San Antonio was founded 300 years ago in 1718. From day one, the residents, priests and soldiers faced a constant and menacing threat from the Apache Indians. Raids from the indians and retaliatory campaigns from the soldiers made life in early San Antonio stressful and difficult. Attempts at peace never seemed to work. But all of a sudden, in 1749, the Apache wanted not only to make peace, but also to enter mission life and convert to Christianity. The reason for the Apache’s sudden change of heart is a matter of perspective. But rather than look a gift horse in the mouth, the Spanish held a grand peace ceremony in San Antonio’s main plaza, the likes of which has never been seen in North America. Learn about this unique event in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
Texas Ranger. Two words that strike fear in the heart of the lawbreaker and hope in the heart of the law abiding. Since before there was a Texas, there were Rangers. How this elite force officially began is the subject of some controversy. There is no doubt that Stephen F. Austin realized the need to take the fight to the hostile Indians he encountered in his new colony. In this episode, you hear Austin’s own words describe his ideas to defend his new colony and his personal funding of a group of rangers. I also discuss the various rangers that are often considered the first and why such men were even necessary. I also cover the first battle between Texas Rangers and comanches, beginning a war that would last decades. Hear about the origins of the most famous law enforcement organization in history–the legendary Texas Rangers.
Every fall, the most feared cavalry the world has ever known, the Comanche Indians, would leave their home on the great plains and raid deep into Mexico taking horses, and humans, back with them. They followed an ancient trail that came to be known as the Great Comanche war trail. The Comanche were not prosperous until the Spanish introduced the horse which turned around the fortunes of an entire people. The Comanche Indians managed to convince the Spanish to help them defeat the Apache, which then opened up unfettered access to Mexico via the war trail. From the panhandle to the Rio Grande, the raiders followed a well-defined trail almost a mile wide at points. Famous springs and river crossings were used for centuries. Even today, you can drive the same trail used by traders, Indians, stagecoaches and travelers. The Great Comanche War Trail.
Josiah Wilbarger was one of the earliest Anglo settlers of Texas. He also settled way outside the safe boundaries of the frontier. He chose a league of land in the hostile territory of the Comancheria, near present-day Bastrop. He eventually gained a neighbor in Reuben Hornsby but things were still very, very dangerous. One day he and others were attacked by Comanches. Josiah took a musket ball to the neck and was paralyzed. Unable to move or speak, but still conscious, he felt himself being scalped by an Indian. Still alive, he dragged himself to a tree where he had a vision that saved his life. But was it a vision, or a visit from the spirit world? Learn more of this ghostly tale in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.