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EP. 61: Texas and the Great War, Part 1-Unrest on the Border

The early 20th century brought chaos to the Texas/Mexico border.  The Mexican revolution(s) created opportunities for raiders, bandits and criminals to run rampant.  The law was hard to enforce and depredations hard to prevent.  Germany fostered this chaos to distract the U.S. from the war in Europe.  Soon, two documents were discovered that would focus…

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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…

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EP. 59: The Texas Rangers-The First of Many Battles

In the first days of 1836 revolution was brewing in Texas.  The battle of Gonzales had spawned the Texian conquest of La Bahia and Bexar.  The Texians were sure the Mexicans would soon see the wisdom of allowing the Texians their own government.  The Indians, however, just saw opportunity.  Depredations continued and the further up…

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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…

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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…

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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. 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….

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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…

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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…

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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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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…

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Episode 50: The Texas Rangers–The Beginning.

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…

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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…

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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…

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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 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…

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Ep. 46: The Great Comanche War Trail

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…

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Ep 45: Artist William Ranney and How Texas Shaped the American Identity.

William Ranney was one of the first American artists to capture the legendary characters, events and spirit of the American west.  One critic pointed out that he was the only artist who had the first hadn’t experience to paint scenes of the west.  Where did he get that experience?  Texas of course!  Ranney had served…

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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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Ep. 39: Texas wins the American Revolution

In 1777 Bernardo de Galvez became governor of Louisiana.  As a Spaniard, he was cheering for a colonial victory in the revolution.  He made sure supplies made it up the Mississippi to George Washington’s Continental Army.  When the Spanish crown authorized Galvez to fight the British, he called on Texas!  Galvez turned to Texas to feed…

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Ep 38: The Spoils of San Jacinto

181 years ago this week, the Texian Army surprised the Mexican army and won the Battle of San Jacinto.  The battle lasted a mere 18 minutes, but its effects changed the world.  After the initial 18 minute rout, many of the Texans pursued the fleeing enemy into the bayous and swamps around San Jacinto while…

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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…

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Ep. 36 More Forgotten Battles: San Patricio & Refugio

We all remember the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto but there were many more battles in the Texas revolution than are commonly discussed.  A big issue at the time of the Texas revolution was whether to attack Matamoros, Mexico in hopes that federalist sympathizers would join forces with the Texians and achieve glorious victory over…

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Ep 35 Remember Tampico! A forgotten battle of the Texas revolution

When discussing the Texas revolution, the battle of the Alamo, the Goliad massacre and the great victory at San Jacinto get most of the airtime.  But there were several other military events in the time period leading up to Texas independence.  One of these events was General Jose Mexia’s attack on the Mexican port city…

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Ep. 34: Revolutionary Texas Government(s)-Organizing Chaos

In the late 1820’s, the Mexican government assessed the conditions in Texas and decided to clamp down on anglo immigration and try to prevent too much revolutionary fervor.  The American immigrants “traveled with their constitution in their pockets, always demanding their rights.”  Mexican President Bustamante issued a decree in 1830 that prevented any further immigration…

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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…

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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…

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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!

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Ep. 30: Texas Towns: Virginia Point

Virginia Point was a transportation hub, civil war fort and cotton producing town on the shores of Galvesston Bay.  It was part of Austin’s “coast colony” and was considered as an early port of the Republic.  The Confederate forces launched the attack that recaptured Galveston from Virginia Point.  Learn more about this Texas town in…

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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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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.  

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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.            

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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…

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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. 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…

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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…

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Ep. 20: Island Time: San Jose, Mustang and Matagorda

In the middle of a hot Texas summer, let’s head for the beach!  San Jose Island is bordered by Matagorda to the north and Mustang to the south.  Texas barrier islands all have their unique stories and San Jose is no different.  It has seen explorers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and soldiers.  These islands together hold the…

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Ep. 19: Cowboy Christmas: Rodeo in Texas

Merry Christmas…that’s Cowboy Christmas of course.  July 4 is called Cowboy Christmas because of all the great rodeos held around the 4th of July holiday.  In this episode we take a look at the history of rodeo going all the way back to the 16th century.  Learn how the modern sport of rodeo evolved from…

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Ep. 18: Texas Towns: Texana

In the first of a new series on Texas Towns we take a look at the town of Texana, once a booming Texas port city, now claimed by the water she once commanded.

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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. 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…

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Ep. 15: The Crash at Crush!

Crush, Texas was the second largest city in Texas for a few hours in September, 1896.  Learn about a Texas-sized publicity stunt that was the biggest and, unfortunately the deadliest in Texas history.  It was a train wreck in more ways than one.  Travel back to the glory days of rail travel and learn about the…

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Bonus Episode: The Battle of San Jacinto

Review the battle of San Jacinto.  18 minutes that changed the world.  

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Ep. 14: The Road to San Jacinto

After the fall of the Alamo and the massacre at Goliad, times in Texas were uncertain at best.  General Sam Houston took the army on a retreat to the east.  In this episode learn how the Texian army made it to San Jacinto and some of the side stories and important questions raised during that…

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Ep. 13: The Goliad Massacre

One of the darkest events in Texas history was the massacre of the Texians at Goliad. Learn stories of deceit, escape and even kindness in the midst of sorrow in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.

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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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Ep. 9: The Davis-Coke Election and an Armed Standoff in the Capitol

Texas elections are always exciting but not all of them result in an armed standoff in the capitol between two Governors. The election of 1873 did! The Texas Supreme Court used a semicolon to cause the conflict and, change Texas history and end reconstruction! Learn more in Episode 9 of Wise About Texas.  

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Bonus Episode: Wyatt Earp’s Low Blow

In Episode 8, you learned how Bob Fitzsimmons won the heavyweight championship on a sandbar in the Rio Grande.  In this bonus episode, learn how Fitzsimmons’ next fight cost the legendary Wyatt Earp his gun…and his reputation!

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The Secret “Fight of the Century”–Episode 8

In 1896, the biggest sporting event in the nation was to be a fight for the heavyweight championship.  But its location was a secret!  Armed Soldiers from Mexico, Arizona, and the Texas Rangers had it stopped, until the “Law West of the Pecos,” Judge Roy Bean managed to take it international–sort of.  Learn about Texas…

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Texas joins the United States–Episode 7

170 years ago today, December 29, the United States admitted Texas as the 28th State. Learn about what Texas President Anson Jones called the “great drama” in this episode of Wise About Texas!

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The Siege and Battle of Bexar: Episode 6

In December, 1835, the Mexican army surrendered the major city of Bexar to the rebellious Texans.  Learn about the grass fight and the capture of the pots and pans!  You’ll also learn about the pivotal role BBQ played in the cause of Texas independence!  

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Capitals of Texas part 2: Houston and Austin go to War! (ep. 5)

Houston was the capital of Texas, but not for long.  After the capital moved to the new town of Austin, President Sam Houston kept trying to move it again…leading to an armed conflict and a cannon fired on Congress Avenue!  The only question is whether the war is really over…  

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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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Wise About Texas Episode 003- The Battle of Concepcion

Download this episode and hear the story of the first large battle of the Texas revolution.  While the first shots of the Texas revolution were fired at Gonzales, the first larger battle, and the first Texan casualty, was fought near a mission south of present-day San Antonio.  This episode takes you back 180 years to…

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Wise About Texas Episode 002- The 1948 Senate Election

In this episode, we celebrate the rough and tumble world of Texas politics by examining the 1948 Senate election.  This election had strange events, Texas Rangers, guns and lawsuits!  Download this episode to learn how a small precinct in a small South Texas county changed the course of U.S. history!  

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Wise About Texas Episode 001- The First Judges of Texas

This episode introduces two of the first judges of Texas–Josiah Hughes Bell and Benjamin Cromwell Franklin.  Download this episode to hear stories of Austin’s Colony and how the provisional Texas government learned of the victory at San Jacinto.  You’ll also hear about the time Texas engaged in an act of war against the United States!

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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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