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Frank Baldwin captures mysterious "white Indian" Tehan
September 08, 1874

On this day in 1874, Lt. Frank Baldwin and three scouts captured the "white Indian" known as Tehan in what is now Hemphill County. Tehan was taken by the Kiowas when he was a child. They called him Tehan ("Texan"). He was subsequently adopted by the medicine man Maman-ti and grew up to become a fierce warrior. Except for his red hair, fair skin, and bull-like neck, he was pure Kiowa, and he reportedly committed several depredations on whites as an apprentice brave during the early 1870s. Tehan was about eighteen when the Red River War broke out in the summer of 1874. Baldwin left Tehan with Capt. Wyllys Lyman's wagontrain, which was subsequently besieged by the Kiowas. During the siege, Tehan escaped from his guards and rejoined his adopted tribe, sporting a suit of clothes the troops had given him. Little more is known of his fate. One story held that the Kiowa chief Big Bow killed Tehan, fearing that Tehan's "white blood" would lead him to betray Big Bow to the military authorities. Tehan's foster sister doubted this story and believed that Tehan lived for a time with a group of Mescalero Apaches, but later returned to the Indian Territory. The mystery was compounded in 1895 when the Rev. Joseph K. Griffis, a Presbyterian minister, claimed that he was Tehan; he claimed to have drifted east after the Red River War and come under the influence of the Salvation Army, which set him on the "Narrow Path" toward the ministry. Several Red River War veterans, however, declared that the minister did not resemble the Tehan whom they remembered. Most of the Kiowas came to believe that Tehan had, indeed, died out on the Texas plains. Historian Wilbur S. Nye later opined, "There may have been more than one Tehan."

Port Arthur and Orange County connected by bridge
September 08, 1938

On this day in 1938, the bridge over the Neches River connecting Port Arthur and Orange County was dedicated, replacing the Dryden Ferry. As a result of a contest in 1957 it became known as the "Rainbow Bridge." The bridge was financed by the county, state, and federal governments under the Public Works Administration at a cost of $2,750,000. Beaumont representatives opposed the bridge until a compromise of 176 feet clearance was reached. The clearance was to allow the tallest ship afloat at the time (the Navy dirigible tender USS Patoka) to pass and reach Beaumont's upstream dock. This made the bridge the most elevated highway bridge over tidal waters in the world and the largest bridge built by the Texas Highway Department. No ship ever came close to hitting the bottom of the bridge.

Hurricane devastates Galveston
September 08, 1900

On this day in 1900, a catastrophic hurricane struck the city of Galveston on the Texas coast. A third of the city was destroyed, and 6,000 to 8,000 people died. Galveston Island was completely inundated. Property loss was estimated at $30 million. The storm is considered the worst recorded natural disaster ever to strike the North American continent.