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William Stallings becomes the first county agricultural agent in Texas
November 12, 1906

On this day in 1906, the Commercial Club of Tyler, with the cooperation of Seaman A. Knapp of the United States Department of Agriculture, appointed William Stallings agricultural agent of Smith County. He was the first county agricultural agent in Texas and the first in the nation to serve a single county. After serving Smith County for a year, during which he earned $150 a month, Stallings was appointed district agent; the district comprised Smith, Cherokee, and Angelina counties. Through his efforts the cotton and corn yields of the district increased by over 50 percent. In November 1971 the Texas Historical Commission placed a historical marker on the courthouse square in Tyler to commemorate Stallings's services.

Texas Federation of Music Clubs organized
November 12, 1915

On this day in 1915, twenty-two Texas music clubs came together to form the Texas Federation of Music Clubs in Brownwood, during the annual meeting of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs. The TFMC was designed to establish a center to aid communication and cooperation for Texas musical organizations and to make music an integral part of the civic, social, educational, and religious life of Texas. Lucil Manning Lyons, president of the Fort Worth Harmony Club, became the TFMC's first president. By 1918, when the TFMC was chartered under Texas law, forty-eight clubs were enrolled. During its first thirty years the Texas Federation of Music Clubs distinguished itself with music education and appreciation campaigns and with the promotion of musical therapy and musical performance. The organization achieved particular recognition for these efforts during the Great Depression and both world wars, and in public education. Nevertheless, TFMC membership and activities diminished significantly in the post-World War II era. No records for federation activities since the 1960s have surfaced.

Diplomat and agriculturalist dies
November 12, 1844

On this day in 1844, John Stryker died of a fever at his home in Victoria County. Stryker, born in New Jersey in 1803, entered into a business partnership with James Wiley Magoffin in the late 1820s. They purchased the sloop Washington and arrived in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, in February 1830 with a newly designed cotton gin and several hundred bags of upland cotton seed. The partners distributed the seed free to local landowners in the Rio Grande valley. Upland cotton proved profitable, and Magoffin moved to Chihuahua to extend the business. In January 1835 President Andrew Jackson appointed Stryker United States consul for the port of Goliad (later the port of Matagorda). Stryker's influence, both positive and negative, in the Rio Grande valley continued long after his death. Although long-staple (Sea Island) cotton had formerly grown in the region, its cultivation was confined to coastal areas. A profitable cotton culture was possible only after Stryker and Magoffin introduced upland cotton and the cotton gin. The vast cotton fields in the Rio Grande valley later provided the pathway for the introduction of the boll weevil into the United States.

Muleshoe Ranch brand registered
November 12, 1860

On this day in 1860, cattleman Henry Black registered the Muleshoe brand in Fannin County, though he may have used it as early as 1856. At least six other Texas ranches have registered and used a muleshoe brand in various forms (typically an inverted U shape). Black served in the Confederate Army, and returned after the Civil War to find that his home had burned and his wife had died. He remarried and began fording herds across the Red River and selling clothing made by his second wife. By 1877 their herd had outgrown their property, so the family moved to Stephens County, taking with them 1,000 cattle and 500 horses. Black purchased land and established the Muleshoe Ranch, where his descendants were still using the brand a hundred years later.