1721 - The castaway François Simars de Bellisle reached the French post at Natchitoches after a year and a half of wandering across Texas. Bellisle was an officer on the Maréchal d'Estrée, which ran aground near Galveston Bay in the autumn of 1719. He and four other men were put ashore to ascertain their position and seek help, but were left behind when the ship floated free and sailed away.
1781 - Samuel Hoit, early colonist, was born in Chester, New Hampshire, on February 10, 1781, the son of Zabez and Abigail (Hasseltine) Hoit. Before moving to Texas in 1830, he was a justice of the peace and postmaster in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Hoit had three daughters and a son with his first wife, Betsy Blish; she died in 1823. One of his daughters married Joseph W. E. Wallace. On November 15, 1830, Hoit was granted title to a league of land on Matagorda Bay under Stephen F. Austin's fourth empresario contract. In the Convention of 1832 Hoit represented Mina (Bastrop). He married Mary Raney in Brazoria County on April 10, 1834. He died November 8, 1835, leaving one son, John Quincy Adams Hoyt, and two grandsons, William Hazelton Wallace and Edward Dorsey. In 1849, 3,704 acres of his original league in Matagorda County were sold by the tax collector for $11.11.
1850 - Texas's first railroad, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado, is chartered.
1852 - The Texas legislature confirmed the work of the Bourland Commission, a group of three officials appointed to investigate land claims after the Mexican War. The war's outcome had brought into question the validity of numerous Spanish and Mexican land grants north of the Rio Grande. Against a complex backdrop that included agitation for making trans-Nueces Texas a separate country, Governor Peter Bell recommended that the legislature appoint a commission to investigate claims. The commission began its business in Laredo in mid-1850 and in February 1852 confirmed 234 grants in five South Texas counties to the original Spanish and Mexican grantees.
1852 - The state legislature, in an attempt to satisfy both the colonists and the land company, passed a compromise law ending the "Hedgcoxe War" of 1852, also known as the Peters colony rebellion. It was an armed uprising of colonists protesting what they viewed as an attempt by the land company to invalidate their land claims.
1899 - Andrea Castañón Villanueva (Madam Candelaria), who claimed to be a survivor of the battle of the Alamo, died at age 113 in San Antonio. She said she had been born in Laredo in 1785, though other sources say she was born at Presidio del Río Grande. She claimed to have been in the Alamo during the 1836 battle and to have nursed the ailing Jim Bowie. Since evidence of survivors is sparse, her claims may never be confirmed, but in 1891 the Texas legislature granted her a pension of twelve dollars a month for being an Alamo survivor and for her work with smallpox victims in San Antonio.
1909 - Alfonso (Alphonso) Steele, last Texas survivor of the battle of San Jacinto, was born on April 9, 1817, to a pioneer family in Hardin County, Kentucky. At the age of seventeen he traveled by flatboat down the Mississippi River to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and there in November 1835 joined Capt. Ephraim M. Daggett's company of volunteers bound for Texas to aid in the revolution. They arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on New Year's Day 1836 but quickly disbanded, since the Texans had not yet declared their independence. Once independence was declared, Steele set out with a company of men under Capt. Joseph L. Bennett to join William B. Travis in San Antonio, but when they reached the Colorado River they received word that the Alamo had fallen.
Near Beeson's Crossing on the Colorado the company fell in with Gen. Sam Houston's army on its retreat from Gonzales and marched under Houston's command to Buffalo Bayou. In the battle of San Jacinto Steele was a private in Capt. James Gillespie's company of Sidney Sherman's regiment. He was severely wounded in the first volleys of the battle but continued in the fight until it ended. Houston rode Steele's gray horse through much of the battle, until the animal was shot beneath him. In 1907 Steele revisited the San Jacinto battleground at the invitation of Houston's son, Andrew Jackson Houston, and retraced the course of the historic engagement. On February 10, 1909, the Thirty-first Texas Legislature honored him as one of two living survivors of the battle of San Jacinto. A poem entitled "The Last Hero" was written and dedicated to him by Jake H. Harrison. Steele died on July 8, 1911, near Kosse, at the home of a grandson, and was buried in Mexia. A portrait of him hangs in the Capitol.
1910 - D.L. McDonald, the father of irrigation on the Texas High Plains, finds water near Hereford.
1915 - Pan Zareta, the greatest filly in racehorse history, was born in 1910 at the Newman Stables in Sweetwater, Texas. Dark chestnut, she was bred and owned by J. F. Newman, sired by Abe Frank out of Caddie Griffith. Trained by Harold Newman, a grandson of J. F. Newman, she loved to play, was smart, and easily trained. She started her career on January 14, 1912, by winning a 3½ furlong race in Juarez, Mexico, and winning a purse of $550. During her first year of competition she won thirteen of nineteen and placed in all but one race. Racing in three countries (United States, Mexico, and Canada), her career continued through 1917 while winning 76 of 151 races.
She placed in all but twenty-three of those races. No other filly or mare has ever approached those numbers. Career winnings totaled $39,082. Perhaps her greatest claim to fame was her performance in handicapped races. She ran in one hundred of them and won forty-six. No other racehorse of any class has ever approached that level of performance. She won carrying 146 pounds, a fact unmatched by any other filly. On February 10, 1915, in a match race against the famous quarter horse Joe Blair, she set a world record at Juarez, Mexico, for five furlongs in 57⅕ seconds. The record stood for thirty-five years. After racing in the New York racing arena, she eventually returned to New Orleans suffering from a lung fever. Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans inaugurated the six-furlong Pan Zareta Handicap in her honor in 1966. Pan Zareta was inducted into the Fair Ground's Racing Hall of Fame (New Orleans) in 1971, the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame (Saratoga Springs, New York) in 1972, and in the Texas Race Horse Hall of Fame (Retama Park-San Antonio) in 1999.
1923 - Governor Pat Neff signed the bill creating Texas Technical College, later to be known as Texas Tech. A search committee was sent to West Texas to look for a location, and when they got to Lubbock residents came out in droves. Lubbock was selected on the first ballot, and in August, the city celebrated. 30,000 people turned out for a party in a city of only a few thousand people. The first class in 1925 had 914 students.
1941 - The Forty-seventh Legislature authorized the Texas Defense Guard. The name was changed to Texas State Guard in May 1943. The state's emergency appropriation of $65,000 for the guard in 1941 was supplemented by city and county donations, as well as by individual and group contributions. The governor served as commander in chief, while the state adjutant general, appointed by the governor, acted as the administrative head. Fifty battalions were planned and activated to protect public utilities, transportation arteries, and war plants; to maintain law and order; to suppress subversive activities; and to repel invasion if necessary. Battalions consisted of four to six lettered companies with headquarters and service companies and a medical detachment. For the entire state there was a camouflage company and a training and research unit. Total authorized strength was 23,075 officers and men.
1957, Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, a soviet spy in Federal Custody, was flown to Brownsville, and then driven to McAllen to be detained awaiting trail for espionage. In August, 1957 he was flown to New York and stood trial.
On this date in 1962, Rudolf Abel was released to the Soviets in Berlin in exchange for captured U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers.
1995 - Chelsi Smith of Texas was crowned Miss USA on South Padre Island, Texas. She was the seventh Miss Texas to win the title and the first Texan to be crowned Miss Universe. She was the seventh American to be crowned Miss Universe.
2010 - Charles Nesbitt (Charlie) Wilson, Texas state representative, Texas state senator, and United States representative, was born in Trinity, Texas. While a student at Sam Houston State Teachers College (now Sam Houston State University), he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and graduated from the Academy in 1956. Wilson recalled that he first became interested in politics when his dog died in 1946. A neighbor, who happened to be a local elected official, was upset that Wilson's dog had apparently soiled his garden and had put finely-grained glass into the dog's food to kill it. Wilson, in an act of revenge, doused his neighbor's yard in gasoline and set it on fire. Wilson then borrowed his family's car, drove voters to the polls, and told them that while he didn't want to tell them how to vote, they should know that this particular local official had killed his dog. The man who killed Wilson's dog lost the election. Wilson confronted the man and suggested that he shouldn't be harming anyone else's dogs.
It was during his Pentagon service that Wilson volunteered for the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy and decided himself to seek elected office as a Democrat to the Texas House of Representatives from his East Texas district. His family and friends campaigned hard for Wilson, who won the election and took office in 1961. Wilson was elected to the Texas Senate in 1966 and served until 1972, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Second Congressional District, which was centered around Lufkin and much of East Texas.
His local accomplishments included the establishment of the Big Thicket Preserve and a United States Veterans Administration clinic in Lufkin, which today bears his name. On a larger scale, Wilson is best remembered for his leadership in securing funding and support for the resistance to the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Working with CIA agent Gust Avrakatos, Houston socialite Joanne Herring, his congressional colleagues, and the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidential administrations, Wilson secured U.S. government funding for supplies and weapons used to fight the Soviet Army. The efforts were successful, and the Soviet Army withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Wilson retired from Congress in October 1996 . Wilson died in Lufkin on February 10, 2010, at the age of seventy-six. Wilson was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Topics that do not fit anywhere else. Absolutely NO discussions of religion, race, or immigration!
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