Texas is bracing for hurricane Harvey. With forecasters warning of a life threatening storm, we’ll fill you in on what you need to know. Plus, with Houston expecting major flooding, we’ll hear how unregulated development could be making matters worse. That plus the week in politics, the boy scouts considering brining in girls, and a really book by a Texas author you might want to check out. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
Should women be required to buy separate insurance for abortions? The Texas lawmakers behind the emotional debate explain their positions. Also the ballot measure never said anything about ‘sports.’ That’s the argument attorneys for a historic El Paso neighborhood are making to fight a proposed activity center. And crude exports from the the Permian Basin are injecting new life into the port of Corpus Christi whose economy took a hit during the energy downturn. Also the misuse and addiction of opioids kill as many as one hundred Americans every day. The new task force in San Antonio to combat the crisis. And a team at Texas A&M is working to keep the lights on across the state. A look at the vulnerability of the power grid. That’s all ahead on The Texas Standard:
The assassination of a symbol of the old order. The rise of populist nationalism. Can history help us, or are we kidding ourselves? We’ll explore. Also events in the US, Turkey and Germany this week have millions turning to the past to help make sense of the future. A Texas-based scholar will try to help us make sense of the search for historic parallels. Plus deja vu in Corpus Christi. The latest water ban and by no means the first. As the taps reopen, out come the lawsuits and recriminations. We’ll have the latest. And charitable giving for political access. A Texas based group with ties to the future President comes under fire…those stories and a whole lot more, today on the Texas Standard:
There are two detention centers for undocumented families in South Texas. Someone’s pushing for a third, but who and why? We’ll explore. Also: what’s in a name? A lot, if you’re a licensed psychologist. But now it appears the very term psychologist may be up for grabs in Texas. We’ll hear why. Plus, they’re not exactly the best of friends, so what could possibly bring Ted Cruz and John Cornyn together? It appears, a legacy of the Third Reich. And the most overrated tech in Texas, and how to survive killer bees. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
You know the saying, “where there’s smoke?” Alarms over policies for fire inspections in the nation’s 4th largest city. That story today on the Texas Standard
Tempers boiling over among residents of the real windy city, now in day eleven of a water safety alert.
You’ve heard about the nursing shortage. One big reason, a shortage of nursing teachers…and Texas is in worse shape than most.
And spark up the smoker, the barbecue kid is taking on the competition. We’ll meet the 12 year old grill master who can cook rings around the rest of us.
He was 22 years old, riding his horse south of Corpus Christi in the vicinity of what would one day be called the King Ranch. But that wouldn’t happen for another twenty years.
This vast stretch of sandy prairie was still known as “The Wild Horse Desert.”
In some ways it was a spooky place – ghostly. You would see horse tracks everywhere, but no people. There were plenty of worn trails, but the population was merely equestrian.
Folks reckoned that these horses were the descendants of the ones that arrived with Cortez, when he came to conquer the Aztecs. Some had escaped, migrated north, and bred like rabbits (if you can say that about horses).
Our young man – actually a newly minted second lieutenant from West Point – was riding with a regiment of soldiers under the command of General Zachary Taylor. They were under orders to establish Fort Texas on the Rio Grande and enforce that river as the southern border of the U.S. Fort Texas would shortly become Fort Brown, the fort that Brownsville, Texas would take its name from.
The young lieutenant, who had excelled as a horseman at West Point, was so impressed with the seemingly infinite herds of wild horses in South Texas that he made a note of it in his journal. He said:
“A few days out from Corpus Christi, the immense herd of wild horses that ranged at that time between the Nueces and the Rio Grande was directly in front of us. I rode out a ways to see the extent of the herd. The country was a rolling prairie, and from the higher ground, the vision was obstructed only by the curvature of the earth. As far as the eye could reach to the right, the herd extended. To the left, it extended equally. There was no estimating the number of animals in it; I doubt that they could all have been corralled in the State of Rhode Island, or Delaware, at one time. If they had been, they would have been so thick that the pasture would have given out the first day.”
Both General Taylor and his Second Lieutenant would distinguish themselves on that journey.
Zachary Taylor had no idea that this Wild Horse Desert would lead to him on to victory in Mexico and to political victory back home. He would become the 12th President of the United States.
His dashing second lieutenant would also ascend to the presidency, 20 years after him.
The young man on high ground, surveying the primordial scene of thousands of mustangs grazing before him, would become the hero of many battles in the years ahead. He would ultimately lead the union forces to victory in the Civil War – and become the youngest president of the U.S. His presidential memoirs would become a runaway bestseller – a book Mark Twain would publish and call “the most remarkable work of its kind since Caesar’s Commentaries.” It is that book that gives us this story.
It was written by Hiram U. Grant. Well that was his birth name. But when he entered West Point, due to a clerical error, the name Hiram was dropped and his middle name became his first name, the name you know him by: Ulysses. Ulysses S. Grant.
Listen to the full audio in the player above.
W.F Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. And at Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.