Vol MMXVII, No 104
April 14, 1865
President Lincoln Shot. Assassin escapes
Rancher, Richard King dies at 50
On this date in 1885, cattle barron and founder of the King Ranch, Richard King died. Together, he and his wife Henrietta had five children.
During the 1850s, King used the wealth from his riverboat business along the Rio Grande to acquire land in South Texas. At the time of his death, King had acquired 160,000 acres and amassed 100,000 head of cattle.
Following the death of his wife in 1925, King's body was moved from a cemetery in San Antonio where it had laid for 40 years, to a new resting place next to his wife at her Santa Gertrudis Ranch near Kingsville, the town named for him.
WASHINGTON DC (1865)
Shortly after 10 o'clock in the evening, on this date in 1865, a Good Friday, John Wilkes Booth, an avowed racist, entered the box at the Ford Theater in Washington where President and Mrs Lincoln were attending a play, fired his gun at the back of Lincoln's head, mortally wounding the President. Booth, jumped onto the stage (breaking his leg on a flag) and shouted "Sic simper tyrannis" (thus always to tyrants). This was the motto of Virginia.
Just one week before the shooting, the Civil War ended with the surrender of General Robert E Lee. But the celebration of the War's end, suddenly halted with the assassination of President Lincoln. The President never regained consciousness, and by morning, Abraham Lincoln was dead.
Booth managed to escape, but was located in a barn in Virginia. With Booth refusing to surrender, the barn was set on fire. Booth was shot as he attempted to escape. In all, eight conspirators were arrested, four of them hanged.
There is now mounting evidence that Booth may not have been killed in Virginia, but in fact, fled to Texas and Oklahoma. On his death bed in Glen Rose, he (under the assumed name of John St. Helen) confessed to a minister that he was the man who shot President Lincoln and even told the minister where the fateful weapon was hidden.
The weapon was quickly recovered, but unfortunately, so did Booth, who quickly fled. In the small town of Bandera, west of San Antonio, Booth taught school, until he learned that his wedding plans included invitations of the bride's cousin, a U.S. Marshall.
Booth fled again, first to Eden Texas (near San Angelo), then to Enid Oklahoma, where in 1903, he committed suicide.
For years after his death, Booth's mummified body was put on display in a traveling carnival, offering $10,000 to anyone who could prove that the body on display, was, in fact, NOT that of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. There were no takers. But the challenge kept the story alive, that Booth was not killed in Virginia as officials had stated.
Panhandle-Plains Museum opens in Canyon
On this date in 1933, The Panhandle-Plains museum was opened in Canyon, on the campus of what is now West Texas State University.
Large Earthquake strikes Alpine in West Texas
The second largest earthquake in Texas recorded history occurred on this date in 1995, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck near the town of Alpine. The city sustained some damage and several after shocks, but no injuries were reported.
Galveston Votes to divert material to War Effort
On this date in 1942, a pleasure pier being built along the Galveston Sea Wall was put on hold by a vote of the citizens of Galveston. In a city wide election, the citizens of Galveston voted to divert steel being used to build the pleasure pier, to the war effort.
Houston's Army breaks camp, heads East
SAN FELIPE (1836)
On this date in 1836, following two weeks of intense training at Groce's plantation near San Felipe, the Texas army breaks camp and crosses the swollen Brazos River at Groce's Ferry, using the steamboat "The Yellow Stone". Just a few miles downstream at the same time, the Mexican Army under Santa Anna had already made their crossing of the Brazos at Thompson's Ferry, and were heading for Houston's position. They will meet just days later at San Jacinto.
Titanic sinks in Atlantic. Thousands Feared Dead.
NOVA SCOTIA (1912)
On this date in 1912, the unsinkable HMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage from Southhampton England to New York City. Trying to cross the Atlantic in record time, the ship took a more northerly arc into waters where ice bergs had been reported. A safer, more southernly route would have taken an extra day and a half.
In all, 1512 died and 711 were rescued. Of those rescues 1 died aboard a lifeboat, and 5 others on the rescue ship, Carpathia. At the time of this article (2008) there was only one remaining survivor, Millvina Dean, who was two months old at the time of the disaster. She, her mother and brother, settled in Wichita Kansas, where Millvina, at 96, continues to be active in Titanic seminars and activities.