Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper
Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper, engineer and military officer in the Tenth United States Cavalry, lived a remarkably successful life through the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly in light of the fact that he was born a slave in 1856. His education began at the American Missionary Association, an opportunity available to him as a result of the Civil War, and concluded with membership in the 1877 graduating class of West Point, becoming the first African American to do so.
Visitors hiking trails in our parks and public lands can get a double-dose of wonderful: fun in the clear air of the unspoiled frontier and often, access to a Texas heritage story as well. Starting with the two parks in our Peak Fitness Challenge--Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park and now also, Big Bend National Park--we're identifying trails that offer an illuminating understanding of the history of our region. They're "Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hikes." Whether you hike the canyon where a Texas Ranger was killed by cattle rustlers in 1890, or retrace the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail route, or visit an early ranch house where settlers struggled to build a life in the frontier....experiencing them by foot provides a new way to appreciate our Texas roots.