On this day in 1882, Ben Ficklin, the county seat of Tom Green County, was washed away. In 1868 Maj. Benjamin F. Ficklin had purchased 640 acres on the South Concho, near the spring from which nearby Fort Concho hauled its drinking water. There he built the headquarters for his San Antonio-El Paso Mail line. In 1873 a town was laid out a mile upriver from the site and named for him. The community became the county seat in 1875 and had some 600 inhabitants by 1879. Heavy rains the night of August 23, 1882, swelled Dove Creek, Spring Creek, the Middle Concho, and the South Concho, already high because of a wet summer, out of their banks. The water roared down on Ben Ficklin at midmorning August 24 and destroyed the town. On the flat, only the courthouse, the jail, and two houses remained standing. Up the hill, fifteen houses and the schoolhouse remained. Sixty-five people were drowned. The town never recovered. San Angelo became the county seat in 1883.
On this day in 1946, Olin Teague began his thirty-two-year tenure as a United States congressman. Teague was born in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1910. As a child he moved with his family to Arkansas, where he earned the nickname "Tiger" for his play on the high school football team. He attended Texas A&M University, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in 1932, and worked in the College Station post office until 1940. In that year he enlisted for active duty in the army, receiving a commission as a first lieutenant. He took part in the Allied landing at Normandy in 1944, and became, after fellow Texan Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. He was discharged from the army in 1946 with the rank of colonel and won a special election to fill the vacant seat for the sixth congressional district. In Congress, Teague became noted for his championship of veterans' issues and his support of the space program. He retired at the end of 1978 because of poor health. In addition to several slight strokes in recent years, he had undergone the amputation of part of his left leg as a result of injuries suffered during the war. In 1980 the VA hospital in Temple was renamed for him. Teague died of a heart attack and kidney failure on January 23, 1981, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
On this day in 1821, Juan O'Donoju met Agustín de Iturbide in Córdoba and signed a treaty granting Mexico independence from Spain. The treaty ended the Mexican War of Independence, which grew out of political turmoil in Spain and Mexico in the early nineteenth century. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla formally began the rebellion with his famous grito on September 16, 1810, from the steps of his parish church in Dolores, a small town east of Guanajuato. Only in Texas, however, which in the summer of 1812 suffered an invasion from the United States under the leadership of José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Augustus Magee, was royal authority seriously threatened. In August 1813, Gen. Joaquín de Arredondo defeated the rebels at the battle of Medina and secured Texas for the Spanish crown. The struggle for independence broke down into a series of local revolts and guerrilla actions that did not seriously threaten royal authority in Mexico until 1820, when the formerly royalist officer Iturbide came to terms with insurgent leader Vicente R. Guerrero. By July 1821, when O'Donoju arrived to take over the colonial government, the royalists controlled only Mexico City and Veracruz.