On this day in 1982, a marker was erected at the site of the Kishi Colony to honor Japanese pioneer Kichimatsu Kishi and the settlement he founded. The colony was one of at least three small Japanese settlements established on the Texas coastal plain during the early twentieth century. The community, about ten miles east of Beaumont in central Orange County, was founded by Kishi, a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War. He purchased the land in 1907, and in the following year he and other Japanese immigrants planted their first rice crops. Several, including Kishi, brought their families to the United States. The Japanese colony at Kishi eventually included thirty-two men, five women, and four children. Although the Great Depression led to the Kishi Colony's collapse, a few of the former immigrants remained in Southeast Texas. Many of their descendants still live in the area.
On this day in 1843, Albert Sidney Johnston married Eliza Griffin. Johnston, born in Kentucky in 1803, had moved to Texas in 1836 and served as secretary of war for the Republic of Texas under President Mirabeau B. Lamar in 1838. In 1840 Johnston returned to Kentucky where he later married Eliza Griffin, a Virginia native eighteen years his junior. She was an accomplished musician and artist. The couple settled at Johnston’s China Grove plantation in Brazoria County and later lived in Austin. They had six children. After Albert took command of the U.S. Army’s newly formed Second Cavalry regiment, Eliza kept a diary of her travels with her husband and his regiment from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to Fort Mason, Texas, and described daily life, foods, flowers, and hardships of the journey, as well as various military personalities who became famous during the Civil War. Albert resigned his commission at the beginning of the Civil War and was appointed a general in the Confederate Army. He was killed at the battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in 1862. Eliza died in 1896. Texas Wildflowers, a book of her watercolor paintings of flowers, was published in 1972.
On this day in 1930, Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner brought in the famous Daisy Bradford No. 3, thus opening up the East Texas Oilfield, the largest in the world up to that time. Joiner, an Alabama native, had moved in 1897 to Oklahoma, where he made and lost two fortunes in oil before moving to Texas in 1926. Despite the contrary opinion of geologists, Joiner was convinced of the possibility of oil deposits in Rusk County. In 1930 he drilled eight miles east of Henderson, using a flimsy pine rig and battered tools. His first two unsuccessful efforts drove him and his associates further into debt, but the third well, Daisy Bradford No. 3, changed everything. Joiner's nickname came from the fact that he was "father" of the rich East Texas field. But his prosperity faded as he became involved in several lawsuits and lost his wealth. He died in 1947.