On this day in 1854, the first telegraph company in Texas was chartered. The Texas and Red River Company opened its first office in Marshall on February 14, offering patrons connections with New Orleans via Shreveport and with Alexandria, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. Wires were strung from treetop to treetop, and in many instances telegraph operators closed the offices and rode along the lines to make repairs when the wind swaying the trees caused breaks in the wires. By 1870 there was an estimated 1,500 miles of telegraph wire in Texas. Expansion was rapid up to 1890 as the transcontinental railroads completed lines across the state. By 1943 the Western Union Telegraph Company, which had begun operating in Texas in 1866, was the only telegraph company still operating in the state. The company closed the Marshall telegraph office--the oldest in the state--in 1972.
On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt relieved James Otto Richardson as commander of the United States naval fleet. Born in Paris, Texas, Richardson graduated fifth in his class from the United States Naval Academy and gradually rose in the ranks until promotion to the temporary rank of admiral in 1939. The following year he was made commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet and assumed the duties of supervising the transfer of the Pacific Fleet from the mainland to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Richardson strongly opposed the transfer, believing that the fleet was not prepared for war with Japan and that personnel could best achieve a state of readiness in mainland ports. He also dismissed concerns over Japanese expansion in the Pacific, and throughout the move he urged Roosevelt and the Navy to reconsider the relocation. After relieving Richardson of command, Roosevelt offered the job to Chester W. Nimitz, who declined at that time.
On this day in 1865, about 100 Indians from Indian Territory raided a new settlement in Cooke County. They killed nine people and stole many horses. The raid is often referred to as the last Indian raid in Cooke County. Five years later, four brothers named Ross established a general store at the site. The first post office there was opened in 1872. According to local legend, the near-ubiquitous outlaw Sam Bass used the area as a rendezvous. The town of Rosston still celebrates Sam Bass Day on the third Saturday of July.
On this day in 1818, scientist Ferdinand von Roemer was born in Hildesheim, Hanover. He studied law at Göttingen from 1836 to 1839 and received his Ph.D. in paleontology in Berlin in 1842. Roemer traveled to Texas in 1845. From November 1845 to May 1847 he explored from Galveston to Houston, as far west as New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and as far north as Waco, studying the fauna, flora, and geology of the country. He also wrote a detailed report of the expedition that led to the Meusebach-Comanche Treaty. His book Texas (1849), published in Bonn and translated in 1935 by Oswald Mueller, describes German immigration to Texas and the physical appearance of the state. Roemer was the author of the first monograph on Texas geology, The Cretaceous Formations of Texas and Their Organic Inclusions, published in Bonn in 1852. He died in Breslau in 1891, having published over 350 works.