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A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers

Bob Bowman &
Archie P. McDonald, PhD

History & Politics

  • POWs in East Texas by Bob Bowman 9-15-08
    In the late 1940s, during World War II, the U.S.. government established seven camps in East Texas to house German prisoners-of-war captured by Allied forces in Europe. Through the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission and the Pineywoods Foundation of Lufkin, historical markers are being placed at the sites of each camp at Lufkin, Alto, Center, Tyler, Chireno, Tyler and San Augustine.
  • The East Texas Historical Association by Archie P. McDonald 8-11-08
    The tag at the end of each "All Things Historical" article, whether written by my colleague Bob Bowman or this correspondent, says that is it a service of "the East Texas Historical Association." Likely many readers do not know much about this organization, so for your information....
  • Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition by Archie P. McDonald 7-14-08
    Nationalist activities abounded in Spain's Northern Provinces (Texas) during the first two decades of the nineteenth century. The Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition was one of the most spectacular of these adventures.
  • History All Over by Archie P. McDonald 6-30-08
    Residency has led me to write much about Nacogdoches, Texas, where I have taught history at SFA since Steve himself was a student. But I like other East Texas towns, too, both because of their history and some of the historians who live there. Here are a few of them...
  • Juneteenth by Archie P. McDonald 6-20-08
    On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger brought the full force of the United States military establishment to Galveston and proclaimed the Civil War at an end and all wartime proclamations by President Abraham Lincoln in effect in the Lone Star State. Part of that dealt with the end of slavery in Texas...
  • Indian tribe linked with Texas history by Bob Bowman 6-1-08
    Thousands of people drive through East Texas each year without the knowledge that an Indian reservation--one that played a role in the independence of Texas--exists within the pine forests...
  • D-DAY by Archie P. McDonald 6-9-08
    Sixty-four years ago in June the forces of Allied Supreme Commander Dwight David Eisenhower hit the beaches of Normandy in northwestern France.
  • Memorial Day by Archie P. McDonald 5-12-08
    When Americans pause at the ceremonial beginning of summer to honor those who gave their lives in military service they are participating in our national version of ancient rites.
  • Peter Ellis Bean by Archie P. McDonald 4-28-08
    The American frontier produced many colorful characters, including Peter Ellis Bean...
  • San Jacinto Day by Archie P. McDonald 4-14-08
    News of the fall of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, and the execution of Texians captured at Goliad three weeks later, produced the terrible Runaway Scrape, a mad flight of refugees who scrambled eastward to escape a similar fate at the hand of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s armies. In the midst of these troubles, one man, Sam Houston, rode west...
  • Coxey’s Army by Archie P. McDonald 3-17-08
    "...Jacob Sechler Coxey of Massillon, Ohio, wanted the government to issue $500 million in paper currency and spend it on public works—roads, municipal buildings, etc. Such an infusion of "new" money would put the out-of-work on a payroll and simultaneously demonstrate the utility of a monetary system not exclusively golden...."
  • Texas Independence Day by Archie P. McDonald 3-3-08
    Texas Independence Day is special to the citizens of our state because Texas has been a full-fledged, independently functioning country before becoming a part of the federal union...
  • Long Hot Summers by Archie P. McDonald 10-15-07
    Veterans of the "long hot summers" of the summers of the 1960s, a time of racial tension, would have thought it "de ja vu all over again" if they had remembered 1919...
  • The Devil’s Triangle by Bob Bowman 9-17-07
    In Texas, as in the rest of the Confederacy, the Reconstruction Era between 1865 and 1877 saw little more than a continuation of the Civil War in a new guise. The Union won the first phase of the war that pitted professional armies against each other between 1861 and 1865, but the South won the second phase that developed into guerrilla warfare.
  • 491 Days by Archie P. McDonald 4-9-07
    Civil War enthusiasts, especially rare book collectors, know that William Williston Heartsill's Fourteen Hundred And Ninety-One Days In The Confederate Army is among the rarest and most valuable reminiscences of the era. This is true because of Heartsill's accuracy and insight and also because of the way the book was presented...
  • The Chicken War by Archie P. McDonald 3-26-07
    Since raising and processing and marketing chickens has become a major economic enterprise in East Texas since World War II, it is appropriate to remember the "Chicken War" of 1719...
  • Woman's Christian Temperance Union by Archie P. McDonald 11-6-06
    The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was misnamed: “temperance” means “moderation...avoiding extremes.” What the WCTU really wanted was total abstinence from all alcohol beverages. They wanted everyone connected with brewing, distilling, fermenting, and selling alcohol out of business and right now...
  • The Worst Feud by Bob Bowman 10-15-06
    The deadliest feud happened in East Texas between 1840 and 1844. The Regulator and Moderators War was the first and largest American feud in numbers of participants and fatalities.
  • The War Protest by Bob Bowman 9-4-06
    At the peak of another war ninety years ago, a small East Texas sawmill town made a statement about American soldiers being killed in a distant land.
  • Party Primaries by Archie P. McDonald 7-17-06
    Cynics like to speak of "dirty politics" and "the smoke-filled room" atmosphere of party big shots making decisions on candidates clandestinely. That pretty well sums up the way political candidates were determined in East Texas and elsewhere in the state prior to 1905, when Alexander Watkins Terrell succeeded in getting the Terrell Election Law through the Texas legislature.
  • The 8-F Crowd by Bob Bowman 6-26-06
    Lamar Hotel, Houston
    "... Often referred to as the "unofficial capital of Texas," Suite 8-F (two rooms and a kitchenette leased to George Brown of Brown & Root Construction Company) was the meeting place for Houston's business leaders from the late 1930s to the 1960s...."
  • Jaybird-Woodpecker War by Archie P. McDonald 4-10-06
    "In Fort Bend County, a silhouette of the jaybird symbolized the Redeemer portion of the Democratic Party and the woodpecker represented those who had flourished during Radical Republican reconstruction, who also had begun to call themselves Democrats by the 1880s."
  • Old Time Judge by Archie P. McDonald 1-29-06
    Thomas Whitfield Davidson
  • Fairmount Cemetery by Bob Bowman 1-24-06
    The Battle of Sabine Pass
  • Norris Cuney by Archie P. McDonald 10-10-05
    "By the end of the nineteenth century, Norris Wright Cuney had become the most remarkable African American leader in Texas. Cuney technically began life as a slave on a plantation..."
  • Price Daniel by Archie P. McDonald 8-22-05
  • Flying Tigers by Archie P. McDonald 8-7-05
  • “Go straight to hell.” by Bob Bowman 8-1-05
    Sam B. Hall, Jr., the son of an East Texas lawyer and judge who rose to a leadership role in Congress and finished his career as a federal judge, was one of East Texas’ most interesting contemporary politicians.
  • Los Adaes by Archie P. McDonald 7-24-05
    The capital of Texas, and the headquarters of all Spanish activity in East Texas was once in... Louisiana!
  • Old Three Hundred by Archie P. McDonald 7-5-05
  • Chief Executives by Archie P. McDonald 6-20-05
    East Texas has produced its share of prominent personages in entertainment, business, medicine, and other professions but prominent political figures have tended to call other sections of the state their home, especially in the last half century. It started out differently.
  • Juneteenth by Archie P. McDonald 6-6-05
    "Most East Texans who have lived here more than at least a month of Sundays know that African Americans claim June 19, or Juneteenth, as their own special day to celebrate freedom. ... But do you know why June 19 is such a special day?"
  • Pass the Biscuits, Pappy by Bob Bowman 6-1-05
    His Texas homilies, radio broadcasts, hillbilly music and affinity for rural Texas propelled him into the governor’s office for two terms.
  • The Tidelands by Archie P. McDonald 5-26-05
    Ownership of the “tidelands,” or territory between the shoreline and “three leagues Gulf ward” in Texas, or approximately 10.35 miles, became the most contested state-federal issue of the twentieth century. In the balance was 2,440,650 submerged acres.
  • The Neches River by Bob Bowman 5-15-05
  • Scrolling Through History by Bob Bowman 4-17-05
    The search system -- which has brought unbridled joy to genealogists and historians -- is believed to be the most comprehensive county archive system in Texas.
  • Doris Miller: Hero by Archie P. McDonald 4-10-05
    African American hero of WWII
  • A Soldier's Story by Bob Bowman 3-27-05
    A classic story of a simple soldier involved in the momentous events that gave birth to Texas
  • Turtle Bayou Resolutions by Archie P. McDonald 3-22-05
    "Turtle Bayou originates just west of Raywood in Liberty County and flows, eighteen miles away, into Lake Anahuac. Angry Texans camped near that bayou in June 1832, trying to figure out how to gain the release of William Barret Travis and Patrick Jack, who had been arrested in Anahuac by Mexican post commander Juan David Bradburn."
  • A Unique Landmark by Bob Bowman 2-1-05
    A granite shaft set into the ground on April 23, 1841, marks the only international boundary existing within the continental United States.
  • LBJ and East Texas Politics by Archie P. McDonald 1-5-05
    Lyndon B. Johnson’s victory over Coke Stevenson for a Senate seat by only 87 votes earned this future president the nickname of "Landslide Lyndon." Everyone agrees that Johnson’s aides "stole" that election by "finding" additional votes for their candidate in Box 13 in Jim Wells County. What everyone might not know is that Johnson had been burned by a similar tactic in a special Senate race in 1941, and had vowed never to be caught short again.
  • Nazis in East Texas by Bob Bowman 1-1-05
    POW camps in East Texas
  • Sam Rayburn's Home by Bob Bowman 12/13/04
  • Beauford Jester by Archie P. McDonald 11/22/04
    Governor of Texas
  • Albert Thomas by Archie P. McDonald 11/9/04
    Albert Thomas, who represented the Eighth Congressional District — essentially, Harris County and Houston — in Congress for fifteen terms until his death on February 15, 1966
  • The House That House Built by Archie P. McDonald 10/21/04
    Edward Mandell House of Galveston and Houston rose about as high as one can go in Texas or United States politics, yet he never held an elective or appointive office. Instead of wanting to be "king," House was content to be the "king maker."
  • Governor by Chance - Edward Clark by Archie P. McDonald 10/6/04
  • Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca by Archie P. McDonald 9/23/04
    Among the first Europeans who actually spent time in Texas
  • La Reunion by Archie P. McDonald 8/23/04
    "La Reunion was a democratic socialist experiment in the most unlikely place in the world ..."
  • Santa Anna's Teapot by Bob Bowman 7/19/04
  • Tragedy of Chief Bowles by Bob Bowman 7/7/04
    "The battle of the Neches, fought on July 15 and 16, 1839, was the principal engagement of the Cherokee War, an event discolored by shame akin to the Trail of Tears, the forced march of the Cherokees from their homeland in the Southeast to Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839."
  • Norris Wright Cuney by Archie P. McDonald 7/1/04
    A powerful figure in Texas' Republican circles, especially in Galveston.
  • Sixtieth Anniversary of D-Day by Archie P. McDonald 6/8/04
  • Battle of San Jacinto by Archie P. McDonald 4/20/04
    The Battle of San Jacinto, which began with a skirmish on April 20, 1836, and ended with a full, if brief, battle the next day, determined the fate of an independent Texas.
  • Adams-Onis-Treaty by Archie P. McDonald 4/11/04
    We have regarded the Sabine River as the boundary between Louisiana and Texas, at least most of it, all our lives, but this was not so until 1819...
  • Neutral Ground Agreement by Archie P. McDonald 3/9/04
    When Napoleon Bonaparte sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States in 1803 ... none of the nations involved ever had agreed that the Sabine River was the boundary...
  • The Gilmer-Aikin Law by Archie P. McDonald, PhD 1/20/04
    The landmark law passed by the Texas legislature that brought the state's educational system at least and at last into the twentieth century.
  • Air Pioneer by Bob Bowman 12/03
    In 1921 she became the only black pilot in the world. A year later she became the first black woman to fly over American soil.
  • Nuggets of History Bob Bowman 9/03
    Ginger Rogers, La Salle, Custer and his men...
  • The Boundaries of Texas by Archie P. McDonald 8/03
    "I expect most Texans have the outline of the shape of Texas securely nitched in some cranial crevice. But how did Texas come to be bordered as it is?"
  • The Treaty of Velasco by Archie P. McDonald 8/03
    Santa Anna agreed .. that the Rio Grande would be the boundary between Mexico and Texas. ... That meant that all of what we recognize as Texas today, plus half of New Mexico, ... half of Colorado and some of Wyoming, were all in Texas!
  • Veterans' Stories by Bob Bowman 7/03
    A project in East Texas is gearing up to preserve veterans' memories, as well as their letters, diaries, photographs, maps and home movies.....
  • Philip Nolan by Archie P. McDonald 7/03
    We can credit him and men like him with "making news" in the Untied States that quickened the interest of other Americans about building futures in Texas.
  • East Texas and The Louisiana Purchase by Archie P. McDonald 5/03
    Our eastern neighbors will spend much of 2003 celebrating the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, a fantastic real estate deal concluded by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. Few may remember its impact on East Texas.
  • Disturbance of 1832 (Anahuac and Nacogdoches) by Archie P. McDonald 4/03
    Disturbance in Anahuac, and the Battle of Nacogdoches. The ending of Mexican military presence in East Texas.
  • The Last Hero by Bob Bowman 4/03
    The last surviving veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, lies in an almost forgotten cemetery in deep East Texas, his tombstone chipped and broken. It's an ignoble resting place for a proud old soldier, John G. Pickering.
  • World War II Home Front by Archie P. McDonald 12/02
  • Fort Parker by Bob Bowman 12/02
  • The Magee-Gutierrez Expedition by Archie P. McDonald 12/02
  • Prohibition by Archie P. McDonald 10/02
  • WACs by Archie P. McDonald 9/02
    Women's Army Corps
  • The First Texas Capital by Bob Bowman 9/02
  • Constititions of Texas by Archie P. McDonald 9/02
  • Remembering Integration by Bob Bowman 8/02
  • Custer in East Texas by Bob Bowman 8/8/02
  • The First Governor of Texas by Archie P. McDonald 6/16/02
  • The Old Roman, John H. Reagan by Archie P. McDonald 5/15/02
  • Nazis in the Pineywoods by Archie P. McDonald 5/4/02
  • Antonio Gil Y'Barbo: Latter-Day Moses by Archie P. McDonald 4/18/02
  • A Last Wish Answered by Bob Bowman 4/13/02
  • Texas Capitals by Archie P. McDonald 4/11/02
  • The Runaway Scrape by Archie P. McDonald 3/9/02
  • Presidents of the Republic of Texas by Archie P. McDonald 2/23/02
  • The LaSalle Murder Case by Archie P. McDonald 2/18/02
  • Life in Colonial East Texas by Archie P. McDonald 1/6/02
  • When Environmentalism Began by Bob Bowman 12/16/01
  • The Wrong Grave by Bob Bowman, 11/4/01
  • Camp Ford, Union Prisoners of War Camp in East Texas by Archie P. McDonald, 10/14/01
  • Moses' Bones by Bob Bowman, 8/26/01
  • Mission Tejas by Bob Bowman, 8/12/01
  • Battleship Texas by Archie P. McDonald, 8/5/01
  • Samuel Bell Maxey by Archie P. McDonald, 7/22/01
  • Battle of Sabine Pass by Archie P. McDonald, 5/27/01
  • The Old Stone Fort by Archie P. McDonald, 5/13/01
  • Wonder Why They Named It That? by Archie P. McDonald, 4/29/01
  • Ralph Yarborough, Liberal Where Liberal Isn't Cool by Archie P. McDonald, 4/15/01
  • Denison, Birth Place of a President by Archie P. McDonald, 3/18/01
  • Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de los Ais Mission by Archie P. McDonald, 3/4/01
  • Alamo Marksman by Bob Bowman, 2/25/01
    "If an East Texas volunteer's rifle shot had hit its mark, the Alamo battle might have taken a different turn. ....."
  • The Regulator-Moderator War by Archie P. McDonald, 1/7/01
  • The Alamo's Red River Connection by Bob Bowman, 12/17/00
  • Kaiser's Burnout and Other Big Thicket Adventures by Archie P. McDonald, 12/10/00
  • Battle of the Neches by Archie P. McDonald, 11/12/00
  • Pie Suppers by Bob Bowman, 10/29/00
  • Camp Fannin by Archie P. McDonald, 9/10/00
  • Marshall, Texas, Capital of Missouri by Archie P. McDonald, 8/13/00

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