Texas History

Eileen Pace

June 13, 2016, marks the 325th anniversary of the naming of the San Antonio River.

Father Damian de Massanet said mass on that June 13 and held the feast of St. Anthony on the river’s banks.

Spaniards making their way through Tejas in the 17th Century rode through scrubbrush, oaks, and cactus, in search of a place to settle. There was no Dallas, no Houston. But according to Father David Garcia of the San Antonio Missions, the settlers recognized a rock-star river when they saw it.

From Texas Standard:

1. “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Davy Crockett said this angrily after losing his Tennessee bid for the U.S. Congress.

I think he really said, “Y’all can go to hell,” but grammatical purity likely corrupted the original transcription.

 


In July 1931, Texans were wondering if their state was going to war with Oklahoma. The two neighboring states were in a showdown over a bridge over the Red River. While many saw this Red River Bridge War as a farcical episode it was also a watershed moment in history.

Historian Rusty Williams uses this incident to examine life in Texas and Oklahoma in this troubled time of economic collapse, agricultural disaster and tremendous transformation. Williams is the author of the book “The Red River Bridge War: A Texas Oklahoma Border Battle.”

Texas State Archive

When we are taught Texas history we generally focus on the heroes and leaders and politicians who did great things. People like Stephen F. Austin, General Sam Houston and Governor Jim Hogg. However, the text books skip right over the state leaders who were, at best, sub-par. But there’s a lot to learn from the stinkers. Should we be asking, where did the voters go wrong with electing leaders who failed them. For example how did Governor and U.S. Senator W. Lee O’Daniel continue to win elections?  And what should we learn from his rise – rule and eventual fall.

Texas State Archive

There are many colorful yarns about W. Lee “Pass the Biscuits Pappy” O’Daniel. With his hillbilly band the radio flour salesman won two terms as Texas Governor. And then Pappy became a Senator by orchestrating one of the most spectacular campaigns and controversial vote counts in Texas history. 

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