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Author Archives: Texoso

Don Baylor

Don Edward Baylor was a major league baseball player. He was born in Austin in 1949 to George E. Baylor and Lillian Joyce Brown Baylor, and was one of at least three siblings. His father George had served in the United States Army and then been employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad out of Austin. Don was at the least a fourth generation Texan with his father, grandfather Carey and great grandfather Amsted all having been born in Texas.

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Posted by on January 21, 2021 in biography, black history

 

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The First Battleship Texas (1892)

In service only for just under 20 years, the first battleship bearing the name Texas was built in the Norfolk, Virginia navy yard being the first battleship, or arguably one of the first battleships, of the United States Navy. The funding for the Texas was part of the military appropriation act that authorized the Maine (a cruiser, but also referred to as a battleship), the Baltimore (a cruiser), the Vesuvius (also a cruiser) and the Cushing (a torpedo boat). The Texas had armor plating of 12 inch thick steel over the bulkheads, turret conning tower and redoubt (a protecting reinforcement, also of steel), six inches of steel protecting much of the rest of the ship. To a certain extent, the ship was derivative, built from designs purchased from Britain, before the days when both design and construction were unique and American.

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Posted by on January 14, 2021 in maritime

 

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Johnny Preston, Entertainer

A number of popular performers have come from the Port Neches and Port Arthur area. Singer Johnny Preston was born John Preston Courville, Jr. in Port Arthur, Texas on August 18, 1939 to John Preston Courville, Sr. and Margaret Schexnayder Courville. As a youth, he sang in high school choirs and around the state. Johnny attended Port Arthur College as he began his singing career. Using the stage name Johnny Preston, he formed a vocal group called The Shades and was appearing in a local club in Port Neches at the time he was noticed by club owner J. P. Richardson, who recorded under the name “The Big Bopper.” Richardson was a singer/songwriter and had written a teenage tragedy song (a somewhat popular genre at the time) called “Running Bear” that that tells the story of two Native American youths who drown in a swollen river as they attempted to get together. The tune was recorded in a Houston studio and became a hit record for the nineteen year old Preston in 1958. By the time of its release, Richardson had been tragically killed in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959 along with the aircraft’s pilot, singer Richie Valens and fellow Texan and singer Buddy Holly.

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Posted by on January 7, 2021 in biography, entertainers

 

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Branch Tanner Archer

Branch Tanner Archer was born in Virginia to Peter Field Archer and Frances Tanner Archer. Archer’s grandfather was Colonel William Wharton Archer, who had fought in the American Revolution as had Archer’s father. As a young man, Archer had received his education at William and Mary College. He then studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before returning to Virginia to set up a medical practice. He also served several terms in the Virginia State Legislature.

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Posted by on December 31, 2020 in biography, county names, texas revolution

 

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José Antonio Menchaca

For many years, there was a road in south Austin called Manchaca Road. After some legal issues, in 2019 the name was finally changed to Menchaca Road. Some of the objections were voiced by local residents and businesses from a group known as Leave Manchaca Alone, and possibly others. The objections included arguments that Manchaca Road was perhaps not named for the individual who fought in the Texas Revolution, rather that instead it was derived from a Chocktaw word or had some other origin, that the name change would disrupt business, that property owners did not receive the proper notice of the proposed change, etc. An opposing group named Justice for Menchaca was in favor of the name change. Ultimately the judge’s decision favored renaming the street Menchaca rather than Manchaca in honor of José Antonio Menchaca.

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Posted by on December 24, 2020 in biography, hispanic heritage, texas revolution

 

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