May 17, 1756 - Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.
May 17, 1769 - George Washington brought several non-importation resolutions before the Virginia House of Burgesses.
May 17, 1775 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress banned trade with Quebec.
May 17, 1792 - The New York Stock Exchange was founded at 70 Wall Street by 24 brokers.
May 17, 1838 – French explorer René Caillié died from tuberculosis at the age of 38 in La Gripperie-Saint-Symphorien, Charente-Maritime, France.
May 17, 1861 - Joseph Hooker was a West Point graduate and a hero of the Mexican War, winning a field promotion at the battle of Chapultepec. Unfortunately, he had somehow gotten on the wrong side of General Winfield Scott, who was the reigning chief of the US Army between Mexico and the Civil War. Hooker quit the army in disgust and took up farming and business in California. When the Civil War broke out he tried to reenlist, but Scott blocked his enlistment. Once Scott was displaced, Hooker tried to enlist again. On this day, he was successful, appointed Brigadier General on the defenses of Washington.
May 17, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the Little River in Arkansas and at the Russell House, near Corinth, Miss. Federal reconnaissance was also conducted up the Pamunkey River in Virginia.
May 17, 1863 – The Union army defeated Confederates at the Battle of Big Black River in Mississippi and drove them into Vicksburg in part of a brilliant campaign by General Ulysses S. Grant. The battle began at dawn, and by 10 a.m. the Confederate position appeared hopeless. The Confederates suffered 1,752 troops killed, wounded or captured, while the Yankees had 279 casualties.
May 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal operations were conducted on the west side of the Mississippi River in the vicinity of Port Hudson, La.
May 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought approximately three miles from Bridgeport, Miss. and on the Bradyville Pike in Tennessee.
May 17, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance missions were conducted from La Grange, Tenn. and from Dumfries, Virginia.
May 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Madison Station, Ala.
May 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Dardanelle, Ark.; near Moreauville, La. and Yellow Bayou, La.; in the vicinity of Waterford, Va.; at Adairsville, Ga., and another at Rome, Ga.
May 17, 1864 – Confederate General Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a very wily commander; He won few battles but was very hard to catch. There was quite a group trying on this day. He assembled his army at Adairsville, Ga. after a march from Calhoun. There he discovered that General Thomas’ Federal Army of the Cumberland was in front of him. Generals Schofield and McPherson were moving in fast on either flank. Johnston’s solution was to split his army, sending two corps to Cassville and the other to Kingston. Moving at night, weary as they were, they escaped the trap.
May 17, 1864 – During the Civil War, operations took place on the Bermuda Hundred front in Virginia.
May 17, 1873 – British author and journalist Dorothy Richardson was born in Abingdon.
May 17, 1873 - Henri Barbusse, author of “Le Feu” (“Under Fire”), the prize-winning, best-selling novel based on his service during World War I, was born in AsniÈres, France.
May 17, 1875 - The first Kentucky Derby was run at Louisville, Ky. and the horse Aristides came in ahead of all the others.
May 17, 1890 - Alabama poet Louise Crenshaw Ray was born in Greenville, Ala. She published four volumes of poetry during her lifetime, including “Color of Steel” (1932), “Secret Shoes” (1939), “Strangers on the Stairs” (1944) and “Autumn Token” (1957).
May 17, 1895 – Monroeville Academy’s closing exercises took place at the Monroe County Courthouse on this Friday evening. Students in the Primary and Intermediate grades performed a number of “appropriate recitations,” but “the epidemic of whooping cough and measles prevailing in the community so deranged the plans for the exercises that it was necessary to dispense with that part of the program arranged the higher grades.”
May 17, 1896 - Rev. A.J. Lambert preached “a most excellent sermon” on this Sunday to a large crowd at Manistee, Ala.
May 17, 1896 - Miss Mamie Boroughs, one of Pineville’s charming young ladies, who had been teaching school at Buena Vista, returned home on this Sunday.
May 17, 1896 - Dr. and Mrs. J.L. Sowell of Perdue Hill spent this Sunday with Dr. Sowell’s parents in Monroeville, Ala.
May 17, 1902 – Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.
May 17, 1903 – National Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell was born in Starkville, Miss. He went on to play for the St. Louis Stars, the Detroit Wolves, the Kansas City Monarchs, Santo Domingo, the Homestead Grays, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the Memphis Red Sox and the Chicago American Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
May 17, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Wilkersonville community, that Ed Austen of Awin was “pranking with a pistol and shot a hole through his hand.”
May 17, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that G.A. Fountain of Fork had been appointed Notary Public, ex-officio Justice of the Peace for Beat 10.
May 17, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Xbec community, that the “weather is fine, and the corn is looking very well in this section. Cotton don’t seem to be doing so well.”
May 17, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported, in news from the Manistee, that the “town seems to be on a boom judging from the building that is being done.”
May 17, 1906 – The Monroe Journal reported that Judge I.B. Slaughter was confined to his room with sickness the first of that week.
May 17, 1906 - Dr. R.A. Smith came to Monroeville from Nadawah during the previous week on a professional visit.
May 17, 1908 – Mobile County Deputy Sheriff Nugent on this afternoon arrested 18 ball players and Umpire Pfenninger on charges of playing ball on a Sunday. Bond was immediately provided and the game proceeded without interruption. The arrests of the Montgomery and Mobile players came between the first and second innings and no one in the immense crowd knew of the occurrence until after the game. The trial was set for June 12, when the same teams were scheduled to play in Mobile again. The arrest on May 17 was the second for alleged violation of the Sunday baseball law that month, and the local association announced on the night of May 17 that another game would be played on Sunday, May 24, when Atlanta and Mobile were scheduled to clash.
May 17, 1908 - The commencement exercises of the Agricultural school in Evergreen began on this Sunday night with the annual sermon preached by Rev. J.M. Dannelly of Montgomery in the Baptist church. The sermon was one of the best that has ever been heard here on a similar occasion. There was a large congregation present to hear him.
May 17, 1911 – Paul Knud Urik Nielsen, a 28-year-old immigrant from Copenhagen, Denmark, arrived at the Port of New York. He would go on to found Knud Nielsen Co. in Evergreen, Ala. two years later.
May 17, 1912 – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and halfback and Major League Baseball shortstop Ace Parker was born in Portsmouth, Va. He went on to play for Duke University, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Yanks, the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Athletics. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
May 17, 1914 – A Masonic funeral was held at Owassa, Ala. in honor of John Yates, who had been killed in a railroad wreck.
May 17, 1915 – Active work on the construction of the Gulf, Florida & Alabama Railroad resume, according to The Monroe Journal.
May 17, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that Arthur Bayles left the previous week for Fort McPherson under orders from the military authorities to go into training for an officer’s assignment.
May 17, 1917 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroeville Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, while only a small band of women, had two things in view. One was the yearly Memorial Service, which was educational, and the erection of a monument to the memory of the Monroe County soldiers in the park at Monroeville. A sum was already deposited to be used for that purpose and this was expected to be increased by donations as the years go by.
May 17, 1917 - Mrs. Pete Stacey died in Mobile on this day and was buried at Pleasant Hill cemetery on the following day. She left a husband, one son and two daughters to mourn her loss.
May 17, 1922 - Rev. A.E. Shafer delivered the commencement sermon of the Repton school on this Wednesday evening.
May 17, 1927 - The Chicago Cubs beat the Boston Braves, 4-3, in 22 innings.
May 17, 1928 - A proposal to authorize the erection of a monument to commemorate the battle of Burnt Corn, Ala., was made on this day in a bill introduced by Rep. McDuffie, Democrat. The monument was to be stationed near Burnt Corn, Ala., on the site of the first battle of the Creek War in July 1813 between pioneer settlers of Alabama and Creek Indians.
May 17, 1929 – Brooklyn High School in Conecuh County, Ala. was scheduled to hold its second annual graduation exercises at 10 a.m. Monroe County Superintendent of Education Geo. A. Harris of Monroeville was to deliver the graduation address.
May 17, 1934 - The Ave Maria Grotto park was dedicated at the St. Bernard Benedictine Abbey in Cullman, Ala. Known by visitors from around the world as "Jerusalem in Miniature," the park is filled with miniature re-creations of historic buildings by monk Joseph Zoettl.
May 17, 1935 – Playwright and novelist Dennis Potter was born in Berry Hill, Gloucestershire, England.
May 17, 1939 – The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the United States' first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.
May 17, 1939 – Writer Gary Paulsen was born in Minneapolis, Minn.
May 17, 1942 - The commencement sermon of Monroe County High School was scheduled to be delivered on this day.
May 17, 1950 – Evergreen, Ala. firefighters were called to Brewton about 3 a.m. to help fight a disastrous fire raging in the Veneer Plant and Box Factory of the T.R. Miller Mill Co. The blaze completely destroyed the veneer plant and factory with a damage estimated at about $750,000.
May 17, 1953 – The Evergreen Greenies were scheduled to play Brewton on this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.
May 17, 1953 - The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians set a record when they used 41 players in a game.
May 17, 1954 - The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The unanimous ruling stated that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection of the laws to all citizens. The ruling completed the reversal of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which permitted “separate but equal” public facilities.
May 17, 1955 - Author Cindy Wheeler was born in Montgomery, Ala.
May 17, 1959 – The Conecuh Amateur Baseball League, which featured teams from Bermuda, Evergreen, Lyeffion, Castleberry, Mixonville and Paul, began its season on this Sunday afternoon. Bernard Powell was the league’s president and team managers included Rayford Mixon, Bermuda; James Ansley, Evergreen; R.J. Davis, Lyeffion; Luther McDonald, Castleberry; Mickey Mixon, Mixonville; and Jack Pate, Paul. The season was scheduled to end on Aug. 16 with a playoff among the top four teams to follow.
May 17, 1962 – The Pineview Golf Course in Thomasville, Ala. was scheduled to hold its annual one-day golf tournament. Jimmy Ryan of Greenville was the defending champion, and Bonnie King of Evergreen won the tournament in 1960.
May 17, 1963 - Monroe County High School’s baseball team captured the Pine Belt Conference crown on this Friday with a 5-2 victory of the Millry Wildcats. Monroeville’s final record was 10-3 overall and 8-2 in conference. Players on MCHS’s team that season included Freddie Biggs, Gary Downs, Louie Hayles, Tim Jones, Tommy McMillon, Richard Otterberg, Ray Owens, Lloyd Sturdivant, Billy Taylor, Seth Watkins, Jimmy Wible and John Williams. Ronald Dees was head coach.
May 17, 1968 - Frank Howard hit his eighth home run in five games.
May 17, 1969 - Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh agreed to move from the NFL's NFC to the AFC.
May 17, 1970 – Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.
May 17, 1970 – Wilcox County, Ala. native Hank Aaron became the ninth player to get 3,000 hits.
May 17, 1970 – A force of 10,000 South Vietnamese troops, supported by 200 U.S. advisers, aircraft and logistical elements, attacked into what was known as the “Parrot’s Beak,” the area of Cambodia that projects into South Vietnam above the Mekong Delta.
May 17, 1972 - Preceded by five B-52 strikes, which reportedly killed 300 North Vietnamese to the south, South Vietnamese forces arrived by helicopter to within two miles of An Loc in continuing efforts to relieve this besieged city, which had been surrounded by three North Vietnamese divisions since early April.
May 17, 1973 - Bobby Valentine broke his leg trying to prevent a Dick Green home run from going over the wall.
May 17, 1973 - Joe Ferguson hit the 6,000th home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
May 17, 1973 - Sheriff James (Shorty) Brock on this day warned Conecuh County, Ala. cattle owners to be on the alert for rustlers. He said that several head of cattle have been stolen in the county recently.
May 17, 1973 – During the Watergate scandal, televised hearings began in the United States Senate.
May 17, 1973 – The Evergreen Courant reported that another oil well was being drilled near Range, Ala. Amereda-Hess Oil Co. had a permit to drill to 12,500 feet in a test well on the Jackson land in Section 13, Township North, Range 8 East. Delta Drilling Co. was drilling the well. Work began on the well on May 7 and as of May 15 the drillers were below 6,250 feet, according to M.L. Bergman of Monroe Realty Co., Monroeville.
May 17, 1973 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen Outlet Team was tied for first place in the Evergreen Men’s Softball League with a 3-1 record. Players on the Evergreen Outlet team included Terry Coleman, Lavon Tolbert, Jacob Coleman, Stanley Johnston, Larry Peacock, Kenneth DuBose (sponsor), Charles Branum, Sammy Brown, Wayne Peacock, Wendell Burt, Jimmy Brown, Steve Windham, Jerry Adams, Terry Chapman, John Adams, Jimmy Hart, Johnny Etheridge and Johnny Daw. All of the league’s games were played at Brooks Stadium.
May 17, 1975 - NBC TV bought the rights to show "Gone With the Wind." The one-time rights cost NBC $5,000,000.
May 17, 1976 – Major League Baseball right fielder José Guillén was born in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic. He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cincinnati Reds, the Oakland Athletics, the Anaheim Angels, the Washington Nationals, the Seattle Mariners, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants.
May 17, 1980 – Evergreen, Ala. weather reporter Earl Windham reported 1.12 inches of rainfall on this day.
May 17, 1983 - An effort to get the parking on West Front Street changed back from parallel to angle parking met with a “No” from the Evergreen City Council, after a discussion with Mr. Carlton of the State Highway Dept. at the regular meeting on this Tuesday night.
May 17, 1983 – During the Evergreen City Council’s regular meeting on this Tuesday night, Evergreen Chief of Police Ed Bundy submitted his resignation to the council, effective May 27, and the council voted to accept his resignation.
May 17, 1983 – The Evergreen City Council voted to grant two building permits. One was for Pete Wolff III to construct a commercial building on his used car lot on Highway 31 South. The other was for James C. Brooks for a storage building at his residence on Snowden Road.
May 17, 1983 - A Conecuh County deputy sheriff’s car was shot-gunned early on Tuesday morning by an unknown white male who was still being sought two days later. The deputy was not injured, but the shot, believed to be 00 buckshot, shattered holes in the windshield of the driver’s side of the car. Deputy Sheriff Mack Goneke was in the car when it was shot about 12:10 a.m. Tuesday on the Old Stage Road near Repton on the Conecuh-Monroe boundary. After firing the shot the man ran into the wooded area along the road. Goneke tried to follow him without any luck.
May 17, 1987 – An Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jet fired two missiles into the U.S. Navy warship USS Stark, killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.
May 17, 1992 - Gary Carter of the Montreal Expos became the third player to play catcher in 2,000 games.
May 17, 1992 – Sparta Academy’s annual baccalaureate service was scheduled to be held at 2:30 p.m. in the school gymnatorium.
May 17, 1998 - New York Yankees pitcher David Wells became the 13th player in modern Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game.
May 17, 2000 - Thomas E. Blanton Jr. and David Luker surrendered to police in Birmingham, Ala. The two former Ku Klux Klan members were arrested on charges from the bombing of a church in 1963 that killed four young black girls.
May 17, 2006 - Guido Wever, the son of a former Aruban politician, was detained in the Netherlands on suspicion of assisting in the abducting, battering, and killing of Natalee Holloway of Mountain Brook, Ala. Wever was questioned for six days in Utrecht. While initially Aruban prosecutors sought his transfer to the island, he was instead released by agreement between the prosecutor and Wever's attorney.
May 17, 2009 – The Scout Association announced Bear Grylls would be appointed Chief Scout following the end of Peter Duncan’s five-year term in July 2009.
May 17, 2010 – Sparta Academy was scheduled to play Escambia Academy in a spring football game at Canoe, Ala. at 6 p.m. Mike Sims was Sparta’s head coach.
May 17, 2011 – National Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman, third baseman and left fielder Harmon Killebrew passed away at the age of 74 in Scottsdale, Calif. He played for the Washington Senators, the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.