Saturday, September 29, 2018

Today in History for Sept. 29, 2018

Mary Pickford

Sept. 29, 1547 – Miguel de Cervantes was born near Madrid. He is best remembered for his 1605 novel, “Don Quixote.”

Sept. 29, 1780 - British spy John André was court-martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. André, a 31-year-old accomplice of Benedict Arnold, had been captured by Patriots John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart six days earlier on Sept. 23, after they found incriminating papers stashed in his boot, and it was the discovery of these papers that revealed the traitorous actions of Benedict Arnold to the U.S. authorities. André was executed by hanging in Tappan, New York, on Oct. 2, 1780.

Sept. 29, 1789 – The United States Department of War first established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.

Sept. 29, 1789 – The 1st United States Congress adjourned.

Sept. 29, 1803 – American captain and explorer Mercator Cooper was born in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Sept. 29, 1810 – Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell was born in London.

Sept. 29, 1861 - Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton had been elected lieutenant-governor of Indiana in 1860. After his running mate was appointed to the Senate, Morton became Governor. A staunch supporter of the Union, he had gone from having a neutral state (Kentucky) between his state and the Confederacy to having the Secessionists on his southern border. He wrote to Lincoln on this day demanding that attention be paid to this situation. Lincoln sent back sympathy but little else. Morton suspended the Indiana state legislature and used the money saved to outfit and arm Indian regiments for the Union cause. When rifles were not forthcoming Morton started a factory to make his own. Indiana furnished 150,000 troops with little use of the draft.

Sept. 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Albany and Hopkinsville, Ky.

Sept. 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Berlin, Md.

Sept. 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, an affair took place at Travisville, Tenn.

Sept. 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, an affair took place at Vanderburgh's House, Munson’s Hill, near Bailey’s Crossroads, Va.

Sept. 29, 1862 - Union General Jefferson C. Davis mortally wounded his commanding officer, General William Nelson, in Louisville, Kentucky. Davis had been upset by a reprimand handed down by Nelson. After quarreling in a hotel lobby, Nelson slapped Davis. Davis then chased him upstairs and shot him. Davis was never court-martialed. It was thought that the influence of Indiana Governor Oliver Morton, who was with Davis at the time of the shooting, was instrumental in preventing a trial. Davis went on to serve with distinction at the Battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.

Sept. 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the Elizabethtown Road and rear New Haven, Kentucky.

Sept. 29, 1862 – During the Civil war, a Federal cavalry expedition began from Centerville to Warrenton and Buckland Mills, Virginia.

Sept. 29, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Stirling's Plantation, near Morganza, La. and at Friendship Church and Leesburg, Tennessee.

Sept. 29, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 28-day Federal expedition began from Pilot Knob to Oregon County, Missouri and to Pochontas, Arkansas.

Sept. 29, 1864 - Union General Ulysses S. Grant tried to break the stalemate around Richmond and Petersburg (25 miles south of Richmond) by attacking two points along the defenses of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The assault against Richmond, called the Battle of New Market Heights (Chaffin’s Farm/Fort Harrison), and the assault against Petersburg, known as the Battle of Poplar Springs Church (or Peeble’s Farm), were both failures. However, they did succeed in keeping pressure on Lee and prevented him from sending reinforcements to the beleaguered Rebel General Jubal Early, who was fighting against General Philip Sheridan in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Sept. 29, 1864 – J.W. Daniels of the Conecuh Guards was wounded at Fort Harrison in Richmond, Va. He returned to Conecuh County, Ala. after the war. 

Sept. 29, 1864 - Confederate General John Bell Hood began tearing up the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

Sept. 29, 1864 – Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest moved northward from the Sulphur Branch Trestle Fort in Limestone County, Ala., which he captured four days earlier, to destroy other bridges after sending prisoners southward to the Tennessee River.

Sept. 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at White Oak Creek, Arkansas; at Moore’s Bluff, Mississippi; at Cuba, Leasburg (Harrison), Missouri; along the Scuppernong River, North Carolina; and at Centreville, Jonesborough, Lynchburg and along the Watauga River in Tennessee.

Sept. 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal expedition began from Vicksburg to Rodney and Fayette, Mississippi, with a skirmish at Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Sept. 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, sustained operations began against Indians in the Nebraska and Colorado Territories.

Sept. 29, 1864 – The Battle of Peeble's Farm began in Virginia and continued until Oct. 2. The battle, also known as the Battle of Poplar Springs Church, Wyatt’s Farm, Chappell’s House, Pegram’s Farm, Vaughan Road and Harmon Road, was fought in Dinwiddie County, Va. and was part of the Siege of Richmond and Petersburg campaign.

Sept. 29, 1888 – Dr. Samuel S. Gaillard was born in Perdue Hill, Ala. A third generation doctor, he was the first intern at Mobile Infirmary when it opened in 1910. He was a specialist in radiology and roentgenology and served in World War I and World War II. He attended West Point Military Academy, Louisville (Ky.) Medical School and graduated from the University of Alabama Medical School in 1910.

Sept. 29, 1889 – A lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars was organized in Monroeville, Ala. by Lodge Deputy L.N. Lambert of Perdue Hill. The lodge began with 13 members and with F.A. Seymour as Chief Templar.

Sept. 29, 1895 – Joseph Banks “J.B.” Rhine, widely considered to be the "father of modern parapsychology," was born in Waterloo, Pa.

Sept. 29, 1890 – Outlaw train robber Rube Burrow arrived at the home of John Barnes near Castleberry, four weeks after his eighth and final train robbery near Flomaton. After breakfast, Burrow departed, headed for Repton.

Sept. 29, 1901 – Noble Prize-winning Italian physicist Enrico Fermi was born in Rome.

Sept. 29, 1907 – The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral in the U.S. capital.

Sept. 29, 1907 – Gene Autry, perhaps the greatest singing cowboy of all time, was born Orvon Grover Autry near Tioga, Texas.

Sept. 29, 1910 - Alabama author Rebecca Harding Davis died in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

Sept. 29, 1913 - Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name, disappeared from the steamship Dresden while traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwick, England. On October 10, a Belgian sailor aboard a North Sea steamer spotted a body floating in the water; upon further investigation, it turned out that the body was Diesel’s. There was, and remains, a great deal of mystery surrounding his death: It was officially judged a suicide, but many people believed (and still believe) that Diesel was murdered.

Sept. 29, 1915 – “The Eagle’s Mate,” featuring Mary Pickford, was scheduled to be shown at the Arcade Theater in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 29, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the “opening of the Conecuh County High School was quite encouraging, the attendance on opening day being 52 percent better than on the corresponding day last year, and new students are coming in every week.”

Sept. 29, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Prof. C.M. Dannelly had been appointed to the position of chief clerk in the office of state superintendent of education.

Sept. 29, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Capt. E. Downing of Castleberry, Ala. had told the paper that he was “greatly pleased” by the performance of the Conecuh Guards during their recent encampment in Montgomery. The company won both of the prizes offered during the encampment.

Sept. 29, 1918 – During World War I, Bulgaria signed the Armistice of Salonica. The Hindenburg Line was broken by an Allied attack. Germany's Supreme Army Command told the Kaiser and the Chancellor to open negotiations for an armistice.

Sept. 29, 1923 – Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bum Phillips was born in Orange, Texas. During his NFL career, he coached the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints.

Sept. 29, 1924 - Alabama author W. L. Heath was born in Lake Village, Ark.

Sept. 29, 1930 – Colin Dexter, the author of the Inspector Morse mysteries, was born in Lincolnshire, England.

Sept. 29, 1935 – Bagdad’s baseball team beat Evergreen, 4-0, in Bagdad (Fla.?). Hyde pitched for Evergreen, and Lewis played catcher. Soward pitched for Bagdad, and Franklin caught. Bagdad got six hits off Hyde while Evergreen only got three hits off Soward.

Sept. 29, 1942 – Conecuh County officials released several hundred pounds of iron fixtures that were parts of the old gallows at the Conecuh County Jail in Evergreen, Ala. to the local salvage committee for use in the manufacture of war materials. The old gallows hadn’t been used since the county’s last legal execution on Jan. 22, 1926.

Sept. 29, 1950 – Evergreen High School beat Andalusia High School, 13-12, in Andalusia, Ala. on this Friday night. This win was Evergreen’s second of the year and extended the team’s unbeaten streak to 12 straight. Standout players on Evergreen’s team that year included Ward Alexander, Pace Bozeman, John Henry Brantley, Sam Cope, Gwyn Daniels, Donahue Edson, Shirley Frazier, Ed Hooks, Capt. Jeff Moorer, Gillis Morgan, Max Pope, Douglas Potts, C.A. (Jackie) Robinson, William Stewart, Bobby (Pistol Pete) and Franklin Williamson. Wendell Hart was Evergreen’s head coach, and John Lockwood was assistant coach.

Sept. 29, 1950 Charles G. Dobbins, Montgomery newspaper publisher, was scheduled to be the featured speaker at the meeting of the Monroeville Kiwanis Club on this Friday at noon at the LaSalle Hotel.

Sept. 29, 1951 – The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, was televised on NBC.

Sept. 29, 1951 - The first network football game was televised by CBS-TV in color. The game was between the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania.

Sept. 29, 1954 - Willie Mays, centerfielder for the New York Giants, made his amazing over-the-shoulder catch of a fly ball hit by Cleveland Indians first baseman Vic Wertz to rob Wertz of extra bases in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. The catch has gone down as one of the greatest in the history of baseball.

Sept. 29, 1954 – The European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, came into being.

Sept. 29, 1955 – American explorer and author Ann Bancroft was born in Mendota Heights, Minn. Bancroft was the first woman to successfully finish a number of arduous expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Sept. 29, 1955 - The movie “The Night of the Hunter,” screenplay by Alabama author James Agee, was released.

Sept. 29, 1957 - The New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds before moving to San Francisco, Calif.

Sept. 29, 1957 – Pine Apple native Fred Cone, who played fullback and placekicker for the Green Bay Packers, played in the first ever game at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, a 21-17 win over their rivals, the Chicago Bears. Cone was one of Green Bay’s best players during his seven seasons with the team, and he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1973.

Sept. 29, 1963 – Decatur, Ala. native Marv Breeding appeared in his final Major League Baseball game, taking the field one last time for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Sept. 29, 1963 – Birmingham, Ala. native Alex Grammas made his final Major League appearance, taking the field one last time for the Chicago Cubs.

Sept. 29, 1964 – William A. House Jr. passed away at the age of 82 at his home at Uriah, Ala. He was a member of the Uriah Masonic Lodge.

Sept. 29, 1965 - Hanoi published the text of a letter it had written to the Red Cross claiming that since there was no formal state of war, U.S. pilots shot down over the North would not receive the rights of prisoners of war (POWs) and would be treated as war criminals.

Sept. 29, 1969 - Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor announced that the U.S. Army, conceding that it was helpless to enlist the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was dropping the murder charges (of August 6) against eight Special Forces accused of killing a Vietnamese national.

Sept. 29, 1972 – Greenville beat Evergreen, 22-12, at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 29, 1974 – The Rev. Roderick McDonald was scheduled to preach his first sermon as the new minister at the Evergreen (Ala.) Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on this Sunday morning.

Sept. 29, 1975 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder and manager Casey Stengel passed away at the age of 85 in Glendale, Calif. During his career, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers/Superbas/Robins, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Giants and the Boston Braves, and he managed the Dodgers, the Braves, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966.

Sept. 29, 1980 – A Conecuh County, Ala. jury found Jerry D. Mixon, who was charged with murder, guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Mixon was defended by attorney Joe B. Nix Jr., and Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presided over the trial. Mixon was to be sentenced on Oct. 28.

Sept. 29, 1982 - In Chicago, Ill., seven people died after taking capsules of Extra-Strength Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide. 264,000 bottles were recalled.

Sept. 29, 1986 - The television program “Miscalculation,” teleplay by Alabama author Robert McDowell, was broadcast as part of the “Amazing Stories” series.

Sept. 29, 1987 – Conecuh County, Ala. Rabies Inspector Jim Bricken, DVM, announced that a raccoon found on Sept. 27, 1987 in the Old Town community was positive for rabies.

Sept. 29, 1988 - Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. Allison, a member of the Northwest American Everest Expedition, climbed the Himalayan peak using the southeast ridge route.

Sept. 29, 1990 – Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

Sept. 29, 1995 – Sparta Academy beat Lakeside Academy, 40-20, on this Friday night in Eufaula. Lyle Bell led Sparta’s offense with 158 yards on 18 carries plus three touchdowns, and Rod McIntyre ran the ball 13 times for 107 yards. Other outstanding Sparta players in that game included Steven Bradley, Lee Goodwin, Mike McIntyre, Chris Mitchell, Steven Salter, Charlie Ward and Brent Worrell.

Sept. 29, 1995 – Wetumpka beat Hillcrest-Evergreen, 36-8, in Evergreen. Kelvin Rudolph was named the Defensive Player of the Week for Hillcrest Jaguars and Roger Rudolph was named the Offensive Player of the Week. Kelvin had 10 solo tackles and five assists with three behind the line or scrimmage. He also caused a fumble. Roger had a total of 11 knockdowns and 50 yards rushing. Roger also scored a two-point conversion and graded 1.7 on his blocking.

Sept. 29, 1995 – Monroe Samuel, 87, drowned when he fell through the covering over an old septic tank at his daughter’s vacant house in Conecuh County’s Pleasant Hill community. Samuel went to check on the vacant house around 2:30 p.m. and was reported missing around 5 p.m. when he failed to return. Samuel’s three grandsons found him around 8:40 p.m.

Sept. 29, 1996 – “A Loss of Innocence,” a television version of Alabama author Virginia Sorensen's book “On This Star,” was broadcast.

Sept. 29, 2005 – The Dixon Home Place near Andalusia was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Sept. 29, 2008 – Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

Singleton remembers the bygone days of the old-timey gourd dipper

Long-handled gourd dippers.

(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Making dippers was art” was originally published in the Aug. 28, 1997 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

A few days back while sitting around in the local coffee shop, the subject came up among the old timers about the art of making gourd dippers. Everyone who thought they remembered how to make a gourd dipper voiced their opinion. I don’t profess to be smart, but I do remember the procedure of selecting and making an excellent gourd dipper.

Aunt Lellia was an old black lady that my family took care of for a number of years. She had no family to care for her, so my parts took her under their wings, so to speak, and saw to it that she had a place to stay and clothing to wear and plenty of food to eat. Aunt Lellia had delivered me at birth due to the fact that because of bad weather, the local doctor wasn’t able to get to our house when my dear mother went into labor. Since Aunt Lellia delivered me, she always watched over me and took special care of me as I was growing up.

Aunt Lellia was the absolute authority on just about anything that happened around the farm community. She did almost all the doctoring and prescribing home remedies for the local farm folks. She knew all there was to know about the art of making quilts, canning fruits and vegetables, storing meat or anything that pertained to raising a family on the farm. She was also the absolute authority when it came to making gourd dippers.

As the gourds dried on the vines and the time came to gather and select the ones for making dippers, Aunt Lellia’s word was law. I can see her now, as she sat out on a large wooden bench out by the well. The womenfolk of the farm community would bring several gourds over for Aunt Lellia to inspect and supervise the making into a drinking dipper, or perhaps just an ordinary dipping dipper. Some would be made for the purpose of dipping up shelled corn, peas or maybe beans. Then, there were those made that the womenfolk used to dip water to pour on the flowers in the yard, when the ground was dry. She selected with great care those that were going to dip the hot molasses after it was cooked and ready to be put in the cans. These had to have special strong handles because a dipper of hot molasses was much heavier than just a dipper of plain water. So, great care had to be taken when selecting the gourds that had the strongest handles.

Special care had to be taken after the hole had had been cut in the gourd. The hole had to be the proper size. It couldn’t be too small because this would cause the dipper to empty too slowly. If the hole was too large, it would empty too quickly. It didn’t matter if the hole was large in the ones that were used for watering the flowers or dipping shelled corn or peas. The only concern was if the hole was too large, it would weaken the walls of the dipper bowl.

Those that were to be used for dipping drinking water had to have more special care. To keep the drinking water from tasting bitter like the gourd, it had to be boiled in hot water for a special time. If it was boiled too long, this would weaken the structure of the gourd. If it wasn’t boiled long enough, the bitter taste would yet remain in the drinking dipper. Aunt Lellia knew the exact time for these preparations.

Then, after the boiling of the new dippers, the inside had to be scraped with a special sharpened spoon. This would remove the loose tissue or fiber from the inside of the gourd. Only Aunt Lellia had a spoon that had been specially prepared for the scrapping of a new dipper. The edges of the spoon had been sharpened by her hands and no one dared to interfere with the inside scraping; this could cause a weak place in the dipper, if one didn’t know what they were doing. This was done by Aunt Lellia and no one else.

I can see it now; the long-handled gourd dipper, hanging out by the well on one of the posts that held up the canopy over the well. The heavy wooden bucket would be lowered into the deep well with the windlass. Then, slowly it would be pulled up by turning the windlass and bringing the large overflowing bucket to the top of the curbing. The gourd dipper would be filled by dipping it into the large bucket. And, the sweet taste of the cool fresh water was something to behold. Nowhere today, can water be found that tastes as this water did. And, the drinking gourd dipper only added to its flavor and freshness.

Since I was very special to this darling old lady, Aunt Lellia made for me a special drinking dipper. A small hole was cut in the end of the gourd handle and all I had to do was to fill the dipper then raise it up and let the water flow through the handle and into my mouth. All my friends in the community thought it a special privilege to get to drink out of my dipper. Nowhere else in the community was there a dipper such as mine; wanting to drink out of my special dipper was considered a special treat.

Yes, the art of making a good drinking dipper out of a gourd has passed into oblivion. No more do we go to the well and drink the fresh water from a special gourd dipper. No more do we draw water from the well on a hot day and take a dipper full of the cool fresh water and pour it over our heads to cool us. I am aware of the changing times but sometimes I think they have changed for the worst.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Dates on old Conecuh County grave debunk old Civil War gold story

President Warren G. Harding

One of the most interesting and remarkable men from Conecuh County’s early history was Hinchey W. Warren, who was born in Burke County, Ga. in 1787.

He moved to Conecuh County in 1818 and settled about one mile east of Sparta, where he died years later. Warren, a War of 1812 veteran, is said to be the great-grandfather of U.S. President Warren G. Harding and is also rumored to have hidden a chest of gold in Shipp’s Pond during the Civil War.

Several years ago, I read that Warren was buried in the Warren Family Cemetery, and I presumed that this cemetery was on private property and off limits to the public. However, a year or so ago while at the library in Evergreen, local historian Sherry Johnston informed me that the Warren Family Cemetery was actually next door to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. In fact, Warren’s grave is just a few steps off of County Road 87, which is also known as the Jay Villa Road.

One day last September, I took a few minutes to ride down to this church, which is a little over seven miles from downtown Evergreen, and spent a few minutes looking around this old cemetery. Records show that between 12 to 15 graves are in this graveyard, but most of them now are marked by old stones and faint depressions in the ground.

The cemetery does contain a few marked graves, including the grave of Hinchey W. Warren, but all of these are in bad condition. If you go there yourself, you’ll see three slabs to the right of the remnants of an old wrought-iron fence, and these graves are the final resting places of Warren, his wife and son.

The day I went there, Warren’s grave was almost entirely covered with dead leaves and sticks, but when I cleared it off, I discovered something interesting. According to the broken slab over his grave, he “departed this life February 28th, 1855 in the 68th year of his age.” This pretty much blew the Civil War gold story out of the water since Warren would have been dead six years by the time the war started in 1861.

All of the graves in the Warren Family Cemetery are in bad shape and are hard to read, especially the grave of Hinchey Warren. I read somewhere that it’s been said that grave robbers damaged his grave while looking for buried “treasure” and other supposedly hidden valuables. Whether or not that’s true, I do not know.

Hinchey Warren did have a son named Hinchey Warren Jr., and I considered that he may have been the Hinchey Warren who sank a chest of gold in Shipp’s Pond to keep it from falling into Yankee hands during the Civil War. With that in mind, I looked into records that revealed that Hinchey Warren Jr. actually died in the 1850s, that is, well before the start of the Civil War.

I’m not sure where Hinchey Warren Jr. is buried but Hinchey Warren’s only other son, John Quincy Adams Warren, is buried beside his father. John Q.A. Warren, died at the age of 30 on April 4, 1856, a little over a year after his father passed away.

Apparently, John Quincy Adams Warren was a unique character himself, but that is a story for another day. With that said, I’ll wrap this thing up again for another week, but, in the meantime, if you get the desire to do some rambling on your on, you might want to check out the Warren Family Cemetery for yourself. It’s definitely one of the more unique cemeteries that I’ve been to in Conecuh County.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Calvin Casey and Travis Presley lead local college football pick 'em contest

Tua, left, is older, but Jalen, right, is taller. 

The fourth weekend of the college football season wrapped up on Saturday, and we also closed out another fun and exciting weekend in our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest.

This week, we had a tie for first place in our local standings between Calvin Casey and Travis Presley. Jeremy Matheny was in third place.

Nine contestants are tied for fourth place, including Ricky Taylor, Casey Grant, Clint Hyde, Mark Peacock, Brett Loftin, Drew Skipper, John Johnston, and Robert Riley Jr. and myself.

We also had about eight people tied for 13th place this week including Courant Publisher Robert Bozeman, Artie Wright, Robbie Moorer and Michael Bishop.

With that said, if you didn’t do so great in the contest last weekend, don’t sweat it. Like I’ve said before, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got 10 more weeks to go, and the standings will change a lot during the next two and a half months.

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By my count, we’ve got eight games this weekend featuring SEC teams, including five head-to-head conference matchups. For what it’s worth, here are my picks in those games.

I like Alabama over Louisiana-Lafayette, Auburn over Southern Miss, Texas A&M over Arkansas, Georgia over Tennessee, Mississippi State over Florida, Kentucky over South Carolina, LSU over Ole Miss and Vandy over Tennessee State.

Last week: 7-1, Overall: 38-7

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Around the watercooler at the office on Monday we were talking about Old Dominion’s 49-35 upset over No. 13-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday. For the record, that victory is Old Dominion’s only win so far this season against three season-opening losses. So far this season, Old Dominion has suffered losses against such juggernauts as Liberty University (52-10), Florida International (28-20) and UNC-Charlotte (28-25).

Butch asked me where Old Dominion University is located, and I honestly couldn’t say, other than I knew it was somewhere in Virginia. Old Dominion is actually located in Norfolk, Va., which is where Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech was played. I figured that Old Dominion was a really old college, but it was actually established in 1930 as a division of the College of William & Mary. By way of comparison, Virginia Tech was founded in 1872.

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Butch’s son, Jake, also stopped by the office on Monday afternoon, and the watercooler talk turned to Alabama football and a comparison of Crimson Tide quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Somehow or other, we got on the subject of which was the tallest, and I was surprised to learn that Jalen is actually taller than the Tua. According to the team’s official roster, Tua is 6-foot-1 and Hurts is 6-foot-2.

I was also surprised to learn that Tua’s real first name is “Tuanigamanuolepola,” but he goes by “Tua” because his given first name is such a tongue-twister for most folks. Another unusual twist is that while Tua is a sophomore on the team, he’s actually older than Hurts, who is a junior. Hurts was born on Aug. 7, 1998, and Tua was born on March 2, 1998. In other words, Tua is five months older than Jalen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

100-year-old news highlights from The Wilcox Progressive Era

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Sept. 26, 1918 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: After Dec. 1, the subscription price of The Progressive Era will be $1.50 per year in advance.
After Oct. 1, all names three months in arrears will be taken from the list, by order of the War Industries Board. No discretion allowed the management of the paper about this.

First Lt. Phillip M. Kyser, who for 10 years practiced medicine in Birmingham, died at Camp Lee, Va. Thursday morning of pneumonia after a brief illness. His mother lives at Pineapple, Ala. He was 31 years old and was not married.

Mr. John Primm of Camp Sevier, S.C. is home on furlough. John has just recovered from a serious attack of pneumonia. He speaks very highly of the cantonment equipment, etc. and says the officers are fine.

Hon. J.M. Bonner left for Birmingham Monday, where he will hear the noted evangelist, Gypsy Smith, speak on YMCA work. Mr. Bonner is chairman of the Wilcox YMCA campaign which will soon be launched.

Dr. J.H. Jones volunteered recently for service in the medical corps of the army for acceptance Jan. 1. He was examined at Mobile but as yet has had no report on the examination.

Word was received this week of the death of Mrs. J.J. Cook, who formerly was a resident of Camden. She was living in Georgia at the time of her death. Interment took place at Pineapple, where she was born and raised.

Mr. F.L. Moore left the past week for Tennessee where he will purchase a carload of mules.

Mr. Cecil Skinner has been transferred from Camp McLellan, Anniston to Camden, where he will assist the local exemption board in their office work.

Mr. King Pharr of Catherine has recently installed a complete Western Electric Lighting outfit in his home at Catherine.

Eighty-four colored draftees left Thursday morning for Camp McLellan, Anniston.

Mr. Harry Wallace is home on furlough after several months’ military training.

Dr. W.P. Roberts of McWilliams was a visitor to Camden Tuesday.

A call will be issued soon for 30 white registrants to entrain for military service.

Mr. and Mrs. VanMetcalf, who were married recently in Montgomery, were the guests of the latter’s mother, Mrs. F.G. Hollinger. The young couple were the recipients of many congratulations and well-wishes of the bride’s many friends here.

FOR SALE – Studebaker car, in good condition, $300. Grambrach upright Cabinet Grand piano, good as new, $200. Elegant sideboard, $17.50. – I.N. Kimbrough.

Lang’s Old Reliable DANDY DIXIE MINSTRELS – Under Canvas – Monday, Sept. 30 – The oldest minstrel show in Dixie Land – 30 funny comedians, singers, dancers, monologists, acrobats, shouters and yodelers, band and orchestra, electric lighted tent, bright as day. Watch for the free outside exhibition and parade at noon – Mon., Sept. 30 – one night only, rain or shine.

What 'new' locations would you like to see on the next list of Wilcox County 'spooky' places?

I was flipping through a book the other day called “Haunted Places: The National Directory” by Dennis William Hauck. Published in 2002, this 486-page book describes hundreds of supposedly “haunted” places in America, including 41 such “supernatural locations” in Alabama. Of these, only one is located within the borders of Wilcox County – the “Old Purefoy House” at Furman.

According to Hauck, “a buried well in the back yard here is said to be haunted by the spirit of a black man who died digging it. In the early 1800s, Dr. John H. Purefoy was having a new well dug when the wooden rigging collapsed and buried a worker under tons of sandy soil. Although rescuers could hear the man screaming for help, they were unable to save him, and his body was never recovered. Today, grass will not grow over the sunken depression where the well collapsed, and people see the form of a man sitting hunched over the top of the well. His sobbing cries for help still fill the night air.”

A longer version of this old ghost story can be found within the pages of Kathryn Tucker Windham’s classic 1969 book, “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.” Also, while I’ve never personally investigated the site of this ghostly tale, I have included Furman’s Purifoy-Lipscomb House in my first and second annual lists of “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County.” These lists were published in The Progressive Era in late October 2016 and 2017.

With that said, next week’s edition of the newspaper will mark the first in the month of October and, if nothing changes, I plan to release my third annual list of “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County” in the Halloween edition of the newspaper on Oct. 31. This year, I’d like to include a few spooky locations that haven’t made the first two lists, and I’m encouraging readers to send me their nominations.

For those of you who missed the 2016 and 2017 “Spookiest Places” lists, here are the places that received mention: the Camden Cemetery, the Castro Tree in Camden, Coy Cemetery, the Coy Railroad Crossing, Dale Masonic Lodge in Camden, Gaines Ridge in Camden, Gee’s Bend Ferry Landing near Camden, the “House of the Dancing Skulls” near Rosebud, the intersection of County Roads 59 and 24 near Pine Apple, the Liddell-Burford House in Camden, Moore Academy in Pine Apple, the “Millie Hole” on Pine Barren Creek, Prairie Bluff Cemetery, Reaves Chapel Cemetery, Snow Hill Institute, the “Unfilled Hole” in Camden and the Wilcox Female Institute in Camden.

This year, I’m looking for new “spooky” places to add to the list, so if you know of any such places within the confines of Wilcox County that aren’t mentioned above, please let me hear from you. Not only will I add them to my list, but I will also make it a point to visit the location myself, if possible, investigate the claims of “supernatural” activity there and write about it for the newspaper in the months to come. Feel free to supply me with as much detail as possible as it will make telling others about it that much easier.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Sept. 25, 2018

Hilary Abner Herbert
SEPT. 26, 1996

Evergreen weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .07 inches of rain on Sept. 16 and .40 inches of rain on Sept. 22. He reported a high of 87 degrees on Sept. 17 and a low of 56 on Sept. 22.

The end of an era came about last week when Mr. Joe Hyde officially retired from The Evergreen Courant. Mr. Joe came to work at the paper in 1943 when he was hired by R.G. Bozeman Sr. After 53 years, he has worked with three generations, ending with Robert Bozeman. The staff gave him a combination birthday party and retirement party last Friday. He is pictured next to a press, the Little Giant, that was purchased brand new a year before he began working at the newspaper. He has seen the newspaper go from hand set type to the computer era.

Chief of Police Thomas Booker and his wife, Laurie, were honored with a reception in their behalf Monday afternoon on the chief’s last day. The Chief has taken a job in Spanish Fort, Ala. Chief Booker served the city for three years and was presented a plaque in recognition of his service.

Chavers overtakes Caylor in run-off for City Council Dist. 1: Evergreen City Council member for District One Jerry Caylor failed in his attempt to seek another term to that position in the runoff election on Sept. 17. Caylor was defeated by political newcomer Homer Chavers by 101 to 58 votes.
Caylor had served in the position since he was appointed to the slot when Bobby Pitts resigned when he moved from the district.
Caylor was elected to a full term four years ago when he defeated Troy Smith. Chavers will take office with the rest of the council in October.

SEPT. 30, 1971

Sparta Academy students are anxiously awaiting the opening of their new school building on Pierce Street – it will be air conditioned. Work on the building is moving along, but is at the slow, finishing stage of the interior. This view gives some idea of the length of the building which has room for 330 students. The private school’s enrollment is approaching the 300 mark.

Grading and basing has been completed on the street leading from Highway 83 North into the city’s second low rental housing development, across from Owassa Road. Paving is to be completed soon as well as curbs. This street will become a part of the proposed street linking Highway 83 to Highway 31 South, providing a bypass route for workers at Steven Robert Corp., Flxible Southern Co. and Mobilux Corp.

Permit for drilling a second oil well in Conecuh County has been granted by the State Oil and Gas Board.
The permit went to Shenandoah Oil Corp. and Kewanee Oil Co. to drill a well titled Alger-Tenants 21-2 No. 1. The land is owned by Scott Paper Co.
The permit calls for drilling to a possible depth of 11,500 feet. The well is being set up north of Lyeffion.

There are 14 cases set for trial next week on the Criminal Bar Docket, Conecuh County Circuit Court, Fall Term. Cases are set for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key of Evergreen will preside.

SEPT. 26, 1946

Two Killed Instantly In Accident This A.M.: Two lives were lost and a number injured when a State Highway truck loaded with 12 workmen left the road and turned over on Skinnerton Highway near the end of the paving at an early hour this morning. Corey Cowart from Castleberry and a man named Scott were killed instantly. Carnice Hall was seriously injured and sent to Carter’s Hospital was were two others, Evans Thigpen and another named Scott. A number of others were given treatment by physicians here.

Pvt. Frank Stamps has returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey after a week’s visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.C. Stamps.

Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Murphy and daughter, Mrs. Tom Collier, returned Wednesday from a week’s trip to Cherry Point, N.C., Washington, D.C. and other points of interest. They were accompanied home by Jimmy Murphy, USMC, who will spend a 10-day leave here.

The many friends of S.H. Brown will regret to learn of his passing on Saturday, the 21st of September, at his home in Clanton, Ala., where he was residing at the time of his death.
Hugh, as he was known to his friends, resided in Evergreen for a number of years, coming here with his parents from Greenville when a young man. He was at one time associated with the firm of I. Long & Sons, going from here to Montgomery, where he was associated with an oil concern for 23 years.

SEPT. 28, 1921

Machine Gun Company for Evergreen: An enthusiastic meeting of citizens was held at the courthouse on Thursday afternoon last for the purpose of taking steps for the organization of a machine gun company here.
Adjutant General Hartley A. Moon of Montgomery was present and explained in detail and at length the object and purposes of the organization and its advantages to the community and county.
A citizens committee with Judge (S.P.) Dunn as general chairman was elected to take up the matter preliminary to the permanent organization and when this is completed General Moon will return here and induct this new unit into the service.
Men from 18 to 45 are eligible for membership.
There has been allotted to Evergreen and Conecuh County by the Federal Board of the U.S. Army one Cavalry Machine Gun Troop to be known as Troop C, Machine Gun Squadron, 55th Brigade, 23rd Cavalry Division, U.S. Army. In order to group this entire squadron in a given area, the other two troops, A and B, were allotted to Andalusia and Brewton.

EFFIE: J.R. Dunnam of Snow Hill, Ala. visited his old friends J.S. Sanders and Rev. Tom Bolton the last weekend. He was interested to find his old friends as they were old Confederate soldiers together during the Civil War.

SEPT. 25, 1879

At 10 o’clock a.m. on Wednesday, 17th inst., a loud and rumbling sound, resembling the shock of an earthquake, or something of the kind, was heard in different parts of this county. It fairly shook the earth and caused it to tremble in some places. The sky was perfectly clear, and the atmosphere appeared to be in its usual condition on a still, sunny day in September. It was reported here that the sound was produced by the explosion of a steam engine in the “Fork” but we are informed, by reliable citizens of that community, that no such explosion occurred. If it was not the shock of a “small” earthquake, we are unable to account for it.

Among those of the legal fraternity attending our Circuit Court this week is Hillary A. Herbert – a MAN in every sense of the word – one who has a heart full of kindness for his fellow man and a true and tried patriot in the “Lost Cause.” May Herbert be the choice of our Democratic citizens for Congress again next year.

Messrs. Newton & Forbes of Belleville have a new steam gin in full operation. It is said that their gin turns out a beautiful sample.

Geo. Clarke, a youth aged about 17 years, and who has been in this county with sleight-of-hand show, is wanted by his brother, Jno. Clarke of Desoto, Miss., who is quite anxious to hear from him.

NIGHT SCHOOL – At the request of several young gentlemen, I have consented to open a Night School about 15th October. For further information, call upon Willie Brawner.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 24, 2018

Evergreen High School's Wendell Hart

SEPT. 26, 1996

The Sparta Academy Warriors improved their 1996 football record to 3-1 last Friday night when they put on a defensive show in beating the Fort Dale-South Butler Eagles, 7-6, in Greenville.
Lyle Bell led the Warrior rushing attack with 88 yards on 21 carries. Michael Pate had 83 yards on 20 carries. Cliff Herbest, 11 yards on three carries and one touchdown, Rod McIntyre, 10 yards on seven carries, and Lee Goodwin had two yards on two carries.
(Other standout Sparta players in that game included Justin Brown and Chris Kervin.)

Monroe defeats Jags 17-16: Bucky Busby kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:12 left in the game to cap a clutch nine-play, 59-yard drive as the Monroe County Tigers edged the Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars, 17-16, in a high school football thriller last Friday night in Monroeville.
Hillcrest’s first touchdown came on a 30-yard pass from quarterback Don Ray Mixon to wide receiver Demetrius Rudolph. Tailback Willie Likely scored on a two-point conversion run with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
Hillcrest’s second touchdown came on a run by Likely from inside the five, and tight end Ryan Meeks hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Mixon to give Hillcrest a 16-14 lead with 10:41 left in the game.
Monroe won on a 24-yard field goal by Bucky Busby with 1:12 left in the game, a kick that capped a nine-play, 59-yard drive.

SEPT. 30, 1971

The Sparta Academy Warriors rode to their second straight victory on the talented toe of Jeff Nichols and an alert, aggressive defense as they edged Stephen-Spear School, 7-6, in Montgomery Friday night.
Sparta broke a scoreless deadlock early in the second quarter, marching 52 yards in seven plays for the TD. Dwight Watson got 23 of those yards on two carries before Larry Tranum exploded for 27 yards and the score on a beautiful run, breaking several tackles along the way. On came Nichols to boot it to 7-0 and provide the ultimate margin of victory.
Sparta’s great school spirit was evident as Evergreen folks followed their team up I-65 and outnumbered the home team considerably. Led by the Sparta Band, local fans filled the air with cheers throughout the game as they spurred their favorites on.
(Other standout Sparta players in that game included George Baggett, Karl Baggett, Donnie Griggers and Joey Nix. Mickey Goneke was Sparta’s head coach.)

Butler Tigers nip Aggies 22 to 18 in heartbreaker: For the third time in as many outings, the Evergreen Aggies were plagued by mistakes as they dropped a 22-18 fight with the Choctaw County Tigers of Butler.
A determining factor in the Aggie loss was the absence of last week’s captains, middle guard Whalen Oliver and running back Frank McMillian, who were injured.
(Standout Evergreen players in that game included Anthony Armstrong, Charlie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Willie Paige and Harold Rogers.)

The victory drought will end for one of two teams in Greenville this Friday night, unless the Evergreen Aggies and Greenville Tigers play to a tie. Kickoff is set for 7:30 in the Greenville stadium.

SEPT. 26, 1946

Evergreen Defeats Hayneville 6-0 To Win Season Opener Here: Coach Wendell Hart’s Evergreen High Aggies defeated a hard-fighting Hayneville 11 here Friday night in the first game of the season, 6 to 0.
The game was played at Brooks Stadium before an estimated 1,500 fans. Evergreen’s light but hard-hitting line played the visitors off their feet throughout the game with Hayneville making only one strong scoring threat. James Carpenter plowed off tackle to score from the two early in the second quarter. The Aggies were ragged in spots, but Coach Hart considered their first start under his command satisfactory.
Hayneville brought a heavy team sparked by William Luckie, hard-driving 195-pound left half back, but the aggressive Aggie forward wall kept them on their heels all night while James Carpenter, R.E. “T” Ivey, and Robinson made repeated gains through the line.

Evergreen Aggies Meet McKenzie Friday Night: A strong team from McKenzie made up principally of experienced players from last season will meet Coach Wendell Hart’s Aggies at Brooks Stadium Friday night at eight o’clock. This is expected to be a hard fought contest between two evenly matched teams both reported to be in top physical form. A large delegation of fans from McKenzie will be on hand according to reports. Prof. Clifford Harper, principal of Evergreen High, is expecting Friday night’s crowd to perhaps exceed to the one last week when some 1,500 were present.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Today in History for Sept. 20, 2018

Sept. 20, 1519 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe and to find a route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.

Sept. 20, 1746 – Slovak-Hungarian explorer Maurice Benyovszky was born in Verbó, Kingdom of Hungary (today Vrbové, Slovakia).

Sept. 20, 1776 - The Great Fire of New York began.

Sept. 20, 1777 - Near Paoli, Pa., General Charles Grey and nearly 5,000 British soldiers launched a surprise attack on a small regiment of Patriot troops commanded by General Anthony Wayne in what became known as the Paoli Massacre.

Sept. 20, 1778 – Russian admiral, cartographer, and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen was born at Lahhentagge manor, Ösel Island, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now in Salme Parish, Saare County, Estonia).

Sept. 20, 1806 - After nearly 2-1/2 years spent exploring the western wilderness, the Corps of Discovery arrived at the frontier village of La Charette, the first white settlement they had seen since leaving behind the outposts of eastern civilization in 1804.

Sept. 20-21, 1819 - The first general election in Alabama for governor, members of the U.S. Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs was held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state’s first governor.

Sept. 20, 1844 – Lewis Lavon Peacock was born in Coffee County, Ala. The son of Joseph Tarpley Peacock, he apparently got his first name from his uncle Lewis Levi Peacock back in Georgia, but where the “Lavon” came from remains a mystery, perhaps its was a variant of Levi. He was raised in Coffee and Dale counties, never got much schooling, never learned to read or write and was never very well off in a material sense.

Sept. 20, 1845 – Russian explorer Matvei Gedenschtrom died in extreme poverty at the age of 65 in the village of Kaidukovaya near Tomsk.

Sept. 20, 1848 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science was established in Philadelphia. Its stated purpose was to “procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a wider usefulness.”

Sept. 20, 1859 – William Rabb Sr., who settled in Conecuh County, Ala. in 1819, died at the age of 84. Born on Jan. 10, 1775 in Fairfield County, S.C., he was one of Conecuh’s first store owners and farmers. He was buried in the Rabb Cemetery in Conecuh County. (Some sources say he died on Sept. 21.)

Sept. 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought along Seneca Creek, Md.

Sept. 20, 1861 - Union troops at Lexington, Mo. surrendered to Confederate General Sterling Price, and Confederate forces occupied Lexington.

Sept. 20, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Helena, Ark.; near Williamsport and near Hagerstown in Maryland; on the Fulton Road, south of Iuka, Miss.; at Shirly's Ford on the Spring River in Missouri; near Shiloh, N.C.; at La Grange, Tenn.; at Ashby’s Gap, Va.; and at Point Pleasant and Shepherdstown in West Virginia.

Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Chickamauga concluded in northwestern Georgia. It was the bloodiest two-day battle of the conflict, and the only significant Confederate victory in the war's Western Theater. One of the largest battles of the war, Chickamauga resulted in 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union casualties.

Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, a 10-day Federal operation began between Paducah, Ky. and McLemoresville, Tenn.

Sept. 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Morgan’s Ferry on the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana; at Hornersville, Mo.; at Carter’s Depot and Zollicoffer in Tennessee; and on Shaver Mountain, in the vicinity of Buckhannon and Huttonsville in W.Va.

Sept. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Arkadelphia and Roseville Creek in Arkansas; at Bayou Rapids, on the Red River in Louisiana; at Ponder's Mill, Mo.; near Fort Cottonwood, Nebraska; and at Middletown, Strasburg and near Cedarville in Virginia.

Sept. 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, a 10-day Federal operation began in La Fayette and Jackson Counties in Missouri.

Sept. 20, 1876 – Curveball inventor Candy Cummings of the Hartford (Conn.) Dark Blues pitched two complete games in one day. He won, 14-4, and, 8-4.

Sept. 20, 1878 – Muckraking pioneer Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Md. He is best known for his 1906 novel, “The Jungle.”

Sept. 20, 1881 – U.S. President Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st U.S. President, the morning after becoming President upon James A. Garfield's death from wounds inflicted in an assassination attempt.

Sept. 20, 1883 – Evergreen newspapers reported that the “beautiful Calisthenics drill” had been introduced at the Evergreen Academy, to which all pupils, male and female, were admitted free; and this was to promote “both mental and physical culture.” Miss Webb, the accomplished music teacher, was to give these lessons twice a week in Calisthenics to the whole school and she also planned to give vocal lessons daily to a large class.

Sept. 20, 1883 – Evergreen newspapers reported that there was a colored woman on Mr. E.B. Horton’s place, in Oldtown beat, who was 107 years old.

Sept. 20, 1883 – Evergreen newspapers reported that William Dunklin, who lived on Henry Robson’s place, was attacked recently with an apoplectic fit, fell in the fire and was burned to death.

Sept. 20, 1883 – Evergreen newspapers reported that the Evergreen Academy had started upon a new career of usefulness and was an ornament to the community. Prof. Dargan, the principal, who had enjoyed the benefit of a large experience as an instructor in some of the best schools, collegiate and preparatory, in South Carolina, his native state, took charge of the academy in Evergreen one year before, and laid the foundation of the Evergreen Academy, which commended itself to the patronage of Conecuh and adjoining counties.

Sept. 20, 1887 – Rube Burrow, who would rob a train near Flomaton and eventually get gunned down in Linden, and his gang committed their fourth train robbery at Mary’s Creek near Benbrook, Texas when they robbed the evening train bound for Fort Worth.

Sept. 20, 1897 – A quarantine was declared by the health officials of the town and county against Mobile, Ala. on account of yellow fever. Later, train service between Flomaton and Repton was discontinued on account of sporadic cases of fever at or near Flomaton.

Sept. 20, 1902 - Jim Callaghan pitched the first no-hitter in Chicago White Sox history.

Sept. 20, 1902 – Poet and novelist Stevie Smith was born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull, Yorkshire, England.

Sept. 20, 1915 – The public school in Conecuh County, Alabama’s Mt. Zion community opened on this Monday with an enrollment of 40 pupils. W.F. Chandler of China was the principal, and Stella Mason of Wilcox County was assistant.

Sept. 20, 1918 – Colonel George S. Patton, 32, of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) wrote to his father from the Western Front in France, recounting his experiences during the American-led offensive against the Germans at Saint-Mihiel earlier that month.

Sept. 20, 1921 - KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa. started a daily radio newscast, one of the first in the U.S.

Sept. 20, 1922 – “Mr. Pugh” of the Conecuh County, Alabama’s Fairfield community killed a five-foot-long rattlesnake with 21 rattles on Bankston Creek.

Sept. 20, 1927 - Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season. He beat his own record of 59 that he set in 1921.

Sept. 20, 1928 – Poet, editor and literary critic Donald Hall was born in Hamden, Conn. He was named the 14th poet laureate of the United States in 2006.

Sept. 20, 1930 – Russian anthropologist and explorer Gombojab Tsybikov died at the age of 57 in Aginskoye, Buryat-Mongol ASSR, Soviet Union.

Sept. 20, 1931 – Huntsville, Ala. native Gabby Street made his final Major League Baseball appearance, taking the field for the St. Louis Cardinals

Sept. 20, 1935 – Pro Football Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor was born in Baton Rouge, La. He went on to play for LSU, the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.

Sept. 20, 1940 – Pensacola “Radio Stars” Tex Dunn and his Virginia Hillbillies were scheduled to perform at the Megargel (Ala.) School House on this Friday night. The event was sponsored by the PTA and included ice cream, drinks and sandwiches.

Sept. 20, 1942 – During the Holocaust at Letychiv, Ukraine, in the course of two days the German SS murdered at least 3,000 Jews.

Sept. 20, 1945 – American occultist, journalist, and explorer William Seabrook committed suicide by drug overdose at the age of 61 in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Sept. 20, 1950 – Army Cpl. Dixie Clay Pritchett, 25, of Clarke County, Ala. was killed in action in Korea while serving in the 7th Infantry RCT, 3rd Infantry Division. Born on Sept. 15, 1925, Pritchett was buried in the Arcola-Roseland Cemetery, at Arcola, Tangipahoa Parish in Louisiana. He was also a World War II veteran.

Sept. 20, 1951 – Excel High School beat Lyeffion High School, 20-0, in Monroeville, Ala.

Sept. 20, 1955 - Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs set a Major League Baseball record with his fifth grand slam of the year.

Sept. 20, 1957 – Evergreen High School beat Monroe County High School, 6-0, at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen, Ala. Robert Ellington scored Evergreen’s lone touchdown.

Sept. 20, 1966 – On this night, the Castleberry (Ala.) Gin Co. caught fire, but Evergreen firefighters responded to the fire and quickly brought the blaze under control, holding the damage to a minimum.

Sept. 20, 1966 – The Evergreen (Ala.) City Council granted Harry Ellis and Charles Burt, the owners of Miller Trading Co., a building permit to construct a building next door to its main store building on Cooper Street for the handling of bulk fertilizer.

Sept. 20, 1968 - Denny McClain of the Detroit Tigers became the first player to achieve 31 wins in 37 years.

Sept. 20-22, 1968 – The motion picture version of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” was scheduled to be shown at the Pix Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 20, 1968 - U.S. military spokesmen defended the use of defoliants in Vietnam at a news conference in Saigon, claiming that the use of the agents in selected areas of South Vietnam had neither appreciably altered the country’s ecology, nor produced any harmful effects on human or animal life.

Sept. 20, 1970 - Jim Morrison was found guilty, in Miami, Fla. of indecent exposure and profanity. He was acquitted on charges of "lewd and lascivious" behavior. The charges were related to a performance by the Doors.

Sept. 20, 1972 - The USAF revealed that U.S. planes had been mining the coastal rivers and canals of northern Quang Tri province below the DMZ, the first mining of waterways within South Vietnam.

Sept. 20, 1973 - Willie Mays announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

Sept. 20, 1973 – College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ronald McKinnon was born in Elba, Ala. He went on to play for the University of North Alabama, the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints.

Sept. 20, 1974 – Lyeffion High School, under veteran head coach Wendell Hart, beat previously unbeaten McKenzie High School, 13-0, in Lyeffion. Quarterback Raymond Brown scored both touchdowns on runs of five and 10 yards. Joey Garrett added an extra point.

Sept. 20, 1974 – In a “thriller” in Monroeville, Ala., Evergreen High School beat Monroe County High School, 8-7. Albert Stallworth scored on an eight-yard run for Evergreen, and the two-point conversion came on a pass from Mike Faulkner to Darris Champion. Other standout Evergreen players in that game included Marvin Williams, Pat Dawson and Willie Ingram. Standout Monroe County High Scholl players in that game included Willie Lett and Johnny Bartlett.

Sept. 20, 1974 – Macon Academy beat Sparta Academy, 35-20, in Tuskegee, Ala. Outstanding Sparta players in that game included Joe Andrews, Eddie Hooks, Bobby Johnson, Ronnie Pugh, Walker Scott and Sam Skipper. Richard Brown was Sparta’s head coach.

Sept. 20, 1977 – The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations.

Sept. 20, 1978 – The Henry-Beeland-Stanley House in Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Sept. 20, 1979 - The first episode of "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" aired on NBC.

Sept. 20, 1981 - Marcus Allen of the University of Southern California rushed for 274 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 21-0 victory over Indiana.

Sept. 20, 1982 - The NFL Players Association announced that a strike would begin at the completion of the Packers-Giants game on Monday night. The strike would last for 57 days.

Sept. 20, 1982 - The first episode of the television series “Madame's Place,” co-written by Alabama author Carter Crocker, was broadcast.

Sept. 20, 1984 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds recorded his 100th hit of the season. It was the 22nd consecutive season he had recorded at least 100 hits in a season.

Sept. 20, 1985 - Tommy Kramer of the Minnesota Vikings threw for 436 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-24 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Sept. 20, 1986 - Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres stole five bases in one game against Houston.

Sept. 20, 1987 - Walter Payton scored his 107th touchdown to break the NFL record held by Jim Brown.

Sept. 20, 1989 – Frank L. Rankins, 56, of Burnt Corn drowned in a family fish pond behind his brother’s house at Burnt Corn on this Wednesday night. Investigators believed that Rankins was fishing alone in a boat when he fell out while trying to retrieve a snagged hook and line. Sheriff’s Departments and Rescue Squads from Conecuh and Monroe counties responded to the incident, and Conecuh County Rescue Squad members found his body in about 10 feet of water a short time later. Born in Feb. 3, 1933, Rankins was buried in the New Hope AME Church Zion Cemetery in Burnt Corn in Conecuh County.

Sept. 20, 1993 - John Carney of the San Diego Chargers kicked six field goals to extend his consecutive field goal streak to 29 straight games. The Chargers beat the Houston Oilers, 18-17.

Sept. 20, 1996 – Sparta Academy improved to 3-1 on the season with a 7-6 win over Fort Dale-South Butler in Greenville, Ala. Lyle Bell led Sparta’s offense with 88 yards on 21 carries.

Sept. 20, 1996 – Monroe County High School’s Bucky Busby kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:12 left in the game to give Monroe a 17-16 win over Hillcrest-Evergreen in Monroeville.

Sept. 20, 1996 – Joe Hyde officially retired from The Evergreen Courant after 53 years. He was hired to work at the paper in 1943 by R.G. Bozeman Sr. and saw the paper go from hand set type to the computer era.

Sept. 20, 1998 - Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles ended his record streak of playing in 2,632 games. He had played in every game since May 30, 1982.

Sept. 20, 2001 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a "War on Terror."

Sept. 20, 2002 - Tom Gamboa, coach of the Kansas City Royals, was attacked by a man and his son while he was standing near first base. The two fans were arrested and charged with battery.

Sept. 20, 2013 – Bubba’s BBQ in Evergreen was scheduled to be featured on WSFA’s “County Road 12” segment on this Friday at 6 p.m. TV news anchor Judd Davis and cameraman Jeff Harrison interviewed Bubba’s owner Pat Poole for two hours on Sept. 17 during a visit to the restaurant.

Sept. 20, 2014 – Excel’s Mini Mites improved to 4-0 with a 26-0 win over Flomaton at Panther Stadium in Excel, Ala.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

100-year-old news highlights from The Wilcox Progressive Era

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Sept. 19, 1918 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

The town election was so quiet that the average citizen did not know it was election day. Not a vote was cast. What do you know about that?

The Wilcox Hotel, which has been under the management of Mrs. W.A. McLean, has been leased to Mr. Shanks of Montgomery, who now has charge of same.

GINNERS REPORT: There were 1,551 bales of cotton, counting round as half bales, ginned in Wilcox County from the crop of 1918, as compared with 485 bales ginned to Sept. 1, 1917. – C.S. Dale, Agent.

The Thomasville Echo suspended publication last week, owing to lack of support by local advertisers. The Echo was a well edited paper and we hope will resume publication.

We would like to get all the data relative to our boys who are at the front. Tell us all your boy is doing and some day these isolated facts will be material in the history of Wilcox in the Great War.

The cotton crop would soon be out of the fields if the farmers could get pickers. The staple is good price and if he has raised food and feed in plenty can sit back, cross his legs and enjoy looking at the bonds he should buy with his cotton money.

Mr. R.S. Capell has accepted a position with Duke Brothers.

Mr. H.N. Jones has accepted a position with Matthews Hardware Co.

The following schools opened in different parts of the county Monday: McWilliams, Furman, Capel, Oak Grove and Lamison.

Mr. John Duke of Mobile is visiting his home folks here. He is suffering from injuries resulting from a bicycle accident, but his many friends are glad to know that he is improving.

Supt. W.J. Edwards of Snow Hill Institute was in Camden the past week enlisting the endorsement of the white citizens in his efforts to have his school designated as a military training school. He hopes that the war department will permit the Wilcox colored draftees to secure their military training in Wilcox. He had quite a number of white signatures to his petition and we trust he will succeed.

Hon. N.D. Godbold left Tuesday for Washington, where he went to urge the government to designate the Snow Hill Institute as a military training center. If this is accomplished it means that over 500 colored draftees will be kept in Wilcox. The Snow Hill Institute is recognized as one of the leading Negro schools of the state and should easily secure the establishment of this training department.

John Milton Dannelly Jr., son of Rev J.M. Dannelly, pastor of St. Francis Street Methodist Church, has been commissioned a first lieutenant and is now on his way overseas, according to information contained in a letter to his father.
Lt. Dannelly has just reached his majority and was commissioned a second lieutenant at Camp Wadsworth. He then went to Harvard, where he took a French course, and later went to Camp Wadsworth, where he won a commission.

Was Wilcox County man the 'world's oldest living Confederate veteran'?

Battle of Malvern Hill.

An extremely old Wilcox County man made national headlines in 1899 when it was reported that he was likely the oldest living Confederate veteran in the entire world.

News that 108-year-old Seymour Garner of Wilcox County was likely the world’s oldest living Confederate veteran was reported in newspapers across the country in 1899, including newspapers in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and elsewhere.

For example, in the Nov. 9, 1899 edition of The Manitowoc Pilot newspaper in Wisconsin, it was reported that “Seymour Garner of Wilcox County, Alabama is 108 years old and claims to be the oldest Confederate veteran.” Around that same time, The Anderson Intelligencer of Anderson Court House, S.C. reported that “perhaps the oldest Confederate soldier in the world is Seymour Garner, who lives in Wilcox County, Ala. Though 108 years old, he is still alert and remarkably well-preserved.”

According to old Civil War records, Seymour S. Garner was a native of Alabama, who worked much of his life as a farmer. He enlisted early in the war on July 6, 1861 and served as a private in Co. A of the 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Records also reflect that he was “severely wounded” at the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862 and was discharged due to those wounds. A couple of years after the war ended, Garner married Nancy Thornley on April 5, 1867.

I have to admit that when I first read the old 1899 news items about Garner’s age, I had my doubts about their accuracy. If you take them at face value, Garner would have to have had been born around 1791 to have been 108 years old in 1899. If that’s true, then Garner would have been around 70 years old in 1861, the year that the Civil War began.

He would have been around 71 years old when wounded in battle and around 76 when he married Nancy Thornley. The fact that Garner married Thornley at such an advanced age was a type of marriage that was not unheard of in the years after the Civil War. Many women lost husbands in the war and were looking to remarry. Also, many young women married older veterans in hopes of receiving his war pension.

Garner did file for a pension on May 16, 1895 and that document reflects that he was 95 years old at that time. This is the first real clue that I found that indicated that Garner may not have been 108 years old in 1899. If the pension record is correct, he would have been around 99 years old in 1899 – still very old, but not 108 years old.

In an attempt to settle the question over Garner’s real age, I looked for records related to his death and burial. More than likely, his tombstone would probably give his correct date of birth and date of death. However, despite my best efforts, I was unable to find Garner’s grave or the grave of his wife.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone in the reading audience with more information about Garner and his Civil War exploits. If anyone out there knows the date that he died, that’ll help me find his obituary, which should help clear up some of the questions about his no-doubt interesting life. Who knows, maybe he truly was the world’s oldest living Confederate in 1899.