Future member of the Country Music Hall of Fame born in Texas
August 29, 1908
On this day in 1908, Alton Stricklin, County Music Hall of Fame musician, was born in Antioch, Texas. He joined Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1935, after Bob heard him play piano at the Cinderella Roof in Fort Worth. Stricklin was a jazz pianist whose idioms were basic to dance music. For him, Wills's dance music was like the jazz he was familiar with. He set the piano style for all the swing bands that followed and the style for all of Wills's other piano players. Stricklin played with the Wills band in its the first recording for Columbia Records and in all the other recordings Wills made through 1941, a total of more than 200. Capitol Records encouraged the musicians to form a group called Bob Wills' Original Texas Playboys, which had nearly ten years of remarkable success. Stricklin became the chronicler of his music when, in 1976, he published his memoirs, My years with Bob Wills. He died in Johnson County, Texas, in 1986.
Houston Academy chartered
August 29, 1856
On this day in 1856, the Houston Academy, a prominent antebellum school, was chartered. Its incorporators included Houston civic leaders William Marsh Rice, Peter W. Gray, Cornelius Ennis, and Thomas W. House. A building plan was developed by 1857, and the school opened in 1858. By 1859, with the help of a bequest of $5,000 from James H. Stevens and $20,000 raised by public subscription, the school occupied a two-story brick building and accommodated 400 students, with separate classrooms for boys and girls. Ashbel Smith served as superintendent. In addition to the usual academic subjects, classes were held in fencing, painting, and gymnastics. Sam Houston gave a speech at the school in December 1860, when it had 150 pupils. The academy was closed during the Civil War, and the building converted into a military hospital. The school's 600-volume library was used by wounded soldiers. In 1866 the academy reopened with W. J. Hammock as principal, 205 students, and a faculty of six. When the public schools opened in 1876, Owen L. Cochran presented the academy library to the Houston Lyceum. The school operated as part of the public school system thereafter and in 1878 was remodeled and renamed Clopper Institute, in honor of Professor E. N. Clopper.
Founder of agricultural community dies
August 29, 1965
On this day in 1965, Helen Kerr Thompson, founder of an agricultural community in Trinity County, died. Her father, John Steele Kerr, had been a pioneer horticulturist in Texas. Helen, born about 1875, grew up in Sherman and married J. Lewis Thompson. They raised a family in Houston, but after World War I, Helen planned new endeavors when her husband gave her 12,000 acres of his Trinity County forest land. During the 1920s she established a model agricultural community and implemented a system that relied on crop rotation, cooperative marketing, and modern farm homes. She cultivated cotton, corn, and sugar cane, developed a purebred Hereford herd, and established a poultry plant. Careful attention to the balance of permanent pastures and timberlands added to the success of the town that was named Woodlake. The agricultural community declined during the Great Depression, however, and by the late 1940s most vestiges of the once-blooming agricultural experiment were gone.
posted by Jeff - 8.29.2011 The Texas State Historical Association