Monthly Archives: September 2013

Six Versus 125 in “Buffalo Wallow Fight”

Less than three months after firing the famous shot that ended the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, Billy Dixon again found himself up to his ears in Indians on September 12, 1874.

For an afternoon and a night, Dixon, another civilian scout and four soldiers stood off an estimated 125 Comanche and Kiowa warriors losing one of their own while killing as many as 25 attackers.  All six were awarded the Medal of Honor, but the Army later asked Dixon to give his back because he was a civilian.  The stubborn scout said nothing doing and kept it.

Provisional Governor Warns Conquered Confederates

Andrew Jackson Hamilton, provisional governor of occupied Texas, warned conquered Confederates on September 11, 1865 against being misled by “the same deadly doctrines.”

An outspoken opponent of slavery and secession, Hamilton fought on the northern side in the Civil War.  As the leader of the moderate wing of Republican Party in Texas, he butted heads with Edmund J. Davis, the Radical architect of Reconstruction, and reversed his position on giving the vote to the former slaves.

“Indian Lover” Fought a Losing Battle

Robert Simpson Neighbors dedicated his life to the fair treatment of the native tribes in an age when most of his fellow Texans felt the “only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

The story of this courageous Indian agent is the subject of my “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, September 11 through Tuesday, September 17.  If your local newspaper does not carry the oldest and most widely read feature of its kind, you can obtain a one-year email subscription for only $20 on this web site.

Wild End to a Wild Life

On September 8, 1859, David Smith Terry resigned as chief justice of the California supreme court and at dawn the next day killed a U.S. Senator in a duel.

His political career ruined, Terry returned to Texas, fought in the Civil War and after a short exile in Mexico went back to California.  Then in a railroad station confrontation on August 14, 1889, he was shot to death by the bodyguard of a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Corporal Fought to Death at Korean Alamo

Army corporal Benito Martinez fought on alone for six hours in the predawn darkness of September 6, 1952 before he was finally overrun by enemy troops at his Korean Alamo.

The native of Fort Hancock just downriver from El Paso was awarded the Medal of Honor after his heroic death in the Korean War.  Today elementary schools in El Paso and his hometown are named for Martinez.

Jackson Warns Houston Not To Shoot Santa Anna

Worried over rumors the Texans planned to execute Santa Anna, President Andrew Jackson warned Sam Houston in a letter dated September 5, 1836, that “Nothing now could tarnish the character of Texas more than such an act as this.”

Houston’s old mentor was preaching to the choir.  The San Jacinto victor had risked his neck to save the loser and would do so again over the strong objections of the majority of his fellow Texans.

Talk About Coincidences!

William Carrol Crawford, the sole surviving signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, died on September 3, 1895 at his son’s home in Erath County.

Crawford, born in North Carolina and emigrated to Texas from Georgia, was related to Charles Carroll, who outlived every other signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  Crawford was 90 when he died, and his illustrious ancestor, one of Maryland’s original senators, was 95.

Brothers Stand Trial for Vicious 1954 Extortion Plot

On September 5, 1954, a Dallas federal judge set a trial date later that month for two brothers accused of a vicious extortion scheme against a score of prominent Jewish families.  This is the subject of the Wednesday, Sepember 4 through Tuesday, September 10 installment of “This Week in Texas History.”

A bizarre letter mailed four months before threatened death for the targets unless a $200,000 payment was made.  The Dallas office of the FBI jumped into the case with both feet and worked around the clock to catch the men behind the plot.

Editor Blasts Rash Talk of Secession

With Lincoln’s all but certain election just two months away,  the editor of the most-read newspaper in the Lone Star State came down hard on all the rash talk of secession. 

In the September 1, 1860 edition of “The Texas State Gazette,” John Marshall wrote:  “The cry of disunion has descended from generation to generation and now we hear it repeated with silly clamor by a few politicians in Texas.”  But the newspaperman’s politics did not keep him from volunteering for Confederate service nor leading a charge at Gaines’ Mill that got him killed.