On this day in 1900 the Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention was organized at McMahan, ten miles east of Lockhart. Sacred harp music is a religious folk music that derives its name from Benjamin Franklin White's The Sacred Harp (1844). It features a cappella singing of white spirituals written in shaped notes. The sacred harp is the human voice. Although all-day singings with dinner on the grounds are not as widespread as before World War II, they regularly occur in East Texas. The two oldest and largest annual events are the Southwest Texas Convention at McMahan, held in the spring, and the East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Henderson, organized in 1914 and held in August. Sacred harp singings traditionally were (in some places, still are) a part of a community's homecoming celebration, in which the church was of major importance.
On this day in 1854, Henry Philemon Attwater was born in Brighton, England. He immmigrated in 1873 to Canada, where he soon became interested in natural history. During 1884 Attwater collected specimens in Bexar County, where he befriended Gustave Toudouze. In 1889 Attwater moved with his family to Sherman and then to San Antonio; in 1900 he moved to Houston to become the agricultural and industrial agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1907 Attwater and Mervyn Bathurst Davis served on the committee that recommended passage of legislation requiring hunting licenses in Texas, with all revenues from licenses and fines to be used solely for game protection and propagation. Attwater retired in 1913 to devote himself to the study of natural history. During the 1920s he sold his collection to the Witte Museum in San Antonio. Attwater's greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) is one of several species named in his honor. Attwater died in 1931.
On this day in 1825, Dilue Rose Harris was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her family arrived in Texas in 1833. She made bullets for men going to the Alamo and took part in the Runaway Scrape. After the Texas Revolution the family moved to the area of Bray's Bayou, five miles outside of Houston. There Dilue attended school. She married Ira A. Harris in 1839. The couple lived in Houston until 1845, when they moved to Columbus; Ira Harris died in 1869. Mrs. Harris was acquainted with the leaders of the Texas Revolution and of the Republic of Texas. Her reminiscences, written when she was seventy-four and published in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, are a primary source for early Texas history. She died in Eagle Lake in 1914.