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Promotional stunt in non-existent town kills three people
September 15, 1896

On this day in 1896, the celebrated "Crash at Crush" occurred 15 miles north of Waco in McLennan County. As a publicity stunt for the Katy Railroad, two railroad engines were deliberately crashed head-on at the non-existent "town" of Crush. Elaborate preparations and extensive publicity brought a crowd of more than 40,000 to witness the event. After a two-mile run the two engines, the bright green No. 999 and the brilliant red No. 1001, met in a fiery crash. Flying debris killed three people and injured six more. By nightfall the site was abandoned. In the early twentieth century Scott Joplin commemorated the event in his march "Great Crush Collision."

Revolutionary journalist attacks Mexico from Texas
September 15, 1891

On this day in 1891, Catarino Erasmo Garza led a group of twenty-six armed men across the Rio Grande at Mier, Tamaulipas, and proclaimed the "Plan Revolucionario." This beginning episode in the so-called Garza War adumbrated the impending Mexican Revolution. Garza, a sewing-machine salesman and newspaper publisher, had spent years in the United States, where he and his comrades started numerous Spanish-language newspapers that advocated the overthrow of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz. When Garza attacked Mexico in 1891, the Díaz regime so harshly suppressed the Garcistas in northern Mexico that a pro-Garza reaction occurred in Texas. Fearing war, however, the U.S. government and Texas authorities drove Garza from the state in 1892. He wandered from revolution to revolution in the Caribbean and South America and was reported killed in Colombia in 1895. Like many dead folk heroes, he continued to be sighted for some time.

Mexico frees slaves
September 15, 1829

On this day in 1829, the Guerrero Decree, which abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico except in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, was issued by President Vicente R. Guerrero.The decree reached Texas on October 16, but Ramón Músquiz, the political chief of the Department of Texas, withheld its publication because it violated colonization laws which guaranteed the settlers security for their persons and property. The news of the decree did alarm the Texans, who petitioned Guerrero to exempt Texas from the operation of the law. On December 2 Agustín Viesca, Mexican minister of relations, announced that no change would be made respecting the status of slavery in Texas. Though the decree was never put into operation, it left a conviction in the minds of many Texas colonists that their interests were not safe under Mexican rule.