Saturday, September 30, 2017

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

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Sept. 27, 1917 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

Cotton Report: There were 485 bales of cotton, counting round as half bales, ginned in Wilcox County from the crop of 1917, prior to Sept. 1, 1917, as compared with 349 bales ginned to Sept. 1, 1916.

The steamboat M.A. Burke recently came from the Alabama River to Mobile with 629 bales of cotton. The little cotton that is made is opening very fast and will soon be out of the fields.

Death of Melvin Hazel and Wife: Last Saturday morning, Mr. Melvin Hazel of Gees Bend, aged 37 years, died of congestive chills, and on Sunday night his wife also died of the same illness. Both died before physicians could reach them, after they were sent for. Mrs. Hazel was a daughter of Mr. J.M. Mitchell.

It is rumored that a two-story brick store with offices on the second floor is to be built in Camden. This is one evidence of better times.

There is considerable malarial fever in the county.

The County Commissioners’ Court will meet Fri., Oct. 5, in reference to graveling the Jackson Highway in West Wilcox, etc.

Hon. S.D. Bloch has returned from a visit to his brothers in Mobile. Mr. Bloch does not intend to leave Wilcox County and Camden, nor will he change his citizenship. He will, after Jan. 1, be a portion of his time in Mobile, but his business interests in the county and his management of The Progressive Era and its job printing department will remain as heretofore in Camden under his direction.

Dr. Paul Jones has received his commission as first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He volunteered for foreign service.

The cool wave of last Tuesday and Wednesday made blankets and quilts comfortable.

Mr. A.J. Bigger of O’Lea has purchased the late Frank Stewart place near Camden and is living there with his family.

The Camden Chautauqua Circle met with Mrs. J.M. Bonner on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. P.W. Middlebrooks, formerly of our county, has moved from Consul to Tunnel Springs.

Dr. G.C. Kilpatrick of Mobile and a native of Camden is in camp somewhere on the shores of Lake Champlain. He is in command of an ambulance company of 150 men and doesn’t know when he will be sent to the front. He is much pleased with the location in one of the beauty spots of Vermont. – Mobile Register.

The following young men are at the University of Alabama this session: Camden, Robt. Hardy, Will Albritton, Hunter Farish, Ellie Jones; Pine Apple, George Snowdon, Jim Wright Snowdon, Grier Donald, Miss Ruth Feagin; and Henry Kimbrough of Lowndesboro, who graduated from the Wilcox County High School last year. The attendance so far is over 700 and it is estimated will reach 750.

Ackerville News: Mr. P.E. Wallace Jr., who spent last week with his parents, has returned to Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., where he is being trained to do his bit for Uncle Sam in the capacity of lieutenant. 

Singleton writes of the day that a veteran has to borrow his brother's cork leg

Battle of Gettysburg
(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 “It’s not every day that you borrow someone else’s leg” was originally published in the Sept. 10, 1992 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

There has never been a time in the history of our country, or perhaps even in the history of the world, when the tide of unusual happenings unfurled as it did during and after our Civil War.

One could spend an entire lifetime in the study of this tragic time in our history and never completely cover it in its entirety. Many tragic events took place in the five years that shook our country to its very soul, and even today, more than 127 years later, we continue to feel some of the after effects from it.

Not everything that happened during this period was brutal. More than 5,000 battles and skirmishes were fought between the North and the South, and out of these, some events turned out to be ironic and amusing.

The date was July 1, 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg had started, and some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war was beginning to take place. The 13th North Carolina Regiment was among the first to come eyeball to eyeball with the Union troops on that hot July day.

Two brothers, Jack and Jasper Walker of Charlotte, N.C. was among those of the 13th Regiment. Jasper, the younger of the two, was a color bearer for the regiment. He was the fifth color bearer of the day; the other four had been shot down in the fierce fighting that had taken place earlier. Jack and Jasper had been separated during the bitter skirmish, and neither knew just where the other one was.

In trying to advance, the 13th North Carolina Regiment suffered heavy casualties. Jasper, while trying to advance with the regiment’s colors, suffered a serious wound in his left leg. Unable to move, he was left with many others as the 13th Regiment began to retreat from the battlefield.

As his regiment retreated, the advancing Union army took those alive as prisoners of war; Jasper was among these. Brother Jack did not know what had happened; it was every man for himself.

Due to the great number of dead and wounded, the survivors of the regiment were doing everything they could to put as much distance as possible between them and the advancing Union forces.

In the hasty retreat from the bloody fighting, Jack, too, was seriously wounded in the left leg. Like the others, he was left for dead by his fellow soldiers. He, too, was taken prisoner as the Union army followed the retreating Rebels.

In the shuffle of prisoners, Jack was sent to one Union prison camp and Jasper was sent to another. Neither knew whether the other was still alive.

During the next two days, the left legs of both brothers were amputated by Union army surgeons due to blood poisoning.

Jack and Jasper Walker were to spend the remainder of the war in separate Union prisoner of war camps. As the dreadful war came to a close and General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee drew up the surrender agreements, the prisoners of war on both sides were released and told that they could go home. Only when the Walker brothers returned home did they know that the other was alive and that they had both lost their left legs in the fierce fighting at Gettysburg.

Even though handicapped, the Walker brothers worked hard and became prosperous citizens in the town of Charlotte. They were a familiar sight as they stumped around on the streets of the North Carolina town on their cork legs.

As the brothers prospered, love came into the life of Jasper, the younger of the two. As time passed, the sounds of wedding bells could be heard on the distant horizon. Much thought and effort was put into the planning of this special event. The big pot was going to be put into the little pot on this special day; it would be a wedding that would be remembered for many years by the citizens of Charlotte. Many guests would be present; those in the 13th North Carolina Regiment who survived the dreadful war were to be guests of honor.

As the hour approached for the wedding, Jasper was rushing around trying to get everything in order. He stumbled and fell. As he surveyed the damage, he was to find that his left leg, his artificial leg, had been broken. Not having time to get another one made, Jasper was at a loss as to what to do. He didn’t want to have to stand in the wedding ceremony on his one good leg; it would be very embarrassing to him and his bride.

But the good luck that had followed him and his brother in the years after the war was not to let him down now. Jack, upon hearing that Jasper had broken his cork leg, came forward to loan his leg to his brother so that the wedding could take place. It was a perfect fit.

Jack and Jasper Walker were fond of telling this story to the youngsters of Charlotte. This was the only case on record in which one man was married while standing on the leg of another.

(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 during a late-night thunderstorm on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 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 Sept. 30, 2017

Truman Capote in 1959
Sept. 30, 1452 – The first section of the Gutenberg Bible was finished in Mainz, Germany by the printer Johannes Gutenberg.

Sept. 30, 1541 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and his forces entered Tula territory in present-day western Arkansas and encountered fierce resistance.

Sept. 30, 1776 - In a letter to his nephew, Lund Washington, plantation manager of Mount Vernon, General George Washington wrote on this day of his displeasure with the undisciplined conduct and poor battlefield performance of the American militia. Washington blamed the Patriot reliance on the militia as the chief root of his problems in the devastating loss of Long Island and Manhattan to the British.

Sept. 30, 1777 - The Congress of the United States moved to York, Pa. due to advancing British forces.

Sept. 30, 1787 - The Columbia left Boston and began the trip that would make it the first American vessel to sail around the world.

Sept. 30, 1791 - The Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera “The Magic Flute” premiered at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Viena, Austria.

Sept. 30, 1813 – Scottish physician and explorer John Rae was born at Hall of Clestrain, Orkney, Scotland.

Sept. 30, 1846 - Ether was used as an anesthetic for the first time in a dental procedure when Boston dentist William Morton painlessly removed a client's tooth.

Sept. 30, 1847 – U.S. Senator George Perkins Marsh delivered an address before the Agricultural Society of Rutland County, Vermont that helped spark the conservation movement when he became the first person to publicly raise the issue of manmade climate change. As a result of his speech, Marsh went on to publish a book titled “Man and Nature: or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action” (1864).

Sept. 30, 1861 - Chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pa. Wrigley bought a minority stake in the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1916, and Wrigley was majority owner by 1921. Wrigley Field, the Cubs' ballpark in Chicago, was later named for him in 1927.

Sept. 30, 1861 – During the Civil War, an operation against Indians from Camp Robledo in the New Mexico Territory was carried out.

Sept. 30, 1862 – Major Pinckney D. Bowles of the Conecuh Guards was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Sept. 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Louisville, Ressellville and Glasgow in Kentucky; near Warrensburg and others in Scotland and Boone Counties in Missouri; at Goodlettsville, Tenn.; and near Glenville, W.Va.

Sept. 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance was conducted from Rienzi, Miss. to the Hatchie River.

Sept. 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, following the battle of Pea Ridge (March 1862) most Confederate and Union troops withdrew from northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri. By late summer, Confederates returned to the area, unsettling civilians and generals alike in nearby Federally-occupied Springfield, Mo. and Fort Scott, Kansas. Confederate Col. Douglas Cooper reached the area on Sept. 27 and assigned troops to Newtonia where there was a gristmill he wanted to control in harvest season. In mid-September, two brigades of Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt’s Union Army of Kansas left Fort Scott for southwest Missouri. On Sept. 29, Union scouts approached Newtonia but were chased away. Other Union troops appeared in nearby Granby where there were lead mines (necessary in the otherwise ill-equipped Confederate trans-Mississippi), and Cooper reinforced there too. The next morning, Union troops appeared before Newtonia and fighting was underway by 7 a.m. At first the Federals drove the grays back, but Confederate reinforcements arrived, swelling their numbers. The Federals then gave way, retreating in haste. But some of their reinforcements appeared and steadied the main body. The Union forces then renewed the attack, threatening the Confederate right flank. The final twist of fate was Confederate reserves: they stopped that attack and eventually forced the Federals to retire again. Pursuit continued after dark, adding to the confusion. In an effort to halt the pursuit Union guns had deployed in the road, but Confederate gunners observed the Union artillery fire and returned fire, creating panic in the men clogging the road. The Union retreat turned into a rout as some ran all the way to Sarcoxie, over 10 miles away. The Union had two brigades (about 1,500 men), the Confederates one brigade. Union losses were about 250, Confederate about 100. Although the Confederates won the battle, they were unable to maintain themselves in the area given the great numbers of Union troops. Most Confederates retreated into northwest Arkansas. The 1862 Confederate victories in southwestern Missouri at Newtonia and Clark’s Mill were the South’s apogee in the area; afterwards, the only Confederates in the area were raiders.

Sept. 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Cotton Port Ford, on the Tennessee River, in Tennessee and at Neersville and Woodsville in Virginia

Sept. 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, an 18-day Confederate raid began under the leadership of Major General Joseph Wheeler and Brigadier General Philip D. Roddy on Union Major General William S. Rosecran’s Army of the Cumberland’s communications in Tennessee.

Sept. 30, 1863 – During the Civil War, a month-long Federal expedition from Fort Ruby in the Nevada Territory to Camp Douglas in the Utah Territory began. Also, a 14-day Federal expedition from Hilton Head, S.C. to Saint John’s Bluff, Fla. began, and a four-day Federal operation aimed at destroying Confederate salt works along the Savannah River in Georgia began.

Sept. 30, 1864 - Confederate General Robert E. Lee counterattacked Union forces with several brigades moved from Petersburg.

Sept. 30, 1864 - In an attempt to cut the Southside Railroad, the last rail line into Petersburg, Virginia, Union troops under Generals Gouvernor K. Warren and John G. Parke attacked the Confederate defense around the besieged city on this day in what is now known as the Battle of Poplar Springs Church (Peeble’s Farm). Although initially successful, the attack ground to a halt when Confederate reinforcements were rushed into place from other sections of the Petersburg line. The Union lost 2,800 troops, including nearly 1,300 captured during the Confederate counterattack, while the Confederate army suffered only 1,300 casualties.

Sept. 30, 1864 - Alabama author Joseph Glover Baldwin died in San Francisco, Calif.

Sept. 30, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Camp Creek, Ga.; at Waynesville, Mo.; and at Carter’s Station, Tenn.

Sept. 30, 1865 - Alabama's Constitutional Convention of 1865 adjourned. Although the 99 delegates repealed Alabama's 1861 Ordinance of Secession and declared slavery illegal, they produced an essentially conservative document. Blacks were not given the right to vote, representation was based on the white population only, and the constitution was ratified without a vote by the people.

Sept. 30, 1865 – William A. Ashley represented Conecuh County in the constitutional convention.

Sept. 30, 1867 – Peyton Finley, the negro member of the three-man board of registrars in Monroe County, Ala., telegraphed General Swayne on this day, asking for troops: “People riotous. Impossible to hold election. Send cavalry by train this evening to Monroeville.”

Sept. 30, 1882 – Major League catcher Gabby Street was born in Huntsville, Ala. He went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, the Boston Beaneaters, the Washington Senators, the New York Highlanders and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also managed the Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns.

Sept. 30, 1888 – The infamous “double event” of “Jack the Ripper” occurred as two more prostitutes – Elizabeth “Liz” Stride and Catherine “Kate” Eddowes - were murdered and carved up on the same night. Stride was Jack’s third victim, and Eddowes was his fourth victim.

Sept. 30, 1893 – The George W. Foster Camp of United Confederate Veterans was organized in Monroe County, Ala.

Sept. 30, 1893 - Julia Tutwiler persuaded the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama to try a qualified form of co-education. A faculty committee agreed to "admit young women of not less than 18 years of age, of good character and antecedents, who are able to stand the necessary examinations: for entrance to the sophomore class or higher." A required proviso was that "suitable homes and protection" be provided. In the fall of 1893, two women students entered the university.

Sept. 30, 1905 – Baseball pitcher John Thomas “Johnny” Allen was born in Lenoir, North Carolina.

Sept. 30, 1912 – W.B. James assumed the duties of Evergreen, Alabama’s postmaster, replacing G.C. Dean, who had been postmaster for the past six years.

Sept. 30, 1914 – The Evergreen (Ala.) City School closed on account of cases of scarlet fever that were developing among the students. The school reopened on Oct. 12.

Sept. 30, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that Alabama Gov. Charles Henderson had appointed G.B. Barnett of Monroeville, J.U. Blacksher of Uriah, C.J. Jackson of Tunnel Springs and T.T. Ivey of Beatrice to the new Monroe County Board of Revenue, which combined the Commissioners Court and County Highway Commission.

Sept. 30, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala. had an enrollment of 101 students, which ranked it third among the state’s high schools.

Sept. 30, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. David J. Fails, 22, of Excel, Ala. “died from disease.” Born on June 26, 1896, he was buried in the New Home Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Excel.

Sept. 30, 1918 - On this night, as Allied forces led by General Edmund Allenby marched steadily toward Damascus, Turkish authorities abandoned the city.

Sept. 30, 1923 - The second movie version of Alabama author Augusta Jane Evans Wilson's book “St. Elmo” was released.

Sept. 30, 1924 – “In Cold Blood” author Truman Capote was born as Streckfus Persons in New Orleans, La. He published his first novel, “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” in 1948, but is probably best known for his 1948 nonfiction novel, “In Cold Blood.”

Sept. 30, 1926 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts was born in Springfield, Illinois. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Baltimore Orioles, the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.

Sept. 30, 1927 – On the last day of the season against lefty Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators, George Herman "Babe" Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, setting a record that would stand until 1961 when Roger Maris broke the record for most home runs in a single season.

Sept. 30, 1927 – Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, translator and environmental activist W.S. Merwin was born William Stanley Merwin in New York City.

Sept. 30, 1928 – Noble Prize-winning writer and concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel was born in a small village in Transylvania.

Sept. 30, 1932 – Baseball pitching great John Joseph “Johnny” Podres was born in Witherbee, N.Y.

Sept. 30, 1934 – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean won his 30th game of the season in a 9-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Sept. 30, 1935 - Author Anne Nall Stallworth was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Sept. 30, 1935 – The Works Progress Administration in Washington, D.C. announced that it had approved a project for the construction of a new school building at Castleberry, Ala. The Castleberry project was for an outright grant of $22,090 from WPA funds The remainder of the sum required for constructing the building was to be put up by the Conecuh County Board of Education.

Sept. 30, 1935 – The Hoover Dam, astride the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, was dedicated.

Sept. 30, 1939 – NBC broadcasted the first televised American football game between the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets and the Fordham Rams. Fordham won, 34-7.

Sept. 30, 1939 - "Captain Midnight" was heard for the first time on the Mutual Radio Network.

Sept. 30, 1943 - Alabama author Thomas Rabbitt was born in Boston, Mass.

Sept. 30, 1945 - Aliceville Camp, a prisoner-of-war camp in Pickens County, Ala. for members of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Africa Korps, was deactivated. The camp was activated in December 1942 and eventually held 5,000 prisoners. Other German war prisoners were held in Alabama at camps in Opelika, Fort McClellan, and Fort Rucker.

Sept. 30, 1946 - An international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, found 22 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes.

Sept. 30, 1947 - The World Series was televised for the first time. The sponsors only paid $65,000 for the entire series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

Sept. 30, 1950 – Evergreen High School senior left halfback Billy Mudge Lee saw his football career come to an end when he was X-rayed at Stabler’s Hospital in Greenville, Ala. on this Saturday. The x-rays revealed that he broke his third vertebra the night before in a 13-12 Evergreen win over Andalusia in Andalusia. Lee sustained the injury when he tackled an Andalusia back in the second quarter, but he played on for four or five minutes before going out of the game. He came out of the game only a few plays before the end of the first half and went back in to kick the winning extra point that extended Evergreen’s undefeated string to 12 straight.

Sept. 30, 1950 – Verdell Evans Cunningham, 46, of Montgomery ended his own life in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday morning, shortly after stepping off an early morning train. Shortly after arriving in Evergreen, he walked into Wild Bros. Hardware and purchased a long butcher knife, then walked to the men’s room at the City Café and slashed his throat. He died instantly.

Sept. 30, 1954 – Future NBA basketball player and J.F. Shields High School graduate John Drew was born in Vredenburgh. He went on to play guard/forward for Gardner-Webb University and then 11 seasons in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz. He was named an NBA All-Star in 1976 and 1980.

Sept. 30, 1957 – On a Monday night in Frisco City, Ala., Frisco City High School beat Repton High School, 41-0. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Thurs., Sept. 26, but was postponed to Mon., Sept. 30, because of rain.

Sept. 30, 1961 – Evergreen, Alabama’s newly organized Civitan Club held its charter night. Officers included Ralph Crysell, president; Wayne Hutcheson, vice president; Murray Johnson, secretary and treasurer; Sammy Gaines, sergeant at arms; and Tulley Coleman, chaplain. The club’s board of directors included Earl Windham, Delma E. Bowers, W.C. Boswell, James Finley and Eugene Darby.

Sept. 30, 1962 – Pensacola, Fla. firefighter Vista S. Lowe, 23, was killed in the line of duty while responding to a house fire at 409 East Zarragossa St. Upon arrival at the scene, Firefighter Lowe stepped from the rear tailboard of the pumper he was riding (Engine 5, a 1957, 1,000-gallon Seagrave Pumper Truck), tripped and fell to the ground. Unaware of Lowe’s location, the pumper’s driver began backing his truck, trapping Lowe under the truck and crushing him. Lowe was the third firefighter with the Pensacola Fire Department (PFD) and the 33rd Florida firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty.

Sept. 30, 1963 - The first gerenuk was born in the United States, at NYC's Zoological Park. The long-necked creature, also known as a "giraffe gazelle" is native to eastern Africa.

Sept. 30, 1964 - Alabama author Joseph Glover Baldwin died in San Francisco, Calif.

Sept. 30, 1964 - The first large-scale antiwar demonstration in the United States was staged at the University of California at Berkeley, by students and faculty opposed to the war.

Sept. 30, 1965 – Alabama Gov. George Wallace appointed Evergreen, Ala. attorney Robert E.L. Key as the first circuit judge of the newly created 35th Judicial Circuit, which was created by the governor and legislature on Sept. 24. Prior to this, Monroe and Conecuh counties were part of the 21st Circuit. Key was to serve as circuit judge until the next general election in November 1966.

Sept. 30, 1966 - Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach were released at midnight from Spandau prison after completing their 20-year sentences. Speer was the Nazi minister of armaments and von Schirach was the founder of Hitler Youth.

Sept. 30, 1968 - Apparently trying to distance himself from Johnson’s policies, Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey announced that, if elected, he would halt the bombing of the North if there was any “evidence, direct or indirect, by deed or word, of communist willingness” to restore the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam.

Sept. 30, 1968 – In Vietnam, the 900th U.S. aircraft was shot down over the North and the USS New Jersey, the world’s only active battleship, arrived in Vietnamese waters and began bombarding the Demilitarized Zone from her station off the Vietnamese coast.

Sept. 30, 1971 - The Washington Senators played their last game in Washington, D.C. before moving to Arlington, Texas. They were forced to forfeit the game to the New York Yankees when fans stormed the field in an effort to take souvenirs.

Sept. 30, 1972 – Sparta Academy beat Wesleyan Academy of Citronelle, 6-0, at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, Ala. Buddy Monroe returned a punt 70 yards for Sparta’s only touchdown.

Sept. 30, 1972 - Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates recorded his 3,000th and final career hit. During the ensuing off season, he was killed in a plane crash in Venezuela.

Sept. 30, 1973 - The New York Yankees completed their 50th season at Yankee Stadium.

Sept. 30, 1973 – Marengo County, Ala. native Tommie Agee made his final Major League appearance for the St. Louis Cardinals

Sept. 30, 1974 – The trial of criminal cases on the docket of the Fall Term of Conecuh County, Ala. Circuit Court was scheduled to begin on this Monday with Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presiding. District Attorney Ted Pearson of Monroeville and County Solicitor Henry J. Kinzer of Evergreen were to prosecute for the state. There are 23 cases set on the docket, according to Circuit Clerk Leon A. Salter. In addition, six civil cases, continued from the recent session, were also set for trial that week.

Sept. 30, 1978 – Rachel Griffin was crowned Miss Homecoming at Lyeffion (Ala.) High School, and Rhonda Salter was selected as Miss Football. They were recognized during the halftime of Lyeffion’s homecoming football game, which they lost to Frisco City, 6-0.

Sept. 30, 1980 – A Conecuh County, Ala. jury found Willie Carl Calhoun Jr., who was charged with murder, guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Calhoun was represented by attorney Windell C. Owens, and Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presided over the trial. Calhoun was to be sentenced on Oct. 28.

Sept. 30, 1982 – Cyanide-laced Tylenol kills six people in the Chicago area. Seven were killed in all.

Sept. 30, 1984 – A dedication ceremony was held at the Monroe County Library moved into its new location, the former LaSalle Hotel building on Pineville Road in Monroeville, Ala.

Sept. 30, 1984 - Mike Witt of the California Angels became only the 11th pitcher to throw a perfect game in Major League Baseball. He defeated the Texas Rangers, 1-0.

Sept. 30, 1984 - The Los Angeles Rams set an NFL record when they registered three safeties in a 33-12 victory over the New York Giants.

Sept. 30, 1989 - Neil Young appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and performed "Rockin' In The Free World."

Sept. 30, 1992 - George Brett of the Kansas City Royals reached his 3,000th career hit during a game against the California Angels. He was the 18th player to reach the mark.

Sept. 30, 1995 - Albert Belle of the Cleveland Indians became the first player in history to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season.

Sept. 30, 1999 - The San Francisco Giants played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the last baseball game to be played at Candlestick Park (3Com Park). The Dodgers won, 9-4, with 61,389 fans on hand.

Sept. 30, 2002 - Chris McAlister of the Baltimore Ravens returned a missed field goal 108 yards to set an NFL record.

Sept. 30, 2004 – A reception in honor and appreciation of out-going Evergreen, Ala. mayor Lomax Cassady was scheduled to be held at the Historic L&N Depot in Evergreen from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cassady had served the City of Evergreen for 20 years – 12 as mayor and eight years as a city councilman.

Sept. 30, 2005 – The movie “Capote” was released in U.S. theatres. 

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Sept. 30, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.05 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 72.80 inches.

Notes: Today is the 273rd day of 2017 and the ninth day of Fall. There are 92 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.

Today in History for Sept. 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sept. 29, 1803 – American captain and explorer Mercator Cooper was born in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Cooper is credited with the first formal American visit to Tokyo, Japan and the first formal landing on the mainland East Antarctica.

Sept. 29, 1810 – Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell was born in London. She is best remembered for her novels “Cranford” (1853), “North and South” (1855) and “Mary Barton” (1948).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 29, 1907 – Singing cowboy Gene Autry was born Orvon Grover Autry near Tioga, Texas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Sept. 29, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.05 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 72.80 inches.

Notes: Today is the 272nd day of 2017 and the eighth day of Fall. There are 93 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, September 28, 2017

Bright comet fragment enters sky above Conecuh County, Alabama

Comet fragment over Conecuh County caught on camera.
If you saw something out of the ordinary in the night sky on the morning of Tuesday of last week, you weren’t by yourself.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported on Tuesday of last week that a “bright, green fireball” was seen by witnesses around 3 a.m. that morning and was caused by a comet fragment that entered the earth’s atmosphere about 54 miles above Conecuh County. The fireball was so bright that NASA cameras as far away as Georgia and North Carolina spotted it, but NASA scientists said that the comet fragment was only about five to six inches in diameter.

In the Montgomery Advertiser article, Bill Cooke with the NASA Meteor Environment Office described the object as an “average piece of celestial space rock.” The fragment was traveling around 83,000 miles per hour when it entered the atmosphere and burned up about 33 miles above the earth’s surface.

Historically, Conecuh County and Alabama are no strangers to comets and meteors, and when I read about Tuesday of last week’s comet incident, several previous comet-meteor incidents came immediately to mind.

In a spectacle seen by witnesses across the Southeast, an unusually fantastic meteor shower caused the night of Nov. 12-13 in 1833 to be known as “the night stars fell on Alabama.” This meteor shower created such great excitement across the state that it became a part of Alabama folklore and for years was used to date events. Over 100 years later it inspired a song and book, and the phrase "Stars Fell on Alabama" was put on its license plates in 2002.

Closer to home, on the night of April 23, 1911, a large meteor, emitting sparks, illuminated the sky in Evergreen, Ala. “as bright as day and was a beautiful sight.” It fell “somewhere in the state,” the local newspaper reported.

Of course, no discussion of Alabama and meteors would be complete without mentioning the famous Hodges Meteorite Incident. It was at 2:46 p.m. on Nov. 30, 1954 that a meteorite weighing 8-1/2 pounds crashed into Ann Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga as she rested on her living room couch.

The meteorite fell through the roof of her rental house and struck her left hip and hand. Awakened by the impact, she thought the gas space heater had exploded, but then she noticed a grapefruit-sized rock lying on the floor and a hole in the roof.

The impact severely bruised Hodges’ hip, and she became an instant celebrity. The “Hodges Meteorite,” the first one known to have caused injury to a human, is now housed on the second floor of the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa. I went there a few years ago to see this meteorite for myself, and it’s well worth your time to go see it if you’re ever in the Tuscaloosa area.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone who happened to see the comet over Conecuh County on Tuesday of last week.

Phig Newton, 'mystery picker' move into first place in football contest

The fourth weekend of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest has come and gone, and last weekend’s slate of games resulted in another shakeup in the local standings.

Phig Newton and a mysterious player known only as “Murder Creek Man 78” are tied for the No. 1 spot in the standings. Last week, Newton was in eighth place and “Murder Creek Man 78” was further on down the line. (If you’re reading this, Murder Creek Man 78, I need you to send me your real name, so we can run it in the newspaper. Some of the other contestants are urging me to remove you from the contest because they don’t like playing against an anonymous contestant.)

We had a five-way tie for third place, which was held down this week by Travis Presley, Sharon Peacock, defending champion Drew Skipper, David Parker and past champion Hunter Norris. Ricky Taylor and Mike Dailey were both tied for eighth place, and Mark Peacock was in the No. 10 spot.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I was No. 15 in the standings.

With that said, if you’re playing in the contest and didn’t make the Top 10, don’t give up. The contest will run for a total of 14 weeks, and we’ve got 10 more weeks to go. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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This coming Saturday, there will be eight football games involving SEC teams, including five games that will feature head-to-head matchups between SEC teams. 

Here’s how I see those games coming out. I like Alabama over Ole Miss, Auburn over Mississippi State, Florida over Vanderbilt, Georgia over Tennessee, Texas A&M over South Carolina, LSU over Troy, Arkansas over New Mexico State and Kentucky over Eastern Michigan. Missouri is off this week.

Last week: 8-0. So far this year: 36-8.

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This time next week, another season of Atlanta Braves baseball will have come to a close, and even though they don’t have a great record, I wouldn’t say they had a bad season. A number of untimely injuries cost them some games that they needed to win, and several young, emerging stars got some valuable playing time this year. They also lost a lot of close games, and always seemed to have a shot at winning every game they were in, despite the score.

As of Monday, the Braves were 70-84 overall, a winning percentage of .455, that is, a hair under .500. They wrapped up their home schedule Sunday in Atlanta, leaving them with a 37-45 overall record at home this season in their brand new ballpark, SunTrust Park. On the road, through Sunday, they were 33-39 overall.

As of Tuesday morning, the Braves were third in the National League East, 24.0 games out of first place. This doesn’t sound great (because it’s not), but when you consider that they actually have a winning record against NL East opponents this season that takes some of the sting out of it. Through Sunday, the Braves were 31-29 against NL East opponents with seven games left to go in the season. All of those game will be against the Mets and the Marlins. Atlanta is scheduled to close out their season Sunday in Miami. 

Camden's Gaines Ridge gets 'ghostly' mention in latest 'Alabama' magazine

A few days ago, I took my daughter to an orthodontist appointment in Mobile. While we sat in the lobby, I happened to glance down at the table between our chairs and spotted the September-October edition of “Alabama” magazine.

I picked it up and began to flip through its pages, but I didn’t have to go far before my eyes fell on a very well-done article about the Gaines Ridge Dinner Club written by Taylor Dougherty as part of the magazine’s regular “Alabama Insider” feature.

Dougherty’s article let readers know that “this Southern Gothic restaurant serves up delicious food and historical appeal in an atmosphere that is truly haunting.” The article goes on to describe the history of Gaines Ridge, its menu (including its famous black-bottom pie) and fine dining atmosphere.

The portion of the article that I found most interesting came when Dougherty began to discuss the ghostly reputation that Gaines Ridge has garnered over the years.

“As with any old Southern locale, Gaines Ridge has its share of reputed ghost activity, with guests claiming to have seen apparitions floating past windows, heard disembodied screams and detected smells that seem to come from nowhere,” Dougherty wrote. “One of the restaurant’s founders, Betty Gaines Kennedy, has a personal story of her own that she might be willing to share. The popularity of these legends has landed Gaines Ridge Dinner Club on the official Alabama Ghost Trail, and it has often been called Alabama’s most haunted restaurant.”

The “Alabama Ghost Trail” that Dougherty is referring to is the list of supposedly haunted places published years ago by the Southwest Alabama Regional Office of Tourism and Films as part of its popular Alabama’s Front Porches website, 

In addition to Gaines Ridge, other Wilcox County locations on that “ghost trail” include Snow Hill Institute, the “Castro Tree” in Camden, the “Unfilled Hole” in Camden, the Gees Bend Ferry, the “Millie Hole” on Pine Barren Creek, the intersection of County Road 59 and County Road 24 near Pine Apple, the Burford House and the Purefoy House at Furman.

With that said, next week’s paper will mark the first paper in the month of October, and that means that Halloween is right around the corner. Last year, the first ever list of the “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County” appeared in the Oct. 26 edition of The Progressive Era. Nine eerie locations made that list, including all of the places mentioned above as well as the New Providence Cemetery at Coy and the “House of the Dancing Skulls” at Rosebud. 

Other nominees for last year’s list included the Coy Railroad Crossing, Moore Academy in Pine Apple, Prairie Bluff Cemetery, Dale Masonic Lodge in Camden, Camden Cemetery and the Wilcox Female Institute in Camden.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be compiling The Progressive Era’s second annual list of “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County,” which I hope to get in the paper on Oct. 25, which is the Wednesday before Halloween this year. 

In the end, if you know of a really spooky Wilcox County location that isn’t mentioned above, but deserves to be on a list of “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County,” please let me know. Send me the name of the place, including where it’s located, and some information about why you think it deserves on the list. More than a few readers submitted information last year for the first list of “spooky places,” and I’m hoping to get a whole new crop of “spooky places” from readers this year. Please let me hear from you.

Today in History for Sept. 28, 2017

Country comedian Jerry Clower
Sept. 28, 551 BCE - Teacher, philosopher and political theorist Confucius was born near what is now Qufu, in Shandong Province, China.

Sept. 28, 1066 – William the Conqueror of Normandy arrived on British soil. He defeated the British in the Battle of Hastings, and on Christmas Day, he was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

Sept. 28, 1542 - San Diego, Calif. was discovered by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

Sept. 28, 1779 – During the American Revolution, Samuel Huntington was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

Sept. 28, 1781 – During the Revolutionary War, American forces under General George Washington, backed by a French fleet, began the siege of Yorktown, Va., leading to the surrender of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis on Oct. 17, effectively ending the War for Independence.

Sept. 28, 1787 – The newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.

Sept. 28, 1789 - In the U.S., the first Federal Congress passed a resolution that asked President George Washington to recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. Several days later Washington issued a proclamation that named Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 as a "Day of Publick Thanksgivin."

Sept. 28, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Philadelphia and gave a speech at the State House (Independence Hall) under Philadelphian architect William Strickland's Triumphal Arches.

Sept. 28, 1856 – Kate Douglas Wiggin was born in Philadelphia. She is best known for her 1903 novel, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

Sept. 28, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Bailey’s Crossroad, Va.

Sept. 28, 1862 - Although it is widely believed that the first regiment of what would become known as the United States Colored Troops was the famed 54th Massachusetts (from the movie “Glory”), in fact the first regiment of free blacks was mustered in New Orleans, Louisiana on this date. Gen. Benjamin Butler, who had a rather direct way of dealing with things sometimes, had been the first to force the issue of what to do with black refugees and escaped slaves in the early days of the War. Then, he had persuaded Secretary of War Stanton to designate these displaced blacks as “contraband of war”, to prevent them from being returned to their owners. Now, he enlisted men in the Union Army as the First Regiment, Louisiana Native Guards. The men called themselves the “Chasseurs d’Afrique”, the African Hunters. Strangely enough, these black soldiers had offered their services to the Confederates only to be ignored in the evacuation of New Orleans. The sight of 731 black enlisted men led by 33 black officers participated in a parade down Canal Street on November 23, 1861.

Sept. 28, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Lebanon Junction, Ky.; near Friar’s Point, Miss.; and near Standing Stone, W.Va. An eight-day Federal operation from Covington, Ky. to Durhamville and Fort Randolph, Tenn. began.

Sept. 28, 1863 - Union Generals Alexander M. McCook and Thomas Crittenden lost their commands and were ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana to face court of inquiry charges following the Federal defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga. In February 1864, a military court cleared McCook and Crittenden, but their careers as field commanders were over. By quickly removing McCook and Crittenden, Rosecrans had been trying to save his own job, but within weeks after firing the generals, Rosecrans was himself replaced by Thomas.

Sept. 28, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Buell’s Ford and Jonesborough in Tennessee.

Sept. 28, 1864 - Confederate forces under General Sterling Price forced Union defenders away from Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob, Missouri.

Sept. 28, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Clarksville, Ark.; at Decatur, Ga.; at Brownsville, Miss.; at Caledonia, Waynesville, Centralia and in Polk County in Missouri; near Rheatown and Well’s Hill in Tennessee; at Port Republic and Rockfish Gap in Virginia; and at Caledonia and near Centralia in Missouri.

Sept. 28, 1868 - Confederate General Thomas Carmichael Hindman Jr. passed away at the age of 40 in Helena, Ark. after being shot multiple times by one or more unknown assailants.

Sept. 28, 1870 - Confederate General Robert E. Lee suffered a stroke and died on October 12, 1870.

Sept. 28, 1871 – Brazilian Parliament passed the Law of the Free Womb, granting freedom to all new children born to slaves, the first major step in the eradication of slavery in Brazil.

Sept. 28, 1886 – John W. Leslie was commissioned as Monroe County, Alabama’s Circuit Court Clerk.

Sept. 28, 1892 - The first nighttime football game in the United States took place under electric lights. The game was between the Mansfield State Normal School and the Wyoming Seminary.

Sept. 28, 1894 – Monroe County, Ala. tax collector W.J. Robinson died, and his son F.E. Robinson was appointed to fill his unexpired term.

Sept. 28, 1901 – Influential TV show host Ed Sullivan was born in Manhattan, N.Y.

Sept. 28, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that the new ginnery built by H.E. Hudson began operations a few days prior. “The gasoline engine which furnishes the motive power is quite a novelty and attracts many visitors,” the paper said. “The samples of cotton turned out are pronounced by experts to be superb.”

Sept. 28, 1908 - Alabama author J. Max McMurray was born.

Sept. 28, 1912 – Alabama native W.C. Handy published “Memphis Blues,” and it was the first written blues arrangement that Handy published. He sold the rights to a sheet music publisher for $50, to pay his debt to the printer. The publisher added lyrics, and it became one of the most popular songs of 1912; dance hall bandleaders bought the sheet music in record numbers.

Sept. 28, 1913 – British novelist and translator Edith Pargeter was born in Shropshire.

Sept. 28, 1914 – The second series of “The Adventures of Kathlyn” was shown at the Arcade Theatre in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 28, 1915 – Monroe County High School’s girls baseball team played their first game of the season on this Tuesday afternoon and beat the “town girls” 8-7.

Sept. 28, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Henry Jones held the position of professor of mathematics and history and was also director of athletics at Monroe County High School.

Sept. 28, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County Engineer C.E. Barker said that about 100 men were employed on the public roads in various sections of the county, under the arrangements recently made for extending relief to those rendered destitute by reason of storm and flood disaster. Crews of considerable size had been organized and put to work at and in the vicinity of Perdue Hill and Franklin, while smaller squads were working in other communities. Each person so employed was to be paid a reasonable daily wage in cash.

Sept. 28, 1918 – During World War I, the Fifth Battle of Ypres began.

Sept. 28, 1918 - The course of history was nearly averted when British soldier Henry Tandey allegedly spared the life of an injured Adolf Hitler, while fighting during World War I. Tandey would tell his compatriots that he aimed at the future German dictator, but did not pull the trigger because he could not shoot a wounded man. While the veracity of the encounter remains debated to this day, Hitler, himself, claimed the tale was true during a meeting with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938.

Sept. 28, 1919 - The New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 in a day game that lasted 51 minutes. The time set a National League record.

Sept. 28, 1920 - Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were indicted in what was called the "Black Sox" scandal. They were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Sept. 28, 1926 – Country comedian Jerry Clower was born in Liberty, Miss.

Sept. 28, 1928 – Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming peered into a petri dish at his basement laboratory in London and noticed a blue-green mold growing. The mold, he observed, was killing the staph bacteria he’d been cultivating in that petri dish. He called the mold “Penicillin,” which is now considered the world’s first “miracle drug,” and it sparked the modern era of antibiotic development.

Sept. 28, 1929 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “The Lady Fare” was released.

Sept. 28, 1936 - Author Judith Hillman Paterson was born in Montgomery, Ala.

Sept. 28, 1939 – The Monroe Journal reported that W.M. Mullins of Wetumpka, Ala. had replaced Frank Sheffiled as manager of the Alabama Water Service Co. in Monroeville. Sheffield had been manager for about a year prior to resigning.

Sept. 28, 1939 – Prominent Monroeville, Ala. merchant Andrew Harrison “Andy” Johnson, 52, passed away at his home around 9 p.m. after a heart attack. Born and raised at Franklin, he worked on steamboats on the Alabama River, ran a mercantile business at Franklin and ran a dry goods store in Monroeville. Born on Jan. 21, 1887, he was buried in the River Ridge Cemetery at Franklin.

Sept. 28, 1939 – Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a division of Poland after their invasion during World War II.

Sept. 28, 1939 – Warsaw surrendered to Nazi Germany during World War II.

Sept. 28, 1940 - Alabama author James P. White was born.

Sept. 28, 1941 - The Boston Red Sox's Ted Williams played a double-header against the Philadelphia Athletics on the last day of the regular season and got six hits in eight trips to the plate, to boost his batting average to .406 and became the first player since Bill Terry in 1930 to hit .400.

Sept. 28, 1942 - Author Sena Jeter Naslund was born in Birmingham, Ala.

Sept. 28, 1944 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Pvt. Luther McDonald of Castleberry, Ala., who was stationed at Chatham Field, Ga. as a B-24 bomber mechanic and gunner, was a member of the Chatham Field football team. This team was composed of former college and high school players from all over the United States, and had several all-Americans on this year’s squad. The team’s coach and “backfield ace” was Lt. William “Tarzan” White, a former All-American at the University of Alabama. McDonald, who played on the 1937, 1938 and 1939 teams at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, was the team’s starting right tackle.

Sept. 28, 1944 – The Evergreen Courant reported that during the past week relatives of Curtis Ashley Carter, 42, had received from the U.S. Maritime Service the Mariner’s Medal, who had been posthumously awarded to the late C.A. Carter. Carter was reported missing April 8, 1942. He was in the Maritime Service and, at the time he was reported missing, was on duty on an oil tanker. All other members of the crew have been accounted for as prisoners of war of the Japanese government. Born on Nov. 21, 1899, a marker in Carter’s memory that reads “Lost at Sea” can be found in the Old Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 28, 1944 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a telegram from the Adjutant General’s office, dated Sept. 15, to Mrs. Bryant Covan informed her that her husband, Staff Sgt. Bryant Covan, who had previously been reported as missing in action, was a prisoner of war of the German Government at Stalag Luft 4, Germany. S-Sgt. Covan was reported missing over Austria June 26. He was an aerial gunner on a B-24.

Sept. 28, 1944 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Cowart had been informed by a telegram from the War Department that their son Pfc. Elly H. Cowart Jr., who was reported wounded sometime before, had recovered and had returned to active duty. Mr. and Mrs. Cowart also received that week the Purple Heart which was awarded their son, who was with combat engineers in France. They received letters from him regularly since he was wounded but none of these gave any details concerning the nature of his injuries. He was wounded July 25 and returned to active duty Aug. 22.

Sept. 28, 1944 – British author and journalist Simon Winchester was born in London.

Sept. 28, 1950 – The Monroe Journal reported that a Uriah soldier, Pvt. Orrie Hilburn, the son of Thomas B. Hilburn of Uriah, that week was listed as wounded in action in fighting in Korea. Pvt. Hilburn was included in a list of 23 casualties announced by the War Department on Sept. 25. The extent of his injuries was not known. The Uriah private was the third casualty reported from Monroe County in the Korean conflict. SFC Robert L. Booker, 24, of Evergreen Rt. 1 (near Skinnerton) was killed in action in Korea Sept. 1 and PFC Robert L. Norris of Goodway was wounded in the Korean fighting Sept. 4.

Sept. 28, 1950 - J.U. Blacksher and Beatrice, both out to get on the winning track after defeats the previous week, were scheduled to clash on this Thursday at Uriah, in the third tilt of the season for both squads. Players on Blacksher’s team that season included Eugene Akins, Coley Arrington, Charles Brantley, Loten Griggers, Curtis Harris, Jeffie Johnson, Eugene Madison, Evans McGhee, Glen Middleton, Liston Middleton, Billy Rabon, Oneil Smith and Lavon Ward. Players on the Beatrice team that season included Johnnie Mac Brantley, Dale Brown, Frank Driver, Andy Everette, Bruce Garrett, Aulton Johnson, Bob Johnson, James Luker, Earl Shannon, Marcus Simpkins and Claude Wright. Frank Killian was Blacksher’s head coach, and Hubert Finlayson was head coach at Beatrice.

Sept. 28, 1954 - Alabama author James H. Street died in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Sept. 28, 1954 – Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent was born in Tulsa, Okla. He went on to play for Tulsa, the Houston Oilers and the Seattle Seahawks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Sept. 28, 1955 - The World Series was televised in color for the first time. The game was between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Sept. 28, 1960 - At Boston’s Fenway Park, Red Sox star Ted Williams hit a home run in the last at-bat of his 21-year career. He finished his career with a total of 521 home runs.

Sept. 28, 1967 – Repton High School fullback Gary Boatwright scored five touchdowns and ran for 256 yards in a 49-0 win over Century, Fla.

Sept. 28, 1968 - A battle began for the Special Forces camp at Thuong Duc, situated between Da Nang and the Laotian border.

Sept. 28, 1972 - On this day, weekly casualty figures were released that contain no U.S. fatalities for the first time since March 1965.

Sept. 28, 1980 – Aubrey Brown Boykin, 71, of Evergreen, Ala. died on this Sunday evening in a local hospital after a long illness. He was a prominent local businessman and civic leader. He and his wife, Luella, operated Conecuh County’s leading jewelry store for over 30 years. Boykin also served as an artillery officer in the 31st (Dixie) Division of the U.S. Army in combat areas of the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He was also a Mason and a Shriner. Born in 1909, he was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Evergreen.

Sept. 28, 1987 - The first episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," a two-hour pilot called “Encounter at Farpoint,” aired to 27 million viewers.

Sept. 28, 1989 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen (Ala.) City Council had voted unanimously to promote Darrell Davis to Wastewater Superintendent. Davis had been employed by the city for a number of years prior to his promotion and held the required Class I Certification in Wastewater Treatment and the Class II Certification in Water Treatment. Freddie Stallworth was the city personnel director at the time; Curtis Hamilton was city administrator and Lee F. Smith was mayor.

Sept. 28, 1995 - Randy Myers of the Chicago Cubs was charged by a 27-year-old man while standing in the outfield. Myers saw him coming, dropped his glove and knocked the man down with his forearm.
Sept. 28, 1995 – The Monroe Journal reported that a familiar name in country humor was expected to make his way to Monroeville when the annual Kiwanis Monroe County Fair returned in less than two weeks. Jerry Clower from Yazoo City, Miss. was to perform live inside the Monroe County Coliseum as part of that year’s fair entertainment. Advance tickets for were $10.

Sept. 28, 1998 – Despite bad weather caused by Hurricane George, pharmacists Ronnie Philen and Lynn Lowery Powell opened their new business, Village Pharmacy on this Monday. A ribbon-cutting for the new business was held on Oct. 26, 1998.

Sept. 28, 2001 - Courtney Love filed a claim against Geffen Records and two musicians from her late husband's band, Nirvana. The suit was aimed at invalidating a 1997 agreement over the group's body of work. Love claimed that she signed the deal while she was distressed.

Sept. 28, 2004 – The Stanford House at Pine Apple in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Sept. 28, 2004 - Nate Olive and Sarah Jones arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border to complete the first known continuous hike of the 1,800-mile trail down the U.S. Pacific Coast. They started the trek on June 8.

Sept. 28, 2012 – The “Solomon Kane” movie, directed by Michael J. Bassett and starring James Purefoy, was released in the U.S.