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"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 9.18.2011

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Sam Houston and other dignitaries dedicate Monument Hill cemetery
September 18, 1848
On this day in 1848, Sam Houston and other notable Texans gathered a mile south of La Grange at Monument Hill, the chosen site for a military cemetery. Those to be buried there had died in the Dawson Massacre and other conflicts that beset the Republic of Texas as Mexico continued to contest the fact of Texas independence. Six years earlier, on September 18, 1842, while an army of Texans under Mathew Caldwell defeated the much larger forces of Mexican general Adrián Woll on Salado Creek near San Antonio, Capt. Nicholas Dawson and his fifty-eight volunteers fought a losing battle against 500 irregular Mexican cavalrymen and their two cannons. The Texans were slaughtered. A few escaped, and fifteen were carted off to Perote Prison, from where only nine survivors were eventually released. The dead were buried in shallow graves and, in 1848, moved to Monument Hill. The day was again solemnly commemorated ninety-one years after the massacre. On September 18, 1933, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas dedicated a new vault at the site, which had fallen into disrepair and abuse before they moved to rescue it.
Two Texas Medal of Honor recipients die in battle
September 18, 1944
On this day in 1944, two Medal of Honor winners from Texas were killed in separate actions during World War II. Lt. Robert G. Cole, born at Fort Sam Houston in 1915, was cited for "gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" near Carentan, France, on June 11, 1944. He was personally leading his battalion in an attack on four bridges when the entire unit was pinned down by intense enemy fire from heavily fortified positions. After an hour, he issued orders to attack with fixed bayonets and personally led the assault. His heroic action so inspired his men that a secure bridgehead across the Douve River was established. Cole was killed by a sniper on September 18 during "Operation Market Garden" while taking the bridge at Best, Holland. Charles Howard Roan was born in Claude, Texas, in 1923. He volunteered for the United States Marine Corps in 1942 and was sent to the Pacific in June 1943. On September 18, 1944, Roan was with a party of five in the Palau Islands when a live grenade was thrown among them. Roan flung himself on the grenade and saved his comrades. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. A Texas historical marker has been placed on the Roan family plot in the cemetery in Claude. A destroyer in the United States Naval Fleet was named in Roan's honor.
French Expedition fizzles in El Paso
September 18, 1850
On this day in 1850, the French Expedition to California fell apart at El Paso. The expedition was organized by fraudulent promoter Parker H. French in New York. French promised "fast and safe" passage to the California gold fields for $250 a passenger. A total of 180 passengers and workers signed up; the workers got a discounted fare. The group sailed from New York on May 13, 1850, stopped for a week in New Orleans, and landed at Port Lavaca, Texas. After a difficult overland journey, they arrived at Franklin (El Paso) on September 18. Suspecting fraud, the men mutinied and opened French's safe, only to find it empty. French escaped across the Rio Grande into Mexico. During the Civil War he was arrested in Connecticut. No record exists of his death.
Town crier of San Antonio dies
September 18, 1929
On this day in 1929, Julius Myers, the last town crier in America, died in San Antonio. Myers was born in New York City in 1868 and attended schools there. He moved to Texas seeking relief from respiratory trouble in 1882 and settled in Luling; in 1912 he moved to San Antonio. Myers was seen daily on the streets of San Antonio mounted on his horse, Tootsy, announcing current or future attractions with his megaphone. With a decorative costume for each occasion, he advertised such events as sales and theater attractions, charity affairs, and sporting events. Because too many others were attempting to emulate him, a city ordinance in December 1927 ordered an end to such advertising. Friends of Myers petitioned city hall to except him from the ordinance, but to no avail. The following March, however, indulgent officials permitted him to inform the city of baseball games, but he was not allowed to use his horse. Despite repeated protests by his family, advancing age, and failing health, he continued as town crier until his death.
posted by Jeff - The Texas State Historical Association

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