Oct. 11, 1492 – During his first voyage to America, two hours after sunset, Columbus became the first observer on record to notice the unexplained, luminous “white water of the Bahamas,” near the western edges of the Sargasso Sea.
Oct. 11, 1759 - Parson Mason Weems was born in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He is best remembered as the source of some of the apocryphal stories about George Washington, including the famous tale of Washington and the cherry tree ("I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet"), which was included in “The Life of Washington” (1800), a bestseller that depicted Washington's virtues and was intended to provide a morally instructive tale for the youth of the young nation.
Oct. 11, 1767 – Surveying for the Mason–Dixon line, separating Maryland from Pennsylvania, was completed.
Oct. 11, 1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain (in what is now Clinton County, N.Y.), a fleet of 15 American gunboats under Brigadier General Benedict Arnold suffered heavy losses and was defeated by a British fleet under Sir Guy Carleton.
Oct. 11, 1779 - Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman, was killed while fighting for American independence during the Revolutionary War Battle of Savannah, Ga.
Oct. 11, 1809 – Along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, famous explorer Meriwether Lewis, age 35, died under mysterious circumstances in the early hours of the morning after stopping for the night at Grinder’s Tavern, an inn that was also called Grinder's Stand. Some say he committed suicide, while others say he may have been murdered.
Oct. 11, 1821 – Sir George Williams, who founded the YMCA, was born in Dulverton, England.
Oct. 11, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Harper's Ferry, W.Va.
Oct. 11, 1861 – During the Civil War, a six-day operation against Lipan Indians from Fort Inge, Texas began.
Oct. 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and his men looted Chambersburg, Pa., during a daring raid into the north. About half of the supplies for the Union army came through the rail center at Chambersburg, and Stuart planned to destroy a railway bridge in the town. On the morning of Oct. 11, they began cutting telegraph lines, seizing horses and any supplies they could carry, and destroying everything else before Stuart ordered his men to turn back to Virginia by the afternoon of Oct. 11.
Oct. 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Helena, Ark.; at Lawrenceburg, Ky.; and with Indians at Humboldt River, Utah.
Oct. 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation against guerrillas in Lewis, Clarke, Scotland and Schuyler Counties in Missouri was conducted.
Oct. 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Va. voted to exempt from conscription all men owning 20 or more slaves.
Oct. 11, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fayetteville, Ark.; at Hernando, Miss.; at Booneville, Mo.; at Brazil Creek, Okla.; at Hartsville, Collierville, Henderson’s Mill and Rheatown in Tennessee; at Brandy Station, Culpeper Court House, Griffinsburg, Morton's Ford, Stevensburg and near Kelly's Ford and Warrenton Springs in Virginia; and at Salt Lick Bridge and Petersburg in West Virginia.
Oct. 11, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the White River, 12 miles above Clarendon, Ark.; near Fort Donelson, Tenn.; near White Plains, Va.; two miles south of Petersburg, W.Va.; at Brunswick, Mo.; and at Rome, Ga. Two days of skirmishes also began at Boonville, Mo.
Oct. 11, 1864 – During the Civil War, a four-day Federal operation from Atlanta to Flat Creek in Georgia began, and a three-day Federal reconnaissance from Camp Palmer to Gum Swamp in North Carolina began.
Oct. 11, 1870 – Union doctor Edward DeWelden Brenneman passed away at the age of 31 and was buried in Washington, D.C.’s Oak Hill Cemetery. During the Battle of Gettysburg, he amputated the right arm of Conecuh Guards’ Mitchell B. Salter of Evergreen.
Oct. 11, 1881 – Physicist and psychologist Lewis Fry Richardson was born in Northumberland, England. He was the first to apply mathematical techniques to predict the weather accurately, but his system did not become practical until the advent of electronic computers after World War II.
Oct. 11, 1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady, was born in New York City.
Oct. 11, 1885 – Noble Prize-winning French writer Francois (Charles) Mauriac was born in Bordeaux.
Oct. 11, 1889 – The Monroe Journal reported that Monroe County, Ala. native Charles J. Torrey had been elected as Mobile’s city attorney by a “flattering majority.” He served as Monroeville’s chancery registrar before moving to Mobile in 1875. He lost the circuit judge’s race in 1886 by a small margin.
Oct. 11, 1890 - The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in Washington, DC.
Oct. 11, 1890 – Famous train-robbing outlaw Rube Burrow was buried in Fellowship Cemetery, about four miles northeast of Vernon in Lamar County, Ala.
Oct. 11, 1895 – Dr. Ray Fountain passed away at his home in Finchburg.
Oct. 11, 1899 – Major League Baseball’s Western League was renamed the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
Oct. 11, 1897 – Conecuh County Circuit Court convened on this Monday with Judge Tyson presiding. The civil docket was taken up after empaneling the grand and petit juries, and the business was “disposed of with the usual promptitude and dispatch.” The Courant noted the presence of an unusually large number of visitors.
Oct. 11, 1905 – During the evening, on the road leading from Claiborne, Ala., to their homes near Axel (between Peterman and Fountain), Jim Wiggins shot and killed his employee A.T. Aycock after an argument over pay. Aycock was said to have been drunk, and Wiggins shot him in the head with a pistol.
Oct. 11, 1906 - The Monroe Journal reported that it had “interviewed citizens from all sections of the county in attendance on the present term of court, and it appears that the injury done to crops by the recent storm was not overestimated by first reports. In some neighborhoods, the crops of both cotton and corn along river and creek bottoms will be a total loss; on uplands damage was not so great, and a considerable portion will be saved.”
Oct. 11, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Pineville community, that “although the tropical storm spent its fury south of here, the touch of it which we had almost entirely demolished the crops, and the continued rains since have hindered the farmers in getting what remained.”
Oct. 11, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Chestnut community, that “for the past two weeks, the sun has failed to shine. Dark cloudy days with high winds and heavy rains have made it very discouraging to the farmers. They have suffered great loss, timber blown down, gardens damaged and the beautiful umbrella plant, which adorned our homes are nearly all blown down. The crops are badly damaged, cotton being blown out and much of it washed away.”
Oct. 11, 1910 – Former President Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane. He flew for four minutes with Arch Hoxsey in a plane built by the Wright brothers at Kinloch Field (Lambert–St. Louis International Airport) in St. Louis, Mo.
Oct. 11, 1912 - At a meeting of the Evergreen town council on this Friday the following officers and committees appointed: Clerk and Treasurer: H.A. Shield; Day Marshal: J.C. Jones; Night Marshal: G.W. Miller; Committees: Water and Lights, Shields and Lundy; Cemetery, Salter and Pritchett; Streets, Mason and Lundy; Health and Sanitation, Pritchett and Mason; Finance, Lundy and Shields; Fire and Building, Pritchett and Salter; Laws, Ordinances and Resolutions, Salter and Shields.
Oct. 11, 1915 – The fall term of Conecuh County, Ala. Circuit Court convened at noon with Judge Gamble presiding and Solicitor Bricken at his post. The grand jury was organized with J.A. Culpepper of Brooklyn as foreman. In the Oct. 20, 1915 edition of The Courant, it was reported that the grand jury returned 39 indictments.
Oct. 11, 1915 - Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov of Bulgaria issued a statement announcing his country’s entrance into the First World War on the side of the Central Powers.
Oct. 11, 1917 – Will and Bob Blackwell, brothers who escaped from the Pensacola jail “on the night of the hurricane,” were captured by the Escambia County, Fla. Sheriff near Coffeeville in Clarke County and were taken back to the jail in Pensacola. They had been given a death sentence for the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Davis, an elderly couple who lived in Okaloosa County, Fla., and were in jail pending an appeal to the Supreme Court for a new trial. Under Florida law at the time, an escape automatically dismissed an appeal, so the time of their execution was to be set by the trial judge.
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, James Leroy Burge died, reportedly from influenza and was buried at sea in route to Europe. He was a member of the U.S. Army’s 150st Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division. He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Suresnes American Cemetery in Suresenes, France.
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. James Williams of Camden, Ala. “died of disease.”
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Emmett N. Richburg of Castleberry, Ala. “died of disease.”
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Wm. J. McEntire of Brewton, Ala. “died of disease.”
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Fred Dixon, 22, of Andalusia, Ala. “died of disease.” Born on Aug. 1, 1896, he was buried in the Dixon Cemetery at Dixie in Escambia County, Ala.
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Caley S. Harrell of Grove Hill, Ala. “died of disease.”
Oct. 11, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. William McDaniel Reaves Jr., 28, of Camden was killed in action at the Battle of Argonne Forest in France. Born in Wilcox County on Feb. 18, 1890, he was serving in the 38th Infantry, Machine Gun Division at the time of his death. He was buried in the Reaves Chapel Memorial Cemetery in Wilcox County, Ala.
Oct. 11, 1922 - Alabama author Thomas Hal Phillips was born in Corinth, Miss.
Oct. 11, 1925 - The New York Giants played their first NFL game. The Giants lost to Providence, 14-0.
Oct. 11, 1925 – Novelist Elmore Leonard was born in New Orleans.
Oct. 11, 1926 – Writer and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was born in Quang Ngai, Vietnam.
Oct. 11, 1937 - Lister Hill of Montgomery, candidate for the United States Senate, spoke to a large crowd of Monroe County citizens at the courthouse on this Monday at 11 a.m.
Oct. 11, 1937 – Quite a number of Monroeville football fans motored down to Frisco City on this Monday night to witness the game played between Monroeville and Uriah. Monroeville won, 32-0, after a hard-fought game.
Oct. 11, 1937 - The census report issued on this Monday showed a gain of 2,094 bales over the same date in 1936. The report shows that prior to Oct. 1, there were 20,168 bales of cotton ginned in Monroe County from the present crop as compared with 18,074 bales ginned to the same date in 1936.
Oct. 11, 1939 – Julius Martin Minish, the 55-year-old owner of a furniture factory in Monroeville, Ala., died in a Johnson City, Tenn. hospital. He was buried the next day at Monte Vista Memorial Park in Johnson City, Tenn. He was born on July 4, 1884 in Mount Airy, Surry County, North Carolina.
Oct. 11, 1945 - Alabama author Fred Bonnie was born in Bridgton, Maine.
Oct. 11, 1951 – The Monroe Journal reported that the final inspection of Monroeville, Alabama’s regional livestock coliseum had been held during the past week and that the dedication of the coliseum was scheduled for early spring. E.T. Millsap was Monroe County’s Probate Judge at the time.
Oct. 11, 1951 - The Lyeffion Yellow Jackets were scheduled to play Repton High School on this Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Evergreen’s Brooks Stadium. The battle was the first of the season between two county teams, and the unofficial county title was on the line. (It was unofficial as Lyeffion was not scheduled to play Evergreen.)
Oct. 11, 1951 - The Evergreen Courant reported that Pvt. John H. Johnson, the son of Mrs. W.J. Johnson, Avenue “A,” Evergreen, Ala., was serving with the 21st “Gimlet” Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division in Korea. Before entering the service, Johnson was employed as a mill worker at Evergreen Heading Co.
Oct. 11, 1954 – During the First Indochina War, the Viet Minh took over Hanoi and control of North Vietnam.
Oct. 11, 1957 – A football game between Excel High School and Monroe County High School ended in a 6-6 tie in Excel. Halfback Donald Evans scored Excel’s touchdown on a two-yard run, and halfback Scobie Branson scored Monroe’s only touchdown, also on a two-yard run. Other outstanding Excel players in that game included Harvel Lee and Harry Sawyer. Other top Monroe players in that game included Wayne Tait and Joe Wemberly.
Oct. 11, 1961 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He went on to play for BYU, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Oct. 11, 1961 - At a meeting of the National Security Council, President John F. Kennedy was asked by his advisers to accept “as our real and ultimate objective the defeat of the Vietcong.”
Oct. 11, 1962 – Pope John XXIII convened the first session of the Second Vatican Council, also known as Vatican II, with the goal of bringing the church up to date with the modern world.
Oct. 11 1969 – Moroccan astronomer and explorer Merieme Chadid was born in Casablanca.
Oct. 11, 1971 – Evergreen, Ala. Future Farmers of America Chapter members and recent Evergreen High School graduates John Crum Sessions and Herbert Brown left Evergreen to attend the National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Mo. On Oct. 14, Sessions was to receive the National FFA Award in Processing. Brown, who was a past State FFA Vice President, served on the Courtesy Corps at the convention.
Oct. 11, 1972 – A race riot occurred on the United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam during Operation Linebacker.
Oct. 11, 1973 – The famous “Pascagoula Abduction” occurred as co-workers Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed that they were abducted by aliens while fishing near Pascagoula, Miss. The case received widespread media attention and is among the best-known cases of alien abduction.
Oct. 11, 1975 – The NBC sketch comedy/variety show “Saturday Night Live” debuted with George Carlin as the host and Andy Kaufman, Janis Ian and Billy Preston as guests. Ian performed "At Seventeen" and "In the Winter." Preston played "Nothing from Nothing" and "Fancy Lady."
Oct. 11, 1976 – George Washington's appointment, posthumously, to the grade of General of the Armies by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 was approved by President Gerald R. Ford.
Oct. 11, 1976 – American actress and producer Emily Deschanel was born in Los Angeles, Calif. She is best known for starring in the Fox crime procedural comedy-drama series “Bones” as Dr. Temperance Brennan since 2005.
Oct. 11, 1978 – The Prestwood Grist Mill near Roeton in Coffee County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Oct. 11, 1982 – The Mary Rose, a Tudor carrack which sank on July 19, 1545, was salvaged from the sea bed of the Solent, off Portsmouth.
Oct. 11, 1987 - An extensive search for the Loch Ness Monster reached its conclusion. Dubbed Operation Deepscan, the week-long project utilized sonar equipment valued at over one million pounds as well as a fleet of 24 boats. Aside from a few anomalous sonar blips, the expedition ended with no tangible results to suggest the existence of the creature. It would not be the last massive undertaking to scour the Loch for the infamous beast, as the BBC used a myriad of modern technological devices to look for Nessie in 2003. Much like its predecessor 16 years earlier, this project also failed to yield an answer to the cryptozoological enigma.
Oct. 11, 1987 – Retired three-term Circuit Solicitor Ralph Lee Jones, a longtime resident of Monroeville, died at the age of 88 at the Ocala Geriatric Center in Ocala, Fla, where he’d lived since 1984. He served several counties while holding the position of solicitor, now known as district attorney, and he had also practiced law in Monroeville and was elected to the state legislature. Born July 26, 1899 in Frisco City (then called Jones Mill), he later attended high school in Monroeville and went on to the University of Alabama, receiving his bachelor’s degree first and then, at 19, his law degree. He earned letters in football and track and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity. He was the first football player at Alabama to earn all-conference honors as well as academic honors, and he was also vice president of the student body. During his college years, he served in the regular Army for a brief period before the end of World War I. Too young to practice law at his graduation, he coached football at Monroe County High School until he reached the required age of 21. Jones was elected Circuit Solicitor for three terms and served in the Alabama State Senate from 1954 to 1958 and in the House of Representatives from 1958 to 1961 and again from 1962 to 1966. In 1929, Jones, along with Alice Lee and the late E.M. Salter, bought The Monroe Journal from Q. Salter. Jones sold his interest five or six years later to Miss Lee. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Monroeville. He was buried on Oct. 14, 1987 in Hillcrest Cemetery following a 10 a.m. memorial service at the Monroe County Courthouse.
Oct. 11, 1990 - Nirvana had its first show with David Grohl on drums.
Oct. 11, 1994 - Iraqi troops began moving away from the Kuwaiti border.
Oct. 11, 1996 – “The Grass Harp,” a comedic drama film based on Truman Capote’s novella, was released. Directed by Charles Matthau, it starred Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau and Nell Carter.
Oct. 11, 1998 - Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers became the 20th player in NFL history to throw for 30,000 yards.
Oct. 11, 2002 - The Sparta Academy Warriors defeated Greenville Academy 21-16 on this Friday in Greenville. Perry Castleberry scored the first two touchdowns of the night for the Warriors on runs of three yards and four yards, respectively. John McGinitie added the PAT on the first touchdown and Brandon Burleson added the two-point conversion on the second touchdown. Wiley Cobb scored the last touchdown for the Warriors on a six-yard run. The try for the two-point conversion failed. Perry Castleberry was the leading rusher for the Warriors with 182 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Brandon Burleson had 29 yards on nine carries. John McGinitie had 14 yards on four carries. Matt Robinson had five yards on two carries and Wiley Cobb had three yards on eight carries and one touchdown. Jeremy Anderson had five receptions for 65 yards. Brandon Burleson had one reception for 22 yards, and Paul Castleberry had one reception for 0 yards.
Oct. 11, 2003 - A bench-clearing brawl between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees interrupted the third game of the American League playoffs in Boston. During the fight, 73-year-old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer charged out of the dugout and tried to tackle Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, but Martinez dodged the older man’s blows and threw him to the ground. The Yankees won the game and the pennant, but they lost the World Series to the Marlins in six games
Oct. 11, 2004 - The Houston Astros won a postseason series for the first time in their 43-year history. They defeated the Atlanta Braves, 12-3, in Game 5. The Astros had lost seven playoff series previously, three of them to Atlanta.
Oct. 11, 2006 - In New York, Cory Lidle of the New York Yankees and his flight instructor were killed when Lidle's plane crashed into a high-rise apartment building.