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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 5.20.2012

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North Texas settlement drew life from the railroad
May 20, 1885
On this day in 1885, Harrold, a railroad town in east central Wilbarger County, was officially platted. The settlement had been known as Cottonwood in the early 1880s, when it had a stage station and a store near China Creek. In 1884 the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway, building from the east, reached the area. The community was renamed to honor promoter Ephraim Harrold, who owned the nearby Bar-X Ranch. As the western terminus for the railroad, Harrold became an overnight boomtown. Prospective settlers were offered train rides from Wichita Falls and were welcomed to the town by a brass band. Within a year some 1,500 people had arrived. The spirited frontier town's numerous businesses included sixteen saloons. The boom days abruptly ended, however, when the railroad reached Vernon. Harrold remained a railroad shipping point and agricultural center with a population of several hundred.

New Amarillo becomes Potter county seat
May 20, 1893
On this day in 1893, the second incarnation of the town of Amarillo was selected as the seat of Potter County. The first Amarillo was established by J. T. Berry in April 1887. He chose a well-watered site along the right-of-way of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad, which had begun building across the Panhandle. On August 30, 1887, Berry's townsite was elected seat of Potter County. The railroad arrived shortly after the county election, and Amarillo boomed as a cattle-marketing center. Although Berry's cowtown seemed to be well established, Henry B. Sanborn, part owner of the Frying Pan Ranch, argued that Berry's site was on low ground that would flood during rainstorms. Sanborn and his partner, Joseph F. Glidden, began buying land to the east to move Amarillo out of its "mudhole." The depot and courthouse initially remained at the old site, since the law decreed that they could not be moved until five years after the 1887 election, but the second county-seat election in 1893 officially transferred the title to Sanborn's town.

Spanish king orders compilation of Texas-Louisiana boundary data
May 20, 1805
On this day in 1805, a royal order commanded the viceroy of Mexico to compile all pertinent data concerning the true boundary between Texas and Louisiana. Fray Melchor de Talamantes was appointed the head of the historical commission, beginning work in 1807, but was removed a year later for political reasons and replaced by José Antonio Pichardo. Pichardo worked for four years, "uninterruptedly night and day, without even leaving [his] room," to complete the monumental (3,000 pages) treatise On the Limits of Louisiana and Texas (1812).Thework was enthusiastically praised by the advisors of the viceroy, who granted him a pension of 100 pesos a month for life and recommended his appointment as canon of the Cathedral of Mexico. The sexagenarian Pichardo, however, sick with gout and suffering from rheumatism, died just a few months after the completion of his report, before this high honor could be conferred. Pichardo's treatise was translated into English and edited by Charles W. Hackett and published in four volumes by the University of Texas Press in the 1930s and 1940s.
posted - 5.20.2012  -  The Texas State Historical Association
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