February 16: Today in Texas History #txhx

1599 – Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter.

1852 – The Texas State government passed a bill that authorized the governor to negotiate with the federal government to create territory for Indian reservations in Texas.

1927 – Arthur Jerome Drossaerts was consecrated as the first archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio in San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral. He kept the old Spanish missions alive and went without salary in order to assist poor parishes with expenses. During his tenure as archbishop, he dedicated about 134 churches and religious buildings. In 1934, Pope Pius XI honored Drossaerts for his aid to those fleeing from religious persecution in Mexico. For his charitable works he was named assistant at the pontifical throne and papal count. Drossaerts died in 1940.

1949 – The body of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, TX, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Longoria had died in the Philippines near the end of World War II. When his recovered remains were sent to Three Rivers for burial, the funeral director refused the use of his chapel for a “Mexican” … or so many say. Click his picture below for more. After action by the American G.I. Forum and then Senator Lyndon Johnson, Longoria was buried in Arlington. The affair provided a model case in the Mexican-American struggle for civil rights. RIP.

1999 – Testimony began in the Jasper, TX, trial of John William King. He was charged with murder in the gruesome dragging death of James Byrd Jr. King was later convicted and sentenced to death.

“If a man’s from Texas, he’ll tell you. If he’s not, why embarrass him by asking?” US journalist John Gunther

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