Mary Jane Harris Briscoe

Mary Jane Harris Briscoe (1819 – 1903) was the daughter of John Richardson Harris (1790 – 1829) and Jane Birdsall Harris (1791 – 1869). She was the sister of three other children, DeWitt Clinton Harris, Lewis Birdsall Harris and John Birdsall Harris. Her father John R. Harris is credited for being the founder of Harrisburg (now Houston), Texas.

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2nd Lt. Merlin Shepherd Neff

2nd Lt. Merlin Shepherd Neff was killed on April 2, 1945 when his B-25 Mitchell bomber was brought down by anti-aircraft fire near the current town of Taichung City, Taiwan (then known as Taichu, Formosa) during an attack on Japanese railroad rolling stock. Two aircraft from the mission went town close to the same time. One crashed on land while the one piloted by 2nd Lt. Neff crashed into the water just off the coast. There were no survivors of either aircraft. They were both assigned to the 5th Air Force, V Bomber Command, 308th Bombardment Wing, 38th Bombardment Command, 822nd Bombardment Squadron, nicknamed the Black Panthers.

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Did the Real Josey Wales Die in Texas?

Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) lists the origin of the 1976 film “The Outlaw Josey Wales” to be a screenplay by Phillip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus which was in turn based on a fictional book believed to have been written by Asa Earl Carter under the pen name Forrest Carter. Carter’s book was first published in 1973 as “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales,” republished two years later as “Gone to Texas” and published once more under the name “Josey Wales.” In the film the time period of which is set during the Civil War years, the character Wales’ family is killed and his home is burned by Union irregular troops. Seeking revenge, Wales aligns himself with a Confederate irregular group (Quantrill’s Raiders). After the Confederate surrender and the end of the war, the character Wales continues to seek revenge on those individuals who were responsible. The story continues with Wales eventually finding peace and a relationship with a female rancher, presumably escaping his violent past and living out his days.

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Vicente Filisola

Vicente Filisola is best known as being second in command to Gen. José López de Santa Anna in the latter days of the Texas Revolution. Filisola (1789-1850) was born in Ravello, Italy. Early in his life, Filisola’s family had moved from Italy to Spain, and he joined the Spanish army while still a young man in 1804. Filisola served in Europe for a time, but around 1811 is believed to have begun serving in Mexico, or New Spain as it was also known.

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Death of Stephen F. Austin

Known as the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, who succeeded his father Moses Austin as empresario of the Austin Colony, died on December 27, 1836. He had previously campaigned for the presidency of the new Republic of Texas but had overwhelmingly lost to Sam Houston. Houston and Austin had been competitors at times, but they also appear to have remained personally cordial, if not even friendly. Upon winning the election, Houston appointed Austin to be secretary of state. One of Austin’s primary duties was to seek recognition for the Republic of Texas from the United States.

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