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Today is August 2nd
Today in Texas History


On this date in 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman began a killing rampage that left seventeen dead and thirty-one wounded in one of the worst mass murders in modern United States history. Whitman first killed his mother in her apartment and his wife in their residence. He then went to the tower on the University of Texas campus where he clubbed a receptionist, who later died, then killed two other people and wounded two more. Gaining the observation deck at an elevation of 231 feet he began firing on persons crossing the campus and others on nearby streets, killing ten and wounding thirty-one (one died a week later). Police returned his fire from the ground while police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy gained the observation deck, where they shot and killed Whitman. An autopsy revealed a tumor in Whitman’s head but medical authorities disagreed over its effect on his actions.



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Today in Old Western History

Aug. 1

1861 – After defeating Union troops in Fort Fillmore, New Mexico Territory, Capt. John Baylor claims all territory south of the 34th parallel as the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

1866 – The War Department orders the Army to train Indian scouts who will be used “in the territories and Indian country.” These scouts will receive the pay and allowances of cavalry soldiers. Within a year the number of Indian scouts reaches 474.

1867 – On the morning a minor engagement occurred in a hay field within sight of Fort C.F. Smith, Montana Territory. 2nd Lt. Sternberg and 8 troopers, accompanied by 9 civilians were attacked by a large party of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. The white men were able to reach the shelter of a makeshift corral. By the late afternoon the Indians withdrew leaving many dead. Of the white men, Sternberg, 2 of his men and 1 civilian died. The skirmish could be seen and heard from the fort yet no relief party was ever ordered out to help.

1876 – Jack McCall, AKA Bill Sutherland, lost $110, all the money he possessed, to Wild Bill Hickok in a card game in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Even though Hickok had loaned McCall money to have breakfast, McCall swore revenge.

1876 – Colorado, the 38th state, entered the United States of America this day.

1895 – Outlaws Ike Black and Zip Wyatt, and others rode into a posse trap near Skeleton Creek, outside of Sheridan, Oklahoma Territory. The posse, headed by U.S. Marshal W.D. Fossett and Sheriff Bill Banks, opened fire when the outlaws refused to surrender and shot Black dead from his saddle. Wyatt was wounded but managed to escape; he was later captured. One of the members of the posse, the son of lawman Fossett, had gone to grade school with Black and he spent considerable time worrying about whether or not his bullets were the ones who killed his boyhood friend. Black’s corpse was taken to Canton, Okla., where it was put on display; the curious paid a dime each to see the dead outlaw stretched out on a wooden plank.

1906 – Marshal Collins was ambushed near his Emet, Oklahoma Territory home by “Killin'” Jim Miller, who shot him in the stomach while Collins’ wife looked on. Ben Collins represented law and order in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma during the 1890s. In 1905, in Emet, Oklahoma, Collins was ordered to arrest Port Pruitt, one of the town’s leading citizens. Pruitt brandished a gun, but Collins dropped him with a single shot. As it turned out, the shot permanently crippled Pruitt, who swore revenge.

1903 – Mary Jane Canary, AKA Calamity Jane, died of pneumonia at age 51 and was buried next to Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Source: Lonesome Dove

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