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Pioneer Hertz brothers arrive in Nacogdoches
December 18, 1829

On this day in 1829, brothers Joseph and Hyman Hertz arrived in Nacogdoches from their native Hannover, Saxony. Joseph, born around 1806, established a medical practice in Nacogdoches. During the early 1830s he treated patients in and around Nacogdoches, sometimes traveling up to sixty miles to reach outlying settlements. His patients also included Indians, and it is said that he sometimes traded his work for pelts and hides. In 1835 he moved to Natchez, Mississippi, and a few years later returned to Saxony, where he remained for the rest of his life. Hyman, born around 1808, established a mercantile business in Nacogdoches. He represented the town at the Convention of 1832 and was killed the next year when the steamer Lioness, on which he was traveling to New Orleans, caught fire and sank on the Red River.

Texas Rangers "rescue" Cynthia Ann Parker
December 18, 1860

On this day in 1860, Texas Rangers under the command of Lawrence S. Ross attacked a Comanche hunting camp at Mule Creek. During this raid the rangers were surprised to find that one of their captives had blue eyes; it was a non-English-speaking white woman with her infant daughter. She was Cynthia Ann Parker, captured by Comanche warriors on May 19, 1836, at Fort Parker in Limestone County. She was with the Indians for almost twenty-five years and had become thoroughly assimilated to Comanche life. After her "rescue" she was never reconciled to living in white society and made several unsuccessful attempts to flee to her Comanche family. After three months at Birdville, her brother Silas took her to his Van Zandt County home. She afterward moved to her sister's place near the boundary of Anderson and Henderson counties. She died there, probably after 1870. Her son Quanah, a noted Comanche chief, later moved her body to Post Oak Cemetery, near Cache, Oklahoma. After his death her body was again reinterred near him at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Conjunto legend dies
December 18, 1984

On this day in 1984, conjunto accordion legend Santiago Jimenez Sr. died in San Antonio. Jimenez was born in the Alamo City in 1913 and took up the accordion at age eight. His first record, "Dices Pescao"/"Dispensa el Arrempujon" (1936), was a success, and he became known for his inventive use of tololoche, a Tejano contrabass that became prevalent in the conjunto music of the 1940s. His polkas "La Piedrera" and "Viva Seguin" (recorded in 1942) became well-known regional hits. Jimenez was known for his use of the two-row button accordion even after new developments were made in accordion technology. In the late 1960s he moved to Dallas and worked as a school janitor, but he moved back to San Antonio in 1977 and started playing music again. His sons Flaco and Santiago Jimenez Jr. also became well-known conjunto musicians in their own right.

Bad Hand diagnosed as insane
December 18, 1883

On this day in 1883, Ranald Slidell (Bad Hand) Mackenzie, hard-driving cavalry officer, was diagnosed as suffering from "paralysis of the insane." Mackenzie was born in New York City in 1840. He received his education at Williams College and at the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1862 at the head of his class. He served with great distinction in the Union cavalry during the Civil War, ending the conflict as a brevet major general. After the war he became one of the leading cavalry commanders on the frontier, leading the Fourth United States Cavalry in a number of campaigns against varous Indian tribes. In Texas he is best known for his victory against the Comanches at Palo Duro Canyon and for the extralegal Remolino raid into Mexico in pursuit of Kickapoo raiders. Mackenzie's plans to marry and to retire near Boerne, Texas, in 1883 were ended by his increasing mental illness, and he was committed to a New York asylum in 1884. He died on Staten Island in 1889.