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U.S. appoints its first diplomat to the Republic of Texas
March 03, 1837

On this day in 1837, President Andrew Jackson appointed Alcée Louis La Branche to be the first diplomat from the United States to the Republic of Texas. As United States chargé d'affaires, La Branche negotiated the settlement of the cases concerning the brigs Pocket and Durango and a temporary commerce agreement. He aggressively defended the United States claim to disputed territory in Red River County. On April 25, 1838, the two countries signed the Convention of Limits, which recognized Texas claims to the contested county and the Sabine River as the eastern boundary of Texas. However, tension continued between the Republic of Texas and the United States regarding Indian depredations along the northern border. La Branche protested Texas army crossings of the border in pursuit of Indians. He believed that the majority of Indian attacks were caused by Texans' trespassing and surveying Indian lands. La Branche's reports on real or rumored Mexican attacks expressed optimism about the Texans' ability to retain their independence. On April 2, 1840, La Branche resigned his post to attend to personal affairs. His clear, calm reports enabled his government to be sensitive to the Texas position on various issues.

Texas Regiment formed for duty in the Philippines
March 03, 1899

On this day in 1899, a congressional act authorized the formation of the Thirty-Third Infantry Regiment, better known as the "Texas Regiment," one of the most famous American combat units of the Philippine Insurrection. The regiment was raised specifically for duty in the Philippines, and served there from October 27, 1899, until March 2, 1901. The regiment was organized at Fort Sam Houston. A third of the company officers as well as a third of the enlisted men were from Texas. The Thirty-third distinguished itself in the battles at Magnataram, Tirad Pass, Vigan, and Taguidin Pass. After the insurrection, some of the men chose to remain in the Philippines to serve with the Philippine Constabulary. The rest were mustered out of U.S. service in San Francisco on April 17, 1901.

Prominent black political leader dies
March 03, 1898

On this day in 1898, Norris Wright Cuney, politician, died in San Antonio. Born to a white planter father, Philip Minor Cuney, and a slave mother, Adeline Stuart, in 1846 near Hempstead, Texas, Cuney was educated in Pennsylvania. After the Civil War Cuney studied law and was appointed president of the Galveston Union League in 1871. In 1873 he was appointed secretary of the Republican State Executive Committee. Over the next twenty-odd years he held a number of important positions in the Republican Party. In 1886 he became Texas national committeeman of the Republican party, the most important political position given to a southern black man in the nineteenth century. One historian of the Republican party in Texas characterizes the period between 1884 and 1896 as the "Cuney Era." Among his achievements was the organization of the Screwmen's Benevolent Association and he was a supporter of the black state college at Prairie View (now Prairie View A&M University). Maud Cuney-Hare, the noted musicologist, was his daughter.