Friday, March 25, 2011

The Big Picture! at Washington-on-the-Brazos for 175th

The Big Picture! Being Unveiled at Washington-on-the-Brazos

Thousands in Attendance for Texas Independence Day Celebration

In recognition of the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the Star of the Republic Museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos, in partnership with the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, unveiled The Big Picture! - a "Texas-sized" reproduction of the "Reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence," originally painted by artists Charles and Fanny Normann for the Texas Centennial in 1936.

The Big Picture! was revealed before a crowd of thousands during the annual Texas Independence Day Celebration at the historic site, on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. The Normann's dramatic image was divided into 72 segments and then numerous local artists, both professional and amateur, were assigned a segment of the image to paint on a 2 X 3 ft. panel. When complete, the segments were assembled to create an 18 X 24 ft. facsimile of the original painting, three times the original size. The artists embodied the spirit of the delegates, working together to create something special for Texas. Following the event, the individual segments were auctioned off in an online auction.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Montgomery, Texas - Museum Celebration March 27, 2011

You are cordially invited to the annual "Open House" of the Nat Hart Davis Museum Complex which will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Nat Hart Davis Museum Complex is located at 208 Liberty (F.M. 149) in Montgomery, Texas.

This year's "Open House" marks the 175th anniversary of Texas independence (March 2, 1836 - March 2, 2011) and also celebrates the birthdays of General Sam Houston and Dr. Charles B. Stewart. Both Gen. Houston and Dr. Stewart signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico 175 years ago at Washington, Texas. Special guests will attend and refreshments will be served.

The Nat Hart Davis Museum Complex is maintained entirely with private donations and the docents volunteer their time. Museum membership is available for a nominal donation which also includes membership in the Montgomery Historical Society. For more information, please call 936-597-4155. Hope to see everyone who loves Texas history and Montgomery County history there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lecture "Financing the Texas Revolution!"

The exhibition “Texas! Making History Since 1519” is now open and on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas and will run through September 5, 2011. Complimenting the exhibition will be the “Texas Distinguished Lecture Series.” The first lecture in the series, “The Paper Republic: Financing the Texas Revolution,” will be presented by financial historian and author of the highly acclaimed book, The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas. In this lecture, Bevill will explain the role of money, finances and land speculation played in the founding and ultimate loss of sovereignty of the Republic of Texas. This lecture will provide a behind the scenes look at a government on the brink of military and financial extinction.

This lecture will be presented in the IMAX Theatre at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the Texas Distinguished Lecture Series are $17. For more information visit or call (713) 639-4629. More complete information on the lecture can be found by accessing the following link: . The “Texas Distinguished Lecture Series” is sponsored by the Favrot Fund and Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. A book signing sponsored by Brazos Book Store will follow each lecture in the series

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who Seconded the Texas Declaration of Independence?

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. Much is known about the Independence Convention at Washington (March 1-17, 1836).

The minutes of the Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1836 have been well preserved over the last 175 years. Known as the Journals of the Convention of 1836, the minutes can be found transcribed in a number of different sources including Gammel’s Laws of Texas. The original Journals of the Convention of 1836 are located in the collection of the Dallas Historical Society.

The Journals explain in detail how, in just seventeen days, the delegates to the Convention adopted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico, wrote a Constitution that served the Republic of Texas for almost ten years, established an ad interim government (President, Vice President and Cabinet) and organized the military in such a way as to facilitate the very decisive victory at San Jacinto just over a month later.

The Journals tell us that on March 2, 1836 delegate Sam Houston moved for the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico.

The committee rose, and Mr. Collinsworth reported that the committee of the whole had under consideration the report of the committee on the Declaration of Independence, and had instructed him to report the same with the following caption:

"The unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the delegates of the People of Texas, in General Convention at the town of Washington, on the 2nd day of March, 1836."

On motion of Mr. Houston,
Resolved that, That the Declaration of Independence, reported by the committee of the whole house, be engrossed and signed by the Delegates of the Convention.
And the question being taken thereon, it was unanimously adopted.

However the Journals are silent as to who seconded Sam Houston’s motion. About three years ago, historian and biographer, Daniel Hill, began to shed some light on this subject. He located a letter regarding the Convention at Washington, Texas published in the New Orleans Abeille [New Orleans Bee] newspaper. The letter was published in French in the March 21,1836 edition. John Forbes, an aide de camp to General Houston during the Texas Revolution wrote the letter in Washington, Texas on March 2, 1836 based on his personal observations of the Convention.

This year [2011], English versions of John Forbes March 2, 1836 letter were located in newspapers published in Baltimore, Maryland and Richmond Virginia in April of 1836. The letter provides the answer as to the identity of the delegate who seconded the Texas Declaration of Independence. The letter reads in part:

Washington, Texas, March 2.

To Col. Millard -

Dir Sir: The Convention was organized yesterday, and during the first day, matters looked squally, and disagreeable. That body was intent on making a Declaration of Independence to hurl into the teeth of Santa Anna and his myrmidons. They accordingly appointed a committee to report a Declaration of Independence; and this morning after the Convention assembled, the committee reported a very able one. Its adoption was moved by Gen. Houston, and seconded by Col. Palmer of the Bayou - and after a splendid speech from the General, it was unanimously adopted. Not one dissenting voice.

Sam Houston's great grandson, Sam Houston IV, and Martin Parmer's 3rd great grandson, Kameron K. Searle.
“Col. Palmer of the Bayou” was Colonel Martin Palmer (often spelled Parmer) who was one of the delegates from the Municipality of San Augustine (formerly known as the Ayish Bayou District).

Before coming to Texas, Martin Parmer had served in the first Missouri General Assembly in the House of Representatives beginning in 1820 and in the Senate beginning in 1824. Shortly thereafter, he removed to Texas and helped instigate and lead the Fredonian Rebellion (1826-1827). In 1835, Parmer had been elected a delegate to the Consultation at San Felipe in 1835 where he nominated Henry Smith to be the first American born Governor of Texas. Following the Consultation, Parmer had served as a member of the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas.

Martin Parmer signed documents declaring the region known as Texas independent of Mexico twice (1826 during the Fredonian Rebellion and 1836 during the Texas Revolution). In addition to seconding the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence and signing the document, Parmer also served as chairman of the committee that drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.

The John Forbes letter shown here is from the Friday, April 8, 1836 edition of the Richmond Enquirer, published at Richmond, Virginia.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Will The Daughters Lose Battle of the Alamo?

Below is the text of a bill that was filed on March 11, 2011 that would take the preservation and maintenance of the Alamo away from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) and give it to the Texas Historical Commission (THC).

Text of House Bill 3725:

82R12613 YDB-D

By: Guillen H.B. No. 3725

relating to the preservation and maintenance of the Alamo by the Texas Historical Commission.


SECTION 1. Section 442.004, Government Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows:

(c-1) The executive director shall:

(1) employ staff necessary to preserve and maintain the Alamo and contract for professional services of qualified consultants; and

(2) prepare an annual budget and work plan, including usual maintenance for the Alamo and other buildings on the Alamo property, their contents, and their grounds.

SECTION 2. Chapter 442, Government Code, is amended by
adding Subchapter D to read as follows:



(a) The Alamo is under the jurisdiction of the commission. The commission is responsible for the preservation, maintenance, and restoration of the Alamo and its contents and the protection of the historical and architectural integrity of the Alamo's exterior,
interior, and grounds.

(b) Any power or duty related to the Alamo formerly vested in any other state agency or entity is vested solely in the commission.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the commission is not required to comply with state purchasing law related to requests for proposals in carrying out its duties under this subchapter.

Sec. 442.102. ASSISTANCE FROM OTHER AGENCIES. The commission may consult with the State Preservation Board in the performance of duties under this chapter. On request of the
commission, the State Preservation Board shall assist the commission with the commission's duties relating to the Alamo.


(a) The commission shall enter into an agreement with a nonprofit corporation for the management, operation, and financial support of the Alamo.

(b) The agreement at a minimum must:

(1) detail the expectations and goals of the commission and the nonprofit corporation;

(2) outline the management and operation of the Alamo;

(3) establish management standards;

(4) provide for oversight by the commission;

(5) address funding and payment for costs;

(6) require some Alamo employees to be commission employees;

(7) address equipment;

(8) establish insurance requirements;

(9) address compliance with local, state, and federal building and operation laws;

(10) address construction, maintenance, and repair;

(11) establish the term of the agreement;

(12) require submission of financial information from the nonprofit corporation;

(13) address other activities of the nonprofit corporation that might undermine the financial condition of the nonprofit corporation or its duties under the agreement;

(14) address ownership by this state of the Alamo and its contents;

(15) include a dispute resolution process;

(16) provide that the laws of this state govern the agreement; and

(17) include notice requirements.

Sec. 442.104. THE ALAMO ACCOUNT.

(a) The Alamo account is a separate account in the general revenue fund.

(b) The account consists of:

(1) transfers made to the account;

(2) fees and other revenue from operation of the Alamo;

(3) grants and donations from any source; and

(4) income earned on investments of money in the account.

(c) Appropriations to the commission for the preservation, operation, or maintenance of the Alamo shall be deposited to the credit of the account.

(d) The commission may use money in the account to administer this chapter, including to support the preservation, repair, renovation, improvement, expansion, equipping, operation,
or maintenance of the Alamo or to acquire a historical item appropriate to the Alamo.

(e) Any money in the account not used in a fiscal year remains in the account. The account is exempt from the application of Section 403.095.

Sec. 442.105. GRANTS; DONATIONS. The commission may accept a grant or donation for any program or purpose of the Alamo.

SECTION 3. Section 2203.003, Government Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (e) to read as follows:

(a) The Daughters of the Confederacy, Texas Division, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas each may charge admission to state property over which each organization has custody or
control[. This subsection does not apply to the Alamo].

(e) Unless the Daughters of the Republic of Texas has entered into an agreement with this state under Section 442.103, the organization may not exercise any custody or control over the
Alamo, its grounds, or its contents and may not have an organizational presence at the Alamo or on its grounds.

SECTION 4. The following are repealed:

(1) Article 6394, Revised Civil Statutes of 1911; and

(2) Chapter 7, Acts of the 29th Legislature, Regular Session, 1905.


(a) On January 1, 2012, the following are transferred to the Texas Historical Commission:

(1) all powers and duties of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas relating to the Alamo;

(2) all unobligated and unexpended funds granted to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and designated for the administration of the Alamo;

(3) all equipment and property acquired with state money by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and used for the administration of or related to the Alamo; and

(4) all files and other records of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas kept by the organization regarding the Alamo.

(b) The Daughters of the Republic of Texas may agree with the Texas Historical Commission to transfer any property of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to the Texas Historical
Commission before January 1, 2012, to implement the transfer required by this Act.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas shall continue to perform functions and activities related to the Alamo and granted by Chapter 7, Acts of
the 29th Legislature, Regular Session, 1905, until January 1, 2012, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

SECTION 6. This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

Due to the limitations of Blogger software, underlines and deletions could not be shown here. To see the bill as filed on the House of Represetntives web site, click here.