CowboySpirit.TV - Today's old west historical trail mix includes our usual filling mix of tidbits, including the birth of a great western star, good and bad days for Santa Anna, and the discovery of the Donner Party.
1906: On this day, John B. Stetson, inventor of the Stetson hat, died today at the ripe age of 76. It's also still a great design: Stetson designed his cowboy hat specifically to be useful to cowboys, and the design is still about the same today as it was in the old west. So give Mr. Stetson a tip 'o the hat!
1847: On this day, the first rescuers to reach the ill-fated Donner Party began to transport those most in need back down the Sierra Nevadas. Trapped in a snowstorm for months, the party was forced to survive using the only meat on hand... which only grew as comrades succumbed to the elements.
1829: Today marks the birth of Amanda Blake, best known to millions of Gunsmoke fans worldwide as Miss Kitty the saloon-owner. Gunsmoke was Blake's only major role, and although she appeared in a handful of films and TV episodes after it, she devoted most of the rest of her life to social activism.
1921: As the old west was finally succumbing to the pressures of civilization, one of the last of the old west outlaws -Henry Starr- met a bitter end, eating a shotgun while robbing an Arkansas bank. As a member of the same Starr family that included “Bandit Queen” Belle Starr, thievery may have been in his blood, but times had changed.
1846: Today marked the beginning of the two-day Battle of Buena Vista, one of the more important engagements in the Mexican-American war. It would be Major-General Zachary Tyler's finest hour, a victory he would ride straight to the White House.
1836: The siege of the Alamo officially began on this day, and we all know how it ended. It may be small comfort to know that exactly ten years later, to the day, Santa Anna would be driven from the field at Buena Vista and forced back to Mexico City.
1836: Commander William Travis at the Alamo sends his famous plea for help: "To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World, I shall never surrender or retreat. Victory or Death!"
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