On this day in 1869, former slave Hope Thompson and her husband Isaac purchased a piece of property on Elm Street in what is now downtown Dallas. Thompson, a washerwoman, borrowed the purchase price of fifty dollars from banker William Henry Gaston and repaid the loan by doing Gaston's laundry. Isaac Thompson left his wife in 1872. During much of the next two decades, she was involved in a number of transactions and lawsuits involving the property, which rapidly increased in value, but succeeded in retaining title to it. In September 1885 her real estate was appraised at about $35,000, and in October 1886 the Cleveland Gazette reported her assets to be worth $30,000. Hope Thompson last appeared in the Dallas city directory in 1894-95.
On this day in 1772, the New Regulations for Presidios were formally issued by King Charles III of Spain. They changed the settlement pattern of Texas. Since Spain had acquired the Louisiana Territory from France near the conclusion of the French and Indian War (1754-63), Texas was no longer needed as a buffer against French designs, and the expense of maintaining military establishments in East Texas could be eliminated. The New Regulations were based on a 1769 report prepared by the Marqués de Rubí after he led a massive, twenty-three-month inspection tour from Sonora to Texas. The regulations established the Provincias Internas, a huge semiautonomous administrative unit of nine provinces, including Texas, and a defensive cordon along the new "realistic" frontier that consisted of fifteen presidios spaced 100 miles apart. This new frontier ran from the Gulf of California to El Paso, then along the Rio Grande to San Juan Bautista, and thence to Matagorda Bay. Although San Antonio was behind the line, it was not abandoned because of obligations to Spanish settlers and converted Indians there.
On this day in 1770, José de Escandón, the "father" of the lower Rio Grande valley, died in Mexico City. Escondón was the colonizer and first governor of Nuevo Santander, a colony that extended from Mexico across the Rio Grande to the Nueces River. He founded over twenty towns or villas and a number of missions in the colony, including Camargo, Reynosa, Mier, and Revilla south of the Rio Grande, and Laredo and Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Hacienda north of the Rio Grande.