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"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 11.28.2011

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Military historian Slam Marshall joins the army
November 28, 1917
On this day in 1917, Samuel Lyman Atwood (Slam) Marshall joined the army. Marshall was born in New York State in 1900 but moved to El Paso with his family in 1915. He served in France as a sergeant with the Ninetieth Division. In later years he claimed that he had received a battlefield commission and was the youngest second lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Forces. In actuality, he was not commissioned until 1919, the year in which he returned to civilian life. Marshall began his journalistic career with the El Paso Herald in 1922 and joined the staff of the Detroit News, where he remained for most of the remainder of his life, in 1927. He reentered the army as a major in 1942 and spent the next three years as a combat historian and analyst. In 1947 he published what is probably his most influential work, Men Against Fire, in which he claimed that fewer than a quarter of American infantrymen actually fired their weapons in any given action, though professional historians later questioned his research methods. In his long career as a military commentator, Marshall wrote more than thirty books. He was appointed a brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve in 1957. He retired to El Paso in 1974 and donated his library to the University of Texas at El Paso. He died in 1977 and was buried in Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

Gideon Lincecum dies
November 28, 1874
On this day in 1874, physician and naturalist Gideon Lincecum died at his Long Point home. The self-educated Lincecum, born in Georgia in 1793, moved in 1818 with his wife and family to Mississippi, where he began practicing medicine. In 1835 he joined an exploring expedition to Texas, during which he studied the fauna in the vicinity of Eagle Lake; thirteen years later, he purchased 1,828 acres of the fertile prairie land he had seen on his Texas visit and arrived in Long Point on his fifty-fifth birthday with his wife, ten children, numerous grandchildren, and ten slaves. In Texas, while continuing to practice medicine, Lincecum became recognized as an astute naturalist, corresponded with internationally known scientists, and contributed valuable collections to the Philadelphia Academy of Science and the Smithsonian Institution. Charles Darwin sponsored the publication of one of Lincecum's papers in the Journal of the Linnaean Society in 1862. In 1868, at the age of seventy-six, Lincecum joined a Confederate colony in Mexico. He spent five years there working his banana plantation, exploring Indian ruins, and continuing his natural history collection and correspondence. He returned to Texas in 1873 and devoted his remaining years to writing his autobiography.He was originally buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, near Long Point, but his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin in 1936.

Screwmen protest hiring of African Americans
November 28, 1882
On this day in 1882, the Screwmen's Benevolent Association called a general holiday for its members in opposition to the appearance of black workers in the cotton-screwing trade. The association, originally formed in 1866 as a benevolent society, became a trade union of specialized longshoremen who, with the aid of screwjacks, stowed and packed cotton bales into the holds of ships before the use of the power cotton compress. Screwmen were almost entirely of European origin and were strongly opposed to the hiring of blacks in their trade. The association introduced an apprenticeship system in 1885 that resulted in an increased white labor force, thereby gaining a virtual monopoly of the work at the port of Galveston. By 1891, when the association celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, its evolution from a benevolent society to a union was complete. But in 1901 the closed shop went out, and the introduction of the high-density cotton compress in 1910 ended the need for screwmen.

Texas home for Confederate veterans chartered
November 28, 1884
On this day in 1884, the John B. Hood Camp of United Confederate Veterans obtained a state charter for a residence for impoverished and disabled Confederate veterans. The Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy helped raise funds that enabled the camp to purchase land at 1600 West Sixth Street in Austin from John B. and Mary Armstrong. The home opened on November 1, 1886. The UDC held a "Grand Gift Concert and Lottery," with prizes donated by the public, and raised over $10,800 to support the home. Operating funds continued to come from public contributions until 1891, when the state assumed control and support and the name officially became Texas Confederate Home. The John B. Hood Camp deeded the property to the state on March 6, 1891. The complex had several buildings, including the large administration building and living quarters, a brick hospital, and private cottages. During its first two years of operation 113 veterans were admitted to the home, and from 1887 to 1953 more than 2,000 former Confederates were housed there. In 1929 the home had 312 residents, but by 1938 the number had dropped to thirty-eight, whose average age was ninety-three. Thomas Riddle, the last veteran, died in 1954 at the age of 108. During its last decades, the home was used to house senile mental patients from other state institutions, disabled veterans of the Spanish American War and World War I, and their wives. In 1963 the remaining residents were sent to Kerrville State Hospital, and the Austin facility was transferred to the Austin State Hospital as an annex. The buildings were razed in 1970 to make room for University of Texas married students' housing.
posted - 11.28.2011  -  The Texas State Historical Association

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