On this day in 1921, the charter of McMurry College in Abilene was signed. The college was founded by Methodist minister James Winfred Hunt, the former president of Stamford College, which had closed in 1918. In 1920 the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church voted to establish a college in Abilene, which offered money, land, free water, and streetcar connections, and put Hunt in charge of the effort. The college, named for Bishop William Fletcher McMurry, opened in September 1923 with twenty-two faculty and staff members and 191 students; Hunt served as its first president. The college struggled during the Great Depression and World War II, but began to grow, along with Abilene, in the postwar years. McMurry College became McMurry University in 1990.
On this day in 1945, national media attention was focused on the small community of Truman, Texas, in eastern Dallas County. The town was earlier known as Thin Gravy, Deanville, North Mesquite, and Mesquite Tap. In 1945 its 200 residents voted to adopt the name of new president Harry S. Truman. On November 21 a sign on U.S. Highway 80 was christened with a bottle of milk, and a letter of congratulations from President Truman was read. The Truman community was absorbed by neighboring Mesquite in the 1950s.
On this day in 1987, the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas was founded. The network, dedicated to the advancement of Hispanic women statewide, obtained nonprofit status in 1988. It was modeled on the National Network of Hispanic Women, which had been in operation since the early 1980s. In 1986 the Anhaeuser-Busch Brewing Company donated $9,000 to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was used to fund the conference in which the network was established. Southwestern Bell contributed $3,000. The conference was attended by 200 women. The network addressed the issues of political appointments, conducted voter registration drives, and testified before the state legislature. It also encouraged Hispanic women to apply to Leadership Texas, a program of the Foundation for Women's Resources, which provides skills to women in the state. The network publishes a quarterly newsletter, Vision, in English and holds a statewide annual conference.
On this day in 1825, thirty-two men under Dr. Felix Robertson set out from Nashville, Tennessee, to explore Robert Leftwich's grant in Texas. Leftwich, a Virginia-born empresario, was a member of the Texas Association, a group of Nashville investors who sought to obtain a colonization grant from Mexico, but had obtained a contract in his own name. Leftwich transferred the contract to the Texas Association in August 1825 on condition that the territory should thereafter be referred to as Leftwich's Grant. Ill health prevented Leftwich from accompanying the Robertson expedition to Texas. The party explored the country along the Brazos, Little, Leon, Lampasas, Salado, and San Gabriel rivers before returning to Tennessee in April 1826. In the spring of 1830, Sterling C. Robertson, who had been part of the expedition, and his partner Alexander Thomson Jr. began recruiting families to come to Texas, but were prevented by the Law of April 6, 1830, from settling them on Leftwich's Grant. Instead, they settled in Stephen F. Austin's colony. In 1831 Austin and Samuel May Williams filed for the land originally granted to Leftwich, though three years later the governor cancelled the Austin and Williams contract and awarded a new contract to Sterling C. Robertson as empresario. Afterward, the area was called Robertson's colony.