Thursday, August 12, 2010

USS Texas Vets Reunion October 8-11, 2010

This article was written by Steven K. Howell for the Summer 2010 editon of "The Dreadnought" the newsletter of the Battleship Texas Foundation and appears with his permission. The web site of the Battleship Texas Foundation is .

The annual reunion of the USS TEXAS veterans will be held October 8-11, 2010. The reunion will again be headquartered at the Nassau Bay Hilton on Clear Lake. If you are interested in participating, please contact Johnita Smith; she is President of the TEXAS Veterans Association. Her phone is 405-823-8638 and her e-mail is We are always honored when our TEXAS vets come "home" for a visit.

The Battleship TEXAS has been honored to serve as the host for a wide range of events and reunions by local, regional and national veterans organizations. We always welcome the opportunity to help veteran, military and patriotic groups bring their members together on board the world's last dreadnought-class battleship.

If your organization is looking for a place to hold its next reunion, meeting or funciton, please consider the TEXAS. Contact the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff at 281-479-2431 for additional information.

Monday, August 09, 2010

197th Anniversary of the Battle of Medina: The Bloodiest Battle in Texas History

The public is invited to attend the 197th anniversary of the Battle of Medina, at a site in Atacosa County overlooking the Galvan Creek, where it is believe between 800 and 1,300 men died on August 18, 1813. This was the bloodiest and largest lose of life of any battle in Texas history, and it occurred about 20 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. The ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 21, 2010, and everyone interested in Texas history is invited.

Due to the heat, we will only be at the battle site for about one hour so that each Society can re-dedicate their marker. The marker for American Revolutionary Patriot Peter Sides, and the Sons of the Republic of Texas marker for Benjamin Allen and all the other men who fought and died in this battle will be re-dedicated. The SAR, DAR, SRT, DRT, The Daughters of the War of 1812 Society, and the Mayflower Society will all re-dedicate their markers, making this one of the most honored and dedicated historic sites in Texas. Members of the Mayflower Society will also re-dedicate their marker for Samuel Alden, a printer from Philadelphia, who is believed to have died after the Battle of Medina and descended from the Mayflower Pilgrim.

The combined Color Guard will present the Colors to begin the ceremony and will fire a musket salute to all those who participated in this battle on both sides to conclude the event. Everyone will then retire to Pleasanton, Texas for lunch on your own, and then reconvene at the Pleasanton Church of Christ located at 1003 North Main Street for an air-conditioned history seminar from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m. in the church meeting hall. The Atacosa County Historical Commission members will graciously be providing us with refreshments in the afternoon at the church during the symposium again this year.

The afternoon history seminar will present the latest research on the First Republic of Texas and the Battle of Medina. Several speakers will be featured including Robert H. Thonhoff, KSJ, an award winning author; and Dr. Jesus F. de la Teja, PhD. Chair of the History Department at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. Frank, as Dr. de la Teja likes to be called, is also the former President of the Texas State Historical Association and was appointed the first Texas Historian by Governor Rick Perry.

To reach the site for the 10:00 a.m. outdoor 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 right (west) where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For additional details contact Tom Green, at (281) 922-1118, or his cell phone at (832) 687-3474. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and bring drinking water and a lawn chair that will not easily sink in the sand.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cabins Moved to Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery, Texas

On August 5-6, 2010, in the middle of the night, Honea Egypt Road in Montgomery County looked like a scene out of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There were patrol units from many different law enforcement agencies from all over Montgomery County and bucket trucks from numerous electric and telephone companies serving Montgomery County. And all of them had their emergencies lights on. The police were there to control traffic and the utility companies were there to raise power-lines as two of the oldest log cabins in Texas were moved to Montgomery, Texas to the Fernland Historical Park.

The two cabins moved were the Crane cabin and Jordan (Jardine) cabin. These two cabins were the first two homes moved to the site of the Fernland Historical Park of Montgomery which is set to open in early 2011. A few days earlier, an early Texas blacksmith shop was moved to the site by the Cherry House Moving company of Houston which was the same company that moved the two cabins to the Fernland Historical Park.

The site of the Fernland Historical Park project is near the Charles B. Stewart Library in the Buffalo Springs planned development community on Clepper Drive in Montgomery, Texas. The acreage was donated by Holly and Philip LeFevre. This site will represent a unique attraction and educational experience.

Soon to be a destination in Montgomery for historical tourism, Fernland Historical Park will be the new home for six examples of early Texas architecture. The oldest cabin dates back to 1826, one of only five cabins in the State of Texas from that era. Five of the structures have been or will be moved in the near future from a site off Honea Egypt Road. They will be joined by the Arnold-Simonton home, which is on the National Historical Register, now just a few blocks away from the Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery.

The group of five buildings were purchased some years ago by Mae and Carroll Tharp, members for decades of the Montgomery Historical Society. Mr. Carroll Tharp was an architect who designed many buildings in the Houston area. The Tharps had the structures dismantled, moved to their acreage off Honea Egypt Road, and reconstructed exactly as originally built. The four cabins are on the Texas Historical Register (see the Texas Historical Commission markers on the two cabins above). The Tharps spent many years collecting artifacts and furnishings appropriate for each building.

The City of Montgomery holds a long-term lease for the group of five buildings from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. The Arnold-Simonton home is owned by the Montgomery Historical Society, which will manage the tours and tour docents and assist with special events. This will truly be a unique historical site that will be the pride of all Texans. The web site for the Fernland Historical Park can be seen at See you in early 2011 for the grand opening!

Top two photos of cabins being moved to Fernland Historical Park are courtesy of Jack B. Shepherd. Bottom three photos of cabins at Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery, Texas are courtesy of Marisa A. Searle.