This Day In Texas History - September 12

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This Day In Texas History - September 12

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Post by joe817 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:05 am

1816 - Moses (Morin) and his younger brother Jao (Joseph) De la Porta financed the first settlement by Europeans on Galveston Island in 1816. The brothers were born in Portugal of Jewish parentage and found their way to Texas. The brothers financed the privateering venture of Louis Michel Aury and José Manuel de Herrera to San Luis Island, later called Galveston, in 1816. Aury set up a privateering camp on September 12 and was named military and civil governor of Texas and Galveston Island.

Jao may have served as Aury's secretary of state. In December, Gen. Francisco Xavier Mina arrived and persuaded Aury to join him in invading Mexico. They lost the battle, and Moses lost heavily in the enterprise. He left the island and died soon after. Jao took over his brother's interests. While Aury was away, privateer Jean Laffite sailed down the Texas coast and set up camp in Matagorda Bay. Jao arrived at the camp and sold the De la Porta-Aury expedition's camp and supplies to Laffite.

The Laffite commune took possession of the island on May 15, 1817, forcing Aury to abandon the Galveston camp. On May 15, 1818, Laffite appointed Jao supercargo for the Karankawa Indian trade. When Laffite left Galveston Island in 1820, Jao became a full-time trader. Many years later, Jao moved to New Orleans permanently, where he described his experiences with the buccaneer camps and the Karankawas to Gershom Kursheedt, a resident of New Orleans in 1835.

1842 - On February 15, 1842, Henri Castro, an empresario of the Republic of Texas, received contracts for two grants of land on which he was to establish 600 families. One grant lay west of San Antonio; the other was along the Rio Grande between Camargo and La Sal del Rey. Castro recruited his colonists in France, particularly in Alsace. On September 1, 1844, he left San Antonio for his land grant beyond the Medina River with his first thirty-five colonists.

On September 3 the group reached its destination and began building homes. On September 12 an election was held for two justices of the peace and a constable, and the name Castroville was adopted for the settlement. During the colony's first year 558 headrights were issued, and 485 families and 457 single men were introduced, for a total of 2,134 settlers.

The colony suffered from Indian depredations, cholera, and the drought of 1848, but population increased sufficiently for the formation of Medina County in 1848. The present towns of Castroville, D'Hanis, Quihi, and Vandenburg were founded by the colonists.

1845 - The 111-ton sidewheel steamship Dayton is chiefly remembered for the boiler explosions that caused it to sink in Corpus Christi Bay on September 12, 1845. The vessel was constructed in 1835 by Robert Beer of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who also served as its master and sometime captain. The Dayton traded on the Ohio and down the Mississippi until about 1839, when its shallow draft provided an advantage in the Texas coastwide trade.

In 1840 Galveston city recorder George F. Lawrence was killed during a fight aboard the Dayton. Augustus M. Tomkins and his brother were charged with murder. When strong feelings in the community resulted in a change of venue to Houston, the Dayton carried the witnesses to Harris County. When the Mexican War broke out, the United States Army quartermaster contracted the Dayton to transport men and goods from the depot on St. Joseph Island to the large army beach encampment at Corpus Christi. On July 23, 1845, Gen. Zachary Taylor and a party of the Third Regiment of Infantry made the trip.

The explosions on September 12 occurred after the Dayton left Corpus Christi on a return trip with a party of noncommissioned officers and enlisted men, among them Capt. George Hampton Crosman of the Sixth Regiment of Infantry, who was in charge of the transportation effort and who carried money and a letter of formal discharge from the contract. Near noon one of the boilers exploded off McGloin's Bluff. Two officers, Lt. Benjamin A. Berry of South Carolina and Lt. Thaddeus Higgins of Pennsylvania, were killed instantly. The second boiler exploded as the burning ship settled in the water before sinking.

1874 - The Buffalo Wallow Fight was one of the most unusual engagements in the Red River War. On September 10, 1874, Col. Nelson A. Miles, whose command was running short of rations, sent two scouts, Billy Dixon and Amos Chapman,qqv and four enlisted men, Sgt. Z. T. Woodhall and privates Peter Rath, John Harrington, and George W. Smith, from his camp on McClellan Creek with dispatches concerning the delay of Capt. Wyllys Lyman's supply train, then under siege by Indians on the upper Washita River.

The six-man contingent set out on the trail to Camp Supply in Indian Territory. On the morning of September 12, as they approached the divide between Gageby Creek and the Washita River in Hemphill County, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by about 125 Comanche and Kiowa warriors, some of whom had come from the siege of the wagon train. Since retreating Indians had burned off the prairie grass only days before, there was no shelter close by; Dixon and his companions thus decided to dismount and make a desperate stand.

In a few minutes George Smith, who took charge of the horses, fell with a bullet through his lungs. The horses then stampeded, carrying with them the men's haversacks, canteens, coats, and blankets. The mounted Indians indulged in a cat-and-mouse game with their intended victims by circling them and firing on a dead run.(This is a fascinating story, but much to long to post the entire article).
[ https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/btb03 ]

1897 - Marshall Lee Simmons, sheriff, general manager of the prison system of Texas, and clerk of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Texas, was born to D. A. and Kate B. (Swilling) Simmons, at Linden, Texas, on September 9, 1873. He later completed two years at Austin College and three years at the University of Texas in preparation for entering the law firm of his brother, D. E. Simmons, then a member of the state legislature.

Simmons never received a degree from UT, however, because during the summer of 1894 he was arrested and charged with murder after a shootout with a former West Texas county official who supposedly had spoken derogatorily of a member of the Simmons family. Simmons was found not guilty of the charge, apparently by reason of self-defense, by a Denton County jury on September 12, 1897. In 1912, due to widespread lawlessness in the county, centered in particular in the rail town of Denison, Simmons acceded to the requests of county friends and neighbors that he seek the office of sheriff.

He was elected in November 1912. Three days before taking office in December, he was seriously wounded by an outraged supporter of the outgoing sheriff, and his recovery postponed his assumption of the post for a month. Simmons served two terms as county sheriff and stepped down in 1916, after having "done much to tame Denison" and reduce bootlegging and general lawlessness in the county. His reputation as a lawman recommended him in 1923 to Governor Pat M. Neff, who appointed him to a three-member commission established to inspect and recommend changes in the state's prison system.

Governor Daniel J. Moody appointed him to the state prison board in 1927. About three years later Simmons accepted the position of general manager of the state prison system. This last appointment, which he held until November 1935, necessitated his residence in Huntsville. Simmons later played a major role in assembling the group of lawmen and informants who ambushed the gangsters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker near Gibsland, Louisiana, on May 23, 1934.

Simmons instituted the Texas Prison Rodeo, the state's "fastest and wildest rodeo," at Huntsville in October 1931. In 1936, a year after his resignation as general manager of the prison system, Simmons was hired as clerk of the United States Court, Eastern District of Texas, a position that he held until 1941. Between 1943 and 1953 he served as manager of the Denison office of the Southwest Power Administration. After retiring he chronicled his life in an autobiography, Assignment Huntsville: Memoirs of a Texas Prison Official (1959). Simmons died in Austin during a trip to check on the publication of the manuscript of this book on October 12, 1957.

1899 - Ruth Brazzil Roome, a member of the All-Woman Supreme Court, the eldest child of William N. and Winnie Shelman Brazzil, was born in Tyler, Texas, on September 12, 1889. She obtained at least part of her early education in Wharton, Texas, and attended the University of Texas as a special student in law.

In 1912 she was admitted to the Texas bar. In appointing a qualified third justice for the All-Woman Supreme Court just before it convened in January 1925, Governor Pat Neff located and recommended Ruth Brazzil for the court. She had the required seven years of legal experience, unlike the women originally nominated for her position, and familiarity with property law.

1931 - George Glenn Jones, renowned country music singer, son of Clare (Patterson) and George Washington Jones, was born at Saratoga, Texas, on September 12, 1931. [ https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjocs ]

1944 - Barry White, singer, producer, and songwriter, was born Barry Eugene Carter on September 12, 1944, in Galveston, Texas. Introduced to classical music and gospel singing at an early age, he began his professional career as a piano player and went on to become a successful soul crooner, topping the charts in the 1970s.[ https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcaau ]
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