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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 2.7.2012 - Happy Birthday Seguin, Texas - 1853

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Seguin incorporates
February 07, 1853
On this day in 1853, the town of Seguin was officially incorporated. This South Texas seat of Guadalupe County saw settlement as early as the 1830s, and founders originally called the site Walnut Springs before changing the name to Seguin in honor of Tejano revolutionary and Texas Republic senator Juan Nepomuceno SeguĂ­n in 1839. The town enjoyed a rich agricultural landscape and ample water resources thanks to the nearby Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers and Cibolo and Geronimo creeks. Its original schoolhouse, built in 1850, was still used for educational purposes well over 100 years later, when the state recognized the structure as the oldest continuously used school building in Texas. Texas Lutheran College relocated to Seguin in 1912, and the town’s economy experienced a major upswing with the discovery of oil in the nearby Darst Creek fields in the late 1920s. Throughout the twentieth century the community supported agricultural, oil-based, and manufacturing interests. In 2000 Seguin had a population of 22,011.

Transfer of command misfires in Republic of Texas army
February 07, 1837
On this day in 1837, Brig. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was wounded in a duel by Brig. Gen. Felix Huston. Johnston had been sent by President T. J. Rusk to replace Huston as commander of the Texas army. Huston considered the lack of confidence in his leadership such an affront that, in spite of his esteem for the senior officer, he challenged Johnston to a duel. Johnston's wound was so severe that he was unable to take command.

Cowboy, author, and detective born on Texas coast
February 07, 1855
On this day in 1855, Charles Siringo was born in Matagorda County. Beginning in 1870, he worked as a cowboy, part of the time for Shanghai Pierce, and later helped establish the LX Ranch. While working as an LX cowboy, he met Billy the Kid and led a posse into New Mexico in pursuit of him. In 1884, while working as a merchant in Caldwell, Kansas, Siringo began writing his first book, A Texas Cowboy; or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony (1885), which established him as the first cowboy autobiographer and became a range literature classic. In 1886 he moved to Chicago and began a twenty-two-year career with Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. He subsequently worked all over the West and participated in such celebrated cases as the Haymarket anarchist trial and the murder trial of "Big Bill" Haywood. After leaving Pinkerton's in 1907, Siringo retired to his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His second book (A Cowboy Detective, 1912) caused a bitter conflict with the Pinkertons, and his Two Evil Isms, Pinkertonism and Anarchism (1915) brought an unsuccessful libel suit from the agency. Siringo was appointed a New Mexico Ranger in 1916 and for two years saw active service against cattle rustlers. Following his return to Santa Fe he published A Lone Star Cowboy (1919) and History of "Billy the Kid" (1920). In 1922 he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a film advisor and played bit parts in movies. His Riata and Spurs (1927) was a mature composite of his first two autobiographies. Siringo met such varied celebrities as Pat Garrett, Bat Masterson, Clarence Darrow, William S. Hart, and Will Rogers. He helped to romanticize the West and to create the myth of the American cowboy. Siringo died in California in 1928.

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