Small Town Sagas
a story because it is true:
tell it because it is a good story." - John Pentland Mahaffy
Mysteries, Gunfights, Robberies, Hangings .....
Tar and Feathering of Father Joseph M. Keller, Slaton, Texas, 1920's
by James Villanueva 10-1-10
On a Saturday night, March 4, 1922, in Slaton, what may have begun
as a whisper, an aside, a comment, or just mindless chatter amongst
neighbors, transformed the community...
by Mike Cox 3-22-18
H. Frizzell's First and Last Speech by Mike Cox 12-7-17
Mystery at Fort Griffin by Mike Cox 10-19-17
Raiders in Texas
by Evault Boswell 8-23-17
The outlaws who tormented the citizens of Sherman.
Burrow, Notorious Train Robber by Clay Coppedge 6-3-17
Grave by the Old Oak Tree by Mike Cox 6-1-17
County violence from back in the day by Murray Montgomery 3-22-17
Hill by Michael Barr 12-15-16
The Hoo Doo War
Robberies in Wingate 11-18-16
Outlaw Johnny Ringo Rode the Hill Country by Michael Barr 11-14-16
killed J.W? by Clay Coppedge 10-3-16
Fuller by Clay Coppedge 9-2-16
True Story of Texas Vengeance by Mike Cox 7-21-16
in Gatesville 1894 by Mike Cox 3-17-16
Bravery by Mike Cox 3-3-16
Springs Raid by Clay Coppedge 1-4-16
fakes by Clay Coppedge 6-6-15
Smith Point murder case by Wanda Orton 5-18-15
The Coalsons: Frontier Family Target of Multiple Indian Attacks
by Mike Patterson 1-9-15
Murder and a Gallows Confession by Mike Cox 6-19-14
By Rube or Standing and Delivering West of the Colorado
by Mike Cox 5-21-14
Unexpected Encounter With A Texas Bad Man by John Germann
Mutilations in Spanish Goliad or "Can You Hear Me Now?"
by Mike Cox 4-3-14
Fiddler’s Redemption by Clay Coppedge 3-1-14
Ranchhands Meet Judge Lynch by Mike Cox 9-25-13
In the late winter of 1896, two Waggoner Ranch cowboys took a notion
that robbing banks would be less work – and definitely more profitable
-- than wrangling cattle...
by Mike Cox 8-29-13
Life on the Texas frontier sometimes made men out of boys and forced
women into decidedly gritty, non-traditional roles.
Mystery Murders by Mike Cox 11-21-12
Only a village with a few hundred residents in 1841, Austin experienced
at least a couple of homicides that year that by today’s standards
read more like big-city whodunits.
interview provides historical insight by Delbert Trew
Deadly Tower by Murray Montgomery 9-18-12
One of the saddest days in Texas history occurred August 1, 1966...
Thornton: King of the oilfield firefighters and rainmaker by
Clay Coppedge 5-1-12
Hay and the Demise of the Lone Highwayman by Mike Cox 2-9-12
Ghost of Thurber by Bob Hopkins 9-28-11
and Skeleton by Mike Cox
Skeleton in Brackettville...
Texas Ranger killed in Mexico by Murray Montgomery
Murdered Sheriff by Bob Bowman 7-10-11
Angelina County Sheriff William Reed (Bill) McMullen was one of
the men who was killed during a feud between the Gilley and Windham
families at Homer in the 1860s...
Hill by Bob Bowman 6-19-11
Sitting atop a scenic hilltop in southwestern Henderson County,
Science Hill lasted only a few decades, but its reputation as a
center of education is well-remembered by descendants of its founders
and builders. So is its violence in the early days of the Civil
Tinaja by Mike Cox 6-16-11
A geologic feature in Big Bend National Park called Ernst Tinaja,
a deep natural water hole dug out of the bedrock over the millenia
by erosiona place of beauty tainted by a history of death.
Revenge of 'Devil John' McCoy by Murray Montgomery
John McCoy, called “Devil John” because of his bravery and daring,
wasn’t one to forgive and forget. One of his neighbors was killed
and horribly mutilated. Suspicion rested upon a tribe of friendly
Lipan Indians in the neighborhood...
Washington’s Execution by Bob Bowman 12-26-10
When the Texas prison system plugged in its electric chair in 1924,
would you believe that George Washington was one of the first four
men to be executed? Don’t laugh, it really happened...
Fire by Mike Cox 12-16-10
A raging winter prairie fire. an arsonist, and post Civil War justice
in Hunt County.
Legend of Campbell’s Branch by Murray Montgomery
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...
Murder of Dr. Sam Houston Adams; Slaton, Texas, 1930s by James
The murder of Dr. Sam Houston Adams is not a tragic tale. It’s not
necessarily a gloomy story. Nor is it a hopeful story about overcoming
hardships or tribulations. It’s not quite folklore either. No. For
lack of a better description, it is simply - a love story.
Tudor Takes the Stand; Slaton, Texas 1932 by James Villanueva
R.L. watched as his son was buried beneath a copper colored stone
with the name, Woody, etched on it...
Liquor by C. F. Eckhardt 9-4-10
From 1919 until 1933 the United States was in the throes of one
of the worst mistakes it has ever made—prohibition. Texas has the
longest border with Mexico of any state. Mexico had no prohibition.
Just across the Rio Grande was a very thirsty state...
justice followed crime increase by Delbert Trew
Today's instant communication network, finger-printing methods and
DNA testing of criminals is a long way from the crude identification
methods of the old-time sheriff or town marshal...
Hanging in Austin by Mike Cox 8-19-10
Forty years ago, the late Edmunds Travis of Austin told me about
a hanging he reluctantly covered for the Austin daily he edited
a Dead Man by Bob Bowman 3-14-10
George Hughes of Sherman may have been the only man in East Texas
to be lynched while he was dead...
and order used to be so very different by Delbert Trew
Law and order came slowly in the West, because it required decent
citizens, fed up with crime and carousing, to finally stand up and
put up the money to hire a sheriff or marshal...
by Rope” by Bob and Doris Bowman 2-26-10
The book explores 49 lynchings and legal hangings in East Texas
between 1862 and 1942.
by Clay Coppedge 2-24-10
The Huston-Johnston Duel in Feb. 5, 1837
Fight by Mike Cox 2-18-10
Though several writers over the years have offered a version of
the Hazlewood story, no one seems to have explained the old guns
found that spring night 65 years after the battle. Nor has anything
turned up indicating what happened to the vintage firearms beyond
having been displayed for a time at a Breckenridge movie house.
Very Personal Ghost and the Hanging on Sawyer Oak by C. F. Eckhardt
I’ve come to the conclusion, over the years, that when it comes
to ghosts there are two sorts of people—those who realize ghosts
exist and those who don’t want to realize it. One of the sure ways
to become one of the first variety is to see a ghost. However, even
if you see a ghost, you may not realize at once what you’ve seen.
I know. It happened to me...
Roan Mystery by Mike Cox
On Dec. 13, 1879, the Atlanta Constitution published a brief story
that should have been big news in Texas, but somehow no editor in
the Lone Star state picked up on the Georgia daily’s report. The
story dealt with the purported solution of a 29-year-old mystery
in Central Texas, the disappearance of one John Roan...
in a Bale by Mike Cox
Though most of the ginning is done by brainless machinery, the industry’s
human element has developed a colorful folklore with a range of
subsets. But no ginning story can top the occasional tale of a body
in a bale.
gunfight in Hemphill by Bob Bowman
With deep roots in East Texas, John Wesley Hardin was our most famous
outlaw and gunfighter, but many of his raids and shootings in the
pineywoods have remained unchronicled. A little-known incident in
which he won a gunfight with a Sabine County deputy sheriff at Hemphill...
Indians by Mike Cox
Early one morning, Rebecca and her niece, Susan Jane Ayres, happened
to be on the porch of the Duncan cabin when startled by an Indian
woman who stuck her head up from a place of concealment in a nearby
Packing Mamma by Bob Bowman
One of the most popular songs in the U.S. during the mid-1940s was
“Pistol Packing Mama.” But few know that the song came from East
Texas... Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Brunt was killed in a shootout
with bootlegger Red Creel near Rusk in 1939...
Gruesome Prophecy Tattooed on a Soldier’s Breast
Raid by Mike Cox
When the bell atop the First Baptist Church started clanging about
9 o’clock that Sunday night, it was not a call to worship. It was
June 11, 1865. A full moon hung over Austin, a city of some 4,000
Good by Clay Coppedge
Good was involved in a fabled but implausible shootout with another
rambunctious pioneer of the day, Gabe Henson.
Murder by C. F. Eckhardt
One of the many unsolved mysteries of the West.
Buffalo by Mike Cox
"A group of buffalo hunters had gotten drunk and were working
on getting drunker. As the Webb boys got the story, the recently
departed fellow had killed in a man while arguing over cards..."
at a school by Bob Bowman
During the evening of March 12, 1926, as students and parents watched
a play at Center Point school in Trinity County...
Shotgun by Mike Cox
John Wesley Hardin's shotgun used by him to kill the Sheriff of
DeWitt County, the most notorious of the men who had served in the
State Police of the early 1870s...
Branded Murder 1889 by Murray Montgomery
To the cowboys who rode the range in West Texas during the [1890s]
there was one longhorn steer that was always an object of dread.
He was a big, white fellow with “Murder 1889” branded in huge letters
on his left side. His appearance among their herds brought a chill
of terror to the superstitious...
preceded death of a town by Delbert Trew
Chipita Rodriquez died on Friday, Nov. 13th, 1863. She is believed
to be the only woman ever legally hanged by the state of Texas.
Though guilty by circumstantial evidence only, her death seemed
to place a curse on the town of San Patricio, Texas, as it signaled
the beginning of the end of the small settlement...
Newman, part II by Mike Cox
About 11 p.m. on June 9, 1898 at a point called Coleman Switch about
four miles west of Santa Anna, Newman and three other masked men
descended on a Santa Fe passenger train...
Newman Gang by Mike Cox
Bud Newman didn’t amount to much as an outlaw, but not for lack
Pistol by Mike Cox
Whatever became of Ben Thompson’s six-shooter?
Thompson, a British-born former Texas Ranger and soldier of fortune
with a penchant for booze and gambling, made quite a reputation
as city marshal of Austin in the early 1880s. His life ended violently
in San Antonio on the night of March 11, 1884 when someone gunned
him down along with former outlaw-turned-lawman King Fisher of Uvalde...
Robber by Mike Cox
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” stands as an enduring classic,
but truth being stranger than fiction, Texas can claim one of the
nation’s more bizarre real-life holiday tales – a story of a Santa
Claus gone bad...
Mystery of Lady Bountiful by Bob Bowman
November 22 will mark the 85th anniversary of an East Texas murder
that created a still-lingering mystery and put a timber baroness
in a pauper’s grave.
Bones in the Courthouse Crawlspace by Johnny Stucco
What the exterminator saw...
Gate” by Johnny Stucco
In Cold Blood: Clay County, Texas 1975
A needless killing for a fortune that wasn’t there.
in South Texas: Reading Black - Unionist, George Washington - Wall
Confederate by Linda Kirkpatrick
The northern end of South Texas is still considered by many as a
remote, desolate area that could only be home to rattlesnakes, horned
toads, scorpions and occasionally an outlaw...
Ex-Ranger W.S.J. Sullivan, and the hanging of condemned preacher
Morrison, the last man ever legally hanged in Wilbarger County.
Feud in Lampasas County by Clay Coppedge
Christmas by C. F. Eckhardt
The Murder of LaSalle County Sheriff Charles B. McKinney
for Hangings by Bob Bowman
Before the electric chair gave Texas an alternative way of punishing
murderers and the like, Texas counties had the local authority to
Ringo by Mike Cox
"It didn't play out quite like a scene from "Gunsmoke," but
two of the Old West's more notorious characters faced each other
in Austin's red light district in 1881..."
"No Gallows" by Bob Bowman
The names of some East Texas towns can be downright confusing. And
much of the confusion arises from mispronunciations which, during
the passage of time, have become actual names.
Starr The Bandit Queen by Maggie Van Ostrand
"I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life," said Belle
Star to The Fort Smith Elevator in 1888, a year before she died...
Ranger Meets His End on New Years Day 1940
Story and photos courtesy of William G. Howell
Soda-Pop War by Murray Montgomery
It seems that people will often fight over some mighty ridiculous
things. I remember a while back seeing a story, in the Hallettsville
paper from well over 100 years ago, where a fellow shot and killed
his partner just for playing the wrong domino. People in the old
days took things pretty seriously, to say the least...
1862 Hangings at Gainesville Texas by W.T. Block
Certainly one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War occurred
in Gainesville, Texas in Oct. 1862, when 40 men, suspected of Union
sympathies, were hanged...
Night the Posse Chased Santa by Maggie Van Ostrand
December 23 will mark the 79th anniversary of the bloody melodrama
which was about to take place in the town of Cisco in West Central
Texas, on the day before Christmas Eve 1927. I know about it because
of an article written at the time by the great Texas columnist,
Boyce House. He should know. He was there...
Henry and the Shoal Creek Treasure by C. F. Eckhardt
"...While Santa Anna was trying to put down the Texas rebellion
of 1836, two high-ranking Mexican officers-one was, so the story
goes, the paymaster, the other a high-ranking general-decided to
steal the entire payroll for the Mexican Army in Texas. ...In the
meantime, two of the common soldiers hatched a plan of their own.
Why enrich the paymaster? Why not kill him-and the other five soldiers-and
have the fortune to themselves?..."
Worst Feud by Bob Bowman
The deadliest feud happened in East Texas between 1840 and 1844.
The Regulator and Moderators War was the first and largest American
feud in numbers of participants and fatalities.
Marsh Rice by Archie P. McDonald
Everyone loves a murder mystery, especially if the murder happened
a long time ago and did not involve someone they know. The story
of William Marsh Rice's demise is such a case...
Case of Beaumont's Missing Marble Corpse by W. T. Block, Jr.
It was July of 1901 in Beaumont, and the frenzy of oil excitement
rushed on unabated... In the midst of all the oil madness, there
emerged one of the strangest tales ever to unfold in the "sawdust
city," the case of Beaumont's missing corpse that had turned to
Gunfight that Killed Helena by C. F. Eckhardt
"The Colonel's son has been gunned down, in cold blood or so
the story implies..."
of Local Doctor During Reconstruction by Murray Montgomery
After the Civil War ended, folks in Texas and throughout the South
underwent a phase in time known as "Reconstruction." During this
period, the states that had previously been part of the Confederacy
were now subject to military rule as well as, occupation by Union
Carey's Escape from the Murderous Yocum Gang by W. T. Block
Just another fly caught up in Yocum's web of murder and intrigue,
Carey not only survived his slated assassination and dismemberment
in Yocum's alligator slough, but he lived instead to finger the
gang and account for its destruction.
criminal or a saint? You never know by Delbert Trew
"Route 66 certainly endured its share of crime in its heyday."
Inn: The Devil's Own Lodging by W T Block Jr.
"A gentleman's life...held no attraction for Squire Yocum,
a man who literally was nursed almost from the cradle on murder
and rapine, and for many years Yocum's Inn was actually a den of
robbers and killers..."
Shootings at Albuquerque by Charley Eckhardt
Burning by Mike Cox
“'Where they have burned books,' German poet Johann Heinrich Heine
wrote in the 19th century, 'they will end in burning human beings.'
Indeed, Texans have done both...."
Hanging by Mike Cox
"... No matter White’s official status, most folks remembered
him as the sheriff who hanged a tenant farmer named George Freeny
for killing his son-in-law..."
Supper by Bob Bowman
A tragic, unthinkable incident in the spring of 1847, frequently
associated with the Regulator-Moderator War, remains after 157 years
one of East Texas’ worst mass murders -- if it was murder.
DELL, Tranquil setting belies past by Clay Coppedge
The principle set for the sequel to the movie "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Doc by Mike Cox
Herman Webster Mudgett, America’s first serial killer
Bonnie and Clyde Were Caught by Bob Bowman
A Panhandle Ghost Community by Delbert Trew
Two murders and a bank robbery
at Camp Swift 1942 - The Tragic Death of Little Lucy Maynard
by John Troesser
Hanging by Mike Cox
While not quite on the level of "A Christmas Carol," "The Miracle
on 42nd Street," or "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," the story
of the McDade Christmas clean up has become one of Texas' more frequently
told Yuletide tales.
Famous Murder by Bob Bowman
80th anniversary of one of East Texas' most famous mysteries
King by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
"It can't atone for his murder, or even the apparent contempt
of those who buried him, but at least James W. King lies in a beautiful
Mason County Hoo Doo War by Mike Cox
A complicated tale with a lot of twists (some at the end of a rope),
.... a cattle theft problem that quickly morphed into vigilantism
and finally into an ever-escalating quest for revenge.
by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
Pearl was tried and convicted in Brown County. The jury's finding
in regard to his punishment was easily written on a single piece
of paper: Death by hanging.
for Old Murders by Bob Bowman
Between the 1860s and 1940s, East Texas produced some of the strangest
murders in Texas.
- by Mike Cox
For about the last quarter of the 19th century, and the first two
decades of the 20th century, being a "wet" or a "dry" defined a
Texan politically much more accurately than being Democrat or Republican.
Both sides of the issue passionately believed they were in the right.
Often, they were willing to fight over their belief, sometimes to
Barrymore Shooting by Bob Bowman
Someone asked John Barrymore, the patriarch of America's famous
family of thespians, what he thought about Texas. In his deep, resonant
voice, Barrymore replied: "Texas is a no man's land where sudden
death lurks in every bistro." He had good reason for feeling that
Bank Robbery (Dalton Gang, 1894) by Bob Bowman
Longley Does Not Get Along Well With Others. A Visit to the Giddings
Day Doc Newton Robbed Bonnie Parker's Bank - He could've been
charged with disturbing one hundred years of solitude
Double Murder in Granger, 1934
Tall Texan : The Story of Ben Kilpatrick by Arthur Soule
Last Full-sized Train Robbery in Texas by Brewster Hudspeth
Double Hanging at Bellville in 1896
Infamous East Texas Sewing Needle Jailbreak
Day Eastland Texas Hanged Santa Claus
"....And to think that it happened on Mulberry Street!"
Bessie: The Trial of the (19th) Century
Moorman, a central figure in the Regulator-Moderator War, was shot
to death by Bob Bowman
1905 Tragic event at the old Waller County courthouse
at the Lampasas Saloon - Historical Marker
Killing of General J. J. Byrne Historical Marker
on Jones Street, Castro County, Dimmitt, Texas - Historical
1907 Shoot-Out in Winnsboro - marker
- First & last legal hanging
Murder in Grandview, 1867
War II Chronicles (A series)
Browse World War I Chronicles
Seas Adventures by Mike Cox 11-6-15
Stories by Mike Cox
Unlike most states of the Union or those of the Confederacy, Texas
fought two wars during the Civil War. One war, of course, was the
bloody struggle against the North... The second war was primarily
one of self-defense against hostile Indian tribes...
are you Benny Goodenberger? by Perry Peary
Mark Davis was in the Merchant Marine and was assigned to serving
on oil and gasoline tankers coming up the east coast from New Jersey
to Texas. In May of 1942, he was on the SS Virginia coming out of
New Orleans when a German submarine, the U-507 torpedoed the ship....
by Mike Cox
Few Texas women ever saw any worse than Sarah Creath McSherry Hibbens
Stinnett Howard. A woman with true grit, the way she came by her
long name is one of Texas' more gripping tales. Born around 1812....
Bust by Mike Cox
With more than 20,000 chanting anti-war protestors headed downtown
from UT, the governor decided he was hungry for barbecue...
County Chronicles - George Lester remembers Union Grove
Helmet-less Football, Bone-chilling Movies, Short Boxing Careers
and Why Teachers Should Be Demanding
in Texas by Raoul Hashimoto
The Brides Wore Black: A look at Texas' most unique immigrant group
and Corporal York : Lee County Cousins killed in the Great War.
Giddings City Cemetery
Burnout and Other Big Thicket Adventures by Archie P. McDonald
redefined: Indian Hot Springs (Hudspeth, County), "Fort
Unworthy" and Victorio's Secret
Secret Storm by Wanda Orton 6-17-12
In the summer of ’43, German U-boats prowled the Gulf of Mexico,
too close for comfort for Texas coastlanders...
Wind From Winnetka a Mere Breeze Compared To the Big Blow In Beaumont
by Frances Giles 11-9-12
No one could have imagined the terrible destruction that was about
to wreak havoc on the lower Louisiana coast in June 1957 when a
hurricane named Audrey roared in with a vengeance.
railroads shape area history by Delbert Trew
Long before the town of Spearman was born, the settlement of Hansford
became the county seat with the winning votes for the election swung
by “the use of a three-seated hack and liberal doses of Dodge City
tarantula juice.” Their new frame courthouse was nearing completion
in 1891 when a cyclone struck...
Racing by Mike Cox 3-1-12
In 1900 it had not occurred to anyone that pursuing a tornado would
someday be considered an adventure sport. Back then, people let
storms do the chasing and took to their cellars when they heard
a roaring wind.
Chilled Catfish of Concho County by Mike Cox
In 1885 a giant thunderstorm pounded West Texas about fifty miles
above San Angelo, dropping hail the size of ostrich eggs. Leaving
spheres of ice piled in three foot drifts, the barrage from above
killed thousands of cattle. Hail-chilled runoff from the intense
supercell well beyond the horizon had put the Concho on the rise
and claimed several lives.
happened to Charles Francis Coghlan by Mike Cox
His story is either one of the most incredible tales ever told,
pure legend or a mixture of fact and fiction.
Secret Hurricane by Mike Cox
The Secret Hurricane of 1943
Twister by Mike Cox
In Cisco’s Oakwood Cemetery, five graves bear the same last name
and the same date of death – April 28, 1893. That was the day a
killer tornado struck the then prosperous Eastland County railroad
by Mike Cox
by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
The hurricane that struck Galveston on September 8, 1900, still
reigns as the worst natural disaster in United States history because
an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives.
A poem by Jeff McLemore published in 1904.
"Queen city of the West" turned ghost town, devastated
Story of Indianola
by Maggie Van Ostrand
Remnants by Mike Cox
by Mike Cox
The first day it started raining, people took it as good news...
Longest Train Ride by C. F. Eckhardt
"Train #1 of the Gulf & Interstate Railroad, which left Beaumont,
Texas, at 7:00 AM on September 8, 1900, to make the run to Port
Bolivar, about 85 miles away by modern highway, arrived at Port
Bolivar at 11:10 AM, September 24, 1903—three years, sixteen days,
and ten minutes late. Some of the original passengers were still
Tornado of April, 1947
The Texas Rangers finally succeeded in eliminating gambling at Galveston’s
famed Balinese Room in 1957, but it took a Category 2 hurricane
to cashier the old casino-on-a-pier once and for all. Coming ashore
on Galveston Island in the predawn hours of Sept. 13, Hurricane
Memories of Hurricane Carla by Murray Montgomery
The story was from the Associated Press (AP) wire service and it
was titled: "15-Year-Old Boy Describes Loss Of Family In Storm."
And what triggered the bad memory for me was; I knew that boy...
Carla by N. Ray Maxie
She was ferocious, deadly and destructive; a Category 5 hurricane
at one time, with 175 MPH winds. She slowly came ashore September
1886 Hurricane at Sabine Pass
Deadly Flood of 1921 in Williamson County
Poem by David Knape
and Days of Rain
Cartoons by Roger T. Moore
18, 1983 - Alicia, the Most Expensive Hurricane 8-21-17
Brazos River Flood 6-13-17
in Texas, August 16, 1931 8-19-16
great flood of 1940 hits Moulton by Murray Montgomery
1939 Martin County Explosion by Mike Cox 9-6-14
Vanishing of Marine Sulphur Queen by Mike Cox
Races and Tragedies by Mike Cox 5-29-13
Tex: Son of Santa by Mike Cox 10-24-12
Fire in the State Capitol by Mike Cox 10-18-12
Third Largest Fire by Mike Cox 9-15-11
John Cross had the day off that afternoon, March 21, 1916... About
a mile from downtown Paris, a thriving North Texas city of 12,000-plus,
Cross heard the Central Station fire bell...
full of historical tidbits by Delbert Trew 6-22-10
The 1929 train wreck in Twist, Texas
10 Worst Disasters by Mike Cox 1-14-10
A look at the most dire disasters in the state’s history – a list
that contains one disaster that happened long before Texas was settled
– shows that the worst disasters are the ones that come without
London School Explosion by Archie McDonald
London School Explosion by Archie McDonald
Tragedy's Museum by Bob Bowman
Texas Ranger by Mike Cox
In the summer of 1875, a nameless storm off the lower Texas coast
battered a vessel with a famous name. She was the Texas Ranger,
a coastwise steamboat.
Mittie Stephens Disaster
P. McDonald, PhD
February 12, 1869, a fire burned her to the waterline in Caddo Lake
West fires often impossible to tame by Delbert Trew
Texas Flood of 1935 by Edward Aquifer
Vintage photos courtesy of TxDoT
Locomotive Boiler Explosion
Smithville Blast of 1911 Kills 9, Injures 12
Emporia Mystery by Bob Bowman
In the early 1900s, an explosion and fire spread throughout the
old Emporia sawmill in south Angelina County. An estimated 30 sawmill
workers, most of them black, are believed to have perished in the
City 1914 by Mike Cox
"A small town with a big name, Texas City hosted an Army camp.
Not that it amounted to a strategic location - it had not yet become
a petrochemical port -- but with Mexico embroiled in a bloody revolution,
the military had moved more troops into Texas in anticipation of
by Sandy Fiedler
Slocum's Great Tornado of April 24, 1929
Explosion in the Oilfield by N. Ray Maxie
The Day J. B. Taylor was killed
This is a post World War II story...
Fire by Mike Cox
"...Hudson's enthusiasm for the oil business changed abruptly
on July 23, 1905. That evening, a thunderstorm triggered a bolt
of lightning that ignited the oil in one of the large tanks Hudson
had helped build. Sending billows of thick, black smoke high in
the sky, the fire spread quickly..."
Eagle Befriends the Stork by John Troesser
Port Arthur's legend of F. B. Wright, A Hurricane Story
Texas - Now under Lake Granger
"The rain started at 6 p.m. on September 10, 1921 and continued
until 6 a.m. on September 11th. Although no official measure was
mentioned - it was estimated that 50 inches of rain fell...."
Soot by Audrey A. Herbrich
The fire in La Granger.
"The north wind—unusually strong this March—carried the voices
from those gathered below to me, and I could hear their whispers
and gasps. And it wasn’t the ablaze Botts Title Company that trumped
the conversation, or the equally ablaze China Inn Restaurant, Bertie’s
Barbershop, or the income tax lawyer’s office. No, it was the Cozy
Theater, slotted between Bertie’s on the left and the JC Penney
catalog store on the right."
Texas - The Rock Island Gas Plant Explosion in the mid-1950s
Volunteer Fire Departments of Sunray and Dumas -
The Shamrock Oil refinery explosion in the late 1950's
Board Fragments on Pine Needles
The American Spirit, Observations by Gary E. McKee
A volunteers account of the search for space shuttle debris in East
County: Fire on the Square
"The short history of Ben Ficklin has many of the elements
that other counties have built legends upon. A county seat rivalry,
a rowdy frontier fort, friendship beyond the grave and a disaster
that killed many of the inhabitants..... "
of the Iguana x 11,315
Ol' Rip, The Entombed Horned Toad of Eastland County
Steamer Wreck Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
See Also Texas
are People Too
Bathhouse that Wouldn't Die
Reader's comment : I enjoyed your piece on the Luling Bathhouse.
I had no idea all that history was there. - Chandra Beal, author
or "Splash Across Texas"
Wars in Seguin - Two hotels in one town, the rivalry of building
them and the little girl who loved them both. No, it's not a Shirley
Temple movie script.
With a Past (A series) - Texas hotels built before 1950.
Texas City Explosion
Dear TE, I attended 1st grade in Galveston
at the Rosenberg school on 10th Street. One morning about 9:00 the
whole school shook. We had a fire drill and had to go outside. Mama
had made me a nice Easter dress and while we waited outside it became
spattered with oil. We went back into the school and classes were
dismissed for the day. I had to walk to 7th street where we lived
and I found Mama in the bathroom washing clothes on a scrub board,
In the afternoon we stood on the porch and looked towards Texas
City where the sky was red and glowing. We lived close to St. Marys
hospital where the emergency people were bringing in the injured
from Texas City in the back of trucks. Later we found out [about
the] explosion. That's all I remember about that terrible day. -
Margie Bennett Hill, Manvel, Texas, April 09, 2007