On this day in 1716, Martín de Alarcón was appointed Spanish governor of Texas. Alarcón, though governor for just three short years, played a pivotal role in Texas history. In the spring of 1718 he led settlers across the Rio Grande and assisted in the founding of San Antonio de Valero mission and San Antonio de Béxar presidio. The accompanying families formed the beginnings of a settlement. Thus Alarcón is credited as the founder of San Antonio, the most important town in Spanish Texas and the eye of the storm of the Texas Revolution. As part of his official duties, Alarcón also inspected the East Texas missions and was constantly vigilant against the widespread French contraband trade, advising explorer and trader Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe to leave Spanish territory. Alarcón was relieved of his gubernatorial duties in the fall of 1719.
On this day in 1729, Juan de Ugalde, soldier, governor, and Indian fighter, was born in Cadiz, Spain. He joined the Spanish army in 1738. He served against the Austrians in Italy, the Moors in Africa, and the Portuguese in the Seven Years War. In 1776 he was appointed governor of San Francisco de Coahuila. He conducted several campaigns against Apache groups along the Rio Grande. In 1786 he was promoted to commander of arms of the Provincias Internas, with authority over Coahuila, Nuevo León, Nuevo Santander, and Texas. In 1790 he surprised and defeated 300 Lipan, Lipiyan, and Mescalero Apaches at Arroyo de la Solidad (the Sabinal River Canyon.) The battlefield was named Cañon de Ugalde; from it both the county and city of Uvalde take their name. Ugalde returned to Spain and died in Cadiz in 1816 at the age of eighty-seven.
On this day in 1930, Andrew "Rube" Foster, "father of the Negro Baseball League," died in Illinois. He was born in Calvert, Texas, in 1879. He began a barnstorming career at age seventeen pitching with the traveling Waco Yellow Jackets. By 1902 his abilities enabled him to move north, where he pitched for some of the foremost black teams of his era, including the Chicago Union Giants and the Philadelphia Giants. In 1902 he won the nickname Rube for defeating white Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Waddell in an exhibition game. In 1903 he won four games of the first Colored World Series. After an illustrious playing career Foster became a baseball manager and businessman. He helped form the Chicago American Giants, for whom he recruited fellow Texan Smokey Joe Williams, in 1911 and in February 1920 organized the Negro National League. At a time when there were few opportunities for blacks, Foster and his team held celebrity status in black America and were followed avidly through nationally circulated black newspapers.