forrest Highway boosters” to decide whether or not the Forrest Highway Association would adopt the road through Monroe County via Monroeville or through Escambia County via Brewton was held in Brewton, Ala. and was attended by L.J. Bugg of Monroeville, the secretary of the Old Federal Road Association and a large party of Monroe County citizens. “The object of the meeting was to consider the respective advantages of the Old Federal Road via Monroeville and the route paralleling the Louisville & Nashville Railroad via Evergreen and Brewton.” A decision was not announced at this meeting. Members of the Monroe County delegation were W.G. McCorvey, G.B. Barnett, C.E. Barker, P.W. Turner, J.B. Barnett, J.T. Salter, F.W. Hare, and T.T. Ivey and others.

Feb. 23, 1917 - German troops began a well-planned withdrawal - ordered several weeks previously by Kaiser Wilhelm - to strong positions on the Hindenburg Line, solidifying their defense and digging in for a continued struggle on the Western Front in World War I.

Feb. 23, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Dr. H.H. Kendrick was in Atlanta taking a special course “in certain important work in dentistry” and would be absent several days.

Feb. 23, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that 175 to 200 cars was the estimate local growers and shippers were placing on the size of the 1921 strawberry crop.

Feb. 23, 1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill by Congress establishing the Federal Radio Commission, which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States. The Federal Radio Commission began assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for radio broadcasters. On July 1, 1934, the name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Feb. 23, 1929 – Major League Baseball catcher and left fielder Elston Howard was born in St. Louis, Mo. He would go on to play for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 23, 1940 – Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith was born in Columbia, Miss. He would go on to play for Northwestern State, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Feb. 23, 1940 – Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land” – now one of America’s most famous folk songs.

Feb. 23, 1943 – Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff was born in Erie, Pa. He would go on to play for Florida State and the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Feb. 23, 1944 – Suspense novelist John Camp, also known by his pen name John Sandford, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Feb. 23, 1945 – During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a commonly forgotten U.S. Navy Corpsman, reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag.

Feb. 23, 1946 – Major League Baseball second baseman Ken Boswell was born in Austin, Texas. He would go on to play for the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

Feb. 23, 1950 – NFL linebacker Jim Youngblood was born in Union, S.C. He would go on to play for Tennessee Tech, the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins.

Feb. 23-25, 1950 – The First District, Class A, Basketball Tournament was held in Monroe County High School’s gymnasium in Monroeville on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Players from Monroe County schools named to the all-tournament team included Tommy Durden and Kenneth Hundley, of Monroe County High School; Curtis Jordan, of Excel; Dale Brown, of Beatrice; and T.J. King, of Frisco City.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL defensive end Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones was born in Jackson, Tenn. He would go on to play for Tennessee State and the Dallas Cowboys.

Feb. 23, 1951 – NFL cornerback and safety Ray Oldham was born in Gallatin, Tenn. He would go on to play for Middle Tennessee State, the Baltimore Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions.

Feb. 23, 1954 – The first large field trial of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was held at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh.

Feb. 23, 1957 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NFL operations did fall within the coverage of antitrust laws.

Feb. 23, 1961 – The annual organizational meeting of the Evergreen Junior Baseball League was held at 7:30 p.m. at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. Wendell Hart was president of the league.

Feb. 23, 1963 – Major League Baseball third baseman and right fielder Bobby Bonilla was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles, the Florida Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Feb. 23, 1966 - According to the U.S. military headquarters in Saigon, 90,000 South Vietnamese deserted in 1965.

Feb. 23, 1967 – Cope Funeral Home owner Sam Cope announced that he was being forced to cease operating the funeral home’s ambulance service, effective March 1, 1967. His decision was reached because of the “impossibly high costs brought on by coverage under the wage and hour which started Feb. 1.”

Feb. 23, 1971 - In Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese advance into Laos ground to a halt.

Feb. 23, 1973 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team, led by head coach Charles Branum, beat Jackson, 75-69, in the 3A Region 1, Area 2 tournament championship game.

Feb. 23, 1976 – The Buena Vista Post Office in Monroe County, Ala., which opened in 1849, was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Feb. 23, 1976 – Major League Baseball pitcher Scott Elarton was born in Lamar, Colo. He went on to play for the Houston Astros, the Colorado Rockies, the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals.

Feb. 23, 1976 – Actress Kelly Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland.

Feb. 23, 1978 - The first Writing Today writing conference opened at Birmingham-Southern College.

Feb. 23, 1983 - Herschel Walker signed a $5 million 3-year contract with the USFL's New Jersey Generals.

Feb. 23, 1985 – Walter Lee Harper, a “well-known” 56-year-old Marine Corps World War II Pacific Theatre veteran, was killed in a house fire about five miles from Evergreen, Ala. on the Brooklyn Road. Known as “Buster” and “Red,” Harper’s body was found in the back part of the house, and deputies assumed he was trying to get to the back door. The Evergreen Fire Department was called to the scene at 12:43 a.m.

Feb. 23, 1989 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low temperature of 18 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 23, 1991 – During the Persian Gulf War, ground troops crossed the Saudi Arabian border and entered Iraq, thus beginning the ground phase of the war. Less than four days later the war was over due to the surrender or withdrawal of Iraqi forces.

Feb. 23, 1998 – In “V for Vendetta,” V took over the NTV Studios in Jordan Towers and commandeered the airwaves. A strike team reclaimed the building, but V’s broadcast aired uninterrupted. Peter Creedy, Almond’s replacement at The Finger, was punched by Finch after commenting on Finch’s affair with Deliah Surridge. Finch was reprimanded, and told to go on an extended holiday. By this time, Evey Hammond had become a border at Gordon’s house.

Feb. 23, 1999 - Garth Brooks attended spring training camp with the San Diego Padres as a non-roster player. The Padres Foundation agreed to contribute to the Touch 'Em All Foundation in lieu of a salary to Brooks.

Feb. 23, 2011 – “Georgia Bottoms,” the seventh novel by Monroeville, Ala. native Mark Childress, was released by Little, Brown & Co.

Feb. 23, 2012 – A series of attacks across Iraq left at least 83 killed and more than 250 injured.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Feb. 23, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): Trace.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.70 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 18.50 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 18.00 inches

Notes: Today is the 54th day of 2017 and the 64th day of Winter. There are 311 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today marks the 166th birthday of Camden native Kate Upson Clark

Camden native Kate Upson Clark
Today (Wednesday) marks the 166th birthday of one of the most remarkable women ever born in Wilcox County – Kate Upson Clark.

Clark was born Catherine Pickens Upson in Camden on Feb. 22, 1851 to 36-year-old Edwin Upson and 35-year-old Priscilla Maxwell Upson. Edwin, a native of Connecticut, and Priscilla, a native of Massachusetts, ended up in Alabama in the 1840s and got married in Tuscaloosa, then the state capital, on July 8, 1844.

Catherine, who was called “Kate” for short, came along a few years later and was four years old when her mother, Priscilla, passed away at the age of 40 on Nov. 14, 1855.

After Priscilla’s death, Kate’s father moved to Mobile, where he became partners with businessman William Strickland in a bookselling and stationary business called Strickland & Co. Not long after that, a “vigilance committee” in Mobile accused Strickland & Co. of owning and selling “incendiary” anti-slavery books like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Bondage and Freedom” by Frederick Douglas. Trouble continued as Strickland & Co. had its signs painted over, and they were given five days to get out of town.

During this time, three angry men confronted Upson with a carriage and rope at Mobile’s Battle House Hotel with obvious intentions to hang him. Upson escaped hanging, but the Strickland & Co. store was mobbed as Upson and Strickland were driven from town. Two years later, Upson slipped back into Mobile to collect on some old debts, but quickly left after learning that there was still a large reward out for information on Strickland’s whereabouts.

After all that, Upson’s young daughter, Kate, ended up in New England, where she spent most of her childhood and formative years in Charlemont, Mass., a short drive from the Vermont border. In 1869, she graduated from Wheaton Female Seminar (now Wheaton College) in Norton, Mass. and then went on to graduate from the Westfield Normal School (now Westfield State University) in Westfield, Mass. in 1872.

She taught school for a time in Cleveland, Ohio and then married Edward Perkins Clark, the managing editor of The Springfield Republican newspaper, on Jan. 1, 1874. Kate later became the editor of The Republican and went on to serve as the editor of Good Cheer Magazine and the New York Evening Post. While helping to raise three sons, she also wrote a number of books (mostly for children), a novel, short stories and articles for Atlantic Monthly, Godey’s Lady’s Book, Harper’s Magazine, the Christian Herald and a variety of children’s magazines.

Her best-known books include “Bringing Up Boys” (1899), “White Butterflies” (1900), “How Dexter Paid His Way” (1901), “Move Upward” (1902), “Up the Witch Brook Road” (1902), “Donald’s Good Hen; the Nearly True Story of a Real Hen” (1905), “Art and Citizenship” (1907) and “The Dole Twins; or, Child Life in New England in 1807” (1907).

In the early 1900s, she also traveled all over the country lecturing and was heavily involved in the temperance and suffrage movements. While living in New York City, she founded the Brooklyn’s Women’s Republican Club, taught at Columbia University and served as a Wheaton College trustee for 28 years. In 1919, on the 50th anniversary of her graduation from Wheaton College, she received the college’s first honorary degree.

Kate died at the age of 83 in Brooklyn on Feb. 18, 1935 and was buried in Leavitt Cemetery in Charlemont. However, even after her death, she continued to receive awards and accolades. In 1960, Clark Hall on Wheaton’s campus was built and dedicated in her honor. There’s also a Clark Room on the second floor of the school’s main library, which was also named in her honor and is used for reserved reading services.

In the end, if you’re interested in learning more about Clark, you can find copies of her books online through popular retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Many of her works are also now in the public domain and can be read for free through a wide variety of “old book” sites like Google Books and Project Gutenberg.

Today in History for Feb. 22, 2017

Sir Charles Lyell
Feb. 22, 1512 – Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci died at the age of 57 in Seville, Crown of Castile, in present-day Spain.

Feb. 22, 1627 – Dutch explorer Olivier van Noort died at the age of 68 or 69.

Feb. 22, 1732 - George Washington, the first President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Va.

Feb. 22, 1777 – Revolutionary War leader and Georgia’s first Provisional Governor Archibald Bulloch died under mysterious circumstances just hours after Georgia's Council of Safety granted him the powers of a dictator in expectation of a British invasion.

Feb. 22, 1788 – German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was born in Danzig, now Gdansk, in Poland.

Feb. 22, 1819 - Spanish minister Do Luis de Onis and U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Florida Purchase Treaty, in which Spain agreed to cede the remainder of its old province of Florida to the United States. Formal U.S. occupation began in 1821, and General Andrew Jackson, the hero of the War of 1812, was appointed military governor. Florida was organized as a U.S. territory in 1822 and was admitted into the Union as a slave state in 1845.

Feb. 22, 1836 – The advance of Santa Anna’s Army reached the heights of the Alazan, overlooking the city of San Antonio.

Feb. 22, 1847 – During the Mexican–American War, the Battle of Buena Vista took place at the Angostura Pass in Mexico, and 5,000 American troops defeated 15,000 Mexicans.

Feb. 22, 1851 - Alabama author Kate Upson Clark was born in Camden, Ala.

Feb. 22, 1855 - The U.S. Congress voted to appropriate $200,000 for continuance of the work on the Washington Monument. The next morning the resolution was tabled, and it would be 21 years before the Congress would vote on funds again. Work was continued by the Know-Nothing Party in charge of the project.

Feb. 22, 1859 - U.S. President James Buchanan approved the Act of February 22, 1859, which incorporated the Washington National Monument Society "for the purpose of completing the erection now in progress of a great National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal Government."

Feb. 22, 1860 - Organized baseball’s first game was played in San Francisco, Calif.

Feb. 22, 1861 - President-Elect Abraham Lincoln delivered speeches at Harrisburg, Pa. Due to death threats, Lincoln left for Washington City, incognito, under the protection of the well-known detective, Allen Pinkerton. Lincoln arrived unceremoniously in Washington the next morning.

Feb. 22, 1862 – Jefferson Davis was officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Va. He was previously inaugurated as a provisional president on February 18, 1861.

Feb. 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Independence and Post Oak, Mo.; at Kearnstown, Va. and at Arkansas Bay, Texas. A Federal expedition was conducted to Vienna and Flint Hill, Va.

Feb. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal cavalry attacked Tuscumbia, Ala.

Feb. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the Manchester Pike, Tenn. and at Coombs Ferry, Kentucky.

Feb. 22, 1864 – After getting captured by the Union at Campbell’s Station, Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was admitted to Asylum General Hospital in Nashville and was transferred to Louisville Military Prison six days later.

Feb. 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Luna Landing, Ark.; at Dalton and Whitemarsh Island, Ga.; at near Okolona, Miss. (At Ivey’s Farm); on the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi; at Lexington and Warrensburg, Mo.; along Calfkiller Creek and Powell’s Bridge, Tenn.; in the vicinity of Indianola, Texas; at Gibsons’s and Wyerman’s Mills, both on Indian Creek, Va. Confederates also raided Mayfield, Ky.

Feb. 22, 1864 – At the Battle of West Point, Miss., Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest routed a Union force three times the size of his army, helping to end Union General William T. Sherman's expedition into Alabama. Union General William Sooy Smith retreated back to Memphis due to another Confederate force blocking his way to Meridian. This battle forced Union General Sherman to return to Vicksburg. The Confederates suffered 144 men killed, wounded, or missing, while the Union lost 324.

Feb. 22, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Tuscumbia, Ala.

Feb. 22, 1865 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation between Pine Bluff and Meto, Ala. began.

Feb. 22, 1865 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal operation from Barrancas to Milton, Fla. began

Feb. 22, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Northeast Ferry and Smith’s Creek, N.C. and at Camden and along the Wateree River, S.C.

Feb. 22, 1865 – During the Civil War, the last major port of the Confederate States of America was effectively lost as Wilmington, N.C. was evacuated by Confederate forces. Every available railroad car and engine was pressed into service as the Confederates removed every scrap of military material that could be hauled. Finally, burning the stores that could not be removed, Gen. Braxton Bragg and his soldiers abandoned the town. As fast as they were leaving, Federal forces under Brig. Gen. Terry began occupying the city.

Feb. 22, 1869 – The Escambia County (Ala.) Commission held its first ever meeting at Pollard, the county seat at that time.

Feb. 22, 1874 – National Baseball Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem was born in Rochester, N.Y. Known as the “Father of Baseball Umpires,” he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.

Feb. 22, 1875 – Sir Charles Lyell, the “Father of Modern Geology,” died in London, England. A close friend of Charles Darwin, Lyell visited Claiborne, Ala. in 1846 to study the Eocene fossil beds there.

Feb. 22, 1878 – Frank Woolworth opened the first of his “five cent” stores, “Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store,” in Utica, N.Y.

Feb. 22, 1885 - The Washington Monument was officially dedicated in Washington, D.C. It opened to the public in 1889.

Feb. 22, 1889 – United States President Grover Cleveland signed a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as U.S. states.

Feb. 22, 1892 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine.

Feb. 22, 1893 - The first Alabama-Auburn football game was played in Birmingham, Alabama's Lakeview Park before a crowd of 5,000 spectators. Auburn won this first game, 32-22. The rivalry continued until 1907 when the games were stopped, with the renewal of the series not coming until 1948.

Feb. 22, 1896 - U.S. Marshall E.R. Morrisette was circulating among his Monroeville, Ala. friends on this Saturday, according to The Monroe Journal.

Feb. 22, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Jones Mill community, that Middleton Bros. had closed their old saw mill which was located one mile south of Jones Mill and were in the process of constructing a new one at Lufkin.

Feb. 22, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that Sniders Crossing expected to soon have the first telegraph operator between Manistee and the Junction.

Feb. 22, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Buena Vista community, that the store belonging to Wash Watson and sons had burned and was a total loss. The fire was allegedly started by two arsonists, including a black man who had been “whipped” by the “Watson boys” for a misdemeanor several months before. The guilty parties were arrested, but one of them, a young white man, escaped while being transported to the jail in Camden.

Feb. 22, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that the store of Julius Farish in Beatrice, Ala. had been burglarized during the previous week.

Feb. 22, 1906 - Mrs. J.A. Murphey of the Mt. Union had the misfortune to lose her smoke house and all her meat to a fire on this Thursday.

Feb. 22, 1906 – Reddin Wade married Johnnie Peacock at her parents’ home near Pine Apple on this Thursday afternoon. Justice G.W. Pugh officiated, and a host of relatives and friends were present to “wish them happiness,” according to The Monroe Journal.

Feb. 22, 1909 – W. Hicks was jailed for the nighttime murder of John Askew of Andalusia, Ala. near Travis Bridge in eastern Conecuh County, Ala.

Feb. 22, 1912 – Around 3 a.m., Evergreen, Ala. was struck by an “embryo cyclone” that did considerable damage. E.C. Lee was picked up by the wind and thrown into an outbuilding, breaking one of his arms. Large trees in Evergreen were uprooted and fences were blown away. The Agricultural School was also badly damaged.

Feb. 22, 1915 – During World War I, the Imperial German Navy instituted unrestricted submarine warfare.

Feb. 22, 1916 – Both of Evergreen, Alabama’s banks, as well as the post office, were closed on this Tuesday in observance of George Washington’s birthday.

Feb. 22, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported, under the headline “Mr. Blacksher Resigns,” that somewhat to the surprise and greatly to the regret of his many friends, J.U. Blacksher had tendered to the governor his resignation as a member of the Monroe County Board of Revenue. Increasing demands on his time and energies by extensive private interests, however, necessitated the step. J.W. Jones of Roy was promptly named by the governor to fill the vacancy.

Feb. 22, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that Dr. T.E. Dennis’ “handsome” new dwelling on North Main Street had received the finishing touches from the hands of the painters and was practically ready for occupancy. This home, with its “beautifully shaded lawn and its elegant appointments,” was one of the “show places” of the city.

Feb. 22, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Monvil Park residence section was beginning to “attract the attention its advantageous situation merited. Located on the new State Highway and near both high school and city school, building lots were coming into demand.”

Feb. 22, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that Miss Jennie Faulk was back from market and was arranging for a magnificent display of seasonable millinery and ladies goods.

Feb. 22, 1917 - Sergeant Benito Mussolini was wounded by the accidental explosion of a mortar bomb on the Isonzo section of the Italian Front in World War I.

Feb. 22, 1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge became the first President to deliver a radio broadcast from the White House.

Feb. 22, 1925 – Poet Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Feb. 22, 1928 – “Rope,” a dramatic version of Alabama author T. S. Stribling's book “Teeftallow,” opened on Broadway.

Feb. 22, 1932 - The U.S. War Department announced the creation of the "Order of the Purple Heart." The announcement was made on George Washington's 200th birthday. On August 7, 1782, George Washington had created the "Purple Heart" with the "Badge of Military Merit."

Feb. 22, 1934 – National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman and manager Sparky Anderson was born in Bridgewater, S.D. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies and managed the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Feb. 22, 1936 - T.L. Brantley’s car was hit in Repton by Passenger Train No. 4 on this Saturday afternoon. Brantley was the only occupant of the car and received some severe cuts and bruises and several broken ribs. He was given first aid treatment at Dr. Carter’s office after which he was carried to Carter’s Hospital. The car was completely demolished.

Feb. 22, 1937 – Bolling “Bo” Herbert, the Route One, Evergreen mail carrier, lost control of his automobile and crashed into the home of Maury Thames on Cary Street in Evergreen, Ala. He suffered minor injuries, mostly bruises, and was “severely shaken up.”

Feb. 22, 1939 – Former Confederate soldier Hugh Ellis Courtney died in Montgomery, Ala. and was buried in Pine Crest Cemetery in Mobile, Ala. He was born on Feb. 13, 1842 in Mississippi and enlisted at Pineville in Monroe County, Ala. on March 15, 1861. He re-enlisted on May 13, 1861 and was listed as sick at Hugunot Springs on July 15, 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863 and was as admitted to the 2nd Div. Ala. General Hospital at Richmond, Va. on June 6, 1863. He was listed as a POW at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864 before being forwarded to Point Lookout, Md. on May 18, 1864 and to Elmira Prison, N.Y. on Aug. 15, 1864. He took the Oath of Allegiance on April 30, 1865 and stated that he desired to “return to Bell Landing, where his relatives reside.” He was paroled on June 14, 1865. He was almost 5-8 with a fair complexion, auburn hair and blue eyes.

Feb. 22, 1943 – Construction of the USS Eldridge began at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. in Newark, N.J.

Feb. 22, 1943 – During World War II, members of the White Rose resistance, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed in Nazi Germany.

Feb. 22, 1945 – The Monroe Journal reported that news had been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Hayles of Uriah, that their son, Sgt. Floyd Hayles, was a prisoner of war in Germany. Sgt. Hayles entered the service in February 1943 and went overseas July 3 of that year. He took part in some major engagements, was wounded on June 14, 1944 in France and was reported missing in action Sept. 18, 1944.

Feb. 22, 1945 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Forte of Beatrice had received word that their son, John D. Forte, had been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and Battle Star. He was serving with the Army in the Pacific.

Feb. 22, 1945 – The Monroe Journal reported that Lt. William H. Walding of Monroeville, navigator of a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 95th Bombardment Group in England, had been awarded the 3rd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal for meritorious achievement in bombing attacks on vital German targets. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Walding. His wife, Betty Walding, lived in Indianapolis, Ind.

Feb. 22, 1947 - Alabama author Richard North Patterson was born in Berkeley, Calif.

Feb. 22, 1950 - Thomas Mason Mills, age 74, widely known and highly respected citizen of Evergreen, Ala., died in his sleep at the home of his son, Carl H. Mills, in Pensacola on this Wednesday. Mills was born in Wilcox County at Pineapple on March 6, 1875. He spent his early life in that community and in Butler County. He moved to Evergreen about 35 years before his death and made his home there until about one month before his death when he moved to live with his son in Pensacola because of his failing health. He was for many years connected with the L.L. Moorer Store, large mercantile establishment in Evergreen in former years.

Feb. 22, 1951 – The Evergreen Courant reported that chances were good that the construction of the proposed Conecuh County hospital under the Hill-Burton Act would get underway that year or early in 1952. This statement was made that week by Clay H. Dean, Director of the hospital planning division of the State Department of Public Health in a letter to the Conecuh County Hospital Association.

Feb. 22, 1957 – Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam survived a communist shooting assassination attempt in Buôn Ma Thuột.

Feb. 22, 1960 – The top three winners in the senior division of the annual Beta Club Beauty Revue at Excel High School on this Monday night were Maxine Wiggins, second place; Sandra Roberson, first place; and Shelby Kilpatrick, third place.

Feb. 22, 1960 - Extensive construction plans for the two Monroeville schools had been submitted to the State Department of Education and initial work was awaiting approval of the State Building Commission. This information highlighted a report of a survey of schools in Monroeville and throughout Monroe County as presented by Dr. John Abbott of Monroeville to the local Parent-Teacher Association at a meeting on this Monday night. He said the plans called for construction of a cafeteria and four new classrooms at Monroe County High School and three classrooms and an auditorium at Monroeville Elementary School.

Feb. 22-25, 1961 – The Class A, District I Basketball Tournament was held at T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, Ala. Sixteen teams participated in the tourney, including Castleberry, Chatom, Coffeeville, Excel, Fairhope, Lyeffion, Miller, Monroeville, Repton and Silas.

Feb. 22, 1962 – “A Gift of Time,” a dramatic version of Alabama author Lael Tucker Wertenbaker's book “Death of a Man,” opened on Broadway.

Feb. 22, 1965 - General William Westmoreland, commander of Military Assistance Command Vietnam, cabled Washington, D.C., to request that two battalions of U.S. Marines be sent to protect the U.S. airbase at Da Nang.

Feb. 22, 1966 – Conecuh County High School, led by head coach Wayne Pope, beat Beatrice, 89-53, on this Tuesday night in the opening round of the Area Class A Basketball Tournament in the Monroe County Coliseum in Monroeville, Ala. Ronald Reeves led CCHS with 20 points; Rodney Wilson scored 14; and Donald Janes scored 13. Brown led Beatrice with 23, and Booker scored 11. Also that night, Fruitdale beat Lyeffion, 43-40. Booker led Lyeffion with 18 points, and Wilson scored 12. Joe Mason was Lyeffion’s head coach.

Feb. 22, 1967 – The Conecuh County Training School played the Mobile County Training School in Bay Minette, Ala. with the winner to advance to the state basketball tournament.

Feb. 22, 1967 - Operation Junction City was launched to ease pressure on Saigon.

Feb. 22, 1968 - The American war effort in Vietnam was hit hard by the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive, which ended on this day in 1968.

Feb. 22, 1973 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team, led by head coach Charles Branum, beat Monroeville, 60-44, in the 3A Region 1, Area 2 tournament.

Feb. 22, 1975 – Evergreen, Alabama’s new “Avenue of Flags” was to be seen for the first time on this Saturday, when the flags were to fly to honor the birthday of the nation’s first president, George Washington. The project was led by the Pilot Club which set a goal of 50 flags to fly in the park area between West Front Street and the L&N Railroad in downtown Evergreen. Actually, a total of 72 flags, costing $25 each, were donated.

Feb. 22, 1987 – Vickie Lynn Pittman of East Brewton, Ala. was murdered. Her body was discovered near Brooklyn, Ala. in March 1987 and she was buried in the Elim Cemetery in Escambia County.

Feb. 22, 1995 - The NFL and CBS Radio agreed to a new four-year contract for an annual 53-game package of games.

Feb. 22, 2006 – Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat was murdered at the age of 29 in Samarra.

Feb. 22, 2010 - A copy of "Action Comics #1," which featured the first appearance of Superman, sold at auction for $1 million.

Feb. 22, 2010 - Ali Congdon of Bermuda fielded the Reserve Grand Champion during the 65th Annual Conecuh County Steer & Heifer Show on this Monday at Breaking Ridge Farms in Evergreen, Ala. The steer tipped the scales at 1,110 pounds and sold for $1.50 per pound.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Feb. 22, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.90 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.70 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 18.50 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 18.00 inches

Notes: Today is the 53rd day of 2017 and the 63rd day of Winter. There are 312 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Feb. 21, 2017

Naomi Rabb Winston
FEB. 24, 2005

Weather observer Harry Ellis reported no rain between Feb. 14-20. He also reported a high of 74 degrees on Feb. 15 and a low of 33 degrees on Feb. 18.

60th Calf Show Monday: 60 years and counting! While many other things in Conecuh County have come to an end over the years, one thing has continued to push forward. This year, the Conecuh County Steer-Heifer Show celebrates its 60th anniversary. On Mon., Feb. 28, youth from throughout the county will once again exhibit livestock at this annual 4-H event.
One thing has changed this year however. Due to damage from Ivan in September, the Evergreen Stockyard will not be the site for the show. Mr. Homer Chavers has graciously provided his facilities at Breaking Ridge Farms for the show.
(Competitors that year included Ashton Garner of Castleberry, Colby Hayes of Mixonville, Kelly Goneke of Lyeffion and Katelyn and Kristen McInnis of Repton.)

Evergreen Mayor Larry Fluker helped plant a tree at Evergreen Elementary School Tuesday in celebration of Arbor Week in the City of Evergreen. The tree was planted at the site for the playground for the school and will provide shade for students in the years to come. Also pictured at the planting are several EES students, James North and Victor Howell of the Alabama Forestry Commission, EES Principal Joey Varner and EES teacher Missy Deason. The ash tree they planted will help replace several trees lost during Hurricane Ivan in September of 2004.

FEB. 28, 1980

Weather observer Earl Windham reported no rain in Evergreen between Feb. 18-24.  He reported a high of 81 degrees on Feb. 24 and a low of 24 on Feb. 18.

Miss Mary Shaver was hostess of the Pinckney D. Bowles Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, on Tues., Feb. 19.
Mr. Marie Majors, director, introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Norman R. Davis, Traveling Humanist, funded by the committee for the Public Service Humanities in Alabama.
Dr. Davis gave a very interesting talk on “Conecuh County in the Civil War.”

Cpl. Robert Grace, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hilary Grace Jr., Route 1, Castleberry, is participating with the 1st Infantry Division in Desert Warrior 80, a training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Fort Irwin, located in the upper Mojave Desert, is scheduled to develop into one of the Army’s major training areas.

Jack Wainwright, president and chief executive of the First Alabama Bank of Conecuh County, has been appointed as the chairman in Conecuh County for presidential candidate George Bush.
A Reagan supporter in 1976, Wainwright will be coordinating Bush support in the county with the assistance of co-chairman David Hyde.
Hyde, Republican chairman in Conecuh County, is a resident of Evergreen.
A Ford campaign-worker in 1976, Hyde was formerly on the state’s Republican committee and is a past president of the Rotary Club.

FEB. 24, 1955

Joe Hendricks Completes Airborne Jump School: Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Feb. 9, 1955 – Pfc. Joe Hendricks, son of Mrs. Nell T. Hendricks of 128 Mill St., Evergreen, recently completed successfully the four weeks of Airborne Tactics at the 11th Airborne Division Jump School here at Fort Campbell, Ky.

REPRODUCTION OF “ALBA MADONNA” – An exquisite oils reproduction of the original “Alba Madonna” by Raphael, which was done by Mrs. Naomi Rabb Winston, has been presented to the First Baptist Church of Evergreen by Mrs. Winston as a memorial to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Calloway Stallworth Rabb, who were for many years active members of the church.

Castleberry Plant Now Shipping About 400 Cords of Pulp Weekly: The Castleberry Woodyard, staging point for pulpwood cut in Conecuh and parts of Covington and Escambia counties, is owned and operated by the International Paper Co., and has been in operation since Nov. 1, 1954. The woodyard is located about a block north of the downtown section of Castleberry, situated on about 11 acres of land.
“We are shipping about 20 to 21 cars of pulpwood a week, with 18 to 19 cords in each car,” Claude O’Gwynn, scaler, said today. “This wood is being shipped to the International Paper Co. mill at Moss Point, which makes mostly cards for business machines.”
Facilities at the yard are very modern, and trucks loaded with pulpwood can be unloaded within minutes after their arrival.

FEB. 27, 1930

R.G. Bozeman, editor of The Evergreen Courant, announces that he has filed qualification papers with Secretary of State John W. Brandon and with the Chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee to become a candidate for the office of Representative in the legislature from Conecuh County. If his qualification papers are rejected by the Executive Committee, he states that he expects to be a candidate just the same. Bozeman was opposed to the Democratic Presidential nominee in the election of 1928.

Excavation began today on the site of the proposed telephone building located on Rural Street, just west of the Ellis Filling Station. The construction is being done by the Upchurch Construction Co. of Montgomery. The structure will be approximately 56 feet by 53 feet and will have a basement and one floor. It will be of concrete and brick with a select face brick front.

Mr. and Mrs. E.B. James spent Saturday and Sunday in Montgomery, where Mr. James attended the reunion of the famous Rainbow Division.

According to a telegram received Wednesday afternoon from Mayor J.L. Kelly, who with A.A. Williams is in Washington this week to present Evergreen’s bid for the location of the Veterans Hospital, this city’s chances are good. While nothing definite has occurred, it would seem from the tone of the telegram that the committee has reason for encouragement.

FEB. 28, 1880

We are sorry to learn that Mr. J.W. Deming, station agent and telegraph operator at this place, is confined to his bed with a severe bilious attack.

Cal Rabb is discharging the duties of station agent and telegraph operator during the illness of Mr. Deming.

NOTICE: There will be a meeting of the Medical Society of Conecuh County at Evergreen on Wednesday, the 31st day of March next. All members are requested to attend. – R.A. Lee, President.

Parents and guardians should see to it their children should receive proper instruction, and we know no better place to send them to obtain such obstruction than the Evergreen Academy, which has now 110 pupils.

A telegram from the Sheriff of Escambia County, Ala., announces the capture of the horse thief W.T. Franklin, who escaped from Conecuh Jail sometime last fall.

Last Saturday another boarder was registered at Sheriff McCreary’s hotel. His name is Jack Raban, and instead of the spirits taking possession of him, he took possession of the spirits. He stole a bottle of whiskey off the counter of Rumbley’s store, for which he will labor hard for three months for the county.

A boy named Ed Perryman was drowned in the Escambia River, near Pollard, Saturday last. He fell from a raft.

Today in History for Feb. 21, 2017

Frank William Boykin Sr.
Feb. 21, 1777 - George Weedon was promoted to brigadier general of the Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army.

Feb. 21, 1811 – Future Conecuh County Circuit Clerk Nicholas Stallworth Jr. was born in Edgefield District, S.C.

Feb. 21, 1827 – William A. Stewart became the postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.

Feb. 21, 1848 - The Communist Manifesto, the most influential and best-selling political pamphlet of all time, was first published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Feb. 21, 1858 - Edwin T. Holmes installed the first electric burglar alarm in Boston, Mass.

Feb. 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Valverde was fought near Fort Craig in the New Mexico Territory. During the battle, Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attacked Union troops under Colonel Edward R. S. Canby. It was the first major battle in the far West, but ended with no decisive result. The Federals suffered 68 killed, 160 wounded, and 35 missing out of 3,100 engaged. The Confederates suffered 31 killed, 154 wounded, and one missing out of 2,600 troops. In the waning stage of the war, Canby negotiated the surrender of Confederate forces at Magee Farm in Kushla, Ala.

Feb. 21, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Prairie Station, Miss., and Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Franklin to Carter Creek Roads, Tenn.

Feb. 21, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Ellis' Bridge, Prairie Station, Okolona, West Point and Union, Miss. and near Circleville and Dranesville, Va. A two-day Federal operation between New Creek to Moorefield, West Virginia began.

Feb. 21, 1864 - Confederate troops under General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated Union General William Sooy Smith at West Point, Miss.

Feb. 21, 1865 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation between Pine Bluff and Douglass Plantation, Ark. began. Sixteen days of sustained Federal operations moving against the remaining Confederates in the District of Key West and Tortugas, in the Vicinity of Saint Mark’s, Fla. began.  Confederates raided Cumberland, Maryland. A skirmish was fought at Eagle Island, Fort Strong, N.C. Braxton Bragg evacuated Wilmington, N.C.

Feb. 21, 1870 – William Fowler was named the postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.

Feb. 21, 1874 - The Oakland Daily Tribune began publication.

Feb. 21, 1885 – The newly completed Washington Monument, built in honor of America’s revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated.

Feb. 21, 1885 – U.S. Representative Frank William Boykin Sr. was born in Bladon Springs, Ala. The Boykin community in Wilcox County was named after him when the community’s post office was established in 1949. Boykin represented Alabama’s 1st Congressional District from July 30, 1935 to Jan. 3, 1963.

Feb. 21, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that “Monroeville (Ala.) was snowbound for several days last week, all communication with the outside world by mail and otherwise being cut off by the snow.”

Feb. 21, 1903 – Diarist Anais Nin was born in Neuilly, France.

Feb. 21, 1907 – Pulitzer Prize-winning British poet, author and playwright W.H. Auden was born Wystan Hugh Auden in York, England.

Feb. 21, 1908 – The historic church bell at the Elba United Methodist Church in Coffee County, Ala. was cast on this day in Hillsboro, Ohio.

Feb. 21, 1911 – The temperature reached 26 degrees in Evergreen, Ala. during a cold snap that caused much damage to fruits and vegetables.

Feb. 21, 1913 - Alabama author Julia Truitt Yenni was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Feb. 21, 1915 – Jennie Faulk returned to Monroeville, Ala. “from the markets where she spent some time in the selection of her new spring stock. She will have something to say next week of peculiar interest to her numerous lady customers.”

Feb. 21, 1916 - At 7:12 a.m. on this morning, a shot from a German Krupp 38-centimeter long-barreled gun - one of over 1,200 such weapons set to bombard French forces along a 20-kilometer front stretching across the Meuse River - strikes a cathedral in the fortress city of Verdun, France, beginning the Battle of Verdun, which would stretch on for 10 months and become the longest conflict of World War I.

Feb. 21, 1918 - On this morning, combined Allied forces of British troops and the Australian mounted cavalry captured the city of Jericho in Palestine after a three-day battle with Turkish troops.

Feb. 21, 1924 – The Monroe Journal reported that “unusual building activity” was noticeable at Megargel, Ala., a town site laid out when the Deep Water Railroad was constructed. With the exception of one or two small structures, the town site had lain unoccupied for several years. Several months before February 1924, J.T. Murphy had erected a store and steam ginnery at Megargel and since that time there had been remarkable activity in clearing and laying out farms and location of settlements. Two stores were doing a thriving business and a third was in the course of construction, besides two or three new dwellings.

Feb. 21, 1925 - The first issue of "The New Yorker" was published. The magazine was founded by Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant, who was a reporter for the New York Times; Ross remained editor in chief until his death in 1951.

Feb. 21, 1931 - The Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants became the first Major League Baseball teams to play in a night game.

Feb. 21, 1938 – NFL offensive tackle Ernie McMillan was born in Chicago Heights, Ill. He would go on to play for the University of Illinois, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers.

Feb. 21, 1943 – Major League Baseball pitcher Jack Billingham was born in Orlando, Fla. He would go on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros, the Cincinnati Reds, the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox.

Feb. 21, 1946 – The Evergreen Courant reported that sailor William K. Wiggins of Evergreen, Ala. was the 50,000th service member to be discharged from the discharge center in Shelton, Va.

Feb. 21, 1951 – NFL running back Bill Olds was born in Kansas City, Kansas. He would go on to play for Nebraska, the Baltimore Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Feb. 21, 1952 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team beat Lyeffion, 62-22, in Evergreen, Ala. Shirley Frazier and Gwyn Daniels led Evergreen with 19 points each. David Eddins led Lyeffion with 10 points.

Feb. 21, 1953 – NFL guard Ken Huff was born in Hutchinson, Kansas. He would go on to play for North Carolina, the Baltimore Colts and the Washington Redskins.

Feb. 21, 1953 – NFL center and tackle Jim Pietrzak was born in Detroit, Mich. He would go on to play for Eastern Michigan, the New York Giants, the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Feb. 21, 1953 - Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helical structure of the DNA molecule.

Feb. 21, 1956 – Writer Ha Jin was born in Liaoning Province, China.

Feb. 21, 1962 – Novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, N.Y.

Feb. 21, 1964 - The U.K. flies 24,000 rolls of Beatle wallpaper to U.S.

Feb. 21, 1965 – Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City.

Feb. 21, 1967 – The top-seeded Conecuh County High School Blue Devils advanced to the semifinal round of the Area I tournament by beating Frisco City, 62-44, at the Coliseum in Monroeville, Ala. Also in the other tournament game that night, Excel upset third-seeded Repton, 51-45.

Feb. 21, 1967 - Writer and historian Bernard B. Fall was killed by a Viet Cong mine while accompanying a U.S. Marine patrol along the seacoast about 14 miles northwest of Hue, on a road known as the “Street Without Joy” (which Fall had used for the title of one of his books about the war).

Feb. 21, 1968 - An agreement between baseball players and club owners increased the minimum salary for major league players to $10,000 a year.

Feb. 21, 1968 – Fire almost totally destroyed the Flxible Southern Co. plant in Evergreen, Ala.

Feb. 21, 1970- National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger began secret peace talks with North Vietnamese representative Le Duc Tho, the fifth-ranking member of the Hanoi Politburo, at a villa outside Paris.

Feb. 21, 1972 - President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China.

Feb. 21, 1974 - Tom Seaver signed a contract with the New York Mets worth $172,000 a year.

Feb. 21, 1975 – During the Watergate scandal, former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were sentenced to prison.

Feb. 21, 1982 – NFL defensive tackle Alfred Malone was born in Monroeville, Ala. He would go on to play for Frisco City High School, Georgia Tech, Troy University, the Houston Texans and the Green Bay Packers.

Feb. 21, 1983 - Donald Davis ran one mile backwards in six minutes and 7.1 seconds.

Feb. 21, 1986 - Rollie Fingers refused to shave off his mustache to comply with the policy of the Cincinnati Reds.

Feb. 21, 1991 – Sparta Academy’s varsity boys and varsity girls basketball teams played in the state tournament at Hooper Academy. Sparta’s boys played Springwood Academy at 7 p.m., and Sparta’s girls played Springwood at 2 p.m.

Feb. 21, 1991 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Ralph Stacy had been appointed manager of W&J Propane in Evergreen, Ala. and would continue to serve as area manager and manager of marketing and advertising.

Feb. 21, 1995 – J.F. Shields High School’s girls basketball team beat Florala, 45-29, in Bay Minette during the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s 2A girls Southwest Region basketball tournament at Faulkner State Community College. Renee Fountain, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, led Shields with 31 points.

Feb. 21, 1995 – Monroe Academy headmaster David Walker, 47, of Monroeville submitted his resignation to Wayne Thames, president of the school’s board of directors on this day. Walker had served as the school’s headmaster for 11 years.

Feb. 21, 1999 - Alabama author Cora Cheney died in Takoma Park, Md.

Feb. 21, 1999 – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Wilmer Mizell, a native of Vinegar Bend, Ala. (Washington County), died at the age of 68 in Kerrville, Texas. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Feb. 21, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.30 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.80 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 17.60 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 17.10 inches

Notes: Today is the 52nd day of 2017 and the 62nd day of Winter. There are 313 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Monday, February 20, 2017

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 318: Read “With the Old Breed” by E.B. Sledge

One of the most critically acclaimed World War II books ever written is “With the Old Breed” by Alabama native Eugene B. Sledge. You’ll find it on numerous “best of” lists and it’s almost always in the conversation about the best books ever written about the war. I’d heard about this book for years, but for whatever reason had never read it, which is why I put it on my “bucket list” several years ago.

Sledge was born in Mobile, Ala. on Nov. 4, 1923 and went on to serve as a Marine during World War II. After the war, he became a respected author, ornithologist, and University of Montevallo biology professor. Sledge became renowned outside of Alabama for his books chronicling his experiences in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” and “China Marine: An Infantryman's Life after World War II.” “With the Old Breed” was originally published in 1981 by Presidio Press.

My interest in “With the Old Breed” really ramped up when I saw it ranked on a “best of” list called “43 Books About War Every Man Should Read,” which was compiled by one of my favorite Web sites, “The Art of Manliness.” “With the Old Breed” was ranked No. 24 on that list between No. 23 “The Liberator” by Alex Kershaw and No. 25 “Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific” by Robert Leckie. “With the Old Breed” is also recommended reading for Marine Corps non-commissioned officers and you’ll find it listed on the U.S. Marine Corps Professional Reading List.

I also wanted to read “With the Old Breed” because it details Sledge’s experiences as a young Marine mortarman in the Pacific theatre of operations. Bob Bozeman of Evergreen, the former editor of The Evergreen Courant newspaper where I work, was also a Marine mortarman at Peleliu and Okinawa, and I wanted to read the book to get a better understanding of what he went through. Bozeman, who passed away in the 1990s, received a Purple Heart after being severely wounded at Okinawa.

I also wanted to read “With the Old Breed” because filmmaker Ken Burns drew heavily on Sledge's book for his 2007 PBS documentary on World War II, “The War.” “With the Old Breed,” together with Robert Leckie's “Helmet for My Pillow,” formed the basis for the Home Box Office (HBO) miniseries “The Pacific.” I have to admit that I haven’t seen “The Pacific,” but I fully intend to watch it at some point.

I’ve actually had a copy of “With the Old Breed” for a couple of years. My old co-worker Kristie Garner gave me her old copy when she was cleaning out her house in preparation for a move. The book sat unread on a shelf for a long time, but I finally picked it up the other day and read it from start to finish.

In the end, how many of you have read “With the Old Breed” by E.B. Sledge? What did you think about it? What other World War II books would you recommend reading? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Feb. 20, 2017

A 'rock fish,' also known as a 'striped bass.'
FEB. 24, 2005

Lady Warriors welcome new coach to Sparta: Coach Fawn Sims is excited but a bit apprehensive about her first girls softball team at Sparta Academy.
“We have worked hard but only against each other so I’ll be anxious to see how we do against live competition from an opponent.”
The Lady Warriors will get that opportunity next Tuesday afternoon when they go up against Wilcox Academy in Sparta.
(Players on Sparta’s softball team that year included Nicole Bradley, Kelsey Cope, Deanna Covin, Kayla Daw, Mary Frances Floyd, Ashton Garner, Frankie Gibson, Nicole Gilbert, Camerena Godwin, Rebecca Ostrom, Ava Pate, Whitley Roberts, Anna Smith, Page Smith, Sarah Smith, DeAmber Stamm and Hayden Talbot.)

The Hillcrest Jaguars coasted through the 4A Area 2 tournament with decisive wins over area foes Geneva and Andalusia. That set up a matchup with the Daleville Warhawks in the sub-region round of the state playoff system.
Again, it was virtually no contest as the Jags placed four players in double figures in the 73-52 win on Friday night in Evergreen.
Hillcrest, now 25-5, faced Southside-Selma last night at 8 p.m. in Troy in the Southeast Regional tournament. Southside-Selma is 26-2 and ranked No. 1 in the Alabama Sportswriters poll for Class 4A teams.
(Players on Hillcrest’s team that season included Maurice Bradley, Willie Dixon, Chris Hines and Nick Lovelace. Tommy Dukes was head coach.)

FEB. 28, 1980

Aggies end season 27-1; enter tourney: Coach Charles Branum’s Evergreen High Aggies concluded one of the most successful basketball seasons in the school’s history with an 85-43 romp over W.S. Neal in East Brewton on Friday night. The win ran the Aggies’ record to 27-1.
Horace Smith and Perona Rankins led all Aggie scorers with 23 points each. Other Aggies getting points were Sanford Moye, 11; Anthony Williams, nine; David Floyd, eight; John Allen, four; Michael Lampley, four; and Philander Rogers, three.
The Aggies now enter the Region 1, Area 2, Class 3A Tournament seeded No. 1. They will play the winner of the Neal-Wilcox County game tonight at 7:30 at Neal. If the Aggies win tonight, they will play the victor of Greenville-Monroeville-T.R. Miller on Friday night at seven o’clock at Neal for the championship.
The Area 2 champions will play the Area 1 champion for the Region Championship on Saturday night at seven o’clock and the right to go to the University of Alabama for the State Tournament.

Sparta Academy’s basketball teams ended the 1979-80 season last week. The Warrior girls made it to the state tournament by finishing second in District III while the varsity and junior varsity boys lost out in the district.
In the District III finals, Sparta’s girls lost to Wilcox, 57-34. The games were played at Fort Dale Academy in Greenville.

FEB. 24, 1955

The Evergreen Aggies broke a school record Wednesday night of last week as they ran over the Castleberry Blue Devils, 106-59, in Castleberry. It was the first time in school history as far as The Courant knows that an Evergreen team has scored better than 100 points.
Big Randy White was again the high man for Evergreen as he had his best night of the season, making 17 field goals and 10 for 12 free throws for a total of 44 points, which is another school record. Tommy Melton followed White with one of his best efforts of the season as he made 21 points. Wayne Frazier, eight, Alexander, five, and Jimmy Frazier and Wendell Tolbert, four each, to wind up the Aggie scoring.
Clarence and Charles Hart were high men for Castleberry as they scored 24 points each. Oliver had four; Weaver, three; and Warren and Aycock had two each.

District Tournament Begins Next Thursday: Evergreen will again be host to the first district AA basketball tournament beginning next Thursday night, March 3. There will be 16 teams participating in the tournament and it looks like there will be some good basketball if pre-tournament games are a good indication.
The following teams will be in the tournament: Baker, Fairhope, McGill Institute, Bay Minette, Foley, Monroeville, Butler, Grove Hill, Murphy, Evergreen, Jackson, Robertsdale, Semmes, U.M.S., Vigor and W.S. Neal.

FEB. 27, 1930

Kelley Brothers On All-District Team: The all-district team selected by the coaches of the schools participated in the district tournament at Foley last week shows the Evergreen Aggies with two places on the first team and one place on the second team. Elmer Kelley, Aggie center, won a place on the first team as center and his brother, Wilbur, tied with Beasley of Foley for one of the forward positions. Allen Johnson was selected as forward on the second team. The Aggies won more places on the two teams than any other organization.
First team: Shearer (Murphy), W. Kelley (Evergreen) and Beasley (Foley), forwards; E. Kelley (Evergreen), center; Hall (Bay Minette), Nihart (Bay Minette), guards.
Second team: Johnson (Evergreen), Gallagher (Foley), forwards; Wynne (Murphy), center; Blount (Murphy), Noeten (Robertsdale), guards.

Jay, Fla. To Play Georgiana Here: The fast Jay, Fla. High School will meet the undefeated Georgiana Athletic Club in Evergreen at 8:00 o’clock at the National Guard Armory. These two teams are supposed to be the best in their sections. Georgiana holds victories over Troy Normal, Dothan Athletic Club, Troy Town Team and many others. They are undefeated this season and have played a number of games, running up high scores in all games. Everyone knows what a good team Jay, Fla. has. If you saw the game between Jay and the Evergreen Aggies, you know what a good team they have. The Aggies defeated, 15-14. If you missed this game, ask someone who saw it. Anyway, the same team will be back in Evergreen Saturday night. Many have picked Jay to win over Georgiana. Make your plans to see this big game. Don’t forget, at the Armory, 8:00 o’clock in Evergreen – Georgiana Athletic Club v. Jay, Fla. Be there.

District Tournament Ends In Wrangle: A wrangle among several teams participating in the District Tournament at Foley last week as to the schedule arrangement brought about the necessity for a decision by the district board to settle the matter. This decision was reached at a meeting of the board at Bay Minette Monday night and as a result of this decision, and events occurring since, it seems that this district will be represented in the state tournament by Murphy High and Wright’s Military Academy, both of Mobile.
Bay Minette and Evergreen protested the schedule arrangement at the tournament and were upheld by the board decision. However, the board ordered these teams to determine either by playing or by drawing which should go to the state tournament. Bay Minette waived its right to Evergreen, who in turn waived its right to Murphy High. Thus, the matter was settled inasmuch as Wright’s had won its place by playing in the tournament. Foley was declared ineligible by the board due to having played Beasley, who was 21 years of age.

FEB. 28, 1880

Beale, of the Evergreen Hotel, had a rock fish last Monday, taken from Murder Creek, which weighed 23 pounds and measured 36 inches in length.