On this day in 1904, the Batson-Old oilfield, located on Pine Bayou in southwestern Hardin County, reached its peak daily production. That day the field yielded more than 150,000 barrels of crude. Along with the Spindletop, Sour Lake, and Humble fields, Batson helped to establish the Texas oil industry. Batson field was first drilled in 1903 and was still producing in its tenth decade when its cumulative production reached more than 45 million barrels in 1993.
On this day in 1987, the Journal of Texas Catholic History and Culture came into being when the president of the society, Patrick Foley, urged the membership to establish such a publication. Shortly after that, an editorial board was formed with Foley as editor of the new periodical. At its first official meeting, the editorial board adopted the new publication's name. The first annual volume of the journal appeared in the spring of 1990. Its academic tone, as well as that of future volumes, was enunciated by the late dean of American Catholic historians, Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, who wrote in his introductory essay to the inaugural issue that Texas Catholic history must be set in the broader context of universal church history. Such an approach has been followed by the editors in every volume published since then. Each issue of the journal is made up of several scholarly articles, a number of book reviews, announcements and comments about Catholic history and cultural developments throughout the nation, and notes from the Texas Catholic Historical Society. By 1994 the Journal had won three national awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. At its February 29, 1996, meeting, the editorial board voted to rename the journal Catholic Southwest: A Journal of History and Culture to include those neighboring states whose Catholic heritage shares the same roots as that of Texas.
On this day in 1933, John Nance Garner of Texas left his position as speaker of the House to become vice president of the United States. Garner was born in 1868 in a log cabin near Detroit, Texas. He was admitted to the bar in 1890 and moved to Uvalde, where he joined the law firm of Clark and Fuller. Garner served as a county judge and as a state senator before heading for Washington as a congressman in 1903. During his early years in Congress he adhered to his number-one rule for success: get elected, stay there, and gain influence through seniority. By 1909 Garner had become party whip, and he became speaker of the House in 1931. He campaigned for president in 1932 and, after throwing his support to Franklin D. Roosevelt, became FDR's running mate. Garner was a master of congressional politics and helped get much of the early New Deal legislation enacted, but he ultimately split with Roosevelt and the liberals over the court-packing plan and the direction of the Democratic party. Garner became a leader of the conservative Democrats, and, though he was reelected vice president in 1936, he worked against further New Deal legislation. After retiring from public life in 1940, Garner spent the rest of his years in Uvalde in relative seclusion. He died in 1967, a few days before his ninety-ninth birthday.