On this day in 1882, Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was dismissed from the service for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." Flipper, born a slave in Georgia in 1856, was the fifth black accepted to West Point but the first to graduate, in 1877. He accepted a commission as a second lieutenant and joined the Tenth United States Cavalry. He was eventually made quartermaster at Fort Davis, but Col. William Rufus Shafter relieved him in 1881; Flipper believed he was the victim of persecution and is said to have been warned by civilians at the post of a plot by white officers to force him from the army. The following year, when he discovered post funds missing from his quarters, he attempted to conceal the loss until he could find or replace the money. When Shafter learned of the discrepancy, he immediately filed charges against Flipper. A court-martial acquitted Flipper of embezzlement but pronounced him guilty of "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." He subsequently worked as a mining engineer in El Paso, Arizona, and Mexico, and later for the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. Flipper maintained his innocence until his death in 1940 and waged a lifelong battle for reinstatement in the army. In 1976, when a bust of him was unveiled at West Point, the Department of the Army granted Flipper an honorable discharge, dated June 30, 1882.
On this day in 1922, legendary Texas fiddler Alexander (Eck) Robertson, along with fiddler Henry C. Gilliland, made what most country music historians consider the first commercial recordings of country music. The duets included the famous "Arkansas Traveler" and "Turkey in the Straw." The following day, Robertson returned to the studio without Gilliland and recorded six additional tracks solo, including the popular "Sallie Gooden," as well as two tracks that were never released. The Victor Talking Machine Company issued a limited release of "Arkansas Traveler" and "Sallie Gooden" in September 1922, but not until April 1923 was the disc in wide circulation. Two other recordings of Robertson were released later in 1923 and 1924. Robertson set the trend for future performers, as fourteen Central Texas fiddlers succeeded him by recording commercially in the years shortly following his first recording.
On this day in 1875, the Frontier Echo, a newspaper that followed cattlemen as they advanced the ranching frontier of West Texas, was first issued in Jacksboro, with R. Chandler as publisher and H. H. McConnell as editor. George W. Robson, a former sea captain, bought the Echo in December 1875 and with advance of the cattle frontier moved the plant to Fort Griffin, where, on January 4, 1879, it appeared as the Fort Griffin Echo. Three years later the frontier had marched west again. After a period of non-publication during the illness of the editor, the newspaper followed. It reappeared in Albany on January 6, 1883, as the Albany Echo. After about a year it was merged with the Albany Star to become the Albany News, which has retained the files of the early Echo.