On this day in 1852, Alexander Cockrell paid $7,000 for the portion of the John Neely Bryan homestead that included the Dallas townsite and the Trinity River ferry concession. Bryan, a Tennessee native born in 1810, had settled at a natural ford on the east bank of the Trinity in 1841. In 1844 he persuaded J. P. Dumas to survey and plat the site of Dallas; he was also instrumental in the organizing of Dallas County in 1846 and in the choosing of Dallas as its county seat in August 1850. Cockrell, born in Kentucky in 1820, first came to Texas in 1845 and later established a claim on 640 acres in the Peters colony, about ten miles west of Dallas. He and his wife moved to Dallas in 1853 and began operating a brick business, one of several Cockrell enterprises that established the main lines of trade and development in Dallas. Cockrell replaced the toll ferry with the first bridge across the Trinity River; to protect the toll bridge, Cockrell acquired hundreds of acres of land on the river. In 1858, Cockrell was killed in a gunfight with a city marshall. Bryan died in the State Lunatic Asylum in 1877.
On this day in 1989, Congressman Mickey Leland's plane crashed in Ethiopia. Leland, a Lubbock native, had worked in Houston as a pharmacist. He pressured Houston officials to set up community clinics and became an active member of the black Community Action team. In 1972 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1979 he took the congressional seat vacated by Barbara Jordan. He served for more than ten years in the United States Congress, where he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus and served as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 1984 he helped establish the Select Committee on Hunger. A trip to the Sudan in the spring of 1989 marked the beginning of tenacious efforts aimed at aiding Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. On his sixth trip to Africa his plane crashed on the way to the Fugnido refugee camp. Terminal D at Houston Intercontinental Airport was named in Leland's honor.
On this day in 1935, striking garment workers entered the Morten-Davis and Lorch Manufacturing companies in Dallas and stripped the clothing from ten female employees. Not only did the action attract hundreds of spectators, but accounts of the strikers' actions appeared in newspapers in Italy, Australia, and New York. In 1934 the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union began to organize in Dallas with the workers' support because of low wages in comparison with other parts of the country. The strike began in early February 1934 when Dallas dress manufacturers began dismissing workers suspected of union activity. Workers walked out of fifteen Dallas factories. Pickets clashed with police attempting to keep strikebreakers from entering factories. At least eighty-six women were arrested. Although the "strike stripping" led local pastors to call for an arbitrated settlement, Dallas employers would not negotiate. The strike ended in November 1935 when the dressmakers voted to end their walkout. Despite the dressmakers' initial defeat, the ILGWU maintained its two Dallas locals. By 1936 five local dress plants operated as union shops.
On this day in 1854, Lowry Scrutchfield was elected the first Bosque County judge. Scrutchfield was born in Nacogdoches in 1824. Some ten years later his widowed mother moved her family to Nashville-on-the-Brazos in Milam County, where they lived in the home of her oldest son, John C. Pool. Here Scrutchfield spent his late childhood and met Maj. George B. Erath, from whom he learned Indian scouting and surveying. He accompanied Erath in 1845 to the South Bosque valley, where he met the Neil McLennan family and moved into their home. Scrutchfield assisted Erath in laying out the townsite of Waco village. In 1851 Scrutchfield married Nancy Proffitt, and the couple moved to Bosque Territory, settling on the east side of the Bosque River several miles north of the site of present Valley Mills. One of the first original settlers in Bosque Territory, Lowry Hampton Scrutchfield emerged as the leader of the small group of pioneers who explored, settled, and organized Bosque County. He served as county judge until 1858. During the almost fifty years that he lived in Bosque County, Scrutchfield played a leading role in its political affairs. He died in 1900.