On this day in 1942, the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, also called the Longhorn Ordnance Works, began producing munitions on a 10,000-acre site beside Caddo Lake at Karnack, Harrison County. In December 1941, following the entry of the United States into World War II, the Monsanto Chemical Company selected the site for a facility for the manufacture of explosives. By August 15, 1945, the plant had turned out 414,805,500 pounds of TNT. The factory continued to play a role in defense production through the Cold War years.
On this day in 1915, Luis De la Rosa, revolutionary and follower of the Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón, caused a train crash at Tandy's Station, eight miles north of Brownsville. The incident was one of several raids by the Floresmagonista movement formed by De la Rosa and Aniceto Pizaña. De la Rosa was also in command of a force that took part in the Norias Ranch Raid. As one newspaper noted in 1916, "De la Rosa, a large man in size, is said to have been the brains of what was known among Mexicans as the revolution of Mexicans in Texas." De la Rosa believed in direct action to correct injustices done to Hispanics on both sides of the Rio Grande. He also raised an army of 500 men whose raids and guerrilla fighting on the Mexican border of Texas were connected with the Plan of San Diego, an effort to establish an independent republic in the American Southwest. Cooperation between Mexican and American authorities stopped the guerrilla raids along the lower Rio Grande by 1919.
On this day in 1928, famed cowboy detective and author Charles Siringo died in Altadena, California. Siringo, born in Matagorda County in 1855, worked as a cowboy for a number of prominent Texas outfits, including those of Shanghai Pierce and George Littlefield. In 1877 he drove a herd into the Panhandle to establish the LX Ranch. During his years as an LX cowboy Siringo met the young outlaw Billy the Kid. Later he led a posse of cowboys into New Mexico in pursuit of the Kid and his gang. In 1884 Siringo left the LX to become a merchant in Caldwell, Kansas, and began writing his first book. Published in 1885, A Texas Cowboy; or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony established Siringo's fame as the first cowboy autobiographer, and went on to become a range literature classic. In 1886 Siringo moved to Chicago, where he obtained employment with Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. For the next twenty-two years he was an exceptionally shrewd and successful cowboy detective, tracking outlaws as far as Alaska and Mexico City. After leaving the Pinkerton agency Siringo retired to his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and authored several other books, including A Cowboy Detective (1912); A Lone Star Cowboy (1919); History of "Billy the Kid" (1920); and Riata and Spurs (1927). Siringo's experiences as the quintessential cowboy and determined detective helped romanticize the West and its myth of the American cowboy.