|New Book by
focuses on little-known aspects of Texas history Cox runs across in
his research and travels across the state. Old-time Texas Rangers
used to say some men just need killing. Some stories just need telling,
and that's what Cox likes to do.
In the spring of 1946, an Army major assigned to desk duty at the
Pentagon had his sergeant call the War Records Office at the National
Archives to ask if they had any information on an old military post
in South Texas called Fort Kirby...
In the letter the Galveston News published on Dec. 21, 1893, the
former ranger A. J. Sowell expanded on an incident he had only mentioned
briefly in his 1884 book “Rangers and Pioneers of Texas.”
The Rev. C.B. Jernigan spent most of his life trying to save sinners
from eternal fire and brimstone, but when he finally got around
to writing a memoir he devoted a full chapter to an incident from
childhood he remembered as hell on earth – a raging winter prairie
in San Ygnacio 12-9-10
The weathered sundial positioned on top of the arched entrance to
the old family fort at San Ygnacio tells more than the time – it
tells a story.
Riot That Never Was 12-1-10
In the summer of 1908 an article with a Fort Worth dateline published
in a Sunday edition of the New York Herald caught the eye of President
There’s more to the nut produced by Texas’ official state tree than
food value. At least there used to be. Early-day Texas kids, not
having a very wide variety of what used to be called “store bought”
toys, found ways to play with pecans before eating them.
Now extremely rare, sawfish are curious marine creatures that use
their unusual bladed snout to find food and then make it bite sized.
But even stranger is how one Texas sawfish indirectly aided the
Union Army during the Civil War.
Like a flock of wild turkeys pecking around in search of food, the
date that Texans set aside to celebrate their blessings kept jumping
around the calendar until well into the 20th century.
Great Chicken-Fried Steak Hoax 10-28-10
Ever wonder how a legend gets started? I had a small role in the
creation of what has become one of Texas’ most enduring pieces of
“fakelore” -- the story of the invention of the chicken-fried steak.
Springs and Trammell’s Treasure 10-20-10
More than 300 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the community
of Hughes Springs owes its existence to a fanciful pirate story
and one man who believed it.
Haunting of the Old Travis County Jail 10-14-10
Harvey, 34, had the distinction of being the last of nine men legally
hanged in the castle-like stone jail, built for $100,000 in 1876
at the corner of 11th and Brazos streets — present location of the
Dewitt C. Greer Building, headquarters of what is now the Texas
Department of Transportation.
Lion and a Boy 10-7-10
And oilman Charles Edward Hipp of Graham
"The people in these images could be your ancestors. Or mine.
One thing is sure: They are long dead, and so, too, is anyone who
could identify them."
For years, I have collected Texas expressions like some people do
postage stamps. Herewith, in no particular order, a sampling.
Hat Story 9-9-10
When Mrs. Jane Greenwood set out to write her autobiography in 1965,
she knew she had to tell the hat story.
happened to Charles Francis Coghlan 9-2-10
His story is either one of the most incredible tales ever told,
pure legend or a mixture of fact and fiction.
Diversion Ensured Granddad a Quiet Hunt 8-26-10
Hanging in Austin 8-19--10
Forty years ago, the late Edmunds Travis of Austin told me about
a hanging he reluctantly covered for the Austin daily he edited
Monster of Port Isabel 8-12-10
The monster showed up in the Gulf of Mexico off the small fishing
village of Port Isabel in the summer of 1938. That Aug. 10, in a
short article buried on a back page, the Brownsville Herald devoted
five paragraphs to “the sea monster that is attracting so much attention
in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”...
little Texas cultural history 8-5-10
Surely most parents go through times when they wonder if they have
failed at our species’ most important job: Child-rearing...
An Internet search reveals five U.S. communities named Houston along
with three counties named Houston, including one in Texas...
Paso and the Battle of Juarez 7-22-10
On June 29, during a gun battle in Juarez, Mexico, seven stray AK
47 rifle rounds flew across the Rio Grande and hit city hall in
downtown El Paso... Nearly a hundred years have gone by since the
last time it happened...
Last time I drove through Mertzon, it sunk in on me that the windmills
Secret Hurricane 7-8-10
Don’t tell anybody, but there’s a hurricane in the Gulf ...
and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester
Anyone who has ever worked on the editorial side of a newspaper,
which given all the various career paths out there is not a huge
percentage of the labor force, knows about writing obituaries...
The graveyard, accessible today only by boat or toll bridge, is
all that’s left of the Johnson Island Military Prison, a Lake Erie
facility that held an average of 2,500 Confederate prisoners – all
of them officers – throughout the Civil War...
Now a relic of the vanished hot type era, a pica pole used to be
as integral to the newspaper business as servers are to Web sites.
So what’s a pica pole?
Polly's Pancakes 6-3-10
Next time you fry a stack of pancakes, imagine what it would be
like if your life and the well-being of your children depended on
Starting in the mid-1930s and continuing well into the ‘50s, Fritch
must have had some of the most mannerly, patient postal patrons
in the country...
Folks who are really good at conveying ideas and information often
do so through story-telling. And if those stories are funny, it’s
all the better.
In Cisco’s Oakwood Cemetery, five graves bear the same last name
and the same date of death – April 28, 1893. That was the day a
killer tornado struck...
I passed through Clarendon... That’s where I saw a local overnight
place called the It’ll Do Motel.
This story is about a mystery involving the flag staff that once
stood at Camp Howze, a sprawling World War II Army base at Gainesville...
In the spring, many a young man’s fancy turns to…fishing. Back in
the spring of 1891, even Gov. James S. Hogg could not control an
Dust, bawling cattle, hell-raising cowboys and trains a half-mile
long – that was Barnhart in the 1920s and ‘30s...
To all but his political enemies, the government of Mexico and a
few soreheads, the 44-year-old Tennessee transplant stood tall both
literally and figuratively as Texas’ greatest living hero...
Reflections at the Alamo 3-11-10
Nothing’s perfect, but occasionally a good writer manages to arrange
the literary building blocks we call words, sentences and paragraphs
in such a way as to surprise and please the reader...
With email and other forms of digital communication virtually (pun
intended) having killed old-fashioned first class mail, it’s time
to pay more attention to the history of all the hundreds if not
thousands of post offices Texas has had over the years. Many have
“The Indians, as a mark of recognition to bravery, would leave an
arrow sticking upright in the ground by an victim whose valor and
fighting spirit they respected... When Hazlewood’s body was found,
so goes the story, an arrow so upright bore evidence…to his courage.”
When the boy returned home that day he told his parents a story
as horrifying as it was unbelievable.
Lake News 1-28-10
10 Worst Disasters 1-14-10
Long-time Ranger Captain Manual T. Gonzaullas, one of Texas’ best-known
20th century law enforcement officers is once again at the center
of a mystery...
Along the Texas frontier, bad water posed just about as much of
a problem as no or little water.
Many Texas families have their particular Christmas traditions,
but the way the Hornsby clan used to observe the holiday may just
take the fruitcake...
Anyone who knows anything about the history of World War Two has
heard of Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright. Far less known, however, is
the story of the last skirmish in which he was ranking officer,
a brief engagement that occurred on a West Texas ranch in the late
Walter W. Pitman’s good luck held for more than half a century.
Not everything went his way, but in big-stake deals the figurative
roulette wheel of life generally spun in his favor...
When the governor and the state’s highest ranking U.S. Army officer
took time off from their official duties to go turkey hunting together
in the late winter of 1890, the outing did not escape the attention
of the state’s leading newspaper...
For historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in a little
Texas trivia, I’ve compiled the historic urban population hierarchy
and population figures dating back to 1850. The 1850 and 1860 listings
contain the top 10 cities, since there are some surprises...
When a wagon full of soldiers rolled out of old Fort Belknap early
one spring morning in 1867 flanked by horseback troopers, while
doubtless armed, they were not starting out on a scout for Indians.
Roan Mystery 11-4-09
On Dec. 13, 1879, the Atlanta Constitution published a brief story
that should have been big news in Texas, but somehow no editor in
the Lone Star state picked up on the Georgia daily’s report. The
story dealt with the purported solution of a 29-year-old mystery
in Central Texas, the disappearance of one John Roan...
Religious beliefs aside, all of us owe a debt to the early-day Baptist
and Methodist preachers. They not only saved souls, being literate
in an era when many were not, they saved a lot of history in their
Ever wonder what jokes made your great-grandparents laugh?...
Stock Book 10-8-09
Labeled “Horse Record – Hughes Bros.” the book contains hand written
records of horses sold and traded
Huntsville Humdinger and the Texas Prison Rodeo 10-1-09
When the Huntsville Humdinger hit the streets that Monday, the feisty
four-column competitor of the long-established Huntsville Item carried
on page one a humdinger of a local scoop: The prison system would
be starting a rodeo that fall. On Sept. 4, 1931...
Tesnus, Texas is one of those ethereal ghost towns—except for a
railroad siding and a sign, no physical evidence of it remains...
The Texans we elect to the bench often figure in amusing stories.
Especially long-time judges like the late Mace B. Thurman Jr...
in a Bale 9-11-09
Though most of the ginning is done by brainless machinery, the industry’s
human element has developed a colorful folklore with a range of
Texas Flood 9-3-09
The first day it started raining, people took it as good news...
Isabel Wireless 8-27-09
In 1915 the U.S. military had plans to install at Point Isabel a
state-of-the-art radio facility that would provide virtually instantaneous
communication as the government prepared for the possibility of
a second war with Mexico.
Texas Ranger 8-13-09
I wrote about this ship with a famous name last summer, but only
recently ran into some additional information on her...
It may not be the Mother Road, but U.S. 67 stretches 1,560 miles
across five states, connecting Iowa to Mexico. The highway extends
through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois to the intersection
of U.S. 52 in Sabula, Iowa, population 670. Six hundred thirty-seven
miles of U.S. 67 are in Texas, from Presidio to Texarkana...
At this writing, the normally sprawling Lake Buchanan is only 51
per cent full... While a few traces of the old town have become
visible, most of it is still under water...
and Clyde Slept Here 7-23-09
4, 1894 7-2-09
Old Book Shelf 6-24-09
High Bridge 4-30-09
The “fair young” Pecos River Queen
More news about the Flash, the vessel that carried the Twin Sisters
most of the way to the Texian army just in time for Sam Houston’s
decisive defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto...
Some aspects of Texas’ struggle for independence from Mexico have
fallen through the figurative cracks in the floor of history’s log
cabin. The Flash is a good example...
Movie Making 4-11-09
The ghostliest of ghost towns are those that existed only on paper...
Humble, a Texas oil company created in 1911... published thousands
of copies of the “Texas Sketchbook”...
Boyce House deserves to be remembered...
This is not the first time the border has been a dangerous place.
A New Yorker who grew up in Indiana, Gail Borden came to Texas in
1829, five years after his brother Thomas arrived as one of Stephen
F. Austin’s colonists...
The old woman walked along one of McCamey’s unpaved streets, pulling
a red Radio Flyer wagon...
Texas fought two wars during the Civil War. One war, of course,
was the bloody struggle against the North... The second war was
primarily one of self-defense against hostile Indian tribes taking
advantage of the absence of the U.S. military and the state’s preoccupation
with the larger war...
Hermit in the Dugout 2-11-09
Why would anyone want to live out their years in a dirt-floor dugout
competing for shade with scorpions and rattlesnakes in the summer
and warmed only by burning chopped railroad ties in the winter?
Stories can turn up in weird places. For instance, who would expect
to find an account of the Depression-era outlaw Clyde Barrow’s funeral
in the self-published memoir of a long-time fiddler-turned-preacher?
When the bell atop the First Baptist Church started clanging about
9 o’clock that Sunday night, it was not a call to worship. It was
June 11, 1865. A full moon hung over Austin, a city of some 4,000
Killing Time 1-22-09
"You don’t have to delve too deeply into almost any written
recollection of a Texan who lived in the days before refrigeration
became the norm to find accounts of hog-killing."
The cultured gentleman from Philadelphia generally credited with
inventing the Western novel, a genre that evolved into film and
eventually television, spent some time in West Texas on his way
to becoming a nationally-known writer...
Now surrounded by so many 200-foot tall wind turbines that it has
become the wind power capital of the nation, Sweetwater used to
have a more traditional skyscraper – the seven-story Bluebonnet
Whatever happened to pranks? Old-time Texans enjoyed practical jokes
more than their descendants seem to. A sampling of long-ago stunts:...
No matter how she came to be called Belle Christmas, she had a reputation
as a local character long before someone dreamed up the “Keep Austin
Weird” bumper sticker...
But Odd Gift Ideas 12-18-08
The December 1911 issue of a long-forgotten but fun-to-read iconoclastic
monthly called K. Lamity’s Harpoon offered a full-page ad from a
Uvalde taxidermist with some unusual gift items for sale that some
modern readers will probably wish were still available today...
Billy’s Whiz Bang 12-11-08
Oil field shacks, military barracks, college rooming houses, hotels
catering to traveling salesmen, smoke-filled railroad cars or the
outhouse – anywhere in Texas young men could be found, so could
a copy of Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang...
Man Returns 12-4-08
As the old saying goes, it’s hard to keep a good man down. But that
sure couldn’t account for Bill Johnson’s reappearance in McLennan
County. One of Texas’ lesser-known outlaws...
Used to be, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, some people
were born Thankful and died Thankful. That’s because, way back,
parents sometimes named their daughters Thankful. Born in 1803,
Call ‘em boo-boo towns. The Texas map is sprinkled with cities and
towns that got their names by mistake...
The rifle roared, a .50 caliber hunk of lead smacked into the side
of the buffalo and the huge animal tumbled to the ground. That happened
all across the plains of Texas during the 1870s, but this was no
ordinary bison – it was all white, one of only seven known to have
been killed on the North American continent...
On July 2, 1864, Congress passed an act to turn the original House
chamber into a hall of statuary…
Except for the occasional thunder-like sound of a jet taking off
or landing at Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport, the small
cemetery could be out in the middle of nowhere...
Until shortly after World War One, Art’s name was Plehweville, a
handle that sounds something like a sneeze, followed by “ville.”...
Water troughs, better known in Texas as horse troughs, were intended
for the hydration of livestock. But Texas ranchers and their families
found far more use for these open containers of water than merely
affording Old Dobbin a place to drink...
In his 1937 book, “Memories,” J.B. Cranfill told the story of J.
M. Carroll, a man who had the reputation of being the best wing
shot in Texas...
Room Cashiered 9-18-08
in No. 7 9-4-08
The old officer’s quarters at Fort Concho...
John Wesley Hardin's shotgun used by him to kill the Sheriff of
DeWitt County, the most notorious of the men...
Most peach trees seldom make it past their first decade of existence.
That’s what made the peach tree outside the old stone structure
in Burnet at the site of Fort Croghan so unusual...
Barrel Hole 8-14-08
Texas Ranger 7-24-08
Texas Rangers 7-3-08
of Medina 6-5-08
Newman, part II 5-29-08
Newman Gang 5-26-08
Jacinto Hero Henry Millard 4-17-08
in the Brush 3-20-08
Patch Memories 12-22-07
News of the Odd 12-13-07
and a Bride 11-8-07
Does a zoologically unknown, blood-sucking creature prowl the South
Flying Machine 9-19-07
and the Valley 8-17-07
Leroy Ripley 7-31-07
the News 7-17-07
Log 1922 5-3-07
From the Lone Star State in 1899
Just a boy at the time, Howard Campbell never lost his vivid memory
of the only time he ever saw both of his parents cry...
No. 1 4-12-07
The story of a civil engineer from San Antonio who earned less than
the value of a good mule for designing a new capitol for Texas...
"It didn't play out quite like a scene from "Gunsmoke," but
two of the Old West's more notorious characters faced each other
in Austin's red light district in 1881..."
"Despite the rocky beginning of their relationship, Sam Houston
treated Mrs. Nancy Lea, his mother-in-law, with all due respect..."
"Far from the Middle East, another Bagdad lay on the south
side of the Rio Grande at the river's mouth, just across from a
Texas town called Clarksville. (Not to be confused with the Clarksville
in Red River County.)"
Henry Clay Thruston
Louis de Planque 2-1-07
Good Sandwiches 1-26-07
Year's Day 12-28-06
Boot Creek 12-14-06
Laredo's La Posada Hotel
Someone went to a lot of trouble to build the old stacked-stone
wall hidden in a thick stand of yaupon and other brush on a Lee
Man's Hole 10-30-06
"Early day Austin newspaper editor Edmunds Travis liked to
claim he had a hand in putting out both the slowest and fastest
extras in Texas newspaper history."
Mail Routes 9-21-06
The two-story Victorian house in Taylor has been nicely restored...
"... Not only did the animals move, many believed that unrested
souls flitted about. Strange things were said to happen..."
City 1914 8-17-06
"A small town with a big name, Texas City hosted an Army camp..."
Texas' least-known outlaw, newspapers dubbed him "Kid" Murray...
"...Hudson's enthusiasm for the oil business changed abruptly
on July 23, 1905. That evening, a thunderstorm triggered a bolt
of lightning that ignited the oil in one of the large tanks Hudson
had helped build.
Sam Houston Song 7-27-06
"The song, reprinted in 1928 in a long-defunct Texas magazine
called Bunker's Monthly, lies on the pages of the few surviving
copies of that publication, long forgotten..."
in Texas 7-6-06
"'Down in Texas' captured what the rest of the nation wanted
to believe about the Lone Star State's petroleum boom towns..."
School teaching has never been the best paying avocation, but the
terms of employment have definitely improved over the last century...
When Fred Gipson's family went to an old-settlers reunion and fair
at Katemcy to see the aging Herman Lehmann put on a one-man exhibition,
the Mason County youngster got a taste of the old west far more
realistic than anything he ever saw in a Tom Mix movie...
Washed in golden sunset, from a distance Llano County's Sharp Mountain
looks like a giant Paleolithic flint hide scraper lying on its side...
Few today know about the long-abandoned mine shafts the mountain
Austin real estate agent Susanne Lee has fond memories of the house
in Houston she grew up in, but until recently she never knew it
had much of a history.
"...The killing of Sheriff Kirk stands out as an Old West shootout
worthy of any Hollywood Western..."
"...Ozona did become the county seat. Today, Eureka-first known
as Couch Well - is not even a ghost town, only a ghost name..."
Pioneer Charlie Saigling 4-27-06
Most people driving along U.S. 71 from Austin to Columbus don't
spend any time thinking about the highway bridges that afford them
the ability to cross streams and rivers without getting wet.
The Navidad River is only 74 miles long but it is as tangled in
history and folklore as the vines and trees along its banks...
The talk Captain Mosley Baker supposedly gave to the men of his
company at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836...
Outposts on the Rio Grande 3-1-06
in the Sand 2-23-06
"The folks along Bear Creek in Kimble County always called
the mysterious stone carving the “Cleo Face.”
"No matter how European it looks, however, the tower is the
product of Yankee – well, Southern – ingenuity."
"Maybe some day a scuba diver will find the old bent rifle
barrel at the bottom of Lake Travis..."
Sam Houston and more
Creek Battle 12-3-05
"Now covered with spacious, expensive houses, the cedar-studded
canyons on the western edge of Austin used to be Central Texas’
version of Appalachia."
"Volume one, number one of the newspaper appeared to enlighten
the citizenry of Houston County on Dec. 6, 1853. It had not been
an easy process."
Cavalry Horse 11-17-05
"That cold winter morning, Dec.14, 1932, was a sad one for
old-time horse soldiers and civilians alike at Fort D.A. Russell
in Marfa -- they both realized they were witnessing the end of an
"The whistle was music to the railroad man’s ears. With tongue-in-cheek,
he called it the “Amarillo Symphony.”
of 1895 10-26-05
The dust storm in El Paso
in Heaven 10-20-05
"Clay McGonagill may have been the ropingest cowboy Texas ever
If you’re looking for a ghost, it figures you’d go to a ghost town
to find one.
The Gainesville Community Circus in the 1950s
An outlaw's love letter in 1878
"Third-term Sterling County Sheriff S.T. Wood..."
Dr. Sofie Herzog, first female surgeon in Texas
German immigrant J.C. Melcher of Fayette County and Port Lavaca
Nameless, Texas, Nameless Cave and hermit's treasure.
The story of the Manhattan Project and its product, the atomic bombs
against Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945, has been well told. But buried
in all the official documents is another story, far less known.
"The December 1938 issue offered some items of Texas trivia
just as interesting today as they were then."
“Where they have burned books,” German poet Johann Heinrich Heine
wrote in the 19th century, “they will end in burning human beings.”
Indeed, Texans have done both.
Bexar and Terrell County
Houston's Will 7-6-05
Namesake of Dancer Peak neat Llano
"Gambling was a Galveston institution early on."
Devil Rogers 6-16-05
:During the Depression, as the people of the nation collectively
dug deep into their pockets and often came up with nothing, Dare
Devil dug his own grave time after time, town after town."
"Somewhere in Texas is a sword with a history."
"The mustachioed young man from North Carolina hardly seemed
the martial type, but as a citizen soldier in the Austin Grays he
demonstrated the qualities of a leader – even if it was to keep
from spending the night in the guardhouse...."
"Stagecoach robberies happened so often along the Texas frontier
it came to be considered something of a right of passage to hand
over one’s money and valuables to a masked man with a gun on some
"He won his nickname when he got so desperate for a drink that
he traded his horse and saddle for a gallon of whiskey."
CSA Vet Thomas Evans Riddle, & Man o’ War 5-14-05
Thomas Evans Riddle bet on a dead racehorse. He lost.
"Today, as the rustic center piece of Katherine Fleischer Park,
the cabin sits in the middle of some 8,000 residences occupied by
"In rhyme, Wilson tried to distill life in and around the Duval
County town of Freer, the state’s last truly wild and wooly oil
"The American Revolution lasted seven years, affording plenty
of men the opportunity to go down in history as patriots."
"James Washington White lost an arm fighting for the South
during the Civil War. He could have spent the rest of his life seething
with bitterness, but that’s not how it turned out."
The most famous pieces of artillery in Texas history
Jacinto Monument 3-23-05
"Most people think the towering star-topped limestone monument,
built during the Texas Centennial in 1936, is the only San Jacinto
monument. Actually, it’s only the biggest."
"All those longhorns that revitalized Texas’ post-Civil War
economy had to come from somewhere. And where the breed came from
was the interior of Mexico. Via trail drive."
When old “Hay-sus” died that winter afternoon, just about everyone
in Eagle Pass mourned.
Elizabeth Patton Crockett
Around 1760, a now-unknown Franciscan priest at the Apostolic College
for Missionaries in Queretaro, Mexico set down rules for Texas missionaries.
The rules, laden with advice, were “meant for a missionary who has
never been in charge of a mission and is all alone and does not
know whom to consult for advice.”
of Brushy Creek 2-05
A little-known fight between Comanche warriors and Texas Rangers
Carl Weiss 2-16-05
During the Civil War not every Southern soldier served in the Confederate
army because he believed in slavery or hated Yankees. Some shouldered
arms only because they had to. That was the case with August Carl
Weiss, one of 2,000 men who soldiered for the South in Waul’s Legion,
a unit raised at Brenham by Thomas Neville Waul.
by Mike Cox 1-31-05
William Gerald Tobin’s career as a Texas Ranger left a lot to be
desired. But he had an idea that left Texas, and the Southwest,
an enduring gastronomical legacy.
Cows - Bovine Saboteurs of WWI 1-25-05
the Bridge Ghost of Williamson County 1-17-05
Hero Norberto Sierra 1-5-04
Grade School 1-1-05
The Athenian of East Texas
Foot Wallace and the Indian 12-12-04
Smith had plenty of interesting experiences during his long life,
but one of the best stories he told involved another character --
Big Foot Wallace. It is a tale of good and evil with a twist.
"Jones was the go-to guy for shooting hats off actor’s heads
or cigars out of their mouths. A la William Tell, he also could
make instant apple sauce, albeit with a bullet instead of an arrow."
Whatever happened to the Kate Ward is far from the most daunting
mystery in Texas history...
Strange news and early 20th century urban folklore
The Punkin Center Phenomenon, and the old Irish folktale about Jack-O’-Lantern,
the enduring symbol of Halloween.
Park - Mount Bonnell 10-4-04
Next time you’re in Austin, be sure to visit Covert Park
Presidents' military records
Herman Webster Mudgett, America’s first serial killer
in the Flood 9-16-04
Donna Hooks Fletcher, namesake of Donna, Texas
In 1912, a San Antonio group began raising money to build a monument
to the defenders of the Alamo. But the memorial they wanted for
Alamo Plaza would not be any run of the mill monument. It would
be Texas-sized and then some, an architectural wonder.
Word spread of Houston’s April 21 defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
Slowly, those who still wanted to give life in Texas a chance turned
to the west and went back to what was left of their homes. And that’s
when a nameless hero gave his all for Texas....
A forgotten Texas hero
Painting of Sam Houston 7-1-04
Jumpers, diving horses and Sonora Webster
News from 1894
Texas Ranger J.W. Fulgham and a Reeves County sheriff’s deputy ...
left Pecos, Texas for a ride down the Pecos River, looking for cattle
thieves or fugitives in early September 1893. Back then, the Pecos
was a good place to find either variety of criminal.... more
Catherine "Kate" Magill Dorman -- a little known Texas heroine of
the Civil War
Four landmarks known as Lover's Leaps
How a preacher held a horse race and build a church
Somewhere in northern Travis County or southern Williamson County
is the site of a long dead dream, a "delightful" community that
Travis' slave, who witnessed his death at the Alamo
That spring of 1866, more than a year after the last great battles
between North and South, the United States still officially considered
Texas in a state of insurrection.
On the night of May 5, 1837, two officers of the Republic of Texas'
army lay asleep in their tent at Camp Bowie. Only one of them would
The Williams Ranch meteorite, truth or hoax
Houston Oak 3-12-04
In the vicinity of the tree on March 14, 1836, Sam Houston and several
hundred Texas citizen-soldiers spent one of the worst nights of
The surviving words of someone who died in the old Spanish mission
on March 6, 1836.
When General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna came to Texas in 1836 he
left behind death and destruction -- and possibly gold.
Tired of all the new news of war, politics and other forms of violence?
For a change of pace, here's some old news of war, politics and
other forms of violence.
the University of Texas' longhorn mascot 2-20-04
One of the more bizarre events in Texas collegiate history took
place in Austin on a January night in 1920.
Is there really an historical treasure trove beneath downtown Austin?
"Son," a wise old man once said, "always marry a Texas girl. No
matter what happens, she's seen worse."
A ghost town in Big Bend National Park
Who made the word Hondo famous?
Gene Autry the Singing Cowboy
The story of the McDade Christmas clean up has become one of Texas'
more frequently told Yuletide tales.
Where O. Henry, student protests, the Texas governor and barbecue
A wild cowboy tale.
Prominent Texans killed while hunting
World War II alien camp in Crystal City
"Lechuzas have been scaring people in Mexico and South Texas
for a long time.... Lechuzas are witches - brujas - who transform
themselves into birds...."
"It can't atone for his murder, or even the apparent contempt
of those who buried him, but at least James W. King lies in a beautiful
Someone wrote a ballad about him that many Texas mothers used for
years as a lullaby...
"Texas is probably more indebted to Tennessee for her independence
and subsequent development than to any State in the Union."
The Great Llano Uranium Boom
But all that remains today is a mystery written in concrete: "Who
is the little girl, age 3?"
on Bike 9-9-03
In 1897, when a Texas peace officer needed to go somewhere to do
his job, he walked, rode a horse, went in a wagon or took a train.
Deputy sheriff Josh Messenger began using a two-wheeled bicycle.
The unknown soldier of the Mexican War
"One of the stories Vantine told was about the time he went
hunting for a bear and found an Indian...."
When all the engineering work for the long-contemplated dam was
completed in the mid-1930s, residents of Bluffton received some
hard news - the town would be inundated by the new lake.
... So there it is, in black-and-white: Popeye, the Sailor Man is
a native Texan.
A writer of Western fiction could get a dozen movies out of the
Hoo Doo War story...
Being known as an FWC was considered a mark of distinction, and
because of the honor attached to it, sometimes became a point of
He has the singular distinction of being the first and last man
legally hanged in the county.
For about the last quarter of the 19th century ... being a "wet"
or a "dry" defined a Texan politically much more accurately than
being Democrat or Republican....
More Texans owned horses than automobiles in 1910, but when the
middle-aged man rode into Eagle Pass that summer, people noticed....
from Texas 5-28-03
"Texas Tales" »
weekly column Since July, 2003
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