Ep. 87- Texans You Should Know: Kenneth Threadgill

Austin is famous for its music scene.  Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff and so many others helped Austin become weird.  But before any of them there was Kenneth Threadgill.  A preacher’s son, Threadgill loved music.  He especially loved Jimmie Rogers and his yodel.  Threadgill opened a tavern that provided musicians a place to play, and college kids a place to listen.  Kenneth Threadgill and his hootenanies gave many Austin musicians their start, and launched one hippie girl to superstardom.  Hear about the earliest days of the Austin music scene and get to know one of its pioneers, Kenneth Threadgill. 

Ep. 79: Dorie Miller–A Texas War Hero

On December 7, 1941, Mess Attendant Doris “Dorie” Miller was doing laundry, one of the few jobs available to African American sailors in the U.S. Navy at the time.  When his ship came under attack, Miller rushed to help his fellow sailors.  Though not trained, and not allowed, he manned an anti-aircraft gun and engaged the attacking Japanese planes.  For his bravery and his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, Miller was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross.  But his heroism affected not only the Navy, but the entire military.  Recently, the U.S. Navy announced yet another tribute to Dorie Miller, a Texas war hero.  Learn more about this brave Texan in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.  

Ep. 76: The Texas Cattle Queen

Right after the civil war, women weren’t really expected (or even thought capable) to be in business.  But of course, Texas women proved them wrong.  Lizzie Johnson was a school teacher, but she was also a writer and discovered how lucrative the cattle business could be.  So she became a cattle baroness and Austin real estate mogul.  Learn more about the Texas Cattle Queen in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.  

Ep. 75: Writing Texas History- An Interview with Author Stephen Harrigan

Award-winning author Stephen Harrigan visits Wise About Texas to discuss his new book–a history of Texas titled Big Wonderful Thing. Mr. Harrigan talks about how, as a journalist and novelist, he approached the colossal task of writing an entire history of Texas. Among other topics, he discusses his favorite Texas stories, the impact of our history on Texas, and a writer’s view of the Texas history we all love. Learn how one of Texas’ greatest writers approached Texas history in this episode of Wise About Texas.

EP. 69 Texans You Should Know: Bessie Coleman, Pilot & Pioneer

Born into poverty and raised in north central Texas, Bessie Coleman wanted to fly.  But in the early 20th century, nobody in the United States would teach a black woman to fly an airplane.  So Bessie Coleman learned a new language, traveled a world away, and realized her dream.  A pioneer pilot, Coleman came home and became famous.  She used her talent and her perseverance to show everyone what was possible.  Learn more about a true pioneer aviator in this episode of Wise About Texas.  

Ep 56: Texans You Should Know: Pamelia Mann

What is it about Texas women?  Independent, smart, strong, spirited, they can do it all!  Ask any Texas man and he’ll tell you, the ladies run the show!  But this is nothing new.  Back before the Texas revolution, the women of Texas formed the spirit of Texas.  Some were because their husbands moved the family to this new land of opportunity.  These women did their best to build a household in the harsh Texas frontier, and they did it well.  But some came on their own, and brought their spirit with them.  That was Pamelia Mann.  She was a Houston entrepreneur, hotelier, rancher, businesswoman, forger, possibly a thief, and willing to be a killer.  She was even sentenced to death…but slipped the noose.  During the Texas revolution she handed Sam Houston himself the only defeat he would suffer in command of the Texas Army.  Celebrate the spirit of Texas women in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.

Ep. 52: Basil Muse Hatfield, The First Admiral of the Trinity

The Trinity River flows from roughly Fort Worth to Trinity Bay in Chambers County.  For several years boats navigated the river but never all the way.  Several attempts were made to promote the Trinity River as a commercial asset but none were more enthusiastic than the 2-year, 9000 mile, yes 9000 mile, journey of Basil Muse Hatfield.  The grandson of a San Jacinto veteran and steamboat man, Hatfield boasted a family that not only had many “Basil Muse’s” but also one of the most famous “Devil’s” in American history.  He fought wars in South Africa, South America and China, hunted ivory and mined diamonds in Africa, mined silver in Mexico and even studied with Tibetan Lamas.  Or so he claimed.  He did find oil in Texas.  One of the great characters of Texas, meet Basil Muse Hatfield, the First Admiral of the Trinity, in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.

Ep 48: Texans You Should Know-Crazy Ben Dolliver the Pirate

Crazy Ben Dolliver was said to be touched.  Sporting a 6 inch scar from an old sword fight, Crazy Ben circulated around Galveston in the 19th century barefoot, shirtless, and mostly drunk.  He camped on the beach and fished for his sustenance.  But Crazy Ben always paid for his drinks with Spanish Doubloons.  Every now and then he’d sail away from the island and return with more Spanish gold.  Where did the gold come from?  Everyone knew Crazy Ben had served as one of Jean Lafitte’s crew as a pirate.  Did he know the location of some treasure?  Nobody figured it out, though they tried and tried.   Then one day a ship arrived from New Orleans and Ben left….with some cargo.  Hear a true pirate tale in this latest episode of Wise About Texas

Ep. 26: Texas Takes Flight

The first man to fly a powered aircraft was a Texan named Jacob Brodbeck.  History credits the Wright brothers but it’s time to correct the record!  Learn about German immigration, a fascinating Texan, and the first airplane flight in this episode of Wise About Texas.

Painting of Jacob Brodbeck's 1865 flight (photo: Cibolo Nature Center)
Painting of Jacob Brodbeck’s 1865 flight (photo: Cibolo Nature Center)

 

Jacob Brodbeck, the first pilot.
Jacob Brodbeck, the first pilot.

Jacob Bordbeck's grave
Jacob Bordbeck’s grave

Indianola, Texas street scene
Indianola, Texas street scene

An aerial view of the Herff farm where Brodbeck flew (photo Cibolo Nature Center)
An aerial view of the Herff farm where Brodbeck flew (photo Cibolo Nature Center)

Ep. 21: Texans You Should Know: Temple Lea Houston

Meet Temple Lea Houston, youngest son of Texas hero Sam Houston and one of Texas’s first great trial lawyers.  He was known for his quick mind, a silver tongue, fancy dress and a fast gun.  All of those were helpful in the early courtrooms of Texas.  He turned down the chance for high political office in exchange for the excitement of frontier justice.  He also delivered one of the greatest closing arguments in history.  Come to court in frontier Texas and get Wise About Texas.

Temple Lea Houston
Temple Lea Houston

 

brigham monument
The Brigham monument at San Jacinto

capitol dedication
Dedication of the new state capitol building 1888

happyhourtascosa
Happy hour in Tascosa, Texas back in the old days

MobeetieStoneCourthouse
The old stone courthouse in Mobeetie

temple 1890
Temple Houston about 1890

Ep. 16: Texans You Should Know: Gen. Thomas Jefferson Chambers

In the first episode of a periodic series on Texans you should know, learn about the interesting, active and controversial life of General Thomas Jefferson Chambers.  Lawyer, surveyor, judge, land baron.  Chambers had an entrepeneurial spirit and a nose for a deal.  Was he a smart business man or an unscrupulous dealer?  No matter what you conclude, he is certainly a Texan you should know!

thomas-jefferson-chambers
General Thomas Jefferson Chambers