Saturday, May 27, 2017

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., May 27, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 2.50 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  9.90 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 16.35 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 36.75 inches.

Notes: Today is the 147th day of 2017 and the 69th day of Spring. There are 218 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.

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,274 miles down and 525 miles to go

Legolas the Elf.
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday and five miles yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,274 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 525 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 70.8 percent of the total trip.

In relation to Frodo’s overall journey to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom in Mordor, I’m on the tenth day of the trip past Lothlorien, which is Feb. 25 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 1264, which was nine miles past where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, departed their camp on the eighth day/night of the trip. Three miles later, at Mile 1267, around midnight, Sam hears racing water as the group reaches the north edge of the rapids of Sarn Gebir.


At this point, the group is attacked by orcs, but the group manages to reach the western shore of the river. During this battle, Legolas shoots a Nazgul’s flying beast as the group moves upstream to a small shallow bay. It’s here that the group huddles in their boats for the rest of the night.


As the next day (Feb. 24) dawns, the group awakens to heavy fog, and they cover a total of two miles as they make two trips carrying their boats and packs to the foot of the rapids. Likely, exhausted, they camp by the pool that night, at Mile 1269.


The next day (Feb. 25), the group arises and leaves at full light, around 7:30 a.m. I’ve traveled five miles past this point, to Mile 1274. The next significant milestone, Mile 1281, comes four miles later, when the group passes through a brief, but heavy, rain.


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


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


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


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

Today in History for May 26, 2017

John Wesley Hardin
May 26, 1521 – German priest and theologian Martin Luther was declared an outlaw and his writings were banned by the Edict of Worms, making Luther more of a hero than he already was, and it's a big reason that Protestantism caught on so quickly.

May 26, 1647 – Alse Young, hanged in Hartford, Connecticut, became the first person executed as a witch in the British American colonies.

May 26, 1736 – The Battle of Ackia was fought near the present site of Tupelo, Mississippi. British and Chickasaw soldiers repelled a French and Choctaw attack on the then-Chickasaw village of Ackia.

May 26, 1782 - Colonel William Crawford began marching toward the Ohio River. He had been ordered to attack local Indians that had sided with the British. On June 6, the Wyandots killed Crawford and at least 250 members of his party.

May 26, 1783 – A Great Jubilee Day held at North Stratford, Connecticut celebrated the end of fighting in the American Revolution.

May 26, 1828 – Feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

May 26, 1830 – The Indian Removal Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson two days later.

May 26, 1835 - A resolution was passed in the U.S. Congress stating that Congress had no authority over state slavery laws.

May 26, 1845 - Author John Allan Wyeth was born in Missionary Station, Ala.

May 26, 1853 – Outlaw gunfighter John Wesley Hardin was born in the central Texas town of Bonham. Hardin, who lived in Pollard, Ala. for about 18 months (from late 1875 until the summer of 1877), claimed to have killed 42 men before he was shot to death by John Selman Sr. in the Acme Saloon in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 19, 1895.

May 26, 1857 – Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.

May 26, 1861 – During the Civil War, the life of a bureaucrat was not an easy one. Just when you think you have solved the problems of the day, some nuisance comes along to ruin the routine. Such a problem was faced by the Postmaster General of the United States on this day. Montgomery Blair announced that mail service would no longer be provided to states which had seceded as of the 31st of May. In fact, a system of communication across the changing border between North and South continued for the entire war, with mail passing under flag of truce.

May 26, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Franklin, West Virginia.

May 26, 1862 – During the Civil War, as General Nathaniel Banks’ men continued to scurry for cover in Harpers Ferry, their victorious foes were making an inventory of the contents of the supply wagons Banks had left behind. An imposing list it was too: 9,000 rifles, half a million rounds of ammunition, several pieces of artillery. And then there was the food! Wagonloads of bacon, bread, sugar, and salt were counted. There were even several small herds of cattle. Stonewall Jackson’s men ate well this night.

May 26, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Island No. 65.

May 26, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Confederate Naval flag was introduced by Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory.

May 26, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege at Vicksburg, Miss. entered its eighth day.

May 26, 1863 - America, north and south, was not a world power at the time of the Civil War. Much materiel had to be purchased abroad, and gold went a lot further than paper money or trade goods. It was therefore a great relief to the Union government that a huge gold strike was found in Alder Gulch, in what would later be known as Montana. Previously, all the gold had come from the California mines, which were considered vulnerable to Confederate attack. Alder Gulch later became known as Virginia City.

May 26, 1864 – Montana was organized as a United States territory from the Territory of Idaho.

May 26, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Lynchburg Campaign began.

May 26, 1864 – During the Civil War, combats began at Dallas, Georgia continue until June 1.

May 26, 1864 – During the Civil War, an affair occurred on Lane's Prarie in Missouri.

May 26, 1865 - Arrangements were made in New Orleans for the surrender of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi.

May 26, 1865 – At the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, was the last full general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas. Smith himself fled to Mexico, and then to Cuba, before returning to Virginia in November 1865 to sign an amnesty oath. He was the last surviving full Confederate general until his death in 1893.

May 26, 1865 – Horror writer Robert William Chambers was born in Brooklyn.

May 26, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Sweetwater Station, Wyoming.

May 26, 1874 – On his 21st birthday, outlaw John Wesley Hardin, who lived in Pollard, Ala. for about 18 months (from late 1875 until the summer of 1877), shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in Brown County, Texas.

May 26, 1889 – Nancy Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s stepmother) sold the family farm in Covington County on this date to A.G. Atkinson for only $46, barely a dollar an acre.

May 26, 1894 - At the age of 56, Gainesville, Ala. (Sumter County) native Maria Fearing set sail for England as part of her journey to become a missionary in the Congo in central Africa. After arriving in Africa, she undertook the two-month trip to her posting, part of it by litter and part by riverboat up the Congo, Kasai, and Lulua rivers to the station in Luebo. While in the Congo, Fearing rescued and ran a home for girls and young women who had been kidnapped or sold into slavery. Fearing spent more than 20 years in Africa, finally retiring at age 78.

May 26, 1895 – Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange was born in Hoboken, N.J.

May 26, 1897 – Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula,” was first published and went on sale in London.

May 26, 1897 – The original manuscript of William Bradford's history, "Of Plymouth Plantation" was returned to the Governor of Massachusetts by the Bishop of London after being taken during the American Revolutionary War.

May 26, 1904 – Ireland native and Freemason John J. Sheridan died at his home in Evergreen at an early hour on this Thursday morning after a lingering illness. He had resided in Evergreen for a number of years, being an employee of the L&N Railroad and had many friends. The funeral took place on the following morning from the family residence, being conducted by the Masonic fraternity, of which deceased with a member. He was buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery.

May 26, 1907 – John Wayne was born Marion Morrison in Winterset, Iowa.

May 26, 1908 - In Persia, the first oil strike was made in the Middle East.

May 26, 1914 - Nineteen-year-old Gavrilo Princip sets out from Belgrade on a 10-day-long journey through rough countryside, heading towards Sarajevo and a planned rendezvous with fellow young nationalist agitators, setting in motion a chain of events that would lead to his assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparking a chain of complicated events that would lead not only Austria-Hungary and Serbia but a host of great and small nations in Europe and beyond into the devastating conflict that would become known as the First World War.

May 26, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen, Ala. merchants and business houses had signed an agreement making Thursdays a half holiday and that they would all close at noon. This arrangement was to continue through the summer months, so owners and employees could enjoy some time off work.

May 26, 1916 – Avant-garde composer and musician Moondog was Louis Thomas Hardin in Marysville, Kansas.

May 26, 1916 - The closing exercises of the Second District Agricultural School in Evergreen began on this Friday night with a piano recital by the pupils of Mrs. Crumpton and Miss Gammon.

May 26, 1917 - Walt Cruise hit the first home run out of Braves Field.

May 26, 1920 – The Evergreen Courant reported that B.M. Johnston attended the Confederate reunion in Montgomery, Ala. during the past week.

May 26, 1925 - Ty Cobb became the first Major League Baseball player to collect 1,000 extra-base hits.

May 26, 1926 – Jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer Miles Davis was born in Alton, Ill.

May 26, 1926 – Robert Gaston Bozeman Sr. was hired to edit and manage The Evergreen Courant with the option privilege of buying the newspaper if he desired. Shortly afterwards, he purchased the majority of the stock and later purchased all of it.

May 26, 1935 – Evergreen’s baseball team was scheduled to play Chapman on this Sunday in Evergreen, Ala.

May 26, 1936 – Dr. J.R. Brooks was elected Mayor of Evergreen, Ala. over J.R. Kelley.

May 26, 1938 – Pulitzer Prize-winning pianist and composer William Bolcom was born in Seattle, Wash.

May 26, 1942 – Search parties found a missing military plane that crashed in the Sepulga swamp, 18 to 20 miles north of Evergreen, Ala. The plane was demolished and the body of a British pilot named Lowe was recovered. The plane was one of eight that crashed in Conecuh and Escambia counties on May 20 en route from Crestview, Fla. to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, resulting in five deaths. All of the planes were piloted by British cadets who were assigned to Maxwell Field for training.

May 26, 1943 - The practice blackout in Monroeville on this Wednesday night was a success and the citizens of the town were to be congratulated for the fine cooperation given the Civilian Defense Council, according to The Monroe Journal. When the signal was given for the blackout, the town was plunged into darkness, the like of which had not been seen since the days of the tallow candle. Wardens assigned to patrol duty over the town gave good reports from all quarters. The wardens were assisted by a number of Monroeville Boy Scouts.

May 26, 1944 – Evergreen High School’s graduation ceremony was scheduled to be held on this night with Prof. M.A. Hanks delivering diplomas to 39 seniors, including 32 girls and seven boys.

May 26, 1944 – German SS officer Christian Wirth was killed by Yugoslav partisans in Hrpelje-Kozina near Trieste at the age of 58.

May 26, 1948 – The U.S. Congress passed Public Law 80-557, which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

May 26, 1949 – Songwriter and singer Hank Williams Jr. was born in Shreveport, La.

May 26, 1950 – Evergreen High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Friday night at 8 p.m. in Memorial Gymnasium in Evergreen, Ala. T.Y. Henderson Jr. was the valedictorian, and Betty Stallworth was the salutatorian. Fifty-five seniors were expected to receive diplomas.

May 26, 1950 – Lyeffion High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Friday night at 8 p.m. in the school auditorium in Lyeffion, Ala. Francis Powell as the valedictorian, and Billy Wayne Cook was the salutatorian. Seventeen seniors were expected to receive diplomas.

May 26, 1950 – Repton High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Friday night at 8 p.m. in the school auditorium in Repton, Ala. Principal H.D. Weathers expected to present diplomas to 28 seniors. Don Ivey was the valedictorian, and Paul Watson was the salutatorian.

May 26, 1951 – American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth passed away in New York City at the age of 71. He was a polar explorer from the United States and a major benefactor of the American Museum of Natural History.

May 26, 1954 – Novelist Alan Hollinghurst was born in Stroud, England.

May 26, 1956 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Al Simmons passed away at the age of 54 in Milwaukee, Wisc. During his career, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Chicago White Sox, the Detroit Tigers, the Washington Senators, the Boston Braves, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.

May 26, 1959 - Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose the game on a two-run double by Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock in the 13th inning. It was the first time a pitcher threw more than nine perfect innings in Major League history.

May 26, 1965 – The Evergreen Pony League’s player auction was held on this Wednesday night in preparation for the upcoming season, which was scheduled to begin on June 7. Teams included the Pirates, the Braves, the Indians and the Tigers.

May 26, 1965 - Eight hundred Australian troops departed for Vietnam, and New Zealand announced that it would send an artillery battalion.

May 26, 1971 - In Cambodia, an estimated 1,000 North Vietnamese captured the strategic rubber plantation town of Snoul, driving out 2,000 South Vietnamese as U.S. air strikes support the Allied forces.

May 26, 1977 - George Willig climbed the South Tower of the World Trade Center in NYC. Known as "the human fly," Willig was subsequently fined by New York's Mayor Beame for $1.10-- one cent for each of the skyscraper's 110 stories.
May 26, 1978 - Evergreen High School was scheduled to hold graduation exercises on this Friday night at 8 p.m. in Brooks Memorial Stadium, according to Principal John W. Floyd. Amy Gates was valedictorian of the 1978 graduating class at Evergreen High School. Mary Howard was salutatorian.

May 26, 1978 - Lyeffion High School’s baccalaureate-graduation exercises were scheduled to be held on this Friday night at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Steve Searcy, age 17, was valedictorian of the 1978 graduating class of Lyeffion High School. Vickey Goldthrip, age 18, was salutatorian.

May 26, 1978 - Graduation exercises were scheduled to be held at Repton High School at 8 p.m. on this Friday night in the school gymnasium. Maxine DuBose was valedictorian of the graduating class at Repton High School. David Bell was salutatorian.

May 26, 1978 - Haskew Page Jr., principal of Conecuh County High School, announced that graduation exercises were to be held in the high school auditorium at Castleberry at 7:30 p.m. on this Friday. Picked on the highest grade point average, Darryl Crane was that year’s valedictorian of the graduating class at CCHS. Juanita Baggett was selected as salutatorian with the second highest grade point average in the class.

May 26, 1978 - Graduation exercises at Sparta Academy were to be held on this Friday night in the Sparta gymnatorium. Gray Stevens had been named valedictorian of the 1978 graduating class of Sparta Academy. Harry Crabtree was salutatorian.

May 26, 1980 - Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies became the first National League player to record six one-hitters.

May 26, 1981 – Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resigned following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).

May 26, 1984 - Don Cain of Philadelphia set the record for keeping a frisbee aloft-- for an astonishing 16.72 seconds.

May 26, 1988 – The Mount Vernon Arsenal-Searcy Hospital Complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

May 26, 1990 - The Philadelphia Phillies retired Mike Schmidt's No. 20 jersey.

May 26, 1993 - Larry Woolfolk was named principal of J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice, Ala. when the Monroe County Board of Education held a called meeting on this Wednesday. Woolfolk, 38, was the Shields assistant principal as well as a physical education teacher and junior varsity and varsity basketball coach. Woolfolk replaced William Andrews, who was retiring June 30 after 26 years as principal of the school, which had about 345 students in grades 7-12.

May 26, 2004 – United States Army veteran Terry Nichols was found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.

May 26, 2005 – Natalee Holloway and 124 fellow graduates of Mountain Brook High School, located in a wealthy suburb of Birmingham, Ala., arrived in Aruba for a five-day, unofficial graduation trip. She would disappear four days later and would be declared dead in January 2012.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., May 26, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 2.50 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  9.90 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 16.35 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 36.75 inches.

Notes: Today is the 146th day of 2017 and the 68th day of Spring. There are 219 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, May 25, 2017

Did pioneer Daniel Boone really kill a Bigfoot-like creature prior to 1820?

Yahoos from 'Gulliver's Travels'
On Monday morning I had to walk down to the post office to mail a letter and while headed down the sidewalk one of the newspaper’s loyal readers stopped me to make the observation that it seemed that a lot of the local Bigfoot talk had died down in recent weeks.

I had to admit that the Bigfoot news has slowed down somewhat during the past month or so, and the reader wondered out loud if maybe Bigfoot was seasonal. He conjectured that perhaps Bigfoot becomes dormant during the warm weather months or that maybe they head to cooler places on the map when summer begins to approach. After all, he said, can you imagine walking around in the humid Alabama woods in August with all that thick hair.

As I pondered this idea, he hit me with a Bigfoot-related question that came from way out in left field: Had I ever heard the story about how Daniel Boone killed a Bigfoot? I had to admit that I had heard a little bit about that before but that I wasn’t clear on the details. He suggested that I Google it when I got back to the office.

As many of you know, Daniel Boone was a famous pioneer and explorer, who helped settle what we now call Kentucky, before his death in 1820. One of the best sources of information about Boone and his exploits is a 1992 biography by John Mack Faragher called “Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer.”

According to that book, Boone claimed to have killed a “ten-foot hairy giant he called a Yahoo.” Faragher noted that Boone was a big fan of “Gulliver’s Travels,” and he likely borrowed the name “Yahoo” from that book, which featured creatures called Yahoos that were giant beasts in human shape.

American pioneer Daniel Boone.
Boone was said to have told his story of killing a Yahoo many times, especially during the last year of his life. Some researchers have noted that they feel it’s significant that he told this story repeatedly in the final year of his life, almost as if he was no longer afraid of any ridicule he might receive from its telling.

Over the years, folklorists have recorded four or five versions of strange legends regarding the Yahoo creature in Kentucky. Almost all of these stories involve large, hairy people who live out in the woods or in caves. Researchers have also noted that these stories have endured and remained popular among the people of that area for nearly two centuries. Other names for this Yahoo creature include “Yeahoh” and “Yayhoo.”

Bigfoot researchers also say that Boone’s Yahoo story is the state of Kentucky’s most famous Bigfoot tale. They note that early pioneers like Boone would have likely been the first white men to set eyes on a Bigfoot and the idea of a rifle-carrying frontiersman like Boone killing one isn’t that farfetched. Most consider it a fair assumption that what Boone described as a Yahoo is what we now refer to as a Bigfoot.

In the end, I think it’s interesting that tales of Bigfoot-like creatures were being told in America as far back as the 1820s by such creditable sources as folk hero Daniel Boone. Before I close out this week, I want to say again that if any of you have had an experience with a Bigfoot-like creature in and around Conecuh County, please contact me so I can document your experience. Please contact me at The Courant by e-mailing

Matt Adams leaves Cardinals for Braves to replaced injured Freddie Freeman

Matt Adams signed with Braves on Saturday.
It was another week of highs and lows for the Atlanta Braves.

On the positive side, they’ve gone from last place to second place in their division, but on the other side of the coin, they lost their best player to injury for at least two months.

On Monday of last week, the Braves kicked off a four-game interleague series against the Toronto Blue Jays that featured a pair of games in Canada and two games in Atlanta. Atlanta went 3-1 in that series, but suffered a major setback when first baseman Freddie Freeman broke his left wrist after being hit by a pitch by Toronto’s Aaron Loup on Wednesday of last week.

At the time, Freeman, 27, was leading the National League with 14 home runs and was batting .341. Freeman, who bats lefthanded but throws righthanded, had his wrist put in a cast and is expected to miss eight to 10 weeks. To say that you can expect for Atlanta’s offense to slow down would be an understatement.

But maybe not. On Saturday, the Braves acquired first baseman Matt Adams from the St. Louis Cardinals in hopes that Adams will be able to fill in for Freeman. Adams is 28 years old and is a career .271 hitter. Those of you who have watched Adams at bat in the past know that when he steps to the plate big things can happen.

The question now is what will happen with Adams once Freeman returns. One idea is that Adams will move to left field, which is currently occupied by Matt Kemp. Kemp is currently batting .351, so it’s unlikely that he’ll drop from the lineup.

Also during the past week, Atlanta went 2-1 in a series against their National League East rivals, the Washington Nationals. The Braves beat the Nationals, 7-4 and 5-2, on Friday and Saturday, respectively, in Atlanta before dropping Sunday’s game, 3-2.

In all, going back to Monday of last week, the Braves have gone 5-2 with a pair of much-needed wins within their division. Those five wins also rocketed the Braves from last place in the division to second place, but they remain seven games behind the Nats, as of Monday. The Mets were close behind them in third place with the Phillies and Marlins bringing up the rear.

This coming week, the Braves will get the chance to redeem themselves against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They began a four-game series in Atlanta on Monday that is scheduled to wrap up today (Thursday). Earlier this season, the Pirates swept the Braves in Pittsburgh in a three-game series of games played in miserably cold weather that included a little snow.

Tomorrow (Friday), the Braves will set off on a long road trip that will take them out to California for a pair of series against the Giants (May 26-28) and the Angels (May 29-31) before heading to Cincinnati to face the Reds (June 2-4). For those of you keeping track at home, the Braves haven’t had a day off since May 11 and aren’t scheduled to have a day off until June 1, which is basically a travel day between Los Angeles and Cincinnati.

Today in History for May 25, 2017

State Senator Maston Mims
May 25, 240 BC – Chinese astronomers noted the earliest recorded sighting of Halley’s comet at perihelion - its closest approach to the sun. Of course, it wasn't called Halley's comet then; it wasn't given that name until the 18th century, when English astronomer Edmond Halley first speculated that similar comets observed in 1531, 1607, and 1682 were probably actually the same comet, returning at regular intervals. He predicted its return, and though he didn't live to see it, his prediction was correct: the comet returned on Christmas Day, 1758 - the year he had predicted.

May 25, 1420 – Henry the Navigator was appointed governor of the Order of Christ.

May 25, 1787 - The Constitutional convention opened in Philadelphia with George Washington presiding.

May 25, 1803 – Philosopher, poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Mass.

May 25, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Washington, Pennsylvania, dining at the Pioneer Grill, the George Washington Hotel and staying at the Globe Inn.

May 25, 1844 - The first telegraphed news dispatch, sent from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Md. appeared in the Baltimore "Patriot."

May 25, 1856 - Abolitionist John Brown and his sons attacked three cabins along Pottawatomie Creek. They killed five men. The attack was Brown's revenge for an attack on Lawrence, Kansas on May 21.

May 25, 1861 – Maryland state legislator John Merryman, a vocal secessionist, was arrested in Cockeysville, Maryland for attempting to hinder Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War. He appealed for his release under a writ of habeas corpus. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus between Washington and Philadelphia on April 27. The move was made to give the military the necessary power to silence dissenters and rebels.

May 25, 1862 – Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson led Confederates to victory at the First Battle of Winchester, Va., as part of his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union casualties included 62 killed, 243 wounded and over 1,700 captured or missing, while 68 of Jackson’s men died and another 329 were wounded.

May 25, 1862 – During the Civil War, Halleck arrived outside of Corinth. It had taken him 26 days to march 20 miles from Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh),Tenn., virtually unopposed.

May 25, 1863 - Clement Vallandigham was banished to the Confederacy for his “pro-Confederate remarks.” Vallandigham had been found guilty by a military tribunal of violating General Ambrose Burnside's Order No. 38. The order stated that public criticism of the war would not be tolerated. He was exchanged at Murfreesboro, Tenn.

May 25, 1863 – During the Civil War, the siege at Vicksburg entered its seventh day.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, an affair occurred at Jackson's Bridge and a skirmish was fought at Camp Finegan, Florida.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishing began around New Hope Church, Ga. and continued until June 5.

May 25, 1864 – During the Civil War, engagements were fought with the Union ships Curlew and Lebanon in Arkansas. A skirmish was also fought near Cripple Creek, Tennessee.

May 25, 1865 - During the early weeks of Federal occupation of Mobile, the city suffered one of its worst disasters as 20 tons of captured Confederate gunpowder exploded in a warehouse being used as an arsenal. Property loss was put at $5,000,000 and the number of casualties was never determined, although it has been estimated at possibly 300. The entire northern part of the city was laid in ruins by the explosion. Many of the dead were never identified. The blast, which leveled eight square blocks of Mobile, was centered near the site of the present day International Trade Center on Water Street. Fires and explosions continued throughout the day. Ships were set afire and sank along the waterfront. Windows were broken all over town, to include those in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that is still in present day downtown Mobile.

May 25, 1865 – During the Civil War, Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson's command was paroled in Arkansas.

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that L.H. Henley of Burnt Corn was in Monroeville “a short time ago” and “took the first degree in Masonry.”

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that W.B. Jones had plans to again open his beef market in Monroeville, Ala. The market was scheduled to open every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the northeast corner of the public square.

May 25, 1885 – The Monroe Journal editorialized that “the draught and backgammon board furnish an unending source of amusement to the ‘gentlemen of leisure’ of this place. It is a more sensible source of pleasure than roller skating or baseball.” (This is one of the earliest mentions of baseball that I’ve found in The Journal.)

May 25, 1886 - Mr. Brown of Camden, who had been engaged in painting Capt. Wiggins’ store, completed the job on this Tuesday and returned to Camden, according to The Monroe Journal.

May 25, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that chancery court was in session in Monroeville, Ala. during the past week. Chancellor Thomas H. Smith presided.

May 25, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that “two more shooting scrapes” occurred in Monroe County during the past week, one with fatal results. The first involved an 11-year-old boy, who killed his father, in the King community. The second involved a man, who shot a woman in the arm, in the Scotland community. Both incidents were said to be accidental.

May 25, 1908 – Flomaton was officially incorporated as a municipality, according to the Alabama League of Municipalities.

May 25, 1908 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Mich.

May 25, 1910 - The first-ever nighttime airplane flight was made at Orville Wright's flying school near Montgomery, Ala. Walter Brookins and Archibald Hoxsey piloted the plane, which the Montgomery Advertiser described as "glinting now and then in the moonlight" during flight. The flying school closed shortly after the historic event, but the site eventually became home to Maxwell Air Force Base.

May 25, 1914 – Prof. W.C. Blasingame was elected principal of the Southwest Alabama Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala during a meeting of the school’s board of control in Montgomery. He replaced Prof. J.T. McKee, who took a faculty position at the State Normal School in Florence. Blasingame was a graduate of the State Normal College, the University of Tennessee and the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Evergreen, he’d been in charge of schools in Demopolis and Thomaston.

May 25, 1915 – The closing exercises of the Orphanage School in Evergreen, Ala. were scheduled to be held in the orphanage chapel at 8 p.m. Certificates were to be presented to four pupils for completing the seventh grade.

May 25, 1915 - In the latest of a disturbing series of Turkish aggressions against Armenians during World War I, Mehmed Talat, the Ottoman minister of the interior, announced that all Armenians living near the battlefield zones in eastern Anatolia (under Ottoman rule) would be deported to Syria and Mosul.

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported, in news from the Brooklyn community, that G.R. Boulware, J.L. Williamson, John Stamps and H.A. Chambless attended the United Confederate Veterans Reunion at Birmingham during the previous week and reported a “most enjoyable trip.” Boulware was accompanied home by W.R. Hodges and his son, Dr. R.H. Hodges of Texas, who planned to spend some time with relatives and friends in the Brooklyn vicinity. W.R. Hodges was born and reared near Brooklyn but shortly after his return from the army, with which he served during the Civil War, he moved to the state of Texas, where he had since “resided and prospered.”

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Clarence Hawkins surprised his many friends when he returned from the United Confederate Veterans reunion at Birmingham accompanied by a Mrs. Hawkins. “No one suspected that he contemplated matrimony, even in the remote future, but everyone is congratulating him on his good fortune in winning such a charming lady for his life-partner. Mrs. Hawkins was Miss Corinne Schwaemmle of Mobile.”

May 25, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that Robt. H. Jones, Esq., was in Montgomery, Ala. that week attending the Knights of Phythias Lodge.

May 25, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that T.G. Fountain, renewing his subscription, wrote the following note from Reagan, Texas under date of May 22 – “The Journal has been coming to me for several years. I take several papers, none however, so much appreciated as The Journal, owing to the fact that I have many relatives and friends in Old Monroe. I enlisted in the Confederate war and served to the close in the cavalry service, was never wounded, sick or in prison. Several of my comrades were from Monroeville – A.B. McCorvey, T.J. Stevens, T.S. Wiggins, the Spottswood boys and others. Very few are left to answer roll call now.”

May 25, 1920 – The commencement exercises at the Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. came to a close with senior class exercises on this day. On May 23, the commencement sermon was delivered at the Baptist Church by the Rev. Norman McLeod of Auburn. On May 21, commencement exercises began with the school play, a four-act drama that was present by pupils from several departments.

May 25, 1922 - Babe Ruth was suspended for one day and fined $200 for throwing dirt on an umpire.

May 25, 1926 – Graduation exercises were held on this Tuesday night at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. The commencement address was delivered by Judge W.H. Thomas of Montgomery.

May 25, 1927 – Novelist Robert Ludlum was born in New York City. He is best known for his thriller novels about Jason Bourne.

May 25, 1928 - The graduation exercises at the State Secondary Agricultural School in Evergreen, Ala. were scheduled to be held on this Friday night, and the address was to be delivered by Dr. Jno. W. Abercrombie, assistant state superintendent, formerly state superintendent. The ceremony was scheduled to be held at the Evergreen City School auditorium.

May 25, 1933 – The Monroe Journal reported, under the headline “Typhoid Fever In Monroeville,” that Health Officer, Dr. T.E. Tucker, reported that there were two cases of Typhoid fever in Monroeville, a colored woman and a white man. He also reported that clinics were being conducted in several places in the county each week, including at Fountain, Monroe Station, Mineola School, A.E. Tucker’s place and Mexia. These clinics were conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On other days, vaccine could be secured at his office.

May 25, 1933 – Chapman’s baseball team was scheduled to play Monroeville on this Thursday afternoon on the Monroeville, Ala. diamond. “A hotly contested game” was anticipated, according to The Monroe Journal. A grandstand had recently been completed at the Monroeville diamond and comfortable seats had been installed.

May 25, 1933 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.C. Hudson was building a swimming pool and fish pond on Hudson branch about one-half mile east of the Monroe County Courthouse. Workmen had been engaged for about a week, cutting the foundation ditch for the dam and spillway. According to the survey made by an engineer, the several springs at the head of the branch were to afford a pond covering about two acres, the deepest point being about seven to eight feet.

May 25, 1935 - Babe Ruth hit his final homerun, his 714th, and set a record that would stand for 39 years.

May 25, 1935 – Oakville, Ala. native Jesse Owens of Ohio State University broke three world records and tied a fourth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Owens tied the world record for the 100-yard dash, running it in 9.4 seconds.

May 25, 1938 – Short-story writer and novelist Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon.

May 25, 1944 – Conecuh County High School in Castleberry, Ala. was scheduled to hold its graduation exercises at 8 p.m. Those receiving diplomas included Jessie Ruth Godwin, Mabel Green, Doris Davis, Lois Ward, Virginia Griffin, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Clara Evelyn Albreast, Mary Ellen Dolihite, John Josey, Joe Josey, Hairston Powell, Lamar Stapleton and Kenneth Brooks.

May 25, 1949 – Writer Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson in St. John’s, Antigua.

May 25, 1950 – The Evergreen Greenies were scheduled to play Atmore in a Dixie Amateur League game at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.

May 25, 1951 – Westfield, Ala. native Willie Mays made his debut with the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds.

May 25, 1955 – The first ascent of Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, was made by a British expedition led by Charles Evans. Joe Brown and George Band reached the summit on May 25, followed by Norman Hardie and Tony Streather the next day.

May 25, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy made his historic speech before a joint session of Congress, declaring that America would aim to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

May 25, 1963 – Hartford, Ala. native Early Wynn won his 300th baseball game.

May 25, 1964 - Pfc. Ralph W. Phillippi, the son of Mrs. Dovie Jaye of 104 Poplar St. in Monroeville, completed training with the Special Forces Training Group at the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, N.C. With his branch training behind him, Phillippi was then a qualified Special Forces soldier and was entitled to wear the coveted mark of the elite force, the green beret, which was distinguished by the late President Kennedy as a “badge of courage.” Phillippi entered the Army in April 1963 and completed training at Fort Polk, La.

May 25, 1968 - The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Mo. was dedicated.

May 25, 1968 - The communists launched their third major assault of the year on Saigon.

May 25, 1969 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu assumed personal leadership of the National Social Democratic Front at its inaugural meeting in Saigon.

May 25, 1971 - President Richard Nixon visited Mobile, Ala. to mark the start of construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The waterway, when completed in 1985, ran from Pickwick Lake to Demopolis, Alabama, to connect the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River. A link between the two rivers had long been desired, having been first proposed by the French in the eighteenth century.

May 25, 1974 - Pam Morrison, Jim Morrison's widow, died of a drug overdose.

May 25, 1976 – NFL offensive tackle Tarik Glenn was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to play for the University of California and the Indianapolis Colts.

May 25, 1976 – Irish actor Cillian Murphy was born in Blackrock, Cork, Ireland.

May 25, 1976 – Actor Ethan Suplee was born in Manhattan, N.Y.

May 25, 1977 - "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" opened in theaters and became the largest grossing film to date.

May 25, 1978 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Tony Rogers, outstanding quarterback for the Evergreen High School Aggies, had signed a full grant-in-aid scholarship to Livingston State University. Rogers was an outstanding passer and runner for the Aggies, playing under head coach Charles Branum.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that bulldozers were clearing the land for the construction of a Monroeville city recreational park in Clausell, which was expected to be completed and ready for use by the end of that summer, according to city Public Works Superintendent Lyle Salter. Clearing began the first of May 1978 and had been hampered only slightly by rainy weather.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that Coach Bill McPherson of Frisco City High School had recently presented V.P. “Junie” Burns with a plaque holding the names of Frisco City football players who had received the school’s most valuable player award named in his honor. Burns, a former Frisco City athlete, played college ball at Auburn University, where he was selected to the Coaches’ All-SEC team. He coached rather than accept offers to play pro football, carrying his team to a state championship. During World War II, he was wounded in the Normandy Invasion and has numerous medals. Each year the recipient of the award receives a trophy and his name was to be added to the plaque.

May 25, 1978 – The Monroe Journal reported that, reversing himself, state senator Maston Mims of Uriah, Ala. that week announced that he would not seek re-election. Mims, a first-term senator who was chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in the fall of 1977 became the first person to announce intention to run in the Sept. 5 Democratic primary for his District 31 seat. But during the week of May 25, 1978, Mims said “new opportunities” had surfaced “which conflict with (Mims’) running for the state Senate in this year’s election.”

May 25, 1981 – In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council was created between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

May 25, 1982 - Ferguson Jenkins became the seventh pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters.

May 25, 1983 - "The Return of the Jedi" opened nationwide. It set a new record in opening day box office sales. The gross was $6,219,629.

May 25, 1993 - The ferry serving Packer’s Bend had been declared unsafe for use and needed to be repaired or replaced, the Monroe County Commission was told on this Tuesday. County Engineer Robert English said the ferry was brought in for a routine maintenance inspection about two weeks before, and it was discovered that the bottom was rotting. The ferry was to be out of service until the problem was solved. English estimated the monthly traffic on the ferry, which operated eight hours a day Monday through Friday, at 300 trips per month.

May 25, 1997 - The Minnesota Twins retired Kirby Puckett's number.

May 25, 1997 - Todd and Mel Stottlemyre became the first father and son duo to win 100 baseball games.

May 25, 2001 – Erik Weihenmayer, 32, of Boulder, Colorado became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

May 25, 2001 - Sherman Bull, 64, of New Canaan, Conn. became the oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

May 25, 2012 – Renovations were completed at the Historic Louisville & Nashville Depot in downtown Evergreen, Ala.