Just heard from my publisher that “Murder Most Texan” completely sold out of the first printing six days after the official publication date of November 11! The History Press has authorized a second printing, as it scrambles to fill all the back — and future — orders.
So I must say that my second book of 2014 is off to a great start. Many thanks to those readers that have made “Murder Most Texan” such a rousing success!
“A Japanese torpedo so badly damaged the HOUSTON on the night of Oct. 13, 1944 that the captain of the light cruiser gave the order to ‘abandon ship.'”
That’s how the Wednesday, October 8 through Tuesday, October 14 column for “This Week in Texas History” starts. The second World War II fighting ship to bear the name of Texas’ biggest city looked like it would follow the first to the bottom of the Pacific, but that would spoil the story. Read all about it in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription available on the web site.
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.
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!
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.
The annual San Jacinto Day festivities were moved to Saturday, April 26 this year and from what I could tell the turnout showed it. I won’t win any prizes estimating the size of crowds, but my rough guess was somewhere in the range of eight to ten thousand.
Must admit this was the first San Jacinto Day I attended in person since the Sesquicentennial back in 1986. My chief reason for going was to watch the battle reenactment, and I came away mildly disappointed.
The fault may well be mine since I never have seen any reenactment up close and personal and probably expected too much. Nonetheless, I see no reason to drag out an eighteen minute battle to a full hour with scenes from the “Runaway Scrape” and skirmishes of the day before the battle.
On November 16, 1957, the same Saturday the rumor surfaced that Aggie coach Bear Bryant might leave College Station for Alabama, King Hill led Rice to a 7-6 upset of Texas A&M, the top-ranked college football team in the country.
The Owls went to win Jess Neely’s fourth and final Southwest Conference crown. First-place Rice finished the 1957 season at eighth in the AP poll followed by Texas at 11th and A&M at 9th.
John Connally announced on November 10, 1967 that he had “reluctantly concluded” he would not seek a fourth term as governor of Texas.
In 1971 Connally joined President Nixon’s cabinet as secretary of treasury. The following year, he chaired “Democrats for Nixon” declaring party loyalty sometimes “asks too much,” in this case support for nominee George McGovern. Then in 1973, three months after LBJ died, the Texan officially switched parties. Republicans, however, saw him as a Johnny-come-lately and turned thumbs down on his presidential bid in 1980.
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.
H.G. Welles, the Englishman who wrote “War of the Worlds,” and Orson Welles, the American who scared the dickens out of listeners with his radio adaptation of the sci-fi classic, met at a San Antonio radio station on October 29, 1940.
The encounter was strictly a coincidence. Both men were passing through the Alamo City on lecture tours, and neither knew the other had been booked for an on-air interview at the same time.