History

Wed
30
Jul

How Austin became Texas’ capital

All elections are important in a democracy, but early-day Austinites participated in two elections that could have turned their city into a ghost town.
At stake was whether Austin would remain Texas’ capital.
Though President Mirabeau B. Lamar had chosen what would become Austin as the site of the Republic of Texas’ capital in 1839, that decision had never been 100 percent popular.
Sam Houston, for one, considered the city named in his honor much more suitable for the role.
But despite an ill-fated attempt

 

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Wed
23
Jul

Cattle was big business in Texas

Before barbed wire crisscrossed Texas, the general roundup was a fundamental part of the cattle business.
Every fall during the free range days, cattlemen pooled their resources and rode out to gather their stock.
Cowboys checked each steer’s brand, cutting out each head that belonged to his outfit.
After that, ranchers either drove their cattle farther south for the winter, or shipped them to market.
One of the biggest spreads in

 

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Wed
16
Jul

Space Rangers Rode a New Frontier

It’s fun to ponder what Jack Hays, Leander McNelly and Bill McDonald would have thought if someone had told them that rangers would someday be dealing with bad guys in outer space – at least on television.
Of course, those famous old-time Texas Rangers wouldn’t have known what TV is. But that’s beside the point.
More than 60 years ago, the nascent television industry had its eyes both on the future and the past. The future involved

 

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Thu
10
Jul

Texas International Fishing Tournament origins

Anyone who has ever landed a speckled trout or bull redfish knows the process is exciting, but it took Texans a long time to realize that fishing could hook tourists as well as dinner.
Well into the 20th century, coastal Texans fished primarily for food, either for themselves or to sell. Finally, it sunk in that promoting fishing as a form of recreation could add to an area’s economy by luring tourists and the “railroad dollars” they carried in their pockets.
In 1906, two years after rail passenger service reached

 

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Wed
02
Jul

Was Sulphur Queen a Bermuda Triangle victim?

Mrs. Adam Martin kissed her husband goodbye and watched him walk up the gangway of the S.S. Marine Sulphur Queen.
She could have left Beaumont then for their home in Austin, but she stayed on the wharf as the molten Sulphur-laden tanker moved down the Neches River for the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the ship’s assistant engineers, her husband, would be gone less than two weeks. Leaving Beaumont Feb. 2, 1963, the Sulphur Queen would

 

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Wed
25
Jun

Now & Then

June 29, 1939
Ira’s – Racketeers of the Range starring George O’Brien and Marjorie Reynolds; The Kid from Kokomo starring Wayne Morris, Pat O’Brien and Jane Wyman; Tell No Tales starring Melvyn Douglas, Louise Platt and Gene Lockhart.
Sunrise Breakfast – The night shift of the AAA office enjoyed a sunrise breakfast

 

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Wed
18
Jun

A bloody battle at Walker Creek

A vicious and bloody fight, the Battle of Walker Creek certainly does not rank as one of Texas’s largest or better-known engagements, but the affair has significance beyond its numbers.   
On June 8, 1844, returning from a fruitless scout for Indians, a company of Texas Rangers under John Coffee “Jack” Hays camped at a point he later described as “four miles east of the Pinto trace . . . nearly equally distant from Bexar, Gonzalez and Austin.”
Wise in the ways of the Comanche, Hays had detailed one

 

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Wed
11
Jun

Matamoras fort lesser-known Alamo

Texas could have had two Alamos, the famous 13-day siege at San Antonio de Bexar in 1836, and the lesser-known siege a decade later of a star-shaped earthen fort built in the Rio Grande Valley across from Matamoras.  
In both events, a numerically superior Mexican army equipped with heavy artillery laid siege to a smaller, primarily American force determined to hold a fortified position.
A further similarity is that the ranking officer on

 

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Wed
28
May

Tehuacana goes from college town to ghost town

The Westminster University campus in Tehuacana today.
Contributed photos

Tehuacana is situated at the intersection of State Highway 171 and Farm Road 638, six miles northwest of Mexia, in northeastern Limestone County.
Part of the community is also located in Freestone County.
Named for the Tawakoni Indians - who lived in the area until the late-1840s - the Tewockony Springs Post Office opened in 1847.
The post office was discontinued during the Civil War, but service resumed in 1869.
Tehuacana has a rich history

 

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Wed
21
May

I-45’s arrival meant big change for Fairfield avenue

In the days of US 75 this one-time commercial center had restaurants and some remember a Buick dealership nearby or part of this center that has fallen to hard times today.
Photos by Mike Reddell

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part story about US 75 through Fairfield. The second part talks about the changes after I-45 carried the Houston-Dallas traffic west of town and away from the US 75 corridor through Fairfield.

It’s almost been 42 years since US 75 traffic through Fairfield was moved to I-45.
The cars and trucks on US 75 were so thick “you couldn’t get between cars , they were so close,” remembers Albert Bonner.
Bonner worked at two service stations at the intersection of US 84 and 75.
There was a station at each of the crossroad’s four corners - the traffic light

 

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