Tag Archives: Texas History

Today in Texas History – June 28

From the Annals of Democracy –  In 1919, the Texas Senate ratified the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.  The amendment had been sent to the states for ratification earlier in June.  On June 23, the Texas House had ratified the amendment on June 23. Texas women had already achieved the right to vote in primaries in 1918 which was tantamount to voting in the general election in most parts of the state.  Texas was the first Southern state to ratify the amendment and the  ninth overall.  Woman suffrage had been considered in Texas as early as the Constitutional Convention of 1868.   After years of near dormancy, the Texas Equal Suffrage Association, a state chapter of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, led the fight for suffrage beginning in 1913.

Amazingly, Red knows several Neanderthals who still think women shouldn’t be voting. You can probably guess who they voted for in 2016.

 

Today in Texas History – June 8

From the Annals of the Hub – In 1969, Houston Intercontinental Airport opened.  HIA replaced Hobby Airport which continued to serve general aviation until the advent of Southwest Airlines which revitalized the subsidiary airport.   HIA had been envisioned since 1957, when the Civil Aeronautics Administration recommended a replacement for undersized and overcrowded Hobby Airport.  The project started in 1963 with plans for a massive $125 million facility about 10 miles north of downtown Houston.  The project was repeatedly delayed and its projected opening date was changed eight times.  The delays did not help improve the quality of the new airport and the overall incompetence of the design was quickly revealed.  Within 3 years, the it had become apparent that the terminals were inadequate for the amount of traffic, the runways were in disrepair, the terminal trams were pathetic and there was a shortage of parking space.  The problems resulted in the addition of a third terminal and other improvements.  The airport was later renamed for George Bush.

Red for one has always hated the place.  It is relatively convenient but very confusing, always too crowded, ugly and sprawling, and just a general pain in the ass for the traveler. It is great for getting your daily 10,000 steps in. Not to mention that it’s primary tenant is the lowly rated United Airlines.  If Red can fly out of Hobby that’s where he will be.

 

Today in Texas History – June 6

From the Annals of the Fair –  In 1936, the Central Centennial Exposition opened on the site of Fair Park east of downtown Dallas.  The remarkably quick project had started construction  in October 1935.  Architect George L. Dahl designed 50 buildings in an Art Deco style.  The CCE was the first world’s fair held in the Southwest.  The most popular attraction was the “Cavalcade of Texas,” a historical play depicting four centuries of Texas history.  Another feature, ” The Hall of Negro Life”,  was the first such exhibit (however racist) to feature black culture at a world’s fair.   The CCE ran through November 29 with official attendance of 6,345,385.  Many of the exposition buildings, including the Hall of State, were preserved and Fair Park touts itself as the only World’s Fair site predating 1950 that is still standing.   Fair Park is now the site of the annual State Fair of Texas.

Historical Footnote:  The CCE was used as the backdrop for The Big Show a modern-day western featuring Gene Autry.   Autry played movie star Tom Ford as well as his stunt double.  The movie also features sidekick Smiley Burnette and the Sons of the Pioneers (including future star and Red’s boyhood hero Roy Rogers).  Autry appears in the Cavalcade of Texas in one scene – singing to his horse Champion.  TBS is worth watching if only to see what the CCE actually looked like during its run.   The movie was filmed during the last two weeks of September in 1936.

 

Today in Texas History – June 5

From the Annals of Banditry –  In 1880, the “Bandit Queen” married her second or possibly third husband.  The Queen was Myra Maybelle (Belle) Shirley Reed Starr and she marred outlaw Sam Starr in the Cherokee Nation.  Starr was from Missouri and her family had been involved with notorious Confederate irregulars including William Quantrill.  By the end of the Civil War, the family fled Missouri and moved to Scyene near Dallas. Their home became a hideout for bandits including the Younger and James brothers – veterans of Quantrill’s cutthroats.  Continuing a family legacy of criminal behavior, Belle’s first husband, Jim Reed rode with the Younger, James, and Starr gangs on their murderous rampage throughout Texas, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory. Reed was killed in Paris  by a deputy sheriff.  After that,  Belle may have married Bruce Younger.  In any event, she did later marry another outlaw in Sam Starr.   Belle and  were later convicted of horse theft and Belle received two six-month prison terms.   Unable to stay out of trouble, Sam Starr was later killed in a fight with an Indian policeman.  Belle Starr subsequently took several lovers, including Jim July (or Jim Starr), Blue Duck, Jack Spaniard, and Jim French.  In 1889, while Starr was living in the Choctaw Nation, Starr met her end when she was ambushed and killed.

 

Today in Texas History

Back after a considerable hiatus!

Image result for maps of route to el paso from 1800s

From the Annals of the Roads West – In 1849, Maj. Robert S. Neighbors returned to San Antonio after completing an expedition to survey a northern route to El Paso.   The expedition was aimed at creating a usable wagon road to west Texas.  The expedition left Torrey’s Trading Post near Waco on March 23, 1849, crossed the Colorado River on April 2, and crossed the Pecos at Horsehead Crossing on April 17.  The expedition reache El Paso on May 2 after determining that the last 100 miles of its trek was not practicable for wagon traffic.  On the return,  Neighbors took the northern route previously used by the Mexican army between El Paso and the Pecos River.  His report included that route.  If you are driving I-10 west to El Paso you are fairly much following the route that Neighbors surveyed.

 

Today in Texas History – April 3

From the Annals of Voting Rights  –  In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Smith v. Allwright.   The Court held that the Democratic Party’s “white primary” system was unconstitutional.  The case started when African-American dentist Lonnie E. Smith attempted to vote in the Democratic primary in his Harris County precinct.   Under the “white primary” system, Smith was denied a ballot.   In the 1940’s, winning the Democratic primary was tantamount to election in all but rate cases.  If you could not vote in the primary, essentially you could not vote at all.   Smith fought back with the assistance of attorneys supplied by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (including future U.S. Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall).  Smith filed suit in the U.S.  District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 1942 arguing that he had been wrongfully denied his right to vote under the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Seventeenth amendments by the precinct election judge, S. E. Allwright.  He lost at the district court, but appealed all the way to the Supreme Court which in an 8-1 decision ruled in his favor.  Discrimination continued in the form of “poll taxes” and other tactics employed to suppress minority voting, but tThe Smith decision did end the white primary in Texas. The number of African Americans registered to vote in Texas increased from 30,000 in 1940 to 100,000 in 1947.

Today in Texas History – March 29

From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1813, the Battle of Rosillo Creek was fought near present day  San Antonio. The fight was between the Republican Army of the North led by José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Samuel Kemper and a Spanish royalist force under Texas governor Manuel María de Salcedo and Nuevo León governor Simón de Herrera.  The battle was for control of the far northern province and the Republicans were seeking a break from New Spain and an independent republic in Texas.   The battle involved remarkably large numbers as the Republican army was comprised of between 600 to 900 men and the Royalist forces may have numbered as much as 1500 men.  The Republicans were advancing along the road from La Bahía to San Antonio when they were engaged by the Royalists.   The Republicans inflicted heavy losses on the Royalists in the one-hour battle.   The Royalists lost somewhere between 100 and 300 men as wells most of their arms and ammunition, six cannons, and 1,500 horses and mules. The republicans lost only six men. The battle of Rosillo resulted in the capture of San Antonio and the establishment of a first “Republic of Texas.”  The Republic was short-lived as the Republican forces were soundly defeated five months later at the Battle of Medina.