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Babe Zaharias dies of cancer
September 27, 1956

On this day in 1956, Mildred Ella (Babe) Zaharias died at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. She was born in Port Arthur and played semi-pro basketball with the Golden Cyclones while employed by Employers Casualty Company of Dallas. She was an all-around track and field star in the 1932 Amateur Athletic Union Championships, where she broke four world records. In the 1932 Olympics she set three world records. After turning to golf in 1933, she won the Texas Women's Amateur Golf Championship before being ruled ineligible as an amateur. In 1948 she helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Babe was the LPGA's leading money winner between 1949 and 1951. After a cancer operation in 1953 she went on to win five more tournaments, and also played for cancer benefit tournaments. In 1955 she established the Babe Zaharias Trophy to honor outstanding women athletes. She was forty-five when she died. She is buried in Beaumont.

First TV station in Texas goes on the air
September 27, 1948

On this day in 1948, WBAP-Fort Worth became the first television station in Texas--and indeed in the whole South--to go on the air, carrying a speech by President Harry Truman. The station grew out of Fort Worth's first radio station, also called WBAP, established in 1922 by Amon Carter, owner of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. By 1950 six TV stations were operating in Texas, including three in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In the early 1950s stations in San Antonio and Fort Worth began broadcasting live programs by use of coaxial cable. In 1953 four major television networks served Texas: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and Dumont. In that year network broadcasting was made possible across the state via Bell Telephone System facilities.

Mexico arrests pioneer merchant as a spy
September 27, 1846

On this day in 1846, a Mexican justice of the peace in New Mexico arrested James Wiley Magoffin and four others as spies. Magoffin, born in Kentucky in 1799, had moved to Chihuahua, where he became a prominent Santa Fe trader, by 1836. In 1844 Magoffin moved to Missouri. In 1846, during the Mexican War, President James K. Polk instructed him to join Gen. Stephen W. Kearny's expedition to conquer New Mexico. Magoffin caught up with Kearny in late July and helped negotiate the peaceful surrender of Santa Fe. He was en route to Chihuahua to prepare the way for the advance of Col. Alexander W. Doniphan at the time of his arrest. Magoffin spent several months imprisoned in Chihuahua and then Durango. After his release in June 1847, he returned to Missouri and organized another wagontrain, but on his arrival at El Paso del Norte he found that the high Mexican customs duties destroyed any hope of turning a profit. At this time he apparently decided simply to stay where he was, and by June 1849 he had settled on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande, just across from El Paso del Norte. There he quickly became the leading Anglo-American in the area, building a large hacienda that became known as Magoffinsville. Magoffin died in San Antonio in 1868.