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Father of conjunto born in Reynosa
October 29, 1911
On this day in 1911, Narciso Martínez was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. His parents immigrated to the United States that year and settled in La Paloma, a town outside Brownsville. Martínez took up the accordion in 1928. Around the same time he moved to Bishop and absorbed the accordion-playing traditions of the local Czechs and Germans. Martínez and his partner, bajo sexto player Santiago Almeida, established the accordion and bajo sexto as the basic instruments of the conjunto and became well regarded as a team. Their pairing led to Martínez's major innovation in the development of the conjunto: he emphasized the right-side melody and treble notes of the accordion, leaving the left-side bass notes to the bajo sexto player. All other conjunto accordionists soon adopted this change. Martínez made his first recording with Almeida for Bluebird Records in 1936, but switched to Armando Marroquín's Ideal label in 1946. Nicknamed "El Huracán del Valle" ("The Hurricane of the Valley") for his fast-paced playing, Martínez remained a popular performer throughout the 1950s, but worked as a field hand in Florida after a new generation of conjunto musicians emerged in the mid-1960s. His career revived, however, after he was featured in Chulas Fronteras ("Beautiful Borders"), a 1976 documentary film about Texas-Mexican music. He was inducted into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame in 1982, received a National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1983, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1989. He was scheduled to appear at the annual Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio in May 1992 but was prevented by illness. He died the following month.
State legislature receives proposal for Indian reservation
October 29, 1853
On this day in 1854, a petition for a permanent reservation for the Alabama Indians, signed by tribal leaders, was presented to the Texas legislature. This petition was approved, and the state of Texas purchased land in Polk County for a reservation the same year. The reservation was expanded in 1928, when the federal government purchased an additional 3,071 acres adjoining the original 1,110-acre plot. The deed for this additional land was issued to the Alabama and Coushatta tribes, and the name "Alabama-Coushatta" has been used since 1928 as the official title of the enlarged reservation.
Colorado City-Snyder route inaugurates intercity bus service in Texas
October 29, 1907
On this day in 1907, inventor W. B. Chenoweth inaugurated intercity bus service in Texas by driving his six-cylinder "motor driven stage coach" from Colorado City to Snyder. He abandoned this line and another operation from Big Spring to Lamesa before leaving the bus business. The first regularly scheduled, successfully maintained, and more or less permanent intercity bus line in Texas began operating between Luling and San Marcos in 1912. The Texas busing industry grew rapidly over the next few years, spurred in part by the passage of the Federal Highway Act in 1916 and the rise of oil boomtowns such as Ranger, Breckenridge, Eastland, Mexia, and Desdemona. In 1927 the state legislature passed a law giving authority over the state's bus lines to the Railroad Commission. The busing industry suffered during the Great Depression but rebounded vigorously during World War II, when tire and gasoline rationing encouraged would-be motorists to travel by bus instead. Both ridership and revenues declined after the war, however, and most of the small lines ceased operation or sold out to the larger networks of Trailways and Greyhound, which merged in 1987.
posted by Jeff - 10.29.2011 - The Texas State Historical Association