On this day in 1819, Eli Harris led an advance guard of the Long expedition across the Sabine River. He proceeded to Nacogdoches, where he published the first edition of the Texas Republican on August 14. Though no copies of the paper are extant, the St. Louis Enquirer stated that the content was "principally occupied with the military and political operations going on in that quarter." Those operations certainly included the activities of the Long expedition, the last filibustering attempt to kick the Spaniards out of Texas. This freelance project fell apart when Long's men, who had arrived in Nacogdoches a few days after Harris, failed to receive supplies. The men scattered. Some of them joined Jean Laffite, the famous Galveston Island pirate, and tried to enlist him in their cause. Harris and his men abandoned the printing press to forage off the land. Eventually Harris settled in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, where he became a judge. In 1841 he wrote to President Lamar of the Republic of Texas, claiming to have originated the Lone Star emblem of Texas.
On this day in 1835, Agustín Viesca, the governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas, was arrested trying to cross into Texas. Viesca had taken office in April during a controversy between Saltillo and Monclova over location of the state capital. The state legislature disbanded and authorized the governor to move the seat of government to any site he might select. Viesca decided to move the capital to Bexar and urged the Texans to rise against the anti-Republican movement. He left Monclova in late May with the archives but learned of orders not to cross into Texas and returned to Monclova. With Benjamin R. Milam and John Cameron, he then attempted a secret escape to Texas, but was captured and sent as a prisoner to Monterrey. He escaped his guards and later made his way to Goliad with Dr. James Grant. By that time anti-Mexican sentiment was so strong that the officials at Goliad preferred a declaration of Texas independence to asserting loyalty to the Mexican Constitution of 1824, and Viesca was not acknowledged as governor. Viesca died in 1845.
On this day in 1969, Houston Intercontinental Airport officially began operations. As of 12:01 that morning, it replaced Hobby Airport, which ceased commercial flights. (Hobby was reopened to commercial traffic a couple of years later.) Some 80,000 visitors attended the opening ceremonies. The new airport had its origins in 1957, when the Civil Aeronautics Administration recommended that the city of Houston replace the overloaded Hobby Airport. By 1963 planning for a $125 million facility, on Houston's north side, was under way. The new airport opened only after a succession of eight projected opening dates. By 1972 it was apparent that IAH needed many changes. The terminals were not adequate, the runways needed strengthening, the terminal people-carrying systems were in need of major repair, and the parking space was far too small. A third terminal was completed in the early 1980s. Plans for a fourth were scrapped in favor of a $95 million international facility, which opened in 1990. In acres, Houston Intercontinental is the nation's second largest airport, behind Dallas-Fort Worth.