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First woman elected to state legislature dies
March 21, 1966

On this day in 1966, Edith Wilmans, who in 1922 became the first woman elected to the Texas legislature, died in Dallas. Wilmans, born in Louisiana in 1882, moved to Dallas at an early age. She helped organize the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association and was president of the Democratic Women's Association of Texas. To learn more about the legal problems involved in improving the status of women and children, she studied law and in 1918 was admitted to the bar. She served only one term in the legislature, and in 1924 and 1926 she ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1925 Governor Pat M. Neff appointed her to the All-Woman Supreme Court, but she was disqualified from serving because she lacked by a few months the required seven years' experience in the practice of law. She ran for the legislature again in 1935 but was defeated. She also ran for congress in 1948 and again in a 1951 special election but lost both races.

Preservationist and former Indian captive Rebecca Fisher dies
March 21, 1926

On this day in 1926, Rebecca Fisher died in Austin. She was born Rebecca Gilleland in Philadelphia in 1831. Her family came to Texas around 1837 and settled in Refugio County. In 1840 Comanches attacked their home, killing Rebecca's parents and taking Rebecca and her brother. The children were rescued by Albert Sidney Johnston and a detachment of Texas soldiers. Rebecca married Orceneth Fisher, a Methodist minister, in 1848. In 1855 the Fishers left Texas for the Pacific coast. They returned to Texas about 1871 and eventually established a home in Austin, where Fisher died in 1880. Mrs. Fisher was a charter member and state president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She also aided Clara Driscoll in saving the Alamo from destruction, and for several years she gave the opening prayer when the Texas legislature convened. She was the only woman elected to the Texas Veterans Association and was its last surviving member.

Famed mustanger and filibuster killed
March 21, 1801

On this day in 1801, Philip Nolan, mustanger and filibuster, died at the hands of Spanish troops. It was not his first visit to Texas to acquire horses. He was also known to be carrying on illegal trade with the Indians. He left Natchez at the head of a body of well-armed men in October 1800 and made his way to the area north of Nacogdoches. He then proceeded to a now-unknown Central Texas site, where he erected a small fortification, including some corrals, and began capturing mustangs. He was killed at his fort on March 21, 1801, by troops from Nacogdoches sent out to intercept him. His men, captured and tried, spent years in prison for their part in Nolan's final expedition, the precise nature of which has not been satisfactorily explained.