Monthly Archives: November 2013

Impeachment Did Not Keep Ferguson Out of Politics

On November 8, 1917, two months after his impeachment and removal from office, former governor James E. Ferguson started publication of “The Forum,” his independent weekly newspaper that lasted until 1935.

At first Ferguson kept running for office:  governor in 1918, president in 1920 and the U.S. Senate in 1922.  Realizing he could not hope to win a statewide much less a nationwide vote, “Farmer Jim” talked his wife Miriam into taking his place on the ballot and the result was Texas’ first female chief executive.

1929 Austin Murder Trial the Talk of Texas

Drunk as a skunk and in a jealous rage, Judge John W. Brady stabbed Lehlia HIghsmith to death in front of her rooming house on the night of November 9, 1929.

This sensational Roaring Twenties murder case is the subject of “This Week in Texas History” for the week of Wednesday, November 6 through Tuesday, November 12.  Read all about it in your local newspaper or on-line with a private email subscription available on this web site.

Voters Crush Taft’s Hopes of Carrying Texas in 1912

Only a tiny fraction of the many thousands of Texans, who flocked to see President William Howard Taft on his tour of the Lone Star State three years earlier, cast their ballots for the incumbent on November 5, 1912.

The Republican was so encouraged by the big turnout that he told his staff he might win Texas the next time.  Instead, Democrat Woodrow Wilson beat him seven to one as the 300-pound Taft, who carried just Vermont and Utah, outpolled Teddy Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene Debs in a photo-finish for second place.

“Knights of the Golden Circle” All Talk No Action

On November 3, 1860, Knights of the Golden Circle leader George Bickley announced the initiation of 48 new members in a secret ceremony at Huntsville.

Created in Kentucky in 1854, the KGC sought the establishment of “a slaveholding empire encompassing the southern United States, the West Indies, Mexico and parts of Central America” according to the “Handbook of Texas.”  A proposed invasion of Mexico failed to come off as planned, but the Knights soon had all the fighting they could handle in the Civil War.

Hughes Flies “Spruce Goose” for First and Last Time

With Texas tycoon Howard Hughes at the controls, the controversial flying boat popularly known as the “Spruce Goose” rose into the air for the first and last time on November 2, 1947.

Hughes told a congressional hearing that if H-4 Hercules “is a failure, I’ll probably leave this country and never come back.”  Having proved his point by getting the aircraft with the longest wingspan in history off the water, the eccentric millionaire locked it away in a Long Beach hangar. 

 

Before Viagra There Was the “Goat Doctor”

Dr. John R. Brinkley, who made millions touting goat gonads as a cure for male impotence, moved from Kansas to Del Rio, Texas on November 1, 1933.

A powerful 50,000-watt radio station across the border in Villa Acuna broadcast his fraudulent claims to listeners throughout North America until the Mexican government revoked his license.  Proved a charlatan and a quack in a Texas court, he died a pauper’s death in San Antonio in 1942.