Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today in History for April 21, 2018

Alabama Governor John Patterson

April 21, 1777 - British troops under the command of General William Tryon attacked the town of Danbury, Conn. They went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouses, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.


April 21, 1789 - John Adams was sworn in as the first U.S. Vice President.

April 21, 1809 – Dr. William H. Cunningham Sr. was born in Mecklenburg County, Va. He would go on to work as a physician and serve as a state representative in Monroe County, Ala. He also served as a private in Dailey’s Co., Home Guard, Confederate States Army. He passed away at the age of 58 on Aug. 26, 1867 in Conecuh County and is buried in the Cunningham Cemetery at Tunnel Springs.

April 21, 1816 – Novelist Charlotte Bronte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. Her books include 1847’s “Jane Eyre.”

April 21, 1838 – Naturalist and conservationist John Muir, a dedicated advocate for the protection of American wild lands, was born in Dunbar, Scotland.

April 21, 1861 - Upon the outbreak of the Civil War threats were made against the safety of the USS Constitution. On April 26, the ship began a three-day trip to New York, towed by the steam gunboat R.R. Cuyler.

April 21, 1861 - Rioting continued in Baltimore, Md., and state troops seized the U.S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, N.C.

April 21, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Pocahontas, Ark. and at Monterey, Va.

April 21, 1863 - Union Colonel Abel Streight began a raid into northern Alabama and Georgia with the goal of cutting off railroad traffic between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Streight surrendered near Rome, Ga. on May 3 to a force half the size of his own led by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

April 21, 1863 – During the Civil War, a Federal operation was conducted between Opelousas and Barre’s Landing in Louisiana. A skirmish was also fought at Palo Alto, Miss., in the vicinity of present-day West Point, Miss. A comprehensive "tax-in-kind" plan was also passed by the Confederate Senate. It required that 10 percent of everything produced or grown be given to the Confederate government.

April 21, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Harrison Gap, Ala.

April 21 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought along the Cache River, near Cotton Plant, Ark.; at Tunica Bend, La.; at Red Bone, Miss., between Vicksburg and the Big Black River; and at Masonborough, N.C.

April 21, 1865 - The steamboat Sultana left New Orleans. The craft exploded on April 27 killing about 1,700 people.

April 21, 1865 – During the Civil War, Federal troops entered Monroeville, Ala.

April 21, 1865 - A train carrying the coffin of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln left Washington, D.C. on its 1,654-mile journey back to Springfield, Illinois, where he would be buried on May 4. The train, dubbed “The Lincoln Special,” carrying Lincoln’s body traveled through 180 cities and seven states on its way to Lincoln’s home state of Illinois.

April 21, 1865 – Newspaperman Thomas Easton died and was buried in Monroeville, Ala. He was a former publisher of The Halcyon newspaper at St. Stephens and later established The Alabama Whig at Claiborne and continued to publish the Alabama Intelligencer.

April 21, 1865 - A two-day Federal operation between Donalsonville and Bayou Goula in Louisiana began, and a seven-day Federal operation began between Rolla and Thomasville in Missouri.

April 21, 1887 – National Baseball Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy was born in Philadelphia, Pa. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.

April 21, 1898 - The Spanish-American War began.

April 21, 1904 – Italian-Austrian SS officer Odilo Globocnik was born in Trieste, Austria-Hungary (now Italy).

April 21, 1905 – H.P. Lovecraft finished writing “The Beast in the Cave,” which was originally published “The Vagrant” No. 7 in June 1918.

April 21, 1906 - The members of George W. Foster Camp, United Confederate Veterans, were scheduled to meet in the Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Ala., at 3 p.m. on this Saturday. Business was to include the election of delegates to the annual Reunion at New Orleans, April 25-27. T.J. Emmons was the camp’s commander, and Thos. S. Wiggins was adjutant.

April 21, 1910 – Mark Twain died at the age of 74 in Redding, Connecticut.

April 21, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. James Atkins, 19, of Flat Rock, Ala. “died from disease.” He was a private in the Machine Gun Corps. He is buried at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No. 1, Doullens, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France, Plot VI. C. 66.

April 21, 1918 – During World War I, 25-year-old German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as "The Red Baron", was shot down and killed by Allied fire over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.

April 21, 1920 - Alabama author Andrew Glaze was born in Nashville, Tenn.

April 21, 1932 – Screenwriter, director, comedian and actor Elaine May was born Elaine Berlin in Philadelphia.

April 21, 1934 – The "Surgeon's Photograph," the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, was published in the Daily Mail. In 1999, it was revealed to be a hoax.

April 21, 1940 – After getting back to Brewton at 4 a.m. on this Sunday morning, at a 14-7 loss in Tallassee, the Brewton Millers baseball team lost to Andalusia, 14-3. Gore, pitching for the Rams, struck out 11 Brewton batters. The Millers were charged with seven errors. After this game, Manager Yaryan and team officials announced that they would present a changing array of new faces, or put a hustling, scraping ball club on the field, even if they had to get optioned players.

April 21, 1947 – Hank Williams’s first recording was made when eight songs were cut under the Sterling label.

April 21, 1947 – In their season opener, Evergreen High School’s baseball team lost, 10-2, to Bay Minette.

April 21, 1949 - The Medical Association of the State of Alabama presented Dr. P.L. Hollingsworth of Belleville, Ala. a Certificate of Distinction for 50 years in the practice of medicine.

April 21, 1949 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Ottis Johnson, former Evergreen Greenie star, was currently leading the Troy State Teacher’s College baseball team in batting with a .320 average. Ottis starred with the Greenies for three seasons, always batting near the .400 mark, and was one of the Tri-County Baseball League’s top outfielders. This was his first season with the college squad. The TROY MESSENGER, daily paper in Troy, Ala., had this to say about Ottis: “At present, right fielder Ottis Johnson is leading the pack at the plate with a .320 average. The big fly-chaser has added plenty of power to the Wave attack since breaking into the lineup. This is his first season of baseball with the Wavemen.”

April 21, 1949 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mrs. Charlie McKinley of Atmore was the guest that week of her sister, Mrs. A.C. Lee and Mr. Lee.

April 21, 1949 – The Monroe Journal reported that the family of Pfc. Aubrey L. Norris had received word from the War Department that the body of the former Monroeville soldier was being shipped to the United States for re-burial. He was wounded on New Guinea on July 16, 1943, while serving in the infantry, and died four days later on Guadalcanal Island. A native of Frisco City, Norris was the first Monroe County serviceman to be killed in action in World War II. Entering service on May 16, 1942, he was 21 years old when killed. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. Prior to being brought to the states, Norris’ body had been buried in the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine cemetery on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Upon arrival in Monroe County, the body was to lie in state at the home of W.M. Norris of Goodway, an older brother. He was a member of the 169th Infantry, 43rd Infantry Division. Born on Aug. 1, 1920, he is buried in the Union Cemetery in Frisco City.

April 21, 1949 – The Monroe Journal reported that Miss Jennie Faulk was the recent guest of Misses Maud and Margaret Howard of Mobile.

April 21, 1950 - Evergreen High School’s baseball team won their first victory of the 1950 season on this Friday, defeating Castleberry in Castleberry, 9-0, behind the near-perfect, one-hit pitching of Bertie Hassel. Hassel had the Blue Devil batters under control all the way as the Aggies evened up their series with Castleberry.

April 21, 1955 - The Tenth Annual 4-H Club and F.F.A. Fat Calf Show was held in Evergreen on this Thursday, and Marilyn Dees and her brother, Alvin, walked away with top honors. Seventy-two calves were shown, entered by some 67 F.F.A. and 4-H Club members. Thirteen-year-old Marilyn, a member of the Evergreen 4-H Club, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Dees, showed the Grand Champion for the second time, having won this coveted award in 1953, and the Reserve Champion in 1954. Her winner was a 1,015-pound Hereford. The T.R. Miller Mill Co. paid a record price of 68 cents per pound for the Grand Champion.

April 21, 1955 - Jack B. Kinzer, chairman of the Boys and Girls State Committee of the Alma Martin Post No. 50, announced on this day the names of the representatives from the four Conecuh high schools that would represent their schools at these statewide events. Representing Conecuh County High School was to be Louise Bradley and Comer Beasley. Repton High School was to be represented by Jean Armstrong and Comer Bonds, and Lyeffion planned to send Sarah Hardee and Clarence Riley. Evergreen High was to be represented by Patty McGehee, Clinton Claybrook and Buck Lewis. Boys State was to be held at the University of Alabama on May 28 through June 3. Girls State was to convene on June 12 and close on June 18.

April 21, 1955 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroe County Commission had purchased five lots fronting on North Mount Pleasant Street, which were to be used as a site for the erection of a new county jail, provided the approval of all interested governmental agencies was obtained. The lots, measuring 88 feet fronting on Mt. Pleasant Street, and 162 feet deep, were purchased from W.B. Owens of Monroeville, who owned four, and Max Bradley of Monroeville, who owned one of the lots.

April 21, 1958 - The 12th Annual Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held in Evergreen on this Monday, according to John Horne, chairman of the Jaycee committee in charge.

April 21, 1963 – Dock Eli Higdon passed away at the age of 76 after a long illness. Higdon, a Mason, was a widely known and highly respected Conecuh County farmer and businessman, serving as director of the Conecuh County Exchange for many years. During World War I, he served with distinction in the U.S. Army in France as a scout for the famed Wildcat Division. Born on Feb. 2, 1887, he is buried in the Arkadelphia Cemetery at Loree.

April 21, 1965 - The Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency reported a “most ominous” development: a regiment of the People’s Army of Vietnam – the regular army of North Vietnam – division was now operating with the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.

April 21, 1966 – During his campaign for a second term, former Alabama Gov. John Patterson visited Evergreen, Ala. at 4 p.m. and delivered a “major address” from a bandstand in “No Man’s Land” in downtown Evergreen, Ala. He was preceded by Rebe Gosdin and the Sunny Valley Gang. The Gosdin group appeared with Patterson during his successful first campaign for governor in 1958.

April 21, 1971 – William Baker “Bill” Grant, the 18-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Grant of Frisco City and star athlete at Monroe Academy, died on this Wednesday afternoon while participating in at track meet at Selma. Attendants at Vaughn Memorial Hospital said he was dead on arrival at the hospital and that death was apparently due to a heart attack. Born on Nov. 15, 1952, he is buried in the Union Cemetery in Frisco City.

April 21, 1972 – A number of awards were presented at the Evergreen High School athletic banquet, including Whalon Oliver, Evergreen Civil Air Patrol Best Lineman Award; Wavie Ausby, WBLO Best Back Trophy and Basketball MVP Trophy; Marshall Davis, Best Sportsmanship Trophy; Frank Murphy, and Evergreen Jaycees Best All Around Player Award. Coach Wendell Hart was also presented with a special award in honor of his retirement after 26 years as a coach.

April 21, 1975 - Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell to the communists.

April 21, 1975 – Writer Nell Freudenberger was born in New York City.

April 21, 1975 - A Charolais steer fed by the Evergreen FFA Chapter and shown by Jimmy McNeil won the grand championship of the annual Conecuh County 4-H and FFA Fat Calf Show held in Evergreen on this Monday at the Conecuh Stockyard Show Arena. The steer weighed 1,190 pounds and graded choice. Conecuh-Monroe Counties Gas District paid a premium 91 cents per pound for the champ.


April 21, 1981 - Cedarcrest in Oak Hill in Wilcox County, Ala. was placed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

April 21, 1982 – NFL running back Cadillac Williams was born in Gadsden, Ala. He went on to play at Auburn, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the St. Louis Rams.

April 21, 1982 – Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first pitcher to record 300 saves.

April 21, 1983 – NFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was born in Montgomery, Ala. He went on to play for Sidney Lanier, Alabama State, the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.

April 21, 1984 - David Palmer of the Montreal Expos pitched the fourth shortened, perfect game in major league baseball history. The game was called due to rain after five innings. Palmer had made 57 pitches.

April 21, 1986 - Geraldo Rivera opened a vault that belonged to Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago. Nothing of interest was found inside.

April 21, 1991 - A television version of Alabama author Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews' book “The Perfect Tribute” was broadcast.

April 21, 1994 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Clayton Cobb had announced his candidacy for the office of coroner of Conecuh County in the upcoming Democratic primary. Cobb was a lifelong resident of the Brooklyn-Paul community. He was self-employed and operates Brooklyn Machine, Inc. He was a Blue Lodger and Scottish Rite Mason.

April 21, 1994 – The Evergreen Courant reported that when Conecuh County voters went to the polls that June they would be electing a new sheriff for the first time in 20 years. Conecuh County Sheriff Edwin L. Booker announced that week that he would not seek an unprecedented fifth term of office. He planned to retire when the new sheriff took office in January 1995.

April 21, 1994 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.F. Shields High School coach Herbert Blackmon and Monroe County High School senior forward Kewanna Booker had been named coach and player of the year, respectively, for the all-Monroe County girls basketball team. Other players on the all-county first team were Christy Agnew, Monroe Academy; Diane Bullard, MCHS; Renea Fountain, Shields; Tracy Griffin, MA; Aquinda Jackson, MCHS; Kim Parker, J.U. Blacksher; Bridget Riley, Shields; Tammie Stallworth, Shields; and Melissa White, Blacksher. Honorable mentions included MCHS coach Valerie Stephens and players Terrica Shomoe, Blacksher; Tara Acton, MA; Cleo Sanders, Shields; Demetrius Richardson, MCHS; Romona Watson, Shields; Tanjai English, Blacksher; Teresa Jackson, MCHS; and Staci Stephens, MA.

April 21, 2004 – Five suicide car bombers targeted police stations in and around Basra, killing 74 people and wounding 160.

April 21, 2006 - A movie version of Alabama author James Redfield's book “The Celestine Prophecy” was released.

George Singleton describes his simple secrets to happiness in modern world


(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 “Secret to happiness is closer than you think” was originally published in the April 27, 2000 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Most people nowadays have trouble finding something to occupy their time and keep them from being bored. They watch television from early morning until the late hours of the evening.

During a 24-hour period, they see at least three brutal murders re-enacted on the boob tube and at least three or four families broken up because of money or lack of money, hanky-panky among the parents or just plain boredom.

I watch television very little because I don’t have time to sit and watch a small piece of glass with figures dashing to and fro, kicking and killing like a bunch of nuts.

Mind you, I am not knocking the television industry. More power to their advertisements and the thousands of items that are supposed to make you stay younger, smell better, live longer, be happy living on a small island by yourself and acquire the macho look by using a certain brand of snuff, and all that goes with it.

Of course, no one has asked me what the secret is to being happy and probably won’t. But I believe I could tell them a thing or two about contentment, happiness, adventure and many other things that will keep you occupied.

I could tell them that one trip through the backwoods with the spring colors appearing across the hills would surpass any television program. I could tell them the challenge of investigating certain stories and legends around the area would provide more excitement than 40 murder stories or hidden loves among the rich and famous actors on the screen.

I could tell them of one early Indian village site that could provide enough interest and excitement to last a person for a whole month. I could suggest a certain hill, not too far away, where an evening sunset, like those I have witnessed during the past few weeks, would be remembered for a long, lone time.

I could give directions to a certain fresh water creek where you could stretch out in it on a hot summer day and never move again until frost fell in the late autumn.

I hear the excuses each day of being old, tired, afraid, retired and just plain lazy. I just don’t understand people, I guess. I long for the day when I can devote all my time to roaming the countryside, seeking and discovering the many things that await there.

I feel sorry for those individuals who don’t have the initiative to go forth and search for the unusual that is to be found almost everywhere throughout the hill country.

Once the barriers have been broken down that you keep from doing the above-mentioned things, a few items will need to be gathered for the spending of a perfect afternoon: A cheap coffee pot, a book of matches, some coffee in a small plastic bag. Now you are ready for almost anything.

Then, if you really want to live it to the highest expectations, acquire a good sleeping bag and a large sheet of plastic. Search out the high hills and find one where the wind blows through the pine trees.

Prepare to spend the night there atop the hill on the ground. Wrap up in the plastic to keep out the dew and moisture. Lie there in the solitude of the late evening and listen to the music of the sighing winds blowing through the pine needles.

Don’t be alarmed if a curious armadillo tries to get in the sleeping bag with you. He won’t hurt you; he is just looking for his evening meal.

Listen to the sounds of the coming darkness for a while before you go to sleep. Try to identify each sound as you fight off the sandman and drowsiness.

If at any time you feel that you are not the luckiest person in the whole world, remind yourself where you are and who is watching over you; the feeling of contentment and peace will begin to come there on the hill.

With the coming morning, look around you and learn to identify all the species of plants and trees. Learn to know which ones will cure various illnesses of mankind.

The knowledge of being able to live in harmony with nature brings on a feeling of great satisfaction. You become more sure of yourself; you become more aggressive with life’s daily problems.

You become ready to meet the problems head on. The desire to explore and seek out the mysteries that yet remain draws you forever onward.

Remember, you are a part of the universe. You have a right to be here, but you must also learn to respect the rights of everything else. They, too, are a part of this great plan. Happiness and contentment is here for all that search for it; don’t be found wanting.

And, as I sit here this late afternoon atop a high hill north of Flat Creek and watch the glorious sunset on the western horizon, I know that all is well within me.

I know that I am witnessing a breathtaking spectacle that all the money in the world cannot buy – a creation so wonderful that it could only be created by God himself.

(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 as a U.S. Marine paratrooper 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 June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “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. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. 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.)

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., April 21, 2018

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.15 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 6.20 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 16.55 inches.

Notes: Today is the 111th day of 2018 and the 33rd day of Spring. There are 255 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 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Today in History for April 20, 2018


April 20, 1534 – Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, set sail from St. Malo, beginning his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, the island of Newfoundland and Labrador.


April 20, 1745 – Philippe Pinel, one of the founders of psychiatry, was born in Saint-Andre, France.

April 20, 1775 – During the Revolutionary War, the Siege of Boston began, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.

April 20, 1775 - Virginia's Royal Governor Lord Dunmore attempted to take the gunpowder from the Williamsburg magazine. Patrick Henry led Patriots in a standoff with Dunmore's troops until a settlement was negotiated by Carter Braxton.

April 20, 1777 - In Kingston, the first New York state constitution was formally adopted by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York.

April 20, 1789 – George Washington arrived at Grays Ferry, Philadelphia while en route to Manhattan for his inauguration.

April 20, 1801 – John Sampey Sr., one of Conecuh County, Alabama’s original settlers, cattle farmers and Methodists, was born in Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He passed away at the age of 76 on July 8, 1877 and is buried in the Belleville United Methodist Church Cemetery.

April 20, 1818 – Burnt Corn was first mentioned on this day in the Acts of the Post Roads, an act that established a postal road “from Fort Mitchell, by Fort Bainbridge, Fort Jackson, Burnt Corn Springs, Fort Claiborne and the Town of Jackson to St. Stephens.”

April 20, 1832 - Hot Springs National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress. It was the first national park in the U.S.

April 20, 1836 – U.S. Congress passed an act creating the Wisconsin Territory.

April 20, 1841 - In Philadelphia, Pa., Edgar Allen Poe's first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," was published in Graham's Magazine. His story has been credited with launching the detective genre or the 'whodunit' into popular culture.

April 20, 1850 – Sculptor Daniel Chester French 1850 was born in Exeter, N.H. He created the Minute Man statue in Concord, Mass. and the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

April 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, Colonel Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia. Two days earlier he had been offered command of the Union army.

April 20, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Federal arsenal at Liberty, Mo. was seized by state troops.

April 20, 1861 – George Lynch organized the Confederate Rifles at Hampton in Marengo County. Men from Wilcox and Marengo formed its ranks. Before the end of April, the men of the company left the county for Corinth, Miss.

April 20, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal naval forces removed some of the Confederate-placed obstacles from the Mississippi River below Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip in Louisiana.

April 20, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Bloomfield and Patterson in Missouri; and at Sandy Ridge, N.C. A 10-day Federal operation between Murfreesborough and McMinnville in Tennessee began. A three-day Federal operation between Belle Paine and Port Royal in Virginia began. Federal reconnaissance from Winchester to Wardenville and then to Strasburg in Virginia began. Opelousas and Washington in Louisiana were occupied by Federal forces.

April 20, 1864 - The Battle of Plymouth ended with the rebels capturing Plymouth, N.C. Confederates had attacked four days before in an attempt to recapture forts that had been lost to the Union two years before.

April 20, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Camden and Jacksonport in Arkansas; and at Natchitoches and Waterproof in Louisiana.

April 20, 1865 – During the Civil War, Federal forces occupied Macon, Ga.

April 20, 1871 - With passage of the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Act, Congress authorized President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations, and use military force to suppress the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Passage of the Ku Klux Act led to nine South Carolina counties being placed under martial law and thousands of arrests. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Ku Klux Act unconstitutional, but by that time Reconstruction had ended, and the KKK had faded away.

April 20, 1889 - Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary.

April 20, 1893 – Spanish painter Joan Miro was born Joan Miro I Ferra in Barcelona.

April 20, 1895 – Three days after the “atrocious murder” of Watts Murphy, the posse having custody of the murderers were met by an armed mob near the Buckalew place on this Saturday night, and took the prisoners by force and hung them, leaving their bodies dangling from the limbs of trees.

April 20, 1896 - The Spring Term of the Circuit Court of Monroe County, Ala. convene at 12 p.m. on this Monday with the petit jury was organized on Thurs. April 23. Emmons was Circuit Clerk and John C. Anderson was the Judge. There were two to three capital cases on the criminal docket, but the civil docket was “unusually light.” Among the visiting attorneys, who attended court that week, were Col. J.W. Posey, G.R. Farnham, Jno. D. Burnett, J.F. Jones, Jas. Stallworth and Ernest Newton of Evergreen.

April 20, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that Will Ptomey, who shot and seriously injured Prof. Claude Hardy at Pine Apple, Ala. a few weeks before, had supposedly been captured at Waco, Texas. A reward of several hundred dollars had been offered.

April 20, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Brewton, Ala. grand jury had indicted F.L. Hancock, who was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing Prof. Jessee Troutman at Canoe on Jan. 1, 1905.

April 20, 1907 – A large “Memorial Day” celebration was held at Tunnel Springs, Ala. and the featured speaker was the Hon. W.R. Sawyer of Montgomery.

April 20, 1912 – Opening day for baseball's Tiger Stadium in Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston.

April 20, 1914 – The Ludlow Massacre occurred in Ludlow, Colo. after the National Guard opened fire on a group of striking coal miners, killing dozens of men, women and children.

April 20, 1915 – Confederate veteran W.T. Waren passed away at the age of 80 at Roy, Ala. while visiting one of his sons, Tunly Waren. Born on Nov. 30, 1834, he enlisted in Co. A, 23rd Alabama Regiment in August 1861 and returned home in April 1865. Waren is buried in the Owens Chapel Methodist Cemetery in Conecuh County.

April 20, 1916 – The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds, 7–6, in 11 innings.

April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that, after spending the winter at their ranch home at Perdue Hill, Ala., Mr. and Mrs. V.J. Reinke returned to LaSalle, Ill. for a few months.

April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that it was learned as The Journal went to press that Capt. Thos. S. Wiggins was “seriously ill and grave apprehensions are felt by his family and friends.” Wiggins had been in poor health for several months.

April 20, 1916 – In this day’s edition of The Conecuh Record, “Hughes the Jeweler” announced that “during the month of April I am going to sell my beautiful $10.75 diamond rings for $8.50 and my $15.75 ones for $11.50. They are 14-karat solid gold mountings and beautiful genuine cut diamonds.”

April 20, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that J.L. McKinley had been advised of his reappointment as rural carrier on motor Rural Route No. 1. The route was to be extended so as to cover a much wider area and to serve a larger population.

April 20, 1917 - The baseball season opened on the Evergreen baseball diamond on this Friday afternoon, when the Second District Agricultural School of Evergreen shut out Monroe County High School of Monroeville in both games of a doubleheader. The feature of the games was the fielding of Erwin of Evergreen and a home run by Dickerson of Evergreen. Evergreen won the first game, 2-0, and won the second game, 8-0.

April 20, 1917 - Capt. E. Downing of the Conecuh Guards spent this Friday in Evergreen on business. His company was doing guard duty at Mobile and Jackson. Downing was said to be very proud of his company and said the boys made the best showing of any company in the First Regiment on the border.

April 20, 1917 - Mrs. Mary B. Jones, mother of Chief J.C. Jones, died on this Friday, following a brief illness. Deceased with 74 years old and besides her son was survived by one sister, Mrs. Philyew, of Evergreen; one brother, Allen Rhodes of Austin, Texas; and one daughter, Mrs. Perdue of Greenville.

April 20, 1917 - An ambitous Allied offensive against German troops near the Aisne River in central France, spearheaded by the French commander in chief, Robert Nivelle, ended in dismal failure.

April 20, 1920 - In Starkville, Miss. and Waco, Ala., 88 people were killed by a tornado.

April 20, 1921 – The Evergreen Courant reported that more than six inches of rain had fallen during the past week, including 3.5 inches on April 11 and nearly three inches on April 15.

April 20, 1921 – In Butler County, Ala. Circuit Court, Jake Crenshaw, who was charged with the murder of Mrs. Foster Gafford, was convicted the second time and sentenced by Judge Gamble to hang on May 30.

April 20, 1925 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Ernie Stautner was born in Prinzing near Cham, Bavaria, Germany. He went on to play for Boston College and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

April 20, 1930 – Lambert C. Mims, who would serve four terms as Mayor of Mobile, was born in Uriah, Ala.

April 20, 1937 – Ralph Clyde “Shorty” Propst, former Alabama football star, visited Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Ala. during a recruiting trip for Memphis College (now Rhodes College).

April 20, 1939 – Fantasy writer Peter S. Beagle was born in New York City. He is best known for his 1968 book, “The Last Unicorn.”

April 20, 1939 – Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday was celebrated as a national holiday in Nazi Germany.

April 20, 1940 – On this Saturday, the Brewton Millers baseball team lost a badly played 14-7 game in Tallassee.

April 20, 1940 - Gordon Barnes, age 25, a teacher in the Frisco City schools, drowned on this Saturday, on a fishing trip on the Alabama River, near Dixie Landing. The boat in which Barnes and his three companions were riding, overturned. Barnes, attempting to swim ashore, after holding onto the overturned boat for an hour, drowned, while his companions clung to the boat until they were rescued. The body of Mr. Barnes had not yet been located, as of April 25, 1940.

April 20, 1945 – Heisman Trophy winning football player and coach Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Fla.

April 20, 1945 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface from his Führerbunker to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

April 20, 1949 - H.L. Riley assumed his duties as policeman for the City of Evergreen, Ala. on this Wednesday, succeeding R.Z. Wells, who resigned the week before to enter business for himself. Riley had been assigned to daytime duties. He was elected at a special meeting of the City Council held Monday morning, April 18. Riley was no novice at this job, he having served the City in this capacity for a number of years once before.

April 20, 1950 - Conecuh Chapter No. 217 Order of the Eastern Star honored Mrs. Rhoda Rae, worthy grand matron, and Mrs. Merle Chapman, grand condustress and other grand officers at a dinner at Fairview on this Thursday evening. Mrs. Carrie Pierce, worthy matron, welcomed the honored guest and presented each with a corsage. This being the golden jubilee of the Alabama Grand Chapter, the golden tones with green were used in the decorations. At the conclusion of the dinner, a special meeting of the chapter was held at the Masonic Hall, which was decorated with spring flowers. Mrs. Marrie Pierce, worthy matron, and Herbert Mellinger, worthy patron, presided in the East. Mrs. Rhoda Rae, worthy grand matron, was introduced by conductress Ponline Langham, and was escorted to the East and grand honors given her.

April 20, 1951 – The first organizational meeting of what would become Monroeville Little League was held at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Ala.

April 20, 1953 – British novelist Sebastian Faulks was born in Newbury, England.

April 20, 1959 – Astronomer Morris K. Jessup, the author of “The Case for the UFO,” was found dead in Dade County, Fla., and his death was ruled a suicide. He was heavily involved in earlier research of the “Philadelphia Experiment.”

April 20, 1959 – The 13th Annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyards. Assistant County Agent John Horne, J.H. Witherington and W.S. Coker made up a committee in charge of the show, and the committee took the place of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce as sponsors of the show. The local Jaycees founded the show in 1947 and had sponsored it each year since, but the group disbanded in the fall of 1958. About 40 head of cattle were expected to be shown during the event.

April 20, 1961 - FM stereo broadcasting was approved by the FCC.

April 20, 1964 - County 4-H’ers and FFA’ers were scheduled to exhibit some 50 fine, fed fat calves in the annual Conecuh County 4-H & FFA Fat Calf Show on this Monday. The show was scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. in the show ring at Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard on North Main Street in Evergreen, Ala.

April 20, 1970 - In a televised speech, President Nixon pledged to withdraw 150,000 more U.S. troops over the next year “based entirely on the progress” of the Vietnamization program.

April 20, 1970 - Tommy Davis, 14-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Davis, Rt. 2, Evergreen, bagged a 12-pound gobbler on this Monday afternoon and it was his second of the spring. His first one was a sure enough big one, weighing 19 pounds. Tommy was in the eighth grade at Lyeffion High School and this was the first season he had hunted turkeys.

April 20, 1971 - The Pentagon released figures confirming that fragging incidents are on the rise.

April 20, 1975 - Weather observer Earl Windham reported that total rainfall for the month of April 1975, through April 20, was 16.2 inches in Evergreen, Ala.

April 20, 1976 – Actor, game show host and singer Joey Lawrence was born in Philadelphia, Pa.

April 20, 1979 - Millie Steans Cunningham, a native of Evergreen, Ala. who died on Nov. 18, 1978 in the infamous massacre and mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, was buried at First Zion Church Cemetery in Conecuh County.

April 20, 1981 – The 36th Annual Conecuh County 4H and FFA Steer Show was scheduled to be held at the Evergreen, Ala. Cooperative Stockyard Livestock Arena.

April 20, 1985 – The ATF raided The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas.

April 20, 1985 - Sherri Marie Vice, daughter of Judy Vice of Monroeville and W.D. Vice of Enterprise, was named Monroe County’s Junior Miss on this Saturday night in the annual pageant at Patrick Henry Junior College.

April 20, 1986 – Pitcher Roger Clemens, then just 23 years old, had broken Steve Carlton’s modern (post-1900) record of 19 strikeouts in a single game during an outing against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.

April 20, 1991 - The fifth annual Castleberry Strawberry Festival was scheduled to be held in Castleberry, Ala., beginning at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m.

April 20, 1998 – According to the “USA Snapshots” feature in this day’s issue of USA Today, 52 percent of all adult Americans believe that encounters with the dead (ghosts) are possible.

April 20, 1999 - The Monroeville (Ala.) City Council agreed to the painting of a mural on the three-foot high wall on the west side of the lake at Whitey Lee Park. April Poole, who was coordinating the project, said the mural was in memory of Jill Kirkland. The 280-foot long wall was to be painted yellow with butterflies, according to Poole. In other business on this Tuesday night, the council agreed to spend $104 for the repair of the mural at the corner of South Alabama Avenue and East Claiborne Street.

April 20, 2010 - In the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. Eleven workers were killed. 

April 20, 2015 – Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bob St. Clair died at the age of 84 in Santa Rosa, Calif. During his career, he played for the University of San Francisco, Tulsa and the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., April 20, 2018

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.15 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 6.20 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 16.55 inches.

Notes: Today is the 110th day of 2018 and the 32nd day of Spring. There are 256 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today in History for April 19, 2018


Judge Leon McCord of Montgomery
April 19, 1666 – Diarist Sarah Kemble Knight was born in Boston, Mass.


April 19, 1692 – In connection with the Salem witchcraft trials, Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey and Mary Warren were examined. Deliverance Hobbs confessed to practicing witchcraft. Mary Warren reversed her statement made in early April and rejoined the accusers.

April 19, 1764 - The English Parliament banned the American colonies from printing paper money.

April 19, 1770 - Captain James Cook, who at the time held the rank of lieutenant, sighted the eastern coast of what is now Australia and is credited with discovering New South Wales, Australia. Cook originally named the land Point Hicks.

April 19, 1775 – The American Revolutionary War began with an American victory in Concord during the battles of Lexington and Concord. The first shots of the war were fired when British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington.

April 19, 1782 – John Adams secured the Dutch Republic's recognition of the United States as an independent government. The house which he had purchased in The Hague, Netherlands became the first American embassy.

April 19, 1802 - The Spanish reopened the New Orleans port to American merchants.

April 19, 1824 – British poet Lord Byron died while fighting in the Greek War of Independence from Ottoman Turkey.

April 19, 1840 – Confederate soldier Joseph Franklyn Watson was born in Wilcox County, Ala. He was taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and forwarded to Point Lookout, Md. He was paroled on Feb. 14, 1865. He died in Brewton on June 18, 1926 and was buried in Union Cemetery in Brewton.

April 19, 1861 – During the Civil War, the Baltimore riot of 1861 occurred as a pro-Secession mob in Baltimore attacked United States Army troops marching through the city. Four Union soldiers and nine civilians were killed.

April 19, 1861 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Blockade against southern ports. The blockade kept the rural South from being able to stay well supplied for the duration of the war.

April 19, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Yellville and another near Camden, Ark.; on the Trent Road in North Carolina; on Edisto Island, S.C.; and near Luray, Va. The Federal occupation of Sparta, Va. also began.

April 19, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Dickson Station, Ala.

April 19, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Celina and Creelsborough in Kentucky; at Pontotoc, Miss. as part of the Grierson raid; at Big Swift Creek and Trenton in Tennessee; and near Suffolk, Va. A two-day Federal operation around Neosho, Mo. also began.

April 19, 1864 – A Confederate operation against Unionists began in Marion County, Ala.

April 19, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on King’s River in Arkansas; in the vicinity of Mechanicsburg, Miss., near present day Yazoo City, Miss.; in the vicinity of Charleston, Mo.; at Waterhouse’s Mill and Boiling Springs in Tennessee; at Leesburg, Va.; and in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. A five-day Federal reconnaissance up the Yazoo River from Vicksburg, Miss. also began. A Naval action was also fought off the coast of Plymouth, N.C.

April 19, 1865 – The funeral service for Abraham Lincoln was held in the East Room of the White House. His body then began a two-week journey back to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.

April 19, 1865 - A Federal movement of troops took place from Memphis, Tenn. to Brownsville, Miss., which was located in present day Bolivar County, Miss.

April 19, 1886 - The spring term of Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court convened on this Monday, with Judge Clarke presiding.

April 19, 1886 - Solicitor Taylor received a telegram on this Monday summoning him to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, Mr. E.H. Metcalf, whose death occurred very suddenly at his home in Montgomery on Sun., April 18. Col. H.T. Taylor, ex-editor of The Choctaw Courier, discharged the duties of solicitor very efficiently in the absence of his brother, according to The Monroe Journal.

April 19, 1889 – According to the Alabama League of Municipalities, the City of Monroeville, Ala. was officially incorporated as a municipality.

April 19, 1897 - The first Boston Marathon was held. It was the first race of its type in the U.S. John J. McDermott of New York won with a time of 2:55:10.

April 19, 1897 – Léo Taxil exposed his own fabrications concerning Freemasonry.

April 19, 1899 - Author James Saxon Childers was born in Birmingham, Ala.

April 19, 1904 – J.B. Barnett Sr. opened Monroe County Bank for the first time on the ground floor of the old pre-Civil War courthouse, between two present day courthouses in Monroeville, Ala. The bank moved to southwest corner of the square in 1909.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that Stanley E. Ferrell had been appointed postmaster at Mount Pleasant.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported in news from the “XBEC” community, that Mary Smith had gone to Mobile to see a doctor after she swallowed a dress pin a few days before.

April 19, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that the merchants of Monroeville, Ala. had entered into a mutual agreement for the early closure of their places of business during the summer months. Beginning on May 1 and continuing until Sept. 1, all stores were to close at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays excepted.

April 19, 1909 – The Rev. S.O.Y. Ray, the newly elected financial secretary of the Orphans Home in Evergreen, Ala., delivered a sermon at the Baptist Church.

April 19, 1914 – Around 3:30 a.m. (on a Sunday morning), a wood frame house belonging to Mrs. C.S. Rabb on Perryman Street near the cemetery in Evergreen, Ala. caught fire and burned down. Flames spread quickly and the home’s occupants barely escaped with their lives, all contents were destroyed, and the building was a total loss.

April 19, 1915 – Castleberry, Ala. Mayor J.M. Thomas visited Evergreen on business.

April 19, 1916 – A Mrs. Hudson, who had lived near Monroeville, Ala. for nearly half a century, was a visitor to the city on this Wednesday for the first time in 18 years. She “had never before seen the new courthouse, the bank or any of the new brick buildings that have replaced the ancient wooden structures within that time, and scarcely recognized the old town in its new dress,” according to the April 20, 1916 edition of The Monroe Journal. “Mrs. Hudson is upward of 83 years old but is quite active for one of her years.”

April 19, 1917 - The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroe County Board of Equalization was holding several days’ session at the Monroe County Courthouse, going over the assessments of property in the county and determining the taxable value thereof.

April 19, 1919 – On this Saturday before Easter, tense and complicated negotiations began at the Paris peace conference over Italy’s claims to territory in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

April 19, 1927 – The Greenville (Ala.) Grammar School was “gutted by fire” early on this Sunday morning. Nearly 400 students attended the school, which was located on Commerce Street, between Church and Pine Streets. The cause of the fire was unknown.

April 19, 1927 – Actress Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in prison for her role in the play “Sex,” which she also wrote and directed.

April 19, 1931 – Poet Etheridge Knight was born in Corinth, Miss.

April 19, 1934 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Hon. George Ross, ex-representative of Birmingham, was scheduled to speak at several points in Monroe County that week on behalf of the candidacy of Judge Leon McCord of Montgomery for governor of Alabama. Ross was a prominent member of the Alabama bar and was “a splendid speaker.” Speaking dates had been announced for the following places: Excel, Fri., April 20, 8 p.m.; Frisco City, Sat., April 21, 10:30 a.m.; Monroeville, Sat., April 21, 8 p.m.

April 19, 1939 - Connecticut approved the Bill of Rights for the U.S. Constitution after 148 years.

April 19, 1949 – The fourth annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was held in Evergreen, Ala.

April 19, 1956 – The Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held in Evergreen, Ala.

April 19, 1957 – Wayne Davis, a small boy from New Brunswick, N.J who was visiting his grandparents near Evergreen, Ala., was killed on this night when he ran into the path of a car 5.3 miles north of Evergreen on Highway 83.

April 19, 1958 - The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers played the first Major League Baseball game on the West Coast. This was also the first game in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

April 19, 1959 – Astronomer Morris K. Jessup contacted Dr. Manson Valentine and arranged to meet with him the next day, claiming to have made a breakthrough regarding an event known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Jessup would be found dead the next day.

April 19, 1960 – Major League Baseball uniforms began displaying player's names on their backs.

April 19, 1960 – Decatur, Ala. native Marv Breeding made his Major League debut, taking the field for the Baltimore Orioles

April 19, 1960 – Children’s author and illustrator Jon Agee was born in Nyack, N.Y.

April 19, 1965 – The 20th Annual Conecuh County Fat Calf Show was scheduled to be held on this Monday at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard on North Main Street in Evergreen, Ala. Elbert Williams, assistant county agent, was the show chairman.

April 19, 1966 – The California Angels opened Anaheim Stadium against the Chicago White Sox.

April 19, 1967 - Over North Vietnam, Air Force Major Leo K. Thorsness, from the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and his electronic warfare officer, Capt. Harold E. Johnson, destroyed two enemy surface-to-air missile sites, and then shot down a MiG-17 before escorting search-and-rescue helicopters to a downed aircrew. Although his F-105 fighter-bomber was very low on fuel, Major Thorsness attacked four more MiG-17s in an effort to draw the enemy aircraft away from the downed aircrew. Awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous action this day, Major Thorsness did not receive his medal until 1973 – on April 30, 1967, he was shot down over North Vietnam and spent the next six years as a prisoner of war.

April 19, 1968 - In Chicago, the National League approved expansion to Montreal and San Diego. Dallas-Fort Worth failed in its bid for an NL franchise.

April 19, 1971 – As a prelude to a massive antiwar protest, Vietnam Veterans Against the War began a five-day demonstration in Washington, D.C.

April 19, 1976 – Basketball player, coach and radio host Scott Padgett was born in Louisville, Ky. He went on to play for the University of Kentucky, the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets, the New Jersey Nets and the Memphis Grizzlies.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Sawyer Griffin killed a wild turkey that weighed 16 pounds and had a 10 and 3/4-inch beard.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that John P. Bewley, a retired Soil Conservation Service technician, had been presented a gold emblem by the Alabama Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons, in recognition of his 50 years of membership as a Mason. The presentation ceremony was conducted at Greening Lodge No. 53 of which Bewley had been a member since Aug. 13, 1943. He joined the Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 179 in Maryland on March 31, 1928. The 50th anniversary emblem was presented by District Lecturer Jesse L. Byrd of Greenville. Bewley served Greening Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1972-73 and had held other offices. He was serving as Tyler of the local lodge in April 1979.

April 19, 1979 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Lula North of Nichburg Junior High School had won the Conecuh County Spelling Bee. Her instructor and sponsor was Mrs. Edwina Sullivan. Sally Morris of Repton High School was the runner-up in the Spelling Bee. Her instructor and sponsor was the Rev. Bert Wiggers.

April 19, 1979 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Alabama River, which had been continuously rising after heavy rain during the previous few weeks, was expected to crest at 54 feet on Sun., April 22, at the Claiborne Lock and Dam, the highest level since record-keeping began in 1970, according to lockmaster Jerry Brown. The river was at 51 feet on Wed., April 18, about noon, and was rising more than an inch per hour, said Larry Reeves, assistant resource manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The river’s flood stage at the lock and dam is 42 feet, said Reeves. Normal level for the river was about 35 feet.

April 19, 1981 – NFL strong safety Troy Polamalu was born in Garden Grove, Calif. He went on to play at Southern California and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

April 19, 1985 – Two hundred ATF and FBI agents laid siege to the compound of the white supremacist survivalist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord in Arkansas. The CSA surrendered two days later.

April 19, 1987 – “The Simpsons” premiered as a short cartoon on “The Tracey Ullman Show.”

April 19, 1993 – The 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidian building outside Waco, Texas ended when a fire broke out. Eighty-one people die, including 17 children. Nine of the Branch Davidians escaped the fire.

April 19, 1995 – The Oklahoma City bombing occurred as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, killing 168, including 19 children. It was the worst bombing on U.S. territory. Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing on June 2, 1997.

April 19, 1996 - Dateline NBC conducted an interview with former astronaut Edgar Mitchell during which he discussed meeting with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He offered his opinion that the evidence for such "alien" contact was "very strong" and "classified" by governments, who were covering up visitations and the existence of alien beings' bodies in places such as Roswell, New Mexico. He further claimed that UFOs had provided "sonic engineering secrets" that were helpful to the U.S. government.

April 19, 1999 - Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his 19-year career. He was suffering from a back problem.

April 19, 1999 – Austrian-German SS officer Hermine Braunsteiner died at the age of 79 in Bochum, Germany.

April 19, 1999 - Hillcrest High School’s softball team swept a doubleheader from J.U. Blacksher in Evergreen on this Monday. The Lady Jags won the first game, 19-15, and completed the sweep with an 8-4 victory. In the first game, Sabrina Baxter led the Lady Jags with four hits. In the second game, the Lady Jags played a solid defensive game holding the Lady Bulldogs to just four runs. Other players on Hillcrest’s team that year included Latres Likely, Tonya Jackson, Natalie Darden and Shanika Evans. Keith Lett was Hillcrest’s head coach, and Donnie Lee was assistant coach.

April 19-20, 2002 – The Mockingbird Players of Monroeville performed “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Saenger Theatre in Mobile, sponsored by the Mobile Bar Association.

April 19, 2003 – Raoul Finelon established the first ever geocache in Monroe County, “Boo Radley’s Surprise,” on The Square in downtown Monroeville, Ala.

April 19, 2003 – Army Sgt. Troy Jenkins, 25, assigned to B Co., 3rd Bat., 187th Inf. Reg. based in Fort Campbell, Ky.; was wounded by an explosion while on a dismounted patrol with other soldiers in Iraq. He died five days later.

April 19, 2005 – The baseball field at Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala. was renamed the “Ronald M. ‘Ronnie’ Dees Baseball Field” in honor of former coach Ronnie Dees.

April 19, 2006 – The Monch Riley Home in Andalusia, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

April 19, 2009 – The Lifetime Movie Network aired “Natalee Holloway,” a television film based on Beth Holloway's book “Loving Natalee.” Starring Tracy Pollan as Beth Holloway-Twitty, Grant Show as George "Jug" Twitty, Amy Gumenick as Natalee Holloway and Jacques Strydom as Joran van der Sloot, the film retells events leading up to the night of Holloway's disappearance in 2005, and the ensuing investigation in the aftermath.

UFO over UAB campus among two Alabama UFO reports in March

The Pleiades star cluster is 400 light years from earth.

It’s the third Thursday of the month, so this week I’m giving you an update on UFO reports in Alabama from the previous month, courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network. A search for UFO reports in Alabama between March 1 and March 31 on MUFON’s website, www.mufon.com, resulted in two reports from within our state during that time.

The first incident took place on Sat., March 3, at 5:35 p.m. in Birmingham. The witness in this case said that he was walking down 13th Street on the University of Alabama-Birmingham campus when he looked up and observed a “white triangular craft” moving at a “strange pace” at high altitude. The witness watched the craft travel west before it moved “abruptly” to the southwest and out of sight.

The second incident occurred on Wed., March 21, at 3:33 a.m. in Stewartville, which is in Coosa County. The witness in this case reported that a “large craft with pulsating blue lights” had been seen floating above his house almost every night since January. Interestingly, even though this incident is said to have happened on March 21, it wasn’t reported until April 4.

While we’re on the subject of objects in the night skies, I was looking in my farmer’s almanac the other day and read that on April 24-27 the planet Venus will glide just to the left of the Pleiades star cluster. The almanac says this will be a “fine sight in binoculars.”

Venus is one of the brightest objects in the night sky and should be easy to find later this month, especially right before dawn when looking east. From our part of the world, it should be pretty low in the sky. The Pleiades star cluster should be visible to the right of Venus and the thin crescent moon.

Many of you will remember from school that the Pleiades is a cluster of stars that’s nicknamed the “Seven Sisters.” This cluster is relatively close to earth and is close enough that it can be seen with the naked eye. If you’re about half-blind like me, a good set of binoculars will help you see it more clearly.

Most sources say that the cluster is about 440 light years from earth, which means that if you take the time to find it in the night sky, the light that you’re seeing with your eyes actually left the cluster about 440 years ago. In other words, the light you see nowadays from the cluster left there about 200 years before the American Revolution. Another way to look at it is that if the cluster were to somehow blink out today, no one on earth would know if for about 440 years, that is, sometimes around the year 2458.

Before closing out this week, I just want to put it out there again that I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has witnessed a UFO, especially in Conecuh County. I think a lot of other people would be interested in hearing your story too, and I’m willing to accept your report anonymously. You can contact me by e-mail at courantnewsdesk@gmail.com or by phone at 578-1492.