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Convention considers annexation
July 04, 1845

On this day in 1845, the convention to consider the joint resolution of the United States Congress proposing the annexation of the Republic of Texas to the United States assembled in Austin. Thomas Jefferson Rusk was elected president of the convention, and James H. Raymond was secretary. By a vote of fifty-five to one, the delegates approved the offer of annexation. Richard Bache of Galveston was the lone dissenter. Subsequently, the convention prepared the Constitution of 1845 for the new state. Rusk appointed several committees to examine legislative, executive, judicial, and general provisions of the constitution, as well as a committee of five to prepare convention rules. Of the fifty-seven delegates elected to the convention, eighteen were originally from Tennessee, eight from Virginia, seven from Georgia, six from Kentucky, and five from North Carolina. Considered the most able body of its kind ever to meet in Texas, the convention included men of broad political experience such as Thomas J. Rusk, James Pinckney Henderson, Isaac Van Zandt, Hardin R. Runnels, Abner S. Lipscomb, Nicholas H. Darnell, R. E. B. Baylor, and José Antonio Navarro. The convention adjourned on August 28, 1845.

Willie goes to Luckenbach for the Fourth of July
July 04, 1995

On this day in 1995, Luckenbach, Texas, where "Everybody is Somebody," was the site of Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic. The event drew thousands to the "town," which had a population of three. Luckenbach is on Ranch Road 1376, thirteen miles from Fredericksburg in southeastern Gillespie County. It was founded in the 1840s or 1850s and had a population of 492 in 1904, after which the number of residents dwindled. Luckenbach was bought by Hondo Crouch, a former swimming champion, actor, and columnist who styled himself "mayor" and declared Luckenbach "a free…state of mind." Frequent festivals including an annual Mud Dauber's Day, an annual Hug In, a women's chili cook-off, and picnics like Willie's bring thousands to the pastoral setting.

First train to Brownsville touches off Kingsville celebration
July 04, 1904

On this day in 1904, the first regular passenger train passed through the new railroad town of Kingsville, sparking a civic celebration, as the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway completed construction of its first 142 miles of track from Robstown to Brownsville. The railroad was intended to form one of the sections of a continuous line from Chicago, St. Louis, and Memphis to Baton Rouge, Houston, Brownsville, Tampico, and Mexico City. Henrietta King, owner of the King Ranch, gave 75,000 acres of land in Cameron and Kleberg counties for the railroad right-of-way, 640 acres for the townsite of Kingsville, and forty acres for shops. The townsite was laid out three miles east of the ranch headquarters. After considerable negotiation with the town leaders, railroad officials decided to locate their headquarters in the community. In 1913 Kingsville became the county seat of the newly organized Kleberg County. The railroad was Kingsville's main source of income, though the town also became a trade center for farm and ranch families, and in subsequent years the petroleum industry, Texas A&M University at Kingsville, and a naval air station all contributed to the expansion of the Kingsville economy even after the railroad closed its general office and shops in the early 1950s.