This Day In Texas History - September 27

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This Day In Texas History - September 27


Post by joe817 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:37 am

1806 - Leonard Waller Groce, plantation owner, oldest son of Mary Ann (Waller) and Jared E. Groce, was born in Lincoln County, Georgia, on September 27, 1806. He was attending school in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was called home in 1821 to help his father move to Texas. The Groces reached the Brazos River in January 1822 and obtained title to their land from Stephen F. Austin in 1824.

Texas. In 1830 he and his brother, Jared Ellison Groce III, went into cotton trading with Thomas F. McKinney. On November 17, 1831, Groce married Courtney Ann Fulton; they lived at Bernardo Plantation, which they inherited in the division of the Jared E. Groce property in 1835. The town of Courtney in Grimes County is named for Mrs. Groce. Groce purchased the greater part of his father's ten-league grant as well as other land and in 1838 was paying taxes on 67,000 acres. In 1829 Groce was a member of the local militia at San Felipe de Austin.

He was a delegate to the Convention of 1833 and was commissioned a colonel in the Texas army by Governor Henry Smith in 1835, but his military service was as a private in Capt. William Ware's company from June 4 to September 4, 1836. Groce's main contribution to the Texas Revolution was the supplying of corn and beef for the army. When the "Twin Sisters" arrived in Texas on April 11, 1836, they were mounted at Bernardo. [ ]

1827 - José de las Piedras was commander of the Mexican forces in Nacogdoches from 1827 to 1832. On September 27, 1827, he relieved Mariano Cosio in command of the contingent of the Twelfth Permanent Battalion of the Mexican Army that occupied Nacogdoches from the spring of 1827 until August 2, 1832. He was fairly successful in his difficult task of controlling a predominantly Anglo-American town because he paid little attention to the civil government and confined his efforts to the military command.

On May 21, 1832, Piedras was ordered by the general commandant, José Mariano Guerro, to report to Anahuac to put an end to the Anahuac Disturbances, which were the culmination of the Texan colonists' grievances against John Davis Bradburn. Piedras arrived in Anahuac on July 1, 1832, placed Juan N. Cortina in charge of the Mexican garrison, and returned to Nacogdoches soon thereafter.

His support of Anastasio Bustamante and his refusal to adhere to Antonio López de Santa Anna's Plan of Jalapa resulted in his expulsion from East Texas in the battle of Nacogdoches on August 2, 1832. Piedras and his men left Nacogdoches on the night of August 2, but were intercepted the next day on the Angelina River.

As Piedras took refuge in John M. Durst's home, his men betrayed him, and he and 300 troops were escorted back to Nacogdoches. Piedras eventually was taken to Stephen F. Austin at San Felipe, where he received parole. He then rejoined his family in Matamoros. In the struggle in Tampico between the Federalists and the Bustamante government, the Centralist forces under Piedras were defeated, and he was killed in April 1839.

1835 - Francisco de Castañeda (Castonado), lieutenant in the Mexican army and commander of the Mexican contingent at the battle of Gonzales, was attached to the Presidial Company of Alamo de Parras (the SECOND FLYING COMPANY OF SAN CARLOS), billeted in the old San Antonio de Valero Mission in the fall of 1835. He saw action against hostile Indians. On September 27, 1835, Castañeda was sent by Domingo de Ugartechea with a force of 100 cavalrymen to retrieve a cannon lent to the citizens of Gonzales in 1831 for Indian defense. The citizens of refused to relinquish the Gonzales "come and take it" cannon, and the battle of Gonzales resulted.

1865 - In the Union blockade of Texas seaports during the Civil War the USS Arthur captured five Confederate vessels and was one of three federal boats to attack Corpus Christi in August 1862. The bark was a three-masted sailing ship built in Amesburg, Massachusetts, in 1855 and commissioned on December 11, 1861, with acting volunteer lieutenant J. W. Kittredge in command.

The Arthur set sail from New York in January 1862, joined the Gulf blockading squadron off the Texas coast, and cruised between Aransas Pass and Cavallo Pass until August of that year. On August 18 the Arthur joined the Sachem and the Corypheus in an attack on Corpus Christi in which three Confederate vessels were burned.

On September 14, 1862, while exploring the Laguna Madre at Flour Bluff, Lieutenant Kittredge and seven men were captured by the Confederates. He was described as thirty-five years old, and "a small, light man, with a sallow complexion." Between October 1863 and August 1865 the Arthur served as a guard ship at Pensacola, Florida. It was sold at New York on September 27, 1865.

1865 - The San Antonio Express-News has the longest history of continuous publication among the English-language newspapers of San Antonio. The Express took its name from the Alamo Express, a Union paper published by James Pearson Newcomb, and was first published as a weekly on September 27, 1865, by H. Pollmar and August Siemering, who also published the San Antonio Freie Presse für Texas.

Type was set by hand, and the newspaper was printed on the presses of the Freie Presse. In December 1866 the paper was first published as a daily and prepared with the use of the telegraph, and in 1868 it began to use Associated Press dispatches. After 1890 the company moved again, installed its first stereotyping equipment and a Mergenthaler linotype, and acquired its first Associated Press leased wire service. The Express constructed its own building, the first steel fireproof building in San Antonio, in 1895, by which time the paper employed 195 people.

Circulation had reached almost 34,000 by 1918, when M. M. Harris became editor of the paper. The company began publishing the Evening News on September 4 of that year and in 1922 became the owner and operator of radio station WOAI . A new building was dedicated in 1929 on the day the stock market crashed. Photographic sports coverage was provided by homing pigeon in 1938, and war interest increased circulation. [ ]

1868 - Don H. Biggers, newspaper editor, satirist, and historian, the son of Samuel Washington and Elizabeth A. Biggers, was born in Meridian, Texas, on September 27, 1868. His boyhood on a small cattle ranch near Breckenridge and visits to the buffalo range gave Biggers a lifelong love of the land and of those who settled and farmed it. He learned the printing trade in Colorado City in 1884.

In 1889 he published his first booklet, A Handbook of Reference . . . of Eastland County, a glowing account of the county's many advantages. In 1890 Biggers purchased the Midland Gazette. When its offices burned a few months later, the restless editor took up a wandering and prolific career of writing and publishing in various West and Central Texas towns.

He published the Ranger Atlas (1891), the Clayton (New Mexico) Union-Democrat (1897), the West Texas Stockman (1898–1900), the Colorado Spokesman (1900), and the Rotan Advance (1907–09). In 1901 he published History That Will Never Be Repeated, about the development of ranching in West Texas (this work was reprinted in 1961 by Seymour V. Connor under the title A Biggers Chronicle), and in 1902 Pictures of the Past, a collection of old-timers' reminiscences about the great buffalo slaughter of the 1870s (this work was not reprinted and is a rare and expensive item of Texana). [ ]

1901 - Henry Bartell (Pat) Zachry, engineer, contractor, philanthropist, rancher, and business leader, was the founder of H. B. Zachry Company, one of the country's largest construction companies. He was born on September 27, 1901, in Uvalde, the second of three children of John Henry and Emma (Bartell) Zachry. Henry Bartell was an honor student at Uvalde High School, where he debated, lettered in baseball and football, and played in the band.

He planned to use his scholarship at Texas A&M to study animal husbandry. He wanted to be a rancher. However, World War I was nearing its end when he entered college in the fall of 1918, and A&M was not offering the courses that he wanted. He switched to civil engineering, graduated in 1922, and began a career that would make the Zachry name known the world over as a respected and resourceful builder.

He received his first job offer with the United States Geodetic Survey in Panama, but his mother's illness prevented him from accepting it. He went instead to Laredo, where his family had moved, and became a Webb County surveyor. There he drew plans for his first highway, a county road to a nearby oilfield. When the State Highway Department took over its building he founded the H. B. Zachry Company and bid successfully on constructing the road's one bridge.

That $40,000 job, in 1924, launched a business that would one day build many more bridges, thousands of miles of highways, dozens of dams, pipelines, power plants, and air fields, and a variety of installations throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. Zachry projects include the runways at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; missile bases at Abilene, Texas, and Kwajalein in the South Pacific; an air base in Thailand; a segment of the Alaskan pipeline; hospitals in San Antonio and Saudi Arabia; the United Nations peace-keeping installation in the Sinai Peninsula; and hundreds more.

At times the Zachry enterprises have had as many as 12,000 employees working on projects as varied as a Peruvian mountain highway, a nuclear power plant in Spain, and large petrochemical plants in Texas. [ ]

1903 - Though it is a ghost town today, Thurber once had a population of perhaps as many as 8,000 to 10,000. At that time (1918–20) it was the principal bituminous-coal-mining town in Texas. The site of the town is seventy-five miles west of Fort Worth in the northwest corner of Erath County. Mining operations were begun there in December 1886 by William Whipple Johnson and Harvey Johnson. Isolation forced the operators to recruit miners from other states and from overseas.

The force of predominantly foreign workers, many of whom spoke little or no English, enabled the company to maintain a repressive environment for many years. Following inability to meet a payroll and a resulting strike by miners, the Johnsons sold out in the fall of 1888 to founders of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company, including Robert Dickey Hunter, who became president of the new company, and H. K. Thurber of New York, for whom the town was named.

Colonel Hunter chose to deal with the dissident miners, who were affiliated with the Knights of Labor, with an iron hand. The new company fenced a portion of its property and within the enclosure constructed a complete town and mining complex, including schools, churches, saloons, stores, houses, an opera house seating over 650, a 200-room hotel, an ice and electric plant, and the only library in the county.

Eventually the strike ended, and the miners and their families moved into the new town. In 1897 a second industry came to the town, a large brick plant; Hunter was also a partner in this operation, which, although it was separate from the mining company's holdings, used clay found on company property. A stockade, armed guards, and a barbed wire fence, which restricted labor organizers, peddlers, and other unauthorized personnel, regulated access to the town.

Despite the retirement of Colonel Hunter in 1899, Thurber remained a company-dominated community. William Knox Gordon, the new manager of the Thurber properties, at first continued the established policy of suppression and antiunionism. Continuation of such activities resulted in a concentrated effort by the United Mine Workers to unionize the Thurber miners.

Following the induction in September 1903 of more than 1,600 members into the Thurber local of the UMW and the organization of locals of carpenters, brick makers, clerks, meat cutters, and bartenders, the company opened negotiations with the workers and, on September 27, 1903, reached an agreement resulting in harmonious labor-management relations. Thurber gained recognition as the only 100 percent closed-shop city in the nation.(Note: There's much more to this story) [ ]

1944 - James H. Fields, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Caddo, Texas, on June 16, 1920 He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston and was drafted into the army in 1942. He was a member of the Tenth Armored Infantry, Fourth Armored Division, United States Army. First Lieutenant Fields was cited for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" on September 27, 1944, at Réchicourt, France.

He led his depleted platoon in a counterattack on an enemy position and exposed himself to enemy fire while attending to one of his wounded men. He himself was wounded in the face by a bursting shell. Badly injured and rendered speechless he continued to direct his platoon in the attack by hand signals. Two enemy machine-guns had the platoon in a deadly crossfire.

Fields left his foxhole, picked up a light machine gun, and, firing from the hip, knocked out both the enemy positions. His action inspired his men to increase the pressure of the attack. Only when the enemy was scattered did Fields allow himself to be evacuated to the command post. There he refused further evacuation until he could brief the battalion commander.

Only eleven of the fifty-five men in his platoon survived the day's engagement. Fields's heroism was largely responsible for the repulse of the enemy forces and was an inspiration to the entire command. After the war he became an independent oil operator. He died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Houston (now the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston) on June 17, 1970, and was survived by his wife, Mathilde, and four children. He was buried in the VA Houston National Cemetery.

1948 - The first television station in Texas, WBAP-TV, Fort Worth, began operating on September 27, 1948, carrying a speech by President Harry Truman; the station officially signed on two days later. By 1950 six stations were in operation in Texas, with three in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, two in San Antonio, and one in Houston.

The rapid growth of television in its early stages prompted the Federal Communications Commission to bring all television construction to a halt in the summer of 1950 in order to allow a long-range analysis of the industry, upon which channel allocations and technical specifications could be based. The number of television stations in the state increased dramatically in the 1980s, going from sixty-nine stations in 1980 to ninety-five stations in 1990 and 109 in 1995.

In 1995 forty-three cities had one or more stations; El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston led with eight stations each, followed by Dallas with seven, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Odessa with five each, and Fort Worth and Waco with four each. [ ]

1976 - John Russell (Hondo) Crouch, humorist, writer, and owner and self-proclaimed mayor of Luckenbach, Texas, was born on December 4, 1916, in Hondo, Texas, to Ione and Harry Crouch, a telegraph operator for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Hondo Crouch was an All-American swimmer at the University of Texas, where he was awarded a degree in physical education in 1941.

After training as a navigator in the Air Corps at Garner Field in 1942, he settled down to raise sheep, goats, and cattle near Fredericksburg. From 1963 to 1975, under the pen name Peter Cedarstacker, Crouch wrote about 600 "Cedar Creek Clippings" for the Comfort News. Through his characters from the mythical town of Cedar Creek he satirized politics, government, ecology, deer hunters, social life, and everyday country problems and celebrations.

In 1971 he bought Luckenbach, a small community established as an Indian trading post by German immigrant Albert Luckenbach in 1849. There Crouch presided as mayor over a population of three plus a single parking meter. As "clown prince" he brought to life the town's motto, "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach." He held zany celebrations, such as the Luckenbach World's Fair, the first Texas "women only" chili cook-off, Return of the Mud Daubers, and no-talent contests.

Crouch participated in a Folklife Festival for Texas at the Smithsonian Institution in 1964. On July 4, 1976, Luckenbach received national attention for celebrating the Non-Buy Centennial, protesting the commercialization of the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. Crouch was a Republican. Crouch died of a heart attack on September 27, 1976, in Blanco.
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