The Texas History List: Texarkana is born, and a Texan shoots do - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The Texas History List: Texarkana is born, and a Texan shoots down Japanese plane at Pearl Harbor

The mission, by Travis Witt, left. Author George Sessions Perry, top right, from findagrave.com; and bottom right, Doris Miller, from Wikipedia. The mission, by Travis Witt, left. Author George Sessions Perry, top right, from findagrave.com; and bottom right, Doris Miller, from Wikipedia.
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The history of the state of Texas is so full of interesting people and their stories; we can't help but share them with you here! Check out some of the events that took place this week in the state of Texas, and see even more at tshaonline.com

On December 7, 1941, Texas native Doris Miller shot back at Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor. When his ship, the USS West Virginia, was attacked, he went on deck and manned an unattended gun. Though he was black and therefore given no gunnery training, he fired that weapon and hit at least one plane, he said, though men on board with him said he hit anywhere from two to five Japanese planes. He was awarded the Navy Cross for bravery in battle. He died on November  24, 1943, when his ship at that time, the aircraft carrier Liscome Bay, was torpedoed and sunk.

On December 8, 1873, the community of Texarkana was established. The town, as indicated by its unusual name, is located in two states, Texas and Arkansas, and is near a third, Louisiana. The strategic position of the city is and was key to its history and development

On December 8, 1755, what is  now considered the oldest unrestored church in the United States was dedicated. It was founded in East Texas in 1716 as Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de los Hainais, but due to famine, epidemics and French incursions, the Spaniards who had founded it were forced to retreat. It was finally resettled in 1731 on the east bank of the San Antonio River and renamed Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna. Over the years the building on the banks has been used as a barn by local settlers as a barn, and as a supply depot by the U.S. Army. It is now, thankfully, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and mass is still celebrated there each Sunday.

On December 13, 1956, award-winning author George Sessions Perry committed suicide. Perry was born in 1910 in Rockdale, and was orphaned at 12 years old. His grandmother raised him, and inspired some of the characters in his books. His prize-winning novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand, was set in Rockdale, as were his other books. However, he stopped writing fiction after his experiences as a war correspondent in WWII. He became more and more depressed and suffered from severe arthritis and a drinking problem. On this day he walked out into a river near his home in Connecticut and disappeared. His body was found two days later. 

Other events of interest from this week: 

December 7, 1830: Noah Smithwich was banished from Texas as a "bad citizen" and headed to Southern California. 

December 10, 1838: Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was inaugurated as the second president of the Republic of Texas. (Sam Houston was the first)

December 10, 1928: T.V. star Dan Blocker was born in DeKalb; he would go on to star as Hoss Cartwright on t.v.'s  Bonanza for 13 seasons.

December 13, 1989: The Texas legislature passed the Texas Workers' Compensation Act

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