From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1783, Fernando Veramendi was killed by Mescalero Apaches near the presidio of San Juan Bautista in Coahuila while on a business trip to Mexico City. Veramendi was born in Pamplona, Spain and moved to Texas in 1770 first settling in La Bahia. While conducting business in San Antonio de Bexar he found a bride, Doña María Josefa Granados, and thus, married into one of the influential Canary Islands families who were the primary Spanish settlers of San Antonio. Now well-connected, Vermandi opened a general store, lent money to other settlers, and acquired large tracts of ranch and farm land. He built a large home on Soledad Street that later came to be known as the Veramendi Palace. He was a civic leader and was elected as an aalderman in the ayuntamiento of 1779, and later as a senior alderman in 1783. He was killed while on a business trip to Mexico City. He had five children the most prominent of who was his son Juan Martín de Veramendi who served as governor of Coahuila and Texas in 1832-33.
Photo of the doors from the Veramendi Palace displayed at the Alamo. The building was demolished in 1910.
From the Annals of the Freedom Loving Germans – In 1854, delegates from various local German political clubs met at the annual Staats-Saengerfest (State Singers’ Festival) in San Antonio. The meeting might otherwise have escaped notice, except that the delegates adopted a declaration against slavery declaring it to be evil. The declaration went on to state that abolition was to be the work of the various states who should seek help from the federal government (in the form of payment for freed slaves) to help end the moral abomination of chattel slavery. The Texas Germans were falling in line with other organizations such as the Freier Mann Verein (Freeman’s Association) from Northern States who had enacted similar declarations. As one might imagine, the declaration was not well received in the strongly pro-slavery (and virulently racist) Texas of the time. In conjunction with ongoing antislavery newspaper articles in the German language press, many Anglo-Texans grew more and more hostile to their German-Texan neighbors. This was clearly evidenced at the outset of the Southern Rebellion by the murder of many German Texans who were attempting to go north to fight for the Union.
Captain Gus of KENS-TV – Channel 5 in San Antonio. Captain Gus was the host of an afternoon children’s TV show that ran from 1953 to 1979 – an amazing run for the format. Gus hosted a live audience of children with some cornball gags, interviews with the kids and prize drawings from his Wishing Well and featured Popeye cartoons.
Under the crazy red wig and handlebar moustache was pioneer broadcaster Joe Alston, a World War II veteran who had been chief announcer at KTRH-AM radio in Houston before joining KENS as an announcer in 1953. Alston also appeared in several movies including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “T-Men” and “West Point of the Air” (about Randolph AFB’s pilot-training program).
As a child, Red did not fully appreciate the nihilistic world view presented in Popeye cartoons – the eternal and ultimately unwinnable struggle against oppressive enemies, the male-domination of the species, the all consuming importance of brute force, the insatiable appetites (Wimpy) driving all human endeavor and the consummate self interest of all mankind.
From the Annals of the Missionaries – In 1709, an expedition led by Franciscan fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Isidro Félix de Espinosa reached the site of current day San Antonio. Olivares and Espinosa were escorted by Capt. Pedro de Aguirre and fourteen soldiers. The small expedition left San Juan Bautista on April 5 with the goal of contacting Tejas Indians living on the lower Colorado River. The Fathers encamped at site near the springs that they christened as San Pedro Springs. The expedition continued on and reached the Colorado near Bastrop on May 19. However, the Tejas were living further east and the Fathers did not have authorization to proceed farther than the Colorado. , They had also learned that the Tejas were likely hostile to the Spanish and the expedition returned to the Rio Grande.
From the Annals of the Chiefs – In 1737, Spanish military forces captured Cabellos Colorados. CC was a Lipan Apache chief who had staged repeated raids on the Spanish outpost at San Antonio de Bexar. The historical record on Cabellos Colorados is scant but his name appears in Spanish colonial records as figuring prominently in a number of raids. There was a raid in 1731 and again in 1734 when his band seized two Spaniards. He was also reported as haven stolen horses from San Francisco de la Espada Mission and killed Indians from the missions of San Juan Capistrano and Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña. After more raids in 1736 and 1737, he was captured and imprisoned at Bexar until October 1738, when he was sent as a prisoner to Mexico City.
From the Annals of the Latinos – In 1921, the Order of Sons of America was founded in San Antonio. The OSA was one of the first Mexican-American civil rights organizations dedicated to protecting and advancing the interests of Mexican-American citizens. The OSA limited membership to U.S. native- born or naturalized U.S. citizens. The OSA believed that assimilation to American culture was the key to acceptance as equal members of American society. The OSA’s policy of excluding Mexican immigrants and taking a stance against large scale immigration was controversial, but thought necessary in its campaign to persuade Anglos that Mexican-Americans were loyal Americans who were an integral part of society throughout much of the Southwest. This was rooted in a belief that preserving Mexican culture and traditions had resulted in Anglos not accepting them as equal American citizens. The OSA was ultimately merged with other organizations to found LULAC.
From the Annals of Higher Education – In 1925, University Junior College (now San Antonio College) opened in San Antonio with an enrollment of 200 students. SAC is the oldest public junior college in Texas still in operation. The first classes met in the Main High School building. The school was initially under the administration of the University of Texas, but the state attorney general ruled in December 1925 that operation of a junior college by the University of Texas violated the state constitution. The college was renamed San Antonio Junior College and control was given over to the San Antonio board of education for the second year of operation. The school was given its current name in 1948, and relocated to a thirty-seven-acre campus on San Pedro Avenue in the Tobin Hill district. SAC is now operated by the Alamo Community College District. The college has an average semester enrollment of 22,028 credit students and an average annual enrollment of 16,000 other-than-credit students. San Antonio College is the largest single-campus community college in Texas.
Image of the Gnome Ranger – official mascot of SAC.