February 24 in San Antonio history…

Colonel William Barrett Travis writes his famous letter:
Commandancy of the Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World

Fellow citizens & compatriots

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat.Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country VICTORY OR DEATH.

 William Barret Travis,
Lt. Col. comdt.
P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves. Travis

1918 – World War I
In order to safeguard the health of Camp Travis soldiers against introduction of infectious diseases, recruits are to be put in quarantine for a period of two weeks after their arrival at the cantonment.  The plan was adopted yesterday morning when the first men of the last contingent of the draft reported for duty.

Master Sergeant Roy P. Benevidez is presented with the Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan.



February 23 in San Antonio history…

Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo is founded by Father Margil de Jesus, who names it in honor of San Jose, San Miguel and Governor Aguayo (Jose de Azlor y Virto de Vera, the Marquis de Aguayo, appointed Governor of Texas and Coahuila in 1719).  Olivares protests its closeness to Mission San Antonio.  Captain Alazar lays out the 10 leagues distance between the missions required by the Laws of the Indies in order to give it the protection of the presidio.

The Beethoven Männerchor (German singing society) is organized.

1918 – World War I
Capt. Harry E. Sebohn, an instructor at the officer’s reserve training school, Camp Stanley, who has been on duty at each of the three training schools at that camp, died at 6:30 this morning at the base hospital, Fort Sam Houston, from injuries he received on February 14, when the fuse of a shrapnel cap exploded.  His condition had been improving until yesterday afternoon.

February 22 in San Antonio history…

The San Antonio City Brewery will shortly put on the market their excellent XXX Pearl beer.  Orders are in already for the first output.

1918 – World War I
San Antonians had their first real opportunity to “size up” the soldiers of the Nineteenth Division when more than 20,000 Camp Travis men marched through the residential and business streets of the city this morning in a parade observance of Washington’s birthday.

A San Antonian waited in line two hours at the Federal Building to pay his income tax but balked when a seaman attemped to fingerprint him and enlist him in the Navy. He was in the wrong line.

February 21 in San Antonio history…

1918 – World War I
A giant service flag containing about 300 stars, representing the contribution of the Main Avenue High School’s former students to the country’s service will be presented to the school at 3 o’clock this afternoon by the high school’s Parent-Teacher Association.

A railroad engineer slammed on the brakes of his 100-car freight train today, derailing two of the cars — to save the life of  Melicio Cruz, a 98-year-old San Antonio man.  Patrolman James Engel, said it appeared Cruz, who had wandered away from his family that afternoon, was making his way across the tracks on Lombrano, when he grew weak and could not go on.

UTSA announces the creation of their intercollegiate athletic program.

February 20 in San Antonio history…

1920 – Word War I
Six cavalry regiments, instead of five as originally announced, will be organized in the Southern Department.  The sixth organization is to stationed at Fort Sam Houston.  The other five, previously provided for are to be three at Leon Springs, one at Del Rio and one at Ft. Clark, Colorado.

Listing items to be including in the new municipal bond issue, Mayor C.M. Chambers announced today that $75,000 for an old trail driver’s monument on Auditorium Plaza would be submitted to voters for approval.

The Lasso girls, the Jefferson High School girls cheering section, was formed this week with a drum and bugle corps.  The 37-piece group will hold their first meeting at the school, which will furnish instruments.

February 19 in San Antonio history…

The first passenger train (Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio) arrives in the city.  The public celebrates with a torchlight parade.

1918 – World War I
Silently eloquent, a new flag hangs over the doorway of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary on Prospect Hill.  It is a service flag with seventeen starts on the red-bordered ground of the flag.

Inebriated rocker Ozzy Osbourne causes a scandal after urinating on the Alamo cenotaph while wearing a dress.  He is arrested and charged with public intoxication.  Later that evening, after posting $40 bail, he performs in concert with UFO and Starfighters in front of 14,500 fans in the Arena.
A few days later, city councilman Bernardo Eureste asks, “Could we have a resolution to forbid this dude from coming back into town?”  Guitarist Randy Rhoads would die in a plane crash exactly one month later, on March 19, 1982.

February 18 in San Antonio history…

1918 – World War I
As a tribute to his American spirit, Chester Basse, for years the proprietor of the Bismarck Cafe, one of the best known of San Antonio’s eating houses, has changed the name to the Cafe Basse and the picture of the Iron Chancellor, which formerly adorned the sign, has been taken down.

Health Department estimate of 11,000 privies in San Antonio last July has been revised to slightly more than 900.

Homemade leaflet bombs explode about 5 p.m in Alamo Plaza and Northwest Shopping Center, shooting leaflets as high as 50 feet into the air and scattering them in the tops of nearby trees.  A right-wing political group called “The Minutemen” claimed responsibility.  No one was injured.

February 17 in San Antonio history…

1918 – World War I
1,212 soldiers who cannot read or write English are now studying the language at Camp Travis every night, supervised by 63 soldier-teachers.

The 70-year old exhibit hall at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Boerne is destroyed by fire.  The cause is later determined to be arson.

The Finck Cigar Company building, built in 1882,  is illegally demolished at 7:45 on a Sunday morning.  A construction company crew discovered at the debris-covered site of the designated city landmark was cited for allegedly violating the city code by not having a demolition permit.  Just weeks after the demolition, State Sen. Frank Tejeda filed a bill requiring responsible parties to rebuild historic buildings that are damaged or destroyed, or pay an amount equal to the estimated replacement cost to be used for preservation projects. But since the bill was not retroactive, it could not be used to make anyone pay the estimated $200,000 it would have cost to replace the Finck Building. In the end, the joint venture paid a $25,000 fine to the city for the demolition.

February 16 in San Antonio history…

U.S. Government property is surrendered by General Twiggs at San Antonio to the Secession Convention Commissioners. If this had not been a peaceful transfer, it would be known as the event that started the Civil War – right here in San Antonio.

1918 – World War I
The inter-camp boxing and wrestling tournament, which was scheduled to take place at Kelly Field tonight, will be staged at Beethoven Hall, beginning at 8 o’clock, sharp, according to an announcement from M. C. Salassa, physical director of the Army Y. M. C. A. at Kelly Field.  The rain interfered with the program at Kelly Field as the ring on the flying grounds is pitched in the open.

A. J. Drossaerts (right) became the first archbishop of San Antonio at noon today.  In San Fernando Cathedral, crowded to the doors by the thousands, the wool band with four crosses was placed on his shoulders by Archbishop John W. Shaw of New Orleans.

February 15 in San Antonio history…

A portable radio station of the Marconi type, to be installed on horsedrawn vehicles, has been ordered for Fort Sam Houston.

1918 – World War I
The San Antonio Light calls out its rival, the Express, for not printing a quote from Raymond Fosdick, Chairman of the War Camp Activities commission in yesterday’s paper.  Fosdick noted that while liquor and vice are problems in Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston, San Antonio has done a good job of cleaning up.  The quote omitted by the Express was:  “This legislation is very important and we hope it will be enacted. We have an ideal condition now at San Antonio. The visit here of Sheriff Tobin has been conducive of much good and he is doing fine work and is being aided by the co-operation of citizens; but we are having trouble at Houston and Fort Worth. Bootlegging is at the bottom of all vice in camps and once it is wiped out conditions will improve. I have no complaint as to San Antonio.”

Guitarist Jimi Hendrix makes his first appearance in San Antonio, playing Municipal Auditorium.  Soft Machine, Neal Ford and the Fanatics & The Swiss Movement open the show.  Tickets are $4.00.