Pioneer Methodist missionary enters Texas
August 19, 1837
On this day in 1837, Robert Alexander, Methodist minister, crossed the Sabine River into the Republic of Texas. The Tennessee native had been appointed missionary to Texas with Martin Ruter and Littleton Fowler. Alexander arrived first and preached his way westward. During a camp meeting at the McMahan settlement, he held a "quarterly conference" and formed the San Augustine circuit on September 16, 1837. In mid-October he formed the first Methodist missionary society in Texas during a camp meeting held at Caney Creek, southwest of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Alexander later played a leading role in the establishment of Rutersville College and its successor, Southwestern University. He was instrumental in establishing the Texas Wesleyan Banner (now the United Methodist Reporter), and he held pastoral positions in a number of Texas districts. His ministry in Texas lasted forty-five years.
John Selman kills John Wesley Hardin
August 19, 1895
On this day in 1895, Constable John Selman killed the notorious John Wesley Hardin in a gunfight at El Paso's Acme Saloon. Hardin was born in 1853 in Bonham and revealed a violent personality at an early age. In 1867 he stabbed another youth in a schoolyard squabble, and at age fifteen he shot and killed a black man during an argument. In the fall of 1868 he claimed to have killed three Union soldiers, and within a year another soldier. He killed at least ten others as he made his way up the Chisholm Trail, and then four more upon returning to Gonzales County. After Texas Rangers captured him in Pensacola, Florida, in 1877, he was tried for murder, convicted, and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. While in prison he studied law, and after being pardoned in 1894 he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Gonzales County and then in El Paso. In the latter city he took as a lover the wife of one of his clients, and when the husband found out about the affair, Hardin hired a number of law officials to kill him. Selman, an Arkansas native born in 1839, was one of the hired killers, and may have killed Hardin because Hardin had not paid him. Selman was tried for Hardin's murder but released when the trial ended in a hung jury; he died, aptly enough, in a gunfight in 1896. Hardin and Selman are both buried in El Paso's Concordia Cemetery.
Apaches bury the hatchet
August 19, 1749
On this day in 1749, four Apache chiefs, accompanied by numerous followers, buried a hatchet along with other weapons in a peace ceremony in San Antonio. The ceremony signified the Apaches' acceptance of Christian conversion in exchange for Spanish protection from Comanche raids, which had decimated the Apache population. Five years later Giraldo de Terreros established San Lorenzo, the first formal mission for the Texas Apaches, in the jurisdiction of San Juan Bautista in Mexico. When the Apaches revolted and abandoned the mission less than a year later, the missionaries argued in favor of a new mission closer to Apache territory. Construction of the ill-fated mission of Santa Cruz de San Sabá, in the heart of Apachería, began in April 1757; on March 16 of the following year, a party of 2,000 Comanche and allied Indians killed eight of the inhabitants and burned the mission buildings.
posted by Jeff - 8.19.2011 The Texas State Historical Association