On this day in 1906, Gussie Nell Davis was born in Farmersville, Texas. She went on to gain fame as the organizer and leader of the Kilgore Rangerettes, the innovative dance-drill team at Kilgore College. First performing in 1940, the group achieved international recognition under Davis’s direction and appeared at such heralded events as President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Inauguration and several Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades. The Rangerettes graced the covers of Life, Newsweek, the Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines. Davis guided the group until her retirement in 1979, and she served as a consultant for drill teams across the nation. This drill team pioneer was honored with induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
On this day in 1836, Henry Lutcher, a leading Texas lumberman, was born in Pennsylvania. By 1865 he had become a partner with G. Bedell Moore in the Lutcher and Moore Company. When the rapid depletion of Pennsylvania timber threatened his lumber business, he and Moore made a grueling inspection tour of Texas in 1877 seeking a new location for their operations. Lutcher moved to Orange the following year, and he and Moore invested heavily in the timberlands of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Their plants at Orange and at Lutcher, Louisiana, were among the nation's largest, and helped set off a lumbering bonanza in the region. Lutcher diversified his industrial investments and helped finance the construction of both the Orange and Northwestern and the Gulf, Sabine and Red River railroads. He also lent powerful support to the deepwater movements in Jefferson and Orange counties that culminated in the construction of the Sabine-Neches Waterway. He died in 1912.
On this day in 1835, the battle of Lipantitlán was fought on the east bank of the Nueces River three miles above San Patricio in San Patricio County, directly across from Fort Lipantitlán. A Texas force of around seventy men under Adjutant Ira J. Westover engaged a Mexican force of about ninety men under Capt. Nicolás Rodríguez. The battle lasted thirty-two minutes, leaving twenty-eight Mexicans dead, including Lt. Marcellino García, second in command, who was mortally wounded and died two days later at San Patricio. The Texans suffered only one casualty, when a rifle ball cut off three of the fingers on William Bracken's right hand.