On this day in 1819, a provisional Texas government headed by James Long declared independence from Spain. Long, a merchant from Natchez, was the leader of a filibustering expedition from that city organized in the wake of the controversial Adams-Onís Treaty. By the middle of July, he had more than 300 men under his command and had made overtures for assistance to Jean Laffite in Galveston. By the end of November, however, Spanish troops had succeeded in driving the American settlers out of Texas. The indefatigable Long withdrew to New Orleans, where he joined forces with José Félix Trespalacios and reestablished his base at Point Bolivar. Long soon broke with Trespalacios. He and his men captured La Bahía in October 1820, but surrendered four days later. Long was taken prisoner and sent to Mexico City, where he was shot and killed by a guard reportedly in the pay of his former ally Trespalacios.
On this day in 1931, Texas native Wiley Post and Harold Gatty took off in an attempt to fly around the world. Post, born at Corinth in Van Zandt County, was one of the best-known fliers in the world. He and Gatty circled the globe in 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes. Their route passed through the northern latitudes and was some 15,000 miles long. Two years later, Post beat his earlier time by more than twenty-one hours. He is most famous, however, for piloting the plane in which he and humorist Will Rogers died at Point Barrow, Alaska, on August 15, 1935.
On this day in 1990, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council erected a monument in honor of Colabe Cillistine, subchief of the Alabama Indian tribe from 1806 to 1865. Colabe was born around 1780 near Lafourche, Louisiana, but had moved to Texas by 1800. He spoke four languages and was skilled in communications with other tribes, government officials, and settlers. He also served as translator for Antone, the principal chief of the Alabamas. Colabe signed a petition requesting a permanent reservation to the Texas legislature in 1853. As a result, Texas purchased over 1,100 acres of land in Polk County. Colabe continued to serve his people until his death in 1865. His grandson, Bronson Cooper Sylestine, was principal chief of the Alabama-Coushattas from 1936 to 1969.