February 20: Today in Texas History #txhx

1874 – After considering a challenge from his Democratic opponents, the Texas Senate confirmed the election of Republican Walter Moses Burton. He was brought to Texas as a slave from North Carolina in 1850, but at the end of the Civil War, he purchased land from his former owner, Thomas Burke Burton, who also taught him how to read and write. Burton became one of the wealthiest and most influential blacks in Fort Bend County. He was elected sheriff and tax collector of Fort Bend County, and served as the president of the Fort Bend County Union League. In 1873, Burton campaigned for and won a seat in the Texas Senate, where he served for seven years, from 1874 to 1875 and from 1876 to 1882. In the Senate, he championed the education of blacks and was influential in calling for the establishment of Prairie View Normal School (now Prairie View A&M University). He remained active in state and local politics until his death in 1913.

1875 – Leander Randon Millican, Baptist missionary, was licensed to preach. During his ministering travels on horseback he dreamed of a camp meeting to bring ranchers, cowboys, and churches together for preaching and classes. His dream was realized on July 28, 1915, when he and George W. Truett met with ranchers to begin an annual cowboy camp meeting that became known as Paisano Baptist Encampment.

1910 – In Monterrey, Mexico, native Texan Harper Baylor Lee became the first American matador de toros (bullfighter) at a ceremony at the Plaza de Toros.

“First buy a cowboy hat and boots. Then you’re on your way to being a Texan.” James Michener

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