Josefa “Chepita” Rodriguez ran an inn on the old Cotton Road between Refugio and Aransas Pass around the time of the Civil War. Sometimes her name is spelled Chapita or Chipita, but Chepita appears to be the most common spelling. Her story began when John Savage, a cotton dealer and horse trader, was found dead, his body wrapped in burlap in the Aransas River near San Patricio.
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Standing on the dome of the beautiful Texas Capitol Building in Austin is a statue known as the Goddess of Liberty. Installed in 1888, she carries a sword in her right hand and her upright left hand holds a star. The figure which stands 15 feet 7 1/2 inches tall and weighs one and one half tons was designed by the architect of the Capitol, Elijah E. Myers. Texans were proud to boast that the statue made the Texas Capitol Building several feet taller than the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Eddie Stinson had begun his career in aviation in San Antonio, Texas and was the brother of pioneer aviatrix, Katherine Stinson. Katherine was a prodigy in the new world of aviation. The youngest of four children, she had been captivated by the lure of airplanes, so much so that she sold her piano to raise the money for flying lessons. The year was 1912, only a few short years after the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight in 1903. Her first solo flight was in a similar-looking aircraft to the Kitty Hawk plane, which more nearly resembled a box kite than what we know as an aircraft. She said that at the time, it was supposed to take 250 minutes of flying lessons to learn how to fly. Katherine quickly took to it and indeed soloed after four hours of flying lessons. Licensing requirements were not as strict back then. Katherine said that all she had to do was climb to 800 feet, do some figure-eights, glide with the power off and make a smooth landing. She was the fourth woman ever to obtain a pilot’s license.
Kate Ross Padgett was born January 6, 1851 and was the first white child born in Waco. Her parents were Shapley Prince and Catherine Fulkerson Ross and they lived in a log cabin built near the Brazos River. Her older brother was Lawrence Sullivan (Sul) Ross who was a young child when the family moved to Texas. The exact location of the home is thought to be on the west side of the Brazos near downtown Waco, near the intersection of what was then Bridge Street and First Street, roughly where the Waco Suspension Bridge meets the river today. There was a natural spring nearby. The cabin was later replaced by a hotel, the first hotel in Waco, when the Ross family moved to a home near 12th and Dutton streets.
Electra was a well known sculptor in addition to being one of the heirs to the Waggoner Ranch holdings. She was born in Fort Worth on November 8, 1912 and died in Vernon on April 23, 2001 at the age of 88. Her father was E. Paul Waggoner, a familiar name to residents of North Texas, and her mother was Helen Buck Waggoner. She was the granddaughter of W. T. Waggoner, who with his father Dan was a founder of the ranch. She was the great granddaughter of Solomon Waggoner who first came to the plains.
(Image credit: Houston Museum of Fine Arts)
One of the more unique and recognizable names in Texas was Miss Ima Hogg. Her father was James Stephen Hogg, the first native born governor of Texas, who served as governor from 1891 to 1895. James and Sarah Ann Stinson Hogg had three sons and Imogene, their only daughter. It is not known for certain who Imogene was named for, but the story is told that James had a brother named Thomas Elisha Hogg, a Confederate Captain, who had written a Civil War poem “The Fate of Marvin.” The poem was about a Southern girl named Ima who had cared for a Union soldier. There are some stories floating around that she had a sister named Ura, but according to published genealogy records, Ima was the only daughter of Jim Hogg and Sarah Stinson Hogg.
(Image credit: gettyimages.com, showing Dale Evans between the actor Jimmy Stewart and Dale’s husband Roy Rogers.)
Dale Evans was born Lucile Smith (later changed to Frances Octavia Smith) on October 31, 1912 in Uvalde, Texas to Walter Hillman Smith and Bettie Sue Coln, according to published genealogy records. The family later moved to Osceola, Arkansas where she attended high school. When she was 14, she eloped and married Thomas Frederick Fox with whom she had her first born son, Tom Fox, Jr. The marriage ended shortly thereafter and two years later, she married August W. Johns. In 1936, she married Robert Dale Butts, which relationship lasted about nine years. She had no children from the latter two marriages. In her early years, she struggled as a single parent and supported herself by working as a secretary, a singer and working in radio in Chicago, Memphis, Dallas and Louisville. She was given the stage name of Dale Evans by a radio station manager who suggested it because it was easier to pronounce than Frances Octavia Smith.