On this day in 1911, the Congreso Mexicanista, the first statewide Mexican-American civil-rights conference, began meeting in Laredo. The Idar family, who owned and published La Crónica, organized the meeting. The Idars invited the Orden Caballeros de Honor, members of lodges and sociedades mutualistas, all Mexican consuls in the state, Texas-Mexican journalists, and women from the region. Meeting through September 22, the congreso established the Gran Liga Mexicanista de Beneficencia y Protección (Great Mexican League for Benefit and Protection) and the Liga Femenil Mexicanista to promote cultural and moral values among Texas Mexicans, provide protection from abuse by public authorities, and combat segregation of Texas Mexican students. Nicasio Idar was chosen the leader of the Gran Liga, and Jovita Idar, his daughter, was elected president of the Liga Femenil.
On this day in 1919, the Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi was demolished by a hurricane in which a nun, two patients, and two employees were killed. Spohn Hospital (originally Spohn Sanitarium), the first hospital in Corpus Christi, is a Catholic institution founded in 1905 by Arthur Edward Spohn. When Spohn moved to Corpus Christi in 1895 and noted the lack of medical facilities, he embarked upon a campaign to raise funds for a hospital. Through the efforts of Alice King Kleberg $6,000 was collected from the residents of Corpus Christi for the project. Her husband, Robert J. Kleberg, prepared a drawing of the proposed sanitarium around 1903. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, agreed to staff the new facility. After the 1919 hurricane the hospital was temporarily located in a private home. Henrietta C. King gave the land for the new hospital and it was back in operation by 1923.Through the succeeding years, the hospital continued to expand. In 2003, the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System consisted of six hospitals--three in Corpus Christi and one each in Alice, Beeville, and Kingsville--and thirteen clinics.
On this day in 1859, Robert Simpson Neighbors, Indian agent, was shot and killed by Edward Cornett at Fort Belknap. Neighbors was first appointed as an Indian agent in 1845. As agent for the Lipan Apaches and Tonkawas, he instituted the field system of Indian control. That is, instead of remaining at the agency headquarters and waiting for the Indians to pay him a visit, as was the common practice, Neighbors dealt with them directly in their home territory. Later, when he was overseeing Comanches, he continued this practice, with the result that he spent much time far beyond the frontier and exercised greater influence over the Indians in Texas than any other white man of his generation. In 1853 he was made supervising agent for the Texas Indians. As a member of the Fourth Texas Legislature he opened the way for Indian reservations. After receiving numerous death threats because of his attempts to protect Texas Indians, he was finally assassinated in 1859.