From the Annals of Medicine – In 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas established the Board of Medical Censors and authorized it to grant licenses to practice medicine and surgery in the republic. The BMC was composed of one physician from each senatorial district who were graduates of medicine and surgery from accredited colleges and universities. Prospective physicians had to pass a test and pay a $20 license fee. Unlicensed physicians were prohibited from collected unpaid fees in Texas courts. The board was to meet once each year but that proved difficult in frontier Texas. The BMC was disbanded upon statehood and the function is now performed by the Board of Medical Examiners.
From the Annals of “Gunboat” Diplomacy – In 1841, a flotilla of three ships from the Navy of the Republic of Texas left Galveston to provide support for the province of Yucatán in its rebellion against Mexico. Edwin Ward Moore was the commander-in-chief of the Texas Navy. Moore had earlier sailed along the Mexican coast in a failed attempt to speed up peace negotiations between the Republic of Texas and Mexico. Moore returned to Texas and President Mirabeau B. Lamar signed a treaty with the Mexican state of Yucatan to lease of the Texas navy for $8,000 per month and to protect their ports from being a Mexican Navy blockade. Moore’s ships joined the small fleet of the State of Yucatan under the command of former Texas Navy officer Captain James D. Boylan.
The Yucatan rebellion (also known as the Caste War of Yucatan) itself is an interesting and rarely mentioned part of Mexican history. The indigenous Mayans more or less held control of large parts of the Yucatan peninsula for more than 50 years despite numerous efforts by Mexico to assert control.
From the Annals of the Warrior Chiefs – In 1737, Spanish military forces captured Cabellos Colorados (Red Hair). 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 having 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 Death House – In 1982, Texas became the first state to use lethal injection to execute prisoners. The lethal dose was an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol – a barbiturate that is known as a “truth serum” when administered in lesser doses. Texas adopted the lethal injection procedure as a supposedly more humane method of executing those convicted of capital crimes. Over the next few years, 32 other states, the federal government, and the U.S. military all began using various forms of lethal injection to execute prisoners.
Charlie Brooks Jr., convicted for the murder of David Gregory, was the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection at the Walls Unit in Huntsville. Gregory, an auto mechanic at a used car lot, accompanied Brooks on a supposed test drive of a car. However, Brooks took Gregory back to a motel where he was hanging out and shooting heroin with Woody Lourdes and his girlfriend Marlene Smith after engaging in a shoplifting spree. Brooks shot and killed Gregory in an almost absurdly amateurish manner. Lourdes had informed the hotel manager that they had a man in the room who was bound and gagged and that they were going to have to kill him while pointing a revolver at the manager and telling her that he would kill her too if she talked. As such, the crime was easily discovered and solved. Brooks was sentenced to death. Lourdes was also sentenced to death but his conviction was reversed and he reached a plea deal to serve 40 years. David Gregory left behind a wife and young son.
From the Annals of the Coast – In 1851, the United States approved a contract to construct a lighthouse on South Padre Island. Known as the Port Isabel Lighthouse, construction was completed in 1852. It was one of 16 lighthouses constructed on the Texas coast and the only one open to the public at the Port Isabel State Historical Site. The PIL served as a beacon for more than 60 years but became obsolete and was extinguished in 1905. The lighthouse fell into neglect until the Texas State Parks Board provided funds for restoration in 1947. The historic landmark has become a popular tourist attraction for visitors to South Texas The PIL was restored in 2000 and returned to the appearance it had following its last major operational renovation in 1880.
The Texas Capitol Building prominently features a plaque honoring the Confederacy and proclaiming that the Civil War was not a rebellion and not about slavery. As Red has pointed out several times, all one need do is read the Texas Ordinance of Secession – a vile racist screed – to determine that the only reason Texas seceded was to protect its white citizens’ ability to own black slaves. And a lot of folks sure got killed in the non-rebellion that was the U.S. Civil War.
Red and others wonder why this disgusting piece of utter racist bullshit and revisionist history still has a place anywhere in the public space in Texas. Apparently former speaker Joe Strauss and incoming boss Dennis Bonnen both agree it should go. The hold up is likely our Poor Idiot Governor Abbott who is terrified of doing anything that might affect his right wing bona fides. The Texas Tribune has the full story.
From the Annals of the Extinct – In 2000, part of what is now the Waco Mammoth National Monument opened. The WMNM is at a site where a herd of mammoths were trapped during a flood about 68,000 years ago. The area contains the remains of 24 Columbian Mammoths, along with the remains of associated animals of the late Pleistocene, including Western Camel (Camelops hesternus), saber-toothed cat (Homotherium), dwarf antelope (cf. Capromeryx), American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), and giant tortoise (Hesperotestudo). The site contain the Nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd (females and offspring) of Pleistocene mammoths, comprising at least 18 of the unearthed mammoths.