On this day in 1840, the Chihuahua Expedition arrived back in Chihuahua City after exploring a trade route to Texas and the United States. Henry Connelly, a wealthy Missouri merchant, had organized a party of 100 merchants and fifty Mexican dragoons and left Chihuahua City in April 1839 to explore the route. Carrying some $200 thousand to $300 thousand in specie, the expedition crossed the Rio Grande at Presidio, traveled down the Brazos and Red rivers, and reached Fort Towson in April 1840. They were allowed to proceed to Arkansas and Louisiana, and returned to Fort Towson with sixty to eighty new wagons loaded with merchandise. Accompanied by a party of American circus performers, they traveled through much of North Texas, maintaining cordial relations with the settlers, who were eager to purchase the trade goods. They eventually crossed back into Mexico at Presidio and reached Chihuahua City on August 27. Because of higher than expected tariffs and unfavorable reports on the trail, use of the route was curtailed until the late 1840s.
On this day in 1866, Elizabeth Ann Carter Clifton finally began her six-week trip home after being a captive of Plains Indians for two years. Her capture in the Elm Creek Raid in Young County was just one of a series of tragedies she endured during her life. Born in 1825 and married at age sixteen, Elizabeth and her first husband, Alexander Joseph Carter, a free black, started a ranch near Fort Belknap in Young County. Carter was murdered in 1857, and Elizabeth was married twice more in the next five years. Her second husband disappeared, and her third was also murdered. Nevertheless, she successfully managed the Young County ranch and operated a boarding house. During the Indian raid and subsequent captivity, Elizabeth also lost her daughter, son, and two grandchildren. She was finally rescued in November 1865, but had to wait many more months at the Kaw Mission at Council Grove, Kansas, as she cared for other released captives and fought to make arrangements for transportation home. Eventually she was reunited with her surviving granddaughter, who had also been a Comanche captive.
On this day in 1990, Texas blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash on the way to Chicago from a concert in Alpine Valley, East Troy, Wisconsin. Vaughan was born in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas on October 3, 1954. His exposure to music began in his childhood, as he watched his big brother, Jimmie, play guitar. Stevie's fascination with the blues drove him to teach himself to play the guitar before he was an adolescent. By the time he was in high school, he was staying up all night playing guitar in clubs in Deep Ellum, a popular entertainment district in Dallas. Vaughan moved to Austin in the 1970s, and by the early 1980s he and his band, Double Trouble, had a solid regional reputation. His career took off in the 1980s, and his work eventually garnered four Grammy Awards. Vaughan was killed at the height of his career. More than 1,500 people, including industry giants such as Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Stevie Wonder, attended his memorial service in Dallas.
On this day in 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States, was born on a farm near the town of Stonewall in the Texas Hill Country. His father was a state legislator, and his mother also encouraged her son's interest in public affairs. Young Lyndon graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos in 1930. The following year he became secretary to Congressman Richard M. Kleberg. Thus Johnson was set on the path of a lifetime of politics--from director of the National Youth Administration, to U. S. congressman and senator, and ultimately to the White House. His notable achievements include signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.