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Governor Hardin Richard Runnels

Hardin R. Runnels 1989.037

(Image Credit: txfgm.org)

Hardin Richard Runnels was the sixth governor of Texas.  He was born in Mississippi to Hardin D. and Martha Darden Runnels in 1820.  After his father died, the future governor came to Texas in 1842 during the years of the Republic of Texas from Mississippi with his mother, his uncle Hiram George Runnels and his three brothers.  They first settled on the Brazos River before moving to Bowie County where they started a cotton plantation on the Red River near the community of Old Boston, named for an early store owner, W. J. Boston.  New Boston later arose when the rail lines bypassed Old Boston four miles to the north.  While still in his twenties, Runnels was elected in 1847 to the first of four terms in the Texas Legislature.  After his last term in the legislature in which he served as Speaker of the House, he was elected Lieutenant Governor serving under Governor Elisha M. Pease during the latter’s second and final term.

Runnels is known as the only person to defeat Sam Houston in an election.  He was elected governor over Houston in late 1956 and served from 1857 to 1859 when he lost to Houston in Runnels’ bid to serve a second term.  The two were opponents in areas including slavery with Runnels being for the institution of the African slave trade in Texas and with Houston, the hero of San Jacinto, being against it.  During his term as Governor, Runnels was known to be an advocate of the volatile issue states’ rights and had tried to secure the frontier for settlers of American-European lineage into areas formerly controlled by the native tribes.  On the latter issue, he was thought to have been less successful and he lost to Houston in 1858 by roughly the same margin as he had defeated Houston in the previous election.  After his unsuccessful reelection campaign, Runnels never again ran for public office.  However, he served as a delegate to both the Succession Convention immediately prior to the Civil War, and to the Constitutional Convention immediately after the War.  Runnels had once been engaged, but he never married.  He died on Christmas Day, 1873 and was first buried in a family plot there in Old Boston before being reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin in 1929.

His uncle, Hiram George Runnels had been born in Georgia in 1796 and had grown up with his family in Mississippi.  He had served in the United States Army during the Indian Wars in Mississippi, after which he was nominated by President James Monroe to serve as Collector of Customs and Inspector of Revenue for the Mississippi district of the Pearl River.  He later served from 1822 to 1830 as state auditor of Mississippi before being elected as a state representative in 1830.  After two years, he was elected the ninth Governor of Mississippi and served one term.  After his defeat he successfully ran again for the Mississippi state legislature and served another term before moving to Texas.

Runnels settled in Brazoria County and represented the County in the Convention of 1845 in which delegates voted for Texas to become a state in the United States.  He served one term in the Texas Legislature.  Runnels died in December of 1857 and is buried in Houston.  Runnels County was carved out of the then larger Bexar and Travis counties shortly thereafter and was eventually named for him.  The abandoned town of Runnels City served as the county seat until it moved to the current county seat of Ballinger.

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Posted by on March 26, 2020 in biography, county names, governor

 

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USS Indianapolis

The U.S.S. Indianapolis (CA-35) is part of a fascinating World War II story.  The ship was a heavy cruiser that played an important role in the atomic bombing missions that led Japan directly to its surrender and the end of the war.  Indianapolis was ordered in 1929 and her hull was laid down at the Camden Yard in New Jersey on March 31, 1930 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.  According to Naval History and Heritage Command, her displacement  was 9,800 tons, her length was 610 feet, beam was 66 feet and draft was 17’4″.  The ship was constructed to accommodate a crew of 1,269, achieve a speed of 32 knots and was armed with 9 8-inch and 8 5-inch guns.  The Indianapolis was the second of two ships of the Portland class.

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Posted by on March 19, 2020 in biography, maritime, world war 2

 

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Fort Clark

Fort Clark was one of the longest forts to be in service in Texas.  It was founded in 1852 and not finally closed or abandoned until 1946.  It was considered a favorable location due to having a plentiful water supply from the Las Moras River and its close proximity to Las Moras Mountain.  It served two major purposes, to protect the area against Indian raids and to protect its portion of the military road from San Antonio to El Paso.  Companies C and E of the the First United States Infantry were posted there.  It was named for Major John B. Clark who died in 1847 during the Mexican-American War.

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Posted by on March 12, 2020 in forts

 

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The Dillinger Gang and Texas Connections

John Dillinger was a well known gangster who operated in the United States until his death in 1934.  He had been born in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 22, 1903.  Dillinger’s mother died when he was three years old and he was raised by his father and stepmother, with whom he is said to have had a difficult relationship.  The family moved around somewhat and Dillinger dropped out of school.  Around 1923, he joined the United States Navy.  He was assigned to the U. S. S. Utah but only served a short while before deserting, after which he launched his criminal career.  Not long afterward, Dillinger was arrested, tried and convicted for a 1924 robbery of a local grocery in his adopted home town of Mooresville, Indiana and was sentenced to the Indiana State Prison.  There he was exposed to fellow convicts including a number who had been bank robbers.  Upon his parole in the spring of 1933, he and several associates began to commit a series of bank robberies in Indiana and Ohio.

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Posted by on March 5, 2020 in outlaws and crimes

 

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Black Seminoles of Texas

The account of the Black Seminoles in Texas begins in Florida.  Slavery had been abolished in Spanish Florida since the late 1600s and the area became a refuge for freed as well as fugitive slaves.  Though some were taken as slaves by the Native tribes that resided there, those of African descent are generally believed to have interacted peacefully with the native tribes, with some amount of intermarriage and more significantly, the adoption of the tribal ways and customs.  The people known as Seminoles are sometimes referred to as being a conglomeration of a number of tribes living in the area, including the Creek Tribe, although the Creek Tribe is also usually referred to separately.  Tribes included the Lower Creeks, Mikusukis and Apalachicola, among others and they are believed to have migrated there from the areas now represented by the states of Georgia and Alabama.

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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in black history, medal of honor

 

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Dan Waggoner and His Descendants

Daniel Waggoner was born in 1828 in Tennessee to Solomon and Martha McGaugh Waggoner.  Daniel was the second of the siblings to be born in Lincoln County, Tennessee before the family moved to Missouri where most of the other siblings were born.  The family finally settled in Hopkins County, Texas.  Daniel married  Nancy Moore in 1851 in Hopkins County.  About that same time, the couple moved to Wise County, Texas. The following year their only son William Thomas Waggoner was born.  Nancy passed away in 1853.  Five years later, Daniel married Sicily Ann Halsell, daughter of Electious and  Elizabeth Jane Mayes Halsell.  Sicily was from a large ranching family, also of Wise County.  The couple had no children.

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Posted by on February 20, 2020 in ranches, ranch families

 

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Law Officers Killed By The Barrow Gang: Cal Campbell (Victim 9)

Constable Cal Campbell was the last lawman to be killed by the Barrow gang.  The list of law officers who were victims of the gang is as follows:

Eugene Moore, Atoka, OK, 8/5/1932
Malcolm Davis, Dallas, TX 1/6/1933
Harry McGinnis, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Wes Harryman, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Henry D. Humphrey, Alma, AR 6/26/1933
Major Crowson, Huntsville, TX 1/16/1934
E. B. Wheeler, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
H. D. Murphy, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
Cal Campbell, Commerce, OK, 4/6/1934

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Posted by on February 13, 2020 in bonnie and clyde, officer down, outlaws and crimes

 

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