Category Archives: Today in Texas History

Today in Texas History – July 6

From the Annals of Pop –  In 1923, the Dr Pepper Company was incorporated in Dallas. Dr Pepper had been made for almost 40 years after first being served at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug in Waco.  The owner, Wade Morrison, employed a pharmacist named Charles Alderton, who filled prescriptions and also served soft drinks to customers. Alderton experimented with various combinations of fruit extracts and sweeteners and landed upon a combination which was later dubbed Dr Pepper.  Morrison named the popular drink after Dr. Charles T. Pepper, a physician and pharmacist for whom Morrison had worked in Virginia. Today Dr Pepper is an operating company of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, based in Plano.  Red has personally boycotted Dr Pepper ever since the company refused Dublin Bottling Works  to continue to produce Dublin Dr Pepper.

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Today in Texas History – July 5

From the Annals of the Border Raids –  In 1855, Governor Elisha Pease authorized  Captain James Callahan to lead a party of Texas Rangers across the Rio Grande into Mexico purportedly to punish Apaches who were raiding Texas and hiding out in Mexico.  It appears more likely that the Callahan Expedition  was an attempt to recapture runaway slaves (primarily Black Seminoles) who had escaped to Mexico and obtained permission to settle there. Governor Santiago Vidaurri of Nuevo León y Coahuila had earlier rebuffed a more peaceful attempt by an emissary sent by slave owners and fearing the worst had ordered his troops to prepare for invasion. Callahan crossed into Mexico in early October and engaged the allied Seminole and Mexican forces.  A side attack was staged under the command of William R. Henry in an attempt to seize the Black Seminole women and children.  But Henry was ambushed and the entire expedition was forced to retreat to Piedras Negras.  But there they faced a large contingent of Mexican Regular Army troops supported by the Seminoles.  Callahan torched the town in retribution before skedaddling back to Texas with cover from American troops on the north side of the Rio Grande. In 1876 the Claims Commission settled claims originating from the expedition, awarding 150 Mexican citizens a total of $50,000 in damages.

Today in Texas History – June 28

John Henry Faulk: used books, rare books and new books ...

From the Annals of the Red Scare –  In 1962, John Henry Faulk was awarded a $3.5 million libel judgment against AWARE, Inc. for branding him as a communist.   AWARE was a for-profit corporation which purportedly offered a “clearance” service to advertisers, and radio and television networks.  AWARE would supposedly investigate entertainers for signs of Communist sympathy or affiliation.  In reality, AWARE was but a tactical arm for notorious scumbag Sen. Joe McCarthy and provided another way to promote his Red Scare agenda.

Faulk’s “mistake” occurred when he and other members wrested control of  The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists away from officers backed by AWARE.  With no evidence, AWARE labeled Faulk as a Communist. Faulk soon discovered that AWARE was keeping its radio station clients from hiring him.  Faulk sued with the back of other radio entertainers and CBS News vice-president Edward R. Murrow. Faulk hired famed New York attorney Louis Nizer.  AWARE engaged notorious scumbag attorney Roy Cohn (later the attorney for Trumpf – The Insult Comic President).  After many delays instigated Cohn’s tactics for AWARE, the case went to trial and the jury found for Faulk awarding him more damages than he had sought in his petition. had determined that Faulk should receive more compensation than he sought in his original petition. The $3.5 million was the largest ever in a libel case at that point.  On appeal, the damages were reduced to $500,000.   After paying legal fees and accumulated debts, Faulk received about $75,000.  Faulk’s book, Fear on Trial, published in 1963, tells the story of the experience.

Today in Texas History – June 15

From the Annals of the Aviators –  In 1892, Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was born in Atlanta. In 1921, she became the world’s first licensed African-American pilot.  Bessie was the 10th of 13 children George and Susan Coleman.  George was Cherokee, Choctaw and African-American. Susan was African-American.  Coleman grew up in Waxahacie and attended the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University.  Unable to study in the U.S. she went to France to obtain her license.  Upon her return to the U.S., she was a sensation as a barn-storming daredevil pilot.  Unfortunately, she died in a plane crash at the age of 34.

Today in Texas History – June 14

From the Annals of the Daily Papers – In 1881, the Laredo Morning Times was founded as the Laredo Weekly.  The LW was a four-page newspaper published by James Saunders Penn in the corner of a downtown building on Farragut Street in Laredo. Two years later, the paper began daily publication as the Laredo Daily Times. In 1926, the paper became the first English-language paper on the border to include a Spanish section.  In 1986, William B. Green became only the ninth publisher of the Laredo Morning Times. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation.

Today in Texas History – June 13

PMRC Punk Metal Rap Coalition: February 2013

From the Annals of the First Amendment –  In 1992, Law enforcement officials in Texas called for a ban on Ice-T’s song “Cop Killer” featured on his “Body Count” album.”  In Texas, the call for a Time Warner boycott was led by the Combined Law Enforcement Assn. of Texas (CLEAT).  The call apparently backfired as sales of “Body Count” – which had been out for several months – leaped 370% in Houston.  Soundscan, a New York research firm that tablulates US sales for Billboard magazine, noted that sales more than doubled in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. Ironically, Ice-T would go on to play police Detective Odafin Tutuola in hundreds of episodes of Law & Order.

Today in Texas History – June 1

From the Annals of Folk Music – In 1972, the first Kerrville Folk Festival got under way.  The KFF was founded by Rod Kennedy and began with performances in the Kerrville Municipal Auditorium.   This year’s festival is already under way and runs from May 24 to June 10.

The KFF bills itself as “the longest continuously running music festival in North America” and “a Mecca in the songwriting community.”  The Festival is now held over 18 days at the Quiet Valley Ranch about 9 miles south of Kerrville.  The Festival attracts as many as 30,000 guests come from all over the world, but each evening’s performance is limited to about 3,000 guests.

The KFF has presented many famous and not-so-famous singer-songwriters over the years, including such notables as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams,  Peter Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, David Crosby, Janis Ian and Arlo Guthrie to name a few.  You are very likely to see one or more future stars of folk music at the Festival.

Poster from the 2010 Kerrville Folk Festival.