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Wise About Texas
10 minutes | 21 days ago
Ep. 99: A Letter From Goliad
On March 27, 1836, several hundred Texian soldiers were brutally murdered on the orders of Santa Anna. One of them, John C. Logan, left us two letters. The first was written at a time of optimism and victory. The second reflected the hard conditions suffered by many in the Texian army. These two letters provide a quick glimpse into the experiences of the brave men who fought for Texas freedom. Hear the reflections of Texian soldier John C. Logan in this episode of Wise About Texas.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep. 98: Writing Texas History with James L. Haley
James L. Haley is one of Texas’ finest writers. He has written a preeminent biography of Sam Houston, an award winning narrative history of Texas called Passionate Nation as well as several works of fiction, also very highly regarded. But we Texans take our history very seriously, so writing historical fiction about Texas can be a risky endeavor. James Haley delivers. His latest work is a naval adventure series featuring American naval officer Bliven Putnam. In the fourth book, Captain Putnam takes on a secret mission for the Republic of Texas during its fight for independence. I talked Mr. Haley into sitting down and discussing his writing process, research process, writing historical fiction versus history, as well as other topics around his work. Enjoy this interview with award winning author James L. Haley in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
8 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep. 97: Victory or Death-The Travis Letter
From February 23, 1836 through its fall on March 6, the Mexican army lay siege to the Alamo. William Barrret Travis wrote several letters during the siege but one stands above all others. On February 24, 1836, Travis dispatched a letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.” This letter would become one of the most famous, inspirational, and heroically tragic missives in history. Remember the Alamo in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
EP. 96: The All-Woman Supreme Court
In 1925, there were only a few women lawyers in Texas. But women still couldn’t serve as jurors and nobody dreamed there would ever be a female judge. Then a real estate lawsuit came to the Texas Supreme Court involving a mutual life insurance company called the Woodmen of the World. At the time, every member of the Supreme Court of Texas was a member of the Woodmen of the World, so were disqualified from hearing the case. That left Governor Pat Neff with a problem. He had to appoint judges to sit on the Supreme Court but couldn’t find any that weren’t affiliated with the Woodmen. So he did what Texans have done since 1836, he turned to Texas women. Hear about the first all-female state Supreme court in American history in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
29 minutes | 3 months ago
EP. 95: Texas Towns: Welcome to Provident City!
In the early 20th century, Texas had room to grow. Like the empresarios of the early 1800’s, real estate drove efforts to settle new Texans. But not all developers were honest. Promises of historically productive land, railroads and pleasant temperatures lured many to the coastal prairie. Towns were built…and towns died. One in particular was billed as a farming paradise. Two crops a year plus a railroad on its way. Hundreds came to Texas to establish this paradise, appropriately named Provident City. Hear an all-too-typical tale of early 20th century land deals in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
37 minutes | 4 months ago
EP. 94: The Texas Rangers–East Texas Troubles
San Augustine had a crime problem in the 1930’s. A semi-organized gang was preying on the black community and something had to be done. The problem was compounded by a corrupt governor who had all but destroyed the Rangers. But new Governor James V Allred cleaned up the Texas Ranger force and restored it to its rightful place as one of the nation’s premier law enforcement organizations. Then he sent them to San Augustine. The Rangers cleaned up the town and broke down some Jim Crow barriers. Hear the story of how the Allred rangers cleaned up San Augustine in this interview with one of the premier Texas Ranger scholars in Texas, Dr. Jody Edward Ginn.
16 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 93: The Free State of Van Zandt
Texans love their freedom. At the door of a hat, we’ll declare independence and the fight is on! For years, folks have referred to Van Zandt County as the “free state of Van Zandt.” How did this come about? Was it taxes, or was it the civil war? In this episode we’ll look at three of the most common stories about how a certain East Texas county came to be known as a free state.
9 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 92: I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas
Texas one of only 17 states that has a pledge of allegiance to its flag. But some would say Texas is the only state that deserves it. Hear a quick take on the Texas pledge of allegiance in this episode of Wise About Texas.
30 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 91: The Secret Court of the Republic of Texas
In April, 1836, Texas went to war with the United States by capturing an American ship in the service of Mexico. After the battle of San Jacinto, an international relations nightmare loomed. President David Burnet had to find some way to hold a trial. Without a constitution, laws, courts or judges, Burnet took matters into his own hands and created the Judicial District of Brazos. Judge Benjamin Cromwell Franklin decided the case, then kept the court open! Before the people elected a president or the first congress met, Texas had a judiciary. Hear about the first court of the Republic of Texas in this episode of Wise About Texas.
15 minutes | 8 months ago
EP. 90: Cozumel, Texas?
During 1837, the Mexican government was still reeling from the successful Texas revolution. Bent on reconquering Texas, an army massed at Matamoros. The Secretary of the Texas Navy knew that Texas could keep Mexico at bay by attacking its ports and shipping. Sam Houston, however, thought the Texas Navy an unnecessary extravagance. Despite the President’s orders, Secretary of the Navy Samual Fisher ordered the ships to sea. One day, they landed at Cozumel…
15 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 89: Texas Attacks Oklahoma!
During World War II, Texas played an important role in training pilots and bomber crews. The city of Dalhart contributed to the war effort by building an airfield. Practice bombing missions took place over the panhandle by the famous B-17, B-24, and later the B-29. One night in 1943, a young B-17 crew set out on a 40 mile round trip to bomb a lit square on the practice range. 50 miles later, they bombed Boise City, Oklahoma! Hear more about the night Texas attacked Oklahoma in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
40 minutes | 10 months ago
EP. 88: Texas Pandemics
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has been a trying time for Texans. But we’ve been through much worse. The harsh climate, tropical ports, lack of medicine, etc. has resulted in Texans enduring several pandemics and epidemics through the years. From yellow fever to cholera to smallpox, it seems as though we’ve seen it all. Texas is sometimes a tough place to live, but Texans have always been tougher. Hear some stories from prior pandemics in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
21 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 87- Texans You Should Know: Kenneth Threadgill
Austin is famous for its music scene. Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff and so many others helped Austin become weird. But before any of them there was Kenneth Threadgill. A preacher’s son, Threadgill loved music. He especially loved Jimmie Rogers and his yodel. Threadgill opened a tavern that provided musicians a place to play, and college kids a place to listen. Kenneth Threadgill and his hootenanies gave many Austin musicians their start, and launched one hippie girl to superstardom. Hear about the earliest days of the Austin music scene and get to know one of its pioneers, Kenneth Threadgill.
26 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 86: Exploring the Texas Revolution- The San Jacinto Battleground
In April, 1836, two armies converged at Peggy McCormick’s ranch on the banks of the San Jacinto River. In just 18 minutes, the Texian Army routed Santa Anna and the portion of the Mexican Army he commanded. Texas was free! Almost immediately, the area was revered as hallowed ground in the history of Texas. Visitors clamored to see the place where Sam Houston and the Texians claimed victory in what has been described as one of the most consequential battles in world history…the Battle of San Jacinto. Now a Texas State Historic Site, you can walk the ground Sam Houston walked and see the place where Texas independence was finally won. Come explore the Texas Revolution at the San Jacinto Battleground in this interview with Texas Historical Commission personnel in charge of preserving some of the most sacred ground in Texas.
26 minutes | a year ago
EP. 85: Exploring the Texas Revolution–Presidio La Bahia
Originally established in 1721 along the banks of the Guadalupe river, Presidio La Bahia was moved to its present location along the banks of the San Antonio river in 1749. Since then it has been a critical location for worship, trade, protection, battle and commerce. The presidio has been taken and re-taken as Texas has earned its reputation as one of the most contested places in North America. Perhaps it’s best known as James Fannin’s headquarters before his ill-fated attempt to reach Victoria, resulting in the Goliad massacre. The chapel has hosted church services since 1749, and still does today. Fort, community center, and even graveyard, there are few places in Texas as historic as Presidio La Bahia. Join me as I interview site manager Scott McMahon and explore the Texas revolution at Presidio La Bahia.
18 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 84: Exploring the Texas Revolution–The Fannin Battleground
James Fannin fancied himself an accomplished military commander. But in March of 1836 he had trouble deciding where and when to move. He finally headed for Victoria but decided to stop and feed his animals. Fannin didn’t realize how close the Mexican army was but he soon found out. Surrounded, without supplies, desperate, Fannin surrendered to Mexican General Urrea. The battleground where Fannin surrendered was the third historic site acquired by the State of Texas, right after the Alamo and San Jacinto. Enjoy learning what you can see at this sacred site from site manager Bryan McAuley with the Texas Historic Commission.
21 minutes | a year ago
EP. 83: The Twin Sisters, Part 2–The Mystery
The twin sisters were two cannons graciously manufactured and donated to the cause of Texas liberty from the people of Cincinnati. They served Texas well at the Battle of San Jacinto and played a key role in Texas independence. You can see these great guns of liberty at....wait minute...no you can't. We've lost them. Where could they be? Theories abound, but evidence is thin. Some say they are buried by a bayou in Houston. Some say they are in the bayou. Some say they're in Austin somewhere. Some think they were sold for scrap. Nobody knows. Listen to the latest episode of Wise About Texas and form your own opinion, and maybe start your own search for two of the most important artifacts in Texas history...the Twin Sisters.
25 minutes | a year ago
EP. 82: Exploring the Texas Revolution: Old Washington
Old Washington, better known as Washington on the Brazos, began with a ferry crossing on the Brazos River along the La Bahia road. The convention of 1836 would cement Washington's place in Texas history. In an unfinished building, donated to the convention for free, the Texians declared independence, elected a government and drafted a constitution. In this episode you'll hear from Texas Historical Commission site manager Jonathan Failor as he describes what you can see and experience when you explore the Texas revolution at Washington on the Brazos.
32 minutes | a year ago
EP. 81: Exploring the Texas Revolution in San Felipe de Austin
Stephen F. Austin chose to set up the capitol of his colony on the banks of the Brazos River where the El Camino Real crossed the river. He envisioned a major metropolitan area as the center of immigrant activity in his colony. He named the town San Felipe. San Felipe de Austin became the second largest town in Texas before Sam Houston ordered it burned in advance of Santa Anna's army in 1836. It was at San Felipe that land titles were issued, commerce thrived and politics was done. Today, it is a very interesting historic site at which you can get a feel for life in pre-revolution Texas. In this episode, learn more about the San Felipe State Historic Site with site manager Bryan McAuley.
19 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 80: The Twin Sisters, Part 1
184 years ago, the Texas Army was long on spirit, but short on guns. Artillery, that is. How would they take on Santa Anna without some "hollow ware?" Enter the good people of Cincinnati, Ohio. They formed a committee, the "Friends of Texas," to support our war effort. They sent two cannons to Texas and they reached the Texas Army just in time. Used to great effect at the Battle of San Jacinto, the "twin sisters" disappeared from history. Where are they now? Theories abound but nobody has located them yet. In Part 1, hear the story of how the twin sisters came to be and the important role they played in winning the fight for freedom.
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