Sunday, April 30, 2017

135-year-old news highlights from The Monroe Journal from May 1882

The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of publisher Horace R. Hood, likely published five editions 135 years ago during the month of May 1882. Four of those issues, which were dated May 8, May 15, May 22 and May 29, can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. What follows are a few news highlights from those editions. Enjoy.

MAY 8, 1882

Circuit Court – The following important cases were disposed of the last term of the court:
- A change of venue was granted in the case of Chas. Roberts, charged with murder. The case goes to Wilcox.
- The case of John McDuffie, charged with manslaughter, was tried at last term of the court, and received a slight fine.
- Mr. John A. Helton, charged with the murder of East 17 years ago, was tried at the last term of the court and honorably acquitted. It was so clearly a case of self defense, after hearing the evidence, the solicitor moved the discharge of the prisoner.

Among the distinguished attorneys in attendance upon our circuit court last week were Col. S.J. Cumming of Camden; Colonels Farnham, Stallworth and Burnett of Evergreen; and C.J. Torrey, Esq., of Mobile.

Judge Clarke created a favorable impression in Monroeville. Lawyers and litigants alike speak in high terms of him and while he is on the shady side of 50, his mind is active and vigorous, and physically he is in the best of health.

Perdue Hill – Locklin, a bright and lovely little boy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jno. Savage, and grandchild of Capt. C.W. Locklin, aged 18 months, died a few days ago.

Buena Vista – Married at Buena Vista April 26th by Rev. L.M. Duke, Prof. O.J. Burson to Miss Laura Finklea.

MAY 15, 1882

Claiborne – “Clip,” the spicy correspondent of the Mobile Register, writes as follows to the paper:
Having reached Claiborne, which was my destination, I bane the affable clerk and large hearted captain goodbye, and proceeded to climb the bluff, which is familiar to everyone who has ever visited Claiborne. Have you ever tried to climb a bluff? Why, quoting poetry to your sweetheart is nothing to it; eating softshell crab is an odious comparison, just try it, and if you will not say a few cuss words I will declare you a second job, and proceed to anoint you with oleomargarine. Claiborne was once thrifty, but owing to the unhealthy locality, the town has moved, at least the commercial part, to Perdue Hill, to which place I embarked, drawn by a bovine locomotive, a colored man and brother as engineer. I arrived there after a two hours and 48 minutes drive, and found Perdue Hill one of the prettiest, neatest and healthiest in this or any other state. The population in 1880 was 100, but since then several families have moved there and I can safely say that it has now over double the first amount.
Three churches – one Baptist, one Methodist, and union church, which is open and free to any denomination, afford the people spiritual comfort. Five stores, which furnish the farmers supplies, for many miles and a drug store, comprise the commerce. Among the merchants, I found my old friend Mr. H.J. Savage, a gentleman in every respect. Mr. S. invited me to his residence, and there I found a perfect model of a home. Mr. Savage is no stranger to the people of Mobile – and like a sensible, practical man has erected a monument while living, the name of a good, honest, respectable gentleman, a name of which he and his may justly be proud.

MAY 22, 1882

Circuit Court Proceedings – The following cases were disposed of in the circuit court during its recent term:
The State v. John Helton, murder, verdict not guilty.
The State v. John McDuffie, manslaughter, guilty, fine $50.
The State v. Joe Vaught, card playing, not guilty.
W.R. Agee, card playing, nol pros.
Wm. G. McCorvey, assault to murder, not guilty.
Stephen Randleson, assault and battery with a knife, fine $10.
Drewry Ford and Wm. Ford, disturbing religious worship, fine $20.

The charge of Judge Clarke to the grand jury was an able and lucid one and convinced all who heard it that he was an able Judge, learned in the law, and well up with the times.

Hon. Judge Jno. W. Leslie was foreman of the grand jury. A good selection.

Our popular Solicitor, G.W. Taylor, Esq., is a hard and zealous worker, and got after some of the “boys.”

Bermuda – Married on the 10th inst., at the residence of the bride’s father near Bermuda, Mr. J.J. Doss and Miss Callie Straughn.
We congratulate Mr. D on winning the affection of so beautiful, interesting and accomplished lady. Miss Callie is the daughter of Mr. P. Straughn, one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of this county.

MAY 29, 1882

Buena Vista – One night last week a man with wife and child, in a two-horse wagon, camped near Buena Vista, Monroe County, close to the residence of Jacob Rackard. During the night, Mr. R heard the child crying. As the cries continued he concluded to see what was the matter. On going to the camp, he found the man and woman both dead. At once the neighborhood was aroused, and upon investigation of the matter, no clue could be found except that a spider had been cooked in the victuals. It seems impossible to obtain the name of the parties, as they had no papers nor anything bearing their names, and no one knows from whence they came. We get this from a reliable citizen living near the line of Monroe County. – Evergreen News.

Peach Tree – Dr. J.M. Wiggins, formerly of Monroeville, and now a resident of Lower Peach Tree, Wilcox County, where he is doing a fine practice, was recently married to Miss Nora Dinkins of Arkansas. Miss Nora is a sister of Mrs. Dr. Russell of this place, and is an accomplished lady. We wish the doctor and his bride a smooth sea and pleasant sailing through the voyage of life.

Monroeville – Playing marbles is a popular pastime on our streets.

Jesse F. Rawls, formerly a compositor of this office, paid his relatives at this place, a visit recently.

It is authoritatively announced that R.F. Wallace will soon resign the circuit clerkship. Judge Jno. W. Leslie and Capt. J. DeLoach are applicants for the position in case of such resignation.

Today in History for April 30, 2017

Charles Lewis Scott
April 30, 1006 - A new star, possibly the brightest supernova in recorded human history, appeared in the sky.

April 30, 1492 – Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

April 30, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, several girls accused former Salem minister George Burroughs of witchcraft.

April 30, 1770 – English-Canadian cartographer and explorer David Thompson was born in Westminster, London, England.

April 30, 1776 - Samuel Adams wrote to the Rev. Samuel Cooper that he hoped for another battle between British and American troops, stating his belief that, "One battle would do more towards a Declaration of Independence than a long chain of conclusive arguments in a provincial convention or the Continental Congress."

April 30, 1789 – On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.

April 30, 1803 – In what is now known as the “Louisiana Purchase,” the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation. The territory covered 828,000 square miles, stretching from present-day Louisiana north to Canada, and as far west as the border of Idaho, doubling the geographical area of the United States.

April 30, 1812 – The Territory of Orleans became the 18th U.S. state under the name Louisiana.

April 30, 1859 – Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” was first published in serial form, appearing in the first issue of a new weekly journal, “All the Year Round,” which Dickens founded himself.

April 30, 1861 – During the Civil War, Fort Washita, in the Indian Territory, was abandoned by Federal forces.

April 30, 1862 – Kolb’s Battery (also known as the Barbour Light Artillery and 4th Battalion, Co. C, Hilliard’s Legion) mustered into Confederate service and then proceeded to Montgomery, Ala. where it was divided in two. The unit was organized at Eufaula, Ala. in April 1862 with a complement of about 325 officers and men. With two other companies, it organized as the artillery battalion of Hilliard's Legion.

April 30, 1862 – Lewis Lavon Peacock enlisted at the age of 17 in Kolb’s Battery, which became part of Hilliard’s Legion and later the 59th Alabama. He served in the campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee, including Chickamauga, before the regiment was transferred to Virginia in the spring of 1864.

April 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, Confederate forces moved toward Staunton from Elk Run in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

April 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Cooked Creek and Hog Mountain, Ala.

April 30, 1863 - The Battle of Day's Gap was fought between the cavalry forces of Union Col. Abel Streight and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The engagement was the first in a series of skirmishes between Streight and Forrest during Streight's Raid across north Alabama. The raid ended with Streight's surrender to Forrest just short of Streight's intended destination of Rome, Ga.

April 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought with Indians near Oak Camp, Calif.; at Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory; at Bloomfield, Va.; near Chancellorsville, Raccoon Ford and Spotsylvania Courthouse, Va.; and at Bridgeport, West Virginia. Federal forces also began crossing the Mississippi River from Louisiana to Mississippi near Bruinsburg, Miss., south of Vicksburg, Miss.

April 30, 1864 - Work began on the dams along the Red River. The work would allow Union General Nathaniel Banks' troops to sail over the rapids above Alexandria, La.

April 30, 1864 - At the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry in Arkansas, Union troops under General Frederick Steele fought off a Confederate army under General Edmund Kirby Smith as the Yankees retreated towards Little Rock, Arkansas. Jenkins’ Ferry came at the end of a major Union offensive in Arkansas, and Smith attacked Steele as the Yankees were trying to cross the flooded Saline River. The Union suffered 700 men killed, wounded, and missing out of 4,000, while the Confederates lost about 1,000 out of 8,000.

April 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Whitmore’s Mill, Ark., and a 10-day Federal operation between Memphis, Tenn. and Ripley, Miss. began.

April 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, CSA President Jefferson Davis’ son, Joseph, age five, fell to his death out of a second floor window of the Confederate White House in Richmond, Va. The exuberant five-year-old was, as boys that age often do, playing where he shouldn’t have been, on the second-floor balcony of the Presidential home, the Confederate White House in Richmond. Somehow he slipped, toppled over the railing, and fell to the brick pavement below.

April 30, 1865 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation took place in the vicinity of Brashear City, La.

April 30, 1866 – John Edward Witherington, who died at the age 77 in 1944, was born. While postmaster in the China community, he established the first rural postal route in Conecuh County, Ala.

April 30, 1875 – French explorer, lithographer and cartographer Jean-Frédéric Waldeck passed away at the claimed age of 109 years and 45 days. He supposedly died of a heart attack while eying a beautiful woman near the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

April 30, 1877 – American-French writer and author Alice B. Toklas was born in San Francisco, Calif.

April 30, 1885 – Governor of New York David B. Hill signed legislation creating the Niagara Reservation, New York's first state park, ensuring that Niagara Falls would not be devoted solely to industrial and commercial use.

April 30, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Hon. N. Stallworth of Evergreen was in attendance during Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court during the previous week.

April 30, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that fishing excursions to Flat Creek and other streams were being talked of.

April 30, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that the grand jury found 29 true bills during the previous week.

April 30, 1886 – The Monroe Journal reported that political candidates were “on the wing,” and that county politics were “becoming somewhat lively.”

April 30, 1888 – Poet and critic John Crowe Ransom was born in Pulaski, Tenn.

April 30, 1889 - George Washington's inauguration became the first U.S. national holiday.

April 30, 1891 - The ladies of Monroe County planned to present a flag to the military company at Buena Vista on this Thursday with appropriate ceremonies. The flag was to be delivered by the company’s sponsor, Miss Dovie Finklea. A reunion of all Confederate veterans was also to be held at the same time and place. All old soldiers in Monroe and adjoining counties were invited to attend. Addresses were to be made by several invited guests.

April 30, 1896 – The Monroe Journal reported that B.M. Miller, Esq. of Camden; the Hon. P.C. Walker and Jas. E. Stallworth, Esq., of Evergreen; and that the Hon. Jas. M. Davison of Brewton was in attendance during Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court that week.

April 30, 1896 – Monroe County Circuit Court adjourned on this Thursday afternoon and Judge Anderson and Solicitor Elmore left on the following morning for their home at Demopolis. There were five persons convicted and sentenced to terms in the penitentiary, two for murder and three for grand larceny, viz: Annie Nettles, manslaughter, two years; Sam Rogers, murder, 10 years; Sam Williams, grand larceny, 18 months; Dan Brown, same charge, three years; Tom Ross, same charge, 25 months. Marion Mixon, white, charged with murder, was acquitted.

April 30, 1899 – Charles Lewis Scott passed away at the age of 72 at Eliska in Monroe County and was buried in the Scott-English Cemetery at Eliska. Scott was born in Richmond, Va. on Jan. 26, 1827 and went on to graduate from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He became a lawyer before traveling to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Scott served in the California State Assembly from 1854 to 1856 and represented California in Congress from 1857 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he resigned his seat in Congress and joined the Fourth Regiment, Alabama Volunteer Infantry, of the Confederate Army, serving as major. He never returned to California. In 1861 he suffered a serious leg wound at the First Battle of Bull Run and resigned his commission due to injury in 1862, after the Battle of Seven Pines. After the war, Scott farmed in Wilcox County, Alabama, then during 1869–1879 was a journalist. He was a delegate to every Democratic National Convention from the end of the Civil War to 1896. In 1885, he was appointed by President Cleveland as minister to Venezuela, serving until he resigned in 1889. He returned to the U.S. and farmed.
April 30, 1900 - Hawaii was organized as an official U.S. territory.

April 30, 1900 – Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughan, Miss., while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

April 30, 1905 – Monroeville, Alabama’s town marshal raided and arrested six gamblers. They appeared in Monroeville’s mayor’s court the next day and were fined.

April 30, 1915 – The month of April 1915 was said to be the driest on record, according to the weather observer in Evergreen, Ala. During April, only .20 inches of rainfall was recorded. It was said that not since 1873 has there been an April in which less than an inch of rainfall was recorded.

April 30, 1916 - George W. Brooks, one of Conecuh County’s oldest citizens, died at his home, three miles north of Evergreen on this Sunday morning after a long illness. Brooks “was one of the best known men in this section, having been in the wood business for the past 20 years or more his business brought him in contact with all classes of people. He was a great friend of the small boys who delighted to ride with him on his wagon and to assist him in unloading his wood,” according to The Conecuh Record.

April 30, 1917 - The so-called Battle of the Boot marked the end of the British army’s Samarra Offensive, launched the previous month by Anglo-Indian forces under the regional commander in chief, Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, against the important Turkish railroad at Samarra, some 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq).

April 30, 1922 - Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers.

April 30, 1928 – Birmingham, Ala. native Spud Davis made his Major League Baseball debut for the St. Louis Cardinals.

April 30, 1939 - Lou Gehrig played his last game with the New York Yankees, having played in 2,130 consecutive games.

April 30, 1939 – Around 1,000 people watched as the first live public television broadcast was aired by the NBC network to between 100 and 200 television sets in New York City as President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke at the opening ceremonies of the New York World's Fair in Flushing, NY.

April 30, 1943 – During World War II’s “Operation Mincemeat,” the submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

April 30, 1945 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building. One week later Germany surrendered unconditionally.

April 30, 1945 – Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Annie Dillard was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. and is most famous for her 1974 book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”

April 30, 1947 – In Nevada, the Boulder Dam was renamed the Hoover Dam a second time.

April 30, 1955 – A square dance was scheduled to be held on this Saturday night, with music by Uncle Charlie and the Conecuh Play Boys, at the Evergreen Recreation Center (Old Armory), sponsored by the Evergreen (Ala.) Junior Chamber of Commerce. Admission was 75 cents. Also that night, another square dance was scheduled to be held at Lyeffion High School, admission 75 cents, at 8 p.m., sponsored by Quarterback Club.

April 30, 1957 – Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery entered into force.

April 30, 1961 - Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants hit four home runs against the Milwaukee Braves.

April 30, 1966 - Joe McKissick, a member of the Monroeville Jaycees, was elected state vice-president of the Jaycees at a district Jaycee meeting in Citronelle on this Saturday night. He was to serve a one-year term. As a vice-president of the state organization, McKissick was to represent the six clubs in the district at all state meetings, preside over district meetings, etc.

April 30, 1970 - Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs became the first National League player to play in 1,000 straight games.

April 30, 1973 – During the Watergate scandal, U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that White House Counsel John Dean had been fired and that other top aides, most notably H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, had resigned.

April 30, 1975 – During the Fall of Saigon, Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Dương Văn Minh.

April 30, 1976 – On this Friday, Sparta Academy’s baseball team slipped past Escambia, 7-6, with Jerry Peacock on the mound. Freddie Sellers had two hits and Ronnie Pugh one.

April 30, 1977 – Darlene Stevens, 21, and her two-year-old daughter, Christine Michelle, both of Conecuh County, Ala. were killed in a two-car collision on a Butler County road.

April 30, 1977 - Kathryn Tucker Windham of Selma told ghost stories during a program at the “Flea Market” event held at the L&N Depot in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday. The event was sponsored by the Murder Creek Historical Society.

April 30, 1979 – The Alston-Cobb House (now the Clarke County Historical Museum) in Grove Hill, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

April 30, 1983 – J.W. Coburn of Evergreen, Ala. won first place in the 1983 Jaycee Bass Tournament at the Camp McMillan Boy Scout Retreat Pond on U.S. Highway 31 near Brewton. Coburn received a trophy and a bass tackle box. Coburn won the tournament while fishing from the bank with a cane pole and wigglers against fishermen in bass boats with all types of rods, reels and lures.

April 30, 1988 - Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" fell out of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 725 weeks.

April 30, 1992 – Larry Morrison resigned as Evergreen (Ala.) Police Chief to become Repton’s police chief, a position he held prior to being named Evergreen’s chief on Nov. 5, 1991. Morrison replaced former Evergreen chief Leroy Hall, who resigned on Aug. 23, 1991. Evergreen Mayor Lee Smith named Lt. Earnest Section as “acting chief” to replace Morrison.

April 30, 1996 - The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles played the longest nine-inning game in Major League Baseball history. The game took four hours and 21 minutes.

April 30, 1996 - Ownership of The Monroe Journal changed, and the new owners pledged to continue the newspaper’s tradition of outstanding community journalism. New owners were Kermit P. “Bo” Bolton and Jodie Bolton of Flomaton and Journal editor Marilyn Handley. The sale was announced on this Tuesday by former publisher Steve Stewart. The Stewart family sold The Journal to the Boltons. Ms. Handley purchased a minority of the newspaper’s stock from the Boltons.

April 30, 1997 - The Atlanta Braves set a Major League Baseball record when they got their 19th win in the month of April.

April 30, 1998 – Clarke Mills, a historic textile factory in Jackson, Ala.; the Grove Hill Courthouse Square Historic District in Grove Hill, Ala.; and the Whatley Historic District in Whatley, Ala.; were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

April 30, 1998 - The first Alabama Writers Symposium opened in Monroeville, Ala.

April 30, 2002 - Alex Rodriguez became the second youngest major league player to reach 250 home runs. He was 26 years and 277 days old.

April 30, 2004 - The Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer was given to Alabama author Sonia Sanchez at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Ala.

April 30, 2004 – U.S. media released graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., April 30, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.35 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.85 inches.

Notes: Today is the 120th day of 2017 and the 42nd day of Spring. There are 245 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.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Buster Singleton weighs in on the school prayer controversy from his 'stump'

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “A time for war, a time for peace, a time for prayer” was originally published in the April 11, 1991 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

I see by the news that the school prayer controversy is once again becoming a large issue. I don’t profess to be intelligent, but I think this is a most ridiculous issue for our Supreme Court to consider.

I have felt for some time that I need to take a stand for the very thing that has made this country what it is today. So now, I will get on my stump and say my piece; if you feel like throwing something at me, please throw something soft – like a balloon or a bowl of ice cream. Remember, I bruise easily.

Let us go back in time to the start of the trouble in the Middle East. As our friend Saddam Hussein was rattling his saber, we began to see the need to muster our troops and make ready for possible deployment to the sands of the Saudi desert. As the days passed, our president made this decision and our sons and daughters were on their way. There seemed no way out, other than direct war with Iraq and their idiot leader, Saddam.

As our troops were loading on board the large aircraft and ocean-going battle wagons, the school prayer issue was on the back burner in the highest court of the land. But guess what happened? There was no way that one could turn on their television or radios or read a newspaper that the words, “Pray for our troops” weren’t seen or heard. We were doing once again what we had done in all four wars that I remember: We were calling on God to once again protect us from harm. The school prayer issue would have to wait for now; we needed God’s help.

Special prayers were held in all of our meetings; our president requested prayer each time he made a public appearance. Even some of the deadbeats in congress were asking for divine guidance. Everyone was afraid that we would be forgotten in our quest for victory in the sands of the desert. Even those who pushed the school prayer issue the hardest were bumping their knees. Once again we proved that we are a two-faced nation.

What is wrong with allowing our youth to pray in school? Do we want to use our greatest gift that this country has like a dose of medicine? If, by chance, there is someone in our schools who doesn’t believe there is a God, let them be allowed to leave the room during the time of prayer.

I have been many places during my lifetime. I have been a part of several experiences that caused me to look to the heavens and ask for strength and guidance. And not one time have I been turned down. Not one time. There is no greater feeling on this earth than to travel alone to the top of some high hill and raise your arms to the heavens and feel his strength flow downward, refreshing both body and soul.

We have just finished and won the shortest war in our history. Many of our sour-faced congressmen predicted that our casualty numbers would be over 10,000. But they didn’t know who was on our side. We lose more lives during a week’s time in some of our larger cities in homicides than we did in the Middle East fighting.

Let us not deprive our youth from doing what all our citizens should do. We are a God-fearing nation; there is no way that we could have accomplished so much in so short a time had we not had the blessings of our Lord.

As I get ready to step down from my stump, I will share with you my secret. I will share with you my source of strength. When I find myself in a tight place and know I cannot handle the situation alone, I know where to look: Isaiah 40:31.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not be faint.

If anyone who reads this has any doubts, make an effort to witness a beautiful eagle, with outstretched wings, sailing across the heavens. There is nothing more graceful and nothing more strengthening.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Today in History for April 29, 2017

Carnelias Alexander Thames
April 29, 1429 – Joan of Arc led French forces into the English-held city of Orleans.

April 29, 1770 – James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

April 29, 1776 - General George Washington ordered Brigadier General Nathanael Greene to take command of Long Island and set up defensive positions against a possible British attack on New York City.

April 29, 1776 – English explorer and author Edward Wortley Montagu passed away in Padua, Italy at the age of 62.

April 29, 1781 – During the Revolutionary War, British and French ships clashed in the Battle of Fort Royal, off the coast of Martinique.

April 29–30, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette visited St. Louis, Missouri.

April 29, 1852 - The first edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus was published.

April 29, 1859 – Property in Monroeville, Ala. for a new jail was purchased from John B. Welch and his wife, Rosanne, for $50.

April 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, Maryland's House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

April 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, New Orleans fell to Union forces under Admiral David Farragut. Union troops officially took possession of the city after the surrender of Fort Jackson and Fort. St. Phillip, completing the occupation that had begun four days earlier on April 25. The capture of this vital southern city was a huge blow to the Confederacy.

April 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal forces began their advance from Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. toward Corinth, Miss.

April 29, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Batchelder’s Creek, N.C.; at White Point, S.C.; and at Cumberland Gap, near Bethel Station, Purdy and Monterey Tenn.

April 29, 1863 - Union Colonel Abel Streight's command was attacked by troops under the command of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. On this day, the Union had set a trap and held the Confederates under fire and wounded Captain William Forrest (Nathan Bedford's brother).

April 29, 1863 – Poet C.P. Cavafy was born in Alexandria, Egypt.

April 29, 1863 - American newspaper magnate and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst was born in San Francisco, Calif.

April 29, 1863 - Two days of Federal operations in Opelousas, Chicotville and Bayou Boeuf, La. began.

April 29, 1863 – A Federal demonstration took place against Haynes and Drumgould’s Bluff, Miss. to distract Confederates as a portion of Grant’s force relocated itself further south on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River. The bombardment of the Grand Gulf, Miss. began. A three-day Federal reconnaissance from La Grange, Tenn. into northern Mississippi began. Four days of Federal operations in the Murfreesborough, Tenn. area began.

April 29, 1863 – Union General George Stoneman began his cavalry raid against Lee's and the Confederate's lines of communication (lasted until May 7).

April 29, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Kellysville, Brandy Station and Stevensburg, Va.; at Brookhaven, Miss., with Grierson’s raiders; at Castor River, Mo.; on the Chapel Hill Pike in Tennessee; at Crook’s Run and Germanna Ford, and White Oak Run, all near Fredericksburg, Va.; and at Fairmont, West Virginia.

April 29, 1864 – Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the only fraternity to be founded during the Civil War.

April 29, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought along the Ouachita River and another near Saline Bottom, Ark.; at Grand Ecore, La.; in the Sni Hills of Missouri; and in Berry County, Tenn.

April 29, 1864 – A Federal operation between Ringgold toward Tunnel Hill, Ga. began. A two-day Federal operation between Newport Barracks and Swansborough, N.C. began.

April 29, 1864 - Admiral Porter’s fleet seemed doomed. Trapped on the Red River, they heard on this day that their nemesis, Confederate General Richard Taylor, was proposing to take one of their own disabled boats and refloat it to use it as a fireboat to cause havoc and destruction to the Union fleet. Lt. Col. Joseph Bailey came up with a deranged plan. Among their troops were many Midwestern and Maine men with lumberjack experience. Bailey proposed to have them build a dam across the rapids. This would raise the water level under the ships enough than when the dam was blown, they would all get downstream. For lack of alternative, Porter and Banks, head of the land forces, agreed to let him try it.

April 29, 1865 – Confederate General Richard Taylor negotiated a ceasefire with Union General Edward Canby at Magee Farm in Kushla, near Mobile. These were the preliminary arrangements for the surrender of the last Confederate States Army east of the Mississippi River. Taylor's forces, comprising 47,000 Confederate troops serving in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, were the last remaining Confederate force east of the Mississippi River.

April 29, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Eddyville, Ky.

April 28, 1885 – John Folk, who was about 80 years old, died of “dropsy” at his home about eight miles south of Monroeville, Ala.

April 29, 1895 – Annie “Anna” Newberry, 79, passed away at the home of A.C. Lambert at Manistee, Ala. She was buried in the Polar Bridge Cemetery at Manistee.

April 29, 1896 - Mrs. C.L. Johnson returned home to the River Ridge community on the steamer Nettie Quill on this Wednesday night after a visit to friends and relatives in Mobile, Ala.

April 29, 1896 - At the residence of Jeff Sessions in Wilcox County, R.C. Abernathy of Tinela married Miss Alabama Perkins of Marion, Ala., Rev. N.B. Keahey, officiating, assisted by Rev. G.W. Jones.

April 29, 1899 – Bandleader, pianist and composer Edward Kennedy, better known as Duke Ellington, was born in Washington, D.C.

April 29, 1903 – The Evergreen Courant reported that H.E. Shaver had picked up in Evergreen, Ala. wire and insulators to be used in the construction of a telephone line from Mt. Union and Herbert to Evergreen, Ala., which was due to be complete that week. Shaver noted that the line would likely be extended to Brooklyn, a distance of about 11 miles.

April 29, 1903 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Charles J. Crawford and William H. Crawford had passed the bar exam.

April 29-30, 1905 – The Rev. E.C. Clayton filled his regular appointment at Pleasant Hill church on this Saturday and Sunday at Manistee, Ala.

April 29, 1906 – The Rev. A.J. Lambert was scheduled to preach at Zion church (at Axle in Monroe County, Ala.) on this fifth Sunday at 11 a.m.

April 29, 1906 - Capt. A.H. Johnson of Franklin passed through Monroeville on this Sunday on his return from the reunion of Confederate Veterans at New Orleans.

April 29, 1906 - A large crowd attended Sunday school at Mt. Pleasant on this Sunday.

April 29, 1909 – The Conecuh Record reported that “one automobile may now be seen on the streets of Evergreen, Ala., being owned by the Hon. Jas. F. Jones. No doubt many more will be seen here before many weeks.” On May 5, Jones and Henry Hawthorne would travel to Monroeville in Jones’ new automobile.

April 29, 1909 – Before a large crowd, Evergreen beat Andalusia in baseball, 4-3, in 10 innings.

April 29, 1912 – Carnelias Alexander Thames, 82, of Brooklyn, Ala. passed away at his family home in Brooklyn. He was buried in the Brooklyn Baptist Church Cemetery on the following day with full Masonic honors. He was born on Nov. 20, 1830.

April 29, 1913 – Swedish engineer Gideon Sundback, who was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, patented the modern zipper under the name “Hookless No. 2.”

April 29, 1915 – C. Bennett, who lived on the Greenville Road beyond the convict camp, had his home and its contents destroyed by fire on this Thursday night.

April 29, 1916 – During World War I, the UK's 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at the Siege of Kut in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

April 29, 1918 – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach George Allen was born in Nelson County, Va. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

April 29, 1928 - A movie version of Alabama author Jack Bethea's book “Honor Bound” was released.

April 29, 1931 – Editor Robert Gottlieb was born in New York City.

April 29, 1933 – Singer and songwriter Willie Nelson was born in the small farming community of Abbott, Texas.

April 29, 1934 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1934.

April 29, 1941 - The Boston Bees agreed to change their name to the Braves.

April 29, 1945 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler married his longtime partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. Both Hitler and Braun committed suicide the following day.

April 29, 1945 – German SS officer Matthias Kleinheisterkamp committed suicide at the age of 51 at Halbe, Province of Brandenburg, Free State of Prussia, Nazi Germany.

April 29, 1945 – American soldiers liberated 30,000 prisoners from a concentration camp in Dachau, Germany.

April 29, 1946 – “The Portable Faulkner” by William Faulkner was published by Viking.

April 29, 1947 – Former Evergreen, Ala. mayor and state senator Lamar Kelly, 50, of Evergreen was named chairman of the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Kelly, who helped write the legislation that created the ABC board, succeeded Bryce C. Davis of Cullman, who resigned on April 17. Kelly was a state senator from the 17th Senatorial District (Butler, Conecuh and Covington Counties) from 1935 through 1939. Prior to that, he served as mayor of Evergreen for nine years beginning in 1926.

April 29, 1948 – Charles “Bubba” Harris, a native of Sulligent, Ala., made his Major League debut as a pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics.

April 29, 1948 – The Evergreen Courant reported that pitcher James Carpenter and R.E. Ivey, both of Evergreen, Ala., played leading parts in a recent, 8-2 Sunflower Trojan baseball victory over East Mississippi. Carpenter struck out 12, and Ivey hit a crucial double. Grissett and Tolbert also hit doubles in the game.

April 29, 1948 – The Evergreen Courant reported that during a recent meeting, the newly organized Evergreen (Ala.) Chapter of the Order of Demolay elected officers. Those officers included George Hendrix, M.C.; John Ellis, Sr. C.; Joe Andrews, Jr. C.; Curtis Walker, Scribe; Wayne Cook, Treas.; T.Y. Henderson, S.D.; Dudley Bartlett, J.D.; Bert Gaston, Sentinel; Jeff Moorer, S. Steward; P.J. Godwin, Jr. Steward; R.J. Sanford, Jr. Marchal; Willie Cobb, Jr. Alamaner; Junior Ward, Chaplain; Shelton Craig, Standard Bearer; Gwynn Daniels, Orator; Wayne Congleton, 1st Preceptor; Sidney Williamson, 2nd Preceptort; Billie Langham, 3rd Preceptor; Georgie Brown, 4th Preceptor.

April 29, 1952 - Controversial speaker and author David Icke was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.

April 29, 1953 - The first experimental 3D-TV broadcast took place in the US with a showing of an episode of “Space Patrol.”

April 29, 1954 – Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

April 29, 1957 - The Boston Red Sox traded Mobile, Alabama’s Milt Bolling along with Russ Kemmerer and Faye Throneberry to the Washington Senators for Bob Chakales and Dean Stone. Milt was immediately put to work with the Senators, starting at shortstop occasionally in May and June before becoming their everyday starter from July through the end of the season.

April 29, 1957 – Conecuh County, Alabama’s annual Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held with 26 4H Club and FFA members participating.

April 29, 1960 - Hueytown, in Jefferson County, Ala., was officially incorporated. White settlers first came to the area around 1816. The local economy remained largely agricultural until the nearby city of Birmingham began to expand as the iron and steel industry burgeoned. Referred to initially as Huey and by around 1914 as Hueytown, the area remained one of the largest unincorporated communities in Alabama for many years.

April 29, 1963 – A meeting of the Evergreen Junior Baseball League was scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. The league’s officers included Earl Windham, President; Ed Smith, Vice President; Leslie Huggins, Secretary-Treasurer; Ray Owens, Player Manager; Joe Sasser, Chief Scorer; and Henry Allman, Chief Umpire.

April 29, 1966 – Frisco City High School’s baseball team improved to 4-4 on the season with a 10-1 win over Beatrice on this Friday. Jim Kelly was the winning pitcher for FCHS, giving up just two hits. Fred Till was the losing pitcher for Beatrice.

April 29, 1967 - Alabama author Mary Elizabeth Vroman died in Brooklyn, N.Y.

April 29, 1968 – The controversial musical, “Hair”, a product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, opened at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway, with its songs becoming anthems of the anti-Vietnam War movement.

April 29, 1970 – During the Vietnam War, United States and South Vietnamese forces, including some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops, invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

April 29, 1971 - U.S. casualty figures for April 18 to April 24 were released. The 45 killed during that time brought total U.S. losses for the Vietnam War to 45,019 since 1961. These figures made Southeast Asia fourth in total losses sustained by the U.S. during a war, topped only by the number of losses incurred during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

April 29, 1974 – During the Watergate scandal, United States President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings relating to the scandal.

April 29, 1974 – Dr. Cecil Eugene Price, 51, died from “as the result of massive heart failure” at his office. He practiced medicine in Conecuh County, Ala. for over a quarter of a century and at one time was the only physician in practice in the county. He was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Evergreen.

April 29, 1974 – Birmingham, Ala. native Lee May became the 17th player in Major League Baseball history to hit two home runs in one inning.

April 29, 1975 – During the Vietnam War’s Operation Frequent Wind, the U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon before an expected North Vietnamese takeover. It was the largest helicopter evacuation on record, and U.S. involvement in the war came to an end.

April 29, 1975 – During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army completed its capture of all parts of South Vietnamese-held Trường Sa Islands.

April 29, 1976 – Sparta Academy’s baseball team used its only two hits to good advantage in downing Fort Dale, 4-1, on this Thursday. Ronnie Pugh was the winning pitcher while the Peacock brothers, Jerry and Terry, got Sparta’s hits.

April 29, 1976 - Dianne Williams lacked only a few feet of getting her car clear of the railroad tracks before a train hit the rear of it on this Thursday in Evergreen. She was crossing from East Front to West Front at the bridge crossing when the traffic light changed red. A pickup truck was stopped in front her. She blew her horn and finally drove into the truck, but still lacked those few inches. Fortunately, she was not injured.

April 29, 1979 - The final episode of "Battlestar Galactica" was aired on ABC.

April 29, 1981 - Steve Carlton, of the Philadelphia Phillies, became the first left-handed pitcher in the major leagues to get 3,000 career strikeouts.

April 29, 1985 - Billy Martin was brought back, for the fourth time, to the position of manager for the New York Yankees.

April 29, 1986 – A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

April 29, 1986 - Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox set a Major League Baseball record by striking out 20 Seattle Mariner batters.

April 29, 1988 - The Baltimore Orioles set a new Major League Baseball record by losing their first 21 games of the season.

April 29, 1994 – Episode No. 22 of “The X-Files” – entitled “Born Again” – aired for the first time.

April 29, 2002 - Darryl Strawberry was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating his probation on a 1999 conviction on drug and solicitation of prostitution charges.

April 29, 2004 – Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

April 29, 2014 – Former Beatrice, Ala. mayor Alan Bishop, a native of Haleyville, passed away at his home at the age of 57. Born on June 22, 1956, he was buried in the Pineville Baptist Cemetery.

April 29, 2015 – A baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox set the all-time low attendance mark for Major League Baseball. Zero fans were in attendance for the game, as the stadium was officially closed to the public due to the 2015 Baltimore protests.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., April 29, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.35 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.85 inches.

Notes: Today is the 119th day of 2017 and the 41st day of Spring. There are 246 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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,229 miles down and 570 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged three miles on Sunday, three miles on Wednesday and four more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,229 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 570 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 68.3 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the seventh day of the trip past Lothlorien, which is Feb. 22 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 1219, which was nine miles past where the banks alongside the river began to grow stony and the hills north of the Emyn Muil begin to rise on the eastern shore.


One mile later, at Mile 1220,  Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring past the point where hills appeared on the west as the river passed through “low crumbling cliffs, and chimneys with grey weathers stone dark with ivy.” I’ve traveled nine miles past that point, to Mile 1229, and the next significant milestone comes five miles later, at Mile 1234, where the group reaches the higher Emyn Muil. In all, the group travels 50 miles in about 13 hours on Feb. 22.


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 April 28, 2017

Lemuel Austin Hendrix
April 28, 1686 - The first volume of Isaac Newton's "Principia Mathamatic" was published.

April 28, 1758 - James Monroe, the fifth U.S. President, was born at Monroe Hall, Virginia, British America.

April 28, 1776 - Col. Lachlan McIntosh wrote a letter to inform General George Washington that he was pleased with his recruitment efforts in the colony at Savannah, Ga.

April 28, 1788 – Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

April 28, 1789 – During what’s now referred to as the “Mutiny on the Bounty,” Lieutenant William Bligh and 18 sailors were set adrift and the rebel crew returned to Tahiti briefly and then set sail for Pitcairn Island.

April 28, 1810 - Union General Daniel Ullmann, who is best known for being an advocate for black troops, was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

April 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Bolivar, Ala. and another was fought at Paint Rock Bridge, Ala.

April 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La., after the surrender of New Orleans, rendered their further resistance useless. A Federal operation began on the Marias-des-Cygnes and the Elk Fork Rivers in Missouri. A two-day Federal reconnaissance toward Purdy, Tenn. began.

April 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Warsaw, Mo.; at Cumberland Mountain, Tenn. and near Monterey, Tenn.

April 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Town Creek, Ala.

April 28, 1863 – Union Col. Florence N. Cornyn and members of the 10th Missouri Cavalry destroyed the LaGrange College & Military Academy in Franklin County, Ala. and also burned hundreds of homes and businesses, including the Lafayette Academy.

April 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Sand Mountain, Ga.; at Monticello, Ky.; and at Union Church, Miss. as part of the Grierson raid.

April 28, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Princeton, Ark.; with Indians along the Eel River in California; in Johnson County, Mo. and at Upperville, Va. A nine-day Federal operation between Springfield, Mo. and Fayetteville, Ark. began. A week-long bombardment of Fort Sumter, S.C. commenced.

April 28, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought with Indians near Fort Cummings, New Mexico Territory.

April 28, 1878 – Actor and director Lionel Barrymore was born in Philadelphia.

April 28, 1881 – Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.

April 28, 1882 – Joseph Tarpley Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s father) signed a mortgage, under which he borrowed $60 from his wife Nancy’s nephew, Richard P. Liles, against “my entire crop of cotton, corn, sugar cane, fodder and peas grown by me the present year on my plantation or elsewhere under my direction in Covington County.” Repayment was due Oct. 1

April 28-29, 1886 - A 78-year-old Jefferson Davis was in Montgomery, Ala. to participate in elaborate ceremonies for laying the cornerstone of the Confederate Monument on Capitol Hill. It was the only cornerstone laid by Davis. Fundraising and design problems slowed the construction of the monument. A dedication ceremony for the completed monument was held on Dec. 7, 1898.

April 28, 1886 - Rain “fell in torrent” on this Wednesday, according to The Monroe Journal.

April 28, 1886 – Erich Salomon, one of the founders of photojournalism, was born in Berlin, Germany.

April 28, 1896 - Sam Moore, who was representing the firm of Michtral & Lyon of Mobile, was in Pineville, Ala. on this Tuesday.

April 28, 1900 – German SS officer Heinrich Müller was born in Munich, Bavaria, German Empire.

April 28, 1911 – Confederate veteran Lemuel Austin Hendrix passed away at his home in Mexia, Ala. at the age of 72. Hendrix was born on April 29, 1839 and enlisted as a private in August 1861 with Co. E of the 23rd Alabama Infantry, aka, the “Monroe Rebels.” He was taken prisoner during the Port Gibson/Grand Gulf Campaign on May 10, 1863. He was forwarded to Alton, Ill. and then to Camp Douglas, Ill. and was released in June 1865. According to “History of Hendrix Family” by J.E. Hendrix, L.A. Hendrix was in position beside his brother, William James Hendrix, when W.J. Hendrix was struck by a cannon shot and instantly killed. L.A. Hendrix is buried at Mexia Baptist Cemetery.

April 28, 1915 - The movie “The Poet of the Peak,” screenplay written by Alabama author Marie Stanley under her maiden name Marie Layet, was released.

April 28, 1915 - The International Congress of Women convened at The Hague, Netherlands, with more than 1,200 delegates from 12 countries—including Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the United States—all dedicated to the cause of peace and a resolution of the great international conflict that was World War I.

April 28, 1917 – Playwright Robert Anderson was born in New York City.

April 28, 1926 - Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Ala. Her famous novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird, was published on July 11, 1960, and sold more than 2-1/2 million copies in the first year. On May 1, 1961, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Letters. In 2015, she published her second novel, “Go Set a Watchman.”

April 28, 1928 – Geologist and astronomer Eugene Shoemaker was born in Los Angeles, Calif.

April 28, 1930 – The Independence Producers hosted the first night game in the history of Organized Baseball in Independence, Kansas.

April 28, 1932 – A vaccine for yellow fever was announced for use on humans.

April 28, 1934 – Novelist Lois Duncan was born in Philadelphia, Pa.

April 28, 1936 – Iraqi journalist and politician, Tariq Aziz, who also served as Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, was born in Tel Keppe, Iraq.

April 28, 1937 – Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born in Al-Awja, Saladin Province, Iraq.

April 28, 1940 - The seventh anniversary of the Monroe Theatre was scheduled to be celebrated on this Sunday with a birthday party in the theatre lobby. The public was cordially invited by Bill Hendrix, manager. Showing on the screen that day, as the Seventh Anniversary Picture, was to be “Little Old New York,” featuring Alice Faye, Fred MacMurray, Richard Greene and Brenda Joyce.

April 28, 1946 - The Evergreen Baseball Club traveled to Milton, Fla. on this Sunday and won its second game of the season, 7-0. Hart pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, and McDonald held them to no hits for the next two innings. Johnson and Page each had two hits, and Bolton drove out a 300-foot homer in the first inning. The outstanding fielder was Barfield, first baseman.

April 28, 1947 – Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot balsa wood raft “Kon-Tiki” to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. After a 4,300-mile, 101-day trip, they would reach Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti on Aug. 7, 1947.

April 28, 1950 – Poet Carolyn Forche was born in Detroit.

April 28, 1955 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Castleberry Swimming Pool would open soon. The water was expected to be turned on, and the Castleberry swimming pool was to open soon to the public, according to A.T. Weaver, Castleberry town clerk. The pool was of concrete construction, with a concrete bottom at the deep end, and was paved at the shallow end with smooth round pebbles. It was about 40 feet wide, and about 110 feet long.

April 28, 1955 – Monroe County was scheduled to play Jay, Fla. in Dixie Amateur Baseball League action at Vanity Fair Park in Monroeville, beginning at 8 p.m.

April 28, 1961 - The NFL chose Canton, Ohio as the site for the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

April 28, 1961 - Three teenage boys were arrested in Brewton on this Friday by Conecuh County Sheriff James Brock and FBI Agent Jules Hubbard after the three had wrecked a stolen car in Castleberry on Wed., April 26. The three 15-year-old boys confessed stealing the car. They were arrested in the home of one boy’s grandmother. Brock said the car, a 1955 Chevrolet station wagon, was stolen Tues., April 25. The boys drove to Castleberry that night to see a relative and while driving around in the vicinity they wrecked it. Brock said an all-out search was staged for the boys before the April 28 arrest. They were jailed in Evergreen, awaiting a federal agent from Mobile to pick them up.

April 28, 1962 – Early on this Saturday morning, Conecuh County Exchange employees Eugene B. McIntyre, 52, and Earl Steen, 24, both of Evergreen were killed instantly in a three-vehicle accident near the Murder Creek Bridge on U.S. Highway 31 in Evergreen. Also injured in the crash were Geneva Steen, 59, and George Thompson, 63, who were hurt when they jumped off the bridge to avoid the collision. Five women from Mobile also suffered “bruises and injuries” when the 1957 Cadillac they were in collided with other vehicles involved. Preston Smith, 51, the driver of a big trailer truck that collided with the two-ton truck occupied by the two fatally wounded men, was not injured.

April 28, 1963 – The reorganized Conecuh County (Ala.) Amateur Baseball League opened its season on this Sunday afternoon with three games – Damascus at Paul, McKenzie at Red Level and Flat Rock vs. Mixonville in Evergreen. Bernard Powell was president of the league.

April 28, 1964 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He went on to play his entire career for the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

April 28, 1965 - Alabama author George Wylie Henderson died in New York, N.Y.

April 28, 1966 - A flying club was organized in Uriah on this Thursday night. The men named the organization “The Flying Six.” Les Hayles, president of the club, stated that the purpose of the club was for them to have mutual ownership in a plane and to learn to operate a plane on an economical basis. C.E. Snow Jr., financial chairman and secretary, said the club planned to expand its membership at a later date. Charter members of the club were Randolph Lambert, Alvin Smith, Mr. Snow, Lloyd (Whitey) Chunn and Mr. Hayles.

April 28, 1970 - The Evergreen City Council approved the use of the ‘911’ emergency telephone number in the City of Evergreen, Ala.

April 28, 1970 – During the Vietnam War, U.S. President Richard Nixon gave his formal authorization to commit U.S. combat troops, in cooperation with South Vietnamese units, against communist troop sanctuaries in Cambodia.

April 28, 1972 – Sparta Academy held its first ever athletic banquet at the Holiday Inn in Evergreen, Ala. Tommy Yearout, co-captain of the 1971 Auburn Tigers, was the guest speaker.

April 28, 1972 - The North Vietnamese offensive continued as Fire Base Bastogne, 20 miles west of Hue, fell to the communists. Fire Base Birmingham, four miles to the east, was also under heavy attack. As fighting intensified all across the northern province of South Vietnam, much of Hue’s civilian population tried to escape south to Da Nang. Farther south in the Central Highlands, 20,000 North Vietnamese troops converged on Kontum, encircling it and cutting it off. Only 65 miles north of Saigon, An Loc lay under siege and continued to take a pummeling from North Vietnamese artillery, rockets, and ground attacks. To the American command in Saigon, it appeared that South Vietnam was on the verge of total defeat by the North Vietnamese, but the South Vietnamese were able to hold out.

April 28, 1975 – General Cao Văn Viên, chief of the South Vietnamese military, departed for the US as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on victory.

April 28, 1976 – Sparta Academy’s softball team remained undefeated as they staged a tremendous late rally on this Wednesday to edge Fort Dale Academy, 15-14. Donna Salter was the winning pitcher as the girls ran their record to 3-0. Leanne Tanner led the hitters with two safeties.

April 28, 1977 – Conecuh County High School’s basketball team was honored with a banquet. Award winners included Leon Kennedy, Outstanding Player; Lawrence Finn, Most Valuable Player; Clinton Peters, Rebound Award; and Willie Jones, Defense Award. Preston Fluker was the varsity team’s head coach, and James Sanders was the B team’s head coach.

April 28, 1980 – Woodlands (also known as the Frederick Blount Plantation) in Gosport, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

April 28, 1981 – Evergreen, Ala. native and former NFL player Benjamin Rudolph was drafted in the third round (60th pick overall) by the New York Jets.

April 28, 1985 - Billy Martin was named the manager of the New York Yankees for the fourth time.

April 28, 1988 - The Baltimore Orioles lost for the 21st consecutive time. It was the longest streak to start a season in Major League Baseball.

April 28, 1994 - The 100th episode of "The Simpsons" aired on FOX.

April 28, 1995 – Episode No. 46 of “The X-Files” – entitled “F. Emasculata” – aired for the first time.

April 28, 2001 - Alabama author James Still died in Hazard, Ky.

April 28, 2001 - Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist. 

April 28, 2007 – Evergreen, Ala. Mayor Larry Fluker threw out the first pitch to open the Babe Ruth baseball season at Evergreen Municipal Park.

April 28, 2009 – “Loving Natalee: A Mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith” by Beth Holloway was published in paperback under the alternate title “Loving Natalee: The True Story of the Aruba Kidnapping and Its Aftermath.” The paperback edition includes additional material that wasn’t in the original hardback edition, which was published on Oct. 2, 2007.

April 28, 2011 – The Father Ryan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy rededicated the fountain erected in Greenville, Ala. in 1914 to mark the spot where a modified version of “Dixie” written by Miss Ina Marie Porter was first sung in 1861. Legend has it that Porter wrote the words on one day and it was sung the next day.

April 28, 2011 - A Dutch instructor pilot was killed when his Apache helicopter collided with a steel cable over the Alabama River at Packer’s Bend that guided the ferry there. The accident happened around noon on this Thursday. Capt. Richard van de Perre was piloting the helicopter when it apparently collided head-on with a steel cable stretched across the river at an estimated 50-60 foot height that helps guide the Davis Ferry, operated by the Monroe County Commission, as it crosses the river. The cable shattered the cockpit windshield and apparently killed van de Perre instantly.

April 28, 2011 - Prior to the first performance of the “To Kill a Mockingbird” play in Monroeville, Ala. on this Thursday, Georgia-Pacific officials announced the company would donate $150,000 to construct an amphitheater on the grounds of the Old Monroe County Courthouse.

April 28, 2014 - Eight members of the “Three River Adventurers” arrived at Swamp House Landing near Pensacola, Fla., ending a historic 139-mile canoe trip from Travis Bridge to Pensacola. The group included Dalton Campbell of Owassa, Frank Murphy of Herbert, Sam Peacock of Repton, John Potts of Flat Rock, Ed Salter of Repton, Joel Williams of Evergreen, Marc Williams of Evergreen and Evergreen native Larry Yeargan of Coosada.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., April 28, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.30 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.35 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.85 inches.

Notes: Today is the 118th day of 2017 and the 40th day of Spring. There are 247 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, April 27, 2017

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 327: Visit the 'haunted' railroad tracks in Coy, Ala.

Wilcox County Road 13 railroad crossing.
Are the railroad tracks at Coy haunted?

Depending on who you ask, stories about the haunted railroad crossing at Coy vary, but sources say that a group of children died in a tragic bus accident there in the 1950s. Now, the story goes, if you visit the crossing late at night, you can hear the sounds of children playing and laughing on the tracks.
Others say that if you visit the crossing late at night or early in the morning, you can actually see the ghosts of children playing at the railroad crossing.

When I first heard this tale, I presumed that it was referring to the crossing where the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway crosses County Road 12 in Coy, near the post office. However, when I asked around, I learned that the story actually refers to the railroad crossing a short distance southeast on County Road 13.

The weather on Sat., April 8, was bright and clear, so I decided to investigate this story for myself. I’d been to the railroad crossing near the Coy post office many times before, but I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever been to the crossing on County Road 13. With that in mind, I traveled the lonely country backroads to that crossing, drove over the tracks and parked on the side of the road, about 50 yards south of the crossing.

I got out of the truck, shut the door and stood there for what seemed like a long time, listening. The place was deserted. No one was around. There wasn’t another vehicle in sight.

I have a healthy respect for trains and railroad tracks, so I approached the crossing on foot with more than the usual amount of caution. As I stood there, taking a long look up and down the tracks, I was again struck by the eerie silence of the place. Not even the birds or insects were stirring.

I crossed to the other side of the road and just as I was about to return to my truck, an unexpected noise struck my ears. Had I just heard a child laughing? Despite the warm afternoon sun, the back of my neck broke out in gooseflesh as I froze in my tracks.

Suddenly and without warning, I heard it again. This time, my head snapped in the direction of the sound, and my eyes met with something that I’d missed in my first look around. In the dim shadows on the south side of the road, I could make out where the railroad tracks crossed a short wooden bridge.

At first glance, I’d missed it, but when I took a few more steps in that direction, I could see that the small rail bridge crossed over a stream or creek that flows off into the dark woods and out of sight. Surely the sound that I’d mistaken for laughter had been nothing more than the sound of water chuckling beneath the bridge.

A few minutes later, back in my truck, I checked my trusty, dogeared copy of the “Alabama Atlas & Gazetteer” and saw on Page 50 where the creek or stream that flows near the railroad crossing eventually flows into McCalls Creek, which empties into the Alabama River near Backers Landing in Monroe County.

On the way home, I wondered if the sound of the water flowing beneath the bridge could be the root of the stories about the haunted railroad tracks at Coy. Had people over the years simply mistaken that sound for the sound of laughing children? I suppose it’s hard to say for sure, but one thing’s for certain: The railroad crossing at County Road 13 is an unusually spooky place and is probably even more so in the dead of night.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone with more information about the haunted railroad tracks at Coy, especially anyone who has seen or heard anything out of the ordinary there. I’d also like to hear from anyone with any information about the bus accident that supposedly took place there in the 1950s.