|Grady Gaston after his rescue in 1943.|
May 11, 868 – A copy of the “Diamond Sutra” was printed in China, and it is the world’s oldest book bearing a specific date of publication. The Diamond Sutra is a collection of Buddhist teachings — the word sutra comes from Sanskrit and means teachings or scriptures. The scroll was discovered in Turkestan, in 1900, among a thousand bundles of manuscripts walled up in one of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.
May 11, 1310 – In France, 54 members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.
May 11, 1502 – Christopher Columbus departed Cádiz on his fourth and final voyage to the Americas.
May 11, 1776 - In a letter to Congress, American General George Washington recommended raising companies of German-Americans to use against the German mercenaries anticipated to fight for Britain.
May 11, 1792 - The Columbia River was discovered by Captain Robert Gray.
May 11, 1811 - The first newspaper in Alabama, The Mobile Centinel, was published at Fort Stoddert. (Other sources say the first issue was printed on May 23, 1811.)
May 11, 1811 - Famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker were born. So unique and famous were the brothers that the term 'Siamese Twins' is derived from their birthplace of Siam. Their remarkable lives would also inspire a short story by Mark Twain, a BBC radio play, a best-selling novel, and even a musical in Singapore.
May 11, 1813 – In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth led an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Their route opened up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.
May 11, 1815 - Dr. Cincinnatus Ashe was born in North Carolina. Ashe attended the University of Alabama, the University of Virginia and received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He began practicing medicine in Marengo County, Ala. in 1850 and later became a surgeon in the Confederate army. After the war, he resumed his medical practice and eventually passed away a short time later at the age of 52 on Dec. 17, 1867 in Demopolis. He is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Demopolis.
May 11, 1820 – The HMS Beagle, the ship that would take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, was launched.
May 11, 1820 – The Conecuh Courthouse Federal Land Office at Sparta, Ala. was created by an Act of Congress.
May 11–13, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Louisville, Kentucky.
May 11, 1834 – On this Sunday morning, Nathaniel Frost’s body was found beneath a chinquapin tree near the Church Street Graveyard in Mobile, Ala. He had died of repeated stab wounds, wounds inflicted by a sharp knife, to the heart. His pockets had been emptied of $50 or more and his fine gold watch was missing.
May 11, 1846 – President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War.
May 11, 1858 - Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
May 11, 1861 – Soldier and adventurer Frederick Russell Burnham was born in Tivoli, Minnesota (Sioux Indian territory; near Mankato, Minnesota).
May 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Virginia was scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
May 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, an affair occurred at Cave City, Kentucky.
May 11, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Mount Vernon and Taylor's Creek, Arkansas.
May 11, 1864 - Confederate Cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart, 31, was mortally wounded by a dismounted Union trooper at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, just six miles north of Richmond, Va. He died the next day. Union General George Custer had led the campaign against Stuart.
May 11, 1864 – During the Civil War, combat occurred at Ashland and Glen Allen Station, Virginia.
May 11, 1865 – During the Civil War, Confederate forces under the command of Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson surrendered at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas. A skirmish was fought at Brown's Plantation, Louisiana. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens was arrested at Liberty Hall, his estate in Crawfordville, Georgia by members of the 4th Iowa Cavalry.
May 11, 1866 – The Mobile National Cemetery annex was established within the New Burial Ground (now Magnolia Cemetery) immediately after the Civil War when the City of Mobile donated three acres to the U.S. government for use as a National Cemetery.
May 11, 1867 – This day’s edition of The Monroe Journal carried the following advertisement: CLAIBORNE PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY: Over Agee & Co.’s Store, Claiborne, Ala., CARD PICTURES, AMBROTYPES, FERROTYPES, ETC., TAKEN IN THE LATEST & MOST APPROVED STYLES! Gallery open from eight o’clock a.m. till 2 p.m. R.I. DRAUGHON, M.D.
May 11, 1867 – This day’s edition of The Monroe Journal carried the following advertisement: Farmer’s Hotel, MONROEVILLE, ALA., Mrs. MARY FOSTER would announce to the public that she has recently opened this House, and will take pleasure in making each and every one as comfortable as could be expected in the country. – No pains will be spared to make everything agreeable. – The table will be spread with the best the market affords. Call and see.
May 11, 1867 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Rev. Dennis would preach in the Methodist Church at Claiborne on the third Sabbath in every month.
May 11, 1867 – The Monroe Journal’s editor thanked Capt. Johnson of the steamer St. Charles for favors and G.W. Welch of the Admiral for a bundle of late New York, New Orleans and Mobile papers.
May 11, 1867 – This day’s edition of The Monroe Journal carried the following advertisement; St. Charles – The fine and fast passenger steamer ST. CHARLES, F.M. Johnson, Master, leaves Mobile every Saturday evening at four o’clock passing Claiborne on Sunday mornings going up and on Thursdays going down.
May 11, 1867 – This day’s edition of The Monroe Journal carried the following advertisement: BRIDGEPORT, Wilcox County, Ala., The undersigned takes pleasure in informing his friends and the public generally that he has completed his WAREHOUSE arrangements and is fully prepared to receive cotton & other freight. – Storage 25 cents per barrel. He has also made important additions to and repairs on his HOTEL for the accommodation of the traveling public. Saddle Horses, Buggies, Hacks and drivers always in readiness to convey passengers to Camden or any part of the surrounding country. W.W. MOORE.
May 11, 1881 – The government payroll near Muscle Shoals, Ala. was robbed. Frank James was tried and found not guilty of the crime in Huntsville on April 25, 1884.
May 11, 1885 – The Monroe Journal reported that “large numbers of hogs have been destroyed by cholera in this and other parts of the county this Spring.”
May 11, 1886 - Joseph Cloud, who had been spending some time in Monroeville, returned to Mobile on this Tuesday.
May 11, 1888 – Songwriter and singer Irving Berlin was born in Tyumen, Russia.
May 11, 1889 – James Maybrick died at his home and his wife, Mobile, Ala. native Florence Maybrick, would later be convicted of poisoning him. James Maybrick was a suspect in the Jack the Ripper killings.
May 11, 1894 – American modern dance pioneer Martha Graham was born in Allegheny, Pa.
May 11, 1895 – Moses Hall, who was in the Monroe County (Ala.) Jail on charges of assault with intent to murder, escaped from jail on this Saturday evening. He’d been given permission to draw a fresh bucket of water from the jail’s well which was near the door, and when jailor Nick Harrengton’s attention was diverted, Hall ran “off down the street at the top of his speed.” Hall took to the woods, but a “little army of volunteers” captured him about 15 minutes later.
May 11, 1896 – Writer Mari Sandoz was born near Hay Springs, Neb.
May 11-13, 1896 - The regular term of Monroe County’s commissioners court convened on Mon., May 11, and remained in session until Wed., May 13, with commissioners Burson, Richardson and Fore in attendance. “Among the business of special importance transacted was the following: A petition for the establishment of a public road beginning at the Snow place on the Bellville Road, running westward and intersecting the Perdue Hill and at the B.F. Ledkins place, was granted. The petition for the establishment of a new beat in the southeastern section of the county, to be composed of what is known as the Wild Fork precinct, was overruled on account of informality in the notice and noncompliance with the conditions required by law.”
May 11, 1903 – National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer was born in Fowlerville, Mich. He played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1949.
May 11, 1906 - Dr. S.B. McMillan of Jones Mill visited Monroeville on this Friday.
May 11, 1907 – Major League Baseball pitcher Rip Sewell was born in Decatur, Ala. He went on to play for the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 11, 1907 – Thirty-two Shriners were killed when their chartered train derailed at a switch near Surf Depot in Lompoc, California.
May 11, 1910 – Federal authorities officially established nearly 1 million acres of Montana land known as Glacier National Park.
May 11, 1914 – Prominent Castleberry strawberry farmer C.A. Van Nordstrand died around 2 p.m. at his home two miles north of Castleberry, Ala. from ptomaine poisoning and a “weak heart.”
May 11, 1914 - The movie “A Soul Astray,” screenplay written by Alabama author Marie Stanley under her maiden name Marie Layet, was released.
May 11, 1916 – This day’s edition of The Conecuh Record newspaper included a large advertisement, submitted by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad – “U.C.V. Reunion at Birmingham, Ala., May 16 to 18, $3.85 Round Trip from Evergreen, Ala. Tickets sold May 13 to 17, Limit May 25, Extension Limit June 14, Low Side Trip Fares, For Complete Information See or Address C. Hawkins, Agent; C.H. Mann, D.P.A., Pensacola, Fla.”
May 11, 1917 - Dr. J.G. Dickinson delivered the principal address at the Confederate memorial service in Monroeville on this Saturday afternoon. “Dickinson’s speech was enjoyed by a large and appreciative audience,” according to The Evergreen Courant.
May 11, 1918 – Physicist Richard Feynman was born in New York City.
May 11, 1919 - During the second week of May 1919, the recently arrived German delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference, convened in Paris after the end of the First World War, pored over their copies of the Treaty of Versailles, drawn up in the months preceding by representatives of their victorious enemies, and prepared to lodge their objections to what they considered to be unfairly harsh treatment.
May 11, 1922 – National Baseball Hall of Fame umpire Nestor Chylak was born in Olyphant, Pa. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
May 11, 1922 - Harry Kearley sustained a very painful injury when a cut-off saw mangled one of his fingers while at work at the Hudson-Rikard mill on this Thursday.
May 11, 1927 – American explorer, author and scholar Gene Savoy was born in Bellingham, Wash.
May 11, 1928 - J.W. Camp, well known farmer and sign painter living in the West Side community near Evergreen, was seriously injured early on this Friday morning when the Ford car in which he was riding was struck by a southbound freight at the crossing near the Evergreen gin and demolished. Camp was on his way to Evergreen at the time and evidently did not see the train at all. The car was caught up by the train engine and carried about 200 yards before getting loose, and rolling into a ravine. A man named George Robinson was riding in the car with Camp when the accident occurred and received several severe bruises but no broken bones.
May 11, 1935 - Alabama author Clarence Cason's book “90 Degrees in the Shade” was published.
May 11, 1938 – On this Wednesday afternoon, the Troy Trojans baseball team beat the Evergreen Greenies, 13-4. Chick Barranco, a former Greenie, hit an inside-the-park home run for Troy. Harbin and Harris led Evergreen with two hits each.
May 11, 1938 - A Conecuh County Circuit Court jury late on this Wednesday night returned a verdict of guilty against Paul Stephenson of Beat One, and sentenced him to five years in the penitentiary. Stephenson together with his father, Neil, was charged with killing their neighbor, David Wallace, a number of years before the trial. Stephenson’s trial began on May 10, and the trial against his father, Neil Stephenson, had not be held at that time.
May 11, 1942 – William Faulkner's collection of short stories, “Go Down, Moses,” was published.
May 11, 1943 – Little Eva crash survivor Grady Gaston of Frisco City, Ala. was collected by military officials after his rescue by the U.S. Army Air Force from Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia.
May 11, 1943 – Pensacola, Fla. firefighter Waymon Vallia was killed in the line of duty.
May 11, 1946 - Boston Braves Field hosted its first night game, and the Giants beat the Braves, 5-1.
May 11, 1947 – Evergreen’s semi-pro baseball team was scheduled to play Monroeville at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.
May 11, 1949 - The Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox ,12-8, as the White Sox scored in every inning.
May 11, 1950 - A movie version of Alabama author Joe David Brown's book “Stars in My Crown” was released.
May 11, 1952 – In Dixie Amateur Baseball League action, Monroeville beat Jay, 7-6, on this Sunday afternoon. Left-handed pitcher Tunney Cardwell pitched for Monroeville. Other players on Monroeville’s team included Clenner, Finlayson, Hanks, Bob Riley, Joe Tucker and Watkins.
May 11, 1956 - A movie version of Alabama author William Bradford Huie's book “The Revolt of Mamie Stover” was released.
May 11, 1957 - A crowd estimated at about 1,000 persons gathered on this night for a Ku Klux Klan meeting held on a vacant lot at the intersection of Cooper and Court Streets in Evergreen, Ala. The Rev. Alvin Horne, State Grand Dragon, made the principal speech. Before the meeting, a mile-long parade of Klansmen in full regalia drove through Evergreen’s streets. Most of the cars in the parade were from out of town. Three crosses were burned at the speaker’s platform.
May 11, 1959 - Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees ended his streak of 148 errorless games.
May 11, 1960 – In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents captured fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who was living under the alias of Ricardo Klement.
May 11, 1961 - President Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam. On the same day, he ordered the start of clandestine warfare against North Vietnam to be conducted by South Vietnamese agents under the direction and training of the CIA and U.S. Special Forces troops.
May 11, 1961 - Participating in recovery operations for Navy Commander Alan Shepard, first U.S. astronaut, was the destroyer USS Decatur. Serving aboard the destroyer was Travis O. Jaye, commissary-man second class, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. Amos Jaye of Route 1, Uriah, Ala.
May 11, 1963 – Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama disrupted nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitated a crisis involving federal troops.
May 11, 1967 - The siege of Khe Sanh ended.
May 11, 1967 – The Evergreen Courant reported that LTJG Freddie J. Patten, son of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Patten of 401 Belleville St., Evergreen, Ala., was serving with Attack Squadron Twenty-Three, a light jet attack squadron temporarily based at U.S. Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. Patten was a three-time veteran of the Vietnam Campaign. He has served with the U.S. Advisory Group to the Vietnam Air Force and served as Weapons Officer, Attack Squadron Twenty-Three, about USS Midway (CVA-41) and USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), during their deployment in the defense against communist aggression in Southeast Asia.
May 11, 1967 – The Monroe Journal reported, under the headline “Frisco Wins Two Over Pineapple,” that Frisco City High School’s baseball team had picked up two more wins with both coming at the expense of Pineapple. The Whippets blasted Pineapple, 17-2, in Pineapple but only managed a 6-5 verdict at Frisco City. Top Frisco City players in those games included pitchers Mickey McNeil and Jim Kelly.
May 11, 1967 – The Monroe Journal reported, under the headline “Remodeling Taking Place At City Hall,” that there was a lot of remodeling going on at the City Hall in Monroeville with many changes taking place. Included in the changes were a new police office and a new kitchen for the jail. The new police office was to be moved downstairs where the firetruck had been housed. The new firetruck was moved to the rear of the City Hall along with the other firetruck.
May 11, 1969 - U.S. and South Vietnamese forces battled North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain (Hill 937), one mile east of the Laotian border.
May 11, 1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.
May 11, 1974 - Weather reporter Earl Windham reported 2.4 inches of rain in Evergreen, Ala.
May 11, 1977 - Ted Turner managed an Atlanta Braves game.
May 11, 1980 - Alabama author John Beecher died in San Francisco, Calif.
May 11, 1983 - President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making May National Amateur Baseball Month.
May 11, 1986 – Pro Football Hall of Fame halfback Fritz Pollard died in Silver Spring, Md. at the age of 92.
May 11, 1989 – Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was born in Atlanta, Ga.
May 11, 1992 - Janet Cooper, coordinator for the Conecuh County Special Olympics, lighted the “Olympic Torch” on this Monday at Brooks Memorial Stadium during opening ceremonies of the athletic competition. Athletes from all over the county participated in the day’s events.
May 11, 1996 – The 1996 Mount Everest disaster took place as on a single day eight people died during summit attempts on Mount Everest.
May 11, 1996 - Al Leiter threw the first no-hitter in Florida Marlins history.
May 11, 1997 – The newspaper Folha de Londrina in Parana state, Brazil, published the account of a “massacre” that had occurred at a ranch near Campina Grande do Sul when in a single corral of 12 sheep were found dead and another 11 were horribly mutilated. While some authorities scoffed at such accounts and attributed the attacks to wild dogs or cougars, other officials who had themselves been eyewitnesses to the appearance of The Beast argued that the creature they had seen walking on its hind legs and seizing livestock by the throat had most certainly not been any kind of known canine or cat.
May 11, 1997 – Chess-playing computer Deep Blue beat human chess champion Garry Kasparov.
May 11, 2001 - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his decision to approve a 30-day delay of the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh had been scheduled to be executed on May 16, 2001. The delay was because the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had failed to disclose thousands of documents to McVeigh's defense team.
May 11, 2003 - Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers hit his 500th career home run to become only the 19th player in baseball history to reach the mark.
May 11, 2007 - German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp AG announced it will invest nearly $4 billion in plant construction in Mobile County, Ala. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that as many as 29,000 jobs could be generated during the construction phase.
May 11, 2007 - Reid State Technical College was scheduled to hold commencement exercises at 6 p.m. in the Wiley Salter Auditorium in Evergreen, Ala. Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Sue Bell Cobb, was to be the commencement speaker.
May 11, 2014 – The name of Thomas Charles Littles of Brooklyn, Ala. was added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., 44 years after he was fatally wounded in Vietnam.