On this day in 1959, the state of Texas granted the first bus franchise in the South owned and operated by African Americans. The Acres Homes Transit Company served the predominantly black community of Acres Homes, nine miles northwest of downtown Houston. Living outside the city limits and without adequate public transportation, the residents petitioned the city hall for a permit to operate a suburban bus franchise. The AHTC had four buses that made forty-three round trips daily between downtown Houston and Acres Homes. When Acres Homes was annexed by the city, AHTC was bought by Houston Rapid Transit Lines.
On this day in 1850, a mob of soldiers burned down the store of Fredericksburg merchant John M. Hunter, destroying all Gillespie County records up to that time. Hunter, the first Gillespie County clerk, had a violent temper and had clashed more than once with the soldiers at nearby Fort Martin Scott. On the night of June 30, Hunter had refused to sell whiskey to a soldier named Dole. When Dole became abusive, Hunter fatally stabbed him in the chest. Some fifty angry soldiers returned the next night, looking for Hunter, but the merchant had fled town. Several townspeople attempted to salvage the county records from the burning store, but the soldiers prevented them. Apparently neither Hunter nor the soldiers were punished. Hunter later built a new store on the same block; it opened in time to be used by the district court in October 1850.
On this day in 1879, John Jacob (Jake) Atz, baseball player and manager, was born in Washington, D.C. He is generally considered the greatest baseball manager in Texas League history. He began his major-league playing career in 1902 with Washington of the American League and played for the Chicago White Sox in 1907-09. His major-league career ended when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Walter Johnson. Atz signed as a playing manager of the Fort Worth Cats of the Texas League in 1914. He quit in 1916 but returned in 1917. He led Fort Worth to seven consecutive championships between 1919 and 1925 and remained there until 1929. Thereafter he managed clubs in Dallas, Shreveport, New Orleans, Tulsa, and Galveston. He held the following Texas League records: twenty-two years as a player and manager; eighteen years as manager of one club (Fort Worth); longest continuous service at one club (fourteen seasons with Fort Worth); and seven successive first-place finishes. Atz's real name was Zimmerman, but, according to legend, he changed it because he had played on a succession of clubs that went bankrupt; paying their players alphabetically, the clubs frequently would run out of money before reaching the end of the alphabet. The name change was typical of his flamboyant personality, which has caused many people to call him "the grandest Texas League figure of all time." Atz died on May 22, 1945, in New Orleans, Louisiana.