Monthly Archives: May 2014

Not Even Blindness Could Stop “Stovepipe”

Two years after pulling off the slickest military trick of the Civil War and only two months before he was shot in the face and blinded by his own troops, “Stovepipe” Johnson was promoted to Confederate brigadier general on June 1, 1864.

Adam Rankin Johnson could have spent the last half century of his life feeling sorry for himself.  Instead he founded the town of Marble Falls as well as several successful businesses.  You can read his whole story in the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, May 28 through Tuesday, June 3 either in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription available on this web site.

Last Elected Confederate Governor Flees To Mexico

With the Confederacy in ruins and Yankee occupation just over the horizon, on May 27, 1865 Gov. Pendleton Murrah called the legislature into special session in a futile attempt to adapt to the “new conditions of affairs.”

The last elected Confederate governor hoped to limit the price Texans would pay for fighting with the South, but the lawmakers were a no-show.  Leaving Lt. Gov. Fletcher Stockdale in charge, Murrah joined the mass exodus to Mexico but his tuberculosis caught up with him in Monterrey on August 4, 1865.

Small-Town Mayor Stops Railroad In Its Tracks

Emerging from an all-day meeting with representatives of the Fort Worth & Denver on May 25, 1949, Mayor T. Leo Moore refrained from declaring victory but did insist the train would continue to stop at Electra.

This rarely told story is the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, May 21 through Tuesday, May 27.  If your local newspaper does not carry this one-of-a-kind series, you can still read it each and every week with a private email subscription available on this web site.

Another Mexican President Leaves Office Feet First

In the last days of his six-year term as president of strife-torn Mexico, Venustiano Carranza was murdered on May 21, 1920 most likely by his own bodyguards.

Carranza seized power in 1914 after the dictator Victoriano Huerta was driven into exile.  Most historians believe he was assassinated by a clique of generals because of his insistence that his successor be a civilian.

Barnstormers Fly In Circles Over Fort Worth

The “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, May 14 through Tuesday, May 20 starts with:  “Hundreds of Cow Towners skipped church on Sunday, May 19, 1929 and slipped out to the municipal airport to give the “Fort Worth” a rousing send-off.”

A mechanic and a West Texas cowboy took off in an overloaded second-hand airplane in pursuit of the world record for continuous flight.  Would they succeed or die trying?

Waco Mob Could Not Wait For Justice

A week to the day after he was arrested for the rape and murder of a wealthy white woman in Robinson, Jesse Washington was found guilty on May 15, 1916 by an all-white, all-male jury and sentenced to death.

But a Waco mob could not wait for the black man’s legal hanging.  Washington was dragged from the courtroom and lynched on the square, where his body was set afire and burned for two hours.  Photographs were taken of the gruesome sight and made into postcards that sold like hot cakes. 


“Clubfooted Comet” Wins Triple Crown

The Wednesday, May 7 through Tuesday, May 13 installment of “This Week in Texas History” tells the story of Assault, the 1946 winner of horseracing’s Triple Crown and the first bred outside of Kentucky.

Can’t read this column because your local newspaper doesn’t carry the longest running feature of its kind in Texas history?  There’s a simple solution.  Sign up right now on this web site for a private email subscription to “This Week in Texas History.”  It’s that easy!

Houston Beat The Daylights Out of Congressional Critic

Final arguments were presented on May 7, 1831 in the U.S. House of Representatives trial of Sam Houston for the public beating of Rep. William Stanbery of Ohio.

Three weeks earlier, Houston confronted his critic on Pennsylvania Avenue and thrashed the Congressman with a hickory cane.  Stanbery pulled his pistol only to have it misfire sparing the life of the future President of the Texas Republic.  The House voted to convict Houston of contempt of Congress, but his punishment was a mild reprimand.

Roosevelt Rallies His “Riders” in San Antonio

“Hundreds of ‘Rough Riders’ descended on San Antonio on May 5, 1898 itching to lend Teddy Roosevelt a hand in kicking the Spaniards out of Cuba.”

That’s how the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, April 30 through Tuesday, May 6 begins.  Hope you get a chance to read it in your local newspaper.  It doesn’t carry my column?  Then you need to sign up for a private email subscription on this web site.