Rank #1: Ep. 72: Death of a Trailblazer, Oliver Loving
Oliver Loving was a trailblazer…literally. He drove cattle to Illinois, Louisiana, and Colorado. With Charles Goodnight he blazed a new western trail intended to avoid the Indian threat. Impatient as he was brave, he rode ahead to Santa Fe and was immediately attacked. However, he held off hundreds of Comanches while one of his men went for help. Through luck, or fate, or toughness, or all of it, he survived the attack. But his wounds were too severe. Before he died, his best friend promised to take his body back to Texas. Get a taste of the cattle drives, the danger, the bravery, and promises kept in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.
Rank #2: 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!
Judge Benjamin C. Franklin
Grave of Judge Franklin in New City Cemetary, Galveston, Texas.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: 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)
Rank #5: EP. 71: The First Declaration of Independence
When Texans talk about the Declaration of Independence, they usually mean the one signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836. Occasionally, we refer to the Goliad declaration of 1835. But there was one before all of them. In 1813, Texans in San Antonio de Bexar declared the province of Texas to be independent. The wording sounds familiar in places but the principals are timeless, and very familiar to Texans and Americans. Learn more about what motivated the Texans of 1813 to declare independence, which ultimately led to the Battle of Medina a few months later. (PHOTO BY BOB OWEN/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS/ZUMA PRESS)
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: 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)
Rank #9: 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 3
Sen. Carlos Bee represented Emma 2
Emma Koehler, CEO (Emma 1)
Emma “Hedda” Bürgermeister (Emma 3)
Rank #10: 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 trail
View along the great Comanche war trail.
Rank #11: 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.
Rank #12: 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.
Rank #13: 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.
Rank #14: 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 1881
The track of the Great Storm
Rank #15: 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!
Rank #16: 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 battle
William B. Travis, drawn 3 months before the battle of the Alamo
Alamo commander James C. Neill
David Crockett, of Tennessee
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, circa 1853
Rank #17: 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 people of Galveston appointed three engineers to figure out how to defeat the next big hurricane. The 3-member board suggested the construction of a 3-mile seawall to protect the city against a storm surge. But they went even further. They proposed raising the city as much as 17 feet in some places, houses, buildings an all. So the citizens of Galveston went to work and created the Galveston we know today. Buildings as large as 3000 tons were raised one-half inch at a time! It worked. For over 100 years, the Galveston seawall has been a center of tourism in Texas as well as a barrier against destruction. It passed its first test in 1909 and its first big test in 1915–with flying colors. Tune in to this latest episode of Wise About Texas and get ready for hurricane season!
Rank #18: 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.
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: 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 to this new land of opportunity. These women did their best to build a household in the harsh Texas frontier, and they did it well. But some came on their own, and brought their spirit with them. That was Pamelia Mann. She was a Houston entrepreneur, hotelier, rancher, businesswoman, forger, possibly a thief, and willing to be a killer. She was even sentenced to death…but slipped the noose. During the Texas revolution she handed Sam Houston himself the only defeat he would suffer in command of the Texas Army. Celebrate the spirit of Texas women in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.