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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...

Duration: 00:22:26

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!

Duration: 00:15:28

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 episode...

Duration: 00:17:27

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,...

Duration: 00:24:34

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...

Duration: 00:23:03

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...

Duration: 00:26:19

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.

Duration: 00:26:43

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...

Duration: 00:32:59

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...

Duration: 00:29:31

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...

Duration: 00:25:54

EP. 40 Raising Galveston and Walling Off the Sea

One of the greatest example of resilience in Texas, indeed United States, history was the building of the Galveston seawall and the raising of the city. After the Great Hurricane of 1900, the easiest thing to do would have been to abandon Galveston Island. But that wouldn't be the Texan thing to do. Instead, the people of Galveston appointed three engineers to figure out how to defeat the next big hurricane. The 3-member board suggested the construction of a 3-mile seawall to protect the...

Duration: 00:34:16

Ep. 39: Texas wins the American Revolution

In 1777 Bernardo de Galvez became governor of Louisiana. As a Spaniard, he was cheering for a colonial victory in the revolution. He made sure supplies made it up the Mississippi to George Washington's Continental Army. When the Spanish crown authorized Galvez to fight the British, he called on Texas! Galvez turned to Texas to feed his army and in doing so, invented the cattle drive! He was very successful against the British and was a tremendous asset to the liberation of the colonies and...

Duration: 00:15:05

Ep 38: The Spoils of San Jacinto

181 years ago this week, the Texian Army surprised the Mexican army and won the Battle of San Jacinto. The battle lasted a mere 18 minutes, but its effects changed the world. After the initial 18 minute rout, many of the Texans pursued the fleeing enemy into the bayous and swamps around San Jacinto while others took stock of what could be found in the Mexican camp. From champagne, to silver, to fancy camp equipment, the Texians found a creative way to dispose of the spoils as well as...

Duration: 00:33:33

Ep. 37: The Steamboat Yellowstone, Engine of Manifest Destiny

Built in 1831 for John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, the steamboat Yellowstone was the first steamboat to travel past the Council Bluffs. She reached parts of the upper Missouri River previously unreachable by other boats. After conquering the fur trade, she was sold to Thomas Toby & Brother of New Orleans and registered under an American flag. But she was secretly at work in Texas. Sam Houston happened upon her on the Brazos river and commandeered her for his army! After saving the...

Duration: 00:41:55

Ep. 36 More Forgotten Battles: San Patricio & Refugio

We all remember the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto but there were many more battles in the Texas revolution than are commonly discussed. A big issue at the time of the Texas revolution was whether to attack Matamoros, Mexico in hopes that federalist sympathizers would join forces with the Texians and achieve glorious victory over the centralists. The issue split the provisional government and almost dissolved into total chaos. Multiple individuals each thought they were in charge of the...

Duration: 00:33:00

Ep 35 Remember Tampico! A forgotten battle of the Texas revolution

When discussing the Texas revolution, the battle of the Alamo, the Goliad massacre and the great victory at San Jacinto get most of the airtime. But there were several other military events in the time period leading up to Texas independence. One of these events was General Jose Mexia's attack on the Mexican port city of Tampico. General Mexia thought he had organized federalist resistance to Santa Anna and that he would be welcomed to Tampico as a revolutionary leader. He ran into some...

Duration: 00:21:47

Ep. 34: Revolutionary Texas Government(s)-Organizing Chaos

In the late 1820's, the Mexican government assessed the conditions in Texas and decided to clamp down on anglo immigration and try to prevent too much revolutionary fervor. The American immigrants "traveled with their constitution in their pockets, always demanding their rights." Mexican President Bustamante issued a decree in 1830 that prevented any further immigration from the United States. That did it. The citizens began meeting in consultations, councils and conventions but not...

Duration: 00:47:48

EP. 33- Beer, Love and Murder: A Tale of 3 Emmas

In 1914, San Antonio beer magnate Otto Koehler was killed by his mistress, Emma. His former mistress, also named Emma, was present. Was it self defense? Was it planned? Did she get him before he got her? What became of his wife named, yes, Emma? Some said it was murder, some said self defense. Some said Otto attacked his killer, some said he would never have done that. One Emma claimed Otto was desperately in love, another Emma advised he was just desperate. What did the jury say? Here the...

Duration: 00:25:51

Ep. 32, Napoleon’s General Comes to Texas: The Story of Champ D’Asile

In 1818, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's top generals, and many of his former officers, tried to establish a French colony in Texas. They said it was for agriculture, but they brought a ship full of weapons and built a fort on the Trinity River. Were they going to incite revolution in Mexico, or did they have their sights set on Spanish Florida? Why was the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte so eager to offer them help? Somehow they were going to free Napoleon and use Texas to establish his empire!...

Duration: 00:38:23

Ep 31 A Texas Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! In this episode we take a light look at some of the traditions that make a Texas Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Texas Christmas!

Duration: 00:13:58

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