On this day in 1888, the Port Isabel lighthouse was temporarily extinguished. Located on State Highway 100 in Port Isabel, southeastern Cameron County, the lighthouse was built by the United States government in 1852-53. The brick lighthouse had a light that consisted of four lamps on an iron platform. It was reported in 1854 that the lighthouse stood fifty-seven feet above the ground and eighty-two feet above sea level. The light was visible for sixteen miles and was produced by twenty-one reflectors and fifteen lamps. In 1887 it was discovered that the United States government did not have title to the land, and the lighthouse was closed the following year. The government, refusing to give up, sought title to the land and acquired it in 1894. The lighthouse was permanently abandoned, as no longer needed, in 1905, and the site was restored as the Port Isabel Lighthouse Historic Structure in the 1950s.
On this day in 1890, Katherine Anne Porter (born Callie Russell Porter) was born in Indian Creek, Texas. She grew up in Kyle. In addition to such major novels as Ship of Fools and Pale Horse-Pale Rider, she also published Noon Wine, a collection of short stories set in Central Texas. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965) won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Award. Two Texas historical markers were erected in Porter's honor: one at Indian Creek Cemetery in Brown County (1990) and another in Kyle (1991).
On this day in 1755, Tomás Sánchez de la Barrera y Garza founded Laredo with his family and several others. Sánchez was born near Monterrey, Nuevo León, in 1709. As a young man he served in the army and later ran a ranch in Coahuila. When José Vázquez Borrego established a ranch on the north bank of the Rio Grande in 1750, Sánchez started one on the south side within sight of the new settlement. He was residing there in 1754, when he petitioned José de Escandón for permission to found a town on the north bank of the river. Escandón eventually approved the request and appointed Sánchez captain and chief justice of the new settlement, to be named Laredo. Sánchez was almost singly responsible for maintaining the settlement on the north bank of the Rio Grande, and he held the offices of chief justice and alcalde with only brief intermissions until his death in January 1796.