On this day in 1885, English nobleman Joseph Heneage Finch died on his ranch near Big Spring, Texas. Finch was associated with the prince of Wales and his high-living social set in the 1870s. Exiled from England after going through a notorious divorce, he settled in Texas in 1883. Though initially unable to gain the acceptance of the local cowboy-cattleman fraternity, the earl won them over in time by his generosity with his liquor, by his being introduced formally at roundup by a prominent cattleman, and by his pleasant personality. He spent his waking hours partying, drinking, and hunting, to the neglect of his ranch and stock. Although mysterious and remote, he became a valued and respected member of the community, for the frontiersmen did not pry into one's personal life. On January 13, 1885, after hosting a two-week party that was spoken of in awe for years, he unexpectedly died. His hard drinking had apparently caught up with him. Finch was a colorful example of the "remittance man," typically a wealthy European who for various reasons was exiled to reform or to perish, to the remote regions of the world, where he regularly received money (remittances) from home.
On this day in 1847, John Joel Glanton enlisted in Walter P. Lane's company of rangers for service in the Mexican War. The South Carolina native had arrived in Texas in time to serve in the Texas Revolution, and was a member of John Hay's company of Texas Rangers between the wars. He served with distinction in the invasion of Mexico under Zachary Taylor. Always a controversial figure, Glanton's career turned sinister after the Mexican War when he traveled to Chihuahua and became the leader of a band of scalp hunters. The memoirist Sam Chamberlain met and rode with Glanton during this period. Eventually the authorities in Chihuahua accused Glanton and his gang of scalping friendly Indians and Mexicans for bounties, and drove him into Sonora province. There he resumed his activites. He and his gang seized and operated a river ferry controlled by the Yuma Indians. While operating the ferry, they killed Mexican and American passengers alike for their money and goods. Finally, in mid-1850, they schemed to kill a party of Mexican miners who used the ferry, but before they carried out their plot, the Yumas attacked the ferry and killed Glanton and most of his men. Glanton himself was scalped.
On this date in 1974 the airport now known as Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport officially opened. Efforts from 1940 to 1965 to build and operate an airport between Dallas and Fort Worth had failed to satisfy the rival cities, which sometimes operated separate facilities. The FAA declared itself fed up, and in 1965 the Civil Aeronautics Board ordered the two cities to agree on a location for a regional airport. Construction began in December 1968. In 2000 D–FW was the third largest and fifth busiest airport in the world.
On this day in 1939, legendary Big Thicket outlaw Red Golemon was arrested for the first time. Thomas Jefferson Golemon was born in 1909 near Kountze, Texas, and left home at eighteen to became an oilfield roughneck. For the next twelve years he traveled through Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma and earned a reputation for brawling. He was first arrested in Corpus Christi, where he and two companions were charged with the murder of a rig builder who had been killed in a drunken fight. Golemon was released on bond but failed to show up for trial. After he and an accomplice robbed a bank in Hull in July, Golemon hid out in Houston with relatives, one of whom turned him in to the police. Once again Golemon was freed on bond and once again he failed to appear for trial. He disappeared into the Big Thicket, and stories began flowing connecting him with a series of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes. His criminal career ended in April 1940 when the notorious "Red Fox of the Big Thicket," discovered at his parents' home in Hardin County, died in a barrage of gunfire.