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French adventurer marries Spanish official's daughter
August 16, 1719

On this day in 1719, Jean L'Archevêque married Manuela Roybal, the daughter of Ignacio de Roybal, the alcalde of Santa Fe. This was just one of many colorful episodes in L'Archevêque's storied life. He had been born in France in 1672, and had traveled to the New World with La Salle, whose activities in Texas kept the Spanish on edge for years. L'Archevêque was a member of the group that assassinated La Salle, after which he and five other Frenchmen stayed with the Hasinai Indians. With fellow Bayonnaise Jacques Grollet, L'Archevêque agreed to be "rescued" by the Spaniard Alonso De León. After thirty months in jail in Spain, the Frenchman agreed to serve the Spanish in America. He returned to Santa Fe, married, and had children. After his first wife died--and after having a daughter with a servant girl to add to his collection of illegitimate offspring--he married Doña Manuela, retired from the military, and become a successful trader. A year after his marriage, L'Archevêque joined an expedition against the Pawnees, who were led by a Frenchman; the expedition needed an envoy who could speak French. But on August 20, 1720, the Pawnees attacked the party by surprise, and L'Archevêque and most of the expedition were killed.

Civil rights attorney killed in accident
August 16, 1960

On this day in 1960, civil rights attorney Romeo Marcus Williams died when his car was struck by a railroad switching engine in Marshall. Williams was born on the outskirts of Marshall in 1919. An outstanding student, he attended Bishop College and was the first African-American to pass the Army Air Corps examination. He entered the Tuskegee Army Flying School in 1941. At Tuskegee Williams advanced to the rank of second lieutenant and received the Aviation Administration certificate. After the war Williams returned to civilian life determined to fight the injustice and prejudice he had encountered, especially during the war, by becoming a lawyer. Williams studied law in St. Louis, Missouri, obtained his legal credentials, and became a junior partner in the Dallas law firm of J. W. Durham. In 1956 Williams decided to return to Marshall and set up a private legal practice. He was the first lawyer called upon by students arrested in civil-rights demonstrations and sit-ins in Marshall. His accidental death in 1960 stunned the Marshall community, and the legal cases against the students were dismissed. Shortly thereafter Marshall's public facilities were desegregated. Notables from across Texas attended Williams's funeral at New Bethel Baptist Church in Marshall. Milton K. Curry, president of Bishop College, eulogized Williams as a man dedicated "to the cause of human dignity ... the struggle for freedom."

Irish colony founded in South Texas
August 16, 1828

On this day in 1828, John McMullen and James McGloin received a contract from the Mexican government authorizing the two to introduce 200 families to an assigned territory along the left bank of the Nueces River. The Irish-born empresarios went to New York in the summer of 1829 to recruit colonists, principally new Irish immigrants. They accompanied the first group of Irish colonists from New York to Texas on the Albion and the New Packet in October 1829. In October 1831 the colonists laid out a town on the east bank of the Nueces, which they called San Patricio de Hibernia (St. Patrick of Ireland). The original contract was considered suspended by the Law of April 6, 1830, but in 1834 the empresarios secured a four-year extension, and by the outbreak of the Texas Revolution a total of eighty-four titles had been issued.