The Bear – Today in Southern History

11 September 1913  

On this date in 1913…

In 1913, Legendary college football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was born near Fordyce, Arkansas.

Other Years:

  • 1297 – Scotsman William Wallace defeated the English forces of Sir Hugh de Cressingham at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
  • 1786 – The Convention of Annapolis opened with the aim of revising the articles of the confederation
  • 1842 – 1,400 Mexican troops captured San Antonio, Texas. The Mexicans retreated with prisoners
  • 1897 – A ten-week strike of coal workers in Westerm Virginia came to an end with workers winning an eight-hour workday, semi-monthly pay, and the abolition of company stores.
  • 1899 – Louisiana governor and musician, Jimmie Davis (You Are My Sunshine) was born in Quitman, Louisiana. 
  • 1941 – In Arlington, Virginia the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pentagon was held.
  • 1952 – Dr. Charles Hufnagel of Louisville, Kentucky successfully replaced a diseased aorta valve with an artificial valve made of plastic.
  • 1997 – After 290 years of forced union with England, the people of Scotland approved the establishment of their own parliament to run domestic affairs.
  • 2001 – Islamic terrorists used hijacked four domestic airliners to attack the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. The attacks claimed 2,977 innocent victims.

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Smith Leads Jamestown – Today in Southern History

10 September 1608 

On this date in 1608…

In 1608, explorer, adventurer, writer, and map-maker John Smith assumed the presidency of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement.


Other Years:

  • 1794 – America’s first non-denominational college was charted as Blount College which later became the University of Tennessee. 
  • 1836 – Confederate and later U.S. General Joseph “fighting Joe” Wheeler was born in Augusta, Georgia.
  • 1861 – Battle of  Cheat Mountain began near Elkwater in what is now West Virginia.
  • 1919 – The sixth strongest hurricane to strike North America made landfall at Key West and killed 772 victims as it raked Florida and later hit the Texas coast.  
  • 1935 – “The Kingfish,” Huey P. Long died of wounds caused by an assassin.  Long is buried on the Louisiana capitol grounds.
  • 1961 – Oklahoma-native Mickey Mantle tied a major league baseball record for home runs when he hit the 400th of his career. 
  • 1963 –  Twenty black students entered Alabama public schools.
  • 1974 – Arkansas Native, Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals set a new major league baseball record when he stole his 105th base of the season. 
  • 1998 – Texan Mac Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Stand Watie – Today in Southern History

9 September 1871 

On this date in 1871…

In 1871, Standhope Uwatie, better known as Cherokee Confederate General and Principal Chief Stand Watie died at the age of 64 at Honey Creek in Delaware County, Indian Territory. (now Oklahoma)


Other Years:

  • 1776 – The second Continental Congress officially made the term “United States”, replacing the previous term “United Colonies.”
  • 1850 – The territories of New Mexico & Utah were created.
  • 1963 – Alabama Gov George Wallace served a federal injunction to stop state police from barring black students’ enrollment in white schools.
  • 1984 – Mississippian Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears broke Jim Brown’s combined yardage record when he reached 15,517 yards.
  • 1986 – Ted Turner presented the first of his colorized films on WTBS in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 1996 – The father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe died from the effects of a stroke at the age of 84.

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The Real First Thanksgiving – Today in Southern History

8 September 1565 

On this date in 1565…

In 1565, Spanish settlers celebrated the first Thanksgiving on American soil at Saint Augustine, Florida when they established the Spanish colony there. This was more than fifty years before the Massachusetts pilgrims held their famous celebration.


Other Years:

  • 1863 – A handful of volunteer Confederate defenders fought off a vastly superior federal force at the Battle of Sabine Pass, Texas.  Historians often compare the effort to the Spartan defense of Thermopylae.
  • 1900 – The Galveston Hurricane destroyed most of the Texas island and killed more than 6,000 people in just a few hours.  It remains the worst recorded natural disaster to strike the South.
  • 1897 – The Father of Country Music, Charles “Jimmie” Rodgers was born in Meridian, Mississippi.
  • 1935 – Senator and former Louisiana governor Huey P. Long was shot in the hallway of the Louisiana state capitol.  Long’s bodyguards opened fire and poured 62 bullets into Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, saying that he was the assassin.
  • 1960 – NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama was dedicated by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1973 – Moble, Alabama’s Hank Aaron hit his 709th home run while playing for the Atlanta Braves.
  • 1999 – U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno named former Senator John Danforth to head an independent investigation of the 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian church near Waco, Texas in response to revelations in the film Waco: The Rules of Engagement which contradicted official government stories.

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Buddy Holly – Today in Southern History

7 September 1936 

On this date in 1936…

Rock and Roll icon Charles “Buddy” Holly was born in Lubbock Texas. 


Other Years:

  • 1838 – Confederate artilleryman and martyr Major John Pelham (promoted to Lieutenant Colonel after his death) was born near Alexandria, Alabama.
  • 1943 –  A fire in the decrepit old Gulf Hotel killed 45 in Houston, Texas.
  • 1965 – Hurricane Betsy struck Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana killing 74.
  • 1970 – Bill Shoemaker of Fabens, Texas, set the record for most lifetime wins as a jockey.
  • 1971 – “The Beverly Hillbillies” aired its final episode on CBS-TV. 
  • 1986 – Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins threw his 100th career touchdown pass, in only his 44th NFL game, which set a NFL record.
  • 1998 – Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals set a new major league baseball record for most homeruns hit in a single season when he broke Roger Maris’ 1961 record of 61.

Read: Why Know Southern History?