Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Latest From “This Week in Texas History”

After nine years of the Washington politicians going back on their word, nothing should have surprised the citizens of the former Lone Star Republic.  But even in their worst nightmare Texans never dreamed the United States government would leave the frontier unprotected.

So on July 1, 1855, Gov. Elisha Pease called on James Callahan, a veteran Indian fighter with a hard-as-nails reputation, to save an endangered species — the frontier settler.

That’s what “This Week in Texas History” for Wednesday, June 25 thru Tuesday, July 1 is about.  If your local newspaper carries the column, be sure to read it.  If not, buy an email subscription right now on this web site.

Texas Colonists Fought Round One At Velasco

The 150 colonists led by John Austin (no kin to Stephen F.) and Henry Smith were not looking for a fight with the government garrison at Velaso on June 25, 1832, but the Mexican commander took issue with the cannon the Texans were taking by boat to Anahuac.

The result was the first bloodshed of the Lone Star Revolution.  The price of victory for the colonists was 10 dead, including three who later died of their wounds, compared to five fatalities for the other side.  Nevertheless, it was the Mexicans that surrendered after running out of ammunition.

Lynching Starts Democratic Convention Off On Wrong Foot

That’s what called an understatement.  It’s also the title of the Wednesday, June 18 through Tuesday, June 24 “This Week in Texas History” column.

Houstonians were as pleased as Punch to host the 1928 Democratic National Convention, the first by either major party held in the South since the Civil War.  But on the eve of the grand affair a group of teenagers kidnapped a suspected cop killer and left him hanging from a downtown bridge for all the out-of-town visitors to see.

Union Troops Occupy Defeated Texas

June 20, 1865 was a dark day in Houston as Union troops arrived to begin the post- Civil War occupation.

Approximately 50,000 Yankee soldiers spread out across Texas to drive home a painfully clear message:  The South had lost the war and those that had fought on the wrong side had no rights the victors were bound to respect.  The long nightmare known as Reconstruction would last for nine years until the popular election of Richard Coke as governor in 1874.

Dallas Doctor Falls For “It Girl”

The subject of “This Week in Texas History” for Wednesday, June 11 through Tuesday, June 17 is the scandalous romance involving a handsome young doctor from Dallas and the femme fatale of the silent screen, Clara Bow.

You can read this rarely told story in your local newspaper or with your own private email subscription available on this web site.  Either way, it’s a column you don’t want to miss!

Justice For Slave Smuggling Con Man

Monroe Edwards, a fugitive from Texas justice who made a fortune smuggling slaves before the Revolution, was convicted of a swindle in a New York City trial on June 12, 1842.

Edwards jumped bond following a forgery conviction two years earlier in Texas  and fled to England, where he masqueraded as a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto and an abolitionist.  Threatened with exposure by a Lone Star diplomat, he came back to the United States only to end up in Sing Sing.  Five years into his sentence, he died from a severe flogging administered as punishment for an escape attempt.

The Best Golfer You Never Heard Of

The sky appeared to be the limit for Ralph Guldahl, when the Dallas golf professional won his second consecutive U.S. Open on June 11, 1938.

Just three years earlier, Guldahl had given up the game to sell cars.  But he got his head straight and his swing back to win two Opens in a row in 1937 and 1938 and the Masters in 1939.  By the time the war ended, however, so had the erratic golfer’s career.  Guldahl spent the last 27 years of his life as a country club pro in California before his death at 75 in 1987.

Bloody Last Act of East Texas Feud

“When the sun rose over San Augustine on June 4, 1900, two dozen or more early-bird snipers already encircled the courthouse.  The curtain was about to go up on the last act of a long-running East Texas feud.”

That is how the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, June 4 through Tuesday, June 10 begins.  Don’t miss reading it in your local newspaper or with your own private email subscription available on this web site.

Future A&M President Leads D-Day Invasion

Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder commanded the Second Ranger Battalion in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.  Under his fearless leadership, the Rangers scaled 100-foot cliffs to knock out German gun emplacements.

Eleven years later, civilian Rudder took over as state land commissioner and cleaned up the mess left by the Veterans Land Program scandal.  In 1959 he became president of Texas A&M and over the objections of old alums pushed through the changes and reforms that transformed the antiquated military institution into a world-class university.