Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sam Houston Takes Office a Month Ahead of Schedule

Yielding to mounting public pressure, David G. Burnet resigned as the temporary head of state on October 22, 1837 making way for Sam Houston to be sworn in a month early as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

This is the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, October 16 through Tuesday, October 22.  Read it in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription available on this web site.

Famous Ranger Walker Killed in Mexican War

Texas Ranger Capt. Samuel Walker was killed on October 9, 1847 at the Battle of Huamantla by an unseen sniper firing a shotgun from a balcony.

Walker is best known as the co-inventor along with Samuel Colt of the six-shot revolver.  At his own expense, Walker went to New York to take a direct part in the design of the new handgun that made the Rangers even more of a force to be reckoned with in the war with Mexico.

Filibusterer Long Surrendered to Spanish Troops

Surrounded with no hope of victory or escape, James Long surrendered to Spanish troops at La Bahia on October 8, 1821.

Two years earlier, Long slipped into Texas at the head of a small expedition of filibusterers, mostly Mississippians and a few Frenchmen, to take the province away from Spain  Forced to flee for his life, Long returned with 300 men only to be captured and imprisoned in Mexico.  In 1822 a guard “accidentally” shot him to death in what may have been an unofficial execution.

U.S. Government Smuggles Nazi Scientists into Texas

By October 15, 1945, the U.S. government had begun smuggling Nazi scientists across the Rio Grande as part of the secret “Project Paperclip.”

Ever wonder how NASA wound up with so many Germans on the payroll?  “This Week in Texas History” for Wednesday, October 9 through Tuesday, October 15 answers that intriguing question.

You can read all about it in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription that is available on this website.

Mexican Imprisonment Sapped Stephen F. Austin’s Spirit

In the tenth month of his detention, Stephen F. Austin wrote from a Mexican dungeon on October 6, 1834, “My situation is desolate – almost destitute of friends and money, in a prison amidst foes who are active to destroy me and forgotten at home by those I have faithfully labored.”

Arrested in January 1835, Austin was kept under lock and key until December, when he was released but not permitted to return to Texas.  He did not set foot in Texas until September 1835 — just in time for the Revolution.

Wharton Brothers Died Just Three Months Apart

John A. Wharton chartered a ship to sail to the rescue of his brother William H. Wharton, held captive by Mexican forces at Matamoros, but had to swim ashore when boat sank in a storm on October 3, 1837. 

John discovered that William and rest of Texas prisoners had long since escaped making his dangerous rescue attempt totally unnecessary.  Prominent figures in the Texas Revolution and the Republic, the Wharton brothers died three months apart:  John from the fever at age 32 in December 1838 and William from the accidental discharge of his own gun at 37 in March 1839.

Time to Start Acting Like an Independent People

When the Second Congress of the Lone Star Republic convened on October 5, 1837, Texans finally got down to the business of creating a government that could actually run the county.  It had taken them a year and a half to face the fact they would not be a part of the United States anytime soon.

That is the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for the week of Wednesday, October 2 through Tuesday, October 8.  Read it in your local newspaper or as an email with a special private subscription.  See website for details.