The Oldest Confederate Widow – Today In Southern History

31 May 2004  

On this date in 2004…

Alberta Martin, the 97 year old widow of Confederate veteran William Martin, died. Mrs. Martin was at the time thought to be the last surviving Confederate widow.

Other Years:

  • 1862 – The Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia
  • 1919 – The first wedding held in an aircraft occurred over Houston, Texas.
  • 1958 – Jerry Lee Lewis was forced to end a British tour and return to the U.S. when British fans learned of his marriage to his teenaged cousin. 
  • 1982 – “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in New York City and ran for 63 straight performances.

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The Tomb of the Unknowns – Today In Southern History

30 May 1958  

On this date in 1958…

Unidentified American soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean conflict were buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Other Years:

  • 1848 – Mexico ratified the treaty giving the U.S. ownership of New Mexico, California, parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado in return for $15 million.
  • 1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and set off the Kansas-Missouri border war.
  • 1934 – The U.S. Congress established the Everglades National Park in Florida.
  • 1965 – Vivian Malone became the first black student to graduate from the University of Alabama.

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The American Patriot – Today In Southern History

29 May 1736  

On this date in 1736…

Patrick Henry was born in Studley, Hanover County, Virginia colony.

Other Years:

  • 1677 – The Pamunkey, Roanoke, Nottaway and Nansemond Tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation establishing peace with the English settlers in Virginia colony.
  • 1721 – South Carolina was formally incorporated as a royal colony.
  • 1765 – Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia‘s House of Burgesses.
  • 1787 – The “Virginia Plan” was proposed to the U.S. Constitutional Convention.
  • 1988 – NBC aired “To Heal A Nation,” the story of Marylander,  Jan Scruggs’ effort to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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The American-Giver – Today In Southern History

28 May 1830  

On this date in 1830…

President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law seizing the lands of the “Five Civilized Tribes.” Congress codified Jackson’s suggestion that the U.S. government renege on all of the previous peace treaties, which granted Indians their lands forever, and remove all Indians west of the Mississippi River.

Other Years:

  • 1774 – The first Continental Congress convened in Virginia.
  • 1818 – Confederate General P. G.T. Beauregard was born at the “Contreras” sugar-cane plantation in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.
  • 1888 – World-class Indian athlete Jim Thorpe was born in a one-room cabin near Prague in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.
  • 1971 – Audie Leon Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of WWII died at the age of 46 in a plane crash at Brush Mountain, Virginia.
  • 1984 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan led a state funeral for an unidentified American soldier killed in the Vietnam War.  The remains were subsequently placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. There is a high probability that this soldier is a Southerner.
  • 1977 – One hundred sixty-five people died in a fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky.
  • 1996 – U.S. President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, James McDougal and Susan McDougal, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted of fraud.

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Lincoln Goes Nuts – Today In Southern History

27 May 1863  

On this date in 1863…

An enraged Abraham Lincoln ordered the arrest of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney after Taney issued ex parte Merryman to challenge the authority of the president and the military to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in Maryland.


Other Years:

  • 1607 – Virginia settles fought their first significant battle against Indians of the Powhattan Confederation.
  • 1864 – The Battle of Pickett’s Mill, Georgia.
  • 1896 – The Great St. Louis tornado killed more than 1000 people in and around St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1926 – Bronze statues of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were erected in Hannibal, Missouri.
  • 1935 – The U.S. Supreme Court declared that President Franklin Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional. 
  • 1969 – Construction of Walt Disney World began outside Orlando, Florida.
  • 1986 – Mel Fisher recovered a jar that contained 2,300 emeralds from the Spanish ship Atocha that sank off the Florida coast in the 17th century
  • 1995 – In Culpeper, Virginia, “Superman” actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down after a fall from his horse in a riding competition.
  • 1997 – The Supreme Court ruled that the sexual harassment suit filed by Paula Jones could continue while U.S. President Bill Clinton was in office.
  •  1998 – Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years prison for not warning anyone about the Oklahoma City bombing plot.

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