On this day in 1986, the city of Houston proclaimed Albert Moses Levy Memorial Day, in honor of Jews who participated in the fight for Texas independence. Levy was born in 1800, probably in Amsterdam. His family immigrated to Virginia in 1818, and he completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1832. After the death of his first wife in 1835, he went to New Orleans, where he joined the New Orleans Greys and left for Texas. He was quickly appointed surgeon in chief of the volunteer army of Texas and was wounded at the siege of Bexar. In 1836, after leaving the army, Levy joined the Texas Navy. In 1837 his ship, the Independence, was captured by two Mexican brigs-of-war. After three months he escaped and walked back to Texas, where he set up medical practice in Matagorda. Levy committed suicide in May 1848.
On this day in 1768, Gaspar José de Solís wrote in his diary of a striking encounter with a Tejas Indian woman in what is now Houston County. Fray Solís was inspecting missions for the College of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. His diary presents a valuable contemporary account of the missions, country, and Indians of Texas. The woman, Santa Adiva, held high status in her village. There, Solís writes, the inhabitants were nearly naked, "much painted with vermillion and other colors," and wearing beads and feathers. Solís states that the Indians were "great thieves and drunkards because whiskey and wine are furnished to them by the French." Santa Adiva, whose name was said to mean "great lady" or "principal lady" and who was accorded queen-like status, lived in a large, multi-room house, to which other Indians brought gifts. Solís reports that she had five husbands and many servants.
On this day in 1675, an expedition led by Fernando del Bosque and Fray Juan Larios left Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe mission in present-day Monclova, Mexico, to convert the Indians of Coahuila. On May 11 the expedition reached the Rio Grande, probably a little below the present site of Eagle Pass. Bosque took formal possession of the river, erected a wooden cross, and renamed the river the San Buenaventura del Norte. On May 15 members of the expedition celebrated what may have been the first Mass on Texas soil, in present-day Maverick County. In all, the Spaniards traveled forty leagues past the Rio Grande and made six halts in south-central Texas. They returned to Guadalupe on June 12.