This Day in Texas History: Mexican Forces Capture Key Brazos Crossing

This Day in Texas History:

Mexican Forces Capture Key Brazos Crossing

April 12, 1836

Brazos River, RichmondOn this day in 1836, Mexican forces under General Santa Anna captured Thompson’s Ferry, on the Brazos River between San Felipe and Fort Bend.

As Sam Houston’s army retreated eastward, a rear-guard under Moseley Baker at San Felipe and Wyly Martin at Fort Bend sought to prevent the Mexicans from crossing the Brazos. At Thompson’s Ferry on April 12, Mexican colonel Juan N. Almonte hailed the ferryman, who was on the east bank. Probably thinking that Almonte was a countryman who had been left behind during the retreat, the ferryman poled the ferry across to the west bank. Santa Anna and his staff, who had been hiding in nearby bushes, sprang out and captured the ferry. By this means the Mexican Centralists accomplished a bloodless crossing of the Brazos.

The Texan forces at Fort Bend and San Felipe were forced to abandon their defenses and join the rest of Houston’s army in retreat. The Texans did not turn on their pursuers until April 21, when they destroyed Santa Anna’s army at San Jacinto.

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We Will Be In Deep Ellum All Weekend

Join us for the 20th annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival in Dallas this weekend.

  • Over 200 artists
  • Live music on 2 stages
  • Lots of food, beverages and night life
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Texas Star

Texas Star

This is our third year exhibiting in Deep Ellum and we have expanded our booth to a 10×20 configuration to provide more display area and better visibility.  We have lots more art on display and a more spacious layout.  Stop by and say “Howdy”.

Meet the author and pick up your personalized copy of Texas As I See It.

We are in booths 151-153 on the north side of Main Street between Crowdus and Pryor streets.

Deep Ellum Arts Festival 2014

Our location in Deep Ellum

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This Day in Texas History: Legendary Texan Born in Virginia

This Day in Texas History:

Legendary Texan Born in Virginia

April 03, 1817

On this day in 1817, Bigfoot Wallace was born in Lexington, Virginia.

Bigfoot WallaceHe arrived in Texas during the Texas Revolution, fought Gen. Adrián Woll‘s invading Mexican army near San Antonio in 1842, and then volunteered for the Somervell and Mier expeditions. Some of his most graphic memories were of his experiences in Perote Prison. As soon as he was released, he joined the Texas Rangers under Jack Hays and fought with the rangers in the Mexican War.

In the 1850s Captain Wallace commanded a ranger company of his own, fighting border bandits as well as Indians. He spent his later years in Frio County, near a hamlet named Bigfoot. There he was known as a mellow and convivial soul who liked to sit in a roomy rawhide-bottomed chair in the shade of his shanty and tell over the stories of his career.

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This Day in Texas History: Slave Smuggler Revealed as Forger

This Day in Texas History:

Slave Smuggler Revealed as Forger

April 02, 1840

On this day in 1840, the slave smuggler Monroe Edwards was convicted of having forged a bill of sale from his partner, Christopher Dart.

Monroe EdwardsAlthough Edwards retained two distinguished lawyers, John C. Watrous and John W. Harris, the forgery was discovered during a civil trial in Brazoria. Edwards was found liable for more than $89,000 plus interest and court costs. He was also indicted and jailed.

After making bond on the criminal charge, he fled to Europe, where he posed as a wealthy veteran of San Jacinto and an abolitionist. He left Europe after a threat of exposure by the Texas envoy to England and returned to the United States, where he engaged in several large-scale forgeries.

He was finally arrested and incarcerated in the Tombs prison in New York. His trial was a celebrated one, with lengthy reports of each day’s testimony printed in the New York Daily Tribune and other newspapers. Edwards again retained celebrated lawyers but was found guilty and sentenced to Sing Sing prison. After an escape attempt in 1847 he was severely beaten by prison authorities and died.

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This Day in Texas History: Iconoclast Publisher Killed in Waco

This Day in Texas History:

Iconoclast Publisher Killed in Waco

April 01, 1898

On this day in 1898, controversial journalist William Cowper Brann was fatally shot in the back by Tom E. Davis on a Waco street. Brann managed to pull his own gun and kill Davis.

William Cowper BrannEarlier in the decade Brann’s newspaper, the Iconoclast, had launched a series of vitriolic attacks, especially on Baptists, Episcopalians, blacks, women, and anything British. He also went after nearby Baylor University, which he called “that great storm-center of misinformation.”

Brann was subsequently kidnapped on one occasion and beaten on another, and his supporters had a deadly gunfight with Baylor partisans. Davis, who killed Brann, was an irate supporter of Baylor.

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This Day in Texas History: Battleship Texas Continues Outstanding Service

This Day in Texas History:

Battleship Texas Continues Outstanding Service

March 26, 1945

On this day in 1945, the battleship Texas supported the landings for the battle of Okinawa, the final great amphibious assault of World War II.

Battleship TexasThe keel of the Texas, the second battleship to bear this name, was laid at Newport News, Virginia, on April 17, 1911. After serving in the Atlantic Fleet in the First World War, she supported the World War II landings in North Africa, Omaha Beach, southern France, and Iwo Jima.

After more than thirty-four years of naval service she was retired and given to the state of Texas to be used as a memorial. She is permanently moored at the San Jacinto Monument off the Houston Ship Channel.

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This Day in Texas History: Mexican Raiders Strike Texas Ranch

This Day in Texas History:

Mexican Raiders Strike Texas Ranch

March 25, 1918

On this day in 1918, in what proved to be the last serious incident of the border troubles initiated by the Mexican Revolution, Mexican raiders attacked the Neville ranch in northwest Presidio County.

Neville RanchEdwin W. Neville’s isolated ranch stretched for eighteen miles along the Rio Grande, six miles upriver from Porvenir. Neville and his son Glen were discussing the rumors of an attack when they heard a disturbance outside. Neville looked out and saw fifty approaching horsemen who opened fire on the house.

Seeking protection, the Nevilles ran toward a ditch about 300 yards away. The older Neville reached the ditch uninjured, but the raiders shot Glen in the head and beat him with their rifle butts as he lay dying. The Nevilles’ housekeeper, Rosa Castillo, was also shot and her body mutilated. As Neville wandered in the darkness, the raiders stole horses, clothes, bedding, and supplies. U.S. cavalry arrived soon after the raid and followed the trail of the bandits across the Rio Grande.

In a gunfight at the village of Pilares thirty-three Mexicans were killed and eight were wounded. One American, private Carl Alberts, was also killed. The American soldiers destroyed all but one house in Pilares and recovered some of Neville’s stolen property.

It is likely that the Neville ranch raid was not a simple act of robbery, but retaliation for the Porvenir Massacre, which had taken place two months before. It is also likely that the raiders had Villista connections. In addition, soldiers found German-made Mauser rifles at Pilares, a fact that may suggest German involvement in the raid.

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This day in Texas History: Fort Worth Stockyards Incorporated

This day in Texas History:

Fort Worth Stockyards Incorporated

March 23, 1893

On this day in 1893, the Fort Worth Stock Yards were officially incorporated. The Fort Worth livestock market became the largest in Texas and the Southwest, the biggest market south of Kansas City, and consistently ranked between third and fourth among the nation’s large terminal livestock markets for five decades, from about 1905 to the mid-1950s.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived in Fort Worth in 1876 promoters built pens to hold cattle, but business leaders were already dreaming of packing plants and stockyards to make their community a permanent focus of the cattle industry. By 1886 four stockyards had been built near the railroads. Boston capitalist Greenleif W. Simpson, with a half dozen Boston and Chicago associates, incorporated the Fort Worth Stock Yards Company and purchased the Union Stock Yards and the Fort Worth Packing Company in 1893.

Swift Meat Packing Plant

Swift Meat Packing Plant

In 1896 the company began a fat-stock show that has survived to the present as one of the largest livestock shows in the nation, the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. An agreement with Armour and Swift brought in two of the nation’s largest meatpackers, who constructed modern plants adjacent to the stockyards. By 1936 Texas had become the largest-producing state for both cattle and sheep, with Fort Worth as the industry’s hub. The stockyards began to decline in the 1950s as the industry became more decentralized, and today the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is primarily a tourist attraction.

Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth, Texas

Copyright 2013 Warren Paul Harris
all rights reserved

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This day in Texas History: Preservationist Rebecca Fisher Dies

This day in Texas History:

Preservationist Rebecca Fisher Dies

March 21, 1926

On this day in 1926, Rebecca Fisher died in Austin. She was born Rebecca Gilleland in Philadelphia in 1831. Her family came to Texas around 1837 and settled in Refugio County.

Rebecca FisherIn 1840 Comanches attacked their home, killing Rebecca’s parents and taking Rebecca and her brother. The children were rescued by Albert Sidney Johnston and a detachment of Texas soldiers. Rebecca married Orceneth Fisher, a Methodist minister, in 1848. In 1855 the Fishers left Texas for the Pacific coast. They returned to Texas about 1871 and eventually established a home in Austin, where Fisher died in 1880.

Mrs. Fisher was a charter member and state president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She also aided Clara Driscoll in saving the Alamo from destruction, and for several years she gave the opening prayer when the Texas legislature convened. She was the only woman elected to the Texas Veterans Association and was its last surviving member.

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This day in Texas History: Possum Kingdom Reservoir Completed

This day in Texas History:

Possum Kingdom Reservoir Completed

March 20, 1941

4th of July on the Lake

4th of July on the Lake

Possum Kingdom Reservoir, popularly known as Possum Kingdom Lake, is on the Brazos River in Palo Pinto, Stephens, Jack, and Young counties It has a capacity of 724,700 acre-feet, a surface area of 19,800 acres, and a shoreline of 310 miles. Here Morris Sheppard Dam impounds 1,500,000 acre-feet of water annually for municipal, industrial, mining, irrigation, flood-control, recreational, and power-generation uses. Area hills and valleys, post oaks, and cedars make a “veritable paradise” for possums around the lake.

The dam, named for Senator John Morris Sheppard and authorized by the United States Congress in 1935, was the first erected by the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District. It was begun on May 29, 1938, under general contractors C. F. Lytle and A. L. Johnson and completed on March 20, 1941.

The dam, a heavily buttressed concrete structure with adjoining earth embankment, was built at a cost of $8,500,000, which represented a $4,500,000 grant from the federal government, supplemented by $4,000,000 from ad valorem taxes in ten counties along the lower Brazos watershed. Drainage area above the dam is 22,550 square miles, of which 9,240 are noncontributing. The dam is 2,747 feet long and has a maximum height of 189 feet; the spillway is 987 feet above mean sea level.

The average output of the dam’s power-generating plant is estimated at 73,000,000 KWH. The lake and reservoir are currently owned and operated by the Brazos River Authority.

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