DJ's Texas Quizzes

Answers : Texas Greats

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Question 1: Rio Grande Rio Grande(b). This river is certainly "grande." Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is the twenty-second longest river in the world and the fourth or fifth longest in North America. It drains more than 40,000 square miles in Texas alone. In the late 1980s the population along its banks exceeded five million. The river flows for 175 miles in Colorado and 470 miles in New Mexico. Though the length from its headwaters in Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico varies as its course changes, in the late 1980s, according to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles. The Brazos River extends from New Mexico across Texas, covering a total of 1,050 miles. The Pecos River originates in the Santa Fe Mountains of New Mexico and extends for a total of approximately 900 miles, running parallel to the Rio Grande for much of its course. The Colorado River, measured in length (approximately 600 miles) and drainage area, is the largest river located entirely in Texas. The Sabine River flows for 555 miles, and defines the eastern border of the state.

Question 2: Guadalupe Peak (e). The Guadalupe Mountains project into Culberson County from New Mexico, and rise to a maximum elevation of 8,749 feet at Guadalupe Peak. The Davis Mountains are probably the most familiar in Texas, including Mount Livermore (8,206 feet) and Mount Locke (6,781 feet), on which is located the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory. Big Bend National Park provides a number of challenging climbs in the Chisos Mountains, including Emory Peak (7,825 feet) and Lost Mine Peak (7,550 feet).

Question 3: Battle of Gonzales (c). It might be said that Gonzales was to the Texas Revolution what Lexington was to the American Revolution. In late September 1835, a Mexican force under the command of Francisco de Castañeda was sent with 100 dragoons to retrieve a small cannon from the town of Gonzales. The cannon had been given to the community in 1831 to use for defense against Indian attacks. Castañeda's troops were delayed in crossing the Guadalupe River, due to high water and 18 advance Texas militiamen. This gave the Texans time to increase their volunteers to at least 140. The Texans attacked the Mexicans on the morning of October 2, 1835, and the Mexicans retreated to San Antonio. The battle of San Jacinto, of course, was fought on April 21, 1836, and provided the Texans their victory in the revolution. The heroic battle of the Alamo concluded on March 6, 1836. The battle of Palo Alto (just north of Brownsville), fought on May 8, 1846, was the first major engagement of the Mexican War. The battle of Sabine Pass, on September 8, 1863, turned back one of several Union attempts to invade and occupy part of Texas during the Civil War.

Question 4: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (d). Following the American victory in the Mexican War, negotiation of a treaty presented unusual diplomatic issues, mostly caused by the Mexicans' sense of honor. The treaty negotiations lasted several months, beginning in late 1847 and culminating with a signing on February 2, 1848. The United States paid $15 million as a part of the agreement to solve some of the diplomatic issues. The treaty traced the boundary between the United States and Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico up the main channel of the Rio Grande to the southern boundary of the Mexican province of New Mexico. The line followed the southern boundary of New Mexico to its western boundary and north to the first branch of the Gila River, then down the Gila to its intersection with the Colorado River, and finally along the old Spanish-Mexican division line between Upper and Lower California. The Adams-Onís (or Florida) Treaty, signed on February 22, 1819, by John Quincy Adams for the United States and Louis de Onís for Spain, renounced the United States' claim to Texas. The treaty effectively "cleared the land title" of Texas, setting the stage for the later empresario contracts with both Spain and Mexico. The Treaties of Velasco, negotiated after the battle of San Jacinto, included a public version and a secret agreement. Both were signed by David G. Burnet, ad interim president of the Republic of Texas, and Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna at Velasco on May 14, 1836. The secret agreement offered Santa Anna his freedom if he would work to secure Mexican recognition of Texas independence (a recognition that came only with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). The Treaty of Bowles Springs was signed in 1837 by President Sam Houston for the Republic of Texas and Chief Bowl, representing the Cherokees. It provided for the allocation of certain East Texas lands to the Cherokee nation. The treaty was rejected, however, by the Republic of Texas Senate, and Chief Bowl was killed in the battle of the Neches. The Treaty of 1884 had its roots in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in that it related to the Rio Grande as the border between Texas and Mexico. That seemed clear enough, but problems developed as seasonal shifts in water flows moved the boundary or created islands. The Treaty of 1884 established general principles for dealing with boundary problems arising from changes in the river.

Question 5: XIT Ranch (b). The Sixteenth Texas Legislature appropriated the land for the vast XIT Ranch in 1879. John Farwell and others formed a syndicate of investors, attracting such wealthy British investors as the Earl of Aberdeen. The new Texas Capitol was completed in 1888 at a cost of $3.7 million, all but $500,000 of which came from sale of the ranch land. A popular belief was that the brand stood for "Ten in Texas," to reflect the ten counties it occupied. In actuality, it was designed to avoid being changed easily by cattle rustlers. The famous King Ranch in south Texas was somewhat smaller than the XIT, at 825,000 acres, but it has remained intact. Lambshead Ranch, in north Texas, has been a pioneer in ranching practices under the management of Watt Matthews and his family. The Waggoner Ranch, northwest of Wichita Falls, was founded in the 1850s and grew at one time to over a million acres. With 520,000 acres today, it is said to be the largest ranch in the country within one fence. The JA Ranch is the oldest privately owned cattle operation in the Panhandle. Its beginning may be traced back to 1876, when Charles Goodnight drove 1,600 longhorn cattle from Pueblo, Colorado, to Palo Duro Canyon. At one time it exceeded 1.3 million acres.

Question 6: Benjamin McCulloch (d). McCulloch became nationally known in part due to the writings of George Wilkins Kendall and Samuel Reid, both of whom served under him during the Mexican War. Reid wrote a popular history of the campaign, The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch’s Texas Rangers . Jack Hays was a noted Indian fighter and another leader during the Mexican War. Bigfoot Wallace, standing six foot two and weighing 240 pounds, served as a ranger under Hays and later commanded his own company. He became a folk hero and was the subject of numerous books and short stories. Rip Ford served during the Texas Revolution, the Mexican War, and the Civil War, and also was elected to the Texas Senate. John King was one of the founders of Seguin, Texas, and served as its first mayor. He served as a ranger under the famed Mathew "Old Paint" Caldwell, and also under Hays. He later served in the Civil War under Henry E. McCulloch (Ben's brother), and was later elected to the Texas legislature. Incidentally, one of the best-known Texas Rangers of all time was fictional. Beginning in the 1930s, the Lone Ranger was featured in nearly 3,000 radio episodes and more than 200 television episodes.

Question 7: George Session Perry, Hold Autumn in Your Hand (1941) (c). Perry was born in Rockdale, Texas. Orphaned at twelve, he was reared through his adolescent years by his maternal grandmother, who was the model for a major character in his prize-winning novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand and the title figure of his later book My Granny Van. Rockdale and the surrounding area furnished the setting for nearly all of his fiction. He was a frequent contributor to the Saturday Evening Post. Mary Austin Holley’s Texas was the first book in English that dealt entirely with Texas, and it helped attract other settlers to the state. It initially consisted of twelve letters to people back east, and was much expanded in 1836 into History of Texas. Holley was a cousin of Stephen F. Austin and one of his closest friends. The full title of her book was Texas: Observations, Historical, Geographical, and Descriptive, in a Series of Letters Written during a Visit to Austin's Colony, with a View to a Permanent Settlement in That Country in the Autumn of 1831. Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider is considered by some to be the single greatest work by a Texas writer. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965) won the Gold Medal for Fiction awarded by the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Award. Her novel Ship of Fools (1962) also won wide acclaim and was made into a successful movie. John Graves's Goodbye to a River, an account of a canoe trip down the Brazos River in the late 1950s, is one of the most honored books in Texas letters. In 1957 Graves learned that a part of the Brazos would be dammed, drowning much of what he remembered. He took his canoe trip on it, alone, to bid it farewell. Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove was a blockbuster bestseller that won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1986. It described the lives of two former Texas Rangers who join a cattle drive. The book was later made into a successful television miniseries starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, and Danny Glover. (See also the extensive entry on " Literature" in the Handbook.)

Question 8: " Texas, Our Texas" (c). The song was originally written in 1924. The music was composed by William J. Marsh of Fort Worth, and the lyrics were written by Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright. John Philip Sousa reportedly described the song as "the finest state song" he had ever heard. The " Eyes of Texas" is the official song of the University of Texas, and considered by some (particularly UT graduates) as the unofficial state song. It was written by John Lang Sinclair (to the tune of "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad") and first performed at a minstrel show benefiting the university track team in 1903. It is reported that Robert E. Lee had made famous the phrase "The eyes of the South are upon you," which was later adapted by William L. Prather, a graduate of Washington and Lee and the president of UT from 1899 to 1905. "Will You Come to the Bower?" was one of the songs sung and played by the Texas army during the battle of San Jacinto (see Lemsky, Frederick). "The Yellow Rose of Texas" was a popular early nineteenth century folk song. It is often attributed to the memory of Emily D. West, who is believed to have been a distraction to Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto. The song became quite popular in the Civil War, especially in Hood's Texas Brigade. "That's Right (You're Not from Texas)" actually cannot be found in the Handbook of Texas. It was written by Lyle Lovett, Willis Alan Ramsey, and Alison Rogers.

Question 9: Bette Clair McMurray Graham (a). Bette Graham was working in 1951 as a secretary to the chairman of the board of Texas Bank and Trust, and as a freelance artist on the side. In 1954 she combined her vocations by trying to "paint out" typing errors rather than erasing them. Her Liquid Paper Corporation was a significant success financially, but it also was a pioneer in employee-centered management. It included a child-care center, a library, and an art gallery for employee art. She was but one of many surprise inventors in Texas. Ned Barnes was a black inventor, born in 1866 in Waller County. He moved to Houston in 1915 and focused on inventions, including a brace to maintain the distance between train tracks and an electric projector for display of railroad arrival and departure times. Robert Creuzbaur came to Texas in the 1840s, working as a mapmaker. One of his maps, based on field notes from Texas Ranger Rip Ford, was intended to help emigrants find water holes when traveling from Austin to California. During the Civil War, Creuzbaur invented the Sea King , an iron-plated gunboat, for the Confederacy. The design included a "submarine cannon." Although the vessel was not built at that time, it became an early design for the modern torpedo tube, first used some fifty years later. James Smathers was born on a farm near Valley Spring, Texas, in 1888. After graduating from TCU, he worked as a typist and accountant for a firm in Kansas City. He became tired of his constant work with his typewriter and sought to design a version that used an electric motor to power the keys. He received his first patent for the "electric typewriter" in 1913. The company that produced the "Electromatic" was later sold to IBM, and Smathers became an important consultant. Gail Borden, Jr., came to Texas in 1829 and served as a surveyor in Stephen F. Austin's colony. After careers in journalism and real estate, he began to focus on inventing. In 1856 he received a patent on a process for condensing milk in a vacuum. Borden is considered the father of the modern dairy industry.

Question 10: Audie Leon Murphy (d). Murphy received every medal that the United States gives for valor, two of them twice. His better-known films include The Red Badge of Courage (1951), To Hell and Back (1955), Night Passage (1957, with James Stewart), and The Unforgiven (1960, with Burt Lancaster). Raymond Lee Knight, born in Timpson, Texas, in 1922, completed 82 combat missions for the Twelfth Air Force. On April 24–25, 1945, he destroyed 17 German aircraft before his own plane crashed into a mountain in Italy. The Medal of Honor was presented to his widow on the stage of Houston’s Reagan High School, from which they had graduated five years earlier. Jack W. Mathis was born in San Angelo in 1921. He and his brother Mark served together in the Eighth Air Force in England. Jack was mortally wounded on his fourteenth mission, but managed to drag himself to his bombsight and drop his bombs before dying. His brother replaced him in the same aircraft, and was later also killed in action. Cleto L. Rodríguez was born in 1923 and raised in San Marcos and San Antonio. He was one of more than 375,000 Mexican-American soldiers who served in World War II, and the fifth of Mexican descent to receive the Medal of Honor. He was recognized for his heroic service in the battle for Manila in the Philippine Islands. Samuel David Dealey was born in Dallas in 1906. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930. In December 1942 Lieutenant Commander Dealey became the first and only commander of the submarine USS Harder, with which he sank 16 enemy vessels in the Pacific. He and his submarine were lost in waters near Luzon in October 1944. The Medal of Honor was presented to his widow in 1945.

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