DJ's Texas Quizzes

Answers : The Great Texas

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Question 1: Cabeza de Vaca. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s unique last name derived from a Spanish ancestor in the thirteenth century. The ancestor helped secure victory for Christian forces at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) by marking an unguarded pass in the Sierra Moreno with the skull of a cow. In gratitude, King Sancho of Navarra bestowed the surname "Cow's Head" on the family. Alonso Álvarez de Pineda preceded Cabeza de Vaca. Álvarez de Pineda's naval expedition in 1519 discovered that the Gulf Coast was simply part of a vast contiguous mainland. In January 1540, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was appointed to lead an expedition to the Seven Cities of Cíbola, which had been referenced in the Cabeza de Vaca reports. He traveled from present-day New Mexico into Texas, and as far north as Kansas, but found no great cities of gold. He did, however, extend the Spanish knowledge of the region. René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was a famous seventeenth-century explorer who, after discovering the Ohio River, traveled the Mississippi River by canoe to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico in 1682 and claimed all of the lands drained by that great river in honor of Louis XIV (thereby creating the name Louisiana). He returned in 1685 from France with the intention of establishing a permanent settlement near the river. By mistake, he arrived at Matagorda Bay in present-day Texas, and was later killed by his own men. His explorations caused the Spanish to increase their efforts to settle Texas. Alonso De León led four expeditions in the Texas region between 1686 and 1689, in response to the French attempts at settlement. During his fourth expedition, in April 1689, De León and his party discovered the ruins of the French settlement Fort St. Louis on the banks of Garcitas Creek He and Damián Massanet also cooperated in founding the first Spanish mission in East Texas, San Francisco de los Tejas. De León was also the governor of Coahuila.

Question 2: All of the above. The four missions listed are now all part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which was established in 1978.

Question 3: Samuel May Williams was born in 1795 in Providence, Rhode Island, where his father was a sea captain. Three of Williams's four brothers lived in Texas during the 1840s and 1850s, and two of his three sisters made an extended visit. Henry Howell Williams of Baltimore served as Texas consul from 1836 to 1838 and moved to Galveston in 1842 to assume control of the McKinney and Williams commission house, where he remained off and on until the 1850s. In 1838 Matthew Reed and Nathaniel Felton Williams opened a sugar plantation on Oyster Creek in Fort Bend County purchased from their brother, which became the Imperial Sugar Company in the twentieth century. Green DeWitt, a native of Kentucky, was awarded an empresario grant in 1825 to settle 400 Anglo-Americans on the Guadalupe River and was authorized to establish a colony adjacent to that of Stephen F. Austin. He was aided by his surveyor, James Kerr, who was also an important contributor to the early Anglo settlements in Texas (Kerrville and Kerr County were named in his honor). Martín De León, the only Mexican empresario to found a colony in Texas, was born in 1765 in Burgos, Nuevo Santander (now Tamaulipas), where his parents settled after leaving Spain. De León attempted to establish a Spanish colony in Texas in 1807, well before Moses and Stephen Austin, but was not able to do so until more liberal colonization laws were passed after Mexican independence. In 1824, De León petitioned the provincial delegation at San Fernando de Béxar to settle forty-one Mexican families on the lower Guadalupe and founded the town of Nuestra Señora Guadalupe de Jesús Victoria (which became the present-day town of Victoria, Texas). Haden Edwards, a native of Virginia, provided financial assistance to the Austin colonies. Edwards received his own grant in the vicinity of Nacogdoches, where he could locate 800 families. He faced significant opposition from prior settlers, and his grant was revoked in 1826. Edwards and his brother later headed the unsuccessful Fredonian Rebellion, an attempt to establish their own republic. Sterling C. Robertson began his colonization attempts in 1822. Robertson obtained a contract in his own name in 1834 and served as empresario of Robertson's colony in 1834 and 1835. He later became captain of a company of Texas Rangers and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Robertson was responsible for settling more than 600 families in Texas.

Question 4: Brewster County is bordered by Presidio County to the west, Jeff Davis County to the northwest, Pecos County and Terrell County to the east, and the Rio Grande to the south. Alpine, the county seat and largest town, is 220 miles southeast of El Paso in northwestern Brewster County. Brewster County comprises 6,169 square miles of largely rough and mountainous terrain, with elevations ranging from 1,700 to 7,825 feet above sea level. The 2000 census for Brewster indicated that it had a population of 8,866, or about 1.4 people per square mile. In comparison, Dallas County has over 2,500 people per square mile. It is believed that Cabeza de Vaca passed through this area during his explorations. Pecos County is the second largest in the state, with 4,776 sqaure miles. It is located just north of Brewster County, and Fort Stockton is its county seat. Harris County, the home of Houston, has the largest population of any county in the state, with 3.4 million people in the county in the 2000 census. Presidio County is located west of Brewster County. Marfa is its county seat. The spring-fed Capote Falls, with a drop of 175 feet the highest in Texas, is located in western Presidio County. Rockwall County, located 25 miles northeast of Dallas, is the smallest county in Texas. Rockwall is the county seat.

Question 5: The Toledo Bend Reservoir, on the Sabine River, is formed by the Toledo Bend Dam, eighty miles northeast of Beaumont. The reservoir occupies parts of Newton, Sabine, Panola, and Shelby counties in Texas, and Sabine and De Soto parishes in Louisiana. It is a famed bass fishing lake and the site of many fishing tournaments. Lake Travis is a sixty-five-mile-long artificial lake on the Colorado River in southern Burnet and western Travis counties, just west of Austin. It covers approximately 19,000 acres. Lake Livingston is located on the Trinity River northeast of Houston. It covers about 82,000 acres. Lake Texoma is located on the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma. It spreads over 89,000 acres and is protected by Denison Dam, five miles northwest of Denison, Texas. Amistad Reservoir is located in the Rio Grande basin in southern Val Verde County, Texas, and Coahuila, Mexico, twelve miles northwest of Del Rio. It covers 89,000 acres, and is named for the "friendship" between Mexico and Texas.

Question 6: Pine-hardwood. The pine-hardwood region is located primarily in East Texas, and is also known as the Pine Belt or "Piney Woods." The four national forests in that region include Angelina National Forest (153,176 acres), Davy Crockett National Forest (161,841 acres), Sabine National Forest (160,609 acres), and Sam Houston National Forest (161,508 acres). The five Texas state forests are the E. O. Siecke State Forest, I. D. Fairchild State Forest, W. Goodrich Jones State Forest, John Henry Kirby State Forest, and Paul N. Masterson Memorial Forest. The East Texas Pine Belt extends over forty-three counties and accounts for almost all the state's commercial timber. The Post Oak region is associated primarily with the Lost Pine Forest in Bastrop County. The Cross Timbers region is centered on the northern part of the state near the Red River. The Cedar Brakes region is found primarily on the Edwards Plateau in central Texas. The scattered coastal forests are found primarily near the Gulf of Mexico

Question 7: Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway Sidney Sherman’s Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway was not only the first to operate in Texas, it was the second railroad west of the Mississippi River, and is the oldest component of the Southern Pacific System. The Galveston and Red River Railroad was actually chartered before Sherman’s line, but its construction was delayed and it did not open for operation until 1856. The Texas and New Orleans Railroad was completed after the outbreak of the Civil War, as was the Washington County Rail Road. The Houston and Great Northern Railroad was the first major new railroad to start construction after the war, going initially from Houston to Palestine in East Texas.

Question 8: Big Bend National Park includes all of the Chisos Mountains, the southernmost range in the continental United States, which rise over 7,800 feet above sea level. The National Park Service considers Big Bend "one of the outstanding geological laboratories and classrooms of the world." Guadalupe Mountains National Park, on the New Mexico border, preserves some of the exposed remnants of the Capitan Reef, one of the world's finest examples of ancient barrier reefs. The Guadalupe Mountains slope upward from New Mexico to their highest peak within the national park. The park comprises 76,293 acres and includes the four highest peaks in Texas. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act establishing the park in 1966. The Big Thicket is a densely wooded area in Southeast Texas, concentrated in Polk and Tyler counties. A local group was established in the early 1960s to consider creating a state park to protect its unique flora and fauna. By 1966 the Big Thicket Association decided to push for national-park status. Sen. Ralph W. Yarborough was the area’s most powerful proponent in Congress. In 1974, a bill to establish an 84,550-acre Big Thicket National Preserve was passed by Congress and signed by President Gerald Ford. Padre Island National Seashore, the longest seashore in the National Parks system, encompasses a portion of the largest barrier beach in the United States. It was dedicated in April 1968. The national seashore includes a 67.5-mile-long portion of the barrier island, which is 130 miles long. In 1978 the United States Congress designated a 191-mile section of the Rio Grande a Wild and Scenic River, sixty-nine miles of which lie inside the Big Bend park boundary. This body of water is also overseen by the National Park Service.

Question 9: Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias was one of seven children, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. Her father was a seaman and carpenter and her mother was an accomplished skater in Norway. She acquired the nickname "Babe" during sandlot baseball games with the neighborhood boys, who thought she batted like Babe Ruth. Louise Ritter, a graduate of Texas Woman's University, won the gold medal in the high jump at the 1988 Olympic games and set a new Olympic record. Mary Lou Retton, a gymnastics pupil of Romanian expatriate Bela Karolyi, moved to Houston to train at his gym and captured one gold and two bronze medals at the 1984 games. Zina Garrison of Houston teamed with Pam Shriver to win the 1988 Olympic gold in tennis doubles. University of Texas swimming coach Jill Sterkel, who swam for the Longhorns, qualified for four Olympic teams. At 15, she swam on the landmark 400-meter freestyle relay that defeated the East Germans at the 1976 Games. She helped the United States to gold in that event in 1984 and won two bronze medals in 1988.

Question 10: Elisabet Ney was a prolific artist and her works are displayed around the world. One of her pieces, a depiction of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, is in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art. In addition to her sculpting, Ney took an active role in artistic and civic activities in Austin, where she died in 1907. Four years later, a number of her supporters founded the Texas Fine Arts Association in her honor. Allie Victoria Tennant, a sculptor associated with the Dallas Nine group of Regionalist artists, was born in St. Louis but moved with her family to Dallas at an early age. She made her first sculpture at age eight. Tennant's best-known work is the nine-foot-high gilded-bronze Tejas Warrior (1936) placed over the entrance of the Texas Centennial Hall of State in Dallas. Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota, was born in Idaho in 1867. In 1925 he moved to Texas for a period to work on a monument commissioned by the Trail Drivers Association. It stands in front of the Texas Pioneer and Trail Drivers Memorial Hall next to the Witte Museum in San Antonio. Borglum lived at the historic Menger Hotel, which in the 1920s was the residence of a number of artists. Bonnie MacLeary was born in 1890 in San Antonio. She molded her first sculpture with natural clay from the banks of the San Antonio River at age six. She studied in New York City, Paris, and Italy before returning to the United States in 1910. Her career was launched in 1921, when two of her sculptures were exhibited at the National Academy of Design and her bronze statue Aspiration (1921) was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first sculpture by a Texan to be acquired by that institution. Pompeo Coppini was born in Italy in 1870. He immigrated to the United States in 1898 and was attracted to Texas by Frank Teich, a leading stone cutter and sculptor who had worked on the Texas Capitol. Coppini is represented in the United States by thirty-six public monuments, sixteen portrait statues, and about seventy-five portrait busts, including several that are today on the Capitol grounds.

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