This Day In Texas History

Matters Of Interest Concerning Texas.

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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:43 pm

January 10 in Texas History…..

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Pioneer Texas scientist born in Germany

On this day in 1818, scientist Ferdinand von Roemer was born in Hildesheim, Hanover. He studied law at Göttingen from 1836 to 1839 and received his Ph.D. in paleontology in Berlin in 1842. Roemer traveled to Texas in 1845. From November 1845 to May 1847 he explored from Galveston to Houston, as far west as New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and as far north as Waco, studying the fauna, flora, and geology of the country. He also wrote a detailed report of the expedition that led to the Meusebach-Comanche Treaty. His book Texas (1849), published in Bonn and translated in 1935 by Oswald Mueller, describes German immigration to Texas and the physical appearance of the state. Roemer was the author of the first monograph on Texas geology, The Cretaceous Formations of Texas and Their Organic Inclusions, published in Bonn in 1852. He died in Breslau in 1891, having published over 350 works.

…..Another chapter in Texas History
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:20 pm

January 11 in Texas History…..

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Confederate Navy sinks Yankee ship

On this date in 1863, the USS Hatteras was sunk by the CSS Alabama. The Hatteras, a converted merchant ship formerly named the St. Mary, was commissioned in October 1861 and first saw duty in the South Atlantic. After assignment to the blockading squadron in the Gulf of Mexico, she was raiding along the Confederate coast when she was sunk by Confederate captain Raphael Semmes. She lies in sixty feet of water twenty miles south of Galveston. The federal government has been able to preserve the wreck for scientific and historical research.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

HATTERAS. The wreck of the United States Navy vessel USS Hatteras, sunk in an engagement with the Confederate raider CSS Alabama, lies in sixty feet of water about twenty miles south of Galveston, Texas. The site is one of the few shipwreck sites in the National Register of Historic Places. Its significance is twofold. The vessel is a relatively early example of a steel-hulled, side-wheeled steamship representative of the transition between the wooden sailing ship and the modern steamship; and she is comparatively intact since she sank very rapidly and, unlike the majority of Texas shipwrecks, lies in deep water away from the destructive surf.

The Hatteras was a converted merchant ship of 1,126 tons, 210 feet long, with a draft of eighteen feet, formerly named the St. Mary. She was acquired by the United States Navy from Harland and Hollingworth of Wilmington, Delaware, on September 25, 1861. She was armed and fitted out at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and commissioned in October 1861. Her armament consisted of four thirty-two-pounders, two thirty-pounders, one twenty-pounder, and an eight-pounder. The ship and her crew of 126 first saw duty with the South Atlantic blockading squadron and subsequently with the Gulf of Mexico blockading squadron. She carried out raids on the Confederate coastline, engaged a Confederate warship, CSS Mobile, in an inconclusive action, and captured a number of blockade runners. The Hatteras was sunk by Confederate captain Raphael Semmes after a short battle on January 11, 1863, only two months after her second captain, Commander Homer C. Blake, assumed command.

The wreck site is shown on nautical charts and has long been known to local divers and amateur historians. It has also been located by commercial treasure hunters, who filed a suit claiming to be, by right of discovery, the salvors and owners of the wreck. Because the wreck is a United States naval vessel, the federal government was able to keep control of the site and preserve it for scientific investigation. This is one of the few cases in which the courts have found in favor of historic preservation and against commercial exploitation of a historic shipwreck site. The New Orleans Outer Continental Shelf Office of the Bureau of Land Management, as the responsible federal agency, has undertaken various investigations of the wreck.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:37 pm

January 12 in Texas History…..

Ambitious French colonization scheme fizzles

On this day in 1841, a short-lived bill authorizing the formation of a French-Texan immigration company was introduced in the Texas Congress. The Franco-Texian Bill, proposed by two Frenchmen, Jean Pierre Hippolyte Basterrèche and Pierre François de Lassaulx, called for the introduction of 8,000 immigrant families to occupy three million acres of the Republic of Texas. The managing company was to establish twenty forts in twenty years. It was also to develop mines within its territory and pay the republic 15 percent of the gross returns. The bill passed the House, but was never presented to the Senate because the sponsors saw that it could not pass over the expected veto by acting president David G. Burnet.

…..Another chapter in Texas History
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:52 pm

Cole_blooded wrote:On this day in 1841, a short-lived bill authorizing the formation of a French-Texan immigration company was introduced in the Texas Congress. The Franco-Texian Bill, proposed by two Frenchmen, Jean Pierre Hippolyte Basterrèche and Pierre François de Lassaulx, called for the introduction of 8,000 immigrant families to occupy three million acres of the Republic of Texas. The managing company was to establish twenty forts in twenty years. It was also to develop mines within its territory and pay the republic 15 percent of the gross returns. The bill passed the House, but was never presented to the Senate because the sponsors saw that it could not pass over the expected veto by acting president David G. Burnet.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

What? That old "Hog Thief" didn't like the French? What's not to like? :lol:
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:22 pm

January 13 in Texas History…..

Future scalp hunter enlists in army

On this day in 1847, John Joel Glanton enlisted in Walter P. Lane's company of rangers for service in the Mexican War. The South Carolina native had arrived in Texas in time to serve in the Texas Revolution, and was a member of John Hay's company of Texas Rangers between the wars. He served with distinction in the invasion of Mexico under Zachary Taylor. Always a controversial figure, Glanton's career turned sinister after the Mexican War when he traveled to Chihuahua and became the leader of a band of scalp hunters. The memoirist Sam Chamberlain met and rode with Glanton during this period. Eventually the authorities in Chihuahua accused Glanton and his gang of scalping friendly Indians and Mexicans for bounties, and drove him into Sonora province. There he resumed his activites. He and his gang seized and operated a river ferry controlled by the Yuma Indians. While operating the ferry, they killed Mexican and American passengers alike for their money and goods. Finally, in mid-1850, they schemed to kill a party of Mexican miners who used the ferry, but before they carried out their plot, the Yumas attacked the ferry and killed Glanton and most of his men. Glanton himself was scalped.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

JOHN JOEL GLANTON (1819–1850). John Joel Glanton, soldier of fortune, outlaw, and notorious bounty-hunter and murderer, was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina, in 1819. According to reports he was an outlaw in Tennessee before his arrival in Texas. In 1835 he was living with his parents at Gonzales, Texas. His fiancée may have been killed by Lipan Apaches that year. On October 2 he joined the movement to San Antonio to dislodge Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos. Glanton was a free scout for the army under Col. James W. Fannin, Jr., and allegedly a Texas Ranger captain at sixteen. He narrowly missed the Goliad Massacre. According to camp gossip, President Sam Houston banished Glanton from Texas for reasons unknown, though apparently the order was never enforced. After the Texas Revolution Glanton joined the ranger company of Capt. John C. Hays in protecting San Antonio. He is said to have gone to East Texas during the Regulator-Moderator War. Apparently Glanton supported neither faction in the dispute, but he allegedly wounded or killed the best fighter on each side. Local residents, objecting to his actions, reportedly considered lynching him.

During the Mexican War Glanton scouted as a free ranger with Colonel Hays for Gen. Zachary Taylor. On January 13, 1847, he enlisted in Company A under Capt. Walter P. Lane. He rendered heroic service in clearing northern Mexico of guerrillas in the Chevallié Battalion. While in Lane's company, Glanton killed an unarmed Mexican and stole his horse. The Mexican authorities protested, and Taylor ordered Glanton arrested, but Lane warned Glanton of his impending arrest and he escaped into Texas. He was later in the command of Capt. Alfred M. Truitt and distinguished himself as a lieutenant in the special scout company of Capt. John S. (Rip) Fordqv. Glanton was discharged from the company of Capt. Jacob Roberts on April 30, 1848, at Camp Washington, near Veracruz, and before the end of the year was a lieutenant under Capt. Benjamin F. Hill in the regiment of Col. Peter H. Bell fighting Indians on the Texas frontier again. He was forced to leave Bell's regiment when he shot a fellow infantryman during a dispute.

n 1849 he rode out of San Antonio for California with thirty well-armed gold-seekers, leaving his wife, Joaquina Menchaca Glanton, called "the most beautiful woman in the Republic of Texas," whom he had married in 1846, and a daughter. In Chihuahua City Michael H. Chevallié and Glanton may have influenced the state legislature to pass the Fifth Law over the veto of the governor, empowering Chevallié to contract with guerrillas to capture or kill troublesome Indians on an individual basis. Chevallié entered the first contract the next day, and Glanton was in his company on several successful expeditions north of the capital. These campaigns were the source of bitter controversy in Chihuahua. Chevallié resumed his journey to California, and by the third week of June Glanton had taken over the contract and company of Chevallié or had entered his own contract. His campaigns during the remainder of 1849 were widespread, successful, and financially rewarding. By 1850, however, it became increasingly difficult for the Glanton gang to find hostile Indians, and they began to attack peaceful agricultural Indians in the vicinity of Fort El Norte. Finally they turned to taking Mexican peon scalps for profit. As a result the Chihuahua government drove Glanton and his company into Sonora and put a bounty on his scalp. There he contracted with the authorities to fight the Indians, traded Indian scalps for bounties, and again resorted to taking Mexican scalps to increase his profit. He and his gang seized and operated a river ferry controlled by the Yuma Indians. While operating the ferry, they killed Mexican and American passengers alike for their money and goods. Finally, they schemed to kill a party of Mexican miners who used the ferry, but before they carried out their plot, the Yumas attacked the ferry and killed Glanton and most of his men in mid-1850. Glanton was scalped.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:27 pm

January 14 in Texas History…..

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Governor urges Texans to make sacrifices

On this day in 1865, during the final months of the Civil War, Governor Pendleton Murrah urged Texans to put aside personal ambitions and make sacrifices in defense of their liberty. Murrah, a native of either Alabama or South Carolina, had moved to Texas in 1850. After serving in the state legislature, Murrah was elected governor of Texas in 1863. As governor, he became involved in a series of controversies over control of the state's manpower and economy with Gen. John B. Magruder, the Confederate military commander of the Texas district, and his superior, Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. In spite of these quarrels, Murrah supported Kirby Smith in his determination to carry on the war in the face of military reversals. Even after Lee's surrender, Murrah continued to urge resistance. When it was obvious that Union forces would occupy the state, he vacated his office, leaving Lieutenant Governor Fletcher Stockdale in charge, and joined other Confederate leaders fleeing to Mexico. The long trip was too much for Murrah, who suffered from tuberculosis. He was confined to bed upon reaching Monterrey and died on August 4, 1865.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

PENDLETON MURRAH (1826?–1865). Pendleton Murrah, last governor of Texas during the Civil War, was probably born in Alabama in 1826, although some sources place his birth in South Carolina in 1827. He was raised in an orphanage, educated by a Baptist charitable society, and graduated from Brown University in 1848. He moved to Alabama, where he was admitted to the bar, but he suffered from tuberculosis and in 1850 moved to Texas seeking the relief of a dry climate. He opened a law office in Marshall, where he met Sue Ellen Taylor, daughter of a prosperous cotton planter. After a brief courtship the two were married, on October 16, 1850. Murrah was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the legislature in 1855. He ran again in 1857 and won. In 1858 he was chosen a member of the Democratic State Executive Committee. He announced as a candidate for the Confederate Congress in 1861 but withdrew due to ill health. He served briefly as a quartermaster officer in the Fourteenth Texas Infantry in early 1862 but was forced by poor health to resign his commission. His health improved sufficiently to allow him to run for governor in the summer of 1863. Several candidates entered the race, but all except Murrah and Thomas Jefferson Chambers withdrew before election day. Although Chambers, who had run for governor three times before, was better known, Murrah benefited from Chambers's known hostility toward the Jefferson Davis government at Richmond. Newspaper editors and party leaders endorsed Murrah, who won the election by more than 5,000 votes.

As governor, Murrah became involved in a series of controversies with Gen. John B. Magruder, the Confederate military commander of the Texas district, and his superior, Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. The most serious of these disagreements was over conscription of troops for the army. Murrah argued that individuals enrolled in the state militia, particularly in frontier counties, were not subject to conscription by Confederate authorities. Magruder contended that Confederate laws had superiority over state legislation and attempted to enroll all eligible men in Confederate service. Murrah criticized Magruder's high-handed tactics and insisted that Confederate authorities give ground. When Gen. Nathaniel Banks moved up the Red River in the spring of 1864, however, Murrah reluctantly yielded to Confederate requests for troops. He continued to maintain that the state had a special claim over potential recruits in frontier counties. Governor Murrah and Confederate authorities clashed on other issues. In an effort to obtain money and badly needed supplies for his department, Smith had established a cotton bureau for purchasing and selling cotton.

Texas farmers and planters, who had no desire to exchange their cotton for depreciating Confederate currency, appealed to Murrah for relief. Murrah established a state plan for purchasing cotton with Texas land warrants. This action touched off a round of correspondence between Texas and Confederate officials, with Murrah again reluctantly giving in to Confederate pressures. On July 19, 1864, he appealed to Texans to deliver their cotton to the army's agents. Even though he frequently quarreled with Confederate authorities, he supported Kirby Smith in his determination to carry on the war in spite of military reversals. In an address to the people on January 14, 1865, Murrah urged Texans to put aside personal ambitions and make sacrifices in defense of their liberty. Even after Lee's surrender, Murrah continued to urge resistance. When it was obvious that Union forces would occupy the state, he vacated his office, leaving Lieutenant Governor Fletcher Stockdale in charge, and joined other Confederate leaders fleeing to Mexico. The long trip was too much for Murrah, who continued to suffer from tuberculosis. He was confined to bed upon reaching Monterrey and died on August 4, 1865.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:56 pm

January 15 in Texas History…..

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Texas Memorial Museum opens

On this day in 1939, the Texas Memorial Museum opened on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The museum was established as part of the Texas Centennial Celebration Bill of 1935, in which funds amounting to $225,000 were allocated for "gathering and preparing materials for exhibits of natural and civic history ... and for furnishing and equipping the Texas Memorial Museum." The museum's opening came just a few months after the death of UT anthropology professor James E. Pearce, who had been advocating the establishment of such an institution since 1920. Ownership of the Texas Memorial Museum was transferred in 1959 from the state to the University of Texas at Austin. The museum, which reopened in January 2004 following a major renovation, attracts about 65,000 visitors a year. Exhibits are based on the museum's more than five million specimens, primarily collected and researched by UT scientists and students. Among the most popular exhibits is the remains of a pterosaur, the largest flying creature ever found, with a forty-foot wingspan.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

TEXAS MEMORIAL MUSEUM. Although there had been a proposal by Johan August Udden (1912) for a major public museum in Austin, actual work toward what was to be the Texas Memorial Museum began in 1920 with the formation of a Committee on a Texas Museum at the 1920 Texas State Historical Association committee meeting in Austin. The committee consisted of chairman Harry Y. Benedict, Alex Dienst, Adele B. Looscan, William S. Red, Elizabeth H. West,qqv and O. M. Ball; James E. Pearce and Charles W. Ramsdellqqv were later added. Within a year Benedict resigned, and Pearce, chairman of the University of Texas anthropology department, was appointed to replace him. Although the committee apparently was discontinued after 1920, Pearce continued working for the establishment of a museum through lectures and publications. The Texas Museum Association was founded in 1926, with Pearce as president. Elias H. Sellards was secretary, and Eugene C. Barker, William James Battle, and Walter M. W. Splawnqqv constituted the executive council. The association issued a number of influential articles and pamphlets, largely written by Pearce, and worked to build support for a museum among influential individuals and organizations. Pearce's particular concern was for the storage, preservation, and analysis of the artifacts from archeological excavations. With the help of Thomas J. Holbrook, bills were filed in the legislature in 1927, 1929, and 1931, but these were unsuccessful due to a lack of funds. Pearce then tried to raise private funds from several philanthropists, but the Great Depression rendered his efforts unsuccessful. An American Legion initiative eventually led to funding for the museum. Anthony G. Adair, a legion member and journalist, proposed in 1932 the minting of a silver fifty-cent piece to commemorate the Centennialqv of Texas Independence and to be sold by the American Legion, proceeds to be used for a public building as a contribution to the Centennial. Adair's legion superior, R. O. Whiteaker, suggested a museum "like Dr. Pearce has been talking about for many years." Congressional authorization was obtained for minting the coins, and the American Legion began negotiating with the regents of the University of Texas about the planning of the museum. The coins were sculpted by Pompeo
Coppini and became available on November 20, 1934.

The Texas Memorial Museum was established as part of the Texas Centennial Celebration Bill of 1935, in which funds amounting to $225,000 were allocated for "gathering and preparing materials for exhibits of natural and civic history . . . and for furnishing and equipping the Texas Memorial Museum." The university regents were appointed the museum's board of directors. That same year the United States Congress appropriated $3 million for the Texas Centennial Exhibition, $300,000 of which was designated to help pay for the museum building. The museum was planned by the board of regents, and exhibit materials were collected and prepared by Pearce and other UT faculty. The regents decided that available funds allowed only construction of a small initial building. Additions in the form of wings were to be added later, and the central block was designed with this in mind. John Fanz Staub of Houston was the architect, and Paul P. Cret was consulting architect. The new museum was to house popular exhibits rather than research collections. This was a disappointment to Pearce, as was his appointment as acting director only, pending recruitment of a permanent director from out of state. President Franklin Roosevelt and Governor James Allred officiated at the groundbreaking on June 11, 1936. The cornerstone was laid in December 1937. The Texas Memorial Museum building was completed in August 1938, although the official opening was delayed until January 15, 1939, by which time Pearce had died. Sellards was appointed director, Carl Chelf curator of geology and anthropology, Eula Whitehouse curator of botany and zoology, and Adair curator of patriotic exhibits. There were attempts in the 1945, 1947, and 1949 legislatures to obtain funding for extensions to the present museum building, but these were unsuccessful. Money was voted by both houses in 1947, but an apparent lack of money in the treasury prevented any spending. Ownership of the Texas Memorial Museum was transferred in 1959 from the state to the University of Texas at Austin. The statue "Mustangs" in front of the museum was sculpted by Alexander Phimister Proctor and was dedicated on May 1, 1948. Ralph Ogden of Austin donated funds for the statue, and J. Frank Dobie recommended Proctor as the sculptor. Part of Proctor's work was done at the King Ranch, where he used wild mustangs as models.

In spite of the lack of space and the original plan for a popular museum, Sellards pursued a vigorous research and acquisition program in geology, paleontology, and anthropology. The museum was transformed into an active research institution. Sellards was succeeded in 1957 by the University of Texas anthropologist William W. Newcomb, Jr., who, while continuing the research tradition begun by Sellards, directed attention to new exhibits and to popular publications. Under William G. Reeder, who took over as director in 1978, research and publications focused particularly on evolutionary studies of living organisms. The museum is a major center for cave research and has developed a teaching program in museum studies. The Materials Conservation Laboratory, organized in 1979, develops handling and storage strategies for all divisions of the museum, evaluates and prepares material for exhibits and loans, and provides cleaning and stabilization treatment for objects from the collections. The largest collections are those in invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology; both are national research sources. In 1990 the museum's collections contained more than 4.5 million specimens. Four floors of exhibit halls housed permanent and temporary exhibits of natural history, vertebrate paleontology, geology, history, and anthropology. The growth of collections, programs, and personnel necessitated the acquisition of additional space elsewhere on campus and at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. Financial support for the museum came primarily from state appropriations of university funds. A public support organization, the Friends of Texas Memorial Museum, was founded in 1984, and the Friends of Texas Memorial Museum Foundation was established in 1986.

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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:22 pm

January 16 in Texas History…..

A Prussian lens on South Tejas

On this day in 1860, Adolphus Glaevecke, a long-term observer of life on the Texas-Mexico border, gave the governor of Texas an account of events connected with the so-called Cortina Wars. Glaevecke, a native of Rostock, Prussia, had come to Texas with three of his brothers in 1836. Nearly all subsequent historians have used his account of the actions of Juan N. Cortina, whose rebellion against border Anglo-Texans is legendary.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

ADOLPHUS GLAEVECKE(1818–1900). Adolphus Glaevecke, early South Texas settler and recorder of historic events, was born in 1818 at Rostock, Prussia. He studied medicine but did not complete the degree. When their elder brother succeeded to the family farm at Warnemünde, Adolphus, Augustus, and Caspar Glaevecke, the three younger brothers, sailed for New York and arrived in December 1834 or January 1835. They took inexpensive passage to New Orleans and then on to Texas, where they arrived at the mouth of the Rio Grande in January 1836. They rode in a Mexican cart upriver from Point Isabel to some land claims they had purchased.

Glaevecke participated in events in the Rio Grande valley leading to the Mexican War and left records of them. Augustus Glaevecke died on March 18, 1849, and Caspar died on April 20, 1862, in a battle with the Crinolinos. Adolphus Glaevecke owned San Pedro Rancho; he reported that Maj. Seth Thornton stopped there for breakfast on his way to Carricitos Ranch, where he and his men were ambushed and captured. Upon organization of Nueces County, Glaevecke was designated constable of Santa Rita precinct on January 27, 1848. Santa Rita was a village belonging to the Llanos Grande grant, owned by Jane Stryker, widow of John Stryker. During the 1850s Glaevecke was involved in litigation related to Stryker's estate. Other squabbles appeared in the legal records of Cameron County, including a suit against Glaevecke's brother-in-law Antonio Tijerina for wasteful administration of an estate entrusted to him and others. Some of the cases involved most of the judicial officers of Cameron County and thus presented intricate conflict-of-interest problems.

Glaevecke was involved in the Cortina Wars. Because his detailed account of the affairs given to the governor on January 16, 1860, is the document upon which nearly all subsequent historians have depended, his role in the war possibly has been overestimated. Glaevecke claims he had a chance to shoot Cortina on September 29, 1859, with a heavily loaded shotgun, but someone pushed the barrel up and he missed. The National Archives has a special collection of microfilm dealing with reports on the wars. It includes many large claims for damages, stolen cattle, horses, sheep, and miscellaneous goods. Glaevecke had a claim and appears in a minor role among the many letters and reports.
After the military occupation during Reconstruction, Glaevecke won election as county clerk of Cameron County. He held the office from 1874 until October 1890, when he seems to have had a stroke. He died on February 3, 1900, in Brownsville.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:39 pm

January 17 in Texas History…..

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A Connecticut Yankee in Texas

On this date in 1821, the government of New Spain granted Moses Austin a permit to settle 300 families in Texas. This momentous agreement began the process of Anglo-American colonization in the future state. The elder Austin died, however, before he could fulfill his part of the contract, and his son Stephen F. Austin was recognized as his successor. Although Mexican independence from Spain cast temporary doubt on the future of the contract, a special decree issued in April 1823 allowed S. F. Austin to begin the colonization that led eventually to the Texas Revolution and the Republic of Texas.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

ANGLO-AMERICAN COLONIZATION. Anglo-American colonization in Mexican Texas took place between 1821 and 1835. Spain had first opened Texas to Anglo-Americans in 1820, less than one year before Mexico achieved its independence. Its traditional policy forbade foreigners in its territory, but Spain was unable to persuade its own citizens to move to remote and sparsely populated Texas. There were only three settlements in the province of Texas in 1820: Nacogdoches, San Antonio de Béxar, and La Bahía del Espíritu Santo (later Goliad), small towns with outlying ranches. The missions near the latter two, once expected to be nucleus communities, had been or were being secularized (i.e., transferred to diocesan from Franciscan administration), while those near Nacogdoches had been closed since the 1770s. Recruiting foreigners to develop the Spanish frontier was not new. As early as the 1790s, Spain invited Anglo-Americans to settle in Upper Louisiana (Missouri) for the same reason. The foreigners were to be Catholic, industrious, and willing to become Spanish citizens in return for generous land grants. Spain expected the new settlers to increase economic development and help deter the aggressive and mobile Plains Indians such as the Comanches and Kiowas. Mexico continued the Spanish colonization plan after its independence in 1821 by granting contracts to empresarios who would settle and supervise selected, qualified immigrants.

Anglo-Americans were attracted to Hispanic Texas because of inexpensive land. Undeveloped land in the United States land offices cost $1.25 an acre for a minimum of 80 acres ($100) payable in specie at the time of purchase. In Texas each head of a family, male or female, could claim a headright of 4,605 acres (one league-4,428 acres of grazing land and one labor-177 acres of irrigable farm land) at a cost about four cents an acre ($184) payable in six years, a sum later reduced by state authorities.
Beginning in 1824 when the Mexican Republic adopted its constitution, each immigrant took an oath of loyalty to the new nation and professed to be a Christian. Because the Catholic Church was the established religion, the oath implied that all would become Catholic, although the national and state colonization laws were silent on the matter. Religion was not a critical issue, however, because the church waited until 1831 to send a resident priest, Michael Muldoon, into the Anglo-Texan communities. This was inconvenient for those wishing to marry because there was no provision for civil ceremonies, and only priests had authority to perform nuptial rites. Anglo-Texans unwilling or unable to seek a priest in Catholic communities received permission from the authorities to sign a marriage bond, a practice common in the non-Anglican foothills of Virginia and the Carolinas before 1776, promising to formalize their union when a priest arrived.

Two other reasons brought Anglo-American settlers to Texas. Through the 1820s, most believed that the United States would buy eastern Texas from Mexico. Many thought that that portion of Texas had been part of the Louisiana Purchase and that the United States had "given" it away to Spain in exchange for Florida in the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty, which established the Sabine River boundary. The Texas pioneers expected annexation would stimulate immigration and provide buyers for their land. A second attraction was that Mexico and the United States had no reciprocal agreements enabling creditors to collect debts or to return fugitives. Therefore, Texas was a safe haven for the many Mississippi valley farmers who defaulted on their loans when agricultural prices declined at the end of the War of 1812 and bankers demanded immediate payment. Faced with seizure of their property and even debtors' prison in many states, men loaded their families and belongings into wagons and headed for the Sabine River, where creditors could not follow and there was opportunity to start over.

Against this background, Moses Austin traveled from Missouri to Spanish San Antonio in 1820 to apply for an empresario grant to bring Anglo-American families to Texas. Like so many others, he had suffered losses in banking failures and hoped to restore his family's fortunes by charging small fees-12½ cents an acre-for land within his assigned area. He had become a Spanish citizen in 1798, when he moved from Virginia to the St. Louis area where he acquired an empresario grant to develop a lead mine and import workers. The Spanish governor at San Antonio gave tentative approval to Austin's plan, subject to review by his superiors, to bring 300 moral, hardworking, Catholic families from the former Spanish territory of Louisiana. Although the authorities wanted him to settle close to San Antonio, Austin opted for a still-to-be-defined area along the lower Colorado River, where he hoped to establish a port. On his return to Missouri he became ill and died at home in June 1821, leaving the plan with his eldest son, Stephen Fuller Austin.
Austin's advertisements for colonists coincided with Mexican independence and the presumption that a republic would be organized. Stimulated by these events, some families began moving immediately to the Red River near future Texarkana and across the Sabine along the old Spanish road leading to Nacogdoches. There they remained as squatters, some with intentions of joining the Austin colony, but others engaged in trading with the Indians and Mexicans.

The younger Austin visited San Antonio in mid-1821 as his father's heir and received permission to explore the lower Colorado for a site for the colony. His roaming convinced him that the Brazos watershed should be added to his grant. Upon returning to Texas in early 1822, Austin discovered he must go to Mexico City to confirm the contract with the national government, even though his first settlers were on their way with only vague instructions about where to settle. Soon after he reached the capital, a coup established an empire, and the resulting turmoil delayed Austin for a year. In April 1823 he finally received a contract under the Imperial Colonization Law, which had been passed in January. Because the empire collapsed in April and the republic was reestablished, Austin's empresario contract was the only one issued under this law. The reinstated republican Congress immediately approved the imperial contract, and Austin rushed back to Texas to organize his colony.
The Imperial Colonization Law specified that colonists must be Catholic, so Austin's first 300 families were affected. The 1824 National Colonization Law and the 1825 Coahuila and Texas State Colonization Law said only that foreigners must be Christian and abide by the laws of the nation, thereby implying they would be members of the established church. Protestant preachers occasionally visited Texas, but they seldom held public services. In 1834 the state decreed that no person should be molested for political or religious beliefs as long as he did not disturb public order. This was as close as Texans came to freedom of religion and speech before 1836.

Slavery was also an issue. Mexicans abhorred slavery as allowed in the United States, but pragmatic politicians shut their eyes to the system in their eagerness to have the Anglos produce cotton in Texas. National and state laws banned the African slave trade, but allowed Anglo-Americans to bring their family slaves with them to Texas and buy and sell them there until 1840. Grandchildren of those slaves would be freed gradually upon reaching certain ages. The state inferred in 1827 that it might emancipate slaves earlier, and the immigrants took the precaution of signing indenture contracts with their illiterate servants binding them for ninety-nine years to work off their purchase price, upkeep, and transportation to Texas. Mexican officials recognized the subterfuge as debt peonage, and black slaves continued to arrive in Texas. The most serious threat to Anglo slaveholders occurred when President Vicente Ramón Guerrero emancipated all slaves on September 15, 1829, in commemoration of independence. Austin's Mexican friends quickly secured an exemption from the law for Texas.
Austin, the most successful Texas empresario, made four six-year contracts between 1823 and 1828 for a potential 1,200 families. They were to be settled between the watersheds of the Brazos and Colorado rivers and as far as the Lavaca River below the Old San Antonio Road, as well as eastward to the San Jacinto River (but not including Galveston Island) and a small area around the site of present-day Austin. A fifth contract issued in 1831 for 800 families to be settled along the Brazos above the old Spanish Road was challenged by Sterling Clack Robertson, who had an expired prior claim. The ensuing conflict made accurate tallies difficult.

Empresarios did not own the land within their grants, nor could they issue titles; the state appointed a land commissioner to give deeds only after 100 families had been settled. Surveyors laid off leagues and labores along the watercourses and roads, after which colonists could choose vacant tracts. The settlers paid fees to the state, the surveyor, the land commissioner, and the clerk, who wrote the deeds on stamped paper and recorded the payments. Austin's plan to restore his family's well-being by selling land was denied because empresarios could not receive fees. The state gave them a bonus of 23,000 acres for each 100 families settled. By 1834, at the virtual end of the empresario system, Austin had settled about 966 families and earned 197,000 acres of bonus land that he could locate where he chose. He could sell the land, but only to those willing to live in Texas.
Austin, as the pioneer empresario in Texas, was burdened with more duties than later contractors. With no published compendium of the Mexican laws, administrative and judicial authority rested with Austin, and the result was a mix of Mexican decrees with pragmatic Anglo-American implementation. Local settlements within his colony elected alcaldes, similar to justices of the peace, and constables. Austin sat as superior judge until 1828, when sufficient population permitted the installation of an ayuntamiento at San Felipe, the capital of the colony. This council, with elected representatives from the settlements, had authority over the entire Austin colony and acted like a county government. As population grew, other settlements within the colony qualified for ayuntamientos. These councils settled lawsuits, regulated the health and welfare of the residents by supervising doctors, lawyers, taverns, and ferries, surveyed roads, and sold town lots. Capital cases were referred to authorities in Monterrey and later Saltillo. The remoteness of the court disturbed Anglo-Texans, who wanted accessible courts.

Austin also commanded the local militia to defend the colony against Indians and to keep the peace. His contract area had only a few small Indian villages belonging to such sedentary groups as the Bidais and Coushattas, who wanted only to trade. Less friendly were the seasonally migrant remnant coastal tribes of Karankawas or the inland Tonkawas, who foraged for game and targeted the settlers' livestock. Pioneers along the Colorado River suffered most. Austin led several punitive expeditions between 1823 and 1826; he also negotiated moderately successful treaties with these declining tribes. North and west of the Austin colony Indians continued to resist the flow of immigrants well beyond the colonial period.

Other men besides Austin wanted empresario contracts in Texas, and a few were in Mexico City in 1822. Because of the changing political scene and the slow passage of the colonization laws, they had to wait until 1825, after the passage of national and state colonization laws passed in August 1824 and March 1825. The national law prohibited foreigners from settling within twenty-six miles of the Gulf of Mexico or within fifty-two miles of the Sabine River border without special executive permission. To encourage immigration, settlers were free from national taxes for four years. Land ownership was limited to eleven leagues. Owners had to be residents of Mexico. Preference was given to native Mexicans in the selection, and the national government could use any portion of land needed for the defence and security of the nation.
The state colonization law detailed how to apply for land, how much would be given to heads of families, including females or single persons, and the fees to be paid. The law granted freedom from tithes and the alcabala, an internal excise tax, for ten years. Within three weeks four contracts were signed: Haden Edwardsqv could settle 800 families in the Nacogdoches area, Robert Leftwich 800 along the Brazos valley above the Old San Antonio Road, Green DeWitt 400 on the Guadalupe River, and Frost Thorn 400 north of Nacogdoches. DeWitt, who developed the area around Gonzales, was the second most successful empresario in Texas. He settled 189 families before his contract expired in 1831. His colony suffered Indian attacks and also controversy with his neighbor, Mexican native empresario Martín De León.

De León, a native of a small town 100 miles southwest of the site of present Matamoros, moved his family north across the Nueces River and into the province of Texas in the early 1800s. He lived by catching mustangs and wild cattle and raising mules, then selling the animals in San Antonio or even trailing them to Louisiana. In April 1824, before the passage of the national colonization law, he received permission from the provincial deputation in San Antonio to establish a town for forty-one families about twenty miles northeast of La Bahía on the banks of the Guadalupe River. No boundaries were mentioned. By October, De León and twelve families had arrived at a cypress grove, the site of the town of Guadalupe Victoria (now Victoria, Texas), named for the first president of Mexico, who took office that year.

Unaware of the colonization grant to De León in San Antonio, the state assigned the same area of the Guadalupe valley with specific boundaries to DeWitt in April 1825. When DeWitt's settlers arrived, trouble was inevitable. Because the colonization laws gave preference to native Mexicans, De León petitioned the state for redress, and the authorities told DeWitt in October 1825 to respect De León's prior claims but failed to establish boundaries. The state named land commissioners for both De León's and DeWitt's colonies. The commissioners issued titles in 1831, the year DeWitt's six-year contract expired permanently. The boundaries remained unresolved. Eventually sixteen non-Hispanic families, some of whom were Anglo-Americans with Irish roots, received headrights in De León's otherwise Hispanic community.

De León also quarreled with neighboring empresarios James Power and James Hewetson,qqv natives of Ireland and residents of the United States and Mexico. They received a state contract in June 1828 to settle 200 families-half Mexican and half Irish-in the twenty-six-mile coastal reserve between the mouth of the Guadalupe and the mouth of the Lavaca River, an area that received approval from the president. In 1829 their boundary was extended south to the Nueces River. Two hundred titles were issued to Europeans, but because many were single men the colonial contract was left incomplete, since the law specified families. Nearby, two other Irish natives, residents of Matamoros, secured a contract in 1828 to bring 200 European families to the Nueces above the Power-Hewetson grant. John McMullen and James McGloin'sqqv colony was known as the Irish Colony; most of its residents clustered around San Patricio, where the land commissioner issued eighty-four titles.

Of more importance to the development of Anglo-Texan communities were the large grants made in 1825 to Edwards and Leftwich that were adjacent to the Austin colony on the east and north. Edwards's contract specified land for up to 800 Anglo-American families in a large area of East Texas from northwest of Nacogdoches, including the forks of the Trinity, west to the Navasota River, thence southeast along the Trinity River valley to upper Galveston Bay. The tract did not include Galveston Island or the twenty-six-mile-wide coastal reserve forbidden to foreigners. The eastern boundary was the fifty-two-mile-wide border reserve along the Sabine River running north from the Gulf of Mexico to the thirty-second parallel. The state instructed Edwards to respect the property of long-time residents in the Nacogdoches area, some of whom had been there since the 1780s. Edwards, insensitive to Hispanic culture, reached Nacogdoches in October 1825 and threatened to dispossess those who had no proof of ownership unless they paid him for the land. The Spanish process to acquire land on the remote frontier was lengthy and expensive, and almost nobody had deeds. But besides Hispanics, there were a number of Anglo-American hunters and traders who had moved there in the 1790s, as well as new squatters who had arrived since 1821. Although local alcaldes were authorized for the scattered settlements, there was no ayuntamiento until 1828, so all official business had to be conducted in San Antonio. In general, Hispanics and old-time Anglos opposed Edwards and complained to the political chief in San Antonio; some newcomers supported the empresario, while others remained aloof. Tensions mounted during 1826, and in response to complaints against Edwards the state abrogated his contract in October and banished him from Texas. Anglo-Texans, even those not involved in the controversy, were disturbed that a contract, almost sacred in Anglo culture, could be canceled. Did that mean that the provisions of the colonization laws might change regarding slavery? Were other empresario contracts vulnerable?

At the time of the cancellation, Haden Edwards was recruiting colonists in Mississippi, but his brother, Benjamin W. Edwards, rallied supporters to protest the order. In November they seized the alcalde (an Anglo old-timer) and tried others at a drumhead court; after a few days all were released. The following month the insurgents declared independence from Mexico by decreeing the Republic of Fredonia. Benjamin Edwards forged an alliance with some disaffected Cherokee leaders who were unable to secure titles to their villages northwest of Nacogdoches, and Edwards promised to divide Texas between the red men and the whites. The Indians reconsidered, however, and failed to support Edwards, who fled towards Louisiana in January 1827, when soldiers from San Antonio accompanied by Austin's militia approached Nacogdoches. Thus ended the quixotic Fredonia Rebellionqv, which aroused fears of widespread Anglo-Texan revolt among Mexican leaders. The state banished the ringleaders, promised to send a land commissioner to issue titles to families who had settled the area in good faith, and established a permanent garrison at Nacogdoches to guard against ruffians and filibusters from the United States.

Almost as troublesome was the Leftwich contract, which, unknown to the authorities, was intended as a profit-making undertaking for the benefit of stockholders. This empresario grant eventually was known as Robertson's colony. Leftwich, who was in Mexico City when Austin was there, represented seventy Tennessee investors called the Texas Association. The land assigned was in the upper Brazos valley just north of Austin's grant and touching that of Edwards on the east. When Leftwich returned to Nashville in 1825 with the empresario contract in his name instead of the company's, the investors had to buy out his interest. They sent several agents to Coahuila-Texas to get the contract in their name, but the suspicions raised by the Fredonia Rebellion deterred their efforts. With Austin's help, the Nashville Association (as it was now called) was finally recognized as successor to Leftwich in October 1827. But the stockholders failed to send settlers until October 1830, only six months before the end of their contract. Shareholder Sterling C. Robertson and six others reached the garrison at Fort Tenoxtitlán, one of the new military posts established in 1830; Tenoxtitlán guarded the old Spanish road crossing on the Brazos River. Nine families trailed Robertson, and when they reached Nacogdoches the commandant detained them. The newly passed Law of April 6, 1830, prohibited the entrance of Anglo-Americans into Texas unless they had a passport to Austin's or DeWitt's colony. Austin had quickly secured an exemption from the restriction for his and DeWitt's colonies when he discovered an ambiguous phrase seeming to allow immigration to "established" colonies. This he interpreted as those with more than 100 families in residence. The authorities acquiesced. The Law of April 6 also forbade the immigration of slaves, but even the authorities admitted that this restriction was impossible to enforce.

Passage of the restrictive law was the result of heightened suspicions that the United States intended to seize Texas. Between 1825 and 1829, the United States minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, unsuccessfully pressured the new nation to sell eastern Texas, and his successor, Anthony Butler, had similar instructions. Mexican leaders feared a rebellion of Anglos and annexation to the United States, just as Spain had lost Baton Rouge and Mobile in the early 1800s. Thus the Fredonian Rebellion inspired an official inspection tour in 1828 from San Antonio to Nacogdoches which revealed that Anglo-Americans greatly outnumbered native Mexicans in Texas. Although there was no obvious subversive activity, the Anglos continued to speak only English and conducted legal matters primarily in Anglo tradition. The authorities concluded that Mexico might lose Texas if more Anglo-Americans were allowed to enter and that native Mexicans must be encouraged to settle in the frontier state to "Mexicanize" it. The government dispatched troops to strategic entrances to Texas in late 1830 to enforce the law and also to aid the newly installed customs collectors in levying national import duties. The special exemption from the tariff for Texas pioneer settlers had expired. It was hoped that the new garrisons would produce native Mexican communities and that the tariff would pay for the troops needed to preserve Texas. However, this understandable response to save Mexican hegemony inflamed Anglo-Texans, who inherited their grandfathers' distaste for standing armies and troops billeted in residential communities, and who had come to believe that their exemption from tariffs was permanent.

Robertson's colonists surreptitiously passed Nacogdoches and reached the Brazos in November. Amid a flurry of letters to officials, Austin offered the unlucky settlers sanctuary, a step approved officially in September 1831. Meanwhile Robertson asked Austin, who was leaving to take his seat in the state legislature at Saltillo, to intercede for an extension of the six-year contract. Austin agreed, although he believed the case dead-the six years was up, the Law of April 6, 1830, prevented Anglo settlement, and a French immigration company had already applied for the old Leftwich grant. In early February, however, Austin asked the state for a contract in his name and that of his associate, Samuel May Williams, to settle 800 European and Mexican families on the former Nashville grant, plus some additional land north and west. The application was approved on February 25, 1832.

This action caused trouble with Robertson, who felt betrayed. Austin defended his action by saying that Robertson's cause was hopeless. Austin wanted, he stated, a more dependable frontier neighbor than a French company on his northern frontier, which was still exposed to Indian raiders. Robertson appealed to the ayuntamiento in San Felipe for relief in November 1833 by offering testimony from various persons that the Nashville company had sent 100 families before the expiration of the contract in 1831. The council, influenced by anti-Austin sentiment, agreed that Robertson should be reinstated, and he left for Saltillo, where he presented his documents on April 2, 1834. In May the governor returned the contract to Robertson despite arguments by Austin and Williams's attorney; Robertson's land commissioner began granting titles immediately. Sam Williams attended the 1835 session of the state legislature and won back the colony in May. Austin and Williams's new land commissioner began issuing deeds, while Robertson's commissioner continued to act until the end of the year. The resulting overlapping claims kept lawyers employed past midcentury.

The most controversial of all of the empresario grants, however, were those of David G. Burnet, Joseph Vehlein, and Lorenzo de Zavala,qqv who sold their respective contracts to New York and Boston speculators. This action was contrary to the intent of the national and state colonization laws. The sale was not only illegal, but also deleterious to the purchasers. As a result of it, small and large investors and innocent colonists lost their promised land and sometimes their lives. Burnet, a native of New Jersey and resident of Ohio, had traded with the Indians in Spanish Texas about 1818 but soon returned to Ohio. In December 1826 he received a contract to settle 300 families in the northwestern area of the former Edwards grant near Nacogdoches. At the same time, Vehlein, a Mexico City merchant, contracted through agents to settle 300 families in the southern portion of the canceled Edwards grant. Neither man visited the land and neither sent a single colonist. Burnet, a younger son of a prominent family, tried to recruit antislavery settlers in Ohio, but lacked the financial means to succeed. In 1829, with time running out, he unsuccessfully offered half of his future bonus land to wealthy and powerful individuals if they would send 300 families to his grant. Finally, in October 1830, he negotiated the sale of his grant to the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company, as did Vehlein's agent. Joining in the sale was Lorenzo de Zavala, a native of Yucatán, a prominent politician and currently a political refugee in New York City. He had acquired the long fifty-two-mile-wide border reserve on the Sabine River as his empresario grant in 1828, when he agreed to settle 500 European or Mexican families. He, too, never saw his Texas land nor sent a colonist.

The Galveston Bay company issued stock entitling investors to scrip in denominations of leagues and labores. Some investors, such as James Prentiss, used their scrip to create separate ventures such as the Union Land Company and the Trinity Land Company.qqv Those companies dispatched two schooners to Galveston Bay in January 1831 with a few European settlers recruited in New York City. Though the Law of April 6, 1830, prohibited sending Anglo-Americans, some American workmen accompanied the settlers. John Davis Bradburn, the commandant at Anahuac, allowed the unfortunate immigrants to land briefly. A few stayed and farmed, but most returned to the United States as best they could.
The entire undertaking was extortionate. Upon landing, each immigrant was to apply for a headright, of which he would receive 177 acres after three years of labor. The remaining 4,428 acres was signed over to the company. The company employed agents in Mexico to lobby for revocation of the restrictive law of 1830, a step that succeeded in 1834. Moreover, those squatters who had lived in East Texas since 1821 without titles discovered they were now colonists of the three empresarios. Although the state had approved naming a land commissioner in 1828, politics delayed implementation. Finally, in 1834, land commissioners arrived to give deeds to those long-time squatters and also the newcomers. One called himself the agent of the empresario and tried to collect fees until complaints to the state ended the illegal practice.

There were a number of lesser empresarios, including Benjamin R. Milam, Arthur G. Wavell, John Cameron, Stephen Julian Wilson, John Charles Beales, and Richard Exeter,qqv as well as a few native Mexicans. All failed to complete their contracts within the allotted time. Most of their grants were located on the southwestern and northern perimeters of Texas.
Settlers continued to arrive in the established colonies and the area claimed by the Galveston Bay Company until the land offices were closed by the General Council on October 27, 1835, and confirmed by the Consultation the next month. By this time most residents, except in Robertson's colony on the northern frontier, no longer thought of themselves as colonists dependent on an empresario. De León was dead, DeWitt died in 1835, Austin was a sort of elder statesman, and few people in the Burnet, Vehlein, or Zavala grants were acquainted with the phantom empresarios. By 1834 Texas was divided into three departments: Bexar, the Brazos, and Nacogdoches, each with its own political chief reporting directly to the governor and each having more than one town with an ayuntamiento. This gave the residents a feeling of self-government. Their main goal was achieving separate statehood from Coahuila. The old Austin colony continued to attract newcomers, including some of those unable to secure titles in other colonies. Its stability, its guaranteed deeds, and its easy accessibility by water from New Orleans through Galveston Bay and the Brazos river were drawing cards.

The Anglo-American settlers imported their culture to Texas and resisted Mexicanizing even after 1830, when purchase by the United States was increasingly unlikely. Rich or poor, Anglo immigrants were independent-minded, self-sufficient republicans suspicious of the traditional deferential society of Hispanic culture, even though Mexican reformers were struggling to build a republic. The spirit of Jacksonian democracy pervaded even those not admiring President Andrew Jackson. Moreover, collecting national tariff duties in Texas in 1830 coincided with the growing anti-tariff movement in South Carolina, which resulted in the Nullification Crisis. Texans, like other agrarians, manufactured nothing and disliked import duties on necessities. It was not surprising, then, that American ship captains, supported by Anglo-Texan merchants, refused to pay the new duties and exchanged fire with the fort at the mouth of the Brazos River in December 1831. At this same time, Colonel Bradburn, charged with enforcing Mexican laws regarding immigration and the tariff at Anahuac, arrested civilians and held some without bail for trial before the commandant general at Matamoros. Anglo-Texans believed Bradburn was acting arbitrarily. They did not understand that his actions were required under Mexican law, which lacked anything like a Bill of Rights. Angry men from the Brazos marched to confront Bradburn at Anahuac, while others loaded illegal cannons on a ship to join them. At the mouth of the river, the Anglo-Texans forced the surrender of the fort. The first of the Anahuac Disturbances and the battle of Velasco took place in June 1832, just as the Federalist party's army defeated that of the conservative administration, thus ending a four-year-old civil war. The Texans claimed to be helping the Federalists, who were led by Antonio López de Santa Anna, and convinced authorities sent to investigate that they were not revolutionaries against Mexico. Their action resulted in the departure of all Centralist troops and customs collectors from Texas.

Wanting to capitalize on their support of Santa Anna, who was to be the new president, the Anglo-Texans drafted petitions for separate statehood, a better judicial system, and similar reform measures. In April 1833 Austin took the requests to Mexico City, where most were approved except for separate statehood. In a moment of despondency, Austin wrote an incriminating letter urging the leaders at San Antonio to act unilaterally on separation. For this act of sedition he was arrested in January 1834 and incarcerated in Mexico City until July 1835.

Texans remained relatively quiet during Austin's absence fearing for his life. After Santa Anna's installation as president in 1833, he left governing to his Federalist- reformer vice president. By 1835, however, Santa Anna reversed himself, became a Centralist dictator, and sent the army to punish his political enemies. Garrisons and customs collectors returned to Texas in January 1835 and the Anglo-Texan response was predictable. A second attack recaptured Anahuac in June, and when Austin reached Texas in September he surprised many by endorsing the resistance movement against the oppressive administration. Though at first supporting reform of the Mexican government, public opinion moved quickly to favoring a separate Texas nation.

There are no accurate figures detailing the number of Anglo-Americans who settled in Texas between 1821 and 1835. Although Mexican law required an annual census of all residents, the Anglo-Texans resisted such bureaucratic demands. Existing tallies reveal that in 1826 Austin had 1,800 people, including 443 slaves; DeWitt counted 159 whites and 29 slaves; and the lower Trinity River, then outside of any empresario grant, was populated by 407 settlers with 76 slaves. Subsequent extant records show Austin's colony with 2,201 people in 1828, 4,248 in 1830, and 5,565 in 1831, while DeWitt had only 82 persons, including 7 slaves, in 1828. In 1834 the English-speaking Col. Juan N. Almonte made an official inspection of Texas and estimated that 4,000 people lived in the Department of Bexar, 2,100 in the Department of the Brazos (Austin's colony), and 1,600 in the Department of Nacogdoches. The 3,000 decrease in Austin's colony suggests that Almonte's figures were wrong. A few lists of residents in the Nacogdoches area in 1834–35 and scattered other records are extant, but such incomplete records only hint at the Texas population. Anglo-American colonization in Texas was obviously a success, although not what Mexican leaders envisioned. Neither side worked to understand, appreciate, nor resolve the cultural differences intrinsic to the union proposed by Mexico and accepted by Anglo-American immigrants.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:58 pm

January 18 in Texas History…..

Texas historian and author born in Cincinnati

On this day in 1817, Julia Lee was born to George and Mary Lee of Cincinnati. The Lees moved to Austin in 1840. Julia married George W. Sinks, then chief clerk of the Post Office Department of the Republic of Texas. Mrs. Sinks demonstrated a notable interest in Texas history, collecting various documents and contributing historical notes and columns to newspapers in Dallas and Galveston. She was a charter member and vice president of the Texas State Historical Association upon its formation in 1897 and contributed articles to the first two volumes of the association's journals. Following her death in 1904, her collection of documents relating to Texas history was donated to the University of Texas. Today these documents form part of the Eugene C. Barker Texas collection of the Center for American History.

…..Another chapter in Texas History


Julia Lee Sinks

In 1840 Julia Lee, sister Lydia, and brothers Joseph and John struck out from Cincinnati, Ohio bound for the promised land of Texas. One imagines the trepidation in the hearts of their parents, George and Mary Lee, as they waved goodbye to their four children -- in their eyes, their offspring were leaving the civilized safety of America’s sixth largest city for a dangerous frontier wilderness of thieves, murderers and wild Indians. Julia herself entertained fears of violence and death. Years after the event she recalled how her “poetical fancy of the ‘noble Indian’ had given way to a sickening fear” as she and her siblings entered what she described as “Indian range.” She was twenty-three.

Julia remained in Texas for the rest of her long life. Settling first in Austin with her siblings, she left that city for La Grange only a few years later. Nevertheless, to those of us interested in the city’s earliest days Julia is perhaps Austin’s most important early inhabitant. For in the 1890s, at the request of the editors of the Galveston Daily News, she penned a series of articles describing Austin life of the 1840s. Hers is the most detailed account of the city in its infancy. Only the 1924 newspaper reminiscences of long-time Austin resident William Walsh rival those of Julia, yet Walsh was less than five years old when the Lee siblings first hit town.

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Julia Lee Sinks, 1817-1904. ( photo courtesy of the Austin History Center)

As did many early immigrants, the Lees arrived in Texas via New Orleans, having traveled from Cincinnati via steamship before boarding another ship destined for Galveston. On the Galveston-bound boat Julia encountered several men renowned for their influence in Texas affairs. Foremost among them was Sam Houston, “with the fresh laurels of San Jacinto on him” and his young bride Margaret. That Margaret Houston proved to be the force which tamed her previously wild husband is no surprise, given Julia’s description of her fellow passenger as possessing “sweet simplicity of manner . . . fine intelligence . . . [and] ladylike quiet.” Two years younger than Julia, Margaret entertained the boat’s passengers by playing guitar and singing several songs, including Sam’s favorite Doubt Not.

Also aboard was Irishman Hugh Kerr, a self-described poet well known for his 1838 work A Poetical Description of Texas, and a Narrative of Many Interesting Events in that Country, Embracing a Period of Several Years, Interspersed with Moral and Political Impressions; Also an Appeal to Those who Oppose the Union of Texas with the United States, and the Anticipation of that Event. To Which is Added the Texas Heroes, Nos. 1 & 2. Fortunately or not, the city of Austin had not yet sprung to life when Kerr published his tome, so Julia had to make do with his verbal portrait of the city’s primary waterway to satisfy her curiosity about her future home.

The Colorado next demands

The little sketch which here we draw;

Its useful timber and prime lands,

Will vie with all the writer saw.

There is more but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say that Hugh Kerr’s lengthy ballad served as a poetical Muse for one of his readers, who wrote,

Oh Kerr, Kerr!

What did you do it fer?

Another passenger, Samuel Maverick of San Antonio, is the very same cattleman whose name proved both asset and liability to John McCain’s recent presidential aspirations. Maverick spent the trip trying in vain to persuade one of Julia’s brothers to choose San Antonio over Austin as a place to settle. Doubtless he failed to mention (or didn’t yet know of) the 1840 Council House Fight in the streets of San Antonio which resulted in the deaths of scores of Comanches and several Anglo Texans. Samuel’s wife Mary later wrote a fine memoir of her own containing a detailed description of the slaughter.

At Galveston Julia and her siblings boarded a small steamboat for Houston. They joked about the boat “traveling along between the bushes” that lined the narrow waterway Buffalo Bayou. After securing wagons and teams in Houston they headed inland to Austin. Along the way they met Josiah Wilbarger, who had settled on the Colorado River at Wilbarger Creek in 1830 and three years later survived being scalped. As did other travelers who encountered Josiah, Julia noted the black silk cap that he wore at all times. The Lees finally made it to Austin on a beautiful spring day, “a day of sunshine and showers, a day of smiles and tears, smiles that brightened the tears as they fell, making the valley of the Colorado where the road lay seem a valley of diamonds.” Julia thrilled at the region’s beauty, enhanced by carpets of wildflowers that instilled in her “a superstitious delight in this glad blazonry of nature.”

Once in Austin the Lee siblings set up house in a rental at West Pecan (6th) Street and Guadalupe. Theirs was the westernmost residence in town. Julia recalled that West Pecan at the time provided the main western entry point into Austin for Indians and whites alike. Anglo residents avoided the road after dark. Thus, “the Indians claimed right of way, and all full moons brought moccasin tracks in abundance.”

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Julia Lee Sinks' autograph collection included the signatures of Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar, David Burnet, the Lipan Apache chief Flacco, Anson Jones and a well-liked Texas Ranger captain named Mark Lewis, gunned down on an Austin street in 1842 in a personal feud.

In 1841 Julia married government clerk George Sinks. The following year she accompanied her husband on the government exodus to Washington, Texas, when President Sam Houston, responding to two separate Mexican army occupations of San Antonio, removed the seat of government from Austin. She never returned to Austin to live. In her brief time in the city, however, she formed friendships and acquaintances with prominent locals, including Mirabeau Lamar, David Burnet, Felix Huston, Edward Burleson and the Lipan Apache chief Flacco.

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She also experienced all of the anguish and elation inherent to life in a frontier capital city. She witnessed the Pig War dispute between French Chargé de Affaires Count Saligny and hotel owner Richard Bullock. She experienced the numbing fear of threatened and actual Indian attack. She attended balls at the President’s house, festive dinners in the Senate chamber and parades on Congress Avenue. She rejoiced at sister Lydia’s marriage to Dr. Joseph Robertson in 1842 and mourned at the passage of numerous victims of Indian attack being hauled to the “Dead House” on the Avenue. And years later, in detailed lyrical prose she documented her reminiscences for the Galveston Daily News. In 2005 Frances Brady Underwood compiled Julia’s articles into a book titled Early Days in Texas. I bought my copy at the Republic of Texas Museum in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas headquarters at 510 East Anderson Lane in Austin.

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Left: Julia Robertson's rendition of the 1839 Texas capitol at Colorado Street and Hickory (8th) Street. Notice the log palisade around the compound, built on orders from President Mirabeau Lamar. The palisade's perceived ineffectiveness earned it the nickname "Lamar's Folly." Right: Intersection of Congress Avenue and Pecan (6th) Street, looking east along Pecan. These sketches were produced in the 1890s according to Julia Lee Sinks' recollections.

Julia’s namesake niece Julia Robertson, daughter of Lydia Lee and Joseph Robertson, produced the illustrations that accompanied her aunt’s newspaper articles. The drawings are a bit crude, yet are executed well enough to provide a rare and fascinating portrait of earliest Austin.

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Left: View of several government department buildings on the west side of Congress Avenue below Hickory (8th) Street. Notice the palisade of the Capitol at upper right. Right: The Dead House on Congress Avenue, to which victims of Indian attack were taken to be prepared for burial. The building's precise location is unknown.

After leaving Austin, Julia Lee Sinks spent most of the rest of her life in La Grange. She was a charter member of the Texas State Historical Association and contributed articles to the first two editions of the association’s quarterly journal. She also wrote the first history of Fayette County, Chronicles of Fayette. In wrapping up her reminiscences of Austin in 1896, she noted that most of the people in her account had died. “They have given all the light these pages have, and to preserve these names and acts from oblivion, this labor of love was undertaken.” Julia didn’t want us to forget the people she had known and cared about. Nor should we forget her.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:48 pm

January 19 in Texas History…..

Waterloo approved as new capital of Texas

On this day in 1839, Waterloo (soon to be renamed Austin) was approved as the new capital of the Republic of Texas. In 1836 Columbia (now West Columbia) had become the first capital of an elected government of the republic. It remained capital for three months. The city of Houston was then selected as a temporary capital until 1839. A capital-site commission selected a site near La Grange in 1838 and Congress passed a bill to build the capital there, but President Sam Houston vetoed it. Mirabeau B. Lamar, Houston's successor as president and a proponent of westward expansion, instructed the commission to inspect a site he had visited on the Colorado River. Impressed by its beauty, abundant natural resources, and central location, the commission purchased 7,735 acres comprising the hamlet of Waterloo and adjacent lands. Because the area's remoteness from population centers and its vulnerability to attacks by Mexican troops and Indians displeased many Texans, including Houston, political opposition made Austin's early years precarious ones. In 1842, during his second term as president, Houston ordered the government to return to the city of Houston, and issued an executive order making Washington-on-the-Brazos capital. The order spawned the Archive War. The Constitution of 1845 provided that Austin be capital until 1850, when a vote was required to choose the permanent capital. The city received majorities in that election and a subsequent election in 1872.

…..Another chapter in Texas History
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:08 pm

Heroism of the "Texas Division"

On this day in 1944, the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Texas Division," began its "two-day nightmare," the crossing of the Rapido River in Italy. General Mark Clark needed pressure on the German defensive line below Rome to prevent the Germans from counterattacking the projected Allied beachhead at Anzio. Further, an Allied breakthrough into the Liri valley would facilitate the march toward Rome. The Rapido’s swift current and muddy banks, together with the lack of adequate boats and bridging equipment, compounded the difficulties—not to mention the strong German defenses. The division suffered heavy casualties, including 143 killed, 663 wounded, and 875 missing. The division participated in the continuing Italian campaign, including the liberation of Rome, and went on to invade Southern France and advance into Germany.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

EDITORIAL (Austin American Statesman)
The story of war -- and all of its valor and horror
Monday, May 29, 2006


In Italy's Liri Valley lies a metaphor for all wars. There, in January 1944, Texans of the 36th Infantry Division suffered and died in a battle that for so long was unheralded. To have told the story when it happened would have forced society to confront war's ugly choices and even uglier consequences.

The story of the bloody river crossing is one we should all know because it is a tale of callous stupidity in issuing orders and unparalleled bravery in executing them. The story shows that in war, nothing is certain except suffering and that valor alone won't turn the tide.

'ANYONE CAUGHT ABOVE GROUND WAS GONE.'
Bill Hartung, a member of Texas' 36th Infantry Division who participated in the second assault on the German fortifications at the Rapido River in 1944.

The Rapido River crossing was a disaster that was eminently predictable, but hubris overruled reason as is often the case in even "good" wars and into the valley of death the Texas division went, just like Tennyson's Light Brigade.

Of the millions of stories that could be told on Memorial Day, the saddest of America's national holidays, this one is especially poignant and relevant given the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Years from now, the Rapido River crossing memory will be replaced by something that happens today or will happen next week in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is the nature of war: Good people die.
Whether good people die for good reasons is war's eternal debate. Combat soldiers don't have the luxury of debating philosophy. Theirs is but to do or die.

The push to Rome
In January 1944, the invasion of Europe was just under six months away, and 5th Army Commander Gen. Mark Clark's desire to get to Rome before the Normandy landing was stuck in the Italian mud. German defenders, under the able command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, dug in behind the Gustav Line and were putting up a stubborn resistance. Clark and his staff came up with a plan to land at Anzio, behind enemy lines. For the plan to work, though, pressure had to be applied on the Gustav Line.

To do that, the planners envisioned an armor attack through the Liri Valley, and the key to the valley was the Rapido River, a natural obstacle that had to be breached.

That meant an infantry assault, and the 36th Division was picked for the assignment. The 36th, a mobilized Texas National Guard outfit, had been in plenty of tough fights. The troops had landed in North Africa and Sicily and had seen enough action that their numbers had been seriously depleted.

The first river crossing
The division's top brass had doubts about the plan to send what was left of the 36th across in boats, but put them aside and ordered a reconnaissance patrol.
Leading the recon mission was Lt. Gabriel Navarette of El Paso. As author Raul Morin recounts in his book, "Among the Valiant," Navarette's patrol "could make out the heavy concentration of troops and fortifications (despite the darkness). The banks on the German side were strewn with barbed-wire entanglements. Large trees had been felled and their trunks offered protection of the enemy and obstacles for the Americans. Gun emplacements that could rake the river with crossfire were revealed when the patrol ventured further."

The Germans discovered the patrol. One man was killed and Navarette and another soldier, Manuel Rivera, were wounded but made it back to report the horror that waited.

Moving into a slaughter
Navarette's warning was ignored. The assault was on.
"Tonight, the 36th Division will attempt to cross the Rapido opposite San Angelo. . . . We might succeed, but I do not see how we can. The crossing is dominated by heights on both sides of the Valley where German artillery observers are ready to bear down heavy artillery concentrations on our men. The river is the principal obstacle of the German main line of resistance," Maj. Gen. Fred Walker, the 36th Division commander, wrote in his diary.

Walker opted to attack after dark. At 1800 hours (6 p.m.), the 141st Infantry regiment left its assembly area and moved to the Rapido and slaughter.

Under fire, the rubber boats ferrying the Texans across the Rapido capsized, dumping the hapless infantrymen into the river. Weighted down by their winter clothing and equipment, many drowned in the freezing water.
Failure is not an option

Despite the odds, a few Texans managed to make it across the river. They dug in as best they could and waited for help. Walker wanted to mount a rescue operation. Higher headquarters ordered another assault, this time in daylight. Failure, one company grade officer was informed, was not an option.

Bill Hartung, an enlisted man, described the second attempt to cross the river: When "the Germans spotted us, all hell broke loose . . . mortars, artillery fire and machine gun fire about six to eight inches above ground hit us. We still didn't know how bad off we were because when they stopped firing for a few minutes, we would stand up and try to see what was going on. All we could see were GIs being lined up and taken prisoners. The enemy also had tanks dug in up to the barrel, and fortified as bunkers with steel and concrete about two feet thick. Anyone caught above ground was gone."
Rivera of El Paso, the other soldier wounded on the recon patrol, summed it up succinctly, if grimly: "If you didn't get wounded, if you didn't get killed, if you weren't captured, you weren't at the river."

The Texans who were lost
A third assault was contemplated but never materialized. The opposing forces declared a truce to clear the field of the dead and wounded.

In the battle, the 36th suffered 2,877 casualties, including 1,681 killed.

After the war, Texans raised enough hell that a congressional hearing into the assault was convened. The committee finally concluded that, in the end, the Rapido River crossing was a legitimate military operation requiring no further action by Congress.

In other words: In war, stuff happens. People die.

Remember them.

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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:21 pm

January 21 in Texas History…..

"Know-Nothings" abandon secrecy, meet in Austin

On this day in 1856, the American or Know-Nothing party of Texas met for the first time in open convention in Austin. The party was the political manifestation of the xenophobic, anti-Catholic secret society known as the American Order. In the summer of 1855 Texas Know-Nothing leaders launched a plan to gain political control of the state. Lieutenant Governor David C. Dickson, who had defected from the Democratic party, headed the ticket, though he and his fellow candidates steadfastly denied that they were members of the American Order. During the spirited ensuing campaign Sam Houston issued a public letter endorsing the principles of the American Order. Though incumbent Democratic governor Elisha M. Pease defeated Dickson in the August election, the American party elected Lemuel D. Evans to Congress and about a dozen members to the state legislature. Buoyed by these limited successes, the party held a November rally in Austin at which Houston spoke, and at the January convention elected delegates to the national convention and nominated candidates for several state offices. But the national movement soon split over the issue of slavery, and by 1857 the American party had virtually disappeared in Texas.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

AMERICAN PARTY. The antiforeign, anti-Catholic secret society called the American Order, more popularly known as the Know-Nothing movement, reached Texas by the mid-1850s. Many Texans joined the movement and especially its political manifestation, the American party. Some feared "foreign ideas," especially the antislavery views often attributed to persons of Mexican and German origin in the state. Others believed that the state Democratic party was drifting dangerously toward a secessionist position and hoped that the new party might save the Union. Still others were Whigs who, realizing that their party was dying, did not want to join the Democrats. Some Texans were attracted by the secret character of the movement. Texas Know-Nothings, like their counterparts elsewhere in the nation, pledged to vote only for native-born Protestants for public office and to work to increase the residence requirement in the federal naturalization law from five to twenty-one years.
The party's first success in Texas came in December 1854, when Know-Nothing candidates swept the San Antonio municipal election. Then, in March 1855, Galvestonians elected a mayor who belonged to the secret order. In both towns native-born white voters seemed to be reacting to the growing number of foreign-born residents.

Early in the summer of 1855 Texas Know-Nothing leaders launched a plan to gain political control of the state by subverting the Democratic party. By that time they had secretly won over several Democratic leaders, including John S. Ford, chairman of the state Democratic committee, and Lieutenant Governor David C. Dickson. On June 11, under cover of a river-improvements convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Know-Nothings nominated a slate of candidates to run for state offices and for Congress in the August election. Dickson headed the ticket in opposition to Democratic governor Elisha M. Pease's reelection bid. Though the true purpose and actions of the convention were public knowledge within twenty-four hours of its adjournment, the participants and candidates steadfastly denied-then and throughout the ensuing campaign-that they were members of the American Order.

A spirited campaign followed. On June 16 the Texas Democrats held a convention in Austin, at which they passed resolutions condemning secret political factions and the imposition of tests for voting or officeholding. On July 24 United States senator Sam Houston issued a public letter criticizing the sectionalism of the John C. Calhoun wing of the Democratic party and endorsing the principles of the American Order. Throughout the campaign Dickson and his supporters criticized Governor Pease's unpopular proposal to pay for a railway system for Texas with state funds, while the Democratic leadership hammered away at Dickson's defection to the American party.

On August 6 Pease defeated Dickson by a vote of 26,336 to 17,968. Most of the Know-Nothing vote was concentrated in the western part of East Texas and in a group of western counties in the vicinity of Travis County. The American party succeeded in electing Lemuel D. Evans to Congress from the eastern district, Stephen Crosby as land commissioner, and about a dozen members of the legislature. The party faithful celebrated their limited victories in November at a rally in Austin at which Senator Houston spoke.

On January 21, 1856, the American party of Texas, abandoning secrecy, met in open convention in Austin. Participants elected delegates to the national convention, nominated candidates for several state offices, and adopted resolutions endorsing the party's nativism and calling for the preservation and perpetuation of the federal Union, a strict construction of the United States Constitution, the preservation of states' rights, and the denial of the right of Congress to legislate on the issue of slavery in the states.

In February two Texans, Lemuel D. Evans and Benjamin H. Epperson, attended the party's national convention in Philadelphia, which nominated Millard Fillmore for president. The failure of the party to include any statement in its platform about protecting the institution of slavery disappointed many Texas Know-Nothings and may have discouraged them from active participation in the campaign. At any rate, the American party candidates suffered local and national defeats in the general election. The movement then declined as it split nationally over slavery. In Texas the opposition of the Democrats was very effective. By 1857 the American party had virtually disappeared in Texas, though many of its former members supported Houston's unsuccessful bid for the governorship that year.
In its short life, the American party made its mark on the Texas political scene by forcing the Democratic party to organize effectively throughout the state and by focusing on Unionist, nationalist, and nativist issues that perdured long after the movement's demise.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:20 pm

January 22 un Texas History…..

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First steamboat reaches Houston

On this day in 1837, the first steamboat to ascend the Brazos River above Harrisburg brought Augustus C. and John K. Allen and a number of other prominent Texans to the new capital of Houston. The Laura was built in Louisville, Kentucky, for use on the Brazos by Thomas F. McKinney and Samuel M. Williams. After her arrival in Texas in June 1835 she had a notable career. In September 1835 the Laura towed the armed schooner San Felipe to engage and capture the Mexican cruiser Correo, which had been seizing United States vessels calling at Texas ports. In April 1836 the Laura took vice president Lorenzo de Zavala and secretary of the treasury Bailey Hardeman to the site of the battle of San Jacinto; they were the first officials to arrive there from Galveston Island. In May the Laura took Republic of Texas president David G. Burnet, his cabinet, and Antonio López de Santa Anna and his aides from Galveston to Velasco. The vessel remained in government service through September 1836, when McKinney and Williams resumed using her to gather Brazos River cotton. In June 1840 she broke both shafts on a bar in the Brazos River and was towed into port. Her subsequent fate is unknown.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

LAURA. The steamboat Laura was built in Louisville, Kentucky, for use in the Brazos River by Thomas F. McKinney and Samuel M. Williams. The small river steamer, which arrived in June 1835, was eighty-five feet long and 16½ feet wide. She drew 5½ feet and could carry sixty-five tons of cargo. On September 2, 1835, just off the mouth of the Brazos River and during a dead calm, the Laura towed the armed schooner San Felipe to engage and capture the Mexican cruiser Correo, which had been seizing United States vessels calling at Texas ports. The Texas government chartered the Laura to deliver men and supplies and also to tow schooners in and out of ports during the Texas Revolution. On April 24, 1836, she took vice president Lorenzo de Zavala and secretary of the treasury Bailey Hardeman to the site of the battle of San Jacinto; they were the first officials to arrive there from Galveston Island. On May 10, the Laura took David G. Burnet (then president of the Republic of Texas, the cabinet, and Antonio López de Santa Anna and his aides from Galveston to Velasco. The vessel remained in government service through September, when McKinney and Williams (see MCKINNEY, WILLIAMS AND COMPANY) resumed using her to gather Brazos River cotton. In mid-January 1837 the little steamer, the first vessel to ascend the river above Harrisburg, took Augustus C. and John K. Allen, founders of Houston (which at that time had recently been designated as the new capital), and a number of other prominent men to Houston. On February 23, 1837, the Laura left Columbia loaded with government officials and furniture heading for the new capital at Houston. In June 1840 she broke both shafts on a bar in the Brazos River and was towed into port by the steamer Constitution. This was the last known reference to the Laura.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:08 pm

January 23 in Texas History…..

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Confederates hang former Texas senator as traitor

On this day in 1863, Confederate soldiers hanged Martin Hart in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This attorney from Hunt County had served in the Texas legislature, where he spoke out against secession. After secession, he resigned his government post and organized the Greenville Guards, pledging the company's services "in defense of Texas" against invasion. Under color of a Confederate commission, however, he spied against the Confederacy. In Arkansas he led a series of rear-guard actions against Confederate forces, and is alleged to have murdered at least two prominent secessionists. He was captured on January 18, 1863, by Confederate forces.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

MARTIN D. HART (1821?–1863). Martin D. Hart, state senator and Unionist, the son of Capt. John Hart, was probably born in Indiana in 1821. The family moved to Texas around 1833 and settled first at Jonesboro and later in Warren. When John Hart organized the company known as Hart's Mounted Men in 1836, his fifteen-year-old son, Martin, joined. They served in the Army of the Republic of Texas for three months, from July 20 to October 20, 1836. On March 10, 1842, Martin Hart married Mary Ann Green in Fannin County. The couple eventually had five children. In 1849 Martin and his brother Hardin moved to Hunt County, where they operated a successful law office. By 1860, according to the Hunt County tax rolls, Hart, with more than 5,000 acres valued for tax purposes at $20,542, was the second richest man in the county.

He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he served from 1857 to 1859. He was then elected state senator. During the election of 1860 he supported John Bell, presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party. After the election, as the thirst for secession swept through Texas, Hart publicly opposed the movement in a series of speeches he made in the county courthouse. When Governor Sam Houston called the Texas legislature into special session in January 1861, Hart traveled to Austin. There he signed the Unionist "Address to the People of the State," which attempted to counter the secessionist argument. After Texas secession in February 1861, he resigned his Senate seat and returned to Hunt County. He resumed his law practice and, in July of 1861, organized and was elected captain of the Greenville Guards, a company of mounted volunteers. He wrote Governor Edward Clark, pledging the company's services "in defense of Texas whenever she is invaded or threatened with invasion." In the summer of 1862 he received a Confederate commission with permission to raise a company and operate in northwest Arkansas. Using his commission to travel through Confederate lines, he and his followers marched to southwest Missouri, where they apparently received Union army papers. Hart returned to Arkansas, led a series of rear-guard actions against Confederate forces, and is alleged to have murdered at least two prominent secessionists. He and some of his followers were captured by Confederate troops on January 18, 1863, and taken to Fort Smith, where he and his first lieutenant, J. W. Hays of Illinois, were court-martialed and hanged, on January 23, 1863. They were buried in unmarked graves under the tree where they were hanged. In 1864, when the federals took Fort Smith, Hart's body was exhumed and reinterred in the national cemetery there. Contributions from Unionists and federal soldiers purchased a headstone.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:31 pm

January 24 in Texas History…..

Famous former slave dies at the hands of Indians

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On this date in 1871, Britton Johnson was killed by a band of Kiowas who attacked his wagontrain. He had become legendary in the previous decade for pursuing Indians who kidnapped his wife and children. After his adventures on the Llano Estacado, Johnson worked as a teamster hauling goods between Weatherford and Fort Griffin. The evidence of spent cartridges suggests that he defended himself fiercely before dying. He and his men were buried in a common grave beside the road.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

BRITTON JHONSON (ca. 1840–1871). Britton (Britt) Johnson was born about 1840, probably in Tennessee. He became a legend on the West Texas frontier after the summer of 1865, when he went out onto the Llano Estacado in pursuit of Indians who had kidnapped his wife and two children in the Elm Creek Raid of October 1864. Johnson was a slave of Moses Johnson, a landholder in the Peters colony. Since he ran freight and his own wagon team after the Civil War, he probably had at least a minimum of reading, writing, and math skills. Although he was legally a slave, he served Moses Johnson as a sort of foreman of the Johnson ranch, with unlimited freedom to perform his duties. He was also allowed to raise his own horses and cattle. After the Elm Creek Raid, Johnson returned to find his son Jim dead and his wife and children taken, along with other captives. He spent until the summer of 1865 looking for Mary Johnson and his two daughters at reservations in Oklahoma and at scattered forts throughout the Texas frontier. Sources differ as to the rescue of the captives, who included Johnson's family and Elizabeth FitzPatrick (see. Some sources claim that in the spring of 1865 Johnson went to live with the Comanches and managed to arrange for a ransom. But most likely, his family was ransomed and rescued in June 1865 by Comanche chief Asa-Havey as part of ongoing peace talks.

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Comanche Chief Assa-Havey

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was rescued by United States troops in November 1865. After his adventures among the Comanches and Kiowas, Johnson moved his family to Parker County, where he served as a freighter and teamster hauling goods between Weatherford and Fort Griffin. On January 24, 1871, about twenty-five Kiowas attacked a wagontrain manned by Johnson and two black teamsters four miles east of Salt Creek in Young County. A group of nearby teamsters from a larger train of wagons reported that Johnson died last in a desperate defense behind the body of his horse. Teamsters who buried the mutilated bodies of Johnson and his men counted 173 rifle and pistol shells in the area where Johnson made his stand. He was buried with his men in a common grave beside the wagon road.

ELM CREEK RAID. On October 13, 1864, in western Young County, several hundred Kiowa and Comanche Indians raided the Elm Creek valley northwest of Fort Belknap. Peter Harmonson and his son, after taking refuge in a thicket on nearby Rabbit Creek, shot and killed one of the Indian leaders. At the household of Elizabeth Ann FitzPatrick (see CLIFTON, ELIZABETH ANN), the Indians killed and scalped Mrs. FitzPatrick's daughter, Mildred Susanna Carter Durkin, and killed the son of Britt (Britton) Johnson, a black slave. Mrs. FitzPatrick, her son and two granddaughters, Mildred and Lottie, and Johnson's wife and children were taken captive. Farther upstream Dr. Thomas Wilson, Thomas Hamby, and his son Thornton K. Hamby, a Confederate soldier, rode to warn others in the area and then defended several families who had taken refuge in George Bragg's cabin. After charging the cabin several times, killing Wilson and wounding Bragg and Thomas Hamby, the Indians heard shots from a company of Confederate colonel James G. Bourland's Border Regiment and rode north with a herd of stolen cattle and horses. The company, under the command of a Second Lieutenant Carson, pursued the Indians but rode into an ambush, in which five soldiers were killed and several were wounded. Some sources claim that in March 1865 Britt Johnson went to live with the Comanches in order to find the captives and that he managed to pay a ransom and rescue his family and Mrs.

FitzPatrick. Others regard Johnson's exploits as mere legend and credit friendly Comanches, namely Comanche chief Asa-Havey, with the rescue of Johnson's family in June 1865. Apparently, as a part of ongoing peace talks, Asa-Havey paid a ransom for the captives, rescued them, and took them to the Indian agent; eventually the family was delivered to Britt Johnson. United States troops rescued Mrs. FitzPatrick in November 1865.

Britton ‘Britt" Johnson:Hero of the Texas Plains

Britt Johnson, born a slave in Tennessee, became a rancher and teamster in North Texas and gained fame, fact or fiction, for rescuing his family and several other hostages who had been
abducted by Kiowa and Comanche Indians during the Elm Creek Raid in 1864.
Johnson was the son of either Moses Johnson or his son John Johnson. The Johnsons also owned a young lady named Mary. When the Johnson family came west to Texas in the 1850’s,
they brought Britt and Mary with them.

While technically a slave, Britt did not behave as such and lived as a free man. He knew how to read, write, and had basic accounting skills. He was also a skilled horse and cattle breeder,
and an expert teamster. As foreman, he ran Moses Johnson’s new ranch in Peters Colony, Young County, west of Dallas. In exchange, Britt was given his own small farm where he raised
horses and cattle. Britt often handled Moses’ livestock sales out of town and accompanied him on buying trips.

Britt and Mary Johnson married and had three children by 1864. When Britt and Moses left on a trip, Mary and the children stayed with friend and neighbor, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, at her
trading post and near Fort Griffin, which should have been a comfort given the rumors of Indian activity north of Peters Colony.

However, on October 13, 1864 several hundred Kiowa and Comanche warriors swooped down on the Fitzpatrick farm. In what would become known as the Elm Creek Raid, Britt’s eldest
son, Jubal, was killed when two warriors fought over who would get to keep him. Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s son, grandson, and daughter were also murdered. Mary Johnson, her two daughters, Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, and her two granddaughters were taken hostage and driven north across the Red River and into the Indian Territory.

Britt and Moses returned to the Fitzpatrick farm the next day. After burying the dead, Britt asked Moses if he could leave to find his family. Moses wrote out a letter of permission (required
for slaves in Texas) and handed over half of his savings to his friend.

Britt knew he needed to find his family sooner than later, knowing that conditions for the prisoners would be harsh and violent. Many captives did not survive for very long. He made
several dangerous trips north into Indian Territory, but made contacts within Kiowa and Comanche tribes as he searched for Mary and his children. Finally, he moved in with a Comanche tribe
in 1865 hoping to gain their trust and aid.

Johnson began working with David White, who was also searching for his family, and Comanche Chief Asa Havey (“Milky Way”), who was trying to create peace between the Comanches
and settlers. Johnson brought goods to trade for captives. Through AsaHavey, he traded ponies, blankets, mirrors, and food for several other hostages such as Ben Blackwell, Elonzo White,
and Thomas Rolland. After almost a year, Johnson finally set up the trade for Mary, his daughters, and Lottie Durkin (Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s surviving granddaughter).

In the Fall of 1865, AsaHavey made the trade and brought the repatriated family to Fort Griffin. Johnson met with his family there and found, to his horror that Mary had given birth to a
child while in captivity. Since no provision was made for this child in the negotiations, the child remained with the Comanches. Johnson and AsaHavey went back to negotiate for the baby. It
took several years, but the child was eventually returned. However, some Comanches and Kiowas thought Johnson had dealt with them in an unfair manner and threatened that should they
ever find him alone, they would kill him.

Johnson moved his family south to Parker County, Texas, just west of Fort Worth. He set up another farm and started a teamster business to haul freight. He was well respected in the
county and treated with dignity due to his rescue of the hostages, though they were white and not members of his family.

Johnson hired two recently freed slaves, Dennis Cureton and Paint Crawford, to help him haul his goods. On January 24, 1871 Britt and his men were returning from an expedition when
they were attacked by a Kiowa war party led by Maman-ti (“Owl Prophet”). The twenty-five braves quickly killed Cureton and Crawford, but Johnson made them work for his death. He climbed
behind his dead horse and held off the incursion for as long as possible.

Hours later, when another teamster outfit happened upon the scene near Salt Creek in Young County, they found Britt’s body surrounded by 173 shell casings from his shot gun and
pistols. He had been scalped, mutilated and disemboweled, and his dog was killed and stuffed into Johnson’s stomach cavity. The teamsters also found the discarded scalps of the three
African-American men in bushes along the trails. The braves found the curly hair useless when trying to tie the scalps to their saddles for display, so they just threw them away.
A marker is placed on the site of the attack.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:14 pm

January 25 in Texas History…..

Isleño leader dies

On this day in 1779, Vicente Álvarez Travieso, leader of the isleño settlers of San Antonio, died. Álvarez Travieso was born on the island of Tenerife in 1705. When Spanish royal authorities, hoping to reduce the expense of a purely military settlement, decided on a plan to transfer a number of Canary Islanders to Texas, Álvarez Travieso joined them. When they arrived at their new home, San Fernando de Béxar (now San Antonio), in 1731, the isleños established the first regularly organized municipal government in Texas and elected Álvarez Travieso alguacil mayor (chief constable) for life. He soon became a leading spokesman for the colonists and something of a problem for the colonial administration. When the islanders were refused permission to travel to Saltillo for medical attention, Álvarez Travieso launched a series of lawsuits on behalf of his disgruntled companions. In the 1770s the Álvarez Travieso clan became known for their vigorous pursuit of unbranded stray cattle, many of which had wandered away from neighboring mission pastures. To stop such "excesses" Governor Vicencio de Ripperdá conducted two rustling trials against the ranchers of the San Antonio River valley. Álvarez Travieso died just after these proceedings.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

VICENTE ÁLVAREZ TRAVIESO (1705–1779). Vicente Álvarez Travieso, a leader of the Canary Islanders, was born in 1705 on the island of Tenerife, the son of Juan and Catarina (Cayetano) Álvarez Travieso. He joined the Canary Islander migration en route to Texas and married Mariana Curbelo at Cuatitlán, Mexico. After arrival at their new home, San Antonio de Béxar, the isleños organized a municipal government, and Álvarez Travieso was elected alguacilqv mayor (chief constable) for life. He soon became a leading spokesman for the colonists and something of a problem for the colonial administration.

When the islanders were refused permission to travel to Saltillo for medical attention, Álvarez Travieso launched a series of lawsuits on behalf of his disgruntled companions. One in 1740 was directed toward securing the labor of mission Indians on the settlers' farms and the right to sell produce to the presidio. The missionaries appealed to the viceroy, however, and managed to retain their privileges. Another celebrated case in 1756 was aimed against the missions' virtual monopoly on lands and water rights around the villa. When Don Vicente's claim to a ranch on the banks of Cibolo Creek was contested by the Quereteran friars at Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission, he sued again in 1771. Although the ruling obtained in Mexico City was favorable to the private stockmen of Bexar, it was not implemented, and Álvarez's title to Rancho de las Mulas remained clouded.

This technicality did not keep the Álvarez Travieso clan from vigorously pursuing the stray cattle of the area, many of which were unbranded and had wandered away from neighboring mission pastures. To stop such "excesses" Governor Vicencio de Ripperdáqv conducted two rustling trials against the ranchers of the San Antonio River valley. Álvarez Travieso died just after these proceedings, on January 25, 1779, and the controversy was left to the younger generation. He and Mariana had eleven children. After her death in 1785, Las Mulas became the property of their son Tomás, who was executor of his father's estate, but other heirs challenged Tomás's rights. Nonetheless, the ranch was deeded to Vicente, son of Tomás, in 1809 and remained in his hands after Mexican independence despite the prominent role that Vicente had played in the revolutionary years against Royalist authority.

CANARY ISLANDERS. On February 14, 1719, the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo made a report to the king of Spain proposing that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. His plan was approved, and notice was given the Canary Islanders to furnish 200 families; the Council of the Indies suggested that 400 families should be sent from the Canaries to Texas by way of Havana and Veracruz. By June 1730, twenty-five families had reached Cuba and ten families had been sent on to Veracruz before orders from Spain to stop the movement arrived. Under the leadership of Juan Leal Goraz, the group marched overland to the presidio of San Antonio de Bexar, where they arrived on March 9, 1731. The party had increased by marriages on the way to fifteen families, a total of fifty-six persons. They joined a military community that had been in existence since 1718. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists. María Rosa Padrón was the first baby born of Canary Islander descent in San Antonio.

SAN FERNANDO DE BÉXAR. San Fernando de Béxar (now San Antonio) was founded in 1731 between the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, to the east of the presidio established at the same location in 1718. It was the first chartered civil settlement in Texas and was named in honor of the heir to the Spanish throne, the future Fernando VI. From 1773 until 1824, when Texas was joined to Coahuila, San Fernando served as the provincial capital. In 1718 Governor Martín de Alarcón established a settlement he called Villa de Béxar near the headwaters of San Pedro Creek, but civilian settlement did not materialize. Royal authorities, hoping to reduce the expense of a purely military settlement, decided on a plan to transfer 400 families of Canary Islanders to Texas, some of whom would be located near San Antonio de Béxar Presidio. The immigrants had rights as first settlers to form a town government, to receive generous land grants, and to carry the noble title of hidalgo. Logistical problems, Indian hostilities, and the unfamiliarity of the Canary Islanders with frontier conditions caused Capt. Juan Antonio Pérez de Almazán to locate the new settlers adjacent to the presidio.

Throughout the Spanish period San Fernando suffered from retarded development. Apache, Comanche, and other nonsedentary Indians raided cattle and horse herds, attacked farmers in the field, and often made communications with the interior of New Spain hazardous. The proximity of the new town to the military settlement and to five Franciscan missions led to considerable friction over land, water, and livestock among the Hispanic inhabitants of the area over the next few decades. Population growth was slow; approximately 500 settlers lived in the town and presidio in 1750, and triple that number at the end of the eighteenth century. The population grew somewhat more rapidly after 1803, but rebellion and filibustering during the second decade of the nineteenth century caused a drastic decline. In 1820 the population of the town and neighboring missions was approximately 2,000. Economic activity was correspondingly limited. Agriculture was largely for subsistence and confined to irrigated farms, one on the south side of San Fernando (established in 1731), another north of town (1777), and those of the missions as these were secularized. The farms were subdivided into individual, privately owned plots. Ranching was the most profitable activity and the source of greatest friction between townspeople and the neighboring missions. San Fernando's more prominent residents acquired large landholdings along the Medina and San Antonio river valleys in the direction of Goliad, including mission lands vacated between the 1750s and 1820s. San Fernando was also the scene of an active contraband trade between Louisiana and the interior of Mexico.

From 1811 to the mid-1830s San Fernando was the scene of political and military upheavals that further obstructed growth. In January 1811 a retired militia officer, with the assistance of some civilians, managed to gain the allegiance of the local garrison and overthrew royal officials. By March the town's leading citizens had organized a counterrevolt, for which they earned for the town the status of ciudad (city). The Gutiérrez-Magee expedition captured the city in April 1813, however, and held it until August, when an army under Joaquín de Arredondo defeated the filibusters at the battle of Medina. Indian depredations, inspired by the chaotic conditions in the province, unrealistic demands on the local population by the military, and the loss of a substantial number of residents who had sided with the insurrectionists, contributed to a collapse of the town's economy. During the 1820s and 1830s San Fernando suffered further as it became both politically and economically marginal to the region. The Constitution of 1824, which joined Coahuila and Texas in a single state, led to the transfer of political authority to Saltillo. San Fernando served only as the seat of the jefe politico, as the governor's lieutenant in the department of Texas was called. In 1831 and 1834, when the departments of the Brazos and Texas were established, San Fernando's jurisdiction was further reduced. When hostilities between Texas and the Mexican national government erupted in the autumn of 1835, San Fernando became a base of operations and scene of battles. Too exposed to Indian and Mexican attack and removed from the bulk of the new republic's population, San Fernando, renamed San Antonio, was again reduced in status to the seat of Bexar County in 1837.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:43 pm

January 26 in Texas History…..

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Murphy earns Medal of Honor

On this day in 1945, Audie Murphy, the most-decorated soldier in United States history, earned the Medal of Honor by single-handedly repelling a German attack. The Texas native enlisted in the United States Army in June 1942. During World War II he received thirty-three awards, citations, and decorations. After the war he starred in numerous movies, wrote country-and-western songs, and pursued other business interests. Murphy was killed in an airplane crash in 1971 and was buried near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

AUDIE LEON MURPHY (1924–1971). Audie Leon Murphy, war hero, Hollywood actor, and songwriter, was born near Kingston, Texas, on June 20, 1924. He was one of twelve children of Emmett Berry and Josie Bell (Killian) Murphy.

At the time of his death Murphy was the most decorated combat soldier of World War II. He enlisted in the United States Army at Greenville, Texas, in June 1942, around the date of his eighteenth birthday. After basic infantry training at Camp Wolters, Texas, and advanced training at Fort Meade, Maryland, he was assigned to North Africa as a private in Company B, Fifteenth Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division. He later served as the commander of Company B. During his World War II career Murphy received thirty-three awards, citations, and decorations and won a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant. He received every medal that the United States gives for valor, two of them twice. On January 26, 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for exceptional valor near Holtzwhir, France, where he was personally credited with killing or wounding about fifty Germans and stopping an attack by enemy tanks. After the war's end, Murphy also received several French and Belgian decorations for valor. He fought in eight campaigns in Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany; participated in two amphibious assaults, in Sicily and southern France; and was wounded three times. He was discharged from the United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, on August 17, 1945.

He subsequently pursued several careers—as a successful movie actor, a lyric writer for country and western songs, an author, and a poet. He appeared in forty-five motion pictures and starred in thirty-nine of them. His best-known films were The Red Badge of Courage (1951), To Hell and Back (1955), Night Passage (1957, with James Stewart), and The Unforgiven (1960, with Burt Lancaster). In 1955 Murphy was selected one of the year's most popular Western stars by United States theater owners, and in 1957 he was chosen as the most popular Western actor by British audiences.

He wrote the lyrics for fourteen songs and collaborated on three instrumentals. Two of his songs, "Shutters and Boards" and "When the Wind Blows in Chicago," were recorded by such top-ranking vocalists as Dean Martin, Porter Wagoner, and Eddy Arnold. Both were in the Top 10 songs on the Hit Parade for several weeks. With David McClure, Murphy wrote the best-selling book To Hell and Back (1949), the story of his World War II exploits, which went through nine printings and was made into a successful motion picture by the same name, starring Murphy.

In 1950 Murphy joined the Thirty-sixth Division of the Texas National Guard as a captain, hoping to fight in the Korean War. The division, however, was not called to active duty. Murphy remained with the Thirty-sixth "T-patchers" for several more years, eventually attaining the rank of major. In 1957 he was assigned to inactive status. He transferred to the United States Army Reserve in 1966, where he remained until his death.

Murphy married movie actress Wanda Hendrix in 1949, and their marriage ended in divorce two years later. In 1951 he married Pamela Archer, a stewardess for Braniff Airlines (see BRANIFF, THOMAS ELMER); they had two sons. Murphy was killed in an airplane crash on May 28, 1971, near Christiansburg, Virginia, and his body was not found until three days later. Two funeral services were held for him on June 4, 1971, one at Hollywood Hills, California, and the other at the First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas. Murphy was buried with full military honors near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery on June 7. An Audie L. Murphy Memorial is located at Farmersville, a statue of Murphy stands at the Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, and a Murphy collection is housed at the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill College. A new veterans hospital in San Antonio was dedicated in 1973 and named the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in his honor.

On June 20, 1996, the Texas Legislature declared his birthday as "Audie Murphy Day." That same year Murphy was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Each year the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas, hosts the Audie Murphy Days Celebration. The museum houses a large collection of Audie Murphy memorabilia. Audie Murphy was posthumously awarded Texas's supreme military honor, the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, on October 29, 2013, by Governor Rick Perry in Murphy's hometown of Farmersville, Texas. The award was presented to his sole surviving sibling Nadine Murphy-Lockey.


Audie Murphy's Medal of Honor Citation

Catalog #: 1985.0428.04 Accession #: 1985.0428
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History
Dimensions / Weight
Dimensions: 10" H x 12" W

Physical Description
Printed paper.

Specific History
This Citation was awarded to Audie Murphy for “Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity Involving Risk of Life Above and Beyond the Call of Duty In Action With the Enemy”, 26 January 1945. The citation reads:
2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

General History
Audie Murphy enlisted in the United States Army at age 17 to make something of himself. By the end of World War II, Audie Murphy's exploits had earned him every medal his country could give. He was the war's most decorated soldier and a national hero. Four years later, as a struggling actor in Hollywood, he turned his wartime experiences into a best selling book, To Hell and Back. He later starred in the film version of his book. He died in an airplane crash in Virginia while on a business trip.

His list of medals include:

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device and First Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with Second Oak Leaf Cluster
U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Distinguished Unit Emblem with First Oak Leaf Cluster
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France)
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Combat Infantry Badge
Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier
French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star
French Croix de Guerre with Palm
Medal of Liberated France
Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm

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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:02 pm

January 27 in Texas History…..

San Jacinto fife player advertises his services as a music teacher

On this day in 1838, Frederick Lemský advertised in the Telegraph and Texas Register offering his services as a music teacher and teacher of German and French. Lemský, born in Europe, came to Texas in 1836 and enlisted in the Texas army. He was a musician in the army until December 1836 and is said to have played "Come to the Bower" on the fife at the battle of San Jacinto. In 1841 Lemský was a charter member of the German Union of Texas, and in 1842 he was recorded as the employer of thirty men digging the Brazos and San Luis Canal in Brazoria County. Lemský and a partner named Franke drowned while transporting corn on a flat barge in Galveston Bay when a "hard norther" blew in and capsized the barge. According to the probate records in Brazoria County, "1 octave flute" and "1 keyed flute" were included in the inventory of his property. They were sold for $2.25 at auction in June 1844.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

FREDERICK LEMSKÝ, (?–1844). Frederick Lemský, a flute player at the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Europe. Different sources describe him as Polish, Czech, or German. He moved to Texas in February 1836, enlisted in the Texas army on March 13, 1836, and served in the company of William E. Howth and Nicholas Lynch. He was a musician in the army until December 31, 1836. He is said to have played "Come to the Bower" on the flute at the battle of San Jacinto and is listed in Capt. Andrew Briscoe’s Regular Infantry Company A (along with two other flute [or fife] players, John N. Beebe and Martin Flores).

Lemský advertised in the Telegraph and Texas Register on January 27, 1838, offering his services as a music teacher and teacher of German and French. He was a charter member of the German Union of Texas, incorporated on January 21, 1841. In March 1842 the Brazos and San Luis Canal was being dug near the site of what is now the town of Oyster Creek in Brazoria County; Lemský was the employer of thirty men digging there. The work lapsed for a while but may have begun again in late 1843.
In January or February 1844 Lemský and a partner named Franke drowned when a "hard norther" capsized the barge on which they were hauling corn. Lemský's body was recovered near Virginia Point, on the mainland side of Galveston Bay. According to the probate records in Brazoria County, "1 octave flute" and "1 keyed flute" were included in the inventory of his property. They were sold for $2.25 at auction in June 1844.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:16 pm

January 28 in Texas History…..

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Italian hero of San Jacinto arrives in Texas

On this day in 1836, Prospero Bernardi arrived in Texas aboard the schooner Pennsylvania as a member of Capt. Amasa Turner's volunteer company, raised in New Orleans. Bernardi was born in Italy in 1794 and was a notary by trade. He enlisted in the Texas army on February 13, 1836, and distinguished himself in the battle of San Jacinto. He remained in the army until January or February 1837, when he was medically discharged from John Smith's company at Galveston because of a spinal injury sustained during combat. Bernardi received a bounty grant and a first-class headright grant for his military service, but both were assigned to other parties. Bernardi's whereabouts by 1838 were unclear. In February of that year two former fellow soldiers testified that they understood he was deceased. A bust of the Italian soldier stands in front of the Hall of State, Fair Park, Dallas, to commemorate his participation in the battle of San Jacinto.

…..Another chapter in Texas History


PROSPERO BERNARDI -- Born in Italy In 1794. He arrived at Velasco, January 28, 1836 on the schooner Pennsylvania, having been recruited for the army of Texas by Captain Amasa Turner in New Orleans. The fact that he arrived in Texas in January, 1836 is confirmed in the Headright Certificate issued in his name for one-third of a league of land by the Harrisburg County Board, February 10, 1838. The certificate had been assigned to Joseph E. Plummer. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 3066 for 1280 acres of land, January 14, 1837. The certificate had been assigned to Morris Emanual.
In Comptroller's Military service Record No. 562 it is certified that Mr. Bernardi had participated in the battle of San Jacinto as a member of Captain Amasa Turner's Company and had been discharged from Captain John Smith's Company on Galveston Island, January 14, 1837.

On page 181 of the army rolls in the General Land Office the following information regarding Mr. Bernardi is given: He was born in Italy in 1794 and was 5 feet 8 1/2 inches in height; of dark complexion with dark eyes and black hair. He was a notary by trade. He is shown as having enlisted in the army February 13, 1836 and as having been discharged from Captain John Smith's Company on Galveston Island January 17, 1837 for disability. He probably died shortly afterward.
On February 8, 1838 Joseph E. Plummer appeared before the Board of Land Commissioners for Harrisburg County, claimed and was given, the Headright Certificate due Mr. Bernardi. The following was copied from page 14 of the "Lost Book of Harris County":

"Prosspero Bernardi by his atty. Joseph E. Plummer claims one third of a League of land. W. W. Summers and W. E. Miller being duly Sworn deposeth and say (:) Summers states that he Knew sd. applicant in the Same Camp with him (.) Witnesseth arrived in Velasco in Jany 1836 Knew him to serve in the Army (.) do not know that he is dead have only understood that he was (.) Millen concurs in the above statement."
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:56 pm

January 29 in Texas History…..

Rangers ambush Apaches at Hueco Tanks

On this day in 1881, a company of Texas Rangers ambushed a group of fugitive Guadalupe Apaches at Hueco Tanks, thirty miles east of El Paso. Hueco, Spanish for "hollow," refers to the hollows in the rocks that collect rainwater, which has long been one of the chief attractions in this arid land; around 1860 the tanks were capable of holding a year's supply of water. Until about 1910 they furnished virtually the only water between the Pecos River and El Paso, and thus were a popular camping spot for Mescalero and Lipan Apache, Kiowa, Tigua, and various other Indians. An estimated 5,000 pictographs and a few petroglyphs are scattered in more than fifty sites throughout what is now Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

APACHE INDIANS. The Apache Indians belong to the southern branch of the Athabascan group, whose languages constitute a large family, with speakers in Alaska, western Canada, and the American Southwest. The several branches of Apache tribes occupied an area extending from the Arkansas River to Northern Mexico and from Central Texas to Central Arizona. Generally, the Apaches are divided into Eastern and Western, with the Rio Grande serving as the dividing line. Two groups, the Lipans and the Mescaleros, lived partially or entirely within the confines of Texas. The Apaches went by numerous names. Because of their nomadic nature, it seems probable that several names were used to identify the same band or tribe. Some names of Apache bands in Texas were Limita, Conejero, and Trementinaq (perhaps the same as Limita). But only the names Lipan and Mescalero survived into the nineteenth century. The name Apache most probably came from the Zuñi word apachu, meaning "enemy," or possibly Awa'tehe, the Ute name for Apaches. The Apaches referred to themselves as Inde or Diné, meaning "the people." The Apaches arrived in the Southwest between A.D. 1000 and 1400. After somehow being separated from their northern kinsmen, they carved out a home in the Southwest-apparently migrating south along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, then spreading westward into New Mexico and Arizona. In time, pressure from the Comanches and other tribes pushed the Apaches farther south and west.

The social unit of the Lipan and Mescalero Apaches was the extended family. Several extended families generally stayed together and were led by their most prominent member, who acted as chief advisor and director of group affairs. A number of the groups lived in close proximity and could unite for defensive or offensive purposes, or for social or ceremonial occasions. The leader of the combined groups was the band leader. The Lipans had no formal organization larger than the band. This loose organization caused problems in relations with the Spanish, and later with the Mexicans, Texans, and Americans. One Apache band, for instance, might make peace with its enemies, while another would remain at war. Likewise, when the Apaches made peace with one enemy Indian settlement, it did not mean that they made peace with other affiliated settlements. Band leaders were always males, but females held a central place within the tribe. Upon marriage, the groom moved in with his wife's family and had to hunt and work with his in-laws. If the wife should die, the husband was required to stay with her family, who would usually supply him with a new bride. The wife had little obligation to the husband's family, but if he died, his family could provide a cousin or brother for her to marry. Men were allowed to marry more than one woman, but few besides wealthy or prestigious leaders did so. On those rare occasions, they were required to marry sisters or cousins of their wives.

The Apaches were nomadic and lived almost completely off the buffalo. They dressed in buffalo skins and lived in tents made of tanned and greased hides, which they loaded onto dogs when they moved with the herds. They were among the first Indians, after the Pueblos, to learn to ride horses. Learning from runaway or captured Pueblos, the Apaches quickly adapted to their use of horses. Formerly peaceful trade relationships with the Pueblos deteriorated, however, as the Spanish discouraged trade with the Apaches and forced the Pueblos to work their farms. When the Pueblos became unwilling or unable to trade with the Apaches, the nomadic Indians turned their new equestrian skills to raiding for horses and supplies. The Spanish first contacted the Apaches in 1541, when Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and his men encountered a band of "Querechos" on the journey to Quivira. From 1656 to 1675, the Spanish settlers and Pueblo Indians of New Mexico suffered heavily from almost continuous Apache raids. These raids, in conjunction with drought, harsh Spanish rule, and missionary activities, led the Pueblo Indians to revolt and to drive the Spaniards out of New Mexico in 1680 (the "Pueblo Revolt). When the Spaniards reconquered New Mexico in 1692, the Apaches were a powerful nation of mounted Indians who raided with impunity wherever they desired.

But the Apaches' dominance was short-lived. Their aggressive behavior turned their neighbors into enemies, and a new, potentially powerful tribe, the Comanches, began pressuring the Apaches from the north. By 1700 the Apaches began migrating southwest as the Comanche, Wichita, and Tejas Indians, better armed through trade with the French, began to occupy the dominant position on the South Plains. In addition, the Apaches had never adapted completely to a Plains culture. They continued to establish rancherías, where they built huts and tended fields of maize, beans, pumpkins, and watermelons. This attempt to improve their source of food was a major cause of their defeat by the Comanches. Twice a year, during planting and again during harvesting, the Apaches were tied to their fields. As a result, the Comanches knew where to find their enemies and could launch devastating raids upon the Apache settlements. With each successful raid the Comanches grew stronger and the Apaches weaker.

As the Apaches fled before the Comanche onslaught, many groups moved westward into New Mexico and Arizona. Others, mainly the Lipans and Mescaleros, fled southward into Central Texas as well as into northern Mexico. There, they collided with the Spanish, who were advancing northward. The Spanish had earlier aided the Tejas Indians of East Texas in their raids against the Apaches. When the Spanish founded San Antonio in 1718, the Apaches discovered a convenient, accessible location at which to stage raids against their European enemies. The Spanish at San Antonio attempted to make peace with the Apaches but had little success. After a series of clashes, the viceroy ordered the governor of Texas, Fernando Pérez de Almazán, to secure peace with the Apaches through gentle means. Noting that the Jicarilla Apaches had made peace with the Spanish in New Mexico, the viceroy saw hope for similar conciliation with the Texas Apaches. The viceroy therefore forbade any further campaigns against the Apaches in 1725, and his decision appeared to be justified by a substantial drop in Apache raiding over the next six years. During this lull in activity, Pedro de Rivera y Villalón made a general inspection of the entire Spanish frontier and recommended, among other things, a reduction in the size of the garrison at San Antonio.

Influenced no doubt by the relative quiet around San Antonio, Rivera suggested that the garrison be reduced. This action raised a storm of protest from the missionaries and settlers at Bexar. They feared renewed raids once the Apaches learned of the smaller force at San Antonio. The Regulation of 1729, based largely on Rivera's recommendations, forbade governors and commanders from waging war on friendly or indifferent Indians, discouraged campaigns against hostile Indians by friendly tribes, and encouraged granting peace to any enemy tribes who sought it. During the 1730s and 1740s, the Apaches and Spaniards continued to wage war on each other. In 1743 Fray Benito Fernández de Santa Ana urged the establishment of missions for the Apaches in their own lands, arguing that this was the best solution to the most serious Indian problems in Texas. On August 19, 1749, four Apache chiefs with numerous followers buried a hatchet along with other instruments of war in a peace ceremony at San Antonio. For the first time both sides appeared genuinely to desire peace, and the Apaches, decimated by Comanche raids, appeared willing to accept Christian conversion in exchange for protection by the Spaniards.

The missionaries at San Antonio proposed several plans to set up missions for the Apaches, but competition among proposals delayed their implementation. The first formal mission for the Texas Apaches was established not at San Antonio but in the jurisdiction of San Juan Bautista on the Rio Grande. On December 21, 1754, Alonso Giraldo de Terreros established the mission of San Lorenzo, situated in Mexico eighteen leagues west of the presidio at San Juan Bautista. San Lorenzo had a degree of success until Father Terreros retired from the management of that mission to promote a larger project intended for the San Saba River in Texas. Less than a year after San Lorenzo was established, its neophytes became discontented, revolted, burned the mission buildings, and deserted. The missionaries blamed the failure of that first Apache mission on the natural inconstancy of the tribe, as well as on their reluctance to live away from their homelands. The latter reason helped bolster the argument for placing a mission closer to Apache territory. Revived prospects for mining in the region of San Saba, which was located in the heart of Apachería, also boosted the argument for that location. In addition, Terreros's cousin offered generous monetary support for the mission.

The plan for a mission-presidio-colony project was soon under way. When Terreros, the presidio commander Col. Diego Ortiz Parrilla, and their entourage arrived at the San Saba River in April 1757, they found no Indians to greet them. Still, despite Ortiz's objections, the missionaries demanded that construction begin, and Ortiz yielded to their entreaties. In June 1757 the first Indians began to arrive at the site, and within days 3,000 Apaches encamped around the mission. The missionaries were extremely pleased until they learned that the Indians were not willing to enter the mission. Instead, they had gathered for their annual buffalo hunt and for a campaign against their enemies, the northern tribes. The Indians soon departed, promising to return to settle at the missions upon completion of their quest. During the autumn and winter of 1757, small groups of Apaches would appear at the mission; but after partaking of the priests' kindness, they continued their migration to the south. On March 16, 1758, a party of 2,000 Comanche, Tejas, Bidai, Tonkawa, and other Indians swooped down upon Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission, killed eight of the inhabitants, pillaged the supplies, and burned the buildings.

Despite the disaster at San Saba and the apparent untrustworthiness of the Apaches, the Spanish continued in their efforts to keep the peace. The Apaches for their part did just enough to keep the Spanish interested. They even joined Colonel Ortiz on his campaign in 1759 to punish the northern tribes. Although some of the Lipans retreated before the final battle, most of them apparently served Ortiz well during the campaign. The Lipans continued to ask for a mission but refused to settle in the region of San Saba after the massacre that had occurred there. They desired a location more remote from their Comanche and northern enemies. In January 1762 the new Apache mission, San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz, was established on the upper Nueces River halfway between San Saba and the Rio Grande. Once the mission was established, several Apache bands visited it, but only one band of more than 300 actually settled at the mission. Within a month, however, an Apache chief requested the establishment of a second mission at a site several miles downstream from San Lorenzo. In February 1762 Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Mission was established. Life at the missions progressed relatively smoothly until a smallpox epidemic hit the neophytes in 1764. In addition, the missions were too poor to feed the Indians regularly, and the missionaries demanded too much labor from them. Slowly, the Lipans became discouraged with mission life. In 1766 they abandoned Candelaria; and when the Comanches and other northern tribes began raiding San Lorenzo, the Apaches deserted in droves. By the summer of 1767, both missions were devoid of Lipan Apaches.

At approximately this time, the Marqués de Rubí completed his inspection of the frontier, and upon his return to Mexico set forth his recommendations. He believed that the Comanches and other northern tribes attacked the Spanish only because of the latter's connection with the Lipan Apaches. Rubí felt sure that friendship could be cultivated with the northern tribes and that with their help the Apaches could be exterminated, or at least sufficiently reduced. By the 1790s the Apaches had become relatively quiet, although they continued to raid sporadically. The Spanish made peace treaties with them in 1790 and again in 1793. When the Mexican War of Independence began in 1811, the decreased attention that the Spanish paid to Indians caused them to become bolder, and they again staged raids. These attacks continued until the end of Spanish rule in Texas and Mexico. Antonio María Martínez, the last Spanish governor of Texas, reported raids by Lipan and Comanche Indians, even on the capital of Texas, San Antonio.

The Mexican government quickly signed two treaties with the Lipans. In each, the Mexicans promised to supply the Apaches with annual gifts of gunpowder and corn in exchange for peace. As Anglo-Americans began moving into Central Texas, the Apaches cultivated a friendship with them, each side hoping that the other would help defend them against hostile tribes in the area. The Lipans often raided into Mexico and sold their stolen horses and goods to the Anglos. The Mexican government generally overlooked these depredations, because of the usefulness of the Apaches against the formidable Comanches.

When Texas gained its independence, the relatively cordial relations between whites and Apaches continued. The Texans drew up their own treaty with the Lipans in 1838. The alliance broke down in 1842, and 250 of approximately 400 Lipans left Texas for Mexico, where they joined the Mescaleros on destructive raids across the border for several decades. In 1865–67 alone, Uvalde County reported the theft of more than $30,000 worth of livestock and the deaths of eighteen people. The Mexican government was reluctant to act, because several Mexican border towns profited handsomely from the purchase of plundered goods from the Apaches. Finally, in 1873, Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie led a force of 400 soldiers into Mexico to destroy the Lipan villages. His army killed or captured virtually all of the surviving Lipans, and they were deported to the Mescalero Reservation in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, which had been assigned to the Mescaleros in 1855 but not officially established until 1873. In 1905 the remainder of the Lipans in Mexico drifted onto the Mescalero Reservation. In 1970 about 1,660 Indians were enrolled there-not only Mescaleros, but Chiricahuas, Lipans, Kiowas, and a few Comanches as well. Thirty-five Lipans were living in Oklahoma in 1940 but were not officially listed among the tribes of the state.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:54 pm

January 30 in Austin Texas…..

Englishman and future critic arrives in Texas

On this day in 1840, British lawyer and writer Nicholas Maillard arrived in Texas. He settled in Richmond, where he acquired a reputation as a mixer of excellent drinks and became coeditor of the Richmond Telescope. In May and June 1840 he made several trips to Houston and one to Austin, but by mid-August had returned to London, where he immediately began writing letters to the press and to British officials condemning Texas. In 1842 he published a book, The History of the Republic of Texas, from the Discovery of the Country to the Present Time and the Cause of Her Separation from the Republic of Mexico, in which he claimed that the Texans were "a people whose existence as an independent nation is owing, first, to their own base treason, and secondly, to a political juggle of Andrew Jackson." Texas, he continued, was "filled with habitual liars, drunkards, blasphemers, and slanderers; sanguinary gamesters and cold-blooded assassins; with idleness and sluggish indolence (two vices for which the Texans are already proverbial); with pride, engendered by ignorance and supported by fraud." He warned against the recognition of Texas by Great Britain and against British emigration to the wretched, sickly place. Though biased, the book nevertheless contained an excellent account of the Indians. Ashbel Smith, chargé d'affaires to Great Britain, stated that the book failed to "produce the slightest effect" upon the British recognition of Texas independence, which was accomplished on June 28, 1842.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

NICHOLAS DORAN P.MALLARD (?–?). Nicholas Maillard, a British lawyer and critic of Texas, left England in November 1839 and arrived in Texas on January 30, 1840. He settled in Richmond, where he acquired a reputation as a mixer of excellent drinks and became coeditor of the Richmond Telescope. In that capacity he assisted with the three numbers published between March 17 and April 4, 1840, and contributed a poem, "What Can Man Do More?" On April 9 he was admitted to the bar by the Fort Bend County district court. When not engaged in writing, he was often in the company of James Riddell, a gunsmith and cutler whom he had previously known. Riddell stated that Maillard was writing a novel, but Maillard himself maintained that he was making notes on the law. In May and June 1840 he made several trips to Houston and one to Austin. In July he stated that the death of a relative in London required his presence there, and after a dinner given by the bar association he left. Shortly thereafter Riddell also left Richmond. Maillard arrived in England about August 15, 1840, and immediately began writing letters to the press and to British officials condemning Texas.

In 1842 he published a book, The History of the Republic of Texas, from the Discovery of the Country to the Present Time and the Cause of Her Separation from the Republic of Mexico. John H. Jenkins asserted that the book was "the most vitriolic denunciation of the Republic of Texas, written with absolutely no regard for the truth." Cadwell Walton Raines dismissed it as "a tissue of misstatements and contradictions too glaring to need correction." Maillard professed the objective of the work to be a true description of the Texas Revolution and of the aggressive and treasonable policy pursued by Texans toward Mexico. He described Texas as a country "stained with the crime of Negro slavery and Indian massacre." Maillard offered the book as a reaction to William Kennedyqv's Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas (1841), a pro-Texas work then popular in Great Britain. The Texans were, Maillard claimed, "a people whose existence as an independent nation is owing, first, to their own base treason, and secondly, to a political juggle of Andrew Jackson." Texas, he continued, was "filled with habitual liars, drunkards, blasphemers, and slanderers; sanguinary gamesters and cold-blooded assassins; with idleness and sluggish indolence (two vices for which the Texans are already proverbial); with pride, engendered by ignorance and supported by fraud." He warned against the recognition of Texas by Great Britain and against emigration of Britishers to the wretched, sickly place. For the most part full of errors and bias, the book, nevertheless, contained an excellent account of the Indians. Ashbel Smith, chargé d'affaires to Great Britain, stated that the book failed to "produce the slightest effect" upon the British recognition of Texas independence, which was accomplished on June 28, 1842. During a discussion of the Texas Land and Emigration Company at a meeting of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, Maillard stated that the colonization of Texas "on anti-slavery principles was impractical."
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:00 pm

January 31 in Texas History…..

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Brewmeister opens hotel and future landmark

On this date in 1859, William Menger opened his hotel, now a landmark, on Alamo Plaza in San Antonio. In partnership with Charles Philip Degen, he also operated a brewery on the site. The hotel is one of the best-known lodging houses in Texas. Its guests have included O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), Ulysses S. Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt. The building has been remodeled many times and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Menger continues to serve as a center for meetings and other social affairs.

Another chapter in Texas History

MENGER HOTEL. The Menger Hotel, one of the state's oldest and best-known hotels, was opened by William Menger on Alamo Square in San Antonio on January 31, 1859. Menger, a German immigrant, had arrived in San Antonio in the early 1840s and operated a brewery at the site with Charles Phillip Degen. In 1857 he and his wife decided to expand their boardinghouse. Local architect John M. Fries is credited with designing the two-story cut-stone building, which features classical detail; John Hermann Kampmann oversaw construction of the project. The foundations were laid on June 18, 1858, and work was completed by the end of January 1859. The hotel was so successful that Menger immediately made plans to build an addition between the hotel and his brewery. Construction on a forty-room annex was begun in August 1858 and completed the following year. The hotel featured a tunnel opening off the basement, through which Menger led groups of selected guests on tours of the adjacent brewery. Menger died at the hotel in March 1871, and his widow and son took over the management. When the Civil War and Reconstructionqqv were over, and especially after the railroad arrived in 1877, the Menger became the best-known hotel in the Southwest. It was praised for the cuisine offered in the Colonial Dining Room. Specialties included wild game, mango ice cream, and snapper soup made from turtles caught in the San Antonio River. William Sydney Porter mentioned the hotel several times in his stories. In the winter of 1872–73 Sidney Lanier made his home at the Menger while he wrote the sketch "San Antonio de Bexar." In 1873 Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and Secretary of War William W. Belknap were guests, and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant spent four days at the hotel in 1880. The "eight rooms with adjoining baths" were well known to travelers, who were said to race from the depot to secure such luxuries. In March 1879 gas lights were installed. The hotel was popular with army personnel from Fort Sam Houston and enjoyed a wide patronage.

An east wing was added in December 1881. Hermann Kampmann became manager in 1887 and supervised the installation of a new bar, a replica of the taproom in the House of Lords Club in London. The solid cherry bar, cherry-paneled ceiling, French mirrors, and gold-plated spittoons were the marvels of San Antonio. The beer, chilled by the Alamo Madre ditch, which passed through the hotel courtyard, mint juleps served in solid silver tumblers, and hot rum toddies came to have wide renown. Theodore Roosevelt first visited the Menger in 1892 on a javelina hunt; he returned to recruit his Rough Riders (the First United States Volunteer Cavalry) at the hotel in 1898; in 1905 he was back for a banquet. In 1909 the hotel was again enlarged with an addition to the south side. Architect Alfred Giles altered the main façade, adding Renaissance Revival details in stuccoed brick, pressed metal, and cast iron; he also designed an interior rotunda that provided light and served as a circulation hub. The hotel was a center of San Antonio social affairs and a meetingplace for visiting celebrities. It declined during the Great Depression, but in the mid-1940s the building was reconditioned, and the more celebrated dining rooms were restored. By 1951 a new wing had been added, and the building had been completely modernized under the direction of architects Atlee B. Ayres and Robert M. Ayres. In 1976 the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Alamo Plaza Historic District. The Menger was again renovated in the 1980s.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:48 pm

February 1 in Texas History…..

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Ground broken for new Capitol

On this date in 1882, building commissioners Nimrod Norton and Joseph Lee turned the first shovelful of dirt for the present Texas Capitol. Construction was financed by the sale of three million acres of public land in the Panhandle, under the auspices of the XIT Ranch. The main building material is red granite from Marble Mountain, west of Austin. The Renaissance Revival structure, for which the Capitol in Washington was the model, was dedicated in 1888. The total cost was $3.75 million. The cost of restoration in the 1990s was $200 million.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

CAPITOL. The present Capitol building, constructed between 1882 and 1888, is the fourth one in Austin. As a result of the need for a new Capitol, the Constitution of 1876 set aside three million acres of land in the Panhandle to fund construction. In 1879 the Sixteenth Legislature provided for surveying the Capitol lands in ten counties of the Panhandle, and formed a Capitol Board as well as a building commission consisting of a "superintendent" architect and two building commissioners to oversee the project. After the completion and acceptance of the surveys in late 1880, the building commission announced a design competition for the new statehouse. Eight architects entered a total of eleven different designs in the competition. In May 1881 the Capitol Board approved the design entered by Elijah E. Myers of Detroit. The building commission then advertised for a contractor who would build the Capitol in exchange for the three million acres of public land. The state received only two bids: from Mathias Schnell of Rock Island, Illinois, and from Alfred Andrew Burck of Rockdale, Texas. Schnell received the contract but soon assigned three-fourths of it to Taylor, Babcock and Company, a Chicago firm that included Abner Taylor, Amos C. Babcock, Charles B. Farwell, and John V. Farwell. A few months later, Schnell signed over the rest of the contract to the same firm. Abner Taylor became the chief contractor but subcontracted the work to Gustav Wilke, a young Chicago builder.

The plans and specifications for the Capitol called for its construction of native limestone, but all of the limestone found near Austin contained discoloring iron particles. Abner Taylor proposed using limestone from Bedford, Indiana, but the Capitol Board and Governor John Ireland wished to use Texas stone, specifically red granite from Granite Mountain near the site of present-day Marble Falls in Burnet County. The owners of the mountain, George W. Lacy, William H. Westfall, and Nimrod L. Norton, offered to give the state enough granite for the building. Taylor initially refused to use the red granite because he believed the difficulty of working the stone would make it too expensive. In early 1885 subcontractor Wilke informed Taylor that it would cost much less to use donated red granite in a simplified style agreed upon by architect Myers than limestone with the extensive decorative carving originally agreed upon. However, Taylor kept this information a secret, and continued to assure state officials that he could not afford to use red granite because of its additional cost. Finally, on July 25, 1885, he signed a supplementary contract in which he agreed to use red granite for the Capitol if the state would supply it free of charge, share the "extra cost," construct a narrow-gauge railroad from Burnet to Granite Mountain, and furnish convict labor to quarry the stone. Taylor also agreed to pay the state for the use of the convicts and to provide room and board for them.

After labor difficulties arose in 1886, stemming from the use of convict labor to quarry the granite, Wilke imported granite cutters from Scotland, in violation of the Contract Labor Act of 1885. In spite of such difficulties, work began on the Capitol dome in mid-1887 and the Goddess of Liberty was hoisted to the top of it in February 1888. The Capitol first was opened to the public on the evening of April 21, 1888, before its completion. The structure was dedicated during a week-long celebration lasting from May 14 to May 19, 1888, but the Capitol Board refused to accept the structure because its copper roof leaked and because of several other minor problems. After Wilke fixed the roof and corrected several other problems, the Capitol Board received the building on December 6, 1888. In 1882 the three million acres of land in the Capitol reservation was valued at $1.5 million. The total cost of the Capitol was $3,744,630.60, of which the state assumed about $500,000. A hundred years later, the lands exchanged for the Capitol had a tax evaluation of almost $7 billion.

The Texas Capitol is of Renaissance Revival design and was modeled after the national Capitol in Washington. At the time of its completion it contained 392 rooms, 18 vaults, 924 windows, and 404 doors. From the ground to the top of statue on the dome is 311 feet. In February 1983 a fire badly damaged the east wing of the Capitol and provided the impetus for a restoration of the building. A few weeks after the fire, the legislature formed the State Preservation Board. The first project of this board was to replace the figure of Liberty on the dome of the Capitol. In November 1985 the original Goddess of Liberty was removed by helicopter. A new statue, cast of aluminum in molds made from the original zinc statue, was placed on the dome in June 1986. The entire cost of more than $450,000 was raised from private donations. The original statue has been restored and is on exhibition on the Capitol grounds in a special structure built for it in 1995.

The Governor's Public Reception Room, originally the most lavishly decorated space in the building, was restored in 1987. In 1988 work began on a masterplan to restore the Capitol and to build an underground annex north of the building. The legislature approved this plan in 1989, and work began in 1990. The extension was completed by January 1993. The restoration of the 1888 Capitol was finished in early 1995, and the structure was re-dedicated on April 21, 1995. The extension and restoration project cost about $200 million. See also CAPITOL FREEHOLD LAND AND INVESTMENT COMPANY, and XIT RANCH.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:39 pm

February 2 in Texas History…..

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María Coronel becomes "the Woman in Blue"

On this day in 1620, María Coronel took religious vows in a Franciscan order of nuns who wore an outer cloak of coarse blue cloth over the traditional brown habit. As a nun, now known as María de Jesús de Agreda, she had numerous mystic experiences (more than 500) in which she thought she visited a distant, unknown land. Franciscan authorities determined that the land was eastern New Mexico and far western Texas. Sister María supposedly contacted several Indian cultures, including the Jumanos, and told the natives to seek instruction from the Spanish. Shortly thereafter, some fifty Jumano Indians appeared at the Franciscan convent of old Isleta, south of present Albuquerque, in July 1629 and said that they had been sent to find religious teachers. They already demonstrated rudimentary knowledge of Christianity, and when asked who had instructed them replied, "the Woman in Blue." A subsequent expedition to the Jumanos, led by Fray Juan de Salas, encountered a large band of Indians in Southwest Texas. The Indians claimed that they had been advised by the Woman in Blue of approaching Christian missionaries. Subsequently, some 2,000 natives presented themselves for baptism and further religious instruction. Two years later, Fray Alonso de Benavides traveled to Spain, where he interviewed María de Jesús at Agreda. Sister María told of her bilocations and acknowledged that she was indeed the Lady in Blue. After she died in 1665, her story was published in Spain. Although she said her last visitation to the New World was in 1631, the legend of her appearances was current until the 1690s. In the 1840s a mysterious woman in blue reportedly traveled the Sabine River valley aiding malaria victims, and her apparition was reported as recently as World War II.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

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MARÍA DE JESÚS DE AGREDA (1602–1665). María de Jesús de Agreda (the Lady in Blue) was born in the Spanish village of Agreda near the border of Aragon and Navarre in April of 1602, the eldest daughter of Francisco Coronel and Catalina of Arana. In her youth María, baptized María Coronel, demonstrated unusual piety and remarkable memory. At the age of sixteen, she convinced her father that he should convert the family castle into a convent for Franciscan nuns. She took religious vows on February 2, 1620, and the name María de Jesús. The new order soon expanded beyond the confines of the castle and moved to the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda. The nuns' habit was colored Franciscan brown (pardo) with an outer cloak of coarse blue cloth.

Throughout the 1620s María de Jesús would repeatedly lapse into deep trances. On these occasions she experienced dreams in which she was transported to a distant and unknown land, where she taught the Gospel to a pagan people. Her alleged miraculous bilocations took her to eastern New Mexico and western Texas, where she contacted several Indian cultures, including the Jumanos. Sister María related her mystical experiences to her confessor, Fray Sebastián Marcilla of Agreda. His superiors contacted the archbishop of Mexico, Francisco Manso y Zúñiga. The archbishop, in turn, wrote the religious superior of New Mexico in May of 1628, requesting information regarding a young nun's alleged transportations and teachings in northern New Spain. That communication arrived in New Mexico shortly before a delegation of some fifty Jumano Indians appeared at the Franciscan convent of old Isleta, south of present Albuquerque, in July 1629. The Jumanos had come to request religious teachers for themselves and their neighbors. They demonstrated rudimentary knowledge of Christianity, and when asked who had instructed them replied, "the Woman in Blue."

An expedition headed by Fray Juan de Salas, organized in New Mexico, set out for the land of the Jumanos. Guided by the chief of the Jumano delegations, it reached a locale in Southwest Texas where it was met by a large band of Indians. The Indians claimed that they had been advised by the Woman in Blue of approaching Christian missionaries. Subsequently, some 2,000 natives presented themselves for baptism and further religious instruction. Two years later, Fray Alonso de Benavides, a former religious superior in New Mexico, traveled to Spain, where he sought more information about the mysterious nun. He interviewed María de Jesús at Agreda. Sister María admitted that she had experienced some 500 bilocations to New Spain and acknowledged that she was indeed the Lady in Blue.

During the last twenty-two years of her life, María de Jesús was an active correspondent with the Spanish king, Philip IV. She died at Agreda on May 24, 1665. Her story was published in Spain several years after her death. Although the abbess said her last visitation to the New World was in 1631, the mysterious Lady in Blue was not quickly forgotten in Texas. In 1690 a missionary working with the Tejas Indians heard the legend. In the 1840s a mysterious woman in blue reportedly traveled the Sabine River valley aiding malaria victims, and in the twentieth century her apparition was reported as recently as World War II.



María de Jesús de Agreda

(Or, according to her conventual title, Maria of Jesus)
A discalced Franciscan nun; born 1602; died 24 May, 1665. Her family name was Coronel, but she is commonly known as Maria de Agreda, from the little town in Old Castile, on the borders of Aragon, where some ancestor, it is said, had built a convent in obedience to commands conveyed in a revelation. La Fuente, in his Historia eclesiastica de España, says the Coronels were una virtuosa y modesta familia de aquel pueblo. By some writers they are described as noble, but impoverished. Maria is said to have made a vow of chastity at the age of eight, but no importance need be attached to that, as, naturally, she could not have known the character of such an obligation, and we are not compelled to suppose any divine guidance in case the vow was made. She and her mother entered the convent together, January, 1619, and simultaneously her father and two brothers became Franciscan friars. When only twenty-five, in spite of her unwillingness, she was made abbess, by papal dispensation. This was almost eight years after her entrance. With the exception of an interval of three years, she remained superior all her life. Under her administration the convent, which was in a state of decay, rose to great material prosperity, and at the same time became one of the most fervent in Spain. She died with the reputation of a saint; and the cause of her canonization was introduced by the Congregation of Rites, 21 June, 1672, at the request of the Court of Spain. This was only seven years after her death. What has given her prominence, however, is not so much the holiness of her life, about which there seems to be general consent, as the character of one of her writings known as La mística ciudad de Dios, historia divina de la Virgen, Madre de Dios. This "Divine History of the Mother of God" was first conceived in 1627; that is to say, nine years after she became a nun. Ten years later, by the express command of her confessor, she set to work at it, and in twenty days wrote the first part, consisting of 400 pages. Although it was her desire to prevent its publication, a copy of it was sent to Philip IV, to whom she wrote a great number of letters in the course of her life, and who had expressed a desire to have it. Later on, in obedience to another confessor, she threw it and all her other writings, into the fire, without any apparent repugnance.

A third command of a spiritual director, in 1655, resulted in her beginning again, and in 1660 she finished the book. It was not, however, given to the world until five years after her death. It was printed in Madrid, in 1670. Its lengthy title contains no less than ninety words. "The Mystical City" purports to be the account of special revelations, which the author declares were made to her by God, Who, after raising her to a state of sublime contemplation, commanded :her to write it, and then revealed to her these profound mysteries. She declares that God gave her at first six angels to guide her, the number being afterwards increased to eight, who, having purified her, led her into the presence of the Lord. She then beheld the Blessed Virgin, as she is described in the Apocalypse, and saw also all the various stages of her life: how when she came into the world God ordered the angels to transport her into the empyrean heaven, appointing a hundred spirits from each of the nine choirs to attend her, twelve others in visible and corporeal form to be always near her, and eighteen of the most splendid to be ambassadors perpetually ascending and descending the Ladder of Jacob. In the twentieth chapter she describes all that happened to the Blessed Virgin during the nine months she was in her mother's womb; and tells how, when she was three years old, she swept the house with the help of the angels. The fifteenth chapter enters into many details, which by some were denounced as indecent. The style, in the opinion of certain critics, is elegant, and the narrative compact. Görres, on the other hand, while expressing his admiration for the wonderful depth of its speculations, finds that the style is in the bad taste of the period, pompous and strained, and very wearisome in the prolixity of the moral applications appended to each chapter.

The book did not attract much attention outside of Spain until Croset, a Recollect friar, translated and published the first part of it, at Marseilles, 1696. This was the signal of a storm, which broke out especially in the Sorbonne. It had already been condemned in Rome, 4 August, 1681, by the Congregation of the Inquisition, and Innocent XI had forbidden the reading of it, but, at the instance of Charles II, suspended execution of the decree for Spain. But Croset's translation transgressed the order, and caused it to be referred to the Sorbonne, 2 May, 1696. According to Hergenröther, Kirchengeschichte (trad. franc., 1892, V, vi, p. 418), it was studied from the 2d to the 14th of July, and thirty-two sessions were held during which 132 doctors spoke. It was condemned 17 July, 102 out of 152 members of the commission voting against the book. It was found that

it gave more weight to the revelations alleged to have been received than to the mystery of the Incarnation; that it adduced new revelations which the Apostles themselves could not have supported; that it applied the term 'adoration' to Mary; that it referred all her graces to the Immaculate Conception; that it attributed to her the government of the Church; that it designated her in every respect the Mother of Mercy and the Mediatrix of Grace, and pretended that St. Ann had not contracted sin in her birth, besides a number of other imaginary and scandalous assertions.

This censure was confirmed on the 1st of October. The Spanish Cardinal Aguirre, although a friend of Bossuet who fully approved the censure, strove to have it annulled, and expressed his opinion that the Sorbonne could easily do so, as their judgment was. based on a bad translation. Bossuet denounced it as "an impious impertinence, and a trick of the devil." He objected to its title, The Divine Life, to its apocryphal stories, its indecent language, and its exaggerated Scotist philosophy. However, although this appreciation is found in Bossuet's works (Œuvres, Versailles, 1817, XXX, pp. 637-640, and XL, pp. 172 and 204-207), it is of questionable authenticity. As to the reproach of indecency, her defenders allege that, although there may be some crudities of expression Which more recent times would not admit, it is absurd to bring such an accusation against one whose sanctity is generally conceded. Near investigations of the book were made in 1729, under Benedict XIII, when her canonization was again urged. On 16 January, 1748, Benedict XIV, in a letter which La Fuente, in his Historia eclesiástica de España, finds "sumamente curiosa", wrote to the General of the Observantines instructing him as to the investigation of the authenticity of the writings, while conceding that the book had received the approbation of the Universities of Salamanca, Alcalá, Toulouse, and Louvain.

It had meantime been fiercely assailed by Eusebius Amort, a canon of Pollingen, in 1744, in a work entitled De revelationibus, visionibus, et apparitionibus privatis, regulae tutae, which, though at first imperfectly answered by Mathes, a Spaniards, and by Maier, a Bavarian, to both of whom Amort replied, was subsequently refuted in another work by Mathes, who showed that in eighty places Amort had not understood the Spanish text of Maria de Agreda. With Mathes, in this exculpation, was P. Dalmatius Kich, who published, at Ratisbon, 1750, his Revelationum Agredanarum justa defensio, cum moderamine inculpatae tutelae. Hergenröther, in his Kirchengeschichte (trad. franc., VI, p. 416 — V. Palmé, Paris, 1892), informs us that the condemnation of the book by the Roman Inquisition, in 1681, was thought to have come from the fact either that, in its publication, the Decree of Urban VIII, of 14 March, 1625, had been disregarded, or because it contained apocryphal stories, and maintained opinions of the Scotist school as Divine revelations. Some blamed the writer for having said that she saw the earth under the form of an egg, and that it was a globe slightly compressed at the two poles, all of which seemed worthy of censure. Others condemned her for exaggerating the devotion to the Blessed Virgin and for obscuring the mystery of the Incarnation. The Spaniards were surprised at the reception the book met with in France, especially as the Spanish Inquisition had given it fourteen years of study before pronouncing in its favor. As noted above, the suspension of the Decree of Innocent XI, condemning the book, was made operative only in Spain, and although Charles II asked to have the permission, to read it extended to the whole of Christendom, Alexander VIII not only refused the petition, but confirmed the Brief of his predecessor. The King made the same request to innocent XII, who did nothing, however, except to institute a commission to examine the reasons alleged by the Court of Spain. The King renewed his appeal more urgently, but the Pope died without having given any decision.

La Fuente, in his Historia eclesiástica de España (V, p. 493), attributes the opposition to the impatience of the Thomists at seeing Scotist doctrines published as revelations, as if to settle various Scholastic controversies in the name of the Blessed Virgin and in the sense of the Franciscans, to whose order Agreda belonged. Moreover, it was alleged that her confessors had tampered with the text, and had interpolated many of the apocryphal stories which were then current, but her most bitter enemies respected her virtues and holy life, and were far from confounding her with the deluded illuminatae of that period. Her works had been put on the Index, but when the Franciscans protested they were accorded satisfaction by being assured that it was a trick of the printer (supercheria), as no condemnation appeared there.

The other works of Maria de Agreda are:

her letters to Philip IV of Spain edited by Francisco Silvela;
Leyes de la Esposa conceptos y suspiros del corazón pars alcanzar el último y verdadero fin del agrado del Esposo y Señor;;
Meditaciones de la pasión de nuestro Se oré;
Sus exercicios quotidianos;
Escala Spiritual pars subir á la perfección.
The Mística ciudad has been translated into several languages; and there are several editions of the correspondence with Philip IV; but the other writings are still in manuscript, either in the convent of Agreda, or in the Franciscan monastery of Quaracchi in Italy.

SISTER MARIA JESUS AGREDA

THE BLUE NUN

SOURCE: The Mysterious Valley


(color=#FF0000]JUST A NUN FROM AGREDA[/color]

Another notable character on our journey is Sister Marie de Jesus Agreda, born April 2, 1602, in Agreda, Spain. Christened Maria Fernandez Coronel, she donned the blue habit and took her vows as a nun in the Franciscan order, and in 1627 she became abbess of the Agreda Franciscan monastery until her death in 1665. The Encyclopedia Britannica states:

"Her virtues and holy life were universally acknowledged, but controversy arose over her mystical writings, her political influence, and her missionary activities (my italics). Her best known work is The Mystical City of God (1670), a life of the Virgin Mary ostensibly based on divine revelations granted to Maria. It was placed on the Index Libroum Prohibitorum in 1681, but the ban was lifted in 1747." 10

THE 502 RAPTURES

In 1620, teenaged Sister Maria of Agreda, began having unnerving visions, or raptures. Cloistered in the convent, she would meditate for hours, sometimes all day, and return and tell her fellow sisters wondrous stories of her "over 500" spiritual travels to a faraway land, meeting savages and telling them of the Word of Christ. She experienced many of these episodes of rapturous meditation and bi-location, and word began to spread of the young nun in the convent. Finally, convinced of the reality of her experiences, she wrote a book in which she described, in great detail, her missionary work bringing the Word of Christ to the savages of The New World. In early Fifteenth-Century Spain, this was not a prudent claim to make during the height of the Holy Inquisition, which quickly put to death untold thousands found "guilty" of witchcraft and dealings with demonic forces. Before long the Inquisition took a pointed interest in the good Sister of Agreda, and she found herself at the center of a dangerous, whirling controversy. She insisted to the Father Inquisitor that she was indeed bi-locating and doing God's work, but to no avail. A very public trial ensued with the full brunt of the powerful Church bearing down on the poor nun from Agreda. During the height of her trial, a newly returned expedition of conquistadors and friars arrived in Spain with a wondrous tale.

It seems that the Spanish explorers, while in the unexplored region north of Mexico, had encountered numerous Native American tribes in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas who had already been converted to Christianity, and somehow knew of "Jesus Christ" the Savior. Even more fantastic were the Indian's claims of being visited by a white-skinned "Blue Lady" who appeared to many, drifting in a blue haze while she preached the word of the Lord in their native languages. She helped them to build crosses and places of worship, and even handed out rosaries and religious objects.

"From 1620 to approximately 1631 the Spanish nun flew from Spain to the North American State of New Mexico on more than 500 occasions. Thus it was established in the open case of the Holy Inquisition against the nun in 1635, in which it was affirmed further that no one in the convent noticed her absence during those flights. On occasion they would happen twice during the same day. . . How then can we explain a woman of scarcely eighteen years of age that could bi-locate to New Mexico, and while there, she would dedicate herself to distribute among the natives rosaries and other liturgical objects as she instructed them about the truth of the Christian faith. . . Her trips occurred shortly before the diocese of Mexico decided to send evangelizers [north] towards those unexplored territories. Her visits made their efforts considerably easier. 11"

POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR THE CONQUEST OF NEW MEXICO

These first Spanish explorers to the Southwest were amazed by the Natives knowledge of Christianity and were baffled by the rosaries they were shown and by their earnest descriptions of the "Blue Lady" that had come from afar and preached to them.

"Finally, when the first Franciscans, led by Friar Benvenedes, arrived [at the Isleta Pueblo] they discovered a singular spectacle. Thousands of Indians approached the Franciscans and asked earnestly for baptism. 12"

Benvenedes wrote later of the Spaniard's efforts to ascertain how the Indians had foreknowledge of Christianity:

"'When those Indians were asked to tell us what was the reason for which, with so much affection, they asked for baptism and religious indoctrination, they answered that a woman had come and preached to each one of them in their own tongue. 13'"

The rapid Spanish conquest and control of New Mexico in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries may have partially been due to Sister Agreda's solo missionary efforts on behalf of a bewildered Catholic Church.

"Only in New Mexico did the Franciscans baptize more than 50,000 people in record time and rapidly install twenty-five missions and minister to more than ninety towns. The Indians remembered with special veneration the Blue Lady, the one whom they gave this name due to her blue mantle of celestial tones she wore on her back. 14" During the mid-Sixteen-hundreds, the celebrated bi-locating nun from Agreda garnered national notoriety. King Philip of Spain may have enlisted her help in foreign affairs, and it is firmly documented that the king carried on a life-long correspondence with her. It is surmised by some that Sister Agreda may have even bi-located to foreign courts on covert foreign-policy missions on behalf of Spain. Now one would think that this story, alone, is compelling, but the unbelievable saga of our talented nun and her doppleganger-twin does not end there.

ImageImage

INCORRUPTIBLE IN DEATH

Even in death, Sister Agreda defies the rationalists and supplies non-believers and the faithful with evidence of her fantastic talents. In a secluded crypt on the grounds of the convent we find what proves to be the latest dramatic chapter to her unbelievable story. Sister Marie Jesus Agreda's body, it turns out, is incorruptible. Like a small number of deceased mystics and Catholic saints, the nun's body refuses to naturally decay, even after 335 long years. The flush of her cheeks and her life-like features still baffle the Catholic Church and modern science. During an opening of her casket in 1909, a cursory scientific examination was performed on the pristine body in peaceful repose, astounding the scientists and doctors who were allowed to perform the examination. In 1989 a Spanish physician named Andreas Medina participated in another examination of Sister Maria Jesus Agreda as she lay in the convent of the Conceptionist nuns, the same monastery where she had lived in the 1600s.

MODERN SCIENCE PUZZLED

Dr. Medina told investigative journalist Javier Sierra in 1991: "'What most surprised me about that case is that when we compared the state of the body, as it was described in the medical report from 1909, with how it appeared in 1989, we realized it had absolutely not deteriorated at all in the last eighty years.'" 15 Complete photographic and scientific evidence was obtained by investigators before the respectful closing of her glass-lidded casket. She is beatified by the Catholic Church and may someday become a saint in the Catholic tradition. Although the Blue Lady is said to have visited the Rio Grande River Valley as far north as the pueblos around Sante Fé New Mexico, less than a hundred miles from the San Luis Valley, I can find no direct evidence that Sister Agreda ever bi-located here. But I would not be surprised if she did. I feel her compelling story may provide all of us with important clues pertaining to the understanding of unusual religious/belief-based phenomena. Many thanks to Javier Sierra and Ana Cerro magazine for graciously granting permission to utilize Sierra's well-researched Agreda material, and for use of his rare 1991 photograph of Sister Agreda for this book.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:04 pm

February 3 in Texas History…..

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Teenage idol Buddy Holly dies in plane crash

On this day in 1959, Charles Hardin Holley, better known as Buddy Holly, died in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa. After a show on the night of February 2 in Clear Lake, Holly, J. P. Richardson (the "Big Bopper"), and Richie Valens took off in a chartered plane for Fargo, North Dakota. The aircraft went down shortly after take-off, and all aboard were killed. The innovative Holly and his group, the Crickets, had achieved a high level of fame that persists more than forty years later. In Lubbock, Holly's hometown, a large statue of the musician stands near the Lubbock Memorial Center.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

The Day the Music Died

When Elvis Presley died, 25,000 people gathered outside Graceland in the sweltering Memphis heat. John Lennon's murder drew millions of people to Central Park for a silent vigil. But when Buddy Holly's plane went down in an Iowa cornfield at a little past 1 a.m. on Feb. 3, 1959, there was nobody waiting for him among those swirling snowdrifts. The Lubbock, Texas singer never had a vigil. His home did not become a pilgrimage site and his family never held a memorial service for his fans. Yet with each passing decade, the myth of Buddy Holly has grown by substantial degrees.

If you go by the numbers, Buddy Holly's career — which lasted a year and a half with only one number one single — hardly seems the stuff of legend. He only accepted top billing on the 24-day, 24-town "Winter Dance Party" tour alongside the Big Bopper (of "Chantilly Lace" fame) and Richie Valens ("La Bamba") as a way to dig himself out of bankruptcy. And yet his influence on early rock 'n' roll is almost unmatched. Holly was barely out of high school when he opened for Elvis Presley in 1955. He popularized the two guitar, one bass, one drum lineup that so many acts (the Beatles, the Kinks, Talking Heads, Weezer) would later adopt. When a self-conscious Roy Orbison saw Holly's black rimmed glasses and slim jim ties, he decided not to let his homely, face-for-radio looks hinder his singing career. (For a while, John Lennon even adopted the style). Holly wrote his own material and used his signature pitch-changing hiccup to move seamlessly between country, R&B and rockabilly. When he died, he was only 22.

On February 2, 1959, Holly and his tourmates were on the eleventh night of their Winter Dance Party tour through the snow-covered Midwest. It was a Monday — a school night — but 1,100 teenagers crammed into Clear Lake, Iowa's Surf Ballroom for two sold out shows. They wore blue jeans and saddle shoes and screamed for 17-year-old Richie Valens, whose single "Donna" was about to go gold. Between sets, Holly solicited people to join him on the charter airplane he'd hired to fly to the next show in Moorhead, Minnesota. The musicians had been traveling by bus for over a week and it had already broken down once. They were tired, they hadn't been paid yet and all of their clothes were dirty. With the airplane, Holly could arrive early, do everyone's laundry and catch up on some rest.

A 21-year-old pilot named Roger Peterson had agreed to take the singer to Fargo, North Dakota — the closest airport to Moorehead. A snowstorm was on its way and the young pilot was fatigued from a 17-hour workday, but he agreed to fly the rock star to his next gig because, hey, he would be flying Buddy Holly. The second show ended at midnight. The musicians packed up their instruments and finalized the flight arrangements. Holly's bass player, Waylon Jennings, was scheduled to fly on the plane but gave his seat to the Big Bopper, who was suffering from a cold. Holly's guitarist Tommy Allsup agreed to flip a coin with Richie Valens for the remaining seat. Valens won. The three musicians boarded the red and white single-engine Beech Bonanza around 12:30 on Feb. 3. Fans flocked to the tarmac, waving and crying and asking for autographs. The musicians waved back and then climbed onto the plane. Snow blew across the runway but the sky was clear. Peterson received clearance from the control tower, taxied down the runway and took off. He was never told of two weather advisories that warned of an oncoming blizzard.

The plane stayed in the sky for only a few minutes; no one is quite sure what went wrong. The best guess is that Peterson flew directly into the blizzard, lost visual reference and accidentally flew down instead of up. The four-passenger plane plowed into a nearby cornfield at over 170 mph, flipping over on itself and tossing the passengers into the air. Their bodies landed yards away from the wreckage and stayed there for ten hours as snowdrifts formed around them. Because of the weather, nobody could reach the crash site until the morning.

In Texas, a neighbor told Holly's mother to turn on the radio. When the news report came out, she screamed and collapsed. In Greenwich Village, Buddy Holly's pregnant wife heard the news on television and suffered a miscarriage the following day, reportedly due to "psychological trauma." In the months following the crash, authorities would adopt a policy against releasing victims' names until after the families had been notified.

The Winter Dance Party tour continued, with Waylon Jennings singing Holly's songs and other teen sensations, including 18-year-old Frankie Avalon, flown out to finish the tour. Holly's body was shipped back home to Lubbock, Texas. His Baptist family never approved of his music and none of his songs were played at his funeral.

Then a strange thing happened. Holly's last single, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," had endured sluggish sales. The music industry had not yet discovered the commercial allure of untimely deaths, and record executives were shocked to see the song shoot up to number 13 on the charts.

Months went by, yet Holly's albums continued to sell. Decca rushed out a greatest hits album, which would float on and off the Billboard charts for another seven years. Britain devoured Holly records faster than the record company could produce them. Demo tapes, B-sides, previously unreleased recording sessions — they all shot up the British charts and turned Holly into one of the forefathers of the British Invasion that would strike America five years later. Both John Lennon and George Harrison learned to play guitar in part by listening to Buddy Holly records. The first Rolling Stones' single released in the U.S. was cover of Holly's "Not Fade Away." (See a video of Buddy Holly singing "Peggy Sue.")

The first song memorializing the musicians — Eddie Cochran's "Three Stars" — was recorded just one day after their deaths. But Don McLean's 1971 single "American Pie" turned the plane crash into a metaphor for the moment when the United States lost its last shred of innocence. McLean envisioned that last Buddy Holly concert in Clear Lakes, Iowa: teenagers in pink carnations and pick-up trucks, dancing and falling in love and dancing some more. The snow fell silently outside as the country teetered on the brink of the 1960s; no one in the ballroom had any idea what would happen next.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby NefariousNed on Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:15 am

Yikes! The "Day the Music died. :(
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:37 pm

February 4 in Texas History…..

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La Bahía becomes Goliad

On this day in 1829, the Mexican government issued a decree officially changing the name La Bahía to Villa de Goliad. The term La Bahía (“the bay”) historically referred to several entities, including La Bahía del Espíritu Santo (present Matagorda and Lavaca bays) and Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission and its accompanying presidio. Coahuila and Texas state legislator Rafael Antonio Manchola proposed the change, arguing that the name of the settlement around the presidio was meaningless because neither the mission nor presidio were located on “the bay.” His suggestion of “Goliad” was actually an anagram for the name of Father Hidalgo, the priest who led the fight for Mexican independence. For a time during the 1830s settlers called the town both La Bahía and Goliad. The community played a key role in the Texas Revolution and became the site of the signing of the first declaration of independence for Texas.

…..Another chapter in Texas History


Early history of Presidio La Bahia

The Presidio La Bahia (fort on the bay) and Our Lady of Loreto Chapel were constructed in 1721 on the original site of LaSalle's doomed Fort St. Louis on the western shore of Garcitas Creek, near present day Port Lavaca. This location proved unsuitable, because of troubles with the Karankawa Indians and in 1726 it was

Presidio La Bahia Locations

abandoned and the fort relocated inland (some twenty-six miles) along the Guadalupe River near the site of Mission Valley (northwest of present day Victoria, in Victoria County) and near the Aranama Indians. Presidio La Bahia itself was rebuilt of quarried stone on a site that later became part of Fernando De Leon's Rancho Escondido. For the next twenty-six years the La Bahía mission and presidio prospered; successful farming and cattle ranching enabled the presidio and mission to supply themselves and other Texas missions with ample food.

In the fall of 1749, the presidio and mission were again moved to its present location, this time in accord with the recommendations of Jose de Escandon, whom the Spanish government had authorized in 1747 to explore ways to prevent further encroachment of the English and French.

Lieutenant-General Jose de Escandon was a Spanish colonizer responsible for the first successful settlements along the Rio Grande between Laredo and Brownsville. He was a Spaniard, born in Spain in 1700. Mexico at that time, society was very conscious of a person's background, birth, social class. Since Escandon was born in Spain, Spanish, he would have been called a "peninsular" (a person from "the peninsula"). That was different from a person also of pure Spanish blood who had been born in the Americas, and also different from a person who had been born of a mixed marriage, say Spanish and Indian parents.

Jose de Escandon came to the Americas and arrived in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico at age 15. He enlisted in the Mounted Encomenderos Company as a cadet in a company of cavalry (horse soldiers).

Lieutenant-General Jose de Escandon

In only six years, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and transferred to Queretaro (a city in Mexico which is quite well known for it's college of Franciscan missionaries). Six years later (he would have been 27 years old), he returned to Spain and married Dominga Pedrajo in Soto de la Marina, province of Santander, Spain. He returned to Mexico that same year (1727). Another seven years passed and Jose de Escandon was recognized as a very capable officer and was promoted to the rank of Colonel. A few years after becoming a Colonel, he was made a Lieutenant-General of the entire region of Sierra Gorda. This area was centered over the Rio Grande River and was more than 300 miles wide and 200 miles long. One of the settlements founded by Lieutenant-General Escandon was Presidio La Bahia in 1749.

Presidio La Bahia, though an inland frontier fort, became the only fort responsible for the defense of the coastal area and eastern province of Texas after the abandonment of the Presidios at Los Adaes and Los Orcoquisac. Soldiers from Presidio La Bahia assisted the Spanish army in fighting the British along the Gulf Coast during the American Revolution.

This action gives Precidio La Bahia and the community of La Bahia the distinction of being one of the only communities west of the Mississippi River to have participated in the American Revolution in 1776. The Presidio La Bahia is the oldest standing fort west of the Mississippi. Its original purpose was to guard the interests of the Spanish Crown against Native American and French attackers.

The chapel of Our Lady of Loreto was included in the current structure to serve the religious needs of the soldiers stationed there. The chapel was erected in the quadrangle for the sole use of the soldiers and Spanish settlers living in the town of La Bahia surrounding the fort.

Religious needs of the citizens of La Bahia were served by Mission Espiritu Santo (now on the grounds of Goliad State Park), located northwest and across the San Antonio River from the presidio.

Philip Nolan Invasion - 1801

One of the most noted early expeditions into Texas was that of Philip Nolan in 1801. As he did not succeed in penetrating as far as La Bahia, it is of little interest to the history of this settlement, although Nolan's expedition was known of and La Bahia alerted about it.

This raid of Nolan and his band brought to the Spanish government the realization of the danger of aggression from the United States. General Wilkinson's activities served to increase the Spanish governments' uneasiness and bred distrust toward all Anglo-Americans, especially toward those from the southern states. Well might they have been distrusted! 3

Population Of Towns In 1806 - 1834

Describing the departments or districts of government into which Texas was divided under the Mexican system, Juan Almonte notes that the "seat of government is in San Antonio, in the Department of Béxar, and the prinicpal municipalities are: Béxar, where the political chief resides; Goliad, or Bahia del Espiritu Santo; Victoria and San Patricio."

He also stated there were four missions in the vicinity of Béxar, but only two of them were occupied, the others having been abandoned. Evidently, he meant Espiritu Santo and Nuestra Senora del Refugio.

A letter dated July 10, 1810, named Architect Don Jose Ma. Caballo to attend to the construction of miliary barracks at La Bahia for 300 troops. The Governor replies that there are no masons, no peons available to do the work. On November 10, 1810, the Bishop writes to Governor Jose Miguel Martinez to dedicate the new cemetery at La Bahia, and Martinez replies that it will be done as soon as the military commander there can spare the time. Under the date of December 31, 1810, we find first mention of a school building in the town of La Bahia. 3

Municipality
1806 Population
1834 Population
Béxar
5,000
2,400
Goliad
1,400
700
Victoria
-
300
San Patricio
-
600


Gutierrez - Magee Occupation Of Presidio La Bahia 1812 - 1813

Flag Of The First Republic Of Texas
During the Gutierrez-Magee occupation (First Republic of Texas) in 1812 - 1813, the longest siege in Texas military history was fought here at Presidio La Bahia.

Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara was a revolutionary leader of the Republican uprising in Mexico. He lost out in his revolt in that country and transferred his activities to Texas and the United States. Appearing in Natchitoches, Louisiana, he began his activities with the avowed intention of "liberating Texas" from Mexico and setting up a Republic of which he would be the head. He had a wide following of "liberals" among the Mexicans and adventurers from the United States.

In Natchitoches, the hotbed of intrigues and treason, he met groups of adventures from the United States and enlisted them in his scheme. Among those drawn in were Augustus W. Magee, a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of West Point. While serving in the U.S. Army in the Neutral Strip about 1812, he conceived the idea of wresting Texas from Mexico and establishing an independent republic. He soon joined with Gutierrez and began enlisting other adventurers and freebooters. These included venturesome Americans, disgruntled Spaniards, designing Frenchmen, and some pirates from Lafitte's layout.

Many of those in the force were rogues, but not all. Such men of distinction as Reuben Ross, Henry Perry, Captain James Gains, and Samuel Kemper, brother of the two Kempers who had figured prominently in the West Florida revolution against Spain, joined in the plot to wrest Texas from Spain. They succeeded in gathering a force of three hundred and organized the expedition. Gutierrez insisted upon being recognized as commander, but Magee was determined to hold the command. Friction between the leaders of the expedition began at the very start. Moving into Texas, they succeeded in capturing Nacogdoches with the avowed intention of taking La Bahia and San Antonio.

On November 7, 1812, a force of 300 men arrived at Presidio La Bahia. They marched directly into town (La Bahia) without a fight, as the garrison had marched to San Antonio. The governor, Manuel Salcedo, Spanish governor of Texas, was alerted to the invasion attempts of the filibusters and moved his small force out of San Antonio to meet them. The error of his intelligence agents, who thought the filibusterers would strike at San Antonio first, led Salcedo to deploy his troops on the San Antonio road. However, the Americans had actually taken the lower, La Bahia road and had reached the old presidio unmolested.

On November 13, 1812, the Royal troops from San Antonio, under Salcedo and Simon de Herrera, arrived at Espiritu Santo Mission where they established their headquarters. Soon after their arrival, the Royalists received nine brass cannons from San Antonio which they immediately trained upon Presidio La Bahia. The stout old walls repelled the shots, according to Gutierrez's account.

The Spaniard's attack upon the fort began on November 14, 1835. The Americans went outside to meet them but were soon driven back into the safety of the stone walls. The Americans claimed they drove the Spaniards back to the Mission Espiritu Santo. The next day, Herrera divided his forces into three camps, one on the east, one on the west, and one on the opposite bank of the river.

Salcedo now decided to begin a siege upon the fort. The siege lasted four months, and from time to time, sorties from the fort and Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo were made that brought on armed clashes between the opposing armies. The siege was not immediately successful, as meat was easily supplied to the besieged army by the vaqueros (cowboys) and Indians from the town outside the fort. They would round up the wild mission cattle, and at night, bring the cattle or meat into the quadrangle. Also, frequent forays from the presidio were made to secure food.

The most noted of these raids has gone down in history as "The Battle of the White Cow". Magee's men were attempting to capture and drive into the fort a white cow that was grazing on the slope between the presidio and river. She ran toward the river and the enemy just across the stream at Espiritu Santo. The Spaniards ran to her aid and gallantly defended her. The ensuing fight between the two armies lasted two hours. The Republican officers claim to have killed two hundred Spaniard Royalists and that they themselves lost only one man killed and six wounded. The Royalists' claims of casualties are just the reverse.

For some time during the early winter, hostilities seemed to have quieted down, or entirely stopped. In fact, a strange fraternizing began between the officers of the opposing armies, who visited and dined with one another.

Magee, by invitation, dined with Salcedo in the latter's quarters. Wine and liquor flowed freely. For some reason, probably too many drinks, Magee agreed to deliver up the fort to the Royalists, on Salcedo's word that the Americans were to be allowed to return to the United States but without their arms. Further, they would be supplied on their march home by the victores, the Royalists.

Magee returned to the fort and made known to his officers and men the proposed surrender and terms. The men were surprised and indignity refused to hear to it, and it was unanimously voted to reject the treaty. The men were highly indignant at the betrayal by the commander and made known their resolution not to give up the effort by striking the butts of their guns against the ground. In chagrin, Magee retired to his quarters and refused to leave them again. On the vote of the army, Colonel Kemper was now made commander. Gutierrez was in nominal command but refused to take any stand, and was, in any case, not a military commander by training. Thus, the command devolved upon Colonel Kemper, who proved to be an able leader.

In a few days, a curt note came from Salcedo, accompanied by a flag. The note reminded Magee of his word of honor and demanded the treaty be fulfilled. The flag was sent back without an answer.

Upon this, Salcedo made a furious attack on La Bahia, took the town, and advanced to the walls of the fort. The Americans somewhat disorganized by the recent defection of their former commander, were at first thrown into confusion and did not put up a strong defense. Finally, under the leadership of Colonel Kemper, they sallied out, attacked the enemy, and drove them from the walls and across the river. The fight lasted until dark. The victors claimed the Royalists lost about 200 men, that their own loss was much less.

Magee had not left his quarters during the battle and that night shot himself - make your own decision as to how he died. Castaneda's record gives it that "Magee took sick...By the end of January he was delirious... On February 6, 1813, Augustus Magee who had sat his mount so bravely and who was so sure of the future, died. He did not, as Gutierrez charged, commit suicide by taking poison.

John Henry Brown claims Magee died of consumption. Captain McKim, a veteran quartermaster of the army, told it that Magee drank very heavily, and in a drunken spree, shot himself. Yoakum says, "Magee had not left his quarters during the battle. That night, shortly after twelve o'clock, he died, and it is said, by his own hands."

After their decisive defeat, Salcedo and Herrera raised the siege on February 19 and returned to San Antonio, followed by Kemper and his men who again defeated the Royalists in the pitched battle of Alazan, June 20, 1813. This was to be the last victory for the Republicans. Arredondo brought a new army from Mexico, which aided by dissension among the Americans and Mexican leaders, brought on the disastrous defeat of the Republicans in the Battle of Medina. The Royalist leaders butchered Salcedo, Herrera, and twelve or more prominent San Antonio men after they had surrendered. So shocked were the American leaders, Kemper, Perry, Ross, Warren, and other officers, that they asked for furloughs and returned to Natchitoches. Thus ended the American's part in the Gutierrez-Magee Filibuster.

After the battle of Medina (see battle of Medina below), August 18, 1813, some few Republicans escaped the terrible slaughter of 1,000 of their men. Of those who escaped, some fled to La Bahia where they joined their friends who were supposed to hold that fort. However, all thought it was safer to retreat to Natchitoches in the United States.

The loyalists remaining behind immediately took over, organized a temporary city council, arrested the remaining Republicans, proclaimed their allegiance to the royal government and reported to Arredondo. Pleased with the loyalty of these good subject to the King, Arredondo immediately sent Captain Luciano Garcia with eighty men to help the Loyalists restore law and order and to the garrison the for of La Bahia.

Name of La Bahia Settlement Changed To Goliad - 1829

The fort is the site where Goliad history began. The location of the fort had been an occupied site long before Spain arrived in the New World. Strategically located on a high elevation overlooking the surrounding area, the Spanish arrived here in 1749 and found evidence of an Indian Village in the area they named Santa Dorotea. A permanent settlement by Spain began, the town of La Bahia grew up around the protection of the fort. This town was the original Goliad, the name being changed by petition of Rafael Antonio Manchola from La Bahia in 1829 as an anagram for Hidalgo, in honor of the patriot priest of the Mexican Revolution, Father Miguel Hidalgo, who sounded the famous "Grito de Delores" in 1810 for Mexican Independence from Spain. This town became the second largest populated settlement in Spanish Texas.

Click Here To Learn More About Madame Garcia's
The painting above by Marilyn Key depicts what a local house of entertainment (Madame Garcia's) may have looked like prior to the Texas Revolution. Located just outside of the southeast bastion of the presidio walls. Madame Garcia's had a bridge linking the bastion and the roof of Madame Garcia's. Click the above painting to learn more about Madame Garcia's.

After the Texas Revolution, the town of Goliad moved north across the San Antonio River to its present day location.

Commanders At Presidio La Bahia
Year
Name Of Commander
1721 to 1723 Domingo Ramon at Garcitas
1724 Diego Ramon
1724 - 1730 Juan Antonio Bustillo y Ceballos
1730 (Fall of) - 1735 Captain Don Gabriel Costales
1736 - 1749 Captain Joaquin Orobio y Basterra
1749 - 1767 Captain Manuel Ramirez
1767 - 1772 Captain Francisco Tovar
1772 - 1778 Don Louis Cazorla
1778 - 1781 Lt. Eugenio Fernandez (temporality)
1781 - 1784 Jose Santoja
1784 - 1788 Captain Luis Cazorla (died during an epidemic in 1788, as did his 2nd in command, Lt. Jose Santoja)
1788 - 1791 Manuel Espadas
1795 - 1798 Captain Juan Cortez (while his administration was being investigated, Bernardo Fernandez was temporarily appointed until April, 1798, Ad Interim Commander - Juan Bautista Elguezabal - 1797-98)
1798 - 1799 Jose Miguel del Moral
1799 Francisco Xavier ranga
1812 Captain Luciano Garcia
1813 Captain Lorenzo Serrano
1817 Don Jesus Aldrete
1817 Captain Juan de Castaneda
1819 Juan Manuel Sambrano
1821 Alcalde Buentello
1821 Agabo de Ayala
1823 Jose Miguel Aldrete
1825 Don Jose Hernandez
1830 Jose Miguel Aldrete
1831 Rafael Manchola
1832 Juan Jose Hernandez
1835 Lieutenant Col. Sandoval, Captain Sabariego, and Ensign Garza
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:55 pm

February 5 in Texas History…..

Image
Martin Lalor Crimmins, above in the middle.

Snakebite pioneer succumbs

On this day in 1955, Martin Lalor Crimmins, noted herpetologist, army officer, and military historian, died in San Antonio. Born in New York, he attended Georgetown College and the University of Virginia Medical School but joined Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in San Antonio just before graduation. He began a distinguished career in the United States Army and achieved the rank of colonel in 1921. Though his military service took him across Europe and Asia, he retired to San Antonio in 1926. One of Crimmins's most noteworthy accomplishments was his pioneer work in snakebite treatment. He inoculated himself with serum until he became immune and then gave blood transfusions to snakebite victims. Crimmins assisted medical experts in research and lectured across the United States, and he also published numerous historical and scientific articles. His work earned him the prestigious Walter Reed Award in 1953.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

MARTIN LALOR CRIMMINS (1876–1955). Martin Lalor Crimmins, army officer, herpetologist, and military historian, was born on April 4, 1876, in New York City, the son of John D. and Lily (Lalor) Crimmins. From September 1891 to October 1895 he attended Georgetown College, Washington, D.C., after which he studied at the University of Virginia Medical School from November 1895 to May 1898. Shortly before graduation he joined the Rough Riders in San Antonio with the help of Theodore Roosevelt, a family friend. Crimmins was commissioned second lieutenant, Sixty-ninth Volunteer Infantry, on August 29, 1898. The following month he was commissioned second lieutenant, United States Army, and assigned to the Eighteenth Infantry regiment at Cavite, Luzon, Philippines. Thereafter, promotions continued until he reached his final rank of colonel on April 23, 1921. In 1926 he was retired for physical disability in the line of duty and moved to San Antonio, Texas. During his military service he traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Alaska.

As a herpetologist Crimmins did pioneer work in the field of snake-bite treatment, a subject on which he assisted medical experts in many experiments and lectured throughout the United States. He inoculated himself with serum until he became immune and then gave blood transfusions to snake-bite victims. In April 1953 he received the Walter Reed Award "in recognition of courageous service to mankind." He devoted his later years to writing, mostly on historical subjects. More than 200 of his articles appeared, in publications that included the West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Frontier Times, New Mexico Historical Review, Journal of the American Military Institute, U.S. Infantry Journal, Military Surgeon, Army & Navy Courier, Military Engineer, Southern Medical Journal, and Texas State Journal of Medicine. He was active in various scientific and historical associations in Texas. On January 16, 1901, Crimmins married Margaret Custis Cole. On May 19, 1918, he married Josephine Yost. He died in San Antonio on February 5, 1955.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:04 pm

February 6 in Texas History…..

Frenchman, considered a troublemaker by the Spanish, dies in prison

On this day in 1756, Joseph Blancpain, a French trader whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century, died in prison in Mexico City. Blancpain had been arrested in 1754 by Spanish army lieutenant Marcos Ruiz for unauthorized trading with Indians, to whom he was evidently furnishing firearms. The Spanish authorities believed him to be an agent for the French government. As a result of Blancpain's activities the king of Spain ordered that any Frenchman found in Spanish territory would be imprisoned.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

JOSEPH BLANCPAIN (?–1756). Joseph Blancpain was a French trader of Natchitoches, Louisiana, whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1754 Blancpain, Elias George, Antonio de la Fara (Antonio Dessars), and two black men from Louisiana were caught by Lt. Marcos Ruiz trading among the Orcoquiza Indians in Spanish territory. The Frenchmen's stock of goods was confiscated and divided among their captors; their huts were given to Chief Calzones Colorados; and they were taken to Mexico City and imprisoned. Blancpain testified that he lived on a plantation near New Orleans and that he had been licensed by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, governor of Louisiana, to trade for horses among the Attacapa Indians. A list of his goods showed him to be furnishing the Indians with firearms, and his diary caused the Spanish to believe him to be an agent for the French government. On February 6, 1756, Blancpain died in prison in Mexico City. His companions were sent to Cádiz, Spain, and imprisoned for life. As a result of this incident, the king of Spain issued an order that any Frenchman found in Spanish domains without a permit would be sent to Acapulco and shipped to the island of Juan Fernández or the presidio of Valdivia in South America.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:13 pm

February 7 in Texas History…..

ImageImage
Albert Sidney Johnston & Felix Huston

Transfer of command misfires in Republic of Texas army

On this day in 1837, Brig. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was wounded in a duel by Brig. Gen. Felix Huston. Johnston had been sent by President Sam Houston to replace Huston as commander of the Texas army. Huston considered the lack of confidence in his leadership such an affront that, in spite of his esteem for the senior officer, he challenged Johnston to a duel. Johnston's wound was so severe that he was unable to take command.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

FELIX HUSTON (1800–1857). Felix Huston, lawyer, military adventurer, and commanding officer of the Army of the Republic of Texas, was born in Kentucky in 1800 and was practicing law in Natchez, Mississippi, when word of the Texas Revolution reached him. On July 14, 1835, he presided over a meeting in Natchez advocating Texas independence and soliciting aid for the cause. As a propagandist for the revolution, he raised troops and money throughout Mississippi and Kentucky and incurred a personal debt of $40,000 raising and equipping soldiers for service in Texas. He left Natchez on May 5, 1836, with Rezin P. Bowie and an estimated 500 to 700 volunteers for the Texas army, marched across Louisiana, and arrived at army headquarters on July 4, too late to participate in the war for independence.

After San Jacinto, Sam Houston left the army to seek treatment in New Orleans for a wounded ankle, leaving Thomas Jefferson Rusk in command. When ad interim president David G. Burnet attempted to relieve Rusk and place Mirabeau B. Lamar in command of the army, Huston was selected by his fellow officers to chair a committee called to deal with the government's "interference." Huston's committee resolved to support Rusk as general in chief, but when Lamar arrived in camp, Rusk called for a vote of the troops. Though Rusk was confirmed overwhelmingly, Lamar continued to issue orders as commander in chief until Huston and other officers pressured him into resigning. Rusk continued in command until Houston's inauguration as first president of the republic, then reluctantly accepted a cabinet post as secretary of war in Houston's cabinet. On December 20, 1836, Sam Houston appointed Huston junior brigadier general of the army and temporary commander in chief. Command of the 2,000-man army thus devolved upon Felix Huston, a Mississippi planter of volatile temper and decidedly aggressive intentions toward Mexico. Huston's headquarters and the bulk of the army were located at Camp Johnson, on the Lavaca River; a small mounted detachment under Lt. Col. Juan N. Seguín reoccupied San Antonio. Galveston and Velasco also quartered small garrisons, and a line of crude forts on the Indian frontier was manned by small groups of mounted volunteers. Under Huston the camps of the army became the resting place for idlers and brawlers, and when Houston appointed Albert Sidney Johnston senior brigadier general and commander of the army, Huston's honor compelled him to call out the new commander and shoot him through the right hip in a duel on the Lavaca River, on February 7, 1837.

Huston, who believed that Mexico would never recognize the Rio Grande as the southern border of Texas, proposed that he raise, finance, and command a military colony of 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers in South Texas with the intention of capturing Matamoros. Rusk and Gen. Thomas J. Green seem to have favored the scheme, but it was vetoed by President Houston and never carried out.

Huston arrived at Plum Creek on the evening of August 11, 1840, and took command of the gathering troops. The following day he formed his troops for battle, dismounted his men, and began firing at random. As the Comanches fled with their plunder, Huston, at the urging of Benjamin McCulloch and other old Indian fighters, ordered a charge. Huston left Texas in the fall after the battle of Plum Creek and, in partnership with Sergeant S. Prentiss, formed a law firm in New Orleans. In 1844 he campaigned vigorously in favor of the annexation of Texas to the United States, but by the late 1850s he was prominent as a secessionist. He died in Natchez in 1857. Historian Eugene C. Barker characterized Huston as "a typical military adventurer" whose "actual personal service in Texas was more obstreperous than effective; nevertheless," Barker writes, Huston was "a true friend of Texas."

ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON, (1803–1862). Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate general, son of John and Abigail (Harris) Johnston, was born at Washington, Kentucky, on February 2, 1803. He attended Transylvania University before he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in June 1826. He served at Sackett's Harbor, New York, in 1826, with the Sixth Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1827, and as regimental adjutant in the Black Hawk War. On January 20, 1829, he married Henrietta Preston. Because of his wife's illness, he resigned his commission on April 22, 1834, and farmed near St. Louis in 1835. She died on August 12, 1835. In 1836 Johnston moved to Texas and enlisted as a private in the Texas Army. On August 5, 1836, he was appointed adjutant general by Thomas Jefferson Rusk and on January 31, 1837, he became senior brigadier general in command of the army to replace Felix Huston. A duel with Huston resulted; Johnston was wounded and could not immediately take the command. On December 22, 1838, he was appointed secretary of war for the Republic of Texas by President Mirabeau B. Lamar, and in December 1839 he led an expedition against the Cherokee Indians in East Texas. On March 1, 1840, Johnston returned to Kentucky, where, on October 3, 1843, he married Eliza Griffin, a cousin of his first wife. They returned to Texas to settle at China Grove Plantation in Brazoria County.

During the Mexican War he was colonel of the First Texas Rifle Volunteers and served with W. O. Butler as inspector general at Monterrey, Mexico. On December 2, 1849, Johnston became paymaster in the United States Army and was assigned to the Texas frontier. He went with William S. Harney to the Great Plains in 1855, and on April 2, 1856, he was appointed colonel of the Second Cavalry. In 1858 Johnston received command of a Utah expedition to escort a new territorial governor and three judges to Salt Lake City and to establish a military presence, due to Morman resistance of federal authority. He set up Camp Scott near the ruins of Fort Bridger in the fall of 1858, and later selected a site southwest of Salt Lake City for a permanent camp—Camp Floyd which was dedicated in November of 1859. Johnston remained in charge of Camp Floyd until 1860 when he was sent to the Pacific Department and stationed at San Francisco. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, he resigned his commission in the United States Army, refused the federal government's offer of a command, and returned overland to Texas.

In Austin 1861 Jefferson Davis appointed Johnston a general in the Confederate Army and in September assigned him command of the Western Department. Johnston issued a call for men and formed and drilled an army, but it lacked men and organization, had a huge area to defend, and could not control the rivers that were vital to military success in the region. In February 1862, following Federal victories on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, he moved his line of defense to the vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee, and later to Corinth, Mississippi. On April 6, 1862, he was killed while leading his forces at the battle of Shiloh. He was temporarily buried at New Orleans. By special appropriation, the Texas Legislature, in January 1867, had his remains transferred to Austin for burial in the State Cemetery. In 1905 a stone monument executed by noted sculptor Elisabet Ney was erected at the site.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:55 pm

February 8 in Texas History…..

Last Franciscan in early Texas relinquishes missions

On this day in 1830, José Antonio Díaz de León, the last Franciscan missionary in prerepublic Texas, reluctantly complied with the Mexican state government decree that missions be secularized--that is, turned over to diocesan authorities. Díaz de León had been appointed ad interim president of all the Texas missions in 1820, three years before the Mexican government ordered their final secularization. Díaz de León declined to comply without instructions from his superiors in Zacatecas, the first in a series of delays that lasted seven years. Díaz de León surrendered the San Antonio missions to the Diocese of Monterrey in 1824. In 1826 he was officially named president of the Texas missions. But Anglo settlers wanted the mission properties, and in 1829 the town of Goliad (formerly La Bahía) obtained a new decree to enforce secularization. Díaz de León continued to resist, but on February 8, 1830, he finally surrendered the last remaining missions. The mission lands, as he had expected, were soon made available to colonists. The bishop of Monterrey assigned him a parish post in Nacogdoches. Díaz de León was murdered on November 4, 1834. He was the thirty-first, and last, Zacatecan missionary to die in Texas. In 1926 the German author Robert Streit published a historical novel about Díaz de León; the work remains untranslated.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

JOSÉ ANTONIO DÍAZ DE LEÓN (1786/87–1834). José Antonio Díaz de León, the last Franciscan missionary in prerepublic Texas, was born in Mexico either in late 1786 or early 1787. He became a friar in 1811 and was admitted as a cleric in 1812 to the College of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas, which at the time administered all Franciscan missions in Texas. In 1815, after being ordained to the priesthood, Díaz de León began his missionary career in Nuevo Santander (present Tamaulipas). After being assigned to Texas in 1816 he took charge of Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission in 1817. In 1818 he conducted a census at Refugio that showed 164 persons, not distinguished in the report by ethnic origin, living at the mission pueblo. This population was, however, soon decimated. In 1820 Díaz de León became resident minister of San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission in the outskirts of Bexar (San Antonio) and was appointed ad interim president of all the Texas missions. During his tenure at San José he took charge of the spiritual care of Indian and Spanish settlers at four partially secularized missions in the neighborhood of San Antonio. He also served briefly as chaplain of the presidio at Goliad and acted as assistant pastor of the church of San Fernando (later San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral) during the long absence of its parish priest, José Refugio de la Garza, who represented the province as a delegate in Mexico City.

Fray Miguel Muro succeeded Díaz de León at Refugio, where fierce Comanche attacks soon brought about the virtual disintegration of the mission. Díaz de León applied to Governor Antonio María Martínez for military protection for Refugio, or for permission to remove at least the sacred objects to La Bahía. After Mexican independence, the new governor, José Félix Trespalacios, donated fifty pesos to Refugio Mission and promised help, but the desperate situation did not change.
Unknown to Díaz de León, Father Garza recommended and obtained legislation for the final secularization of the Texas missions in 1823. Díaz de León, as acting president, received the order to transfer the missions but declined to comply without instructions from his superiors in Zacatecas. This was the first in a series of delays and requests for modification of the decree that Díaz de León presented to the government over the next seven years. While seeking exemptions for Espíritu Santo and Refugio missions on the basis that the mission Indians still needed protection, the Franciscan had to surrender the San Antonio missions to the Diocese of Monterrey, Nuevo León, on February 29, 1824.

Because of continuing Comanche depredations, Refugio Mission was officially abandoned that summer by order of the political chief, José Antonio Saucedo. But Díaz de León was determined to save the mission and did not give up. He also became the representative of twelve or thirteen Aranama Indian families who claimed right to the mission lands of Espíritu Santo, a move opposed by the ayuntamiento of La Bahía. By that time white colonists, who had been settling the coastal area traditionally considered Indian territory, were causing population displacements in the region. Indians from Refugio Mission, now roaming wild, apparently joined other coastal Indians in harassing the colonists. Armed confrontations ensued. Muro and Díaz de León secured a peace treaty between Stephen F. Austin and the Karankawas, but shortly afterwards hostility continued. The Mexican government became convinced that it was wise to support the rehabilitation of Refugio in order to keep the Indians out of trouble. Díaz de León used the opportunity to make a detailed analysis of the Indian situation in the area and listed the specific needs of Refugio Mission under such conditions. In 1825, while considering a request from the people of Nacogdoches to become their pastor, the missionary moved to Espíritu Santo. He did not wait for government help but set out with Muro to the wilderness in order to gather scattered mission Indians. Refugio was reestablished, and Muro resumed his ministry there, though without much success.

In 1826 Zacatecas officially named Díaz de León president of the Texas missions. The college also granted his request to trade a mission bell to the new town of Victoria for items useful to the Indians under his care at Espíritu Santo. The Franciscan-described by a contemporary French observer as "an industrious, disinterested man, adored by the indigenes"-continued against all odds, by pastoral visitations, to serve the spiritual needs of the whole region for three more years. The question of how to distribute the mission lands turned more complicated because settlers and empresarios coveted them. The town of Goliad (as La Bahía was renamed in 1829) obtained from the state government a new decree to enforce secularization of the missions on March 6, 1829. Díaz de León, upon receiving the order, went to San Antonio to argue once more for delays, conceding Espíritu Santo but requesting exemption at least for Refugio. Having finally lost the case of the Aranama families a few months before, he knew that secularization would result in depriving mission Indians of their land. He gathered a number of Aranamas, as well as some Karankawas and Cocos, and took them to El Oso, ten miles below Goliad on the San Antonio River. He tried to encourage them to farm in common there and live according to a modified mission routine. He took whatever he could from Espíritu Santo and gave it to them. But because the town protested the presence of the Indians in their neighborhood the experiment had to end. The Franciscan finally decided to comply with the secularization decree. He made an inventory and then, on February 8, 1830, surrendered the last remaining missions. The mission lands, as he had expected, were soon made available to colonists.

Under the jurisdiction of the see of Nuevo León the friar was assigned a parish post in Nacogdoches. The College of Zacatecas received an anonymous letter written in Latin by a Catholic empresario in Texas warning the superiors not to let missionaries move to Anglo settlements beyond the Colorado River because of danger to them. Díaz de León, refusing to believe the warning and showing no fear, accepted the risk and went to Nacogdoches. There he found the church being used as a barracks by the troops of Col. José de las Piedras, who had quartered them there since the Fredonian Rebellion of 1827. The friar rented a house as a temporary chapel but was eventually evicted when he could not pay. He organized a "piety board" (junta de piedad) intended to solicit private donations for the construction of a new church and school. Eager to help in civic activities, he became a member of the town's health board, established to combat smallpox. He also began signing the official reports of all births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Using Nacogdoches as home base, he undertook pastoral visitations throughout the whole district. He approached Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo alike. His English, however, was very poor, and he had little success with most Anglo colonists, who were willing to be only nominal Catholics in order to comply with the Mexican colonization law. The Anglos would have preferred someone like English-speaking Father Michael Muldoon, who had been performing token Catholic marriages in the Austin colony, thus producing scores of the nominal Catholics who came to be called "Muldoon Catholics." It was difficult to discern at the time who among the colonists was Catholic by conviction. A case in point is Sam Houston, baptized by Díaz de León at the house of Adolphus Sterneqv, a common friend, in 1833.

The Anglo-Hispanic polarity was reaching a dangerous level of tension in East Texas by 1834. Stephen F. Austin, who had been privately writing bitter condemnations of the Catholic Church in general and missionary friars in particular, was being held in jail without trial in Mexico, to the dismay of the colonists. After the Mexican government passed a national law of religious toleration that suddenly released Protestant colonists from their pretensions to Catholicism, the presence of Díaz de León, a pious and dedicated Mexican missionary, came to be resented in Nacogdoches. He received several death threats and learned that someone had been paid to assassinate him. After performing a marriage ceremony near Liberty (Liberty County), he wrote a moving farewell letter to friends and enemies, knowing that his end was near. On November 4, 1834, he was shot on his way back to Nacogdoches, in the vicinity of St. Augustine. At the moment of death he was kneeling, as if in prayer. He was the thirty-first, and last, Zacatecan missionary to die in Texas. Some Mexicans living in the area, convinced that Díaz de León and five other citizens had been murdered, sent a report to Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos, who allocated 300 soldiers under Col. Domingo de Ugartechea to impose order in the Eastern District. Meanwhile, the official investigation of the Franciscan's death dragged for a few months until an inquiry concluded that the missionary had grown so frightened of being killed that he killed himself. Catholic historians regard this judgment as a calumny against a priest-martyr, whereas Protestant ones favor a verdict of suicide. It would at least have been impolitic for a court of inquiry staffed by colonists to return a verdict of murder. In 1926 a German, Robert Streit, published a historical novel on Díaz de León, Der letzte Franziskaner von Texas; the work remains untranslated.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:18 pm

February 9 in Texas History…..

Image

Texas pays beef bill, twelve years late

On this day in 1854, Samuel K. Lewis finally received payment for two beeves he had furnished to the Army of the Republic of Texas in November 1842. Lewis, whose place and date of birth are unknown, had moved to Texas in 1838. He was issued an unconditional grant for land in Brazoria County in 1841 and was living in or near La Grange by 1842. In that year, president Sam Houston and Congress were pursuing a policy of retrenchment and economy. Despite their efforts, by the time Texas was annexed to the United States, in 1845, the money owed Lewis was part of a $12 million public debt. Lewis, who also represented Austin County in the House of Representatives of the Ninth Congress (1844-1845), died in 1867.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

SAMUEL K. LEWIS (1802–1867). Samuel K. Lewis, legislator, was married when he moved to Texas in November 1838. On July 6, 1841, he was issued an unconditional certificate for land in Brazoria County, and by 1842 he was living in or near La Grange, Fayette County. On November 25, 1842, he furnished some provisions for the Army of the Republic of Texas. He represented Austin County in the House of Representatives of the Ninth Congress (1844–45; . On February 9, 1854, he was paid for two beeves he had furnished the army in 1842 and signed the warrant in person but did not indicate his residence. Lewis died in 1867. He had been involved in a dispute over land in Marion County, which was resolved by the Texas Supreme Court in 1875.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:06 pm

February 10 in Texas History…..

French castaway reaches Natchitoches

On this day in 1721, the castaway François Simars de Bellisle reached the French post at Natchitoches after a year and a half of wandering across Texas. Bellisle was an officer on the Maréchal d'Estrée, which ran aground near Galveston Bay in the autumn of 1719. He and four other men were put ashore to ascertain their position and seek help, but were left behind when the ship floated free and sailed away. That winter the Frenchmen were unable to kill enough game to sustain themselves. One by one, Bellisle's companions died of starvation or exposure. When he at last encountered a band of Atakapa Indians on an island in the bay, they stripped him of his clothing, robbed him of his possessions, and made him a slave. But they fed him, and he remained with them throughout the summer of 1720, traversing "the most beautiful country in the world." When a group of Bidai Indians came to the Atakapa camp, Bellisle managed to write a letter and give it to the visitors with instructions to deliver it to "the first white man" they saw. The letter, passed from tribe to tribe, at last reached Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis at Fort Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Natchitoches). Saint-Denis sent the Hasinais to rescue the French castaway. Bellisle returned to the Texas coast with Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe in the summer of 1721 and served as an interpreter among the natives, "who were quite surprised at seeing their slave again." Bellisle remained in the Louisiana colony until 1762 and died in Paris the following year.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

FRANÇOIS SIMARS DE BELLISLE (1695–1763). François Simars de Bellisle was born in France in 1695. In autumn 1719, like Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca almost two centuries earlier, he was marooned near Galveston Bay. His ensuing struggle for survival in some ways parallels that of the noted Spaniard.

On August 14, 1719, Bellisle sailed as an officer on the French West Indies Company ship Maréchal d'Estrée, bound for Louisiana. When it entered the Gulf of Mexico, the ship became lost, sailed past the Mississippi River, and ran aground near Galveston Bay. Bellisle and four companions asked to be put ashore to ascertain their position and seek help. The ship, having floated free, sailed away without them. Seeking some familiar landmark, the castaways walked east, perhaps as far as the Sabine River, and ascended a river believed to have been the San Jacinto. Having crossed the bay, Bellisle alone reconnoitered westward, possibly as far as the Brazos River. That winter the Frenchmen were unable to kill enough game to sustain themselves. One by one, Bellisle's companions died of starvation or exposure. Out of ammunition, Bellisle ate oysters, boiled grass, and huge yellow worms pried from driftwood. When he at last encountered Indians on an island in the bay, they stripped him of his clothing and robbed him of his possessions. But they fed him, and he remained with the wandering Atákapan band throughout the summer of 1720, while it hunted for deer and buffalo and dug "wild potatoes," traversing "the most beautiful country in the world."
Treated as a slave, Bellisle was forced during the following winter constantly to carry burdens. He was kept naked and was often subjected to beatings, without recourse. When a group of Bidai Indians came to the Atákapa camp, he managed to write a letter and give it to the visitors with instructions to deliver it to "the first white man." The letter, passed from tribe to tribe, at last reached the Hasinais, who took it to Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denisqv at Fort Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Natchitoches, Louisiana). Saint-Denis sent the Hasinais to rescue the French castaway.
Bellisle remained among the Hasinais more than two months and was taken into the lodge of a young widow, Angélique (Angelina to the Spaniards), whose name appears several times in French and Spanish records. Guided by her two children, he reached the French post at Natchitoches on February 10, 1721, and arrived at Biloxi in early April.

He then entered the service of Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, and the following summer returned to the Texas coast. He sailed on August 21, 1721, aboard the ship Subtile with Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe, who had orders to occupy "the Baye Saint-Bernard" (Matagorda), site of La Salle's landing in 1685. The captain of the ship was Jean Béranger, who the previous year had sought to reconnoiter the same bay but had entered Aransas Pass instead. This time he erred again and landed in Galveston Bay. As La Harpe explored the bay, Bellisle served as interpreter among the natives, "who were quite surprised at seeing their slave again." Finding the Indians hostile to his intent, La Harpe ordered withdrawal. From nine of Bellisle's former captors taken back to Biloxi as prisoners, Béranger compiled an Atákapan vocabulary, which helps to define the bay explored as Galveston Bay rather than Matagorda.

Bellisle, who remained in the Louisiana colony until 1762, served at various outposts and on expeditions to the interior. He acquired a plantation near New Orleans. In 1753 he became a member of the Superior Council of Louisiana and served as town commander of New Orleans. He died in Paris on March 4, 1763.

Francois Simar de Bellisle

by Truman Stacey

Francois Simar de Bellisle was one of the early explorers of Southwest Louisiana, but under quite tragic circumstances.

Bellisle was a young French ensign who sailed from Lorient in 1719 aboard the ship Marechal d’Estries, bound for Louisiana with troops aboard to reinforce the garrison and convicts being sent as colonists. The ship was under the command of Gervais de la Gaudelle, and his subsequent actions make one wonder how he ever qualified as a mariner. His first landfall was to be the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti. The ship sailed past the island without the captain realizing it. It was stopped by pirates who thought it was an English vessel. Upon learning their mistake, they corrected the captain’s course and pointed him toward the Golf of Mexico.

The captain sailed past Mobile and the mouth of the Mississippi River, running into shoal waters west of Terrebonne Bay. Following the coast, the vessel repeatedly struck bottom, but it was not seriously damaged until it went aground in what is now Galveston Bay. The captain went into his cabin and locked the door. Five of the soldiers, including Bellisle, asked to be put ashore so they could return to Ship Island, the French anchorage in Biloxi, which was thought to be no more than five days’ march. The five were put ashore with guns, swords, and five days’ supply of ship’s biscuit and began to walk toward the east. They soon ran into a wide stretch of food plain and mud and decided to turn back to the ship.

Meanwhile the ship’s mate had asked all passengers to attempt to free the ship by running from one side to the other. Finally the ship was freed. The captain emerged from his cabin, ordered the anchor weighed, and sailed away, leaving the five soldiers as castaways.

The castaways again to the east, seeking a way around the flood plain. As days passed, their rations were consumed. They were able to kill a deer for food, but game was scarce. Finally, two of the five succumbed to starvation. The surviving three found a canoe along a stream and paddled out to sea, still seeking a way east. After 10 to 15 days, the two other men died.

Bellisle was about to give up hope when he was discovered by a band of Indians looking for birds’ eggs. The Indians handled him roughly, taking his canoe and tearing off his clothes. They made him a cross between a slave and a jester, but at least they fed him, and took him with them on their wanderings.

The band had no permanent home but wandered about living on deer and buffalo and "wild potatoes" dug by the women. Bellisle was forced to run, still naked and barefoot, ahead of the horses, and he was beaten if he did not run fast enough.

On the occasion the band happened upon a native of their tribe, whom they killed and cannibalized. One man cut off the head, others the arms and legs, and then the torso was skinned. The savages ate the flesh raw, down to the bones.

Bellisle later wrote that he would have been killed and eaten except for and old widow asking for him as a husband. His lot was no different. He was still a slave, but at least he alive.

He constantly ash his savage captors to free him, but this simply caused them to laugh hugely. During one period of their wanderings, Bellisle heard that they were near the place with the white chief. In despair he wrote a letter on a piece of smooth bark with charcoal ink, asking to be rescued. He asked his captors to deliver the letter to the white chief, but they simply regarded it as a curiosity, passing it from individual to individual and even showing it to other savages of their ilk when they met.

In this way the message found its way to a tribe which was in was communication with the French fort at Natchitoches, and the letter was delivered to the commandant, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis.

St. Denis sent two warriors to bring the captive to him. Bellisle was found and eventually, after some delay, arrived at Natchitoches, bearded and in tattered garments. The date was February 10, 1721. He had survived in the wilderness for two years.

After recuperating at Natchitoches, Bellisle returned to New Orleans, where he took service under Governer Bienville. He participated in a number of expeditions and excursions and finally developed a plantation near New Orleans. He was even elected to the Superior Council. When Louisiana was ceded to Spain, however, he returned to France, where he died in 1763 at the age of 68.

After his return to civilization Bellisle wrote a "Relation," describing his adventures in the wilderness. Unfortunately, he never had any clear idea of where these adventures took place. The Indian band which captured him has been identified as the Attakapas, although that is far from certain. During Bellisle’s time the Attakapas nation centered around three river valleys: the Vermilion, the Mermentau, and the Calcasieu. Smaller bands were centered on Bayou Choupique, Bayou Nezpique, and Eagle Creek.

Because of Bellisle’s report this part of Louisiana became known as "the cannibal coast," and was avoided by most mariners. The young Frenchman contributed a dramatic chapter to Louisiana’s history.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:16 pm

February 11 in Texas History…..

Texas marines mutiny in old New Orleans

On this date in 1842, the first and only mutiny in the Texas Navy began. The schooner San Antonio was anchored in the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Although the high- ranking officers were ashore, the sailors and marines were confined aboard because of fear of desertion. But they evidently got drunk on smuggled liquor and, under marine sergeant Seymour Oswalt, began a mutiny in which Lt. Charles Fuller was killed. Eventually, Commodore Edwin Moore brought some of the mutineers to trial. Three were sentenced to flogging, and four were hanged from the yardarm of the Austin on April 6, 1843. Oswalt himself escaped from jail in New Orleans and was never brought to justice.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

Mutiny aboard the schooner San Antonio

On 11 February 1842, with the principal officers of the Texas Navy schooner San Antonio on shore, a number of seamen demanded to be allowed to go ashore.

The Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Charles Fuller ordered the marine guard to protect the ship against a violent outbreak, only to have the sergeant of marines, Seymour Oswald, turn on him with a tomahawk. In the melee that followed, Fuller was shot to death and his body beaten with muskets and cutlasses. The mutineers then escaped from the ship, but were soon apprehended by the United States revenue cutter Jackson and were placed in jail in New Orleans. Two of the mutinous sailors were returned to the ship and the rest remained in New Orleans, pending extradition.

The state of Louisiana refused to extradite most of the sailors accused of mutiny and killing Lieutenant Fuller. Further, many witnesses had gone down with the schooner San Antonio in October 1842 in . Nevertheless, Commodore Moore tried those hands who were aboard his flagship in April 1843. Three men were sentenced to lashes, and four others were sentenced to death. They were hanged from the yardarm of the Austin on 26 April 1843. Sergeant Oswald escaped jail in New Orleans and was never brought to justice, and Frederick Shepard, a mutineer who saved his life by testifying against his fellows, was killed in action three weeks later in the Naval Battle of Campeche.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:16 pm

February 12 in Texas History…..

Inventor of the electric typewriter born

On this day in 1888, James Field Smathers was born near Valley Spring, Texas. In 1908 he became a typist, accountant, and credit manager for a firm in Kansas City, Missouri. He soon realized the need for some means to increase the speed and decrease the fatigue of typing, and the use of electric power seemed to him the obvious solution. By 1912 he had completed a working model and applied for a patent, which was issued the next year. In 1914 he built an electric typewriter that performed perfectly. In 1923 the Northeast Electric Company of Rochester, New York, entered into a royalty contract with Smathers for the production of electric typewriters. However, private industrial acceptance of the electric typewriter did not come until 1930, when a subsidiary of Northeast Electric put the Electromatic model on the market. This company was purchased by the International Business Machines Corporation in 1933, a step which marked the beginning of the IBM Office Products Division. In 1938 Smathers joined the Rochester staff of IBM as a consultant and worked in development engineering at Poughkeepsie until his retirement in 1953. He died in 1967. Smathers was one of a number of Texas inventors, such as Gail Borden Jr., John Wesley Carhart, Carl Crane, Bette Graham, Ole Ringness, Ned Barnes, and Robert Munger, whose ideas spread far beyond the borders of the state.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

JAMES FIELD SMATHERS (1888–1967). James Field Smathers, inventor of the electric typewriter, was born on a farm near Valley Spring, Texas, on February 12, 1888, the son of James Jefferson and Harriet Olenzo (Spinks) Smathers. After attending a one-room country school he entered Texas Christian University in 1904. He finished business school, taught shorthand and typing for a year, and in 1908 became a typist, accountant, and credit manager of a firm in Kansas City, Missouri. While doing the constant typing required by his position, he realized the need for some means to increase the speed and decrease the fatigue of typing, and the use of electric power seemed to him the obvious device. For more than three years he worked on the application of electric power to typewriters and by the fall of 1912 had completed a working model and applied for a patent, which was issued the next year. He continued to develop his idea until in September 1914 he perfected an electric typewriter that performed perfectly. In the early 1920s he obtained an extension of his early patent because of the delay in his work caused by his overseas military service during World War I. In 1923 the Northeast Electric Company of Rochester, New York, entered into a royalty contract with Smathers for the production of electric typewriters. However, private industrial acceptance of the concept of an electrically powered typewriter did not come until 1930, when Electric Typewriters, Inc., a subsidiary of Northeast Electric Company, put the Electromatic model on the market.

This company was purchased by the International Business Machines Corporation in 1933, a step which marked the beginning of the IBM Office Products Division. The Franklin Institute of the state of Pennsylvania awarded Smathers the Edward Longstreth Medal "for ingenuity in the invention of the electric typewriter." In 1938 he joined the Rochester staff of IBM as a consultant and worked in development engineering at Poughkeepsie until his retirement in 1953. In 1945 the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences awarded him a fellowship for the invention of an escapement for spacing typewriter characters variably according to their widths. An honorary award in 1966 by the alumni association of Texas Christian University recognized Smathers as a "distinguished alumnus." He died on August 7, 1967, in Poughkeepsie, New York, and was buried in Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Mildred Eloise Gill Smathers, a son, and a daughter.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:18 pm

February 13 in Texas History…..

Image

"Lone Wolf," Ranger legend, dies

On this day in 1977, the legendary Texas Ranger M. T. (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas died in Dallas at the age of eighty-five. Gonzaullas was born in 1891 to a Spanish father and Canadian mother. He was a major in the Mexican army by the age of twenty, then a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department for five years. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1920 and saw service from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from El Paso to the Sabine during the 1920s and 1930s. Along the Rio Grande, he later became known as El Lobo Solo. After Governor Miriam (Ma) Ferguson fired most of the rangers, including Gonzaullas, the day after she took office in 1933, the legislature created the Texas Department of Public Safety and made the rangers a division of that agency. Four rangers--the so-called "Big Four"--had an enormous impact on this change: Gonzaullas, Frank Hamer, Thomas R. Hickman, and Will Wright. Gonzaullas became the first American of Spanish descent to achieve the rank of captain in the force, and his experiences investigating a series of murders in Texarkana in 1946 became the basis for the motion picture The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977). He retired from the rangers in 1951 and went to Hollywood as a technical consultant for radio, television, and motion pictures.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

MANUEL TRAZAZAS GONZAULLAS [LONE WOLF] (1891–1977). Manuel T. (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger, the son of Manuel and Helen (von Droff) Gonzaullas, was born in Cádiz, Spain, on July 4, 1891. His father, a native of Spain, and his mother, a native of Canada, were naturalized American citizens visiting in Spain at the time of his birth. Gonzaullas was a major in the Mexican army at age twenty, then a special agent in the United States Treasury Department for five years. He married Laura Isabel Scherer in Riverside, California, on April 12, 1920, and enlisted in the Texas Rangersqv the same year.
His first assignment was in the oilfields of Wichita County, where he served under Capt. Roy W. Aldrich. The first printed reference to him as "Lone Wolf" was carried in the Wichita Falls Daily Times of December 29, 1920. Along the Rio Grande, he later became known as El Lobo Solo. Gonzaullas was involved in control of gambling, bootlegging, bank robbery, riots, prostitution, narcotic trafficking, and general lawlessness from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from El Paso to the Sabine during the 1920s and 1930s.

Along with most others on the force, he was fired by Governor Miriam A. Ferguson the day after she took office in 1933. Recognizing the necessity of removing the rangers from personal control by the governor's office, the Forty-fourth Legislature authorized the establishment of the Texas Department of Public Safety in August 1935 and made the rangers a division of that agency. Gonzaullas was appointed superintendent of the Bureau of Intelligence of the new department. Under the leadership of Gonzaullas and DPS director Col. H. H. Carmichael the bureau turned to scientific analysis in the solution of crimes. It gained a reputation for having a laboratory second only to that of the FBI in Washington.

On February 14, 1940, Gonzaullas resigned from the bureau and returned to ranger service. He was made captain of Company B, headquartered in Dallas. He became the first American of Spanish descent to achieve the rank of captain in the force. In the following years one of his most notable assignments was to Texarkana, in connection with murders committed in 1946 by the "Phantom Killer." Gonzaullas's experiences there were used as the basis for the motion picture The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977). He retired from the rangers on May 3, 1951, and went to Hollywood as a technical consultant for radio, television, and motion pictures, in particular the long-running 1950s radio and TV show "Tales of the Texas Rangers." Lone Wolf Gonzaullas, a Mason and Presbyterian, died in Dallas on February 13, 1977, at the age of eighty-five.
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Re: All Things Texas

Postby K Hale on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:18 am

Dang, he's cute. I'd guess a grade pony, i.e. mutt.
Verum non in verbus, sed in testimonium.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:52 pm

February 14 in Texas History…..

Spanish nobleman calls for settlement of Texas

On this day in 1729, the Marqués de Aguayo proposed to the king of Spain that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. Eventually some fifteen families from the Canary Islands came to Texas.The first of the Canary Islanders arrived at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar on March 9, 1731. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

CANARY ISLANDERS. On February 14, 1719, the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo made a report to the king of Spain proposing that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. His plan was approved, and notice was given the Canary Islanders to furnish 200 families; the Council of the Indies suggested that 400 families should be sent from the Canaries to Texas by way of Havana and Veracruz. By June 1730, twenty-five families had reached Cuba and ten families had been sent on to Veracruz before orders from Spain to stop the movement arrived. Under the leadership of Juan Leal Goraz, the group marched overland to the presidio of San Antonio de Bexar, where they arrived on March 9, 1731. The party had increased by marriages on the way to fifteen families, a total of fifty-six persons. They joined a military community that had been in existence since 1718. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists. María Rosa Padrón was the first baby born of Canary Islander descent in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO DE BÉXAR PRESIDIO. San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, the center of Spanish defense in western Texas, was founded by Martín de Alarcón on May 5, 1718, on the west side of the San Antonio River one-fourth league from the San Antonio de Valero Mission. In 1722 the Marqués de Aguayo relocated the presidio almost directly across the river from the mission. The presidio at that time was housed in one adobe building thatched with grass; the soldiers lived in brush huts. Because of its proximity to the Rio Grande and the better organized missions in its vicinity, Béxar did not suffer want and distress as did the other presidios. In 1726, when Pedro de Rivera made his report, there were forty-five soldiers at San Antonio de Béxar. Nine additional soldiers were on mission guard or escort duty, and four settlers and their families lived near the presidio, as did the families of the soldiers. The total Spanish population was estimated at 200. Rivera recommended that the complement of the presidio be cut from fifty-four to forty-four and reported that the captain was efficient and the soldiers well disciplined.

Although recommendations were made periodically that permanent fortifications be erected, no wall or stockade was ever built. In May 1763, Luis Antonio Menchaca, who relieved Toribio de Urrutia as commander, reported that the garrison consisted of twenty-two men, of whom fifteen were assigned to mission guard duty, leaving five in addition to the captain and sergeant in the presidio. The presidio was charged with the protection of five missions and a civil settlement and in addition was supposed to furnish escorts for officials and missionaries, take messages from one post to another, and convoy supply trains. Menchaca also reported that, although the soldiers at San Antonio de Béxar were well armed and well disciplined, the number was inadequate for so important an outpost, especially since there was no breastwork for defense and the area was exposed to frequent attacks by Indians.

In 1772 the Marqués de Rubí recommended that San Antonio de Béxar be allowed to remain even though it was out of the semicircular defense line that he advocated. The withdrawal of the presidios of San Sabá, San Agustín de Ahumada, and Nuestra Señora del Pilar de los Adaes, as recommended by Rubí, left San Antonio de Béxar the northernmost Texas outpost of New Spain. Rubí's recommendation that San Fernando de Béxar, the civil settlement surrounding the presidio, be made the capital of Texas, was also followed. The Reglamento é instrucción para los presidios, issued in 1772, increased the garrison at San Antonio de Béxar to eighty men, the additional troops to be transferred from Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes and San Agustín de Ahumada, and stipulated that twenty of the men were to be detached under a permanent lieutenant on Cibolo Creek to protect the ranches of the settlers and to keep open communications with La Bahía del Espíritu Santo. The regulations further provided that the captain of the presidio would also serve as governor of the province.

In December 1790 Pedro Huizar was commissioned to draw plans for the reconstruction of the presidio and improvement of its defenses, but the plans were not acted upon. The Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras was sent to reinforce the presidio in 1803. In 1805 Manuel Antonio Cordero, making use of the discretionary powers granted him as governor, began the construction of a stockade along the northern and northeastern limits of the city and planned to build permanent quarters for the troops, a stockade around the presidio, and a small fort. His plans were not completed, however, for in 1806 the soldiers were stationed on the east side of the river near the Alamo, which had ceased to function as a mission and had become the chief building for the military. To the end of Spanish and Mexican Texas, the Alamo remained the principal unit of walled defense, while the two plazas, Military Plaza and Plaza de la Constitución, separated by San Fernando Cathedral and the priests' house, served as the center of municipal defense. A lookout fort was located across the river 1 ¼ miles from town.

Aside from Indian defense, Béxar Presidio became involved in hostilities during the Mexican and Texan wars of independence. Led by a retired militia officer, Juan Bautista de las Casas, the garrison rebelled against its Royalist officers in January 1811 (see CASAS REVOLT). The unit's loyalty to the crown was soon restored, and the garrison was part of the army with which Manuel de Salcedoqv fought the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition in 1812–13. Ousted for the first time from the city as a result of Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos's defeat by Texan forces in December 1835, the garrison was briefly reinstated after the fall of the Alamo in March 1836. The presidio formally ceased to exist with the garrison's acknowledgement of Texas independence and surrender on June 4, 1836.
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Re: This Day In Texas History

Postby Cole_blooded on Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:12 pm

February 15 in Texas History…..

Texas adopts constitution

On this day in 1876, citizens of Texas adopted the Constitution of 1876. They ratified it by a vote of 136,606 to 56,652. The document is the sixth constitution by which Texas has been governed since declaring independence from Mexico. Among the longest of U.S. state constitutions, the Constitution of 1876 reflects the earlier influences of Spanish and Mexican rule, the state's predominantly agrarian nature in the late nineteenth century, and a resurgent Democratic party determined to undo many of the measures implemented by Republican administrations during Reconstruction. Despite having been amended more than 230 times, it remains the basic law of Texas today.

…..Another chapter in Texas History

Image
Composite photo of the delegates to the 1875 Constitutional Convention

CONSTITUTION OF 1876. The Constitution of 1876 is the sixth constitution by which Texas has been governed since independence from Mexico was achieved in 1836. It was framed by the Constitutional Convention of 1875 and adopted on February 15, 1876, by a vote of 136,606 to 56,652, and it remains the basic organic law of Texas. The constitution contains some provisions that are uniquely Texan, many of which are products of the state's unusual history. Some, for example, may be traced to Spanish and Mexican influence. Among them are sections dealing with land titles and land law in general, debtor relief, judicial procedures, marital relations and adoption, and water and other mineral rights. Other atypical provisions may be attributed to the twin influences of Jacksonian agrarianism and frontier radicalism-both prevalent when Texas first became a state and both widely supported by the bulk of immigrants to Texas before the Civil War. Those influences produced sections prohibiting banks and requiring a stricter separation of church and state than that required in older states. Reconstruction, under the highly centralized and relatively autocratic administration of Governor Edmund J. Davis and his fellow Radical Republicans, prompted provisions to decentralize the state government. Upon regaining control of both the legislative and executive branches of the government, the Democrats determined in 1874 to replace the unpopular Constitution of 1869. They wanted all officials elected for shorter terms and lower salaries, abolition of voter registration, local control of schools, severely limited powers for both the legislature and the governor, low taxation and state expenditures, strict control over corporations, and land subsidies for railroads.

Early in 1874 a joint legislative committee reported an entire new constitution as an amendment to the Constitution of 1869. Because the document had not been prepared by a convention and because of the possibility that its adoption might antagonize the federal government, the legislature rejected the proposal. On the advice of Governor Richard Coke, the next legislature submitted the question of a constitutional convention to the voters, who, on August 2, 1875, approved the convention and elected three delegates from each of the thirty senatorial districts. In the convention, which convened on September 6, seventy-five members were Democrats and fifteen, including six blacks, were Republicans. Not one had been a member of the Convention of 1868–69, forty-one were farmers, and no fewer than forty were members of the Patrons of Husbandry (the Grange), the militant farmers' organization established in response to the Panic of 1873. In the convention the Grange members acted as a bloc in support of conservative constitutional measures. To assure that the government would be responsive to public will, the convention precisely defined the rights, powers, and prerogatives of the various governmental departments and agencies, including many details generally left to the legislature.

The Constitution of 1876 began with a lengthy bill of rights. It declared that Texas was a free and independent state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, that all free men have equal rights, and that the writ of habeas corpus could not be suspended or unduly delayed. The article also forbade religious tests for office, unreasonable searches, and imprisonment for debt, and it guaranteed liberty of speech and press, the right of the accused to obtain bail and to be tried by a jury, and the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The legislative article defined the powers and limitations of the legislature in great detail. The legislature was to be composed of two houses, a Senate to consist of thirty-one members and a House of Representatives never to exceed 150 members. Senators and representatives were to serve terms of four and two years, respectively. Legislators were to receive mileage allowance and not more than five dollars a day for the first sixty days of each session and two dollars a day thereafter. The legislature, which was to meet biennially, could incur no indebtedness greater than $200,000 and could establish no office for longer than two years. It was required to levy taxes on all property in proportion to its value and to hold its sessions in Austin. The executive article provided for seven officers-governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, comptroller of public accounts, treasurer, commissioner of the land office, and attorney general. All except the secretary of state were to be elected by the voters for a term of two years but with no limitations on eligibility for new terms. All salaries were reduced, that of the governor from $5,000 to $4,000. The governor was empowered to convene the legislature in special sessions, to call out the militia to execute the laws, to suppress insurrections, to protect the frontier against hostile Indians, and to veto laws and items in appropriations bills; his veto, however, could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses. The governor was also empowered to make certain appointments, fill vacancies, and cause the laws to be faithfully executed but was given no control over local or other elected state officials. The judicial article provided for a supreme court, a court of appeals, district courts, county courts, commissioners' courts, and justices of the peace.

All judges were to be elected by popular vote, with terms of six years for the supreme and criminal appeals courts, four years for the district courts, and two years for all other courts. The number of district courts was placed at twenty-six, but the legislature was authorized to establish others as needed. The Texas Supreme Court, composed of three judges, was vested with appellate jurisdiction in civil cases only, and the court of appeals, composed of three judges, was vested with appellate jurisdiction over all criminal cases and certain classes of civil cases. The district courts received original jurisdiction (in criminal cases) over felonies and over misdemeanors involving official misconduct and (in civil cases) over a long list of classes of suits. The district courts were given appellate jurisdiction over the county courts in probate matters. The article also mandated a court in each organized county with original jurisdiction over misdemeanors not granted to the courts of justices of the peace and certain civil cases and appellate jurisdiction in cases originating in the justice of the peace courts. The courts of the justices of the peace, not fewer than four or more than eight in each county, were granted jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters involving not more than $200 in controversy or in penalties. The commissioners' court was to consist of the county judge and four elected commissioners, one from each commissioner's precinct.

The article on education drastically changed the system established by the Republicans in 1869. In the first section the framers ordered the legislature to establish and make provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools but then added provisions that made that directive impossible. To support the system the article authorized the legislature to levy a poll tax of one dollar on all male inhabitants between the ages of twenty-one and sixty and to appropriate not more than one-fourth of the general revenue. In addition, it set aside as a perpetual fund all proceeds from lands previously granted to the schools, including all the alternate sections of land already reserved for the state or afterwards reserved out of grants to railroads or other corporations (as specified in the Constitution of 1866), and the proceeds from the sale of one-half of all other public lands (as prescribed by an act of the legislature in 1873). The document abolished the office of state superintendent, founded a board of education composed of the governor, comptroller, and secretary of state, eliminated compulsory attendance, provided for segregated schools, and made no provision for local school taxes. The Constitution of 1876 provided for the establishment of the University of Texas and made Texas A&M, which had been founded by the legislature in 1871, a branch of it. The constitution further required the legislature to establish an institution of higher education for the instruction of the black youth of the state. To support the university and its branches the constitution set aside one million acres of the public domain, with all sales and proceeds therefrom to be placed in a Permanent University Fund. It also provided that proceeds from the lands previously granted for the establishment and maintenance of the university (including the fifty-league grant by the legislature in 1858 but not the one-tenth of the alternate sections of land granted to railroads) and all future grants would permanently belong to the university.

The constitution also provided for precinct voting and mandated a poll tax, but not as a prerequisite for voting. It provided for homestead grants of 160 acres to heads of families and eighty acres to single men eighteen or more years of age, and for protection against the forced sale of a homestead for debt. It declared railroads to be common carriers, forbade their consolidation and further aid in grant of money or bonds, and authorized the legislature to enact regulatory laws, including maximum freight and passenger rates. To promote the construction of new track, the document authorized the legislature to grant the railroads sixteen sections of public land for each mile of road constructed. It prohibited the state from chartering banks but mandated the legislature to enact general laws for the establishment of private corporations other than banks, that would provide fully for the adequate protection of the public and individual stockholders.

Overall, the Constitution of 1876 complied with public opinion. It provided for biennial sessions of the legislature, low salaries for public officials, precinct voting, abolition of the road tax, and a return to the road-working system; for a homestead exemption clause, guarantees of a low tax rate, a less expensive, locally controlled, segregated school system, and a less expensive court system; for county and justice of the peace courts; and for popular election of officers. It also prohibited the registration of voters and grants of money or bonds to railroads. The document was adequate for a rural people engaged principally in subsistence farming, but not for an urban-industrial-commercial society. Very few changes were made during the first half century of the constitution's existence, but since then it has been changed at a steadily increasing rate. Changes are made through amendments submitted to the voters by consent of two-thirds of the members of each house of the legislature and approved by a majority of those voting. Of ninety-nine amendments submitted by September 1928, only forty-three were adopted, but by 1980 the voters had approved 235 proposals. No provision was made in the constitution for calling another constitutional convention. On several occasions there has been considerable agitation for a new document, but the voters defeated a proposal for a constitutional convention in 1919, and in 1975 they rejected an extensive revision prepared by the legislature. The constitution's more than 63,000 words make it one of the most verbose of state constitutions. Its wealth of detail causes it to resemble a code of laws rather than a constitution. Its many requirements and limitations on both state and local governments make it one of the most restrictive among state constitutions. Some of its passages are so poorly drafted as to need clarification for understanding, and others have been declared by the Texas Supreme Court to be beyond interpreting. Finally, since many of its provisions relating to the same subject are scattered widely throughout the text, a detailed index is necessary.

Most of the numerous amendments have dealt with the legislature, the judiciary, public education, and state finances. Those relating to the legislature have generally removed existing limitations on legislative action. Changes in the article on the judiciary have been so sweeping that the article has been almost completely rewritten. Alterations in provisions relating to public education have also removed original limitations and permitted expansion of the public school system. Provisions relating to the state's financial system have been altered to permit adoption of new expenditure programs and exploitation of new sources of revenue. Other constitutional changes have relieved some of the burden of detail imposed on the governor's office in 1876, revamped the basic suffrage requirements, altered the method of chartering municipal corporations, lengthened the term of office for many state and local officials, and established an ever-growing number of specifically allocated funds in the state treasury. In spite of its cumbersomeness, of its need for frequent amendment, and its occasional obscurity, however, Texans have continued to hold on to the Constitution of 1876.
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