Sunday , 19 November 2017
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This Week in History: Feb. 17-23, Federal Postal Service and Creation of a Texas Icon

By Don Newsom, TSB Contributor

In 1792, the U. S. postal service began when President George Washington signed the legislation. Mail delivery up to 30 miles was free; 30 to 150 miles cost 6 cents and over 150 miles cost 12.5 cents, but with no guaranteed delivery. In 1908 postage stamps were introduced at a cost of 1 cent.

In 1801, the House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, choosing Jefferson to be president.

In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began.

In 1838, Daniel Rowlett was issued the first head right in Collin County. A head right was 4,605 acres awarded by the Republic of Texas to people who lived in Texas prior to 1836.

In 1854, the founding fathers of Mantua, a community on the Collin and Grayson County lines, submitted a town map to be recorded as the official site.

In 1876, Frederick Schimelpfenig and Louise Rammer married in Kentucky and two years later moved to Plano. Frederick was the Mayor of Plano at the turn of the century. He was the owner/operator of a lumber company, and a dry goods store. He began the first Plano Music Conservatory and spent 66 years as the Superintendent of Sunday Schools at the Plano Methodist Church. Louise was active in church work and the temperance movement. She operated the first lending library out of her home by lending books to girls in the community. Descendents of family still live in the area. In 1980, a middle school, named in his honor opened in the Plano ISD and the public library, named in honor of his wife opened in Plano.

In 1878, the first recorded train robbery recorded in Texas occurred in Allen. The robbery was one of four trains and two stage coaches that Sam Bass and his gang robbed that year within 25 miles of Dallas. As a result they became the focus of a continued manhunt by the Pinkerton agents who were joined by a special company of the Texas Rangers headed by Captain Junius Peak. The pursuit ended five months later in Round Rock, Texas when Bass was shot by Ranger George Herold. Bass died the following day. He was 27 years old.

In 1894, the City of Plano bought a steam powered gin in order to provide citizens a more economical means to process crops and approved the purchase of a lot to build a city hall and jail.

In 1889, during a week long blizzard in the county the temperature dropped to -16 degrees.

In 1900, striking clocks were installed over the court house built on the square in McKinney in 1867. In 1927, during a remodel, the towers housing the clocks were removed.

In 1902, Sam Burks, a prominent resident of Prosper, rented equipment and had the streets of the city graded. They had become impassible because of excessive moisture that fall and winter.

In 1934, the Civil War mural in the lobby of the post office, currently the North Texas History Center, on East Virginia was unveiled. Frank Earl Klepper, an artist born in Plano, was commissioned by the U S Treasury Department. The WPA oversaw the project which is a three panel mural depicting a scene in 1864 witnessed by his grandmother on the square. Klepper painted his grandmother into the foreground of the center panel. The mounted men were volunteers for a Confederate spy unit formed on the orders of Brig. General Ben McCullough. The casket containing McCullough’s remains on its way to Austin from Little Rock is part of the military procession. He had been killed at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. After the completion of the post office on East Hunt Street in 1960, the mural was moved into that building. Later it was restored and retuned to its original site.

In 1942, during WWII a scar on our culture began when President FDR authorized the military to relocate and intern U S residents, including native-born Americans of Japanese ancestry. In 1983, a federal investigation condemned this action as a “grave injustice”.

In 1945, the county experienced the most severe ice storm and low temperatures every recorded until what our area experienced in 2011.

In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth when flew in the spacecraft Friendship 7.

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