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Wise About Texas

The Texas History Podcast

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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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 take the fight to the hostile Indians he encountered in his new colony.  In this episode, you hear Austin's own words describe his ideas to defend his new colony and his personal funding of a group of rangers.  I also discuss the various rangers that are often considered the first and why such men were even necessary.  I also cover the first battle between Texas Rangers and comanches, beginning a war that would last decades.  Hear about the origins of the most famous law enforcement organization in history--the legendary Texas Rangers.


11 Mar 2018

Rank #1

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EP. 67: Bonnie & Clyde Part 1: The Outlaws

The great depression was hard on everyone everywhere, and Texas was no exception.  People couldn't work, could barely eat and just needed a break.  The people wanted excitement, they wanted romance, they wanted something to cheer for...even if it was evil.  That's when a petty chicken thief met a beautiful wanna-be movie star, both from the poor side of town.  They set off on one of the most wide-ranging, violent, notorious, and legendary crime sprees in American history.  Pretty soon, everyone knew their names...Bonnie & Clyde.  Meet two of America's most notorious outlaws in this episode of Wise About Texas.


31 Mar 2019

Rank #2

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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 until the Spanish introduced the horse which turned around the fortunes of an entire people.  The Comanche Indians managed to convince the Spanish to help them defeat the Apache, which then opened up unfettered access to Mexico via the war trail.  From the panhandle to the Rio Grande, the raiders followed a well-defined trail almost a mile wide at points.  Famous springs and river crossings were used for centuries.  Even today, you can drive the same trail used by traders, Indians, stagecoaches and travelers.  The Great Comanche War Trail.Your host standing on a remnant of the great Comanche war trail near Persimmon Gap.The low spot is a remnant of the great Comanche war trail near Persimmon Gap.Spot along the great Comanche war trailView along the great Comanche war trail.


27 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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Ep. 76: The Texas Cattle Queen

Right after the civil war, women weren't really expected (or even thought capable) to be in business.  But of course, Texas women proved them wrong.  Lizzie Johnson was a school teacher, but she was also a writer and discovered how lucrative the cattle business could be.  So she became a cattle baroness and Austin real estate mogul.  Learn more about the Texas Cattle Queen in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.


27 Oct 2019

Rank #4

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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.


8 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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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 the battle of Concepcion.The church at Mission ConcepcionMemorial marker to Richard Andrews


2 Nov 2015

Rank #6

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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!George B. ParrGov. Coke Stevenson (holding cigar) at the hearing in Alice.The infamous Box 13


2 Nov 2015

Rank #7

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Ep. 66: The Tories of the Texas Revolution

The account of the Texas revolution makes for glorious telling, retelling and reading.  It seemed that every man, woman and child in early Texas just couldn't wait to rebel against the tyrannical Mexican government and win another glorious war for independence.  Didn't they?  Well, not exactly.  Just like the 13 American colonies, Texas had its tories too.  Learn more about "differences of opinion" in revolutionary Texas in the latest episode of Wise About Texas


24 Mar 2019

Rank #8

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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 to know what was about to hit the island.  In part 1, you'll learn about victorian-era Galveston and the weathermen who thought they understood hurricanes.  This episode will take you through the morning of September 8, a day that changed Galveston, and Texas, forever.Galveston about 1881The track of the Great Storm


29 Aug 2016

Rank #9

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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 expressed in the recovery from the Great Storm of 1900.After the storm (Texas State Library photo)

1hr 2mins

13 Sep 2016

Rank #10

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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.After the storm (Texas State Library photo)Map showing the destruction from the 1900 Storm. (Houston Daily Post photo)


5 Sep 2016

Rank #11

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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 Otto attacked his killer, some said he would never have done that.  One Emma claimed Otto was desperately in love, another Emma advised he was just desperate.  What did the jury say?  Hear the strange story of the death of one of Texas' most prominent citizens in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.Gov. T.M. Campbell represented Emma 3Sen. Carlos Bee represented Emma 2Emma Koehler, CEO (Emma 1)Emma "Hedda" Bürgermeister (Emma 3)Otto Koehler


22 Jan 2017

Rank #12

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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 through the election of the first congress and one of its early votes--to move the capital again!Jared Groce's Bernardo plantation houseThe first capitol building at ColumbiaA view of the former location of Fort Point in Galveston from across the channelOld Velasco


16 Nov 2015

Rank #13

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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 Barrett Travis, including one of the most stirring and inspirational letters in world history.


2 Mar 2016

Rank #14

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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 the Guadalupe river you lived, the more danger you faced.  That danger reached Sarah Hibbens and her family.  This wasn't her first suffering at the hand of the indians and it wouldn't be her last.  But after a harrowing escape from the horror of captivity, she ran into a new force that would change the course of Indian/settler relations forever:  The Texas Rangers.  Captain Tumlinson and his men chased the Indians into the area that would later become the capital of the Republic of Texas.  Hear the story of the first battle between Texas Rangers and Comanche Indians in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.


30 Sep 2018

Rank #15

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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 Antonio de Bexar--and the Alamo.The Alamo in 1849, 13 years after the battleWilliam B. Travis, drawn 3 months before the battle of the AlamoAlamo commander James C. NeillJames BowieDavid Crockett, of TennesseeAntonio Lopez de Santa Anna, circa 1853


16 Feb 2016

Rank #16

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Ep. 68: Bonnie & Clyde, Part 2: The Chase

Bonnie & Clyde were on the run for two years.  They committed small time thefts but big time murders.  They were killers, pure and simple.  They drove fast and far, laid low, and had help all over their territory.   But they always came home. Over 1000 men from various law enforcement agencies, including the new FBI, couldn't catch them.  So we needed one Texas Ranger, and that man was Frank Hamer.  Hamer, his friend and fellow Ranger Maney Gault, along with two Dallas deputy sheriffs, tracked the outlaws and set them up to get what they had coming.  The posse did in a few weeks what the rest of the country couldn't do in two years.  They got justice.  Hear about the chase and dramatic end to the crime spree of Bonnie & Clyde in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.


21 Apr 2019

Rank #17

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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 others took stock of what could be found in the Mexican camp.From champagne, to silver, to fancy camp equipment, the Texians found a creative way to dispose of the spoils as well as improve the fiscal affairs of the hours-old Republic of Texas.  But it wasn't all celebration.  A reckless youth set the prairie on fire and a lone guard almost changed world history with his bayonet!Learn more about the immediate aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto and hear about how the victors handled the spoils of war.


18 Apr 2017

Rank #18

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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 of a sudden, in 1749, the Apache wanted not only to make peace, but also to enter mission life and convert to Christianity.  The reason for the Apache's sudden change of heart is a matter of perspective.  But rather than look a gift horse in the mouth, the Spanish held a grand peace ceremony in San Antonio's main plaza, the likes of which has never been seen in North America.  Learn about this unique event in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.


10 Sep 2018

Rank #19

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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.  Hunter supplied his patrons with everything they need, including whiskey.  He was also the county clerk.  But Hunter's temper got the better of him, his store, and the entire early history of Fredericksburg.  Learn more in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.


9 Jul 2018

Rank #20