This Day in Texas History: Mason County Courthouse Burns

This Day in Texas History:

Mason County Courthouse Burns

January 21, 1877

Mason County CourthouseOn this day in 1877, the Mason County courthouse burned, destroying all early county records, including those pertaining to the Mason County War. This deadly episode began as a feud over cattle rustling but grew into a conflict between the Anglo and German elements in the community.

The violence began in February 1875, when a mob took five suspected cattle thieves from jail and killed three. Shortly thereafter, another suspected rustler was killed by twelve men with blackened faces, prompting his friend Scott Cooley, a former Texas Ranger, to seek revenge. Cooley and his men, including Johnny Ringo, killed at least a dozen men, whereupon Maj. John B. Jones and twenty or thirty Texas Rangers were sent to quiet the difficulties. Jones searched for Cooley and his followers without success before discovering that some of his rangers were former comrades-in-arms of Cooley.

After Jones discharged them, Cooley fled into Blanco County and died a short time later. A few people were eventually arrested, but most of the cases were dismissed. After many months of violence, a strained peace returned to Mason County in the fall of 1876, but the courthouse fire ensured that many of the details of the Mason County War would remain unknown.

The third, and current courthouse was built in 1909 by Dallas architect E. C. Hosford in the Classical Revival style shown below.

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This Day in Texas History: First Appearance of Popeye

This Day in Texas History:

First Appearance of Popeye

January 17, 1929

On this day in 1929, Popeye, the Sailor Man, renowned comic-strip character, first appeared in print.

Popeye the Sailor

Popeye the Sailor

The Victoria Advocate is credited as the first newspaper in the nation to run Elzie Crisler Segar’s comic strip, originally called “Thimble Theatre,” which starred the spinach-eating hero. Segar (1894-1938) was born in Chester, Illinois, and worked as a moving-picture machine operator, a house painter, and a photographer before his first cartoon effort was rejected by a St. Louis paper. Segar became a popular cartoonist in the 1920s.

Popeye was probably inspired by Frank “Rocky” Feigle of Segar’s hometown. By 1932 Popeye was the undisputed star of “Thimble Theatre,” as evidenced in fan mail, toys, games, novelties, and jokes. Segar himself called the Victoria Advocate Popeye’s “hometown.” In gratitude he contributed a special cartoon for the Advocate’s historic 1934 anniversary issue. Speaking to the newspaper’s editor through Popeye, Segar wrote, “Please assept me hearties bes’ wishes an’ felitcitations on account of yer paper’s 88th Anniversity….Victoria is me ol’ home town on account of tha’s where I got born’d at.”

Crystal City, Texas, also claims a special relationship to Popeye. The spinach industry credited Popeye and Segar with the 33 percent increase in spinach consumption from 1931 to 1936, and in 1937 Crystal City, the “Spinach Capital of the World,” erected a statue to honor Segar and his sailor.

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This Day in Texas History: Big Brazos Bridge Opens in Waco

This Day in Texas History:

Big Brazos Bridge Opens in Waco

January 7, 1870

On this day in 1870, the Waco Suspension Bridge, a 475-foot structure that crosses the Brazos River in downtown Waco, was opened to traffic.

Waco Suspension BridgeAt the time, it was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Civil engineer Thomas Griffin teamed with John A. Roebling and Son of New York to build it, at a cost estimated between $135,000 and $141,000. Initially, the Waco Bridge Company operated it as a toll bridge. The county purchased it in mid-1889 and in turn sold it to the city for $1.

The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 1971. It is in the National Register of Historic Places and received a state historic marker in 1976.

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This Day in Texas History: Elvis Plays Lubbock’s Cotton Club

This Day in Texas History:

Elvis Plays Lubbock’s Cotton Club

January 6, 1955

On this day in 1955, Elvis Presley, while on the Louisiana Hayride tour played the Cotton Club in Lubbock.

Elvis at the Cotton ClubThe up-and-coming, but still largely unknown, Elvis Presley officially joined the Louisiana Hayride with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black on November 6, 1954. The Hayride broadcast live from Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium every Saturday night on KWKH, a 50,000-watt clear-channel station. KWKH not only blanketed the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas area, but the AM frequency also bounced and skipped its way across much of North Central and West Texas, and listeners quickly tuned in to the youthful singing sensation. Once Elvis became a member of the Hayride cast, opportunities for personal appearances soon followed, and the Lone Star State became a prime testing ground for what some reporters later described as Presley’s “atomic-powered” performances.

Elvis made his first stops west of the Sabine River in November and December 1954 in Gladewater and Houston, but 1955 was the year the Presley-Texas connection was really forged in earnest. That year he performed in fifteen states, primarily in the South, making approximately 225 appearances, excluding Louisiana Hayride shows. At least 100 of these appearances, or almost 40 percent, took place in Texas: thirteen in Houston, eight in Lubbock, six in Dallas, four in Odessa, and three each in Abilene and Midland. He debuted on Big D Jamboree, broadcast on radio KRLD, at the Sportatorium in Dallas on April 16, 1955. And he also played engagements in high school auditoriums, rodeo arenas, and baseball fields in smaller towns such as Alpine, Breckenridge, Conroe, DeKalb, Gainesville, Gilmer, Gonzales, Hawkins, Joinerville, New Boston, Paris, Seymour, Stamford, and Sweetwater.

The Cotton ClubIn Lubbock, Buddy Holly was in attendance for Presley’s initial stop there on January 6, 1955, at the Cotton Club. On February 13 at Fair Park Coliseum, Waylon Jennings met Elvis backstage, and Buddy and Bob (Holly and his then singing partner Bob Montgomery) were among the opening acts. On June 3, thirteen-year-old Lubbock native Mac Davis witnessed Elvis shake the showroom of the local Pontiac dealership. Presley later recorded seven of Davis’s compositions, including the 1969 Top 10 hits “In the Ghetto” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.”

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This Day in Texas History: Rival Lubbock County Towns Consolidate

This Day in Texas History:

Rival Lubbock County Towns Consolidate

December 19, 1890

On this day in 1890, the rival Lubbock County towns of Lubbock and Monterey agreed to consolidate.

In July 1890, W. E. Rayner and several associates found a suitable site for a town on the north side of Yellow House Draw in Lubbock County. But Rayner insisted on building on the south side of the canyon, assuming that trade routes and a possible railroad line could more readily reach that side. The group split over the issue, and Rayner alone established Monterey in August.

Buddy Holly MuseumThe northern contingent, aided by Frank Wheelock and others, established the town of Lubbock at about the same time. Although a rivalry soon developed over which town would become the county seat, representatives from the two factions met that winter and reached a compromise. They agreed to retain the name Lubbock, select a new townsite, consolidate the two towns, move buildings and houses to the new location, and organize a government. At the time of the merger Monterey had a population of fifty and thirty-two buildings. The original site of Monterey was north of the present campus of Texas Tech University.

On September 7, 1936, Lubbock would become the birthplace of Rockabilly legend Buddy Holly. The Buddy Holly Museum is located at 1801 Crickets Avenue.

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This Day in Texas History: Founder of Negro National League Dies

This Day in Texas History:

Founder of Negro National League Dies

December 9, 1930

On this day in 1930, Andrew “Rube” Foster, “father of the Negro Baseball League,” died in Illinois.

Andrew Rube FosterHe was born in Calvert, Texas, in 1879. He began a barnstorming career at age seventeen pitching with the traveling Waco Yellow Jackets. By 1902 his abilities enabled him to move north, where he pitched for some of the foremost black teams of his era, including the Chicago Union Giants and the Philadelphia Giants. In 1902 he won the nickname Rube for defeating white Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Waddell in an exhibition game. In 1903 he won four games of the first Colored World Series.

After an illustrious playing career Foster became a baseball manager and businessman. He helped form the Chicago American Giants, for whom he recruited fellow Texan Smokey Joe Williams, in 1911 and in February 1920 organized the Negro National League. At a time when there were few opportunities for blacks, Foster and his team held celebrity status in black America and were followed avidly through nationally circulated black newspapers.

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2015 Calendars Available NOW

We have 2015 calendars available in several themes.

This is the time to order if you want them by the end of the year.

They are each individually printed and assembled right here in North Dallas using heavy card stock produced in Texas as well. When we say “Made in the Great State of Texas“, we mean it.

At a paltry $19.95 each, this is quite a bargain. Better order yours quick before we figure out we can’t afford to keep selling them so inexpensively and raise the price!

We have 6 themes in our current lineup and working on a couple more. Visit our website to view our catalog and order direct.

These make great gifts and, in addition to being a useful visual reminder of appointments — they are ART. And some mighty fine art, to boot…

 

Frisco-Calendar-back

Frisco-Calendar-back

Flora-Calendar-Cover

Flora-Calendar-Cover

Flora-Calendar-back

Flora-Calendar-back

Frisco-Calendar-Cover

Frisco-Calendar-Cover

Route-66-Calendar-back

Route-66-Calendar-back

Route-66-Calendar-Cover

Route-66-Calendar-Cover

Dallas-Calendar-Cover

Dallas-Calendar-Cover

Dallas-Calendar-back

Dallas-Calendar-back

Girls and Cars of Texas Calendar-back

Girls and Cars of Texas Calendar-back

Girls and Cars of Texas Calendar-Cover

Girls and Cars of Texas Calendar-Cover

Texas-Calendar-Cover

Texas-Calendar-Cover

Texas Calendar-back

Texas Calendar-back

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This Day in Texas History: Alleged Attack on Fort Ringgold Draws Machine-Gun Fire

This Day in Texas History:

Alleged Attack on Fort Ringgold Draws Machine-Gun Fire

November 20, 1899

On this date in 1899, U.S. troops fired on civilians at Rio Grande City, Texas.

Black soldiers of Troop D of the Ninth United States Cavalry, sent to garrison nearby Fort Ringgold after returning triumphantly from the Cuban campaign, grew impatient at racial restrictions and harassment. Tensions heightened amid conflicting reports of impending attacks on the fort and town.

Fort RinggoldOn the night of November 20 post commander 2d Lt. E. H. Rubottom responded to a presumed assault on the garrison by ordering Gatling gunfire on the area between the post and town. Only one minor injury resulted, but Rubottom’s action succeeded in quelling the disturbance. Ensuing federal, state, and grand jury investigations failed to specify culpability or motivation. Military authorities concluded that Rubottom had acted unwisely but recommended no charges against him or others.

Governor Joseph Sayers favored the locals’ demand that the Ninth Cavalry be moved, and the residents requested that a white garrison be retained.

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This Day in Texas History: Mormons Arrive in Texas

This Day in Texas History:

Mormons Arrive in Texas

November 19, 1845

On this day in 1845, the first group of Mormon settlers to come to Texas, led by Lyman Wight, arrived in Grayson County.

Lyman WightAfter wintering in an abandoned fort at Preston, this group of dissident Mormons pressed on to Austin in June 1846. They remained in the capital until 1847, when they established the community of Zodiac near Fredericksburg. This hamlet, where Wight implemented an idiosyncratic form of communitarianism he called the “common stock principle,” became a mecca for Mormon dissenters.

After a visit by missionaries Preston Thomas and William Martindale in 1848-49, Wight was excommunicated by the Mormons in Utah for his insubordination and doctrinal irregularities. Zodiac was destroyed by a flood in 1851. After living at several other sites Wight died in 1858. Thereafter, his colony dispersed.

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This Day in Texas History: The Circus Comes to Town

This Day in Texas History:

The Circus Comes to Town

November 8, 1852

On this day in 1852, the first recorded mention of the distinctive Mexican circus in Texas appeared in the San Antonio Ledger.

Mexican circusThough the performing groups may have been in Texas prior to this date, this newspaper report marked the first documentation of the circuses in the Lone Star State. The Mexican circuses evolved over the years from sixteenth-century performers called voladores (flyers) and Spanish minstrels and jugglers to include maromeros (acrobats) by the seventeenth century and dramatic performers in the eighteenth century.

By the time they got to Texas, the Mexican circuses had incorporated Italian, English, and American influences, including the English clown. Carpas (tent circuses) proved popular into the twentieth century throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South and Central Texas, and several companies made San Antonio their home base.

The carpas, often family-based, delivered commentary on Tejano social life and influenced the development of Mexican-American theater.

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