The Wild West, 1874-1887
January 15, 1874 - December 1, 1876
Letter from a grieving father about John Wesley Hardin and other "desperados"
Born: March 13, 1829 in Williamsburg, Virginia
Early Career: Coke graduated from the College of William and Mary and began practicing law before moving to Waco, Texas in 1850. In 1859 he was a member of a commission which removed the Brazos Reservation Indians to the Indian Territory. After serving in the Secession Convention of 1861, Coke rose in the ranks of the Confederate Army from private to captain. In 1865 he was appointed district judge, and in 1866 was elected Supreme Court justice, but was removed by General Philip Sheridan in 1867 as an "impediment to reconstruction."
In 1873, Coke won the governor's chair over E.J. Davis. Several tense days in January 1874 saw the state capitol turned into an armed camp, with two rival legislatures, as Davis refused to surrender his office. When President U.S. Grant would not support Davis' request for troops, Davis conceded and Coke was inaugurated.
Accomplishments: During Coke's term in office, he faced a state government which was in debt and without funds, an unprotected frontier, and problems with Indians and Mexican bandits. Coke reduced expenditures and made a new beginning of the public school system. He was reelected in 1876 after the Constitution of 1876 had returned the governor's term of office to two years. Later the same year, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and so resigned the governorship on December 1, 1876.
Later years: Coke served three terms in the Senate (1877-1895) and died in Waco on May 14, 1897.
Letter from Brownwood asking for a restriction on the carrying of six-shooters
Jan 17 1874 Reconstruction ends in Texas
Jun 27 1874 Quanah Parker and Lone Wolf defeated at Adobe Walls trading post
Aug 30 1874 First battle of Red River War, which eventually broke Indian power in the Panhandle
Sept 28 1874 Defeat of south Plains Indians at Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, south of Amarillo
Sep 16 1875 Hurricane destroys port of Indianola
Luther Burbank pioneers crossbreeding in agriculture
Feb 15 1876 Present state constitution is adopted
Jun 22 1876 Santa Anna dies of old age in Mexico City
Battle of Little Bighorn
Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Oct 4 1876 Agricultural and Mechanical College (later Texas A&M) opens
Nov 7 1876 Texas Rangers end the "Hoodoo War" in Mason County, a blood feud that had killed 18 people
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
Born: November 1, 1832 in Georgia
Early Career: Hubbard graduated from Mercer College (1851) and Harvard Law School (1853). Hubbard then moved to Texas and began practicing law in Tyler. While campaigning for James Buchanan in the presidential election of 1856, Hubbard's oratorical skill earned him the nickname of "the Demosthenes of Texas." He was appointed U.S. district attorney for the Western District of Texas in 1858, and elected state representative in 1859. After serving as a colonel in the Confederate Army, Hubbard farmed until he could resume his law practice upon being pardoned. He was elected Richard Coke's lieutenant governor in 1873 and 1876. When Coke resigned in December 1876 to become U.S. Senator, Hubbard became governor and served out his term.
Accomplishments: No legislatures met during this period. Besides an enormous public debt, Hubbard had to contend with renewed feuding and outlawry in the state. Other issues included the penitentiary lease system, the rise of the Grange and the Greenback Party, and the first experiments with the party primary. Hubbard received a majority of votes for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in July 1878, but did not receive a two-thirds majority. He was passed over in favor of the compromise candidate, Oran Roberts.
Later years: President Grover Cleveland appointed Hubbard U.S. minister to Japan from 1885-1889. In 1899, Hubbard's book The United States and the Far East was published. He died in Tyler in 1901.
Letter on the 1877 troubles that almost led to war with Mexico
Ku Klux Klan terrorism across the South
Feb 16 1877 First train service to San Antonio
Jun 18 1877 Charles Goodnight establishes first ranch in Panhandle
Chief Joseph's Nez Perce defeated in Idaho
Sep 1877 Months of mob violence begin over salt mining rights in the El Paso Salt War
Great Railroad Strike
Root beer invented
Jim Crow laws in the South
Edison invents the phonograph
Jul 21 1878 Outlaw Sam Bass killed by Texas Rangers in Round Rock
Yellow fever epidemic throughout the South
Lumber business begins to clear the forests of the Midwest and West
Oct 11 1878 Outlaw Bill Longley, killer of 32 men, hanged in Giddings
Cheyenne finally defeated in Dull Knife campaign in Wyoming
Carnegie consolidates steel industry
Born: July 1815 in South Carolina
Early Career: Roberts was raised in Alabama from the age of three. By the time he graduated in 1836, he was librarian of the University of Alabama. Roberts was admitted to the bar the next year, and served a term in the Alabama Legislature. In 1841 Roberts moved to San Augustine, Texas, where he became district attorney (1844) and district judge (1846-1851). He was a member of the board of trustees and the faculty of the University of San Augustine when he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas (1857). Roberts was elected president of the Secession Convention of 1861, led an infantry regiment during the Civil War, and briefly served as chief justice of the Supreme Court (1864-1865). After serving in the Constitutional Convention of 1866, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, but was refused his seat by that radical Republican body. Roberts practiced law in Tyler and Gilmer until he was reappointed to the Supreme Court in 1874. In 1878 Roberts was unanimously chosen candidate for governor by the Democratic state convention after a week of deadlocked ballots.
Accomplishments: His motto was "pay as you go," and to reduce the state debt inherited from the Davis and other administrations, he reduced pensions to veterans of the Revolution. Roberts also discontinued the payment of rewards for capture of criminals, liberally granted pardons to relieve the overcrowded prisons, and reduced appropriations for the public school system to save money. Despite this latter measure, he helped found two normal schools (Sam Houston State and Prairie View), revitalized Texas A&M, and helped create the University of Texas, where classes began in 1883. An unexpected added expense was the need to build a new state capitol building after the old one burned in 1881.
Later years: After his second gubernatorial term ended in 1883, Roberts taught law at the University of Texas for ten years. In addition to writing several books, he helped create and lead the Texas State Historical Association. Roberts died in Austin on May 19, 1898.
Letter from detective offering to hunt down the Sam Bass gang
Edison invents lightbulb
Uncle Remus stories published
Bicycling becomes popular
Mar 15 1881 Agents for the Texas & Pacific railroad create the town of Abilene
May 31 1881 Fort Griffin, once headquarters for buffalo skinners, is abandoned
Jul 2 1881 President Garfield shot; dies of his wounds Sep 19
Booker T. Washington founds Tuskeegee Institute
Clara Barton founds Red Cross
Nov 19 1881 Texas state capitol building burns to the ground
Dec 16 1881 Texas & Pacific Railway reaches West Texas and joins Southern Pacific tracks, forming second transcontinental railroad
Tuberculosis bacillus discovered
Rockefeller organizes Standard Oil Trust
Electric fan invented
Strikes in iron and steel industry
Jul 25 1882 Judge Roy Bean opens the Jersey Lilly in Langtry, first saloon west of the Pecos
Nov 28 1882 Norris Wright Cuney organizes black longshoremen in Galveston
Mass immigration from Europe
Boxing becomes popular
Born: January 1, 1827 in Kentucky
Early Career: While in his 20s, Ireland was constable and deputy sheriff of his home county, and he studied law. In 1853 he moved to Seguin, Texas, where he was elected mayor in 1858. After serving in the Secession Convention of 1861, he joined the Confederate army where he rose in rank from private to lieutenant colonel. Ireland was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866, and a district judge until removed by General Philip Sheridan as "an impediment to reconstruction" (1867). In 1872 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and in 1874 to the Texas Senate. While legislator (and later as governor), Ireland was known as "Ox Cart John" for his opposition to railroad subsidies on the grounds of their encouraging monopoly and privilege. He was briefly a Supreme Court justice until the Constitution of 1876 eliminated his seat. He was then defeated in a race for U.S. Senate (1876) and again in a race for U.S. House of Representatives (1878). Ireland won the gubernatorial race in 1882 over strong opposition from the Independent candidate George W. "Wash" Jones.
Accomplishments: As governor, Ireland reversed Oran Roberts' policy of rapid sale of public lands, arguing instead for a minimum price and sale to the highest bidder. The proceeds from these sales went into permanent funds for public schools, the state university, and state institutions. The constitution was amended to provide school districts with taxing power, and a state superintendent of education was created. Ireland reduced the number of pardons, and called a special session of the legislature in 1884 to deal with the fence-cutting war. That same year, Ireland was reelected by a greater margin than before. Ireland's suggestion to establish a railroad commission failed to pass and he had to contend with strikes by the Knights of Labor in 1885 and 1886. He refused to sign a contract to rebuild the capitol unless native Texas stone was used.
Later years: Upon retirement in 1887, Ireland unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate against John H. Reagan. He then resumed the practice of law in Seguin. Ireland died in San Antonio on March 15, 1896.
Message to the legislature
on the new State Capitol
Brooklyn Bridge opens
Krakatoa volcanic explosion
Jul 4 1883 World's first rodeo held in Pecos
Twain's Life on the Mississippi
Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Sep 15 1883 University of Texas opens
Ladies' Home Journal founded
Stevenson's Treasure Island
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
1884 Fence-cutting wars lead to end of the open range
Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Washington Monument completed
Burton's Arabian Nights
First self-service restaurant in New York City
Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado
European colonization of Africa
Karl Benz builds motor cars in Germany
Aug 19-21 1886 Indianola destroyed a second time by hurricane and fire; town abandoned
Gottlieb Daimler builds motorcycles in Germany
Statue of Liberty erected
Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped
American Federation of Labor founded