Category Archives: Today in Texas History

Today in Texas History – March 20

From the Annals of New Spain –  In 1721, an expedition led by José de Azlor y Virto de Vera, the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo, crossed the Rio Grande near present day Eagle Pass in an attempt to re-establish Spanish control of East Texas.  The expedition was a response to the French incursion into Texas two years earlier.  Aguayo’s force consisted of about 500 men – called the Battalion of San Miguel de Aragón.  The expedition established a base in San Antonio de Bexar and a small force under command of Domingo Ramón occupied La Bahía del Espíritu Santo near present-day Goliad.  Upon arrival in East Texas, the expedition met no resistance from the French or Native Americans.  In fact, the French commander Louis Juchereau de St. Denis,  agreed to withdraw to Natchitoches.  With the essential mission accomplished, Aguayo left 219 of his force at various presidios in Texas, with the remainder returning to Coahuila.  Aguayo’s expedition increased the number of missions in Texas from two to ten, and established three new presidios.   Spain’s claim to Texas was never again seriously disputed by France.


Today in Texas History – March 13

From the Annals of the Frontier – In 1849, Captain Seth Eastman and his unit established Camp Leona in Uvalde County. The encampment was on the Leona River and was ultimately called Fort Inge.  The Fort was intended to provide protection to settlements and travelers in the western Hill Country and was part of a federal line of forts in Texas.  The Fort was a base for U.S. Army regulars and Texas militia.   Fort Inge operated primarily as a small one-company post  with about 50 soldiers.  The Fort allowed additional settlement in the area and by the late 1850s farmers had established the nearby community of Uvalde. Fort Inge was closed in 1869 and the site today serves as part of Fort Inge County Park.

Drawing by Seth Eastman.


Today in Texas History – March 9

thamanjimmy: History of the Rural Electrification ...

From the Annals of the Power Grid – In 1936, the first power line built under the program of the Rural Electrification Administration was powered up.  The 58 mile line near Bartlett brought electricity within reach of nearby farms and ranches.  The REA was created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 with the goal of bringing electrification to rural areas.  When created only about 2 percent of the farms and ranches in Texas (and about 10 percent nationally) had access to electricity. The REA was primarily a lending agency under its enabling statute that was cosponsored by Texas Rep. Sam Rayburn. The Bartlett line was made possible by a $33,000 loan to a group of farmers.  It is almost impossible to overstate the impact of the REA in raising the standard of living for vast numbers of rural residents who had never had access to electricity.  By 1965, only 2 percent of Texas farms and ranches were still without electricity.

Today in Texas History – March 8

The Alamo and Goliad. - ppt video online download

From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, Col. James W. Fannin raised a flag over the mission at La Bahia in Goliad with the words “Liberty or Death”.  Fannin, now generally regarded as an inept commander who had lost the confidence of his men, was prophetic in his announcement.  Unfortunately for Fannin and his men it would by “Death.”  In fairness to Fannin, he was facing Mexican General Jose de Urrea – by far the best of the Mexican commanders. If Urrea had been in command during the revolution, it is very likely to have been easily suppressed.  Urrea’s forces were never defeated in battle during the war and remained ready to fight after the Battle of San Jacinto. Fannin was originally ordered by Sam Houston to relieve the Alamo and then later ordered to retreat to Victoria.  He delayed in his retreat and during that action he was cornered on open ground with limited supplies and forced to surrender.  Held back at Goliad, Fannin and his men were massacred on the orders of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  Urrea strongly objected to executing prisoners of war, but the order was carried out by subordinates.  Fannin was among the last to be shot.

Today in Texas History – March 7

From the Annals of the Temblors – In 1923, the only known fatality from a Texas earthquake occurred with a temblor shook El Paso causing an adobe house to collapse.  The house, however, was in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and the fatality occurred on that side of the border.  There are still no known fatalities to have occurred in Texas from earthquakes which are not common in the state.  Even so, more than 100 earthquakes have been recorded since 1847 but most are of low magnitude causing some fright but little real damage.  Most of the recorded quakes have been in West Texas and the Panhandle.

Today in Texas History – March 6

Odessa – The Globe Theatre

From the Annals of the Theatre – In 1958, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Globe of the Great Southwest. The theater is located in Odessa and is a replica of the original Globe Theater in Southwark, London which was built in 1598 for William Shakespeare’s acting company.  Now called simply the Globe Theater and operated by Odessa College, the theatre is 410-seat venue featuring an authentic Elizabethan stage used for classical and modern plays as well as community theater, concerts and other community events.  The GT was built in response to a proposal from Odessa College Professor Marjorie Morris.  Shakespearean scholar Dr. Allardyce Nicoll has called the theater “the most nearly authentic replica of Shakespeare’s own Globe anywhere on Earth.”