July 17, 1674 – Great church composer Isaac Watts was born in Southampton, England.
July 17, 1704 – French-American fur trader and explorer Pierre-Charles Le Sueur died from yellow fever at the age of 46 (or 47) in Havanna, Cuba.
July 17, 1763 - Destined to make a fortune from the furs of the American West, John Jacob Astor was born in modest circumstances in the small German village of Waldorf, not far from the city of Heidelberg.
July 17, 1776 - The Continental Congress learned of General George Washington’s refusal to accept a dispatch from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, opening peace negotiations, because it failed to use the title “general.” In response, Congress proclaimed that the commander in chief acted “with a dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectively sustain.”
July 17, 1791 – Members of the French National Guard under the command of General Lafayette opened fire on a crowd of radical Jacobins at the Champ de Mars, Paris, during the French Revolution, killing as many as 50 people.
July 17, 1814 - Alabama author Alexander Beaufort Meek was born in Columbia, S.C.
July 17, 1821 - Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
July 17, 1829 – David Leigh became postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.
July 17, 1835 – Pinckney Downie Bowles was born in Edgefield County, S.C. He first entered Confederate service as a first lieutenant on Jan. 11, 1861 at Sparta and continued until May 1, 1862. He was elected captain on April 1, 1861 and re-enlisted as a captain on May 1, 1862 at Work Town, Va. with Co. E of the 4th Alabama Infantry and continued until the close of the war. He was promoted to major of Aug. 22, 1862 and was promoted to Lt. Col. on Sept. 30, 1862. He was promoted to colonel on Oct. 3, 1862 and was promoted to brigadier general on April 2, 1865. He passed away on July 25, 1910 in Tampa, Fla. and is buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen, Ala.
July 17, 1859 – Editor Ernest Percival Rhys was born in London.
July 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fulton and Parkersville in Missouri; at Scarey Creek, or Scarrytown, in West Virginia; and at Fairfax Courthouse and Bunker Hill in Virginia.
July 17, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Confederate army retired to the line of Bull Run, near Manassas, Va.
July 17, 1862 - National cemeteries were authorized by the U.S. government.
July 17, 1862 - U.S. President Lincoln approved the Confiscation Act. The act declared that any slaves whose owners were in rebellion would be freed when they came into contact with the Union army.
July 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Cynthia, Kentucky; between Mount Pleasant and Columbia in Tennessee; and near Gordonsville, Va.
July 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, Union Major General U.S. Grant assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee, the Army of the Mississippi, and all troops in the District of the Mississippi and Cairo.
July 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, due to a shortage of metal coins, President Lincoln signed into law a bill authorizing the use of postage stamps as currency.
July 17, 1863 - In New York, order was restored by Union troops returning from Gettysburg. The riots began on July 11.
July 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought with Indians near Honey Springs in the Indian Territory. In this engagement, United States Colored Troops (USCT) opposed Confederate Indians.
July 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Berlin and Hamden in Ohio; at Bear Creek, near Canton, in Mississippi; on Stone’s River, Tenn.; and at Snicker’s Gap and Wytheville in Virginia.
July 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal operation between New Berne and Swift Creek Village in North Carolina began.
July 17, 1864 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaced General Joseph Johnston with John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Davis, impatient with Johnston’s defensive strategy in the Atlanta campaign, felt that Hood stood a better chance of saving Atlanta from the forces of Union General William T. Sherman. Davis selected Hood for his reputation as a fighting general, in contrast to Johnston’s cautious nature.
July 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Norristown, Ark.; near Fredericksburg, Mo.; and along Herring Creek, near Harrison’s landing, in Virginia.
July 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation began against Indians along the South Platte River in the Colorado Territory. A three-day Federal operation began between Columbus and Hickman, Ky. A three-day Federal operation began between Baton Rouge and Davidson’s Ferry, near Clinton, in Louisiana.
July 17, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought with Indians on the Owyhee River in the Idaho Territory.
July 17, 1867 – The Harvard Dental School, the first university-based dental school in the United States, was founded. Before the school’s founding, aspiring dentists went to freestanding trade schools or learned by apprenticeship. The world’s first dental training program had been established in Baltimore in 1840, but dentistry wasn’t considered a branch of medicine, and programs were not included in curricula.
July 17, 1870 – A drunken brawl turned deadly when William “Wild Bill” Hickok shot two soldiers in self-defense, mortally wounding Pvt. John Kile, at Drum’s Saloon in Hays City, Kansas.
July 17, 1881 – American scout and explorer Jim Bridger died on his farm near Kansas City, Mo. at the age of 77.
July 17, 1886 - There was to be a public installation of officers of the Monroeville Lodge No. 153 on this Saturday at 10 a.m. Members of the fraternity and public were invited to attend. F.M. Jones was the lodge’s secretary.
July 17, 1888 – Nobel Prize-winning fiction writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon, who wrote under S.Y. Agnon, was born in Galicia in what is now Ukraine.
July 17, 1889 – American author Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of fictional criminal lawyer Perry Mason, was born in Malden, Mass.
July 17, 1892 – Sidney Earnest Manning, who received the Medal of Honor during World War I, was born in Shackleville in Butler County, Ala.
July 17, 1894 – Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre was born in Charleroi, Belgium. He proposed the big bang theory, maintaining that the universe originated with a gigantic explosion of what he called a small super-atom, and that the universe is constantly expanding.
July 17, 1902 – Willis Carrier created the first air conditioner in Buffalo, New York.
July 17, 1905 – On this Monday, the first open bolls of cotton reported in Monroe County, Ala. for the 1905 season were left at The Monroe Journal office by E. Talbert and Russell Broughton of Monroeville and J.M. Dees of Peterman. The bolls were all pulled on July 15. This was several days earlier than the first reported bolls of the 1904 season.
July 17, 1905 – The adjourned term of the Monroe County Circuit Court convened on this Monday with Judge John T. Lackland presiding and with Solicitor Oscar L. Gray as attorney for the State of Alabama. “In view of the numerous murders and homicides committed since the sitting of the grand jury, the presiding judge deemed it best to organize a special grand jury to investigate the offenses.”
July 17, 1905 – Congressman George W. Taylor and Marengo County Superintendent of Education S.W. Compton addressed citizens at the Monroe County Courthouse on this Monday evening and discussed a special county school tax.
July 17, 1912 - Dr. J.H. McCormick of Mobile and Bro. J.F. Burson of O’Lea, Ala. were scheduled to deliver Masonic addresses at Franklin. The Perdue Hill baseball team was also scheduled to play a game in the afternoon. Ice cream and cold drinks were to be served for the benefit of the new hall.
July 17, 1915 – A picnic was scheduled to be held in the grove at A.S. Bennett’s on this Saturday, and the baseball teams from Mt. Olive and Bowles were scheduled to “cross bats.”
July 17, 1915 – Castleberry Mayor J.M. Thomas visited Evergreen, Ala.
July 17, 1916 - The regular examination of applicants for teacher’s certificates began in the Monroe County Courthouse on this Monday under the supervision of Superintendent J.A. Barnes. There were 56 applicants undergoing the ordeal, the largest number in several years.
July 17, 1917 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop and manager Lou Boudreau was born in Harvey, Ill. He went on to play for the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox and managed the Indians, Red Sox, Kansas City Athletics and the Chicago Cubs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970.
July 17, 1917 - A three-day stretch of fighting in the streets peaked in Petrograd after the provisional government fell temporarily amid anger and frustration within and outside the army due to the continuing hardships caused by Russia’s participation in World War I.
July 17, 1918 – Army Pvt. Abraham Emmons of Brewton, Ala. was killed in action during World War I.
July 17, 1919 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.L. Holloway had received the sad news of the death of his son, Clark, which occurred in France on June 26. He went with the Rainbow Division and had seen hard service.
July 17, 1919 – The Monroe Journal reported that one of the best and prettiest garages in the state was that of the Morrissette Motor Car Co. in Monroeville. The building was constructed by the latest plan of architecture. It contained about 7,000 feet of floor space and all departments were arranged for greatest convenience. Two large touring cars could be displayed inside the plate glass windows and then have room to spare. Among other improvements introduced there was a battery recharging station, which was rarely found outside larger cities.
July 17, 1919 – The Monroe Journal reported that 19 cars of peaches were shipped out of Monroe County for northern and eastern markets during the previous week. Most of them were shipped from Snider, Roy and Hadley. The peaches were of fine quality and were bringing “fancy” prices.
July 17, 1919 – The Monroe Journal reported that two of the large army trucks placed in Monroe County for road improvement had arrived, and two more were expected to be sent to the county as soon as shipment could be made.
July 17, 1919 – The Monroe Journal reported that Parker E. Draughon, a prominent young banker of Mobile, spent the previous week with J.L. Marshall. Draughon was a grandson of the late Hon. J.J. Parker, who was a prominent character in Monroe County some years before.
July 17, 1932 – In what is now known as “Altona Bloody Sunday,” a riot between the Nazi Party paramilitary forces, the SS and SA, and the German Communist Party ensued.
July 17, 1933 – After successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashed in Europe under mysterious circumstances.
July 17, 1933 - Pilot Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan took off on a flight from New York to California, but ended up flying overseas to Ireland, due to what he claimed was a navigational error.
July 17, 1934 – In local baseball league action, an announcement was made that local umpire J.O. Stapp had resigned and would be replaced by “Sullivan” Murphy. It was also announced that pitcher Herbert English of Range had been acquired by the Evergreen team and would begin playing for Evergreen on Sun., July 22.
July 17, 1934 - The work of laying the pavement on the west side of the square in Monroeville was started on this Tuesday afternoon. The middle section had been laid from the Monroe Motor Co. corner south as far as the paving would extend. The entire paving project was to be completed within a few weeks if work progressed as steadily as it had during the previous two weeks.
July 17, 1936 – The Spanish Civil War began.
July 17, 1939 – John Lucas shot Ben Kidd in the chest and face with a shotgun, killing him instantly, during an argument over a dog at Packers Bend, Ala. He was arrested by Wilcox County officers but was later brought to the Monroe County Jail in Monroeville by Sheriff J.L. Bowden. Lucas was charged with murder.
July 17, 1941 - New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio saw his 56-game hitting streak come to an end when he failed to get a hit against the Cleveland Indians. The record run, which began on May 15, 1941, had captivated the country for two months.
July 17, 1945 - U.S. President Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II. During the meeting Stalin made the comment that "Hitler had escaped."
July 17, 1947 – The Evergreen Courant reported that well-rested Evergreen Greenies manager and pitcher Wendell Hart returned to the mound after nine day’s rest and shut out Frisco City with five hits, 9-0, for his ninth win of the season against two losses. It was Hart’s second shutout of the season. The Johnson brothers, Edsel and Ottis, lead the Greenie batting with two hits each. James “Lefty” Carpenter pitched for Evergreen in the second game of the twin bill, losing his fourth game of the season, 8-6. Frisco City got only seven scattered hits, but Carpenter’s wildness and six errors by his teammates gave them the game. The Greenies were ineffective at the plate with Carpenter garnering two of their five hits for the honors.
July 17, 1947 – The Evergreen Greenies were scheduled to play Frisco City in Frisco City on this Thursday with Edsel Johnson expected to pitch for Evergreen.
July 17, 1947 – The Evergreen Courant reported, in news from the Kirkland community, that John H. Josey was recently initiated into Phi Eta Sigma, national honorary fraternity, at the University of Alabama. Members were chosen on the basis of scholarship, leadership and character. He also took an active part in his social fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma.
July 17, 1947 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Tom Vickery Jr. was recently promoted to Technician-Fifth Grade. He had served with the airborne troops overseas for over nine months and was stationed at Yamoto, Japan.
July 17, 1947 – The Evergreen Courant reported, in news from Castleberry, that Mr. and Mrs. Hilary Sullivan and son, Hilary Jr., en route to their home in Riverview from a trip to Mexico City and other points in old Mexico, spent two days during the previous week with his father, J.H. Sullivan and family.
July 17, 1948 - The Dixiecrat Convention assembled in Birmingham, Ala. with over 6,000 delegates from across the South in attendance. They selected Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their States' Rights Party. In the 1948 presidential election the Dixiecrats carried four states, including Alabama, where Democratic candidate Harry Truman's name did not even appear on the ballot.
July 17, 1950 – Sgt. Charles Wayne Turberville of Finchburg, Ala. was born. A 1968 graduate of Monroe County High School, he joined the Marine Corps after high school, became a member of the prestigious Marine Security Guard Battalion and at the age of 21 he was killed while on duty at the American Embassy in Phnom Penhm, Cambodia during a Khmer Rouge terrorist attack on Sept. 26, 1971. He’s buried at Bryant Cemetery at Finchburg.
July 17, 1952 – Novelist Robert R. McCammon was born in Birmingham, Ala.
July 17, 1955 – The Disneyland theme park opened in Anaheim, Calif.
July 17, 1961 – National Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder Ty Cobb passed away at the age of 74 in Atlanta, Ga. During his career, he played for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics and managed the Tigers from 1921 to 1926. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.
July 17, 1965 - Alabama author James Saxon Childers, a native of Birmingham, died in Atlanta, Ga.
July 17, 1968 – A revolution occurred in Iraq when Abdul Rahman Arif was overthrown and the Ba'ath Party was installed as the governing power in Iraq with Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr as the new Iraqi President.
July 16, 1969 - Three men left Earth on a trip to the moon. A few days later, on July 20, two of them will walk on the lunar surface. It was a significant moment in space exploration. The NASA teams in Huntsville, Ala. contributed significantly to the mission. Saturn V rockets, developed at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, powered each of the 13 Apollo missions launched between 1967 and 1973. The astronauts who explored the moon in 1971 and 1972 used a lunar roving vehicle (LRV) designed at Marshall.
July 16, 1969 - General Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted four days of conferences and inspections with U.S. commanders in South Vietnam.
July 17, 1971 – Army Spc. Allen Earl Noble, 19, of Thomasville, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam. Born on Nov. 14, 1951, he was a member of Troop A, 7th Squad, 1st Air Cavalry at the time of his death. He was buried in Section 8, Site 8226 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
July 17, 1972 - South Vietnamese paratroopers fought their way to within 200 yards of the Citadel in Quang Tri City, which was described by reporters who accompanied the troops as a city of rubble and ash. Citizens emerging from neighborhoods retaken by the paratroopers joined the refugees, who had been streaming south toward Hue on Route 1 to get out of the way of continued fighting in Quang Tri.
July 17, 1974 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean passed away at the age of 64 in Reno, Nevada. During his career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Browns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.
July 17, 1976 – Singer-songwriter and guitarist Luke Bryan was born in Leesburg, Ga.
July 17, 1977 - The Evergreen Baptist Church Touring Youth Choir and Ensemble gave a concert at its home church on this Sunday and left Wed., July 20, morning on a concert tour. On Wednesday night, the choir was to give a concert in Greenville, Miss. Other concerts were to be given in West Memphis, Ark.; Waddy, Ky.; and Indianapolis, Ind. They also planned to have stops in Cincinnati and Nashville and were due home on Tues., July 26. The choir was directed by David Coleman.
July 17, 1984 – The national drinking age in the United States was changed from 18 to 21.
July 17, 1992 – Monroeville’s 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars, which swept through the District 1 tournament in Evergreen undefeated a few weeks ago, beat Grand Bay, 15-12, on this Friday to open the six-team Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament in Bay Minette. The following day, Tallassee beat Monroeville, 6-4, and then Andalusia eliminated Monroeville from the double elimination tourney by beating Monroeville, 5-3, on Sunday. Players on Monroeville’s team that year included Bucky Busby, Josh Kendrick, Clinton Kidd, Kevin Luker, Beau Pipkins, Alan Pulfrey, Deric Scott and Eric Scott. Jim Pulfrey was the team’s manager.
July 17, 2007 – Sylacauga, Ala. native and former Jefferson Davis Community College baseball player Ehren Wassermann was called up from the Triple-A Charlotte Knights to the Chicago White Sox for the injured Nick Masset. Wassermann would make his MLB debut three days later.
July 17, 2008 – The Camden Cemetery was placed on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.
July 17, 2015 – At least 120 people were killed and 130 injured by a suicide bombing in Diyala Province, Iraq.
July 17, 2015 – NFL and college coach Bill Arnsparger died at the age of 88 in Athens, Ala. A native of Paris, Ky., he went on to serve as head coach for the New York Giants and LSU.