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Words of Wisdom

"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
~William Penn

Friday, February 17, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 2.16/17.2012

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Art museum chartered at crossroads city
February 17, 1930
On this day in 1930, the El Paso Museum of Art was chartered under its original name, El Paso International Museum. Since 1959 the museum has been operated under the authority of the city of El Paso, along with a history museum and a wilderness park. The art museum features the Kress collection of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Baroque works, a collection of Pre-Columbian and Mexican art, and a "Sensorium" for blind patrons.

Hydraulic dredge Comstock catches fire
February 17, 1913
On this day in 1913, the Comstock caught fire off the mouth of the Brazos River. The hydraulic hopper dredge General C. B. Comstock was built for the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1895 and named for Cyrus B. Comstock, a prominent nineteenth-century corps of engineers officer. The Comstock was ordered for service in Galveston and designed for southern climates, with a metal-sheathed wooden hull and an airy, well-ventilated superstructure. The vessel traveled to Galveston on her own keel in the summer of 1895 and spent most of her career there. The dredge was a very efficient machine that moved material at a cost of approximately 7.4 cents a cubic yard. She could move four or five full loads in a ten-hour day; the hoppers could be discharged in 7½ minutes. After being driven ashore by the Galveston hurricane of 1900, she could not be freed until a channel fifty feet wide and eight feet deep was dug to release her. After 1910 she was lent to the Wilmington Corps District and sent to work first at Aransas Pass and afterward at Freeport. On February 17, 1913, she caught fire and burned to the water line. The crew was quickly rescued by fishermen from Quintana and the life-saving crew from Surfside, but the Comstock was a total loss. The wreck was relocated during jetty construction in June 1987 and investigated and identified in 1988. The artifacts are in a collection at Corpus Christi Museum.

Lone survivor of Bonilla expedition found

February 16, 1599
On this day in 1599, Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Once across the border, Bonilla and his party determined to explore New Mexico and the plains beyond and to search for the fabled treasure of Quivira. They spent about a year at the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their principal headquarters. They then explored into Arkansas and Nebraska. According to the statement of Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Bonilla was stabbed to death after a quarrel with his lieutenant, Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña, who then assumed command. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass at a place on the High Plains subsequently called La Matanza.

First archbishop of San Antonio consecrated

February 16, 1927
On this day in 1927, Arthur Jerome Drossaerts was consecrated as the first archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio in San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral. Drossaerts was born in Breda, Holland, in 1862. He was ordained in 1889 and travelled to Louisiana the same year. He subsequently served as pastor at New Orleans, Broussard, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1918, Drossaerts was consecrated bishop of San Antonio. As bishop, Drossaerts built more than sixty churches and fifty schools, the most significant of which was St. John's Seminary. When the Diocese of San Antonio was made an archdiocese, Drossaerts became its first archbishop. He continued to build churches and schools and fill speaking engagements. He kept the old Spanish missions alive and went without salary in order to assist poor parishes with expenses. During his tenure as archbishop, he dedicated about 134 churches and religious buildings. In 1934, Pope Pius XI honored Drossaerts for his aid to those fleeing from religious persecution in Mexico. For his charitable works he was named assistant at the pontifical throne and papal count. Drossaerts died in 1940.

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