What happened today in Texas history? October 16 | Arts & Culture
Today's list contains both triumph and tragedy, rescue and massacre, all part of the "quilt" that makes up our beloved state.
On this day in 1861, a man named Anton Wulff faced off with six men who were attempting to kidnap him, a kidnapping ordered by Lt. Col. John R. Baylor, who had decided Wulff was a Union spy. Three men died in the attempted kidnapping: two Confederates and one Mexican.
Wulff was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1822, and had settled in San Antonio in 1848. He had businesses in several cities, including Laredo and Fredericksberg. He felt pressure to leave Texas in 1857, possibly due to rising anti-German and pro-secession sentiment, and settled on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. There, at Presidio del Norte, he supplied the U.S. and Confederate garrisons at Fort Davis with hay and corn.
Baylor ordered that his men entice Wulff to come back to the Texas side of the river so that he could be arrested. After the botched kidnapping attempt, Wulff moved his family back to Hamburg, and they stayed there until nearly the end of the Civil war in 1865. They returned to San Antonio, where Wulff built his famous "castle" at 107 King William Street in 1870. He died in 1894. Read more about what happened to Wulff House after Anton's death here.
On this day in 1909, the first-ever meeting between U.S. and Mexican presidents took place. Willam Howard Taft and Porfirio Diaz met in El Paso to discuss the disputed land called the Chamizal in south El Paso. This was a boundary conflict over about 600 acres. The dispute would not be formally settled until 1963!
On this day in 1987, "Baby Jessica" McClure was freed from the well she had fallen into fifty-eight hours before, and the country rejoiced.
On this day in 1991, a man named George Hennard crashed his truck into a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen and began a dreadful shooting spree that ultimately took the lives of 23 people...the Luby's Massacre. The man reportedly yelled "This is what Bell County did to me!" as he killed those 23 people, and wounded another 20 before hding in a bathroom and killing himself.
Hennard had reportedly also said "All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers!" confirming what many who knew him called an intense hatred toward women. The majority of those shot in his killing-spree were female.
One woman inside the restaurant was 32-year-old Suzanna Hupp, who saw both her parents killed by Hennard. She reached for her .38 in her purse to stop the man, but then realized she'd left it in her vehicle, because she wasn't clear on whether she was allowed to have it by law in the restaurant. Hupp campaigned for a clearer concealed-carry law in the state of Texas after the massacre. She was elected to the Texas House of Representatvies in 1996, and then-Governor George Bush signed the new concealed handgun registration law when it was presented to him.
The Luby's Massacre was the deadliest shooting rampage in American history until the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and is now third deadliest after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It is the deadliest non-school shooting in our country's history.
Hupp has authored a book regarding her experiences called From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, published by Privateer Publications, San Antonio, Texas.
Today's Texas quote: "I love Texas because Texas is future-oriented, because Texans think anything is possible. Texans think big!" ~ Senator Phil Gramm
Today's Texas music: God Blessed Texas by Little Texas.
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