On this day in 1716, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches Mission was founded by the Domingo Ramón expedition in a village of the Nacogdoches Indians. Father Antonio Margil de Jesús was in charge of the mission, which was abandoned temporarily in 1719 and became the first Zacatecan mission to be restored by the Marqués de Aguayo in 1721. Although the Nacogdoches mission was generally unsuccessful in its goal of converting the local Indians, it provided an important presence to offset French influence. It was permanently abandoned in 1773. In 1779 the deserted buildings formed the nucleus for the settlement of Nacogdoches.
On this day in 1839, Mirabeau B. Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, wrote to Colita, chief of the Coushatta Indians, expressing regret that conflicts had occurred between the Indians and white settlers. The event is notable because it marked a sharp divergence from Lamar's general Indian policy. Unlike Sam Houston, whose administration had attempted to conciliate the Indians--especially Houston's "own" tribe, the Cherokees--Lamar thought that the Indians should be either exterminated or driven from Texas. This animus helped to bring about several of the most serious clashes between Indians and whites in early Texas. Lamar's proffer of friendship toward the Alabamas and Coushattas was therefore a striking exception to his usual policy. Perhaps he was remembering how these East Texas Indians had helped the white settlers to escape from the Mexican army in the Runaway Scrape (1836). In any case, Lamar offered land to the Alabamas and Coushattas and appointed Joseph Lindley as a mediator between the Indians and the settlers. The gesture turned out to be futile, however, for when the Indians saw their land being marked off, they assumed it was for white settlers and abandoned the area; whereupon white settlers took the land.
On this day in 1948, ground was broken for the Bonham Veterans Administration Hospital. The facility was planned to provide general medical and surgical treatment and nursing-home care for veterans. Sam Rayburn, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, served as principal orator at the event. The hospital, directed by D. L. Bell until 1955, admitted its first patient and was formally dedicated in November 1951. John Connally, then secretary of the navy, spoke in 1961 at the hospital's tenth anniversary. In 1973, the hospital was renamed Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center. In 2002 the center had a capacity of 370 beds. Its 400 employees provided general medicinal and psychiatric care to veterans in an area covering four counties in northeastern Texas and two counties in southeastern Oklahoma. It provides long-term rehabilitative services and extended care in facilities that include a 136-bed nursing-home unit and a 224-bed residential unit.