Diary - Texas History Columns
Endless Search for Texas Cannon 4-6-16
Branded Murder 1889 12-4-15
Cox - Fighting Indians on the Texas Frontier 2-2-15
Red - ugliest man living or dead 12-15-14
– When Texas Was Young 11-22-14
that time again in Gonzales - Come & Take It 10-2-14
great flood of 1940 hits Moulton 9-18-14
Hallettsville Became Seat of Lavaca County - An Eyewitness Account
Store celebrates 125 years and is still going strong 5-19-14
Barnett's Traveling Whale Show 4-18-14
to the Council House Fight 3-23-14
in Peace, Son of the South - William Riley Byas 2-16-14
at Goliad 1-13-14
A letter written by J.G. Ferguson to his (Ferguson’s) twin brother
on March 2, 1836. This document gives a real insight into the final
days surrounding the tragedy at Goliad as seen through the eyes
of a man who lived and died there.
Butler Bonham 11-2-13
The Alamo's brave messenger
Successful Cattleman to Man Burner 10-4-13
Print Olive could have been highly successful in life if he would
have stayed on the right side of the law.
Houston's trusted friend was born a slave 8-27-13
The man who was born into slavery and went on to become a trusted
friend of Sam Houston died in Belton on April 3, 1941. He is honored
by two Texas historical markers...
of the steamship Mary Summers 7-29-13
Listed on National Register of Historic Places, beneath the waters
of the Navidad River rests the wreckage of the Confederate iron-hulled
steamship known as Mary Summers.
became of Jim Bowie's famous knife? 6-13-13
When we read stories about the heroes of the Alamo, namely Crockett,
Travis, and Bowie, it’s very hard to separate fact from fiction.
Legends about the lives of these men are numerous, and when the
legend is more romantic than the fact, it seems fiction takes center
President of the Republic 5-13-13
Like so many other men who came to Texas during those trying times
proceeding war with Mexico, Anson Jones had a colorful past. At
times he was successful but, more often than not, failure seemed
to follow this man who would end up being the last president of
the Republic of Texas.
Willie's Picnic 4-15-13
Willie Nelson, for many years, has been regarded as an outlaw in
his music and his lifestyle. No doubt, he attracts many fans — but
he also stirs up feelings in some folks that are somewhat negative
to say the least. Such was the case in Gonzales County in July of
1976. Because you see, Ol’ Willie was coming to town.
Texas newspaper reports: U.S. declares war on Japan 3-5-13
President Roosevelt’s message to a joint session of Congress, asking
for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan
From the front page of The Gonzales Inquirer, December 8,
Camels Came to Texas 2-7-13
Some Texans may not be know that once upon a time the Lone Star
State was home to not only longhorns and buffalo, but another ornery
and smelly beast the North African camel.
Movie star Goldie Hawn and actor Ben Johnson were in Belmont, Texas,
in March of 1973, filming portions of the movie, "Sugarland Express."
changing face of Texas from 1860-1960 12-3-12
What Texas was like just prior to the Civil War
piece at a time 11-16-12
Oliver Albert, a resident of Gonzales, and his hand-built Longhorn
Pat Wagner and the "Come & Take It" Cannon 10-16-12
"He was determined to prove that the cannon he purchased from
Robert Vance of Refugio was truly the little gun that had started
the Texas Revolution at Gonzales on October 2, 1835."
Deadly Tower 9-18-12
One of the saddest days in Texas history occurred August 1, 1966.
On that day a crazed man started firing from the observation deck
at the University of Texas tower picking random human targets
on the ground and hitting them with deadly accuracy...
to be a Texas Ranger, the life of John Coffee (Jack) Hays 8-27-12
It seems that from the day he was born, Jack Hays was destined to
be a Texas Ranger – when you consider his roots, it shouldn’t have
been any other way.
Lavaca County's old Grieve School 7-27-12
Not long ago, I was going through files from the Lavaca County Tribune...
I came across an old article about the Grieve School which was located
in the Novohrad community in Lavaca County.
County Courthouse 6-18-12
From the original April 23, 1896, issue of The Gonzales Inquirer,
on the front page.
Ada Stone 5-28-12
109-Year-Old Ex-Slave Recalls Days Long Past
War to End All Wars 4-7-12
A Gonzales County boy, Courtney C. Buchanan, served with the 36th
Infantry Division in World War I and some of the letters that he
wrote home to his family and friends were published in The Gonzales
Texan by Choice 3-17-12
A story about James Charles Wilson who was born in England and became,
“by choice,” a Texan and patriot from Gonzales County.
Weapon of the Confederate Navy 2-10-12
H.L. Hunley, world's first combat submarine
back in time at Gonzales' Pioneer Village 1-13-12
I’ve often been surprised at the number of folks living in Texas
who have never paid a visit to a historic treasure located in Gonzales
County. The treasure that I am referring to is Pioneer Village...
Clayton: Rebel with a Cause 12-10-11
Dialogue from an old movie came to mind when I read the obituary
of John H. Clayton. The film depicted an intense battle and many
men were being killed. One of the actors said, “Where do we find
men such as these? Men who will charge into combat and die for a
cause, without any regard for their own life.” Apparently, Clayton
was that type of man.
dollar paid for Texas cattle in 1870s 11-9-11
A newspaper becomes an eyewitness to history as it documents the
story of those cattle drives and markets in 1874.
River, A Town, and Memories" 10-10-11
Remembering Tillie McGill Bright
"I met her one time and I will always cherish those few hours that
we spent together — talking about the memories of her childhood
in Gonzales, Texas..."
of Lavaca River cannon remains unsolved 9-9-11
"I’ve written about the cannon more than once, the first time
being some 14 years ago when I was working for The Gonzales Inquirer
– that original column brought folks out of the woodwork providing
me with more information than I could ever have imagined..."
Texas Ranger killed in Mexico 8-12-11
This story was found in an old Hallettsville Herald from 1893 and
describes a fight between Rangers and smugglers on the Rio Grande...
County's Old Brown School 7-25-11
Recently, I came across this article describing the history of the
old Brown School near Hallettsville. People who were raised in Lavaca
County, Texas, are probably familiar with the old school... in hopes
that it would stir some memories and perhaps more information would
of two Texas Rangers Lee Hall and John Barclay Armstrong 6-27-11
There’s not many times when people are doing research on the history
of Texas that they don’t come across that illustrious group of lawmen
known as the Texas Rangers...
Revenge of 'Devil John' McCoy 6-3-11
John McCoy, called “Devil John” because of his bravery and daring,
lived near Concrete in DeWitt County. One of his neighbors was killed
and horribly mutilated. Suspicion rested upon a tribe of friendly
Lipan Indians in the neighborhood...
the lesser-known heroes of the Alamo 4-11-11
Texas history contains much information about the famous men who
died at the Alamo, but what about the others; the messengers?
Marcus Valenta achieves longest active-duty record in U.S. history
Of all the chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces, one has seen longer
continuous combat-theatre duty than any other...
Legend of Campbell’s Branch 12-9-10
If you leave Hallettsville traveling on FM 957 towards Breslau,
you will cross over a small creek named West Campbell Branch – known
as just plain “Campbell Branch” to most folks. Recently I came across
a fascinating story, from 1944, about the legend of Campbell’s Branch...
West Of The Pecos” 10-11-10
You will look in vain for Eagle’s Nest on the map of Texas today,
for the town of Langtry has taken its place. But in the old days
of 40 years ago Eagle’s Nest was famed for just one thing – a saloon.
On the front of this building was a sign which read “Judge Roy Bean,
Justice of the Peace, Law West of the Pecos.”
Moulton: The Queen of the Prairies 9-1-10
In his book, The History of Lavaca County, well-known local historian
Paul C. Boethel has several pages describing some of the towns in
the county, including a location known for years as Old Moulton...
Hinton’s Great Pencil Collection 8-1-10
Back in 1969, The Gonzales Inquirer ran a feature story about a
man named Claude Hinton and his somewhat unique hobby. You see,
Claude collected pencils — over 5,000 of them...
of Dead in WWII 7-3-10
Back on June 27, 1946, the War Department released a booklet with
a list of the war dead and those considered missing in action. According
to authorities this was the first consolidated listing of Army dead
and missing in World War II...
the Dalton boys ever visit Lavaca County 6-4-10
In the year 1895, reports were circulating around Victoria, Texas,
that a member, or members, of the famous Dalton Gang were in the
Victoria and Lavaca County area...
Mendoza' and the Battle of the Bulge 4-19-10
The story of Medal of Honor recipient Jose Mendoza Lopez.
From The Sky 3-9-10
One story appeared first in the Yoakum Times and the Halletsville
Herald printed it on July 16, 1903. This fascinating piece was about
a fellow named Benedict Manning who was witness to several strange
occurrences during his lifetime...
were welcome at Fink's Hotel in Hallettsville 2-6-10
It has been said that Mr. and Mrs. A. Finkelstein always had a room
in their hotel and a home-cooked meal for any who appeared at the
Fly: Confederate soldier and Texas statesman 1-1-10
The Fly name is very prominent in the history of Gonzales...
Wild Bill Was No Hero 11-20-09
The Legend of Bill Longley
Adventures of Spencer Houston Jack 10-6-09
Students and researchers of Texas history are inundated with information
about the heroes of the Texas Revolution. But more often than not,
the history books don’t tell us much about ordinary soldiers who
also served Texas in the cause of freedom. One such man was Spencer
outlaw Sam Bass inspired tall tales 8-24-09
He was only 27 years old when he met his maker, but during his short
life he became the subject of cowboy songs and tall tales which
were told around many a campfire in Texas...
Cattlemen saved Texas from financial ruin 7-10-09
After the Civil War, Texas and the rest of the South were in a bad
economic situation. The war had drained the resources of the defeated
states and when the soldiers returned home, they found it extremely
hard to make a living. But Texas had an untapped resource roaming
wild on the open range – longhorn cattle provided an industry that
grew to become the largest in the state.
was booming in the early 1900s 3-17-09
With the construction of a new light system in the summer of 1900,
Hallettsville started a nine-year run of development that included
the construction of new buildings, the beginning of new businesses,
and renovations to existing structures...
I came across several articles in the old Hallettsville Herald that
I found to be very interesting, if not downright hilarious...
of a Mier Expedition Survivor 1-18-09
Harbor attack teaches a valuable lesson 12-11-08
story of Emil Kreklau's self-propelled fan 11-1-08
Memories of Hurricane Carla 10-13-08
saloon for every editor in old Hallettsville 8-29-08
Veterans Should Be Honored 8-8-08
slave recalls memories of old Lavaca County 7-7-08
life and times of F.W. Neuhaus 5-8-08
Weekend at Port O’Connor, Texas 4-10-08
adventures of John Himes Livergood 3-20-08
time to honor our military veterans 11-9-07
Jesse James really in that Missouri grave? 10-4-07
Tunes Bring Back Memories 8-8-07
Smith - Eyes of the Texas Army 7-5-07
the Bastrop Chronicler 5-19-07
John Holmes Jenkins
from the Alamo 3-27-07
Soda-Pop War 1-24-07
a Wonderful Life 12-6-06
Grand Old Lady On The Square" Lavaca County Courthouse 10-18-06
Demise of Bad Man Buckley 9-1-06
During the days of early Texas, there were many a scoundrel packing
guns and causing panic and mayhem amongst the town folk. Hallettsville
had one of the worst of these villains..
True Texas Woman 7-20-06
Most Distinguished Tramp 6-21-06
of Local Doctor During Reconstruction 5-22-06
Half-breed Savage 4-20-06
First Shot May Have Been Second 3-18-06
'Come and Take It' and the Battle of Velasco
Rangers and the Battle of Plum Creek 2-19-06
Old Iron Bridges of Lavaca County 1-19-06
is a special time 12-20-05
Photographer Left a Legacy of Memories 11-18-05
Henry Jacob Braunig
Soldiers in the Confederate Army 10-17-05
Woman of the Navidad 9-13-05
"The Navidad isn’t really much of a river, as rivers go – it’s
not very famous and can’t be compared to the stunning Guadalupe
or majestic Colorado, when it comes to beauty. But the little old
Navidad just might have a claim to fame that the others can’t equal.
You see, the Navidad has a past of mysterious and wild creatures,
of the two-legged variety, living along its winding path...."
Man From Nickel: Leslie Jones Askey 8-19-05
The classic example of an entrepreneur.
and outlaws were common in early days 7-19-05
"Folks living in Lavaca County in this day and time might be
surprised to know that back in the 1870’s, 1880’s and 1890’s this
was quite a wild place..."
Family Cemetery 6/15/05
Gaertner's Story 5/14/05
Every town needs a storyteller and Moulton is fortunate to have
a mighty good one in a feisty fellow named Richard Gaertner.
"All three of the high-school pals saw action in Vietnam –
two survived and one, Tommy Lenz, would die a month after his 21st
birthday and just a week before he was due to come home. He had
volunteered to go on a mission to replace a man who was ill..."
Turner Hotel Uncovered by Hallettsville Fire 3/21/05
García, Veteran of D-Day 2/16/05
Lost Treasure of Padre Island 12/11/04
Survivor tells of dreadful ordeal... A captive of the Comanche
The Horrors of Bataan 7/17/04
The story of one survivor...
County brothers make guns for the South...
The Dance boys and their guns 6/9/04
Angel of Goliad 5/19/04
"A tenderhearted Mexican lady who will forever be remembered
for her many acts of kindness during those dismal days of the Texas
Kimble and Almaron Dickinson, Heroic hat makers at the Alamo
of The Alamo... Remembering Adina De Zava 4/20/04
"If it hadn't been for her efforts, the Alamo might well have
been replaced by a parking lot."
history curse... It's got to be true or I'm not interested!
"It seems to me that these moviemakers should strive for authenticity
when it comes to portraying history. Anyone who studies Texas history
can tell you that these "true" stories are an adventure all their
family tree has roots made of cedar 8/03
The early cedar choppers didn't really maintain a home - many lived
out of a wagon, sleeping in tents and traveling from one cedar brake
to another ... Living off the land, they hunted their meat ....
story of Gregorio Cortez 7/03
He was considered a hero by the Mexican people; to the Anglos he
was the "sheriff killer" and needed to be hung.
to the Battle of the Alamo -
An Unidentified Mexican Soldier's Personal Account of the Historic
sub commander tells of his role in the attack on Pearl Harbor
Glad to be first Japanese prisoner of war!
Killing of John Wesley Hardin 5/6/01
"...There are several different versions as to how Hardin was
killed. ... Regardless of which version is true, the fact remains
that John Wesley Hardin died as he had lived - violently. ..."
Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836 4/19/01
Saturday, April 21, 2001, will mark the 165th anniversary of the
Battle of San Jacinto. Because of the eventual consequences of this
encounter, the battle is considered, by many historians, as one
of the most important in world history.
Lt. Loye James Lauraine, Jr. 4/8/01
"He was young, only 26 years old, when he gave up his life
to save others...... He was a hero and was posthumously awarded
this nation's second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.
and Times of a Goliad Survivor 3/24/01
"..... the young man could have avoided all the misery he endured
at Goliad because the Mexicans offered all captured Germans the
opportunity to join their cause - Ehrenberg refused the offer saying
that he considered himself a Texan......"
Survivor's Account of the Goliad Massacre
"There is a day in Texas history that quite possibly could
be considered one of the most tragic. On that day, March 27, 1836,
General Santa Anna ordered the execution of some 380 Texas army
soldiers - they were prisoners of war. ....."
on the Trail 2/12/01
"The cowboy legacy is very much alive in Texas and it has
been that way for a long time. After the Civil War, times were tough
in Texas and throughout the South. Men returning from that devastating
conflict found it hard to make a living. Texas, it seemed, was short
on everything; everything that is, but cattle. ....."
Crusty Old Baptist
Butch" Comes to Gonzales, Texas 1/15/01
Great Elephant Stampede 1/8/01
Lost Cannon of Lavaca County 12/18/00
the Stage, in Old Texas - Stagecoaches from Gonzales to Galveston
Wreck of the Acadia - This blockade runner sleeps with the fishes
just off the coast at Surfside 11/21/00
Times in Old McDade - Outlaws and vigilantes in McDade
in Church - Vintage wit from Gonzales County 10/27/00
Grave in Gonzales (1905) - Still a mystery today 10/10/00
Cost, Texas to Normandy Beach - A World War II hero 9/26/00
Light - A Brazoria ghost tale 9/15/00
Alcalde Hotel, Gonzales, Texas - Rooms with a past 9/3/00
with author's permission. Since September, 2000
is a photographer and writer based in Hallettsville.
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