Today in Texas History – July 13

From the Annals of Unclaimed Prizes – In 1903, the Texas legislature chose to offer a $50,000 prize for discovery of a way to rid Texas of the boll weevil. The proclamation was made from the steps of the Capitol in Austin.  A Boll Weevil Commission was appointed by Gov. S.W.T. Lanham to evaluate the claims and claimants to the prize.  The prize offered by the legislature made both themselves and the boll weevil a figure of fun for newspapers throughout the nation, and this episode is sometimes found in civics or government texts as an illustration of the foolishness of lawmaking bodies.  No one ever came forth to make a claim for the prize – an enormous sum in its day.

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