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October 16th


The Yellow Stone at Groce’s Landing

In late March of 1836, the Yellow Stone was stopped at one of its regular stops, Groce’s Landing, just a short way downstream from Washington. At the same time, Houston and his army were weaving back and forth from the Colorado River to the Brazos River. Santa Anna had crossed the Colorado in pursuit, forcing  Read more

Early steamboat transportation

Steamboat transportation on the Brazos River began as early as 1829 but did not really pick up until 1835 with the introduction of the Steamship Yellow Stone. Although the River was hard to navigate, the steamboats offered a way of getting fresh goods back and forth between the interior cities such as Washington. Henry Jones,  Read more

Washington as a major town

Washington had become a major supply point by 1835 because of its location on the river and to major roads. Because of this, merchants and tradesmen from neighboring communities settled in the new town. Washington’s location was ideal because it was elevated on bluffs above the river with a plentiful water supply from nearby springs.  Read more

Robinson’s land near the river

In 1821, Andrew Robinson’s family and other members of the Old Three Hundred settled near what would be called the town of Washington. The next year Robinson was operating a ferry at the La Bahia crossing and a settlement named La Bahia developed at the busy ferry crossing. The Handbook of Texas says, “In 1831  Read more

Colonization of the Brazos

Although the Brazos was well known to Spanish explorers and missionaries who described the Indians along its banks, the first permanent settlements on the river were made by Anglo-Americans.In 1821, Stephen F. Austin obtained permission from Spanish Governor of Texas and Coahuila to explore the country on the Brazos River. He concluded the land was  Read more

Los Brazos de Dios

The full name of the Brazos River is Los Brazos de Dios, “the arms of God,” as named by the Spanish explorers when they first came over. How and who exactly named it this is still a mystery but there are several popular legends surrounding the naming. The first is the exploration by Francisco Vasquez  Read more

Texas State Insect – Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly was adopted as the Texas state insect on June 16, 1995. Monarch butterflies pass through Texas twice a year during their migrations north and south. The butterflies hibernate in the mountains of Mexico until early spring when they awaken and head north to Canada. On the way though, they stop in Texas  Read more

Texas State Bird – Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird was adopted as the Texas state bird in 1927. The Mockingbird can sing up to 200 songs including the songs of other birds and sounds from insects and amphibians. It is also very protective of its home, often swooping down at things getting too close to its nest. The Texas State legislature  Read more

Texas State Musical Instrument – Guitar

The guitar was adopted as the Texas state musical instrument on June 19, 1997. It is said the guitar originated from Spain although the looks and string configuration would have been different from today’s modern versions. The legislature believes, “the adoption of a symbol touting the Lone Star State’s contributions to the world of music  Read more

Texas State Moto – Friendship

Friendship was adopted as the Texas state motto in February 1930. The motto was most likely chosen because the name of Texas or Tejas was the Spanish pronunciation of the local Indian tribe’s word teyshas or thecas meaning friends or allies. Many believe “Remember the Alamo” is the Texas state motto. This is no longer  Read more

Texas State Vehicle – Chuck Wagon

The Chuck Wagon was adopted as the Texas state vehicle on May 27, 2005. The chuck wagon gained its importance in the cattle drives that took place after the Civil War to the mid-1800s. According to the legislature, “In 1866, Texas rancher and Civil War veteran Charles Goodnight first used an army surplus Studebaker wagon  Read more

Texas State Reptile – Texas Horned Lizard

The Texas Horned Lizard was adopted as the Texas state reptile on June 18, 1993. The Texas Horned Lizard is also referred to as the horned toad, horny toad and horned frog and with a lineage that can be traced back to the dinosaurs. It was put on the threatened species list in 1967 and  Read more

Texas State Footwear – Cowboy Boot

The Cowboy Boot was adopted as the Texas State footwear on June 15, 2007. Riding boots date back for centuries but the basic pattern of the cowboy boot as we know today was created during the post-Civil War trail drives between 1866 and 1890. During this time, cowboys drove millions of head of Texas cattle  Read more

Texas State Sport – Rodeo

The Rodeo was adopted as the Texas State sport on June 18, 1997. Modern rodeo events fall into two different general categories: rough stock events which include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding and timed events which include steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing and steer roping. The rodeo originally grew  Read more

Texas State Dish – Chili

Chili was adopted as the Texas state dish on May 11, 1977. The International Chili Cook-Off has been held in Texas in 1967. President Lyndon B. Johnson commented that “chili concocted outside of Texas is a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing,” and Will Rogers described Texas chili as “the bowl of blessedness.” The  Read more

Texas State Cooking Implement – Dutch Oven

The Dutch Oven was adopted as the Texas State Cooking Implement on June 18, 2005. The Dutch Oven is believed to date back to the early 1700s in Holland. It is unsure when the cooking implement came to America but in Texas it was used by the Spanish explorers, early settlers, ranchers and chuck wagon  Read more

Texas State Gem – Blue Topaz, Texas State Stone – Petrified Palmwood

The Texas Blue Topaz was adopted as the Texas state gem and Petrified Palmwood as the Texas state stone on March 26, 1969. The Blue Topaz is found in the Llano uplift area in Central Texas and is most commonly used in jewelry. Petrified Palmwood is generally found in eastern counties near the Texas Gulf  Read more

Texas State Dog – Blue Lacy

The Blue Lacy was adopted officially as the Texas state dog on June 18, 2005. The Blue Lacy is the only dog breed that originated in Texas and is named after brothers George, Ewin, Frank and Harry Lacy who settled in Texas in 1858. It is said that the family used greyhound, scenthound and coyote  Read more

Texas State Fruit – Texas red Grapefruit

The Texas Red Grapefruit was adopted as the Texas state fruit on May 17, 1993. The fruit was first discovered by Texas citrus growers in 1929. It generates more revenue than any other tree fruit in Texas. The legislature said, “This variety of grapefruit has been carefully nurtured and perfected over time and is renowned  Read more

Texas State Fish – Guadalupe Bass

The Guadalupe Bass was adopted as the Texas state fish on May 10, 1989. The Guadalupe Blass is found only in Texas and is part of a group of fish collectively called the black bass. It inhabits fast-running streams and small rivers in the center part of the state. The legislature says “though its small  Read more

Texas State Tree – Pecan Tree

The Pecan Tree was adopted as the Texas state tree in 1919. Fossil remains show that the Pecan tree was found in Texas long before humans came around. The tree can live for thousands of years and is wide spread throughout the state. People started considering it a favorite tree of Texas when Governor James  Read more

Texas State Horse – American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse was adopted as the Texas state horse on June 19, 2009. The horse was adopted when 10-year-old Logan Head realized that there was no state horse after studying Texas History. The American quarter horse can trace its roots back to the early colonies in America. The Galloway and hobby breeds from  Read more

Texas State Flying Mammal – Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

The Mexican Free-Tailed Bat was adopted as the Texas state flying mammal on May 25, 1995. The largest concentration of these bats in the world are in Bracken Cave in Comal County, less than 20 miles from downtown San Antonio. An estimated 20 million bats roost in the cave from March to October, making it  Read more

Texas State Vegetable – Sweet Onion

The sweet onion was designated as the Texas state vegetable on May 7, 1997. Onions are Texas’ leading vegetable crop with sales bringing the state $70 to $100 million per year. According to Texas A&M, “the sweet onions from Texas started when the Bermuda onion was introduced into South Texas in 1898 when a pack  Read more

Texas State Symbol – Jalapeno

The jalapeno was adopted as the Texas state pepper on May 10, 1995. Peppers were present in the diets of Native Americans in Central Mexico as early as 9,000 years ago. The jalapeno, the most popular pepper, measures in at 2,500 – 9,000 Scoville heat units depending on its growing conditions. On the Scoville scale,  Read more

Texas State Plant – Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus was adopted as the state plant on May 25, 1995. The cactus has branches and stems in the form of large, flat pads with deep red fruits known as tuna. The pads and the fruit are edible. The plant helped sustain the earliest inhabitants of the region as well as recently become  Read more

Texas State Amphibian – Texas Toad

Texas Toad was adopted as the Texas state amphibian on June 19, 2009. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists and fourth graders from Danbury Elementary School worked together to narrow down five candidates for state amphibian. The students formed five groups and each researched and campaigned for their candidate. The Texas Toad won, barley defeating the  Read more

Texas State Snack – Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Tortilla Chips and Salsa was adopted as the Texas state snack on June 22, 2003. Students at Marcell Elementary School in Mission contacted State Representative, Kino Flores, about designating a state snack. The legislature said “tortilla chips and salsa are deeply rooted in Texas tradition and enjoy popularity throughout the length and breadth of the  Read more

Texas State Fiber and Fabric – Cotton

Cotton was adopted officially as the Texas state fiber and fabric on June 18, 1997. Texas is known around the world for its cotton production and has been a mainstay in the Texas economy and culture. Cotton is the state’s largest cash crop and is planted on more acres than any other agricultural product in  Read more

Texas State Large Mammal – Longhorn

The longhorn was adopted as the Texas large state mammal on June 16, 1995. The state held a mock election with hundreds of elementary school children to decide on the state mammal. Support for the longhorn and armadillo was equally divided so the state decided to create a designation for small state mammal and large  Read more