Friday, March 31, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,179 miles down and 620 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 15 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday, five miles on Tuesday and five more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,179 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 620 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 65.5 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the sixth day of the trip past Lothlorien, which is Feb. 21 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 1164, which was nine miles past where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, got back in their boats and resumed paddling cautiously down the Anduin River. One mile later, at Mile 1165, the group reaches the north face of the outer down ridge.


I’ve traveled 14 miles past this point, to Mile 1179, and the next significant milestone comes one mile later when the group reaches the lowlands between the downs and Emyn Muil. In all on this day of the trip, the group travels for a total of 13 hours and covers a distance of 50 miles.


For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1, 2015. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,799 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.


The folks who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound very familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,799 miles in a year.


If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, and Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.


In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least 10 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

Today in History for March 31, 2017

General John Herbert Kelly
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, where he’d 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.

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, 1840 – John Herbert Kelly, who would become known as the “Boy General of the Confederacy,” was born in Carrollton, Ala. to Isham and Elizabeth Kelly. Both of his parents died before his eighth birthday, leaving he and his brother as orphans. At that time, they moved to Wilcox County, Ala., where they were raised by their grandparents, Col. Joseph Richard Hawthorne and Harriet Herbert Hawthorne. Kelly went on to study at the U.S. Military Academy and eventually became an officer in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Due to his outstanding service, Kelly rose through the ranks and on Nov. 16, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. At the time of his promotion, at the age of 23, Kelly was the youngest brigadier general in the entire Confederate Army, which is why we know him today as the “Boy General of the Confederacy.”

March 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, Federal forces abandoned Fort Bliss, Texas.

March 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Pink Hill, Mo.; in the vicinity of Deep Gully, N.C.; and near Adamsville, Tenn., on the Purdy Road. A three-day Federal operation also began in the vicinity of Paris, Tenn.

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

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Crooked Creed and Cross Hollow, Ark.; at Richmond, La.; and in the vicinity of Franklin, Tenn.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, after burning most of it, Jacksonville, Fla. was evacuated by Federal forces.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, a Naval engagement was fought on the Savannah River in Georgia.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, an 18-day Federal operation began between Milliken’s Bend and New Carthage, La.; and a four-day Federal operation began between Lexington and the mouth of the Duck River in Tennessee.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Federal vessels Albatross, Harford and Switzerland successfully passed the batteries at Grand Gulf, Mississippi.

March 31, 1863 – During the Civil war, a Confederate assault began on the Federal garrison of Washington, N.C. A largish quantity of Confederate artillery was used to keep the offshore Union gunboats from getting close enough to assist. Although they were not much use militarily, the gunboats did run in supplies that enabled the garrison to resist.

March 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Arkadelphia, Ark.; near Palatka, Fla.; in eastern Kentucky at Forks of Beaver; out from Natchitoches, La.; and at Spring Island, S.C.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation began in the vicinity of Aquia Eria in the New Mexico Territory.

March 31, 1865 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Gulley and Hookerton, N.C.; at Magnolia, Tenn.; and at Crow’s House, along Hatcher’s Run, and on the White Oak Road in Virginia.

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, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that there were five prisoners confined in the Monroe County Jail awaiting the action of the courts.

March 31, 1887 - Mr. W.C. Stevens, who was connected with the live grocery house of S. Richard & Sons of Mobile, was in Monroeville during this week.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. DeLoach, the mother of Capt. John DeLoach, had been quite sick for several days.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that several “commercial tourists” were in Monroeville that week.

March 31, 1887 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. Jno. I. Watson, who had been ill for several days, was improving slowly.

March 31, 1889 – The Eiffel Tower was officially opened with a dedication ceremony in Paris, France.

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, 1905 - Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany arrived in Tangiers to declare his support for the sultan of Morocco, provoking the anger of France and Britain in what would become known as the First Moroccan Crisis, a foreshadowing of the greater conflict between Europe’s great nations still to come, the First World War.

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, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroeville’s new post office was to be completed and ready for occupancy within the next 10 days. Workmen were finishing the interior of the building and placing office equipment. All patrons of the post office, who had rented boxes in the past, were to be assigned boxes in the new building without application. Instead of using combination locks as in the old office, the new boxes were to have Yale locks and keys. The basement of the building was to be occupied by the Monroe County Farm Bureau.

March 31, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. C.A. Gentry, who had been connected with the Alabama Power Co. in Atmore, had been transferred to the office in Monroeville to assume the position left vacant by the promotion of John H. Finklea.

March 31, 1938 – The Monroe Journal reported that Margaret Turberville of Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala., had been selected as county champion in The Birmingham News-Age Herald oratorical contest on “Jefferson and Marshall,” and would represent the county in the congressional district competitions for this district at Grove Hill High School on Mon., April 11, at 7:30.

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

March 31, 1944 - Ensign R.G. Kendall Jr. was scheduled to leave on this Friday for Hollywood, Fla., where he was to go for training, according to The Evergreen Courant.

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 members. 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” intra-squad 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.”

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 American 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.

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, but the attacks were thrown back, with 87 North Vietnamese killed.

March 31, 1974 - James “Pappy” Ellis officially retired from his position as Evergreen’s police chief, and he was replaced by incoming chief, Russell Phillips on April 1. Phillips was a retired state trooper sergeant and former police chief in McIntosh. Ellis was honored with a “prayer breakfast” on Fri., March 29. Phillips had been on duty with the Evergreen Police Department since March 1 to get familiar with the city and department personnel.

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, 1983 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County State Trooper Marion Craft had received an award from the state Department of Public Safety in appreciation of “the extra effort in attempting to save the life of an infant and for control of onlookers at the scene of an accident Oct. 4, 1981.”

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 Fri., March 31, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 1.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 2.10 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.50 inches

Notes: Today is the 90th day of 2017 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.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The City of Evergreen, Alabama celebrated its 142nd birthday on Tuesday

City of Evergreen historical marker.
Tuesday, March 28, was a significant day in the history of Evergreen in that it marked the 142nd 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.

The Shaughnessy playoff system isn't used as much as it once was

Frank "Shag" Shaughnessy
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.

Local amateur baseball in towns like Evergreen, Brewton and smaller communities was past its heyday by the 1960s. When televisions began popping up in the homes of average citizens, it pretty much killed small-scale amateur baseball teams and low level minor league feeder teams. Nowadays, only cities the size of Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham are considered large enough to support true minor league teams.

Today in History for March 30, 2017

 Sgt. Elmer Jack Taylor
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 Tompkinsville, 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. Born on Feb. 9, 1798, he is buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery.

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. in Jackson County.

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, 1914 - Capt. R.F. Kolb delivered addresses at Jones Mill and Monroeville on this Monday afternoon and night on behalf of his candidacy for Alabama governor. Kolb spoke to “fair audiences at both points and expressed strong confidence in his prospect for being in the run-off primary. He paid his respects to all three of his competitors and declared himself ‘the people’s candidate’ without alliance with any other interest whatever,” The Journal reported.

March 30, 1915 – Shortly after noon, 31-year-old Lydia Belle “Liddie” Deason 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. Born on April 28, 1883, she was buried in the Flat Rock Cemetery at Flat Rock.

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, 1918 - British, Australian and Canadian troops mounted a successful counter-attack against the German offensive at Moreuil Wood, recapturing most of the area and forcing a turn in the tide of the battle in favor of the Allies.

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, 1944 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Aviation Cadet Harry L. Johnston, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin L. Johnston of Owassa, Ala., had completed approximately one-third of his pilot training and would 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, Johnston attended Evergreen High School; Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn; and the 55th College Training Detachment in Gettysburg, Pa. Johnston was accepted as aviation cadet at Montgomery, Ala. in March 1943.

March 30, 1945 – During World War II, Staff Sgt. James E. Freeman, a 29-year-old 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. He was a member of the 513th Parachute Division, 17th Airborne Division. Born on Jan. 26, 1916, he was buried in the Old Town Cemetery in Conecuh County, Ala.

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, 1959 - Baseball practice at Monroe County High School got underway on this Monday afternoon when around 25 candidates reported for action. Lettermen included in the group were Jim Lazenby and Jimmy Andress, pitchers; Branchard Tucker, outfielder; Mickey Ryland, catcher; Charles Pridgeon, first base; Preston Griffin, infielder; Kenneth Gall, second base. MCHS, which was led by head coach James Allen, was scheduled to begin its season on April 10.

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.

March 30, 1966 – Army Sgt. Elmer Jack Taylor, 26, of Atmore, Ala. was killed in action in the Quang Tri province of South Vietnam. Born on Feb. 11, 1940, he was an infantryman in the 1st Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, C Co. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. He was buried in Mount Pleasant Methodist Church Cemetery at Eliska.

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.

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.

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 Thurs., March 30, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: Trace.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 1.10 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 21.50 inches

Notes: Today is the 89th day of 2017 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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wilcox County's John Herbert Kelly was known as 'Boy General of the Confederacy'

John Herbert Kelly
John Herbert Kelly was known as the “Boy General of the Confederacy,” but don’t let the nickname fool you. He was one of the toughest soldiers to ever come out of Wilcox County.

This coming Friday – March 31 – marks 177 years since Kelly’s birth, which took place on March 31, 1840 in Carrollton, the Pickens County town that’s arguably best known for its mysterious “Face in the Courthouse Window.” Kelly’s parents, Isham and Elizabeth Kelly, both died when Kelly was a boy, leaving Kelly and his brother, Rollin, a pair of young orphans.

At that time, the two young brothers moved to Wilcox County to live with their grandparents, Col. Joseph Richard Hawthorne and Harriet Herbert Hawthorne, in the antebellum plantation home that’s now known as the Hawthorne House at Pine Apple. John Herbert Kelly spent the next decade of his life in Pine Apple and, under the tutelage of his grandfather, he became an expert horseman and marksman, two skills that would serve him well later in life as a soldier.

Kelly later secured an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and at the age of just 17 and 1,100 miles from home, he found himself in the same class with such famous soldiers as George Armstrong Custer, Alonzo Cushing and Peter C. Haines.

Like many young West Point cadets from the South, Kelly became swept up in the tide of history, and, as the clouds of war loomed, he withdrew from West Point on Dec. 29, 1860, a short time before the state of Alabama seceded from the Union. In those days, the Confederate capital was located in Montgomery and, with trained military officers being in short supply, it was there that Kelly offered his services to the Confederacy. He was just 20 years old.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Confederate Army and was later promoted to captain for a short time before being promoted to major on Sept. 23, 1861. After serving for a time at Fort Morgan, he led an infantry regiment at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 and was recognized for his bravery with a promotion to colonel on May 5, 1862. From there, he went on to fight at the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky and the Battle of Murfreesboro in Tennessee, where he was wounded.

Perhaps his finest hour was at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 where he “displayed great courage and skills” after having a horse shot out from under him. Kelly’s brigade lost 300 men within one hour of fierce, savage fighting, but the battle ended in a Confederate victory as Kelly’s brigade withstood three Union counterattacks at Snodgrass Hill. (Also on the field that day was a young, 19-year-old Alabama private named Lewis Lavon Peacock, who thankfully survived the war, because if he hadn’t, someone other than his third-great-grandson would have written this column.)

Grave of John Herbert Kelly.
Not long thereafter, on Nov. 16, 1863, Kelly was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. At the time of his promotion, at the age of 23, Kelly was the youngest brigadier general in the entire Confederate Army, which is why we know him today as the “Boy General of the Confederacy.”

Less than a year later, on Sept. 2, 1864, Kelly, then in charge of cavalry troops, was mortally wounded while leading a charge during a skirmish near the town of Franklin, Tenn. Sources say that a Yankee sharpshooter shot Kelly through the chest, knocking him off his horse. Fellow soldiers carried Kelly off the field in a blanket to the Harrison House, a plantation home just south of Franklin, where sources say he died in his bed two days later as a Union prisoner. He was just 24 years old.

Kelly was originally buried at the Harrison House, but his remains were exhumed in 1866 and transported back to Alabama. Today, among the thousands of graves within the historic confines of the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, you’ll find the grave of General John Herbert Kelly. Atop his grave sits a large stone marker that was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy on April 25, 1951. For decades, it has let visitors know that they are standing at the final resting place of Confederate hero John Herbert Kelly, the “Boy General of the Confederacy.”

Today in History for March 29, 2017

Dr. Luther Terry of Red Level, Ala.
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.

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 Campaign, 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, 1886 - J.A. Savage and I.D. Roberts of Perdue Hill were in Monroeville on this Monday.

March 29, 1886 - J.B. McMillan of Repton was in Monroeville on this Monday.

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.

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, 1917 - Prime Minister Hjalmar Hammarskjold of Sweden, father of the famous future United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, resigned after his policy of strict neutrality in World War I — including continued trading with Germany, in violation of the Allied blockade—led to widespread hunger and political instability in Sweden.

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 in 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.

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.

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 – Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace brought his re-election campaign to Monroeville, Ala. on this Friday, telling an enthusiastic crowd in front of the Monroe County Courthouse that the state had made huge strides internally and had brought the nation around to its way of thinking in the past 10 years. Wallace spoke for about 30 minutes in his shirt sleeves at a sunny 2 p.m. rally attended by a crowd estimated by various observers at 500 to 1,200.

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 transferred 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.

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 Wed., March 29, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: Trace.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 1.10 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 21.50 inches

Notes: Today is the 88th day of 2017 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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 323: Eat at the Tally-Ho restaurant in Selma

The Tally-Ho restaurant in Selma, Ala.
The Tally-Ho restaurant in Selma is considered one of the most unique restaurants in the entire state of Alabama, and it’s also reportedly haunted. I put a trip to this restaurant on my “bucket list” several years ago, and finally got the chance to officially visit it the other day. Not only was it a fine place to eat, but it was also a little spooky.

If memory serves me correctly, the first time I ever heard of the Tally-Ho was a few years ago when I saw it listed on the Alabama Tourism Department’s list of “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” In the most recent version of that list, the Tally-Ho’s New York Strip steak is listed among the best dishes in the state. However, when I visited the Tally-Ho on March 18 with my wife and daughter, I didn’t actually see that dish on the menu. (It’s possible that I overlooked it, and I could have asked the waiter about it, but I didn’t.)

My interest in this restaurant was also sparked thanks to 2013 book, “Haunted Alabama Black Belt” by David Higdon and Brett Talley. According to this book, the Tally-Ho is haunted by the ghost of a woman called “Betty,” a ghost that supposedly gives off the “sweet fragrances of lilac” perfume. Guests also claim to have seen the chandelier in the main dining room “swing wildly” for no apparent reason.

Before actually going to this restaurant, I always kind of pictured it as being in downtown Selma, but it’s actually located at 509 Mangum Avenue, which is in more of a residential part of town. My wife, daughter and I drove there for supper on March 18, and had a nice meal. Instead of the New York Strip, I got the fried oysters and even tried escargot for the first time ever. The food was great.

Interestingly, the restaurant’s menu included information about the restaurant’s unique history, saying that it had been in business as a restaurant for over 70 years, but the exact date that the Tally Ho was built remains a mystery. It is known that the building started out as a summer cabin in the woods for the Thrash family, but it was eventually turned into a “tea room.” The story goes that they picked the name “Tally Ho” after pulling it out of a hat.

If you’ve never been to the Tally-Ho, I highly recommend it. They’re open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. They’re closed on Sunday. For more information about the restaurant, visit its Web site at

Also, if you haven’t read “Haunted Alabama Black Belt,” I highly recommend it as well. Not only does it provide more information about the Tally-Ho, but it’s also filled with cool information about other haunted locations in Selma and elsewhere in Alabama’s Black Belt Region.

In the end, how many of you have eaten at the Tally-Ho restaurant in Selma? What did you think about it? Did you have any spooky experiences while visiting the restaurant? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for March 28, 2017

Congressman Terry Everett
MARCH 27, 2003

Evergreen weather observer Harry Ellis reported .56 inches of rain on March 17 and .07 inches on March 18. He reported a high of 84 degrees on March 19 and a low of 44 on March 23.

Kiwanis Club President Patricia Flower welcomed Johnny Mack Grace to this past Tuesday’s club meeting. Grace was the guest speaker and is a Vietnam veteran. He told the club about his time in Vietnam and how he was injured.

More than 200 Alabama farmers attended the annual Washington, D.C. Legislative Trip March 17-18 sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation. While in Washington, Federation members met with Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman as well as congressman and senators from Alabama. Pictured are Congressman Terry Everett, Melinda Dunn and Federation Secretary/Treasurer Steve Dunn of Conecuh County.

Sgt. Oranda Fair deployed to Kuwait: Sgt. Oranda “Bear” Fair, Headquarters 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD), Ft. McPherson, Ga., has been deployed to Kuwait to an undisclosed location.
He graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1993 and joined the United States Army. He is the son of Diane and Willie J. Fair, both of Evergreen.

Lori Ellis placed a yellow ribbon on the fence downtown to honor her son, Spec. Justin Ellis, who is currently awaiting deployment at Fort Benning, Ga. to go fight in the Gulf War. Her husband, Mike, served in the first Gulf War in 1991.

MARCH 30, 1978

Evergreen weather observer Earl Windham reported .03 inches of rain on March 22. He also reported a high of 80 degrees on March 24 and lows of 36 on March 20 and March 26.

Nine criminal cases are set Spring Docket: There are nine cases set on the Criminal Docket for the Spring Term of Circuit Court of Conecuh County, according to Circuit Clerk Jean Ralls. All of the cases are set for Monday.
History is probably being made as no jurors are being called for duty for the term of criminal court. Attorneys for all of the defendants have indicated that all of their clients will enter pleas of guilty Monday.

Albert Daryl Harper of Evergreen has been named to the Dean’s List at Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs, Ga., for the winter quarter.

March of Dimes Super Walk ’78 set Saturday: Several hundred Conecuh Countians, mostly students in county schools, will take part in Super Walk 78 this Saturday to raise funds for the March of Dimes. These funds will be used in the National Foundation’s fight against birth defects.
The walkers are to meet at Fort Dave Lewis National Guard Armory at eight o’clock Saturday morning. After final instructions are given, the walkers are to get underway as near nine o’clock as possible.
The walk begins and ends at the Armory and covers 12 miles. Lunch will be served at the Armory at the conclusion of the walk. Awards and prizes will also be given to the walkers at that time.

MARCH 26, 1953

Evergreen City Clerk John Hunter Thornley has tendered his resignation to the City Council and Mayor Vernon B. Millsap and the resignation has been accepted. Mr. Thornley will serve on in the post of city clerk until sometime in April in order that the city officials may have adequate time to employ his successor.
Mr. Thornley became city clerk in September of 1945 and has served continuously in that post since then.

L&N Discontinues Trains No. 7 and 8: As of today (Thurs., March 26), Louisville and Nashville Railroad Co. will discontinue Montgomery and New Orleans trains 7 and 8. Both of these trains were “locals” and have been handling the mail service for all the local stops between Montgomery and New Orleans. Discontinuance of these trains will greatly affect and handicap the local mail service especially the incoming southbound mail.

ARRIVES IN GERMANY: With the 43rd Infantry Division in Germany – Sgt. First Class James W. Tolbert, whose wife, Charlotte, lives on Route 2, McKenzie, Ala., recently arrived in Germany and is serving with the 43rd Infantry Division.
The 43rd, now stationed in southern Germany, is undergoing constant field training as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Army.
SFC Tolbert is serving with Co. B of the 143rd Tank Battalion. Before reentering the Army in March 1949, Tolbert was a farmer. His father, James A. Tolbert, lives on Route 1, McKenzie.

MARCH 29, 1928

Mr. T.S. Hagood, widely known and greatly beloved citizen of this county, died at his home five miles east of Evergreen Tuesday afternoon at the ripe old age of 81 years.
At an early age, he was called into service in the Confederate army, where he served faithfully during the war. For a period, he was held as a prisoner in Chicago.
Funeral services were held from the Baptist church at three o’clock Wednesday afternoon, with a large concourse of relatives and friends present. Dr. J.G. Dickinson, his pastor, assisted by Dr. W.M. Cox, pastor of the Methodist church, conducted the services, after which interment was made in the old cemetery.

Mr. and Mrs. L.L. Booker, who live near Herbert, are the proud parents of a set of triplets which were born to them March 12. The babies are all girls and weighed when born 2-1/2, 2-3/4 and three pounds respectively. This is such an unusual occurrence in this vicinity that it has attracted considerable attention. Not a few people have made visits to the home to see the triplets. This is perhaps the first set of white triplets on record in Conecuh County.

Miss Ethel Raye, Principal of the Burnt Corn School, left for her home in Garland last Thursday afternoon. She will return in a few weeks when the measles epidemic is over, to finish out the school term.

MARCH 25, 1903

Butler County is to have a new courthouse. The Greenville Advocate says that the contract has been let and the old building is now being torn down.

The annual reunion of Confederate veterans will be held in New Orleans May 19-21.

W.S. Oliver, a prominent merchant, and also Mayor of Repton, was here Monday on business.

W.D. Goodson shipped the first strawberries of the season yesterday. They went to Nashville.

Luman Savage Jr. will leave about April 1 for Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he will take a course in bookkeeping. He will go by ocean steamship from Savannah. He will be absent several months.

Pettus Day returned last week from Nashville, where he has been attending medical lectures in Vanderbilt University. He will spend the vacation at home.

Poles are being put up for a telephone line from Mt. Union and Herbert to Evergreen and these two little towns will in a short while have telephone connection with the outside world.
The new line will be connected with the local exchange here. It is to be hoped that the citizens of Brooklyn will at once build a line from that place to Evergreen. This done, nearly all the principal communities in the county will be connected by telephone or telegraph with Evergreen.