Texas History

Texas fiddler performs on first commercial country music recording

June 30, 1922

On this day in 1922, legendary Texas fiddler Alexander (Eck) Robertson, along with fiddler Henry C. Gilliland, made what most country music historians consider the first commercial recordings of country music. The duets included the famous "Arkansas Traveler" and "Turkey in the Straw." The following day, Robertson returned to the studio without Gilliland and recorded six additional tracks solo, including the popular "Sallie Gooden," as well as two tracks that were never released. The Victor Talking Machine Company issued a limited release of "Arkansas Traveler" and "Sallie Gooden" in September 1922, but not until April 1923 was the disc in wide circulation. Two other recordings of Robertson were released later in 1923 and 1924. Robertson set the trend for future performers, as fourteen Central Texas fiddlers succeeded him by recording commercially in the years shortly following his first recording.

 

Angry soldiers burn Fredericksburg store, destroying early Gillespie County records

July 1, 1850

On this day in 1850, a mob of soldiers burned down the store of Fredericksburg merchant John M. Hunter, destroying all Gillespie County records up to that time. Hunter, the first Gillespie County clerk, had a violent temper and had clashed more than once with the soldiers at nearby Fort Martin Scott. On the night of June 30, Hunter had refused to sell whiskey to a soldier named Dole. When Dole became abusive, Hunter fatally stabbed him in the chest. Some fifty angry soldiers returned the next night, looking for Hunter, but the merchant had fled town. Several townspeople attempted to salvage the county records from the burning store, but the soldiers prevented them. Apparently neither Hunter nor the soldiers were punished. Hunter later built a new store on the same block; it opened in time to be used by the district court in October 1850.

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