Thursday, August 31, 2006

Texian Navy Day


Saturday, September 16, 2006, is Texian Navy Day, honoring the contributions of the Texian Navy in helping secure the independence of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Long recognized in an ad hoc manner by Governors and the Texas Legislature, in 2005, the Legislature enacted a law officially establishing the third Saturday of each September as Texian Navy Day, which "shall be observed with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

History has forgotten that the Lone Star of the Republic of Texas shined brightly on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Without the daring and dangerous exploits of the Texian Navy, Mexico easily could have re-supplied their land armies still in Texas in the immediate aftermath of the surrender of Gen. Santa Anna at San Jacinto or mounted a seaborne invasion after the San Jacinto victory. The Texian Navy was able to protect the young republic’s long coastline with its many rivers, bays, and inlets to projecting power beyond its littoral waters to Mexican coastal towns as far away as the Yucat√°n. Ultimately, the Texian Navy was a real balance of power amongst the Navies of the United States, Mexico, and the European powers, all vying for influence in the Gulf of Mexico. The Texians’ courage and striking power were far in excess of that which reasonably could have been expected from such a numerically disadvantaged force, and it was their fighting spirit that made the difference.

Please help recognize this date in history and preserve the memory of the seaborne valor of those who helped create the Lone Star State by flying your Texas flag on this day.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
J. Richard Reese, KSJ
President General
The Sons of the Republic of Texas
713 871-0634

David Hanover
Texas Navy Committee Chairman
The Sons of the Republic of Texas
903 509-2206
dhanover@cox.net

Photograph: Flag - Texas, © Lonestarlet Dreamstime.com

Monday, August 28, 2006

San Jacinto Monument Elevator to Reopen


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association invite everyone to join them for the Grand Reopening of the San Jacinto Monument Elevator on Thursday, September 7, 2006. The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the San Jacinto Monument, One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas.

This festive event will mark the completion of the $2.14 million fire and safety renovations of the San Jacinto Monument that was appropriated by the Texas Legislature in 2005. The San Jacinto Museum of History will once again be able to offer visitors the famous 489-foot ride to the top of the newly renovated Monument this September. Taller than the Washington Monument in Washington DC, the view of the San Jacinto Battlefield is quite spectacular.

For more information please contact:

Evelyn Buchner, Executive Assistant
San Jacinto Museum of History
One Monument Circle
La Porte, Texas 77571
281-479-2421 phone
281-479-2428 fax
ebuchner@sanjacinto-museum.org

Photograph: "San Jacinto Monument at Dawn" © Paulwolf Dreamstime.com

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Texas Heroes Day 2006


Friday and Saturday, September 15th and 16th, 2006 the annual, Texas Heroes Day- The Legend Lives Event will take place at the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Monument Hill Kriesche Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange, Texas. This event is co-produced by the Friends of Monument Hill Kreische Brewery, the Monument Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Chapter Number 53 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and the Friends of the Fayette Library and Museum. This two day event will celebrate the contributions made by the men of the ill-fated 1842 Dawson Massacre and the 1846 Meir Expedition. Every year this event is held on the weekend closest to September 18th when the remains were placed in their final burial site on the bluff above the scenic Colorado River valley which is now part of the state park.

Friday, the Fayette Library and Archives is offering extended hours and a 5 PM private reception and archival presentation for families and scholars researching the historical period between 1836 – 1840’s when Texas gained independence from Mexico as a Republic through its transition into Statehood. Visitors are encourage to bring private historical collections with them to this event in order that those items can be copied or donated to the Fayette Archive adding to the efforts to grow the body of knowledge of this time period in this historic, central Texas region. Fayette County was part of the original Stephen F. Austin colony. Saturday will feature historical re-enactments, a historic flag display, period craft demonstrations and music in addition to a commemorative program beginning at 8 AM at the Park. This year’s commemorative program will feature a dramatic, historically accurate, re-enactment of the 1848 Masonic Order reburial of the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in the Dawson Massacre and Meir Expedition. Local school bands as well as the Park’s Dulcimer Ensemble will perform. The Saturday program begins at 10 AM and ends at Noon with a picnic.

Over 600 families throughout the world from Dawson and Meir Expedition descendents are contacted every year, encouraging them to plan family reunions around this event date.
Free handicap accessible, bus shuttles are offered using satellite parking at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on US 77 and Walnut Street in La Grange. The Park fee are $ 3 dollars for adults and $ 2 for children under the age of twelve. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic and folding chairs to enjoy a day in the Park. Proceeds from the tickets and donations go to the continuance and development of the Park’s interpretive program that focus’ on the 1836 – 1840’s period history. Refreshments will be available for sale. Monument Hill Kriesche Brewery State Historical Park is located one mile south of La Grange, Texas off U.S. 77 and Spur 92. The park is one mile west on Spur 92.

Contact Information:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Alamo Gala


The Daughters of the Republic of Texas will be holding their annual fundraising gala benefiting The Alamo. This year's theme is "A Lone Star Celebration" and will honor the Kleberg Family. The DRT Lone Star Celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m on Saturday, October 28, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Riverwalk at Paseo del Alamo, 123 Losoya Street. Activities for the evening include a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, grand auction, entertainment and dancing.

Individual tickets are $125. $5,000 for a reserved table for 8 with preferred forward seating. $2,500 for a reserved table for 8 with preferred seating. And $1000 for a table for 8. Last year this event raised over $100,000. Funds raised by the DRT gala will benefit education, preservation and operations of The Alamo. Dress for this event is Black Tie Optional.

For more information, please call 210-225-1391, ext 34 or write to The DRT, Inc. - Alamo Fund, Lone Star Celebration, P.O. Box 2599, San Antonio, Texas, 78299. Or contact Gala Chairman, Melinda Navarro at telephone: 210-859-2481. Email: mlndnvrr@aol.com Donations must be received by September 30, 2006. Checks should be made payable to DRT, INC. - Alamo Fund.

The Alamo depends soley upon money from sales in its Gift Shop, donations made from individuals and private foundations to fund its preservation, education and general operations. The Alamo receives no monetary help from local, state or federal government. The DRT, a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization, has served as custodian of the Alamo for the State of Texas since 1905.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have preserved and operated The Alamo for over 100 years. The State of Texas in "An Act Providing for the Purchase, Care, and Preservation of the Alamo," S.H. B. No. 1, January 26, 1905, legislated that "the governor shall deliver the property thus acquired, together with the Alamo Church property, already owned by the State [since 1883], to the custody and care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, to be maintained by them in good order and repair, without charge to the State, as a sacred memorial to the heroes who immolated themselves upon that hallowed ground; . . ." Let's help the Daughters in their continued efforts to preserve and operate of The Alamo.

Photograph: "Remember the Alamo" © Bobainsworth Dreamstime.com

Friday, August 18, 2006

Texas Scholarships - Texas History Essay Contest


The Sons of the Republic of Texas have announced the topic of the 2006 Texas History Essay Contest. Each year The Sons of the Republic of Texas award graduating high school students up to $6,000 in scholarships. The first place scholarship is $3,000. Second place is $2,0000 and the third place award is $1,000.

The uniqueness of Texas and Texans is recognized around the world. The purpose of the Texas History Essay Contest is to encourage students to explore the pioneer spirit of Texans on the early-day frontier, their methods of accomplishing their goals under very difficult circumstances, and the results of their efforts that we can see today. It is hoped that the topic chosen will stimulate the thinking of our youth, who will assume responsibility for the conduct of our affairs on local, state, national and international levels in the near future.

Each year the SRT picks a new Texas history topic for the contest. The topic of the Texas History Essay Contest this year is: "Sam Houston - The Key to Texas Independence." The American Heritage Dictionary defines "key" as "a means of access, control, or possession;" or "a vital, crucial element." This year's topic was selected to encourage students to focus on the many different crucial activities performed by Sam Houston in the years of 1835 and 1836 to secure the independence of Texas from Mexico and Houston's activities during the Republic of Texas to protect the independence of Texas until Statehood.

All entries must be submitted by February 1, 2007. The winners of the Texas History Essay Contest will receive their scholarship awards at the San Jacinto Day Celebration at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, Texas in April, 2007. The contest is open to graduating high school seniors anywhere in the United States.

For more details and rules, see the Texas History Essay Contest web site or The Sons of the Republic of Texas web site. You can also request a brochure from SRT Administrative Assistant, Janet Hickl, The Sons of the Republic of Texas, 1717 8th Street, Bay City, Texas, 77414. Photograph of the San Jacinto Monument courtesy of David Melasky.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Press Release - Battle of Medina 193rd Anniversary

The public is invited to attend the 193rd anniversary of the Battle of Medina, at a site overlooking the Galvin Creek where between 800 and 1,300 men died August 18, 1813. This was the bloodiest and largest loss of life in any battle in Texas history, and it occurred about 20 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. The ceremony will start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 2006, and everyone interested in Texas history is invited.

This battle was between the 1,400 man Republican Army of the North, called the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition by historians, and the 1,800 man Royal Spanish Army commanded by General Joaquin de Arredondo. This was at a time when only about 2,000 people lived in San Antonio, then called San Fernando de Bexar. At lease 5 Patriots of the American Revolution were involved in the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition, and one of these Patriots fought and died in the Battle of Medina. This man was Peter Sides, and he is one of over 50 Patriots of the American Revolution who are believed to have been buried in Texas. Direct descendants of Peter Sides are eligible for membership in both the Sons and Daughter of the American Revolution and The Sons and Daughters of The Republic of Texas. Some of the descendants of Peter Sides will be in attendance to dedicate a Sons of the American Revolutionary Patriot Grave Marker.

A Grave Marker will also be dedicated by the Sons of the Republic of Texas, as descendants of all the approximately 3,200 men who fought on both sides of this battle are eligible for membership in the SRT and the DRT. The descendants of Benjamin Allen, who also died in the battle, will dedicate the SRT marker, and the award winning author, Robert Thonhoff will be the key note speaker at the event. Members of the Mayflower Society will also be on hand to dedicate a marker, and we hope to include many other Societies in this ceremony, to honor the many other participants of this, the largest land battle in Texas history.

Another interesting fact about the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition is that the Republican Army of the North won all the battles leading up to the August 18, 1813 Battle of Medina, and had declared Texas free from Spain and had written and signed the First Declaration of Independence in Texas on April 6, 1813. Before coming to San Antonio, the Royal Spanish Army surrounded the Republican Army of the North for four months at the La Bahia fort in what is today Goliad. This is believed to have been the longest siege in American military history, and is the reason La Bahia flies the Emerald Green flag of the Republican Army of the North.

To reach the site of the ceremony, proceed south from San Antonio on Highway 281 some 15 miles from the intersection of Loop 410 South and Highway 281, to the community of Espey, Texas, and turn west where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For other details, contact Tom Green, at (281) 922-1118, or Cell phone (832) 687-3474.

Battle of Medina Remembered


Tom Green, President of the Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, has advised us that the 193rd anniversary ceremony commemorating the bloodiest battle in Texas history will begin at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 19, 2006. This is the 5th year that Texans have honored the approximately 3,200 men who fought in the bloodiest battle in Texas history on August 18, 1813. "We don't really know how many people were killed that day," explains Green, "but it could have been as many as 1,300 men." Many more were killed over the next weeks from San Fernando de Bexar (San Antonio) all the way to the Sabine River. This battle all but de-populated Texas and delayed the settlement of area for many years.

Last year, over 200 Texans gathered to commemorate the 192nd anniversary of the Battle of Medina and an official Texas Historical Marker was placed at the site. See picture.
The historical marker reads:

BATTLE OF MEDINA
TEXAS' BLOODIEST MILITARY ENGAGEMENT - THE BATTLE OF MEDINA MAY HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN THIS GENERAL VICINITY IN 1813. THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY WAS A TIME OF POLITICAL UPHEAVAL, AND IN 1812, WHILE THE U.S. WAS AT WAR WITH ENGLAND; SPAIN FACED REVOLTS THROUGHOUT LATIN AMERICA, INCLUDING MEXICO. IN THIS REVOLUTIONARY CLIMATE, AMERICANS AND OTHERS BEGAN EFFORTS TO INFLUENCE THE FATE OF MEXICO, OF WHICH TEXAS WAS A PROVINCE.
BERNARDO GUTIERREZ AND LT. A.W. MAGEE MARCHED FROM LOUISIANA TO TEXAS IN 1812 WITH THEIR REPUBLICAN ARMY OF THE NORTH. CAPTURING NACOGDOCHES AND TRINIDAD, THEY MOVED ON TO PRESIDIO LA BAHIA, WHERE THEY SURVIVED A FOUR MONTH SIEGE BY SPANISH GOVERNORS AND THEIR ROYALIST FORCES. THE ROYALISTS RETREATED TOWARD SAN ANTONIO IN FEBRUARY 1913, AND IN MARCH, THE REPUBLICAN ARMY FOLLOWED THEM AND WAS AMBUSHED IN THE BATTLE OF ROSILLO. THE REPUBLICANS PERSEVERED, CAPTURED SAN ANTONIO AND EXECUTED THE SPANISH GOVERNORS. GUTIERREZ'S NEW REPUBLIC OF TEXAS , WITH ITS GREEN FLAG, WAS MARKED BY INTERNAL POLITICAL PROBLEMS.
SPAIN SENT TROOPS UNDER GEN. JOAQUIN DE ARREDONDO TO RETAKE TEXAS. AMONG HIS MEN WAS ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA, LATER MEXICO'S LEADER DURING THE TEXAS REVOLUTION. THE REPUBLICANS MARCHED FROM SAN ANTONIO ON AUG. 15 1813 WITH ABOUT 1,400 TROOPS: AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS, TEJANOS, MEXICANS AND NATIVE AMERICANS, LED ACROSS THE PLAINS SOUTH OF THE MEDINA RIVER. THE FATIGUED ARMY FACED SPANISH TROOPS ON AUG, 18 AND WAS SOUNDLY DEFEATED, FEWER THAN 100 ESCAPED. MOST WERE EXECUTED. THE SPANISH LEFT THE DECIMATED TEXANS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND PROCEEDED TO SAN ANTONIO TO PUNISH CITIZENS WHO SUPPORTED INDEPENDENCE. EIGHT YEARS LATER, MEXICAN LEADERS ORDERED THE REMAINS OF THE FALLEN SOLDIERS TO BE BURIED UNDER AN OAK TREE ON THE BATTLEFIELD. ALTHOUGH THE EXACT SITE OF THE BATTLE HAS YET TO BE DETERMINED ARCHEOLOGICALLY, THE STORY REMAINS AN IMPORTANT PART OF TEXAS HISTORY.

Tom Green also advises that at least 5 men who participated in the American Revolution participated in the the Battle of Medina.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Texas - US International Boundary Marker Dedication


On Saturday, October 7, 2006, a long overdue event will occur in Panola County, Texas. A Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at 2 p.m. at the site of the only international boundary marker located within the continental United States. The marker establishing the boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States was set in place on April 23, 1841. there were other boundary markers along the Republic of Texas /United States border, but all the others have been lost with time.

The State of Louisiana has done an excellent job of identifying the location of the international boundary marker on the Lousiana side of the State line. However Texas which usually takes such pride in its history and historical sites had never marked the site with a Texas Historical Marker. The Louisiana State historical marker located on Louisiana State Hwy. 765 reads as follows:

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY
Original granite block 10' long
9" square marked the
United States - Republic of Texas
boundary. Date 1840. Set on
April 23, 1841. Only marker of
international boundary known to
exist within the continental U.S.
The Sons of the Republic of Texas International Boundary Marker Committee, chaired by Billy Johnson, working with local historians, the Panola County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission have finally brought about the placement of an official Texas historical Marker at the site of the international boudary marker. The Texas History Page blog would like to recognize Mr. Billy Johnson for his years of tireless service working towards the placement of this important Texas Historical Marker.
In 1977, a small International Boundary Marker Park was dedicated around the site of the international boundary marker. Since then, the site has been registered as National Historic Shrine. In 1980, civil engineers in Texas and Louisiana in a joint project, dedicated a marker under the auspices of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the site of the international boundary marker. Not until the recent placement of the Texas Historical Marker, which will be dedicated on October 7, 2006, had the State of Texas officially recognized this landmark.
The international boundary markers were commissioned by United States President, Martin Van Buren. The only remaining international boundary marker is a granite shaft. On one side, it is engraved "Merid. Boundary Established 1840." On the eastern side, it is engraved "U. S." On the western side, it is engraved "R. T." for Republic of Texas.
The international boundary marker is located by driving east on Texas Farm Road 31 toward the Texas/Louisiana state line. Just before the state line, the international boundary marker is located to the left on the north side of Farm Road 31. See PDF file with specifc directions to the International boundary marker here. Come on Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. for the dedication of the Texas Historical Marker for this one of a kind landmark dating from when Texas was an independent country recognized by the United States of America.
Photograph: International Boundary Marker, Courtesy of David Hanover.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Travis Letter from the Alamo

Below in its entirety is the famous letter written by William Barrett Travis on the second day of the siege of the Alamo on February 24, 1836. It is recognized world over as one of the most heroic dispatches ever penned. Writing from San Antonio de Bexar, Travis requests assistance but makes it clear that if no one comes to his relief, "I shall never surrender or retreat." He concludes this letter with his now immortal words, "I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country -- VICTORY or DEATH."

26 year old Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis together with Col. James Bowie initially defended the Alamo with 150 men. This number would grow to about 186 as some Texans actually made it through the Mexican lines to join the defenders inside the surrounded Alamo. The Mexican Army under Santa Anna would swell in number to 4,000 or 5,000. The defenders of the Alamo withstood the Mexican Army for thirteen days until the final morning of March 6, 1836, when the Mexican Army made an all out pre-dawn attack on the Alamo from all sides. All the defenders, including Travis fighting atop one of the walls, were killed.

The original Travis letter is in the collection of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives & Library Building located next to the Texas State Capitol at 1201 Brazos Street in Austin, Texas. The letter reads:
___

Send this to San Felipe by Express night & day

To the people of Texas

and

All Americans

___

Commandancy of The Alamo

Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world--
Fellow Citizens & compatriots

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country -- VICTORY or DEATH.

William Barrett Travis
Lt. Col. comdt.

P. S. The Lord is on our side -- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn -- We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 heads of Beeves.

Travis

Friday, August 04, 2006

Commissioning of USS Texas (SSN 775)


Saturday, September 9, 2006, the nuclear powered Virginia class attack submarine USS TEXAS will be commissioned in Galveston, Texas. The commissioning ceremony will be held at the Port of Galveston Pier Ten at 10 a.m. TEXAS was christened by her sponsor, First Lady Laura Bush, at the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia on July 31, 2004.

The seal of the USS TEXAS in the forefront shows a full view of USS TEXAS, ready to go forth and take the fight to the enemy. Emblazoned on her hull is the shape of the state of Texas, denoting the outstanding patriotism and leadership the citizens of Texas have contributed to the United States of America. Located within the state outline is a symbol of the atom, representing the awesome war fighting capability and endurance afforded TEXAS by nuclear power.

TEXAS is backed by the traditional badge of the legendary Texas Rangers. This identifies the singularity of purpose between the men who enforce Texas law and the Sailors who will man this fine warship to preserve freedom. The four white stars represent the four American warships to bear the great name of the great state of Texas.

"Don't Mess with Texas!" is a well known state slogan and a warning for those who attempt to prevent TEXAS from carrying out her mission. The battle scarred Lone Star flag flying behind TEXAS represents the gallant heroism of those who fought and died at the Alamo to ensure the future of Texas, and it also represents the perseverance with which TEXAS and her crew will endure all missions that are put before her.

Captain John L. Litherland, USN will assume command of USS TEXAS (SSN 775). TEXAS is assigned to Commander Submarine Squadron EIGHT and will be homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.

Texas History Page


For those around the world who love Texas and Texas history, the Texas History Page Blog is the place to keep up with the latest information about books, events, discoveries, reminders of historical dates, news, museums, monuments, markers and historical societies.

Blog author, K K Searle, is a 7th generation Texan and a member of The Sons of the Republic of Texas. He loves Texas history and is in the process of building the Texas History Page on the Internet as an alternative. The basic idea behind the new Texas history site is to take an online history book about Texas and Texans in as many directions as possible with the addition of photographs, scans of actual primary documents, bibliographical sources, genealogical information, book reviews, whole books in the public domain and transcriptions of famous documents.

Many people are not satisfied with many of the historical articles and inaccuracies found on other sites about Texas on the Ineternet. But they have no way of correcting errors or having their histories published. The Texas History Page on the Internet will provide a place for them to write their own histories with what they have discovered or know from other sources. On other Texas history sites, only one article by one author is accepted. The Texas History Page will allow more than one article on a given subject in Texas history by more than one author. Perfect for Professors of History who want to publish an article, university students who want to publish their Texas history thesis for the world to read or the family historian who wants to write a family history about a particular ancestor or family who lived in early Texas.

Let me hear your suggestions for the Texas History Page Blog and the Texas History Page on the Internet.

Pictured, Kameron K. Searle (left) with Texas country music legend Mr. Gary P. Nunn (right) who wrote London Homesick Blues a.k.a. Home with the Armadillo.