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"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
~William Penn

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 8.26.2011

Town opens with a barbecue
August 26, 1892
On this day in 1892, the town of Runningwater, in Hale County, officially opened with a barbecue for area residents. An earlier settlement at the site was named Wadsworth until the post office, established in December 1890, was renamed Runningwater to draw attention to the presence of flowing water. A rural school was also established that year. The founder of the community and its first postmaster was a railroad land speculator, Dennis Rice. C. C. Slaughter was among the town's early promoters. Rice planned to build a cheese factory in Runningwater but eventually gave up the idea when a leading promoter moved away. A sustained drought and a grasshopper invasion hindered settlement in the mid-1890s, but passage of the Four-Section Act in 1895 brought new settlers into the area. However, the Fort Worth and Denver Railway missed the community by three miles when the tracks were laid in 1928. The post office was moved to Edmonson Switch on the railroad in 1937 and Runningwater was largely abandoned.
State Police in gun battle
August 26, 1870
On this day in 1870, in a particularly violent chapter of the infamous Sutton-Taylor Feud, a detachment of Texas State Police under the command of Jack Helm arrested Henry and Will Kelly of the Taylor faction on a trivial charge and shot them. The Sutton-Taylor Feud, the longest and bloodiest in Texas, grew out of the bad times following the Civil War. The Taylors were descendants of Josiah Taylor, a Virginian who settled near Cuero in DeWitt County. His sons, Pitkin and Creed Taylor, and their sons, nephews, in-laws, and friends were the mainstay of that faction. The other party, originally centering on the Texas State Police, took its name from William E. Sutton, a native of Fayette County who had moved to DeWitt County. The feud began either in 1866 or 1868, depending on which actions are considered part of the quarrel. Women of the Kelly family witnessed the 1870 murders of Henry and Will Kelly, and their story caused such a public outcry that Gov. Edmund J. Davis could not ignore the outrage. Helm was suspended in October and dismissed in December, but killings associated with the feud were recorded as late as 1876.
Provincias Internas divided into three sectors
August 26, 1786
On this day in 1786, the Provincias Internas were divided into three military regions. The original authorization of the Provincias Internas by Spain occurred in 1776 and comprised a massive, semiautonomous administrative unit that included Texas, Coahuila, Nueva Vizcaya, New Mexico, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the two Californias (Baja and Alta). Officials wished to promote administrative efficiency on the frontier, far removed from the government center of Mexico City, as well as spark economic development and protect Spanish lands from England and Russia. Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Nuevo Santander were included in the easternmost of the three regions, under the command of Juan de Ugalde. The three regions were again reorganized into two provinces, eastern and western, in 1787. The Provincias Internas would undergo periodic reorganization until Mexican independence in 1821. Joaquín de Arredondo was the last commander of the Eastern Province, from 1813 to 1821.

Alamo survivor Joe escapes from slavery
August 26, 1837
On this day in 1837, an important figure of early Texas, known only as Joe, apparently made good his escape from slavery. He was a slave of William B. Travis and one of the few survivors of the battle of the Alamo. Joe was born about 1813. He claimed that as the famous battle began he armed himself and followed Travis into the fray. After the battle the Mexican troops searched the buildings and called for any blacks to reveal themselves. Joe responded and was struck by a pistol shot and bayonet thrust before a Mexican captain intervened. Joe was taken to Bexar, where he was detained and interrogated by Santa Anna about Texas and its army. He somehow made his way to Sam Houston's camp at Gonzales. He was questioned at Groce's Retreat about the events at the Alamo. He was then returned to Travis's estate, and on the anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto he and an unidentified Mexican man escaped. A notice offering a fifty-dollar reward for his return was published in the Telegraph and Texas Register for three months and discontinued on August 26, 1837. Joe was last reported in Austin in August 1875.
posted by Jeff ~ 8.26.2011  The Texas State Historical Assoication

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