Meusebach resigns as Adelsverein commissioner
July 20, 1847
On this day in 1847, John O. Meusebach resigned as general commissioner of the Adelsverein, the society formed by German nobles to encourage the colonization of Texas. Meusebach, born Baron Ottfried Hans Freiherr von Meusebach in Dillenburg, Germany, in 1812, succeeded Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels as commissioner and arrived in Texas in 1845. In just over two years, and despite facing numerous obstacles, including the Adelsverein's inept planning and management, Meusebach presided over the initial growth of New Braunfels and also founded the settlements of Fredericksburg, Castell, and Leiningen. He also successfully negotiated the Meusebach-Comanche treaty. Meusebach died in 1897.
Texas boxer becomes first black world heavyweight champion
July 20, 1910
On this day in 1910, Galveston native Jack Johnson was recognized as the heavyweight champion of the world. He had won the Negro heavyweight championship in 1903. The reigning white champion, Jim Jeffries, refused to cross the color line, so Johnson had to wait until Jeffries came out of retirement to fight him in 1910. Johnson left the United States in 1913 to avoid arrest on charges of violation of the Mann Act. When he returned on July 20, 1920, he was arrested and jailed at Leavenworth. After his release he returned to boxing, but without success. He died in an automobile crash at Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1946.
Legendary Texas architect dies
July 20, 1982
On this day in 1982, architect O'Neil Ford died in San Antonio. Ford was born near Sherman in 1905. Though he had only two years of college and subsequently took a correspondence course in architecture, his lack of university training became part of his mystique. Ford was deeply impressed by the simplicity and beauty of the German vernacular architecture he saw in Central Texas, and the experience decisively influenced his later work. He became a protégé of David R. Williams, whose Dallas office he entered in 1926, and moved to San Antonio, where he worked on the restoration of La Villita, around 1940. In 1949, his firm received the commission to design a new campus for Trinity University, along with Bartlett Cocke. Ford also did a number of projects for Texas Instruments and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
posted by Jeff ~ 7.20.2011 The Texas State Historical Association