The Cortina Wars is a name given to armed conflicts precipitated by a Mexican rancher named Juan Cortina. Juan Nepomuceno Cortina was born in 1824 in Tamaulipas, Mexico into a cattle ranching family. His mother, Trinidad Cortina inherited some property in the late 1820s that was in the general area of what we know as Brownsville and Matamoros, located on both sides of the Rio Grande. At this time, the Rio Grande geographically divided the two areas, but it was all part of Mexico until after the Mexican-American War, which essentially moved the Mexican border from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande.
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(Image credit: U. S. Air Force. Cole is on the front row, to Doolittle’s right.)
Just a little more than one month after the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, details were released to the media about the military action. The occasion was an award ceremony honoring pilots and crew of the historic attack. In an Associated Press report out of Washington on May 22, the identity of the leader was revealed to be Brig. Gen. James H. Doolittle. Coming only a few months after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, the raid shook the Japanese belief that the U.S. could not reach them on their own soil. In addition, it greatly improved the morale in the United States at a time when it was extremely low.
Before the Texas Revolution, the official religion of the area was Roman Catholicism according to Spanish law. Landowners were required to espouse the Roman Catholic faith and many did so in order to obtain title to their land. However Protestant families moved to the area prior to and following the Texas Revolution. R. E. B. Baylor, a Baptist, came to Texas in late 1839. By then, there were already a number of Baptist families in Texas. After a couple of failed efforts, the Baptist Union Association was formed in the fall of 1840 and included churches from La Grange, Travis and Independence. Baylor was a circuit judge and was an ordained minister. By about 1845, there were hundreds of fellow Baptists in the area. Among other things, the Association had been concerned about education and formed an Education Society of which R. E. B. Baylor was selected to be President.
(Image credit: sutphen.org)
One of the early settlers near Waco, Neil Love McLennan was born in Isle of Skye, off the western coast of Scotland in 1787. He came to America in 1801, first settling in North Carolina, married the former Christian A. (Darthal) Campbell in 1814, and then relocated in 1816 to Florida. After living there a number of years, in 1834 he and his family along with two brothers and others sailed a three masted schooner from Pensacola, Florida to the mouth of the Brazos. They arrived there in early March and continued on upriver as far as they could.
During its ownership and control of Texas, Spain had attempted to colonize the areas along the Rio Grande to take advantage of its fresh water system. The King of Spain granted ownership of blocks of land to certain private individuals who had shown an interest in colonization and had resided in the area for a number of years. After Mexico declared its independence from Spain, most of the Spanish grants were upheld. Similarly, most were also recognized under the Texas Republic, following its establishment.
Cynthia Ann Parker’s tragic story is better known, but there were other individuals including Rachel Parker Plummer who were taken by the Comanches in the attack on Fort Parker. The battle occurred on May 19, 1836 at a fort near Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas. At the time, there were thirty or more members of the extended Parker family living in or around the stockade fort. Killed were Silas Mercer Parker, John Parker, Samuel Frost, Robert Frost and Benjamin Parker. Those who were captured included Cynthia Ann Parker, her brother John Richard Parker, Elizabeth Kellogg, Rachel Parker Plummer and her three year old son James Pratt Plummer.
(Image credit: http://www.tamu.edu)
As we approach the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, we consider Moses Austin Bryan. He was an eyewitness to some of the key events in Texas history. Born in Herculaneum, Missouri, he came to Texas with his parents in 1831. He had first worked for his uncle Stephen Fuller Austin in a store in Austin’s Colony before enlisting in the Texas Army. After enlistment, he served as a secretary to Stephen F. Austin, was a witness to the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, interviewed Santa Anna after his capture at San Jacinto (Bryan was the closest Spanish speaking Texas soldier to Sam Houston), served as secretary to the Texas Legation to the United States in 1839, participated in the Somervell Expedition in 1842 and served as a Confederate officer in the Civil War.