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Convention of 1836 breaks up in a hurry
March 17, 1836

On this day in 1836, the Convention of 1836 adjourned in haste as the Mexican army approached Washington-on-the-Brazos. The convention, which met on March 1, drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, organized the ad interim government, and named Sam Houston commander-in-chief of the republic's military forces before the delegates evacuated Washington-on-the-Brazos. Their hurried departure was part of the so-called Runaway Scrape, in which Texans fled the advancing troops of Antonio López de Santa Anna. Richmond was evacuated about April 1, and Houston's subsequent retreat toward the Sabine left all of the settlements between the Colorado and the Brazos unprotected. The settlers in that area at once began making their way toward Louisiana or Galveston Island. The section of East Texas around Nacogdoches and San Augustine was abandoned a little prior to April 13. The flight was marked by lack of preparation and by panic caused by fear both of the Mexican Army and of the Indians. The flight continued until news came of the victory in the battle of San Jacinto.

World-famous animal trapper born in Texas
March 17, 1884

On this day in 1884, Frank "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Buck, hunter, author, and film maker, was born in Gainesville, Texas. He traveled over the world trapping and transporting exotic animals to zoos and circuses. He wrote at least seven books and produced several motion pictures about animals and his adventures. Buck died in Houston on March 25, 1950.

First law school in Texas established
March 17, 1855

On this day in 1855, the first law school in Texas was established at Austin College. Austin College, an independent liberal arts college, was incorporated at Huntsville in 1849. Five years later James Addison Baker, attorney and founder of the firm now known as Baker Botts, was appointed to a committee of three to consider adding a law school to the college, of which he was also a trustee. Previously, all legal training in Texas had taken place by apprenticeship. The innovation was discontinued at Austin College after four students had completed the one-year course, and in 1876 the Texas Synod of the Presbyterian Church, United States, decided to move the college to Sherman.