Historic Baptist church founded
August 31, 1839
On this day in 1839, Independence Baptist Church, in Independence, Washington County, was organized by Rev. Thomas Spraggins and a small group of fellow Baptists. The church had strong ties to Baylor University, Baylor Female Department, and Baylor College during the years these institutions were located in Independence (1846-86). The presidents of Baylor often served as pastors, and the church itself met in various Baylor buildings until the late 1850s. Some of the ministerial students, as well as Horace Clark, principal of Baylor Female Department, were ordained by Independence Church. Margaret Moffette Lea Houston was a member of Independence Church. Her husband, Sam Houston, joined Independence Church in 1854, and was baptized the same day by Rufus C. Burleson. In 1858 the church voted to construct a new building at its present location. This building was destroyed by fire in 1872. Some of the old walls remained, and the church was rebuilt in the same year. As of 2000, Independence Church remained a regularly constituted Baptist church in cooperation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It has also been designated a Texas Baptist Historical Center. Though the current building dates back only to 1872, the pew in which Sam Houston sat has been preserved and is marked so that visitors can see it.
"Gentleman Jim" Ferguson, future Texas governor, born in Salado
August 31, 1871
On this day in 1871, James Edward Ferguson, future Texas governor, was born near Salado, Texas. After a brief study of law he was admitted to the bar in 1897. Known as an antiprohibitionist, and running on a platform that would limit rent charged tenant farmers, he was elected governor in 1914. During his first term the legislature passed several significant measures, including the tenant law, state aid to rural schools, compulsory school attendance, and several generous appropriation bills. He won his bid for reelection in 1916 by a majority of 60,000 votes. During his second term he became involved in a serious quarrel with the University of Texas and vetoed practically the entire appropriation for the university. At the same time a number of charges involving misappropriation of public funds and other financial irregularities were brought against him. The end result was removal from office by a Court of Impeachment. Since he was subsequently ineligible to hold any public office, in 1924 and 1932 he ran the campaigns when his wife, Miriam, was elected governor. Ferguson died in 1944 and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.
Asa Borger murdered
August 31, 1934
On this day in 1934, town builder Asa (Ace) Borger was shot to death in the Hutchinson County town that bore his name. Borger was shot by Hutchinson county treasurer Arthur Huey, who was upset with Borger over the failure of the Borger State Bank and for failing to post his bail when he was arrested on an embezzlement charge. Huey also wounded another man, who died five days later. At his trial Huey claimed that he had shot in self-defense, arguing that Borger was gunning for him. The jury believed him and acquitted him. Three years later, however, he was sent to the state penitentiary for theft of county funds. Borger was born in Missouri in 1888 and successfully promoted several boomtowns in Oklahoma as a young man. In 1926 he purchased 240 acres in the Panhandle and organized the Borger Townsite Company. The company began selling lots in the town of Borger in March of that year and grossed between $60,000 and $100,000 on the first day. After six months Borger sold out completely, for more than a million dollars. The two-story dream house he built in 1929 was the first brick residence in Borger and is now a Texas historical landmark.
posted by Jeff - 8.31.2011 The Texas State Historical Assoication
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