On December 7, 1835, Santa Anna issued his chilling order that any rebellious Texan taken prisoner must be executed or, in other words, shown no quarter. Three weeks later, the National Congress of Mexico made the death decree law.
The Alamo defenders did not awake the last morning of the siege and impulsively decide to fight to the last man. To surrender meant a sure death, so why not perish in battle?
When Mexico City came into view on December 5, 1842, five dozen exhausted and starving Texans dared to hope their three-month march was over at last.
The poor wretches, who crowded into the rat-infested cells of infamous Perote prison, were the human trophies of a surprise raid on San Antonio. The Mexicans might not be able to reclaim the land lost at San Jacinto, but they could still make life miserable for the winners.
So goes the story told in the Wednesday, December 4 through Tuesday, December 10 installment of “This Week in Texas HIstory.” Be sure to read it in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription available on this web site.
Paul Tyson’s Waco Tigers scored 19 touchdowns in 124-0 rout of Houston Jeff Davis in the quarter finals of high school playoffs on December 3, 1927. Whipped Sherman 59-0 in the semi’s, beat Abilene 21-14 in the finals for fourth state championship in six seasons and won unofficial national title with 44-12 victory over Latin HIgh of Cleveland, Ohio.
Tyson, who turned down many college offers to stay in Waco, coached 27 consecutive teams with winning records. But in 1942 the school board voted unanimously to fire him after a disappointing 8-2 showing.
On November 28, 1938, the day after accidentally shooting himself while out hunting, Monty Stratton’s right leg was amputated above the knee.
Although he never pitched again in the major leagues, Stratton got around well enough on his artificial limb to win 18 games in the East Texas League in 1946. Three years later, the motion picture “The Stratton Story” turned the courageous athlete into an inspiring hero.
That is the title for the Wednesday, November 27 through Tuesday, December 3 installment of “This Week in Texas History.”
The Lone Star State is littered with ghost towns. You just have to know where to look. Coal was the basis for the boom at Thurber and Mingus with the mine located at one and the railroad at the other. But when oil came long in the 1920′s, the twin towns were doomed.
After throwing a party at an Austin hotel, where he told a small circle of friends that he had an incurable disease, Stanley Walker drove back to his ranch outside Lampasas and committed suicide on November 25, 1962.
The best-known big city newspaperman of his day, Walker plied his trade in New York from 1920 until the end of World War II. He came back to Texas to stay in 1946 and continued to write books and articles for national magazines until his death.
James P. Hamilton, Republic of Texas minister to Great Britain, wrote a letter to Monroe Edwards on November 23, 1840 informing the swindler that he knew his letters of introduction from famous Americans were forgeries and that he was a fugitive from Lone Star justice.
Rather than return to Texas where a prison cell was waiting for him, Edwards went to New York. Convicted of forgery in a sensational trial, he was sentenced to a long stretch in Sing Sing. Beaten by guards for an escape attempt, Edwards soon died of his injuries.
The dictatorship of Gen. Philip Sheridan in ocupied Texas officially ended on November 26, 1867 four months after President Andrew Johnson reassigned him
His absolute authority over the conquered Confederate states of Texas and Louisiana allowed “Little Phil,” who stopped growing at five feet five inches, to indulge his battle-hardened prejudices against secessionists. Sheridan even went so far as to ignore the pleas of frontier settlers for protection against the Comanches.
The story of Gen. Sheridan and how he ran roughshod over the former Confederates is the subject of “This Week in Texas History” for the week of Wednesday, November 20 through Tuesday, November 26.
Leander McNelly, famous Texas Ranger captain, walked into a U.S. cavalry camp near the Rio Grande on November 17, 1875 and asked to “borrow” the idle troopers if the officer in charge did not intend to pursue Mexican rustlers across the river.
Though barely in his twenties, the Virginian commanded one of the last units of Texas Confederates to disband at the end of the Civil War. Less than two years after the successful recovery of stolen cattle in the “Las Cuevas War,” McNelly died from tuberculosis at the the age of 33.
On November 16, 1957, the same Saturday the rumor surfaced that Aggie coach Bear Bryant might leave College Station for Alabama, King Hill led Rice to a 7-6 upset of Texas A&M, the top-ranked college football team in the country.
The Owls went to win Jess Neely’s fourth and final Southwest Conference crown. First-place Rice finished the 1957 season at eighth in the AP poll followed by Texas at 11th and A&M at 9th.