Texas stories

Ep. 102: Juneteenth and the Celebration of Freedom

On June 19, 1865, union general Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and issued some general orders. His General Order No. 3 informed the people of Texas that all the slaves in Texas were now free. Since then, “Juneteenth” has been celebrated in Texas as the anniversary of emancipation. Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday…

Read More

Ep. 78: The Lady in Blue

 In 1629 a group of Jumano Indians suddenly appeared at a New Mexico mission, eager to learn more about Christianity.  The excited and grateful Franciscan priests wondered what motivated this sudden interest.  The tale the Indians told seemed unbelievable.  A “lady in blue” had appeared to them instructing them to seek out the priests and…

Read More

Ep. 77: A bull branded MURDER

 In 1891, one cowboy murdered another over the ownership of a brindle bull.  Other cowboys branded the bull so that all would remember the crime.  Some say the bull wanders the trans-pecos to this day, appearing whenever a certain crime occurs.  Hear about a bull branded MURDER in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.

Read More

Ep. 74: The Vaudeville Mule

What could be better than a good vaudeville show? A runaway mule, of course! One day in Nacogdoches, it’s said that a runaway mule changed the course of comedy history. Is it true? You bet your life…

Read More

EP. 73: Train Robbery at Baxter’s Curve

Ben Kilpatrick was an outlaw.  He rode with Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the Wild Bunch into western infamy.  The law caught up with him and he went to prison where he met Ole Hobeck.  They two decided when they got out, they’d go into business together.  Being outlaws, that business was train robbery….

Read More

Ep. 72: Death of a Trailblazer, Oliver Loving

Oliver Loving was a trailblazer…literally.  He drove cattle to Illinois, Louisiana, and Colorado.  With Charles Goodnight he blazed a new western trail intended to avoid the Indian threat.  Impatient as he was brave, he rode ahead to Santa Fe and was immediately attacked.  However, he held off hundreds of Comanches while one of his men went for help.  Through luck,…

Read More

Bonus Episode: Wise About Texas goes to the movies with The Highwaymen

This bonus episode features an interview with Dr. Jody Edward Ginn, Ph.D., who was a consulting historian on the new Netflix movie The Highwaymen.  The movie stars Kevin Costner as former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and Woody Harrelson as former Texas Ranger Maney Gault.  The movie tells the story of the chase and killing of…

Read More

Ep. 60: Japanese Texas

In the early 20th century Japan sought to extend its relations around the world.  Texas made imminent sense.  A Japanese professor saw the Alamo as a perfect companion to one of ancient Japan’s most famous battles.  The Emperor saw Texas as a perfect place to relocate some of his brightest farmers.  Learn about the early…

Read More

Ep. 58: Burying the Hatchet in San Antonio

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…

Read More

Ep. 57: A BAT-ty idea to win WWII

Dr. Lytle Adams had bats in his belfry.  He had visited Carlsbad cavern right before  Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He came up with a great idea for weapon(s) of mass destruction hat would burn up the paper and wood cities of Japan.  All he would need was a one ounce incendiary bomb, a breakaway bomb…

Read More

Ep. 55: A Surly Bartender

Fredericksburg Texas has a very interesting history.  Created during the massive German immigration to Texas in the middle 1800’s, Fredericksburg was not intended to be the city it soon became.  A treaty with the Comanche Indians and the California gold rush made Fredericksburg a prosperous place to set up a store.  John Hunter did just that….

Read More

Ep. 54: They’re Robbing the Treasury!

In June of 1865, Texas was in chaos.  Robert E. Lee had just surrendered the Army of Northern of Virginia, effectively ending the Civil War.  But without a government or functioning economy, it was every man for himself.  Many former Confederates were heading for Mexico, while others tried to bring order to chaos.  A few…

Read More

Ep. 53: Texas Takes the Triple Crown

Bob Kleberg, Jr. had an eye for good horses.  When he did something, he did it big.  He also managed one of the largest and most storied ranches in Texas, founded by his grandfather Richard King.  When Kleberg decided that the King Ranch would race thoroughbreds, he bought and bred the best.  In 1943, a…

Read More

EP. 51: The Schooner Flash, a Revolutionary Ship.

The Flash was a schooner built in Connecticut for a new enterprise in Texas.  She came to Texas in possession of James Morgan to support his new endeavor, a town and community called New Washington.  But as war clouds gathered, Morgan mounted an 18 pounder on her foredeck and commissioned her Captain into the Texas…

Read More

Episode 49: Jane Wilson’s Incredible Journey

In early 1853, Jane Wilson and her new husband James set out with 62 others to strike it rich in California.  They never made it.  After two months of traveling they reached El Paso where successful thieves ruined their dreams of fortune.  They decided to return to East Texas but what seemed like the end…

Read More

Ep 47: The San Antonio Chili Queens

In late 1800’s San Antonio, the plazas were busy marketplaces during the day. But at night, the Chili Queens took over. These ladies brought the exotic flavors of Mexico to the population of San Antonio. Music, laughter and the pungent aroma of chili con carne filled the air. From the greatest to the least, every…

Read More

EP 44: Josiah’s Vision

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…

Read More

BONUS EPISODE: Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, as a category 4 storm.  It was only the second Cat 4 to hit that area of Texas in recorded history.  The track of Hurricane Harvey also resulted in a rain event in the Houston area, the likes of which has never been seen in American history!  up to…

Read More

Ep 43: Asa Borger and his Boomtown

Asa Borger was a town builder with an eye for opportunity and a nose for the Texas oil fields. He came to the panhandle in 1926 and made millions establishing the boomtown of Borger. But the thousands of residents weren’t all of the best sort. Drinking, gambling, prostitution and violence were rampant. “Booger Town,” as…

Read More

EP 42: Beer, Heroes, and Life on the Bluff

The Mexican invasion of San Antonio gave rise to two expeditions against the Mexican army that had disastrous results. Nicholas Dawson led a group of men from La Grange to San Antonio into battle on Salado Creek only to be massacred when they tried to surrender. A group of men under William Fisher attacked Mier…

Read More

Ep. 41: The Horse Marines

After the battle of San Jacinto, it wasn’t certain just how victorious the Texians were.  Several Mexican generals commanded several thousand Mexican troops west of the battleground.  Santa Anna indeed ordered them to leave Texas but if they could get resupplied, who knows what could happen?  Enter Issac Burton and his horse marines!  After failing…

Read More

EP. 40 Raising Galveston and Walling Off the Sea

One of the greatest example of resilience in Texas, indeed United States, history was the building of the Galveston seawall and the raising of the city.  After the Great Hurricane of 1900, the easiest thing to do would have been to abandon Galveston Island.  But that wouldn’t be the Texan thing to do.  Instead, the…

Read More

Ep. 37: The Steamboat Yellowstone, Engine of Manifest Destiny

Built in 1831 for John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, the steamboat Yellowstone was the first steamboat to travel past the Council Bluffs.  She reached parts of the upper Missouri River previously unreachable by other boats.  After conquering the fur trade, she was sold to Thomas Toby & Brother of New Orleans and registered under…

Read More

EP. 33- Beer, Love and Murder: A Tale of 3 Emmas

In 1914, San Antonio beer magnate Otto Koehler was killed by his mistress, Emma.  His former mistress, also named Emma, was present.  Was it self defense?  Was it planned?  Did she get him before he got her?  What became of his wife named, yes, Emma?  Some said it was murder, some said self defense.  Some said…

Read More

Ep. 32, Napoleon’s General Comes to Texas: The Story of Champ D’Asile

In 1818, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s top generals, and many of his former officers, tried to establish a French colony in Texas. They said it was for agriculture, but they brought a ship full of weapons and built a fort on the Trinity River. Were they going to incite revolution in Mexico, or did they have their…

Read More

Ep 31 A Texas Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!  In this episode we take a light look at some of the traditions that make a Texas Christmas.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Texas Christmas!

Read More

Ep. 29: The Greer County Land Grab(?)

An 1818 map was used to negotiate a boundary treaty between the United States and Spain, then Mexico, then the Republic of Texas, then the State of Texas.  The only problem was, the map was wrong!  Learn about a boundary dispute between Texas and Oklahoma that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court and beyond!  

Read More

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.  

Read More

Ep 25: The Texas Camel Corps

One hump or two? Camels came to Texas in the 1850’s and the ships of the desert proved themselves great Texans! There might even be one or two still wandering around! Learn more about the great camel experiment in this episode of Wise About Texas.            

Read More

Ep. 24: The Great Storm of 1900 Part 2: Resilience and Recovery

When faced with the most destructive hurricane to date, the city of Galveston faced an unspeakable tragedy with extraordinary resilience. As the city struggled to recover, the citizens were already planning to rebuild. As it turns out, they would go farther than anyone ever they thought possible. Hear about the incredible spirit of Texas as…

Read More

Ep. 22: Birds, Skulls and Secret Agents: John James Audubon Visits Texas, 1837

In 1837, John James Audubon needed a trip to Texas to complete his legendary Bird of America.  He came to Galveston and collected many wonderful specimens.  But the story is about a lot more than birds.  We have rattlesnakes, sawfish, secret agents, soldier skulls and Sam Houston.  Hear about Audubon’s visit in the latest episode…

Read More