Texas Landmarks and Legacies - Today in Texas History
Vol MMXVI, No 42 February 11, 1869 Thursday Evening
Caddo Sternwheeler Burns, 63 Dead
Born This Date
Future Senator and VP candidate Lloyd Bensten born
MCALLEN   (1921) Click Here to follow "Lloyd Bentsen" forward in Time  On this date in 1921, Lloyd Benston, future Senator and Vice Presidental candidate is born in Mission in the Rio Grande valley.

Darkness and Death
JEFFERSON  (1869)   The 300 foot sternwheeler "Mittie Stephens" was returning from a trip from Shreveport to Jefferson on Caddo Lake on this date in 1869 when the sternman's tourch used to help spot the shore, set the boat on fire. Passengers race to the rear of the boat to escape the flames, but the huge sternwheel was not stopped. Dozens of passengers were trampled in an effort to escape. Others who dived into the water were crushed or drowned by the huge paddle wheel. None of the children on board were ever rescued. In all 63 souls were lost in the tragedy. The Mittie Stephens was burned to the water line where the hull remained visible for many years afterward.
Business Desk
Bankers Need to Arm Themselves
AUSTIN   (1933)    During the high number of bank robberies during the 1930s, the Texas Bankers Association on this date in 1933, announced that bankers should carry guns to protect deposits and reduce the number of holdups.

Education Desk
Houston opens its first Public School
HOUSTON   (1839)    On this date in 1839, the first pubic school in Houston was opened.

Military Desk
William B Travis sent to San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO Click Here to follow "Texas Revolution" back in Time (1836) Click Here to follow "Texas Revolution" forward in Time  On this date in 1836, William Travis was sent to head the Texas army in San Antonio. Volunteers in San Antonio were commanded by Jim Bowie. Eventually, the two would split command at the Alamo.

Mutiny aboard the San Antonio Quickly Ends
NEW ORLEANS, LA Click Here to follow "Texas Navy" back in Time (1942) Click Here to follow "Texas Navy" forward in Time  While on a military expedition to Vera Cruz along with three other ships, the Texas Navy ship San Antonio was dispatched to New Orleans for supplies. While there, several of the crew in a drunken brawl, used a tomahawk and bayonette to kill the duty office and take over the ship. The crew of the nearby US Ship Jackson heard the commotion, boarded the San Antonio, restored order, and turn over the mutineers to civil authorities.
   Over the course of the next year, the leader of the 13, Sergeant Seymour Oswald, escaped. Those who suvived imprisonment were tried, with one acquital, one pardon, several receiving 100 lashes, and on April 26, 1843, four others were hanged from the yardarms of the Austin
   This was the only time in the history of the Texas Navy where there was an attempt at mutiny.


Brooke Army Medical Center activated
SAN ANTONIO   (1946)    On this date in 1946, Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio was activated by the army.

Railroads Desk
Texas first railroad, the BBB&C is chartered
HARRISBURG   (1850) Click Here to follow "Transcontinental RR" forward in Time  On this date in 1850, Texas' first sucessful railroad, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado, was chartered. Previous charters never resulted in construction, but soon the BBB&C began construction at Harrisburg (near Houston) and extended west to the Colorado River. The original charter called for the line to eventually extend to Austin, but following the Civil War, financial problems led to reorganization, and the charter was changed extend to San Antonio instead of Austin. At that time the name of the railroad was changed to Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. This line later became the oldest section of the Southern Pacific raiload.   More about "Transcontinental RR" on the Web

Society Desk
Freemasonry established in Texas
SAN FELIPE   (1828)    On this date in 1828, Freemasonry began in Texas as several Masons living in Texas met to organize Texas first Masonic Lodge.   More about "Fraternaties" on the Web