Woodward Maurice “Tex” Ritter was born on January 12, 1905 to James Everett and Elizabeth Matthews Ritter of Murvaul, Texas, in Panola County about 10 miles south of Carthage. He was the youngest of about nine children. His first name is sometimes spelled “Woodard” but in one account it is related that he was named for Dr. S. A. Woodward, the doctor who delivered him. Tex was the grandson of Benjamin Franklin Ritter, who had been brought to Texas as a baby in the early to mid 1830s from Tennessee.
Monthly Archives: April 2018
This coming weekend will mark the anniversary of San Jacinto Day. In our mind’s eye, we can envision what that may have looked like, especially after visiting the San Jacinto Monument. Some will also think of Henry Huddle. His name may not be too familiar to many Texans, but most likely just about everyone might recognize at least one of his works. San Jacinto Day is drawing near, and the painting called “The Surrender of Santa Anna” (pictured below) commemorates the famous battle.
A paragraph in a 1939 issue of a newspaper in Decatur (Illinois, not Texas) began “No. 1 Name of the year, so far, is that of Sheriff Smoot Schmid of Dallas, Texas.”
(Image source: unknown)
The night of February 11, 1869, the Mittie Stephens, a sidewheel paddle steamer, was heading on a southerly route through the channel across Caddo Lake on its way to Jefferson, Texas. After midnight on February 12, sparks thought to have come from a torch basket used for exterior lighting started a fire on board and the ship quickly burned down to the waterline. There were one hundred four passengers along with the cargo and crew. When all were accounted for, forty-two of the passengers survived though sixty-two passengers and several more crewmen perished. This was despite the fact that the ship came to rest in shallow water. The first thought would naturally be to wonder why many adults were unable to walk out in or swam to safety. However, the water was cold, the river bottom was mucky and the vessel came to rest a considerable distance from the shore, such that it took a crew rowing a skiff from another vessel (the Dixie) over an hour to reach her. It is theorized that a good many of the victims either drowned or may have been fatally injured when they were drawn into the paddle wheels on either side of the ship.