Republic of Texas

Samuel Houston

QUESTION:  Which of the following states has a city named after Sam Houston?
A)  California
B)  Iowa
C)  West Virginia
D)  Minnesota

Happy December!  To celebrate the beginning of the last month of 2016, the American Treasure Tour blog would like to honor Sam Houston, whose image is displayed near those of Meade and Johnston in our Toy Box.  For the record, we are unaware of any relevance of December 1st to Houston, but hey, why not?  Houston was a pretty remarkable figure who it can be said definitely left his mark on American history.  Born in a Rockbridge County, Virginia log cabin in 1793, his father had fought under the famed rifleman Daniel Morgan during the American Revolutionary War. After his father's death, Houston, his mother, and his seven siblings moved west into Tennessee. He was sixteen the year he ran away and started a new life with the Cherokee, learning their language and their culture. Come the War of 1812, he joined General Andrew Jackson in his fight against the Crow at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, and found an ally whose influence shaped the rest of Houston's life.

Houston became a lawyer in 1818.  Four years later, Tennessee elected him to the House of Representatives.  He quit in 1827 to become Governor of Tennessee, but became disillusioned with how the United States was treating the Cherokee.  This led to a duel, then a beating, then a hasty retreat to Mexican Texas. There, he got caught up in the independence movement, signing the Texas Declaration of Independence, then leading troops to a stunning victory in the eighteen-minute long Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. His fame led to his election as President of the Republic of Texas twice. When Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845, he their first Senator - the only man in American history to be a Senator representing two different states. He was actually the Governor of Texas in 1861 when the state voted to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy, and the only acting southern governor to vote against secession.  He was ousted from power, and retired from public life, dying in Huntsville, Texas in 1863.

ANSWER:  D)  Minnesota.  There is also a Houston in MIssissippi and, of course, Texas.

Albert Sidney Johnston

QUESTION:  Name a Confederate General during the Civil War who shared a name with Albert Sidney Johnston.
A)  Albert Gallatin
B)  Reice Sidney
C)  Joseph Johnston
D)  Sidney Albert Johnston

The American Treasure Tour is chock full of fun, with our amazing collections of circus memorabilia, automatic music, and other cool stuff.  We keep the tour lighthearted for our guests, who enjoy music and stories about the men and women who have improved life for all of us. There are also a few pieces on display that tell a different part of American history. Next to our collection of watercolors dedicated to a timeline of Broadway are copies of lithographs honoring Americans of old.  One lithograph honors a soldier who never left what is the United States today, but managed to fight in the capacity of a General for three separate armies.  His name was Albert Sidney Johnson.

Johnson was a Kentucky native born in 1803 who considered Texas his home. He attended the United States Military Academy in West Point with his friend Jefferson Davis. Graduating in 1826, Johnston moved around the country to different forts prior to resigning his commission to care for his ailing wife. After she died in 1836, he signed on with the Texas Army. Once Texas gained independence from Mexico, he served the new republic as Secretary of War for two years. Later, he returned to the United States Army and fought under Zachary Taylor during America's war with Mexico. That was in 1846.  He then stayed with the U.S. Army until 1861, resigning his position when his native Texas seceded from the Union.  He headed up a Confederate Army in the Western Theater, which is where Johnston's career would unexpectedly end. When he was killed at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862, he would hold the distinction of being the highest-ranked officer killed during the entire war. Jefferson Davis was devastated by the loss, and came to the belief that the loss of Johnston represented the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

Okay, maybe the story of Johnston may not be the happiest you will learn here on the American Treasure Tour blog, but it is an important element of American history.

ANSWER:  C)  Joseph Johnston.  They were not related.

The Hooters - April 21, 2014

It's time again for the American Treasure Tour blog to revisit the collection of vinyl albums on display in the Music Room.  Our analysts recognize the necessity to offer a changing spectrum of topics for the blog to ensure maintaining the attention of our loyal readers, and how better than to talk about the popular Philadelphia-based band The Hooters!

It could not be said that the Hooters had it easy.  The band, formed in 1980, did concerts up and down the east coast for many years, performing in high schools and smaller venues before members of the band got their big break - to perform on the Cyndi Lauper album She's So Unusual in 1983.  The same year saw the release of the Hooters' first album Amore with limited distribution.  When their second album, Nervous Night, came out in 1984 on a major label, and included the songs "All You Zombies" and "And We Danced," they received international attention.  They toured Europe and Australia, coming back to Philadelphia to open the Live Aid concert of 1985.  The band continues to perform in concert, and recently released their seventh studio album.


Live Aid was a dual-location concert event on July 13, 1985 organized to provide charity relief to starving children in Ethiopia.  With one of the concerts located in Philadelphia, in what city was the other concert held simultaneously?

a)  Liverpool, England

b)  Edinburgh, Scotland

c)  Paris, France

d)  London, England

e)  Los Angeles, California

Answer Below


Texas had been considered a part of the independent country of Mexico for only twelve years in 1836, and for the last three its largely-American population had been fighting to break away.  Mexican dictator and military leader Santa Ana refused to let them go without a fight and the Texas Revolution began.  It didn't last very long - six months, two weeks and five days to be exact - with the Battle of the Alamo proving to be one of the most notable events in the struggle.  It officially ended on this day in 1836 when Texian forces under General Sam Houston completely destroyed the Mexican forces and captured Santa Ana in the process.  1,360 Mexican soldiers were killed or captured, while exactly nine Texians died. Texas was free, but deep in debt.  They would enter the United States in 1845 with the understanding that the federal government would pay their creditors.

Opening today in 1962, the Century 21 Exhibition opened, more familiarly known as the Seattle World's Fair.  It was intended as a celebration of America's victories in the space race and, that theme in mind, inspired such innovations as the monorail and the space needle, both survivors of the event.  The event lasted until October 21st, and was regarded as a success despite the Soviet Union's unwillingness to participate.  President John Kennedy had to cancel his appearance at the closing ceremony, though, due to an event that would come to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.


We at the ATT blog certainly hope that you are as big a fan of John Muir as we are!  Born April 21, 1838 in Scotland who emigrated to Wisconsin with his family when he was eleven.  Muir wandered through life for a number of years - quite literally.  When he was 29, he walked 1,000 miles from Indiana to Florida looking for untouched nature before he found himself on the west coast, heading for Yosemite.  He fell in love with the serene beauty of the land, and made it his life's mission to preserve it from those who would exploit it, co-founding the Sierra Club to help publicize the need for land preservation and eventually inspiring President Theodore Roosevelt to work towards the same goals.  More than almost any American before him, John Muir laid the groundwork for the National Park Service through his passion and efforts, despite his avoidance of politics.  For all of that, he deserves our thanks.

Another birthday call-out goes to Mexican-American actor Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca, more familiarly known as Anthony Quinn.  The son of a Mexican freedom fighter who rode with Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution, Quinn was born today in 1915.  The family moved to the States early in Quinn's life, where he explored a few different careers, training in architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright prior to signing on with a film studio and played bit parts as Indians, Hawaiian chieftains, Chinese guerillas, Mafia dons, and various other characters before his big break as Marlon Brando's brother in Viva Zapata! for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, the first Mexican-American to receive the honor.  He starred in a strong of exceptional films, including They Died With Their Boots On (1941), La Strada (1954), The Guns of Navarone (1961) and The Old Man and the Sea in 1990.  Quinn's paintings have received critical praise, and he also wrote a number of memoirs of his very colorful life.  He died in 2001 and is buried in Bristol, Rhode Island.


In Europe, and actor is an artist.  In Hollywood, if he isn't working, he's a bum. - Anthony Quinn

Answer:  d)  London, England

Herb Alpert - March 3, 2014

One of the most recognizable album covers ever made for a brass band hangs on display on the American Treasure Tour's Music Room wall.  We refer, of course, to the 1965 album Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.  

Alpert, born in Los Angeles in 1935, had music in his blood.  Every member of his family played one instrument or another. He took on the trumpet, while also writing and producing songs for his label A&M Records (Alpert is the "A," and his friend Jerry Moss is the "M"), before venturing to Mexico and getting his introduction to mariachi music.  That was the inspiration for the Tijuana Brass, and for many other Latin-sounding bands to follow.  Whipped Cream & Other Delights blended his signature sound with the popular music of the day and proved a smash hit - selling six million copies in the United States alone, and included a number of cover songs such as  "Love Potion #9," "A Taste of Honey," and "Tangerine."  In some of the concert appearances Alpert made after the album's release, he apologetically explained to the audience that he could play the songs, but, "Sorry, we can't play the cover for you."


Which of the following is NOT true about Herb Alpert's recording career:

a)  He is accredited as co-writer of the 1960 novelty song "Alley Oop"

b)  He has sold over 72 million records world wide

c)  28 of his albums have reached the Billboard Top 100 charts.

d)  He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1962

e)  He has received 9 Grammy Awards, 14 platinum albums, and 15 gold albums.

Answer Below.


Today is Independence Day!  Or at least it was in 1836 Texas.  On this day, the Province of Texas officially broke away from Mexico and became the Republic of Texas.  Within a year, United States President Andrew Jackson recognized the fledgling country as an independent republic, and France followed suit - in fact, the building where the Republic of Texas' embassy was located still stands in Paris.  Five men held the position of President of Texas for two-year terms prior to its being absorbed into the United States in 1845.  Texas bypassed territory status to become a state, and sacrificed some of its land to other future states on condition that the American government take over the substantial debts the Republic had amassed during its brief time as an independent republic. 

The first issue of the weekly news magazine Time was issued on this day in 1923, and has continued publication ever since.  Established by two former Yale University writers, Time was intended to provide a wide range of news that moved smoothly between the substantial and entertaining.  They clearly got something right, since it remains in circulation and is the most popular weekly news magazine in the world, enjoying a readership of over 25 million people.


Born to a deaf mother on this day in 1847, Alexander Bell grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, where his father taught communication skills to the hearing impaired.  At the age of ten, Alexander added Graham to his name in honor of one of his father's pupils. He proved to be a naturally inquisitive child, as he conducted experiments in electricity from a young age in the effort to convey sound and assist the deaf.  In 1871, the Bells moved to Boston, where his father taught at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.  In Boston, Bell continued tinkering and tried to invent a way to improve the quality of life for the deaf.  His marriage to the deaf daughter of his landlord did not slow Bell down and, in 1876, he patented the telephone for which he became famous. Despite a long and distinguished career, Bell's name will forever be associated with this one revolutionary invention.


We always felt that if you do something with quality and integrity, then it's going to come back to you. - Herb Alpert

Answer:  d)  He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1962.  Although he made a cameo appearance in the 1962 feature film Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, it was unfortunately not considered an Oscar-worthy performance by the Academy.