On this day in 1897, S. E. Hayden, a cotton buyer in the small Wise County community of Aurora, released a fictional "news" story describing the crash of a mysterious airship just outside of town. Aurora was founded in the late 1850s and had grown considerably by the mid-1880s. But an outbreak of spotted fever began in 1888, and by 1889 fear of the epidemic had caused a mass exodus. Two years later, when the Burlington Northern Railroad abandoned its plan to lay tracks through Aurora, most of the few remaining inhabitants moved to Rhome, the site of a new railroad stop two miles to the southeast. Hayden's story succeeded in causing a sensation because tales of UFOs near Fort Worth were already current. Aurora remained comatose, however. In 1901 postal service was discontinued. The construction of State Highway 114 through the town in 1939 probably saved it from extinction. In the early 1970s Aurora underwent a rebirth as the town became a bedroom community of Fort Worth.
On this day in 1904, influential artist and critic Harry Peyton Carnohan was born in Milford, Ellis County. Carnohan, who studied under Vivian Aunspaugh and Frank Reaugh, was a member of the Dallas Nine, a group of regionalist artists active in the 1930s and 1940s. He was more open to contemporary European styles than his peers Jerry Bywaters and Alexandre Hogue; his best-known work, West Texas Landscape (1934), was influenced by Surrealism. Carnohan joined the Columbia University faculty and moved to New York in 1940. Uncomfortable with the emerging emphasis on abstract art in that city, he left Columbia in 1953 and subsequently moved to La Jolla, California, where he worked as a furniture and antique dealer. He died in 1969.
On this day in 1842, Juan N. Seguín resigned as mayor of San Antonio. Seguín, a native San Antonian, was born in 1806; his father Erasmo was a prominent public figure who later served as alcalde. Juan fought in the Texas Revolution, escaping death at the Alamo when he was sent out as a courier shortly before the fall of the citadel. Seguín was elected to the Republic of Texas Senate in 1837--the only Mexican Texan to serve in that body--but resigned in 1840 and was then elected mayor of San Antonio. His tenure in that office was controversial; his continuing conflicts with Anglo squatters on city property and his business correspondence with Mexico incriminated him in Gen. Rafael Vásquez's invasion of San Antonio in March 1842. Fearing for his life, Seguín resigned and fled with his family to Mexico. He participated in Adrián Woll's invasion of Texas in September 1842 and fought against the United States in the Mexican War, but returned to Texas after the war. He died in Nuevo Laredo in 1890. The town of Seguin was named in his honor in 1839.