On this day in 1877, Capt. Nicholas Nolan and First Lt. C.S. Cooper led a party of forty Tenth U.S. Cavalry troopers and twenty-four buffalo hunters from a supply base at Double Lakes, Lynn County, to pursue marauding Indians and recapture stolen horses. When the Indian trails diverged, the pursuit was abandoned and a search for water was begun. Nolan turned back toward Double Lakes. The buffalo hunters turned southwest and found water. But Nolan marched another thirty-eight hours before reaching Double Lakes, eighty-six hours since his men had last had water. Four men were dead or missing, along with twenty-five horses and four pack animals. At the future site of Lubbock, the buffalo hunters found the horses and learned that the Indians were returning to Indian Territory. It is believed that this event was the last Comanche raid in Texas.
On this day in 1845, the United States flag is said to have been raised on St. Joseph Island by United States troops. This was the first time the U.S. flag was flown in Texas. St. Joseph Island is a sand barrier island in Aransas County. The troops were part of a force under Gen. Zachary Taylor sent to protect Texas from Mexican interference after annexation. After the detachment landed on the island, the main force landed on August 1 and camped by a massive live oak tree at the site of present-day Rockport. The tree is now known as the Zachary Taylor Oak.
On this day in 1875, scientist, artist, and musician Arthur Schott died in Washington, D. C. Schott, a true Renaissance man, was born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in 1814. He made significant contributions to Texas as a “special scientific collector” for the United States Boundary Commission beginning in late 1851. Schott worked under William H. Emory in surveying the border between Texas and Mexico. He made notes regarding the animals, plants, and geology of the Texas Rio Grande valley, and he collected botanical, zoological, and geological specimens. In addition to his skills as a naturalist, geologist, and engineer, Schott was also a talented musician, poet, and artist. His drawings published in Emory’s report included illustrations of the Military Plaza in San Antonio and Lipan Apache and Kiowa Indians.
On this day in 1870, rancher Charles Goodnight married his sweetheart Mary Ann (Molly) Dyer. The two first met at Fort Belknap about 1864. Goodnight, a veteran cattleman, helped blaze the Goodnight-Loving Trail in 1866. His wife Molly, orphaned in the 1850s, had worked as a schoolteacher to support her younger brothers. After their wedding, the couple settled on a ranch in Colorado for a few years before moving to the Palo Duro Canyon to help establish the JA Ranch. Charles managed the ranch, trailed cattle, and continued to upgrade the herds while Molly made a home on the solitary plains near the canyon. Her husband invented a two-horned sidesaddle so that she could more easily ride on the ranch. Though the couple had no children of their own, she became the “Mother of the Panhandle” to countless ranch hands. Her care for orphaned buffaloes encouraged her husband to establish a domestic buffalo herd. In later years the ranching couple supported numerous schools, churches, and other organizations, and they established Goodnight College in 1898.