War Department mobilizes "T-Patchers"
July 18, 1917
On this day in 1917, the United States War Department issued orders mobilizing the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division (known as the "Texas Division" or the "T-Patchers") at Camp Bowie in Tarrant County. The division, initially composed mostly of Texas National Guard troops, fought in World War I and again in World War II. During the latter conflict, one unit of the division, which became known as the "lost battalion," was captured at the fall of Java. The men of the battalion spent the war in Japanese prison camps, and many died building the Burma Railroad. When the War Department made national guard units available to the governors of the states in 1946, the Thirty-sixth Division was reactivated. The Thirty-sixth was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but was eliminated by January 1968. In 1946 veterans of the unit founded the Thirty-sixth Division Association.
State, city, and school reach settlement over Spanish archives
July 18, 1972
On this day in 1972, the state of Texas, the city of Laredo, and St. Mary's University agreed on a tentative settlement that gave the state title and ownership of the Spanish Archives of Laredo but allowed the university to retain possession of the collection. The Laredo Archives, as they were commonly known, cover a period from 1749 to 1872 and consist of 3,452 handwritten official documents totaling 13,343 pages. For many years the collection was stored in the basement of the old county courthouse in Laredo. The archives were neglected and began to deteriorate from exposure to fire, flooding, and dampness. In 1934 an order was given to destroy the papers, but Sebron S. Wilcox rescued the archives and began restoring them. After Wilcox died in 1959, his family donated the archives to St. Mary's University in San Antonio, but later demanded that the university compensate them for the archives. In 1971 the state obtained a temporary restraining order to prohibit either the Wilcox family or St. Mary's University from selling or otherwise disposing of the collection. At the same time the state also petitioned for custody of the archives on the grounds that as the successor to the Mexican government the state of Texas had a legal right to all official papers held by the Spanish and Mexican governments of Laredo. In 1979, a court ruling held that St. Mary's had lawfully acquired the Laredo Archives and further decreed that all parties must abide by the terms of the 1972 settlement.
Texas soldier fights heroically in France
July 18, 1918
On this day in 1918, Daniel R. Edwards of Mooresville, Texas, accomplished feats of valor near Soissons, France, that earned him the Medal of Honor. He was a member of Company C, Third Machine Gun Battalion, First Division. After undergoing treatment for battle wounds and suffering from a shattered arm, he crawled alone into an enemy trench, where he killed four and took four prisoners. While he was returning to his own lines with his prisoners, his leg was shattered by an enemy shell. His bravery and gallant acts greatly inspired his comrades. Edwards died on October 21, 1967, at Little Rock, Arkansas.
posted by Jeff ~ 7.18.2011 The Texas State Historical Association