Principal battle of Cherokee War begins
July 16, 1839
On this day in 1839, the main engagement of the Cherokee War began. The battle was fought near the Neches River a few miles west of Tyler. T. J. Rusk, Edward Burleson, and Kelsey H. Douglass led the Texas troops against Chief Bowl's Cherokees. Also on the field were David G. Burnet, vice president of Republic of Texas, and Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, secretary of war. The Texas troops numbered 500 and the Indians 700 to 800. The Indians were routed in the two-day fight, although pursuit continued until July 24. The battle virtually ended Indian troubles in the settled part of Texas.
Texas, Oklahoma battle over bridge across the Red River
July 16, 1931
On this day in 1931, Texas and Oklahoma locked horns over a newly completed free bridge, built jointly by the two states, across the Red River between Denison, Texas, and Durant, Oklahoma. A firm operating a nearby toll bridge had obtained an injunction preventing the Texas Highway Commission from opening the new bridge because the commission had failed to fulfill its contractual obligation to buy the toll bridge. Texas Governor Ross S. Sterling ordered barricades erected across the Texas approaches to the new bridge. On July 16, however, Oklahoma Governor William (Alfalfa Bill) Murray opened the bridge by executive order. The following days brought a bewildering array of moves and countermoves involving the Texas Rangers, Oklahoma guardsmen, and Murray's declaration of martial law on both sides of the river and personal appearance in the "war zone" armed with an antique revolver. Finally, on August 6, 1931, the Texas injunction was permanently dissolved, the Oklahoma guardsmen were withdrawn to enforce martial law in the Oklahoma oilfields, and the bridge controversy was laid to rest. The bridge was dynamited in 1995 to make room for a new one.
Officer begins adobe experiment at Fort Concho
July 16, 1870
On this day in 1870, army officer John Porter Hatch began an experiment to manufacture and use adobe bricks as inexpensive construction material at Fort Concho. Hatch, born in New York in 1822, fought in the Mexican War and in the Civil War. As a major with the Fourth United States Cavalry, he ordered the commander of Fort Chadbourne, Capt. George C. Huntt, to move his unit to the site of Fort Concho in 1867. The adobe experiment was judged a failure after Hatch and twenty enlisted men had produced only 10,000 usable bricks by September 2, 1870, but it did earn Hatch the nickname "Dobe," which he bore until his death in 1901.
posted by Jeff ~ 7.16.2011 - The Texas State Historical Association