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EP 116: I Heard it on the X, Part 2

Dr. John Brinkley had figured out how to beat the system and built the most powerful radio station in the world. The entire United States could now hear what he was selling. Music was a big part of that and Border Blaster XERA introduced Americans to gospel, the blues, Tejano…and provided the first nationwide exposure…

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EP. 115: I Heard it on the X, Part 1

Dr. John Brinkley claimed to have the miracle operation for male “rejuvenation.” Dr. John Brinkley was also a quack who bought his medical degree for $100. Nevertheless, he became one of the best-known doctors in the nation. Harnessing the new power of radio, Dr. Brinkley drew thousands to his small clinic in Kansas. But the…

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Ep. 114: Winging it in Big Bend

In the 1920s, U.S. military aviation was in its early stages. New uses for air power were discovered frequently. The new flying machines would allow military and civilian authorities to patrol dangerous, remote areas more effectively. Few areas in the U.S. were more remote, or more dangerous, than the Mexican border in far west Texas….

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EP. 110: A Goliad Survivor?

March 27, 1836 was Palm Sunday, a holy day. But the Mexican dictator Santa Anna didn’t care, he was out for blood. He ordered hundreds of Texian prisoners executed in cold blood at the Presidio La Bahia at Goliad. The prisoners were split into groups and marched away from the fort. The soldiers proceeded to…

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Ep 109: Alamo Defenders- Dr. Amos Pollard

Dr. Amos Pollard was a Massachusetts yankee seeking a new start and prosperity in Texas. He dared the Mexican army to “come and take it,” and served as an army doctor during the siege of Bexar. He would die defending the Alamo. Dr. Pollard wanted freedom for Texas and a chance to make an impact…

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Ep. 108: Alamo Defenders- Toribio Losoya

The Alamo defenders were heroes, but not everyone gets top billing. Hear the stories of some of the defenders that you may not think of when you remember the Alamo. This episode is about Alamo hero Toribio Losoya.

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Ep. 107: Texans You Should Know- Anna Mebus Martin

She arrived from Germany with very little, not even speaking English. She braved indian attacks, frontier outlaws and a civil war to become a cattle queen and a bank president. Learn about a great Texas entrepreneur in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.

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Ep. 106: A Lea Family Tragedy

The Lea family were patriots.  Father Albert Lea was born in Tennessee and served in the Army after graduating West Point.  He went on to serve in various capacities by appointment of several different presidents.  His son attended the Naval academy and shot through the ranks as a Naval Officer.  But as the civil war…

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EP. 105: The Indian Trial Part 3: The Trial

The trial of the century would be held in the old sandstone courthouse in Jacksboro. Finally, justice would be served…or would it? Fiery arguments, quick verdicts, legal wrangling, and back room negotiations would end the raiding, or so some thought. Ultimately, justice would be a moving target in this first-of-its kind case. Find out what…

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BONUS EPISODE: Villa de Austin

The Texas Historical Commission is creating the opportunity to step back in time and visit the capital of Austin’s colony, San Felipe de Austin. Reproductions of some of the town buildings will now sit mere yards from their original locations. Find out about this exciting new project from the project historian Michael Rugeley Moore in…

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Ep. 104: The Great Pearl Rush

Freshwater pearls have always been valuable finds, but one man found one in 1909 that was said to be worth a ton of money! All of a sudden, East Texas experienced a pearl boom. One person reported watching a thousand people combing lake bottoms hoping to strike it rich. Hear about the East Texas pearl…

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EP. 103: A Fair Likeness?

In the early 1920’s, the City of Houston was building what would come to be known as Hermann Park. Its centerpiece was to be a statue of Sam Houston. Enrico Cerracchio won the contract and his creation was lauded nationwide. But one person really didn’t like it…Sam Houston’s son. He hated it so much, a…

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Ep. 101: The San Jacinto Battle Flag

The victorious Texians only carried one flag into the Battle of San Jacinto. It was a gift from the citizens of Newport, Kentucky to Sidney Sherman. After the revolution, the flag was sent back to Kentucky. But after several decades, the flag found its permanent home. Learn the fate of the San Jacinto battle flag…

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EP. 100: The San Jacinto Monument(s)

The San Jacinto monument stands 567 feet over a battleground upon which a ragtag army changed the trajectory of world history. A few hundred Texians surprised the President of Mexico and his army in an afternoon attack on April 21, 1836. Eighteen minutes later, the Texians had won their revolution against the tyrannical Santa Anna,…

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Ep. 99: A Letter From Goliad

On March 27, 1836, several hundred Texian soldiers were brutally murdered on the orders of Santa Anna. One of them, John C. Logan, left us two letters. The first was written at a time of optimism and victory. The second reflected the hard conditions suffered by many in the Texian army. These two letters provide…

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Ep. 98: Writing Texas History with James L. Haley

James L. Haley is one of Texas’ finest writers. He has written a preeminent biography of Sam Houston, an award winning narrative history of Texas called Passionate Nation as well as several works of fiction, also very highly regarded. But we Texans take our history very seriously, so writing historical fiction about Texas can be…

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Ep. 97: Victory or Death-The Travis Letter

From February 23, 1836 through its fall on March 6, the Mexican army lay siege to the Alamo. William Barrret Travis wrote several letters during the siege but one stands above all others.  On February 24, 1836, Travis dispatched a letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.”  This letter would…

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EP. 96: The All-Woman Supreme Court

In 1925, there were only a few women lawyers in Texas. But women still couldn’t serve as jurors and nobody dreamed there would ever be a female judge. Then a real estate lawsuit came to the Texas Supreme Court involving a mutual life insurance company called  the Woodmen of the World.  At the time, every…

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EP. 95: Texas Towns: Welcome to Provident City!

In the early 20th century, Texas had room to grow.  Like the empresarios of the early 1800’s, real estate drove efforts to settle new Texans.  But not all developers were honest.  Promises of historically productive land, railroads and pleasant temperatures lured many to the coastal prairie.  Towns were built…and towns died.  One in particular was…

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EP. 94: The Texas Rangers–East Texas Troubles

San Augustine had a crime problem in the 1930’s. A semi-organized gang was preying on the black community and something had to be done. The problem was compounded by a corrupt governor who had all but destroyed the Rangers. But new Governor James V Allred cleaned up the Texas Ranger force and restored it to…

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Ep. 93: The Free State of Van Zandt

Texans love their freedom. At the door of a hat, we’ll declare independence and the fight is on! For years, folks have referred to Van Zandt County as the “free state of Van Zandt.” How did this come about? Was it taxes, or was it the civil war? In this episode we’ll look at three…

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Ep. 92: I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas

Texas one of only 17 states that has a pledge of allegiance to its flag. But some would say Texas is the only state that deserves it. Hear a quick take on the Texas pledge of allegiance in this episode of Wise About Texas.

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Ep. 91: The Secret Court of the Republic of Texas

In April, 1836, Texas went to war with the United States by capturing an American ship in the service of Mexico. After the battle of San Jacinto, an international relations nightmare loomed. President David Burnet had to find some way to hold a trial. Without a constitution, laws, courts or judges, Burnet took matters into…

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EP. 90: Cozumel, Texas?

During 1837, the Mexican government was still reeling from the successful Texas revolution. Bent on reconquering Texas, an army massed at Matamoros. The Secretary of the Texas Navy knew that Texas could keep Mexico at bay by attacking its ports and shipping. Sam Houston, however, thought the Texas Navy an unnecessary extravagance. Despite the President’s…

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Ep. 89: Texas Attacks Oklahoma!

During World War II, Texas played an important role in training pilots and bomber crews.  The city of Dalhart contributed to the war effort by building an airfield.  Practice bombing missions took place over the panhandle by the famous B-17, B-24, and later the B-29.  One night in 1943, a young B-17 crew set out…

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EP. 88: Texas Pandemics

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has been a trying time for Texans.  But we’ve been through much worse.  The harsh climate, tropical ports, lack of medicine, etc. has resulted in Texans enduring several pandemics and epidemics through the years.  From yellow fever to cholera to smallpox, it seems as though we’ve seen it all.  Texas is…

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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…

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Ep. 65: Welcome to Progress City! (It’s around here somewhere…)

 The late 19th century saw Texas industry expanding west.  The railroads were laid and towns were springing up everywhere.  That quintessential Texas opportunity was knocking once again. One railroad entrepreneur gave one aspiring town builder the idea to layout a new town near the Big Bend called…what else…Progress City.  He surveyed, he platted, and he…

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Ep. 64: Texas and the Great War Part 3: Service to Country, Service to Texas

Over 5000 Texans served in World War One.  Many returned to Texas and continued their service to their home State.  Here are just a few stories of men who returned from war and continued their service.  A tribute to all our men and women who served so bravely in the Great War.  

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Ep. 63: Santa Claus is Coming to Town…and Robbing the Bank!

December 23, 1927 was a typical day in Cisco, Texas.  People going about their Christmas shopping, ready for holiday time with family and friends.  The kids even saw Santa Claus walking down Main Street!  He engaged with the kids, wishing them Merry Christmas.  Then he walked to the First National Bank, and into history, in…

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Ep. 62: Texas and the Great War, Part 2–Training Our Finest

Before they can fight, our soldiers must be trained.  General Sherman decided that the dwindling U.S. Army would be consolidated into two garrisons, one being based in San Antonio, Texas to protect the frontier and conduct the Indian wars necessary to western expansion.  When war in Europe beckoned, San Antonio was ready.  But the Army…

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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…

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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…

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BONUS EPISODE: A Second Helping of Chili

I received some great feedback on the San Antonio Chili Queens episode so I thought I’d share a couple of stories that didn’t make it into the main episode and answer some questions.  I also try a diplomatic (and historically correct) solution to the bean controversy!  So bring your bowl and spoon up a second…

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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…

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EP 28: Professional Texas History

In honor of the one-year anniversary of Wise About Texas, I take the show professional.  I conducted an interview with professional historian Dr. Jody Edward Ginn, PhD.  Dr. Ginn discusses his varied career in museums, books and even movies.  His insights into why Texas history is important will educate and inspire your love of Texas…

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Bonus Episode: Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Happy 1 year anniversary to Wise About Texas!  This episode thanks you for listening and previews the next year(s).  Thanks for listening!

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Ep 27: The Texas Prison Rodeo

For over 50 years, Texans gathered at the Walls Unit in Huntsville Texas to watch the toughest convicts compete in the Texas Prison Rodeo.  The rodeo was a fixture of Texas Octobers until budgets and changing times brought an end to the roughest rodeo around.  In this episode, you’ll relive those days and hear the…

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BONUS EPISODE: The Great Storm of 1900–A Night of Horror

On September 8, 1900 a monster hurricane slammed into Galveston Island, resulting in the largest natural disaster in American history.  In this bonus episode, learn what it was like for the residents of the island as they struggled desperately to survive the storm.        

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Ep. 23: The Great Storm of 1900, Part 1: A Storm Brewing

The worst natural disaster in American history occurred on September 8, 1900 when a massive hurricane hit Galveston, Texas.  At the time, Galveston was the largest city in Texas and one of the most prosperous in the country.  Weather forecasting was not keeping pace with prosperity, however, and the folks in Galveston had no way…

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Ep. 17: A Duel for Command of the Texas Army, 1837

Two generals decided to fight a duel to decide who would command the Texas Army.  Find out what happened and whether a wound suffered in the duel eventually affected the outcome of the Civil War!    

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Ep. 12: The Alamo Survivors

180 years ago, every Alamo defender lost his life.  But not everyone who was in the Alamo died.  Learn some stories of the folks who survived the battle and a little about the effect of the defeat on the government of the young Republic of Texas.  

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Bonus Episode: Dawn at the Alamo, March 6, 1836

180 years ago today, March 6, 1836 the final assault on the Alamo began. Wise About Texas pays tribute to the fallen in this bonus episode.  

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Episode 11: The Siege of the Alamo

180 years ago, the Mexican army surrounded the Alamo.  For 13 days, the defenders worked on the fortifications, sheltered some townspeople, entreated their fledgling government for food and supplies, and plead for reinforcements.  Learn who took shelter in the Alamo and follow the course of the siege through the letters of the garrison commander William…

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Ep. 10: The Road to the Alamo–February, 1836

Texas was in a state of confusion in February, 1836 and Santa Anna was on the march to quash the rebellion.  The government was split and the military command was in disarray.  But time was running out.  Learn how things stood in Texas 180 years ago this month as events started to concentrate around San…

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Bonus Episode: Texas Thanksgiving

The story of the first thanksgiving is not the one you might think.  Before the pilgrims, Texas already had a thanksgiving–and now we have two!  Learn more in this bonus episode of Wise About Texas.  Happy thanksgiving!  

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Capitals of Texas, Part 1 (Episode 4, pt. 1)

There are several lists of the capitals of the Republic of Texas but they are incomplete!  Come travel with the provisional government of Texas from the declaration of independence on March 2, 1836 onward as it flees the advancing enemy and tries to conduct the business of the new republic.  Part 1 covers the period…

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Wise About Texas Episode 000 Introduction

Welcome to Wise About Texas, the podcast about Texas history and culture.  This introductory episode tells you about the show, the host, and the goals of this podcast.  Subscribe to the show and enrich your knowledge of the Texas history stories you know and learn some Texas history you don’t know!

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