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Famed cowboy memoirist dies
September 26, 1935
On this day in 1935, the famed cowboy memoirist Andy Adams died. Adams, born in Indiana in 1859, was one of the few writers of the West who had a knowledge based on experience that enabled him to record cowboy life authentically. Adams traveled to Texas in the early 1880s and remained there for ten years, eight of which he spent in traildriving. In 1892 he drifted to gold-mining camps in Colorado and Nevada and in 1894 moved to Colorado Springs, where he lived until his death, with the exception of one year in Nevada (1908-09) and two years in Kentucky (1920-22). Adams was forty-three when he began writing, and Texas was his literary domain. His available published works comprise seven books and one article. Because he knew the real West, he was able to write with a remarkable verisimilitude--a quality he maintained without compromise, though it led to many rejected manuscripts, since publishers seemed to demand "Wild West" stories. The Log of a Cowboy (1903),Adams's best work, tells of a five-month drive of over 3,000 cattle from Brownsville to Montana in 1882 and has been called the best chronicle written of the great days in the cattle country.
Future panjandrum of the KKK is born
September 26, 1881
On this day in 1881, Hiram Wesley Evans, future leader of the Ku Klux Klan, was born in Ashland, Alabama. He graduated from high school in Hubbard, Texas. He studied dentistry at Vanderbilt, obtained a license in 1900, and practiced dentistry in Dallas. In 1920 he joined the Klan and began devoting most of his time to its support. By 1921 he had reached the rank of "exalted cyclops" and led a group of Klansmen who forcibly removed Alex Johnson, a black bellhop, from the Adolphus Hotel and wrote "K.K.K." on his forehead with acid. Early in 1922, when the "Realm of Texas" was organized, Evans became a "great titan" (district leader), and several months later he was appointed "imperial kligrapp," or national secretary, by the "imperial wizard," William J. Simmons. Under his leadership the Klan became involved in state and local primary elections. Evans was imperial wizard from 1922 until 1939. He died in September 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flamboyant railroad and town promoter dies
September 26, 1928
On this day in 1928, the flamboyant railroad and town promoter Arthur Stilwell died in New York City. Stilwell, born in Rochester, New York, in 1859, moved to Kansas City in 1886. His first major project was a railway south from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. The original terminal point was Sabine Pass, Texas, but Stilwell formed a syndicate that founded the town of Port Arthur. Stilwell drove the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (later Kansas City Southern) south from Kansas City to Port Arthur in 1897. From 1900 until 1912 Stilwell constructed the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway from Wichita, Kansas, south through Oklahoma to San Angelo and eventually to Alpine, Texas. The Mexican Revolution and a lack of traffic led to bankruptcy for the railway, and Stilwell was forced out of his firm. Stilwell blamed the "Cannibals of Wall Street," and John W. Gates in particular, for his losses, and wrote several books on finance and world affairs. He then published novels, poems, and stories alleging that the ideas for his railways and Port Arthur came to him from "brownies."
Temperamental new governor arrives in San Antonio
September 26, 1736
On this day in 1736, Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo arrived in San Antonio to begin his controversial tenure as ad interim governor of Spanish Texas. Having "a stormy, petulant, and precipitous temper," Franquis refused to show his credentials, insulted both civil and religious authorities, and lost the respect of the missionaries at San Antonio and Los Adaes. In little more than a year as governor, he came near to ruining the province of Texas. He placed his predecessor, Manuel de Sandoval, under arrest, seized his papers, and brought criminal charges against him. In the ensuing investigation, Franquis himself was arrested, removed from office, and retired to San Juan Bautista, where he ran afoul of Fray Miguel Sevillano de Paredes and deserted. He went to Mexico City to plead his case before the viceroy. José Fernández de Jáuregui y Urrutia, the governor of Nuevo León, appointed Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra to succeed Franquis as governor of Texas. After Franquis's trial, which lasted for several years, he served in Veracruz and then in Spain. The date and place of his death are unknown.
posted by Jeff 9.26.2011 The Texas State Historical Association