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Ep. 58: Burying the Hatchet in San Antonio

San Antonio was founded 300 years ago in 1718. From day one, the residents, priests and soldiers faced a constant and menacing threat from the Apache Indians. Raids from the indians and retaliatory campaigns from the soldiers made life in early San Antonio stressful and difficult. Attempts at peace never seemed to work. But all of a sudden, in 1749, the Apache wanted not only to make peace, but also to enter mission life and convert to Christianity. The reason for the Apache's sudden change...


Ep. 57: A BAT-ty idea to win WWII

Dr. Lytle Adams had bats in his belfry. He had visited Carlsbad cavern right before Pearl Harbor was attacked. He came up with a great idea for weapon(s) of mass destruction hat would burn up the paper and wood cities of Japan. All he would need was a one ounce incendiary bomb, a breakaway bomb case, and millions of bats. So the Marines set up guards at several Texas caves containing millions of 3-inch winged warriors on their way to the Pacific. Testing sacrificed thousands of these brave...


Ep 56: Texans You Should Know: Pamelia Mann

What is it about Texas women? Independent, smart, strong, spirited, they can do it all! Ask any Texas man and he'll tell you, the ladies run the show! But this is nothing new. Back before the Texas revolution, the women of Texas formed the spirit of Texas. Some were because their husbands moved the family to this new land of opportunity. These women did their best to build a household in the harsh Texas frontier, and they did it well. But some came on their own, and brought their spirit...


Ep. 55: A Surly Bartender

Fredericksburg Texas has a very interesting history. Created during the massive German immigration to Texas in the middle 1800's, Fredericksburg was not intended to be the city it soon became. A treaty with the Comanche Indians and the California gold rush made Fredericksburg a prosperous place to set up a store. John Hunter did just that. Hunter supplied his patrons with everything they need, including whiskey. He was also the county clerk. But Hunter's temper got the better of him, his...


Ep. 54: They’re Robbing the Treasury!

In June of 1865, Texas was in chaos. Robert E. Lee had just surrendered the Army of Northern of Virginia, effectively ending the Civil War. But without a government or functioning economy, it was every man for himself. Many former Confederates were heading for Mexico, while others tried to bring order to chaos. A few dozen men decided they'd get their money the old fashioned way--they'd steal it. But they weren't satisfied with small potatoes, they were going big. The were going to rob the...


Ep. 53: Texas Takes the Triple Crown

Bob Kleberg, Jr. had an eye for good horses. When he did something, he did it big. He also managed one of the largest and most storied ranches in Texas, founded by his grandfather Richard King. When Kleberg decided that the King Ranch would race thoroughbreds, he bought and bred the best. In 1943, a chestnut colt was born on the King Ranch in far South Texas. The scampering colt stepped on an old surveyor stake and it went right through his hoof. Not a good situation for a racehorse....


Ep. 52: Basil Muse Hatfield, The First Admiral of the Trinity

The Trinity River flows from roughly Fort Worth to Trinity Bay in Chambers County. For several years boats navigated the river but never all the way. Several attempts were made to promote the Trinity River as a commercial asset but none were more enthusiastic than the 2-year, 9000 mile, yes 9000 mile, journey of Basil Muse Hatfield. The grandson of a San Jacinto veteran and steamboat man, Hatfield boasted a family that not only had many "Basil Muse's" but also one of the most famous...


EP. 51: The Schooner Flash, a Revolutionary Ship.

The Flash was a schooner built in Connecticut for a new enterprise in Texas. She came to Texas in possession of James Morgan to support his new endeavor, a town and community called New Washington. But as war clouds gathered, Morgan mounted an 18 pounder on her foredeck and commissioned her Captain into the Texas Navy. From commerce to combat, rescuing refugees to carrying cannon, the Flash did it all during the Texas revolution. Her noble service ended quickly after her Captain was...


Episode 50: The Texas Rangers–The Beginning.

Texas Ranger. Two words that strike fear in the heart of the lawbreaker and hope in the heart of the law abiding. Since before there was a Texas, there were Rangers. How this elite force officially began is the subject of some controversy. There is no doubt that Stephen F. Austin realized the need to take the fight to the hostile Indians he encountered in his new colony. In this episode, you hear Austin's own words describe his ideas to defend his new colony and his personal funding of a...


Episode 49: Jane Wilson’s Incredible Journey

In early 1853, Jane Wilson and her new husband James set out with 62 others to strike it rich in California. They never made it. After two months of traveling they reached El Paso where successful thieves ruined their dreams of fortune. They decided to return to East Texas but what seemed like the end of a dream was just the beginning of a new nightmare. Hear tales of murder, torture at the hands of Indian captors, rescues by comancheros and friendly Indian tribes, starvation, thirst, and...


Ep 48: Texans You Should Know–Crazy Ben Dolliver the Pirate

Crazy Ben Dolliver was said to be touched. Sporting a 6 inch scar from an old sword fight, Crazy Ben circulated around Galveston in the 19th century barefoot, shirtless, and mostly drunk. He camped on the beach and fished for his sustenance. But Crazy Ben always paid for his drinks with Spanish Doubloons. Every now and then he'd sail away from the island and return with more Spanish gold. Where did the gold come from? Everyone knew Crazy Ben had served as one of Jean Lafitte's crew as a...


BONUS EPISODE: A Second Helping of Chili

I received some great feedback on the San Antonio Chili Queens episode so I thought I'd share a couple of stories that didn't make it into the main episode and answer some questions. I also try a diplomatic (and historically correct) solution to the bean controversy! So bring your bowl and spoon up a second helping of chili in this bonus episode of Wise About Texas!


Ep 47: The San Antonio Chili Queens

In late 1800's San Antonio, the plazas were busy marketplaces during the day. But at night, the Chili Queens took over. These ladies brought the exotic flavors of Mexico to the population of San Antonio. Music, laughter and the pungent aroma of chili con carne filled the air. From the greatest to the least, every citizen and tourist had to make a pilgrimage to see the Chili Queens and sample the food that would later become known as Tex-Mex. Learn more about this scene in the latest...


Ep. 46: The Great Comanche War Trail

Every fall, the most feared cavalry the world has ever known, the Comanche Indians, would leave their home on the great plains and raid deep into Mexico taking horses, and humans, back with them. They followed an ancient trail that came to be known as the Great Comanche war trail. The Comanche were not prosperous until the Spanish introduced the horse which turned around the fortunes of an entire people. The Comanche Indians managed to convince the Spanish to help them defeat the Apache,...


Ep 45: Artist William Ranney and How Texas Shaped the American Identity.

William Ranney was one of the first American artists to capture the legendary characters, events and spirit of the American west. One critic pointed out that he was the only artist who had the first hadn't experience to paint scenes of the west. Where did he get that experience? Texas of course! Ranney had served in the Texas Army from May through November of 1836. After this time in Texas, Ranney returned east and became a prolific painter of the things he had seen. he also produced a...


EP 44: Josiah’s Vision

Josiah WIlbarger was one of the earliest Anglo settlers of Texas. He also settled way outside the safe boundaries of the frontier. He chose a league of land in the hostile territory of the Comancheria, near present-day Bastrop. He eventually gained a neighbor in Reuben Hornsby but things were still very, very dangerous. One day he and others were attacked by Comanches. Josiah took a musket ball to the neck and was paralyzed. Unable to move or speak, but still conscious, he felt himself...


BONUS EPISODE: Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, as a category 4 storm. It was only the second Cat 4 to hit that area of Texas in recorded history. The track of Hurricane Harvey also resulted in a rain event in the Houston area, the likes of which has never been seen in American history! up to 50 inches of rain fell right on top of Wise About Texas world headquarters. Listen to this bonus episode to hear a bit about what it was like as well as the positive side of this historic disaster.


Ep 43: Asa Borger and his Boomtown

Asa Borger was a town builder with an eye for opportunity and a nose for the Texas oil fields. He came to the panhandle in 1926 and made millions establishing the boomtown of Borger. But the thousands of residents weren't all of the best sort. Drinking, gambling, prostitution and violence were rampant. "Booger Town," as it came to be known needed law enforcement. Unfortunately, the towns chief law enforcement officer as well as the mayor encouraged the crime and profited handsomely. Even...


EP 42: Beer, Heroes, and Life on the Bluff

The Mexican invasion of San Antonio gave rise to two expeditions against the Mexican army that had disastrous results. Nicholas Dawson led a group of men from La Grange to San Antonio into battle on Salado Creek only to be massacred when they tried to surrender. A group of men under William Fisher attacked Mier only to be imprisoned and every tenth man executed after drawing a black bean from a jar. The bones of the Texas fighters languished on the banks of Salado Creek and in Mexico until...


Ep. 41: The Horse Marines

After the battle of San Jacinto, it wasn't certain just how victorious the Texians were. Several Mexican generals commanded several thousand Mexican troops west of the battleground. Santa Anna indeed ordered them to leave Texas but if they could get resupplied, who knows what could happen? Enter Issac Burton and his horse marines! After failing out of West Point, Issac Burton commanded a company of Texas Rangers charged with patrolling the Texas coast near Refugio, looking for Mexican...