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Mexican Congress passes colonization law
August 18, 1824

On this day in 1824, the Mexican Congress passed a national colonization law. This law, and the state law of Coahuila and Texas passed the following year, became the basis of all colonization contracts affecting Texas, with the exception of that of Stephen F. Austin. Among the members of the congressional committee that drafted the legislation was Erasmo Seguín, the father of Juan N. Seguín. In effect, the national law surrendered to the states authority to set up regulations to dispose of unappropriated lands within their limits for colonization, subject to certain limitations, but reserved the right to stop immigration from particular nations in the interest of national security. Six years later the federal government invoked this reservation in forbidding the settlement in Texas of emigrants from the United States; the resulting Law of April 6, 1830, helped touch off the Texas Revolution.

Gutiérrez-Magee expedition squashed in bloodiest Texas battle
August 18, 1813

On this day in 1813, the Spaniards defeated a would-be Texas republic in the bloodiest action ever fought on Texas soil. The battle of Medina ended the filibustering efforts of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition. The expedition collided with the Spanish royalist army twenty miles south of San Antonio in an oak forest then called el Encinal de Medina. The republican force of 1,400 men was under the command of Gen. José Alvarez de Toledo y Dubois. The royalist army of some 1,830 men was commanded by Gen. Joaquín de Arredondo and included the young Lt. Antonio López de Santa Anna. On the morning of August 18, royalist scouts lured the republican army into an ambush. A four-hour slaughter ensued. Only 100 of the defeated republican army survived, whereas Arredondo lost only fifty-five men. The dead royalists were buried the next day on the way to San Antonio. The bodies of the fallen republicans were left to lie where they fell for nine years. The first governor of the Mexican state of Texas ordered a detachment of soldiers to gather the bones and give them an honorable burial under an oak tree growing on the battlefield.

Famous Hollywood designer born in Waco
August 18, 1894

On this day in 1894, Travis Banton was born in Waco. When he was two, his family moved to New York, where he later studied at the Art Students League and the New York School of Fine and Applied Art before beginning a career as a dress designer. After designing for Norma Talmadge in the East Coast film Poppy (1917), he soon distinguished himself with costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies and other stage productions. Banton came to Hollywood in 1924 and garnered instant acclaim for his work on The Dressmaker from Paris (1925). As Paramount's chief designer between 1929 and 1938, followed by freelance film and TV work as part of his couture business, Banton dressed more than 160 films. He played a major role in creating images for movie greats Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, and Mae West, and also dressed many other stars, including fellow Texans Pola Negri (Barbara Chalupec), Florence Vidor, and Joan Crawford (Lucille Leseur). A number of the films he worked on are recognized as classics, including Wings (1927), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Design for Living (1933), Ruggles of Red Gap (1934), Anything Goes (1935), My Man Godfrey (1936), Intermezzo (1939), Charley's Aunt (1941), and Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), among many others. Banton died in California in 1958.