This Day In Texas History - September 16

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This Day In Texas History - September 16


Post by joe817 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:35 am

1822 - John Holland Jenkins, soldier of the Republic of Texas, Texas Ranger, Confederate soldier, and author of an important memoir, was born on September 16, 1822, in Demopolis, Marengo County, Alabama. He was a man of little education but learned to write in a vigorous and cultivated style.

By his recollection he and his family left Alabama in mid-October 1828 for Stephen F. Austin's third or little colony in Texas and lived for a time with the family of William Barton on Barton Creek near the site of present Rosanky before building a cedar-log cabin on their own league on the west bank of the Colorado River near the site of present Bastrop in 1830.

At age thirteen Jenkins joined Capt. Jesse Billingsley's Company C-called the "Mina Volunteers"-of Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, of Sam Houston's army. He is thought to have been the youngest Texan to serve in the San Jacinto campaign. "As I found myself among old friends and acquaintances, with all of a growing boy's appetite for good beef, bread, and adventure, I thought there had never been such fun as serving as a Texas soldier marching against Mexico," he later wrote. After the Mexican army evacuated Texas, the Jenkins family returned to Bastrop, where Jenkins gained a reputation as an Indian fighter. [ ]

1842 - James S. Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Tennessee in 1809 and moved to Texas in 1837. In January 1839 he was practicing law in Nacogdoches with J. M. White and later that year was chosen to go with Albert Sidney Johnston to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. Mayfield represented Nacogdoches County in the Fifth and Sixth congresses (1840–42) and introduced the Franco-Texian Bill.

From February 8, 1841, to September 7, 1841, Mayfield served as secretary of state under Mirabeau B. Lamar, except for the period from April 30 to September 7, when Joseph Waples and Samuel A. Roberts served consecutively in his place. On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of volunteers from La Grange, to follow Capt. Nicholas Dawson in an attempt to repel Gen. Adrián Woll's Mexican army from San Antonio.

His group, joined by others under the command of Jesse Billingsley and W. J. Wallace, arrived at the scene of the Dawson massacre on Salado Creek while it was occurring. Mayfield, as the commanding officer, determined that his group was too far outnumbered and remained in the distance until the following day, when he joined the command of Mathew Caldwell. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. In April 1846 Mayfield helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. He was living in La Grange in 1849, the year he killed Absolom Bostwick in a political argument. [ ]

1842 - Nicholas Mosby Dawson, hero of the Texas Revolution, was born in Woolford, Kentucky, in 1808. He later moved with his parents to White County, Tennessee, where he attended school. He moved to Texas in 1834 and settled in Fayette County near the home of a relative, William Mosby Eastland. Dawson enlisted in the revolutionary army on January 24, 1836, and within a week was elected to the rank of second lieutenant of Company B, Texas Volunteers. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto.

He served as captain of a militia company in 1840 during an Indian campaign in what is now Mitchell County. In August 1837 he was a lieutenant in Company C and in 1842 was captain of a company of volunteers under John H. Moore. He was residing in Fayette County when Adrián Woll invaded Texas in the fall of 1842. Dawson organized a small company of some fifteen men and left La Grange on September 16, 1842. Soon his company numbered fifty-three men, recruited from settlements in Fayette, Gonzales, and DeWitt counties.

While attempting to join Texas forces under Mathew Caldwell on Salado Creek near San Antonio, Dawson and his men were surrounded by a large number of Mexican cavalry on September 18. The following battle, known as the Dawson Massacre, resulted in the death or capture of nearly all the Texans. Dawson was among the casualties. On September 18, 1848, his remains and those of thirty-five other victims of the battle were buried along with casualties from the Mier expedition in a vault on Monument Hill near La Grange. Dawson County is named for Nicholas Dawson.

1844 - Perote Castle (originally the Castle of San Carlos), located in the Mexican state of Vera Cruz, was built over a seven-year period in the 1770s by the Spanish authorities in Mexico to guard one of their main trade routes and to serve as a depository for treasure awaiting shipment to Spain. The stone fortress, covering an estimated twenty-six acres and surrounded by a moat, was used by the Mexican government as a prison. In the dungeons of Perote most of the Texas prisoners captured by Mexico in the days of the Republic of Texas were incarcerated.

Texans imprisoned there were chiefly from three groups: the Texan Santa Fe expedition prisoners, the Nicholas Dawson prisoners, and the prisoners captured on the Mier expedition. Some of the 300-odd members of the Texan Santa Fe expedition were confined at Perote during the winter of 1841–42. Most of them were released at the general emancipation of the Santa Fe prisoners in June 1842. In December 1842 about fifty men captured in San Antonio by Adrián Woll were placed in Perote, and a few months later various detachments of the Mier prisoners, about 200 in all, were also incarcerated there.

Their plight aroused sympathy in Texas and in the United States, and in April 1843 President John Tyler instructed Waddy Thompson, United States minister in Mexico, to negotiate for release of the Texas prisoners and demand the release of any imprisoned citizens of the United States. The Texas Congress made appropriations for the relief of the men at Perote, but the money never reached the prisoners, many of whom came to feel that their country was forsaking them and that President Sam Houston was not making any effort to secure their release.

Groups of the Perote prisoners were released from time to time through the influence of Thompson and the British minister, Lord Packenham. On July 2, 1843, sixteen Texans escaped through a hole bored in the walls; eight were recaptured. On March 25, 1844, sixteen other men effected an escape through a tunnel; of these, seven were recaptured. On March 23, 1844, two days before, the Bexar prisoners had been released.

On September 16, 1844, the remaining Texas prisoners, about 105, were released. Accurate records on the number who escaped, who were released through influence of friends, who died from disease, starvation, or exposure, and who were killed by Mexican guards are not available.

1861 - Paul Octave Hébert, Confederate Army officer, was born in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, on December 12, 1818. He graduated first in his class at Jefferson College in 1836 and first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1840, ranking well ahead of classmates William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas.

Hébert was commissioned a second lieutenant of engineers and in 1842 returned to West Point as an instructor, but resigned from the army on March 31, 1845, to become chief engineer for Louisiana. With Louisiana's secession, Hébert was appointed colonel of the First Louisiana Artillery; on August 17 he was promoted to brigadier general. Soon thereafter he was appointed to the command of the Department of Texas, superseding Earl Van Dorn and the interim administration of Henry E. McCulloch. Hébert assumed command on September 16, 1861, and established his headquarters at Galveston.

Appalled by the state's lack of an adequate coastal defense system, he wrote to Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker, "I regret to say that I find this coast in almost a defenseless state, and in the almost total want of proper works and armaments; the task of defending successfully any point against an attack of any magnitude amounts to a military impossibility." The general called, therefore, on every Texan to "clean his old musket, shot-gun, or rifle, run his bullets, fill his powder-horn, sharpen his knife, and see that his revolver is ready to his hand."

If the men responded to his call, he assured them, although the Texas coast might be invaded, the enemy would "never hold a foot of your soil-never!" Despite such rhetoric, Hébert proved unpopular with Texas troops, who considered him aristocratic and imperious. Further, he did not win the approval of Governor Francis R. Lubbock, who considered him "somewhat bewildered by the magnitude of the task assigned him, and not to have matured...any definite line of policy." Hébert was replaced, therefore, in 1862 by Gen. John B. Magruder.
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1880 - The Chicago, Texas and Mexican Central Railway Company was chartered on September 16, 1880, to acquire the moribund Dallas, Cleburne and Rio Grande Railway. The DC&RG had completed fifty-three miles of narrow-gauge track between Dallas and Cleburne in 1879. In order to collect a promised bonus, the company ran one freight and one passenger train over the line, but service was then abandoned. At this time a number of prominent Dallas businessmen, including Alexander Sanger, J. B. Simpson, and A. T. Hardie, became involved in the project.

These men secured investments from northern businessmen and a bonus of $50,000 to replace the narrow-gauge line with a standard-gauge road. The line would connect Dallas with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe track at Cleburne. A new charter was taken out on September 16, 1880, under the name Chicago, Texas and Mexican Central Railway Company. The planned railroad was to connect Dallas with the Rio Grande in Kinney County and with the Red River in Lamar County. The line was acquired by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company in June 1882, and the GC&SF began the conversion to standard gauge the following month.

1890 - The University of North Texas is a multipurpose university on 500 acres in Denton. The school was founded by Joshua C. Chilton as a private college in 1890, when Denton was a rural, agricultural hamlet of 2,500. With the help of local civic leaders, Chilton established Texas Normal College and Teachers' Training Institute to prepare teachers and educate business and professional men for Texas. The first classes were held on September 16, 1890, on the second floor of the B. J. Wilson hardware store, on the northwest corner of the Denton county courthouse square.
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