That’s the title of the “This Week in History” column for the week of Wednesday, March 5 through Tuesday, March 11, and it’s all about the Marine who is one of only two NFL football players and one of only two professional baseball players awarded the Medal of Honor.
Jack Lummus was an All-Southwest Conference end on the gridirion and the best centerfielder on the diamond for Baylor on the eve of the Second World War. He played a little minor-league baseball and a full season with the football Giants before going off to fight the Japanese.
Lewis and Clark were already homeward bound in 1806, when Zeb Pike embarked on a secret mission to the Southwest. His orders were to slip into New Mexico, analyze the economic potential of the thriving colony and pinpoint the weak spots in the Spanish defenses.
The rest of the ”This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, February 19 through Tuesday, February 25 makes for mighty interesting reading. If you can’t read it in local newspaper, a private email subscription is available on this web site.
Wilma “Dolly” Vinsant from San Benito graduated with the first class of Army Air Force flight nurses at Bowman Field, Kentucky on February 18, 1943.
By April 1945, Lt. Shea (her new last name from a marriage to a navigator) had flown the maximum number of hazardous missions. Nevertheless, she talked her commander into letting her “make one more trip” and perished with her patients when their evacuation plane was shot down over Germany.
On February 18, 1839, Sam Houston spoke at the first temperance meeting ever held in the town named for him but ducked out the back before taking the customary no-alcohol pledge.
The San Jacinto hero’s lifelong battle with the bottle is the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, February 12 through Tuesday, February 18. If you missed it in your local paper, you can read it with your own private email subscription available at the “General Store” on this web site.
In the dark of night on February 12, 1869, the “Mittie Stephens” caught fire, burned to the water line and sank in Caddo Lake en route to Jefferson from New Orleans.
Sixty-one of the 107 passengers and crew perished in the disaster, most of them pulled under by the paddle wheels in only three feet of water.
In a candid letter to his brother on February 10, 1855, Sen. Thomas Rusk complained, “Houston does little else but electioneer for the Presidency and as usual the work falls on me.”
San Jacinto veteran, secretary of war, chief justice of the Republic supreme court, and with Sam Houston one of Texas’ first U.S. Senators, Thomas Rusk deserved more than to stand in The General’s shadow. Driven to despair by the death of his wife, he ended his life in the summer of 1857.
Almost forgot! “This Week in Texas History” tells the story of Fort Clark in the column for the week of Wednesday, February 5 through Tuesday, February 11.
This border sentinel stood watch on the Rio Grande for nearly a century until the Army finally closed it down in 1946. Then the proud old fort was turned into, of all things, a dude ranch!
The Nashville newspapers carried Sam Houston’s announcement on January 30, 1829 that he would seek a second term as governor of Tennessee.
But within weeks the 36 year incumbent not only ended his reelection campaign but also resigned from office and went to live with his childhood friends the Cherokees. Most historians believe the cause of Houston’s bizarre behavior was the sudden departure of his teenaged bride. Whether that was true or not, the stage was set for his fateful trip to Texas in December 1832.
Before he built the “Spruce Goose” and bought up half of Las Vegas, Howard Hughes left Houston for Hollywood to make motion pictures.
The Texas tycoon in Tinsel Town is the subject of “This Week in Texas History” for Wednesday, January 29 through Tuesday, February 4. Be sure to read this column in your local newspaper or with your very own private email subscription available on this web site.
Audie Murphy jumped on top of a burning tank destroyer on January 26, 1945 and for the next hour singlehandedly fought an advancing German column to a standstill. When the smoke cleared, the five-foot five-inch Texan had killed or wounded 50 enemy soldiers and saved his fellow GI’s.
For his incredible heroics that day in France, Murphy was awarded more combat citations than any American in World War II. With the help of Hollywood legend James Cagney, he went on to make dozens of movies, mostly B-Westerns, before his death at 45 in a 1971 plane crash.