Thursday, March 31, 2016

Evergreen, Alabama celebrated its 141st 'birthday' this past Monday

City of Evergreen historical marker at L&N Depot.
Monday, March 28, was a significant day in the history of Evergreen in that it marked the 141st anniversary of the City of Evergreen’s official incorporation. In other words, it was the city’s birthday.

According to the historical marker that was placed in front of the Old L&N Depot in downtown Evergreen by the city and the Alabama Tourism Department in October 2010, the City of Evergreen was officially incorporated as a municipality on March 28, 1875. However, the marker also mentions that what is now called Evergreen was originally settled in 1819 by James Cosey, George Andrews and the Clough (or “Cluff”) brothers. At that time, Evergreen was known as “Cosey’s Old Field.”

According to B.F. Riley’s 1881 book, “History of Conecuh County, Alabama,” what is now Evergreen was a “tangled wildwood, reveling in dense thickets of briar and cane, with the jungles infested by the native deer, wolf, bear and wildcat. The tiny streams, that still wind their way through different portions of the village, were then strongly barricaded on either side, with impenetrable brakes of cane. And such was the nature of the soil, which skirted the streams, that it was peril to man or beast to tread upon it.”

When Cosey, an old soldier from Georgia who’d been wounded in the Revolutionary War, and the Cluff brothers, also from Georgia, first arrived, they located within what’s now Evergreen’s city limits, but Andrews, who was from South Carolina, pitched a tent on a hill beyond a small branch west of Evergreen. Other settlers soon followed with their families, including William Jones Sr. of Georgia and George Foote of South Carolina.

“Living contiguous to the vast swamps which border Murder Creek, this settlement was peculiarly exposed to the inroads of the bear, the wildcat, the deer and turkey,” Riley wrote in his book. “The bear and wildcat preying upon the pigs, and the less offensive deer and turkey riotously assailing the ripening grain of autumn.”

Conditions began to improve in the young town as more settlers moved in, including Blanton P. Box, Chesley Crosby, John Crosby, Benjamin Hart, Nathan Godbold, Garland Goode, Churchill Jones, Jephtha V. Perryman, James Tomlinson, Nicholas Stallworth and the Reverend Alexander Travis, who was the uncle of William Barrett Travis, from the famous Battle of the Alamo.

The Rev. Alexander Travis is credited with changing the name from Cosey’s Old Field to Evergreen. Early citizens wanted to name the town after Perryman, but he declined the honor and Travis recommended that they call the town Evergreen because the “verdant foliage that abounded.”

In those days, Sparta was the county seat, but the county seat was moved to Evergreen in 1866 after much of Sparta was burned during the Civil War. Prior to the Civil War, Belleville and Sparta were both larger than Evergreen, but the completion of the Mobile & Montgomery Railroad, which later became the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, changed all that.

It goes without saying that much has changed in Evergreen since those early days, but the city has managed to maintain much of its early charm. Its residents still enjoy a laid back atmosphere, and, for the most part, folks get along just fine. Only time will tell if the city will hold a special event in 2019 to mark the 200th anniversary of Evergreen’s first settlement or if they’ll have something in 2025 to mark the 150th anniversary of the city’s incorporation.

Frank Shaughnessy was the inventor of the Shaughnessy playoff system

While preparing for one of my recent Sports Flashback features, I ran across a sports-related term that I had never heard before, that is, a Shaughnessy playoff.

To find out what it meant, I do what almost all of us do nowadays, I Googled it. According to the results, this playoff system is used to determine a champion in a sports league that isn’t divided into separate divisions. Invented in 1933 by baseball manager and executive Frank Shaughnessy, this playoff system pits the top four teams in the final league standings in a single elimination tournament.

In the first round, the first and fourth place teams play each other and the second and third place teams play each other. The winners of those two games, play each other in the finals to determine the overall champion.

Shaughnessy was a pretty interesting guy. Born in Illinois in 1884, he went on to play football and baseball at Notre Dame before moving on to a professional baseball career with the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) and the Philadelphia Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics). Later, he became the general manager of the Montreal Royals minor league baseball team, and during that time he invented the Shaughnessy playoff system.

This playoff system became popular and has since been widely used by minor league baseball leagues for years and years. Later, it even spread to other sports leagues, including several now-defunct American professional and minor league football leagues.

Many of you will remember reading in one of my recent Sports Flashback features, that in August of 1957, the Conecuh County Amateur Baseball League used the Shaughnessy playoff system to determine its champion. However, the story in The Courant mentions that this playoff was also a round robin series, which implies that each team played all the others in turn. In other words, they used some variation of the old Shaughnessy system.

Plus, the 1957 Conecuh County Amateur Baseball League playoff also appears to have involved more than just four teams. At the end of the regular season, Evergreen was in first place, Garland was in second, Paul was in third, Castleberry was in fourth, Red Level was in fifth and Lyeffion was in sixth.

In the finals, Lyeffion, the sixth-place team, was facing Castleberry, the fourth place team. In a true Shaughnessy playoff, Lyeffion and Red Level would not have been eligible for competition.

Another thing that I found odd about the 1957 Conecuh County Amateur Baseball League playoffs was the fact that the finals were scheduled to be played in Brewton, which didn’t have a team in the league. While I don’t know, it is possible, but probably not likely, that Castleberry played its home games in Brewton during that particular season.

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Before I close this thing out this week, I want to give my revised NCAA men’s basketball tournament predictions. This coming Saturday, I look for Villanova to beat Oklahoma and for North Carolina to beat Syracuse. That will set up a showdown in the finals between Villanova and North Carolina, and if that comes to pass, I look for the Tar Heels to win it all.

Today in History for March 31, 2016

Knute Rockne
March 31, 1596 – Philosopher Rene Descartes, who has been called the “Father of Modern Philosophy,” was born in La Haye en Touraine, France.

March 31, 1621 – Poet Andrew Marvell was born in Winestead, England.

March 31, 1774 – During the American Revolution, the Kingdom of Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

March 31, 1776 - Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John that women were "determined to foment a rebellion" if the new Declaration of Independence failed to guarantee their rights.

March 31, 1790 - Thomas Bigelow died in prison. He had been imprisoned for failure to pay his debts even though he had earned 23,000 acres of land for his military service.

March 31, 1809 - Ukrainian-born Russian humorist, novelist, and dramatist Nikolai Gogol was born in the Cossack village of Sorochintsy. He is best known for his 1842 novel, “Dead Souls.”

March 31, 1810 – Old Bassett’s Creek Baptist Church, the second oldest Baptist church in the state, was established near Walker Springs in Clarke County, Ala.

March 31, 1825 – During his historic tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived at the Fort Mitchell crossing of the Chattahoochee River, where he was welcomed by, among others, General Sam Dale, hero of the “Canoe Fight” near Claiborne. Because Lafayette entered Alabama in what was technically Creek territory, General Thomas S. Woodward, who was himself part Creek, led an Indian escort through the region. After staying overnight at the fort, they begin their route west to Montgomery via military escort through Creek territory.

March 31, 1826 – The steamboat “Herald” broke the Henderson’s record for fastest trip from Mobile to Montgomery, Ala.

March 31, 1831 – An arrest warrant was issued for the heavily indebted William B. Travis at Claiborne, Ala.

March 31, 1836 – The first monthly installment of Charles Dickens’ first novel, “The Pickwick Papers,” was published under the pseudonym Boz.

March 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishing between Rebels and Union forces took place at Island 10 on the Mississippi River.

March 31, 1865 - Union troops under the command of General James H. Wilson destroyed the Brierfield Ironworks, which was located between Centreville and Montevallo, Ala. The facility was established in 1862 with the construction of a 36-foot-high brick blast furnace. In 1863, the works were sold, along with nine slaves, to the Confederacy for $600,000, making it the only ironworks owned by the Confederacy. The iron produced at the site was shipped to the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, where it was fashioned into cannon and plate armor.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, Federal forces occupied Asbyville, Ala. A skirmish was also fought at Montevallo and at Six Mile Creek, Ala. Major General Steele’s column also reached Stockton, Ala.

March 31, 1865 - Fighting occurred at White Oak Road and the Dinwiddie Court House.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, the Battle of White Oak Road (also known as The Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Gravelly Run, Boydton Plank Road and White Oak Ridge) was fought at the end of the Petersburg, Va. line near Dinwiddie Court House. During the battle, Union General Philip Sheridan moved against the left flank of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, near Dinwiddie Court House. The limited action set the stage for the Battle of Five Forks, Va. on the following day. The 59th Alabama Infantry Regiment, of which Lewis Lavon Peacock was a member, lost a number of men in this battle.

March 31, 1889 – The Eiffel Tower was officially opened with a dedication ceremony. The world's tallest building until 1930, when it was surpassed by New York City's Chrysler Building, the Tower was almost demolished in 1909 when its land lease expired.

March 31, 1894 – Drs. J.F. Busey, W.L. Abernathy and G.L. Lambert, all of Monroe County, Ala. were granted diplomas by the Alabama Medical College.

March 31, 1906 – The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later the National Collegiate Athletic Association) was established to set rules for college sports in the United States.

March 31, 1909 – Construction of the ill fated RMS Titanic began.

March 31, 1914 – Alabama Congressional Representative Richmond P. Hobson, who received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish-American War, spoke before a large crowd at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala.

March 31, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the basketball team in the Effie community was “progressing nicely at present.”

March 31, 1917 – The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renamed the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

March 31, 1918 – Daylight saving time went into effect in the United States for the first time.

March 31, 1930 – The Motion Picture Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film, in the U.S. for the next 38 years.

March 31, 1931 – TWA Flight 599 crashed near Bazaar, Kansas killing eight, including University of Notre Dame head football coach Knute Rockne.

March 31, 1933 – The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment in the United States.

March 31, 1933 - The "Soperton News" in Georgia became the first newspaper to publish using a pine pulp paper.

March 31, 1936 – Poet and novelist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit.

March, 31, 1943 – “Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway.

March 31, 1945 - "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.

March 31, 1947 – Evergreen’s Fat Calf Show was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Stock Yard in Evergreen, Ala. and guest speakers were to include Alabama Gov. “Big Jim” Folsom. The event was sponsored by the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Extension Service and Vocational Ag. Dept. and was open to 4-H Club Boys & Girls, FFA and FHA memers. The event was to include a formal dedication of the Conecuh Producer’s Cooperative, and special music was to be provided by the Maxwell Field Band.

March 31, 1950 – NFL running back Ed Marinaro was born in New York City. He went on to play at Cornell, the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks.

March 31, 1950 - A radio version of Alabama author T. S. Stribling's story "Green Splotches" was broadcast as part of the “Escape” series.

March 31, 1951 – The Remington Rand Corporation signed a contract to deliver the first UNIVAC computer to the U.S. Census Bureau. UNIVAC I (which stands for Universal Automatic Computer) took up 350 square feet of floor space - about the size of a one-car garage - and was the first American commercial computer. It was designed for the rapid and relatively simple arithmetic calculation of numbers needed by businesses, rather than the complex calculations required of the sciences.

March 31, 1954 – Evergreen High School wrapped up spring football practice with a “Green and Red” intrasquad game at 7:30 p.m. at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.

March 31, 1965 - Responding to questions from reporters about the situation in Vietnam, President Johnson said, “I know of no far-reaching strategy that is being suggested or promulgated.” Early in the month, Johnson had sent 3,500 Marines to Da Nang to secure the U.S. airbase there. These troops were ostensibly there only for defensive purposes, but Johnson, despite his protestations to the contrary, was already considering giving the authorization for the U.S. troops to go from defensive to offensive tactics. This was a sensitive area, since such an authorization could (and did) lead to escalation in the war and a subsequent increase in the American commitment to it.

March 31, 1967 – The annual Miss Evergreen Pageant was held in Evergreen, Ala. The pageant was sponsored by the Evergreen High School Band Boosters.

March 31, 1968 - Seattle chose the nickname “Pilots” for their new Amearican League baseball franchise.

March 31, 1968 - In a televised speech to the nation, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced a partial halt of bombing missions over North Vietnam and proposes peace talks. He said he had ordered “unilaterally” a halt to air and naval bombardments of North Vietnam “except in the area north of the Demilitarized Zone, where the continuing enemy build-up directly threatens Allied forward positions.” He also stated that he was sending 13,500 more troops to Vietnam and would request further defense expenditures–$2.5 billion in fiscal year 1968 and $2.6 billion in fiscal year 1969–to finance recent troop build-ups, re-equip the South Vietnamese Army, and meet “responsibilities in Korea.” In closing, Johnson shocked the nation with an announcement that all but conceded that his own presidency had become another wartime casualty: “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

March 31, 1972 - The Major League Baseball Players Association voted to go on strike on April 1.

March 31, 1972 - After firing more than 5,000 rockets, artillery, and mortar shells on 12 South Vietnamese positions just below the Demilitarized Zone, the North Vietnamese Army launched ground assaults against South Vietnamese positions in Quang Tri Province. The attacks were thrown back, with 87 North Vietnamese killed. South Vietnamese fire bases Fuller, Mai Loc, Holcomb, Pioneer, and two smaller bases near the Demilitarized Zone were abandoned as the North Vietnamese pushed the defenders back toward their rear bases. At the same time, attacks against three bases west of Saigon forced the South Vietnamese to abandon six outposts along the Cambodian border.

March 31, 1981 – The organizational meeting Conecuh County’s “New Courthouse Committee,” which was formed by the Conecuh County Commission to study and make recommendations regarding the construction of a new county courthouse, was held. Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key was the committee’s chairman and other members of the committee included William D. Melton, David L. Burt Jr., Larry Fluker, Richard Rabb, Robert Floyd, Lee F. Smith, W.J. Barlow, Billy Mims, Alton Johnson, Oliver Pugh, Aubrey D. Padgett, Judge Frank T. Salter, Anne T. Cook, Elizabeth W. Salter, Prather N. Smith and Willene Whatley.

March 31, 1988 - The staff of the Alabama Journal were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting for their investigation into infant mortality in Alabama.

March 31, 1994 – The journal “Nature” reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.

March 31, 1995 – The longest strike in Major League Baseball history ended as players were sent back to work. Because of the strike, the 1994 World Series was cancelled. It was the first time baseball did not crown a champion in 89 years.

March 31, 1998 - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks debuted in the major leagues.

March 31, 1998 - Pokey Reese of the Cincinnati Reds tied a major league record when he had four errors on opening day.

March 31, 1999 - The sci-fi film “The Matrix,” with its influential mix of cyberpunk, anime, postmodernism, and metaphysics opened on this day.

March 31, 2003 - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the season opener between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

March 31, 2003 - U.S. military officials accused Geraldo Rivera of disclosing unauthorized military movements. Rivera had outlined military movements in the dirt while embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.

March 31, 2003 - NBC fired Peter Arnett after he gave an unauthorized interview with state-run Iraqi TV. During the interview Arnett said that the American-led war effort had initially failed because of Iraqi resistance.

March 31, 2004 – In Fallujah, Iraq, four American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA were killed after being ambushed.

March 31, 2004 - NFL owners adopted a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebrations. The penalty was added to the fines previously in place for choreographed and multiplayer celebrations. Also, if the infraction was flagrant the player would be ejected. The previous day the owners had instituted a modified instant replay system for five years.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., March 31, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.70 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 1.70 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 15.05 inches

Notes: Today in the 91st day of 2016 and the 12th day of Spring. There are 275 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, March 30, 2016

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for March 30, 2016

MARCH 28, 1974

Local weather observer Earl Windham reported 0.1 inches of rain on March 4, 0.2 inches on March 12, 1.2 inches on March 18 and 0.8 inches on March 21. He reported a high of 82 degrees on March 20 and lows of 38 degrees on March 17 and March 22.

Evergreen Police Chief James “Pappy” Ellis will turn the reins over to Russell Phillips when he retires Sunday. The popular chief is retiring after a career that saw him rise from “meter maid” to head of the police department. He will be honored Friday at a prayer breakfast.

It will be Chief Russell Phillips come Monday. The retired State Trooper Sergeant and former police chief at McIntosh will succeed Chief James Ellis who is retiring March 31. Phillips has been on duty with the Evergreen Police Department since March 1 to get familiar with the city and department personnel.

Phillip Harold Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Harold, Evergreen, an eighth-grade student, was winner of the spelling bee held at Marshall Middle School. Phillip, whose mother is the former Laurice Adams, will compete in the state finals in Birmingham on May 4 in a contest sponsored by The Birmingham Post-Herald.

Officer James R. Taylor of the Evergreen Police Dept. is attending the ninth session of the Southwest Alabama Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy at Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette.

MARCH 26, 1959

Youngsters to show fine cattle April 20: Plans are proceeding for the annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show to be held April 20. Assistant County Agent John Horne, J.H. Witherington and W.S. Coker are organizing a committee to stage the 13th annual show.
The committee will take the place of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce as sponsors of the show. The local Jaycees founded the show in 1947 and had sponsored it each year since, but the group disbanded last fall.
County youngsters are feeding out some 40 beef calves to enter in the show. Horne states that a number of these will grade prime and that the top calves may be the best in the history of the show.
The show will have no financial troubles as county residents have already provided funds for it through their gifts to the United Fund of Conecuh County.
The show usually draws a large crowd and the auction sale following it is one of the best of the year. County cattlemen usually sell a number of fed animals at this sale.
The Conecuh County Fat Calf Show is considered the best county show in the state and rate favorably with the district shows. The show will again be held at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyards and will be followed by the sale.

Firm Records Song By Local Composer: The Star-Crest Recording Company of Hollywood, Calif. announces that it is considering for recording and national album release a song written by a local composer.
The composer is Miss Lucile Ross of 114 Belleville St. Her song is “Separation: Two Friends Part.”

George Ashcraft will serve as president of the Evergreen High School Parent-Teacher Association during the 1959-1960 school year. He and other officers were elected at the regular meeting of the PTA Tuesday night.
Elected to serve with Ashcraft were: Mrs. Ruby Moses, vice-president; Percy Brantley, treasurer; and Mrs. W.J. Millsap, secretary.

MARCH 30, 1944

Dr. H.H. Kendrick, former citizen of Evergreen, died suddenly at his home in Montgomery Saturday evening about 7 p.m. His death was said to have been caused from heart ailment. He had worked all day at his office and was taken ill shortly after arriving home, the end coming soon after he was stricken.
Dr. Kendrick practiced his profession of dentistry here for a number of years before going to Montgomery more than 20 years ago. Prior to his residence here, he lived in Greenville for a time.

Aviation Cadet Harry L. Johnston, son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin L. Johnston of Owassa, Ala., has completed approximately one-third of his Pilot Training and will soon report to an Air Corps Basic Flying School in Newport, Ark. for the intermediate phase of his flying training.
Before entering the Air Corps, Cadet Johnston attended Evergreen High School; Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn, Ala.; and the 55th College Training Detachment, Gettysburg, Pa. Cadet Johnston was accepted as aviation cadet at Montgomery, Ala., in March 1943.

Ensign R.G. Kendall Jr. will leave Friday for Hollywood, Fla., where he goes for training.

PIX THEATRE – A Martin-Ray Theatre – Evergreen, Alabama: Sunday, April 9th – “Son of Dracula” – Robert Paige, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney.

MARCH 28, 1929

BERRY SEASON OPENS AS 1ST CRATES ARRIVED: Movement of Conecuh County strawberries by express started with a rush this week with the advent of warm weather and its continuation will likely mean that cars will begin moving sometime next week.
The first full crates came in to both Evergreen and Castleberry Monday. Steve Howard brought and shipped to Birmingham, Evergreen’s first crate while at Castleberry, R.B. Findley started the season off with four crates which were brought by G.T. Young and also shipped to Birmingham.

LOCAL TROOP RETURNS FROM FLOOD DUTIES: Concluding a 10-day stay in the Brewton-Flomaton flood zone, members of Evergreen’s national guard company, Troop C, 55th Machine Gun squadron, returned home late Monday to receive the praises of the commander, Capt. W.D. Lewis, for duty well performed.
The company left Evergreen Saturday, arrived in Brewton Saturday afternoon where headquarters was maintained until Tuesday, then moved on to Flomaton where they remained until Monday.
During the stay in the area, the major tasks of the troop were feeding 3,334 people, guard and patrol duty to prevent pilfering and looting, establishing contact with the outside world, dispatching emergency cases for the Red Cross and doing needful buying.

The northbound and southbound crews which are clearing and grading for the Evergreen-Castleberry highway will meet in about 30 days, according to estimate Tuesday by W.L. Flaughter, resident engineer of the state highway department.

MARCH 26, 1914

A northern gentleman, who is spending some time in Evergreen, says he saw the first shot fired on Fort Sumter.

1,482,254 bales of cotton were ginned in Alabama from the 1913 crop, 19,295 bales were ginned in Conecuh County, which was 1,376 more bales than was ginned in the county from the 1912 crop.

C.F. Archer has recently added a picture framing department to his photo gallery, where he will be permanently located. Archer does viewing, copying and enlarging. If you have an old, faded tintype, bring it. He will make it new.

Commencement exercises of Effie school, Tues. evening, March 31. Everybody cordially invited. Admission 25 cents and 15 cents.

S.L. Witherington of China was in the city Wednesday.

John Deming, who has been attending school at Marion for the past three months, returned home Thursday on a short vacation.

Today in History for March 30, 2016

CSA General Samuel Maxey
March 30, 240 BC - Chinese astronomers first recorded the passage of Halley's Comet.

March 30, 1775 - Britain's King George III formally endorsed the New England Restraining Act, which required New England colonies to trade exclusively with Great Britain as of July 1.

March 30, 1817 – Richard Thomas Baggett, who was said to have been the first child born to white settlers in Conecuh County, Ala., was born on the Baggett family farm, NE 1/4 Section 4, Township 4 North, Range 10 East.

March 30, 1820 – Author Anna Sewell was born in Yarmouth, England. She wrote “Black Beauty” in 1877.

March 30, 1822 - Florida became a U.S. territory.

March 30, 1825 - Confederate General Samuel Maxey was born in Tompkisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War, Maxey served in the West and led Native Americans troops in Indian Territory.

March 30, 1853 – Painter Vincent Van Gogh was born in Zundert, Holland.

March 30, 1855 – About 5,000 "Border Ruffians" from western Missouri invaded the territory of Kansas and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature. It was the first election in Kansas.

March 30, 1858 – Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil to have an attached eraser.

March 30, 1861 – Jephtha Vining Perryman passed away at the age of 63. He served as a legislator, judge and education superintendent in Conecuh County, Ala.

March 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on Wilmington Island and Whitemarsh Island, Ga.; and in the vicinity of Clinton, Mo. The Federal occupation of Union City, Tenn. began.

March 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Cross Hollow, Ark.; in the Indian Territory at Tahlequah; in the vicinity of Somerset, Ky., at Dutton’s Hill; in Vernon County, Mo., at a place knows as “The Island”; at Washington, Deep Gully and Rodman’s Point, N.C.; at Zoar Church, Va.; and in the vicinity of Point Pleasant. West Virginia.

March 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, a Federal reconnaissance began from Woodville, Ala.

March 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Mount Elba, Ark.; at Snyder’s Bluff, Miss.; at Cherry Grove, N.C.; and at Greenton, Mo. A Federal reconnaissance operation inclusive of Columbus, Clinton and Moscow, Ky. began. A three-day Federal reconnaissance from Lookout Valley, Tenn. to McLemore’s Cove, Ga. also began. Other reconnaissance missions were conducted around Woodville and Athens, Ala.

March 30, 1865 - General James H. Wilson detached Gen. John T. Croxton's brigade to destroy all Confederate property at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Wilson's forces captured a Confederate courier, found to be carrying dispatches from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest describing the strengths and dispositions of his scattered forces. Wilson sent a brigade to destroy the bridge across the Cahaba River at Centreville, which cut off most of Forrest's reinforcements from reaching the area. He began a running fight with Forrest's forces that did not end until after the fall of Selma.

March 30, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Montevallo, Ala.

March 30, 1865 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal operation starting from Baton Rouge and including Clinton and Comite River, La. began, and a skirmish was fought at Patterson’s Creek, West Virginia.

March 30, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Five Forks and along the line of Hatcher’s Run and Gravelly Run, Va. Just as the final campaign was declared underway, heavy rains began around Petersburg, Va. Phil Sheridan was working to get the right flank offensive organized. Gen. Humphreys got his Second Corps into a dustup at Hatcher’s Run, near Five Forks. Warren’s Fifth Corps, on the other hand, got into a similar skirmish in an area known as Gravelly Run. The Union men were encountering less resistance as Lee pulled men back to reinforce the southwest side as a possible escape route.

March 30, 1867 – Alaska was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million, about two cents per acre, by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.

March 30, 1870 - The 15th amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, was passed by the U.S. Congress.

March 30, 1870 – Texas was readmitted to the Union following Reconstruction.

March 30, 1880 – Playwright Sean O’Casey was born in Dublin, Ireland.

March 30, 1905 - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was chosen to mediate in the Russo-Japanese peace talks.

March 30, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that the law firm of Wiggins, Hybart & Bayles had been dissolved, and the firm of Bayles, Hybart & Burns had taken its place. Jno. M. Burns, the new member, was from Selma, Ala., where he had practiced law for eight years, including two years as Selma’s City Attorney.

March 30, 1911 – An unidentified man, about 24 years old, was killed by a freight train near the depot in Evergreen at about 9 p.m. He is supposed to have been stealing a ride and fell from the train. The wheels passed over his body, severing it in the middle. On his arm was tattooed the name John Hartley South Wales.

March 30, 1911 – The Conecuh Record reported that the City Grocery had installed a large, up-to-date refrigerator, the first of its kind in Evergreen, Ala. It held up to 500 pounds of ice and was used for perishable goods like butter, cheese and berries.

March 30, 1915 – Shorly after noon, Lydia Peacock, who was pregnant, was “instantly killed” by a bolt of lightning at her home near Wilcox Station, Ala. She had been on the back porch and when returning to the kitchen, lightning struck the house, killing her. The bolt also shattered a column and pillar under the porch and killed a dog nearby in the yard.

March 30, 1915 – Around 10 p.m., the “worst rain and hail storm that (Conecuh) County has ever known” passed through the Johnstonville community. The storm lasted almost 10 minutes, and the hailstones were about the size of small eggs. Nearly all the leaves were stripped from the trees, gardens were practically ruined and all windows not protected by blinds were broken.

March 30, 1916 – The Conecuh Record report that 4,954 bales of cotton were ginned in Conecuh County, Ala. in 1915, which was 12,302 bales short of the 1914 crop.

March 30, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge Thomas W. Davis of Thomasville, Ala., a candidate for circuit judge, was a visitor to Monroeville during the previous week.

March 30, 1923 – The baseball team at the State Secondary Agricultural School was scheduled to play Brewton at 3:15 p.m. at Gantt’s Field in Evergreen, Ala.

March 30, 1939 – “Detective Comics” No. 27 was released, introducing Batman.

March 30, 1945 – Top Sgt. James Freeman, a graduate of Evergreen (Ala.) High School, was killed in action in Germany. Freeman, who’d been in the Army for about 10 years, was a paratrooper and had only been overseas for about a month when he was killed.

March 30, 1946 – About 400 people attended Conecuh County, Alabama’s first fat calf show at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard in Evergreen. Dan Brown was Grand Champion, and Johnnie Nielson was the Reserve Grand Champion.

March 30, 1946 – “St. Louis Woman,” a musical version of Alabama author Arna Bontemps's book “God Sends Sunday,” opened on Broadway.

March 30, 1965 - A bomb exploded in a car parked in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, virtually destroying the building and killing 19 Vietnamese, two Americans, and one Filipino; 183 others were injured. Congress quickly appropriated $1 million to reconstruct the embassy. Although some U.S. military leaders advocated special retaliatory raids on North Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson refused.

March 30, 1966 – Army Sgt. Elmer Jack Taylor of Atmore, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.

March 30, 1967 - The cover of the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was staged and photographed.

March 30, 1971 – An organizational meeting for a proposed Civitan Club in Evergreen, Ala. was held at 6:30 a.m. at Jimmie’s Restaurant. The Andalusia Civitan Club was sponsoring the proposed club in Evergreen.

March 30, 1972 – A major coordinated communist offensive opened with the heaviest military action since the sieges of Allied bases at Con Thien and Khe Sanh in 1968. Committing almost their entire army to the offensive, the North Vietnamese launched a massive three-pronged attack into South Vietnam. Four North Vietnamese divisions attacked directly across the Demilitarized Zone in Quang Tri province. Thirty-five South Vietnamese soldiers died in the initial attack and hundreds of civilians and soldiers were wounded.

March 30, 1976 – Actress Jessica Cauffiel was born in Detroit, Mich.

March 30, 1981 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley Jr. Another two people were wounded at the same time.

March 30, 1984 – County music’s Hank Locklin was scheduled to perform at the Eighth Annual Sparta Academy Talent Show and Contest in Evergreen, Ala.

March 30, 1988 - The movie “Beetlejuice,” story by and screenplay cowritten by Alabama author Robert McDowell, was released.

March 30, 1989 – The Gee’s Bend Farms Community School in Gee’s Bend in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

March 30, 1989 – The Rawls House in Enterprise, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

March 30, 1993 - In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown hit his first home run.

March 30, 2004 - NFL owners approved a modified version of the instant replay system for five years. They added a third coaches' challenge if the first two were successful.

March 30, 2008 - U.S. President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at the Washington National's new stadium, Nationals Park.

March 30, 2010 – German SS officer Martin Sandberger died at the age of 98 in Stuttgart, Germany.

March 30, 2013 – Former University of Alabama quarterback, assistant coach and athletics director Mal Moore, a native of Dozier, Ala., died at the age of 73 in Durham, N.C.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., March 30, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.70 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 1.70 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 15.05 inches

Notes: Today in the 90th day of 2016 and the 11th day of Spring. There are 276 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, March 29, 2016

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for March 29, 2016

MARCH 28, 1974

The Conecuh County High School Blue Devils will field a football team this Fall for the first time since the late 1930s. The Devils will play Repton and Frisco City in a jamboree at the Repton High Bulldog Field at seven o’clock Saturday night. The team and coaches are Randy Chavers, Eddie Ryals, Chris Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gerald Anderson, J.W. Monk, Bill Baker, Johnny Godwin, Stan Pate, Keith Merritt, Michael Gantt, Eddie Garner, Willie Jones, Angelo Dees, Duncan Smith, Carl Sanders, Michael Sims, Phillip Etheridge, Wendell Kast, Ricky Godwin, William Ryals, Paul Ellis, Donnie Green, Rusty Bethune, Johnny Chavers, Homer Holland, Dennis Darby, Bill Godwin, Steve Pate, Hugh Bradford, Floyd Coleman, Bobby Barnes, Wade Wilcox, Donnie Laster, Royce Baker, Rusty Wilson, Ricky Reeves and Andy Pate.

Alvis Griffin killed this fine gobbler on the opening day of the spring turkey hunting season Wednesday of last week. The bird weighed 18-3/4 pounds and had an 8-3/4 inch beard.

Olen Brooks, son of Mrs. Ida Woods, formerly of Evergreen, was saluted by the Southern Star paper of Lansing, Mich. He participates in major sports which include basketball, football, track and wrestling. He wants to go to Southern California to play football.
During the wrestling season, Olen won three of his matches. He wrestled at 155 pounds. His shortest pin took him 26 seconds and the longest four minutes. Olen came in third in the City Meet.

MARCH 28, 1929

Dr. Hawthorn Tells Of “Wonder” Cage Team: A story of how a basketball team from Joes, Colorado, a town of two or three stores and a population of 40, won the 1929 state high school championship of Colorado is told by Dr. H.M. Hawthorn, a native of this county, in a letter received a few days ago by the editor of The Courant.
Clippings from The Denver Post of March 17 give an account of the final game and photos of what it describes as the “wonder team.” Joes slashed its way through all opposition in the final contest over Fort Collins, a team with a national reputation in basketball, by a score of 37 to 14.
The Post thus describes the town: “Tucked away in the southwest corner of Yuma County – miles and miles from nowhere – is the little village of Joes. A solitary dirt road curves down from the north and ends at Joes. Two or three stores constitute the commercial life of the village. The nearest railroad point is 28 miles away at Vona. To speak figuratively, Joes is the jumping off place. Last year a new principal came to Joes. He was Lane Sullivan, former courthouse reporter for The Denver Morning Post. Sullivan used to play basketball in the east. He got the boys together, aroused public interest and a fine gymnasium was erected and the rise of Joes to state supremacy in the basketball world was meteoric from the start.”
Dr. Hawthorn’s letter follows:

Editor, The Courant,
Dear Sir: -
Enclosed you will find clippings from last Sunday’s Denver Post which are self explanatory. Thought it would be interesting to the smaller schools to know what a small school did out here. Thought it would be an incentive to the small schools to put forth the effort to reach the top.
This team is made up of a bunch of farmer boys, and they look it on the floor. The runners-up were from a large town in which is located the State Aggies, and they had the benefit of college coaching to some extent. My son saw the game and he said that Joes playing was dazzling and that a college team would have a hard time winning over them.
The public at large will send them to the National Tournament at Chicago, as the section of Joes could not afford it.
I read your write-up of the dairy proposition there, and as soon as I can get around to it, I want to write you an article on the industry out here. It might help to get the people at it back there. While I live in Colorado, I still call Conecuh County home, and am interested in her progress.
With kindest regards to my friends, I am very truly yours,
Henry M. Hawthorn.

Today in History for March 29, 2016

U.S. General Winfield Scott
March 29, 1638 – Swedish colonists established the first European settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.

March 29, 1776 - General George Washington appointed Major General Israel Putnam commander of the troops in New York. In his new capacity, Putnam was expected to execute plans for the defense of New York City and its waterways.

March 29, 1780 – Danish adventurer Jørgen Jørgensen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark.

March 29, 1790 - John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, was born in Charles City County, Va.

March 29, 1806 – Construction was authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway.

March 29, 1847 – During the Mexican–American War, United States forces led by General Winfield Scott took Veracruz after a siege.

March 29, 1848 - Niagara Falls stopped flowing for one day due to an ice jam.

March 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, Fort Mason, Texas was abandoned by Federal forces.

March 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Warrensburg, Mo. and on Edisto Island, S.C.

March 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, Middleburg, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley, was the scene of a conflict between Union and Confederate cavalry and infantry. In a somewhat unusual outcome, it was a complete Union victory. The reason for this was the employment of a new and horrible weapon of war: the coffee grinder. This was the nickname of a new device, given because of the large handle which had to be turned to fire it. Much work was needed before it became reliable enough to use on a regular basis, by which time it was known as the machine gun.

March 29, 1863 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation inclusive of Fayetteville, Cassville and Springfield, Mo. began. Skirmishes were also fought near Jacksonville, Fla.; at Moscow, Tenn.; and at Dumfries, Kelly’s Ford and Williamsburg, Va.

March 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Arkadelphia, Bellfonte, Long View, Roseville and in the vicinity of Fort Smith, Ark.; at Monett’s Ferry and at Coulterville, La.; and in the vicinity of Bolivar, Tenn.

March 29, 1865 - The final campaign of the Civil War, now known as the Appomattox Campaig, began in Virginia when Union troops under General Ulysses S. Grant moved against the Confederate trenches around Petersburg, Va. General Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered Rebels were soon forced to evacuate the city and begin a desperate race west.

March 29, 1865 – During the Civil War, Major General Frederick Steele’s column reached Weatherford, Ala.

March 29, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought along the Blackwater River in Kentucky; near Mosely Hall and at Wilkesborough, N.C.; and at Gravelly Run, at the junction of the Quaker and Boydton Roads, and near Hatcher’s Run. Va. A five-day Federal operation inclusive of Waynesville, Rolla, Jackson’s Mills, Coppage’s Mill, Spring Creek and Big Piney, Mo. began. A Federal operation between Stephen’s Depot, Va. and Smithfield, S.C. also began.

March 29, 1867 – National Hall of Fame baseball pitcher and manager Cy Young was born in Gilmore, Ohio. During his career, he played for the Cleveland Spiders, the St. Louis Perfectos, the Boston Americans/Red Sox, the Cleveland Naps and the Boston Rustlers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

March 29, 1869 – Thirty-two attorney’s organized the Mobile Bar Association, which was Alabama first bar association and is one of the oldest in the entire nation.

March 29, 1882 - The Knights of Columbus organization was established when it was granted a charter by the State of Connecticut.

March 29, 1886 – Dr. John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.

March 29, 1903 - A regular news service began between New York and London on Marconi's wireless.

March 29, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.B. Barnett and family were occupying the dwelling recently vacated by Dr. R.A. Smith.

March 29, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that Bush English of Eliska, Ala. was now employed in the office of the Monroe County Probate Judge.

March 29, 1911 – The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.

March 29, 1912 – Three members of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica died from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold on the Ross Ice Shelf. They included English lieutenant and explorer Robert Falcon Scott, 43; Scottish lieutenant and explorer Henry Robertson “Birdie” Bowers, 28; and English physician, natural historian, painter, ornithologist and explorer Edward Adrian “Uncle Bill” Wilson, 39.

March 29, 1913 – Poet R.S. Thomas was born in Cardiff, Wales.

March 29, 1916 – Politician and author Eugene McCarthy was born in Watkins, Minnesota. His books include “Ground Fog and Night” (1979) and “Other Things and the Aardvark” (1970).

March 29, 1916 - The body of Frank M. Wiggins was found in the woods near Salem in Monroe County, Ala. on this Wednesday morning. Wiggins went out hunting on the afternoon before (Tues., March 28), and failing to return to his home, a search was instituted with the result stated. He had evidently died several hours before from natural causes.

March 29, 1936 – Novelist and screenwriter Judith Guest was born in Detroit, Mich.

March 29, 1936 – In Germany, Adolf Hitler received 99 percent of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany's illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

March 29, 1938 - Senator D. Hardy Riddle of Talladega, candidate for Alabama governor, was scheduled to address voters at the Conecuh County Courthouse on this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

March 29, 1941 – The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement went into effect at 03:00 local time.

March 29, 1943 – Comedian, author, actor, singer, comedy writer, composer and alumnus of the Monty Python troupe Eric Idle was born in South Shields, England.

March 29, 1944 – Anne Frank made the decision to rewrite her diary as an autobiography.

March 29, 1955 – Pro Football Hall of Fame running back and Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell was born in Tyler, Texas. He would go on to play for the University of Texas, the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

March 29, 1961 – The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.

March 29, 1961 – Actress, author and comedian Amy Sedaris was born in Endicott, N.Y.

March 29, 1969 – The annual Miss Evergreen Pageant was held at the Evergreen City School auditorium. A total of 45 young ladies were slated to compete for the title, which Patricia Montgomery won the 1968.

March 29, 1968 – Evergreen High School, under Coach Wendell Hart, was scheduled to play in a spring football jamboree against T.R. Miller and Greenville in Brewton on this Friday night. Evergreen’s defensive starters were linemen Ernest Shipp, Roger Waller, Eddie Ralls, Jimmy Hamiter and Forrest Simpson; linebackers Tommy Weaver, Buck Quarles and Jimmy Bell; and defensive backs Hollis Tranum, Jimmy Hart and Leon Hinson. Offensive starters were wingback Tommy Weaver, right end Ernest Shipp, right tackle Jimmy Hamiter, right guard Roger Waller, fullback Elliott (Buck) Quarles, quarterback Jimmy Hart, center Ralph Deason, left guard Eddie Ralls, tailback Don Montgomery, left tackle Forrest Simpson and left end Charlie Wild.

March 29, 1968 – Lyeffion High School was scheduled to host a spring football jamboree that included Repton, Red Level and Coffeeville on this Friday at 7 p.m. Each school was to play two 12-minute quarters. The schools were to draw to see who they would play on the field just prior to the game. Admission was 50 cents and $1.

March 29, 1971 – Lt. William L. Calley was found guilty of premeditated murder at My Lai by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets in Quang Ngai Province on March 16, 1968.

March 29, 1973 – Under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords signed on Jan. 27, 1973, the last U.S. troops departed South Vietnam, ending nearly 10 years of U.S. military presence in that country. The U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam headquarters was disestablished. Only a Defense Attache Office and a few Marine guards at the Saigon American Embassy remained, although roughly 8,500 U.S. civilians stayed on as technical advisers to the South Vietnamese.

March 29, 1973 - As part of the Paris Peace Accords, Hanoi released the last 67 of its acknowledged American prisoners of war, bringing the total number released to 591

March 29, 1973 – Operation Barrel Roll, a covert U.S. bombing campaign in Laos to stop communist infiltration of South Vietnam, ended.

March 29, 1973 - Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show appeared on the cover of "Rolling Stone." The members of the band included Ray “Eye Patch” Sawyer, a native of Chickasaw, Ala.

March 29, 1974 – Local farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, discovered the Terracotta Army that was buried with Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, in the third century BCE.

March 29, 1976 – Tennis player Jennifer Capriati was born in New York City.

March 29, 1977 – The First Presbyterian Church and the Lomax-Hannon Junior College, both in Greenville, Ala., were added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

March 29, 1979 - The Committee on Assassinations Report issued by U.S. House of Representatives stated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy.

March 29, 1984 – The Baltimore Colts loaded its possessions onto 15 Mayflower moving trucks in the early morning hours and transfered its operations to Indianapolis.

March 29, 1985 – Dr. Luther Terry, a native of Red Level, Ala., passed away from heart failure at the age of 73 in Philadelphia, Pa. He was appointed the ninth Surgeon General of the United States from 1961 to 1965, and is best known for his warnings against the dangers and the impact of tobacco use on health.

March 29, 1987 – Shortly after 2:40 p.m., Frank Dewberry and his wife, Dorothy, found the badly decomposed nude body of Vickie Lynn Pittman of East Brewton off County Road 43 at Brooklyn, Ala.

March 29, 1990 - David Taylor of Conecuh County, Ala. killed gobbler that weighed 18 pounds and had a nine-inch beard and one-inch spurs.

March 29, 1995 – Former Major League Baseball outfielder Terry Moore, a native of Lamar County, Ala., passed away at the age of 82 in Collinsville, Ill. He played his entire career for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a four-time All Star and was part of two World Series championship teams.

March 29, 1998 - Author Eugene Walter died in Mobile, Ala.

March 29, 2001 – The Evergreen Courant reported that repairs were underway to buildings damaged in Evergreen, Ala. during a recent storm.

March 29, 2001 – Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad passed away at the age of 101 at Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo. After mapping some Norse settlements, Ingstad and his wife Anne Stine, an archaeologist, in 1960 found remnants of a Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows in the Province of Newfoundland in Canada. With that they were the first to prove conclusively that the Greenlandic Norsemen had found a way across the Atlantic Ocean to North America, roughly 500 years before Christopher Columbus and John Cabot.

March 29, 2010 – Jordan Van der Sloot allegedly contacted John Q. Kelly, legal representative of Beth Twitty, with an offer to reveal the location of Holloway's body and the circumstances surrounding her death for an advance of $25,000 against a total of $250,000. After Kelly notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they arranged to proceed with the transaction.

March 29, 2012 – Oak Lawn Farm in Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., March 29, 2016

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): Trace amount.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.70 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 1.70 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 15.05 inches

Notes: Today in the 89th day of 2016 and the tenth day of Spring. There are 277 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.

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 268: Read “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier

One of the most famous Civil War novels ever written is Charles Frazier’s 1997 book, “Cold Mountain.” I’ve had this book on my “bucket list” for several years now and have actually owned a copy of it for even longer than that. I finally began reading “Cold Mountain” on March 12 and officially finished reading it on Saturday.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it’s mostly about a young Confederate infantryman named W.P. Inman, who survives a severe combat injury in the closing months of the war. He eventually slips away from a hospital in Raleigh, N.C. and begins making his way back home to Cold Mountain. Along the way, he has to deal with the continued effects of his wound, the weather, hunger and the various scoundrels and nefarious Home Guard troops he meets along the way.

Most of the rest of the book, maybe more than half, is about Inman’s love interest Ada and her companion Ruby, who have teamed up to work Ada’s farm after the death of her father. Ada owns the farm on Cold Mountain, and is Inman’s destination. Ada knows little about farming, but Ruby more than makes up for her lack of knowledge thanks to her childhood spent mostly alone in the North Carolina hills.

The book bears a lot of similarities with Homer’s “Odyssey,” and it also reminded me a lot of some of the Cormac McCarthy books that I’ve read. “Cold Mountain” is really a mixed bag. There’s a lot of danger and action, and it demonstrates why many Civil War soldiers deserted their respective armies. The novel is also full of many memorable characters, each appealing unique in their own way, even the “bad guys.”

Many of you will be familiar with this book because of the 2003 motion picture adaptation of the novel, which was also called “Cold Mountain.” Released on Dec. 25, 2003, the movie was directed by Anthony Minghella. Jude Law played the role of Inman, Nicole Kidman played Ada, and Renee Zellweger played Ruby. Other cast members included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi and Donald Sutherland.

Many fans of the book, didn’t like the movie because if failed to adequately capture the spirit of the book. It’s often said that the book is always better than the movie, and that seems to be true in this situation. If you’ve seen the movie and liked it, you’ll love the book because it’s very, very good, especially if you enjoy Civil War history and themes.

I was interested to learn that Cold Mountain is actually a real place and is located in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. Frazier has also been quoted in interviews as saying that the W.P. Inman character was based on his great-grand-uncle who lived near the real-life Cold Mountain. Knowing all this makes me want to visit the real Cold Mountain, and I may add that trip to my bucket list next year.

In the end, how many of you have read “Cold Mountain”? What did you think about it? What other Civil War books would you recommend reading? Let us know in the comments section below.

Today in History for March 28, 2016

Jim Thorpe
March 28, 1515 – St. Teresa of Avila was born in Gotarrendura, Spain. Her books include “The Way of Perfection” (1566) and “The Interior Castle” (1580).

March 28, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Elizabeth Proctor was accused of witchcraft.

March 28, 1774 - Upset by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property by American colonists, the British Parliament enacted the Coercive Acts, to the outrage of American Patriots.

March 28, 1776 – Juan Bautista de Anza, one of the great western pathfinders of the 18th century, arrived at the future site of San Francisco with 247 colonists.

March 28, 1782 - The United Netherlands recognized American independence.

March 28, 1814 – During the War of 1812, the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom defeated the United States Navy in the Battle of Valparaíso, Chile.

March 28, 1817 - John Gassaway Rush was born in Orangeburg District, South Carolina. In 1860, he and his wife donated land for a church to the McIntosh community, and the Andrews Chapel was constructed on this property.

March 28, 1818 – The Butler Massacre occurred near Pine Barren Creek. Three were killed by Indians, including Capt. Butler (Butler County, Alabama was later named in his honor.)

March 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, at the Battle of Glorieta Pass ended in the New Mexico Territory, two days after its start on March 26. Union forces stopped the Confederate invasion of the New Mexico territory. Confederates, under the command of General Henry Hopkins Sibley, lost 36 men killed, 70 wounded, and 25 captured. The Union army lost 38 killed, 64 wounded, and 20 captured.

March 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance of the mouth of Saint Augustine Creek in Georgia was conducted. Confederate operations began into Scott and Morgan counties, Tenn. A skirmish was fought at Bealton, Rappahannock Station, Va.

March 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, a good portion of Jacksonville, Fla. was burned by the forces of Commander Duncan and the U.S.S. Norwich. This was a part of a campaign to stop Floridians supplying salt, beef and other supplies to Confederate forces.

March 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at the Danville and Hickham Bridge in Kentucky; and in the vicinity of Hurricane Bridge, West Virginia. A Federal operation was also conducted that encompassed La Grande, Moscow, Macon and Belmont, Tenn.

March 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Federal steamer, USS Diana, was captured in the vicinity of Pattersonville, La. by Major General Richard Taylor’s Confederate force. Confederates also captureed the Federal steamer, Sam Gaty, in Missouri.

March 28, 1864 - A group of Copperheads attacked Federal soldiers in Charleston, Ill. Five were killed and 20 were wounded.

March 28, 1864 – During the Civil War, a federal operation to Caperton’s Ferry, Ala. began.

March 28, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Danville and Mount Elba, Ark.; with Indians along the Eel River in California; at New Hope, Ky.; along Obey’s River in Tennessee; and at Bloomery Gap, West Virginia. A 20-day Federal operation also began in eastern Kentucky.

March 28, 1864 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation was conducted between Aldie and Middleburg, Va. A Federal operation was also into Gloucester County, Va.

March 28, 1865 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln met with Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Admiral David Dixon Porter at City Point, Va.

March 28, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Elyton, Ala. with Brig. Gen. James H Wilson‘s Union cavalry force.

March 28, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought along Bull Creek in Christian County, Mo.; in the vicinity of Boone and Snow Hill, N.C.; and in the vicinity of Germantown, Tenn. A three-day Federal operation between Fort Pike, La. and Bay St. Louis, Miss. began. A 15-day Federal operation also began in the Deep Bottom, Va. vicinity

March 28, 1868 – Norman A. Staples, the owner of the ill-fated steamboat James T. Staples, was born at Bladon Springs in Choctaw County, Ala.

March 28, 1875 – Evergreen, Ala. was officially incorporated. (According to the Ala. League of Municipalities, Evergreen was incorporated on this date in 1873.)

March 28, 1896 - Miss Wills, the teacher at the Manistee community school, was to leave for her home at Pine Hill, Ala. on this Saturday.

March 28, 1904 – Whipple Van Buren Phillips, H.P. Lovecraft’s grandfather, passed away from a stroke at the age of 70 around midnight at his home at 454 Angell St. in Providence, R.I. He was buried in Swan Point Cemetery.

March 28, 1906 - Prof. I.A. Weaver, who had been teaching in Monroeville, Ala. for several months, left for his home at Lineville on this Wednesday.

March 28, 1906 - Misses Katie Scott and Mary Gregg, who had been visiting Mrs. Chas. King, left on the Str. Nettie Quill on this Wednesday to return to their home in Mobile, Ala.

March 28, 1909 - Alabama journalist and author Lael Tucker Wertenbaker was born in Bradford, Pa.

March 28, 1909 – Award-winning author Nelson Algren was born in Detroit, Mich. His books include “A Walk on the Wild Side” (1956).

March 28, 1914 – American explorer, poet and painter Everett Ruess was born in Oakland, Calif. He mysteriously disappeared in November 1934 near Escalante, Utah.

March 28, 1915 – Confederate veteran Charles Monroe Carter passed away at the age of 76 at his home near Mexia, Ala. after an illness of several weeks. Born on Dec. 12, 1838 at Mt. Willing in Lowndes County, he enlisted as a private at Scotland with Co. H, 17th Alabama Regiment. He was discharged after one year when his enlistment ended. He re-enlisted with the 54th Alabama Regiment. He is buried at Mexia Cemetery.

March 28, 1920 – The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1920 affected the Great Lakes region and Deep South states.

March 28, 1921 - U.S. President Warren Harding named William Howard Taft as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

March 28, 1923 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the baseball team at the State Secondary Agricultural School had started the season with a victory over Georgiana, “witnessed by a fair crowd in spite of the threatening weather. The game was featured by the pitching of Dave Lewis and three base hits by Amos and Hines.”

March 28, 1923 – The Evergreen Courant reported that J.D. Deming had been catching some very fine trout recently. He’d landed five fish, the aggregate weight of which was 25 pounds. Two of the number weighed 6-3/4 pounds and 6-1/2 pounds, respectively.

Marrch 28, 1923 – This day’s edition of The Evergreen Courant carried an advertisement for the letting of the contract for the construction of the state and federal aid road from Evergreen to Belleville and also the bridge across Murder Creek. This advertisement also indicated that actual work on these projects would begin before July 1.

March 28, 1935 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Miskatonic University’s Peaslee Australian Expedition left Boston Harbor, destined for Australia, where it searched for ancient ruins in the Great Sandy Desert.

March 28, 1940 - Poet, novelist and short-story writer Russell Banks was born in Newton, Mass. His books include “Hamilton Stark” (1978), “Continental Drift” (1985) and “Lost Memory of Skin” (2011).

March 28, 1951 – During the First Indochina War, in the Battle of Mạo Khê, French Union forces, led by World War II hero Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, inflicted a defeat on Việt Minh forces commanded by General Võ Nguyên Giáp.

March 28, 1953 – Pro Football Hall of Fame back Jim Thorpe died at the age of 65 in Lomita, Calif. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963.

March 28, 1958 – Florence, Ala. native W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” passed away in New York City at the age of 84.

March 28, 1961 - A U.S. national intelligence estimate prepared for President John F. Kennedy declareed that South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and the Republic of Vietnam were facing an extremely critical situation. As evidence, the reports cited that more than half of the rural region surrounding Saigon was under communist control and pointed to a barely failed coup against Diem the preceding November.

March 28-April 3, 1963 – “To Kill A Mockingbird” was shown at the Monroe Theatre in Monroeville, Ala.

March 28, 1963 - Sonny Werblin announced that the New York Titans of the American Football League was changing its name to the New York Jets.

March 28, 1967 - The Phoenix, a private U.S. yacht with eight American pacifists aboard, arrived in Haiphong, North Vietnam, with $10,000 worth of medical supplies for the North Vietnamese. The trip, financed by a Quaker group in Philadelphia, was made in defiance of a U.S. ban on American travel to North Vietnam. No charges were filed against the participants and the group made a second trip to North Vietnam later.

March 28, 1968 – Author and journalist Iris Chang was born in Princeton, N.J.

March 28, 1969 - Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78.

March 28, 1969 – Evergreen High School played in a spring football jamboree in Luverne, Ala. that included Evergreen, Luverne, Union Springs and Georgiana. Evergreen played Luverne in the first half (12-minute quarters), and Union Springs played Georgiana in the second half. Wendell Hart was Evergreen’s head football coach, and his assistants included Mike Bledsoe and Charles Branum.

March 28, 1969 – Lyeffion, Repton, Frisco City, Excel and J.U. Blacksher played in a spring football jamboree at J.U. Blacksher High School at Uriah. Lyeffion played Frisco in the first quarter; Excel played Repton in the second; Blacksher played Frisco in the third; Excel played Lyeffion in the fourth; and Repton played Blacksher in the fifth.

March 28-30, 1969 – The movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” played at the Pix Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.

March 28, 1977 – Novelist Lauren Weisberger was born in Scranton, Pa. Her books include “The Devil Wears Prada” (2003).

March 28, 1977 – Sri Lankan-English explorer and mountaineer Eric Shipton died in England at the age of 69.

March 28, 1979 - At 4 a.m., the most significant accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry occurred when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island failed to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

March 28, 1983 - Trial of cases on the State Bar Criminal Docket, Conecuh County, Ala., were scheduled for trial this week as Circuit Court was set to begin on this Monday at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of the Conecuh County Courthouse with Judge Robert E.L. Key presiding.

March 28, 1984 - Bob Irsay, owner of the once-mighty Baltimore Colts, moved the team to Indianapolis.

March 28, 1990 – President George H. W. Bush posthumously awarded Oakville, Ala. native Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.
March 28, 1999 - In Cuba, the Orioles beat the Cuban National Team, 3-2. It was the first time since the 1950's that a U.S. team had played in Cuba.

March 28, 2003 – In a friendly fire incident, two A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft from the United States Idaho Air National Guard's 190th Fighter Squadron attacked British tanks participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, killing British soldier Matty Hull.

March 28, 2014 – Former U.S. Senator Jeremiah Denton Jr. passed away at the age of 89. Denton was born in Mobile on July 15, 1924, to a family that traced its heritage back to the French Catholic founders of Mobile. In 1964 he was assigned, as a U.S. Navy pilot, to the USS Independence (CVA-62), which was deployed off the coast of North Vietnam. In July 1965, Denton led a bombing mission over North Vietnam and was shot down and captured. He spent 48 of his 91 months of imprisonment in solitary confinement, one of the longest periods of any American POW. His book, “When Hell Was in Session,” which recounted his POW experiences, was made into an NBC television movie in 1979 starring Hal Holbrook.