Good morning, it’s Saturday, August 9, the 221st day of 2013. There are 144 days left in the year. We’ll start the day in the mid-70s but highs this afternoon will be around 100 and the heat index reading could be even higher. Lows overnight should be in the mid-70s.
On August 9, 1809—205 years ago today—William Barret Travis, the Texas commander at the battle of the Alamo, was born on Mine Creek near the Red Bank community in Saluda County, S.C. (Other authorities cite Aug. 1 as his birth date, but the date is recorded as Aug. 9 in the family Bible). In 1817, his family moved to Conecuh County, Ala. where Travis attended school and was accepted as an apprentice by the leading attorney in Claiborne. Travis went on to practice law, got married, began to publish a newspaper, joined the Masons and accepted a position as adjutant of a unit of the Alabama militia. Then for reasons never completely proven, he decamped, abandoning his wife, son and unborn daughter, perhaps because he suspected his wife had cheated on him. In early 1831 he arrived in Texas, established a law practice in Anahuac, associated with a group of militants that eventually became known as the war party as tensions rose between Mexico and American settlers in Texas. In 1832 he was involved in an incident in Anahuac that ultimately resulted in clashes at Velasco and Nacogdoches and petitions for separate statehood. In late June 1835 Travis led about 25 men on a successful attack on a Mexican garrison at Anahuac and joined hundreds of Texans who rushed to Gonzales in October 1835 after a demand for the surrender of the Gonzales “come and take it” cannon. The next year he and James Bowie ended up sharing command at the Alamo until Bowie was injured and fell ill. He directed preparations in anticipation of the arrival of Santa Anna’s army and sent letters requesting reinforcements, which failed to bring enough help in time. Travis died of a gunshot wound to the head early in the battle on March 6, 1836.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 9, 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation's 38th chief executive as President Richard Nixon's resignation took effect.
On This Date:
In 1814, the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ended the Creek War, was signed in Alabama.
In 1842, the United States and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.
In 1854, Henry David Thoreau's "Walden," which described Thoreau's experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, was first published.
In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of Britain following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order nationalizing silver.
In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.
In 1944, 258 African-American sailors based at Port Chicago, California, refused to load a munitions ship following a cargo vessel explosion that killed 320 men, many of them black. (Fifty of the sailors were convicted of mutiny, fined and imprisoned.)
In 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.
In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally slain at Tate's Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his followers were later convicted of the crime.
In 1982, a federal judge in Washington ordered John W. Hinckley Jr., who'd been acquitted of shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others by reason of insanity, committed to a mental hospital.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan nominated Lauro Cavazos to be secretary of education; Cavazos became the first Hispanic to serve in the Cabinet.
In 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead, died in Forest Knolls, California, of a heart attack at age 53.
Ten years ago:
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, addressing a court for the first time, asked victims of the blast for forgiveness as a judge sentenced him to 161 consecutive life sentences. A corroded cooling pipe burst at a Japanese nuclear power plant, killing five workers. Oscar-nominated movie and TV composer David Raksin died in Van Nuys, Calif., at age 92.
Five years ago:
President Barack Obama flew to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a two-day speed summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Iraqi authorities arrested British contractor Danny Fitzsimons in the shooting deaths of two co-workers in Baghdad's protected Green Zone. (Fitzsimons was convicted by an Iraqi court in 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.) Jennifer Song became the second woman to win two U.S. Golf Association championships in the same year, beating Jennifer Johnson 3 and 1 in the U.S. Women's Amateur final. (The 19-year-old Song had won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links in June 2009.)
One year ago:
President Barack Obama promised to work with Congress on "appropriate reforms" for the domestic surveillance programs that stirred criticism at home and abroad. President Obama signed into law a measure restoring lower interest rates for student loans. Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walked free after 28 years in prison when a Mexican court overturned his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnap and killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent Enrique Camarena.
Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is 86. Actress Cynthia Harris is 80. Tennis Hall of Famer Rod Laver is 76. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 72. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 72. Actor Sam Elliott is 70. Singer Barbara Mason is 67. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Bill Campbell is 66. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player John Cappelletti is 62. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Doug Williams is 59. Actress Melanie Griffith is 57. Actress Amanda Bearse is 56. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 55. Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull is 50. TV host Hoda Kotb is 50. Actor Pat Petersen is 48. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is 47. Actress Gillian Anderson is 46. Actor Eric Bana is 46. Producer-director McG (aka Joseph McGinty Nichol) is 46. NHL player-turned-assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour is 44. TV anchor Chris Cuomo is 44. Actor Thomas Lennon is 44. Rock musician Arion Salazar is 44. Rapper Mack 10 is 43. Actress Nikki Schieler Ziering is 43. Latin rock singer Juanes is 42. Actress Liz Vassey is 42. Actor Kevin McKidd is 41. Actress Rhona Mitra is 39. Actor Texas Battle is 38. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 38. Actress Ashley Johnson is 31. Actress Anna Kendrick is 29.
Thought for Today:
"Hope is a waking dream." - Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384 B.C.-322 B.C.).