Opinions

Fri
15
Jun

OUTCAST CHINESE FOUND NEW HOME IN TEXAS

By Bartee Haile

A Southern Pacific special pulled into the San Antonio train station on Jun. 15, 1917, and more than 400 Chinese nationals poured onto the platform to take a peek at their new home.

The American Punitive Expedition failed to find Pancho Villa, but the footsore soldiers did not come back from Mexico emptyhanded. Although the March 1916 attack on Columbus, New Mexico went unavenged, Gen. John J. Pershing had nearly 3,000 refugees to show for his time and trouble.

Once the Army escorted them safely across the border, the Americans and Mexicans that made up the vast majority of exiles at least had someplace to go. Not so for 427 Chinese, who under U.S. law were about as welcome as the plague.

To stem the tide of Oriental immigration, Congress took the drastic step in 1882 of slashing to zero the quota for Chinese. The ban became permanent 20 years later.

 

Fri
08
Jun

Flynt & Frank

Andy and I went down to Williston, Florida to visit a couple of characters. This is horse country and these boys were hock deep in horse training. They were sure hospitable as indicated in the letter they sent after we left.

Dear Bax,

Flynt and I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed your visit. It was sure nice of y’all to take the time to come visit, especially with that bad cold. Even though both kids caught it from you, so far only one has gone into pneumonia.

 

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Fri
08
Jun

AGGIE PRESIDENT LED DANGEROUS D-DAY MISSION

By Bartee Haile

The most dangerous assignment of the Normandy invasion, climbing the cliffs at Point du Hoc and knocking out a German artillery battery, went to Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder on Jun. 6, 1944.

The D-Day daredevil was born and raised in Eden, not the biblical paradise but a small ranching community between San Angelo and Brady. Rudder left home in 1927 with high-school diploma in hand to attend John Tarleton Agricultural College at Stephenville.

Fri
01
Jun

Feedlot Cowboy

Let’s put in good word for the feedlot cowboy. That group of fellers that meet every mornin’ early at the horse barn, saddle up, get their instructions and ride off down the alley.

These boys and ladies come from everywhere. Most are fair to middlin’ horsemen with some sort of rural background. A few have come in from the outside, doin’ ranch work.

 

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Fri
01
Jun

PREACHER BUILT AIRSHIP ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE

by Bartee Haile

An East Texas preacher applied for a patent on May 31, 1901 for his scripture inspired flying machine.

When not tending his flock in Pittsburg, Rev. Burrell Cannon tinkered away the hours in his cluttered workshop. Consumed by the centuries-old challenge of heavier-than-air flight, the amateur inventor created a craft to conquer the clouds.

The unlikely source of his scientific brainstorm was the Old Testament. “When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them,” read a puzzling passage from Ezekiel that caught his eye. “When the living creatures left the ground, the wheels too left the ground.”

 

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Fri
25
May

“TAKING THE WATERS” AT TEXAS HEALTH SPAS

By Bartee Haile

 

Returning home from a trip to Texas’ leading mineral water resort, a Marlin man issued an earnest appeal to his neighbors in a May 26, 1905 letter to the editor of the local newspaper. “The virtue of the water in Mineral Wells do (sic) not begin to compare with our water,” wrote the concerned citizen. “We have a beautiful and healthy location and nature has blessed us with most favorable surroundings in every way.” The practice of “taking the waters” dates back to prehistoric days. The Texas Almanac states,

 

Fri
18
May

CONNALLY BEGAN HIS CLIMB ON THE BOTTOM RUNG

by Bartee Haile

A young naval officer from South Texas destined for his own brand of greatness was just another face in the crowd, as Gen. Charles de Gaulle rode triumphantly through the streets of Algiers on May 22, 1944. John Connally told the story of his remarkable life in In History’s Shadow shortly before his death in 1993. This book, the source of most quotations in this column, may be the most readable and candid autobiography of any Texas politician. The family tree was planted in the Lone Star State by Connally’s great-grandfather.

Fri
18
May

NITWIT WISDOM

Nitwits are partial to wisdom that’s usually corny and trite.

But the worst part of nitwit wisdom is when the nitwit is right! I’s ridin’ pasture for Brimhall, checkin’ for bad eyes and such.

He’d hired this nitwit to help me.

He never did like me much.

“You can’t be good at everything.” said Nitwit, missin’ the steer.

 

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Wed
16
May

SPANIARDS PUT DOWN PERMANENT ROOTS AT LAREDO

By Bartee Haile

 

More than two and a half centuries ago this week — May 15, 1755, to be exact — a Spanish rancher established the outpost of Laredo on the wild frontier of New Spain. Although Tomas Sanchez is remembered with good reason as the founder of Laredo, the real credit for the settlement of the lower Rio Grande belongs to Jose de Escandon. He turned the vast territory previously dismissed as inhospitable wasteland into a patchwork of permanent colonies. F

 

Fri
11
May

SPANIARDS PUT DOWN PERMANENT ROOTS AT LAREDO

By Bartee Haile

 

More than two and a half centuries ago this week — May 15, 1755, to be exact — a Spanish rancher established the outpost of Laredo on the wild frontier of New Spain. Although Tomas Sanchez is remembered with good reason as the founder of Laredo, the real credit for the settlement of the lower Rio Grande belongs to Jose de Escandon. He turned the vast territory previously dismissed as inhospitable wasteland into a patchwork of permanent colonies.

 

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