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The San Jacinto Battlefield Memorial

As early as the 1880s, supporters were wanting to place a memorial to those Texans who were killed in the Battle of San Jacinto.  On August 10, 1881, about forty-five years after the historic battle, the New Orleans Times-Picayune carried a story stating that such a monument had been completed by Messrs. A. Allen and Co.  The monument was complete except for the proposed engraving to be placed on it.  It was described as a plain square spire made of blue American marble, fifteen and a half feet high and was to be set on a two foot foundation, making the whole structure just under eighteen feet tall.

It was decorated with eight stars, representing eight of the fallen Texas soldiers, those whose identities were known when the construction of the monument began.  A ninth name was added after the initial eight stars were placed.  The actual number of Texans who died or were mortally wounded is currently thought to be as many as eleven or twelve, but nine was the accepted number as of 1881.  The engraving was to include the names of the nine on one side with quotes from Sam Houston and T. J. Rusk on two other sides and the adornments on the fourth side.  In the newspaper accounts of the day, it was actually referred to as the San Jacinto Monument, although we now use that name to refer to the more recent (1939) and much larger 567.31 foot column that now sits on the battlefield.

Houston’s quote was said to have been taken from a letter to his friend Henry Raguet prior to the battle, “This morning we are in preparation to meet Santa Anna. It is the only chance of saving Texas. From time to time I have looked for reinforcements in vain.  We will only have about seven hundred to march with, besides the camp guard. We go to conquer. It is wisdom growing out of necessity to meet the enemy now. Every consideration enforces it. No previous occasion would justify it. The troops are in fine spirits, and now is the time for action.  We shall use our best efforts to fight the enemy to such advantage as will insure victory, though the odds are greatly against us.  I leave the results in the hands of a wise God, and rely upon His Providence. My country will do justice to those who serve her.  The rights for which we fight will be secured and Texas free.”

The quote from Rusk reads, “The sun was sinking on the horizon as the battle commenced, but at the close of the conflict, the sun of liberty and independence rose in Texas, never, it is hoped, to be obscured by the clouds of despotism.  We have read of deeds of chivalry, and perused with ardor the annals of war; we have contemplated, with the highest emotions of sublimity, the loud roaring thunder, the desolating tornado, and the withering simoon of the desert, but neither of these nor all, inspired us with emotions like those felt on this occasion.  There was a central cry which pervaded the ranks.  ‘Remember the ALAMO.  Remember La BAHIA.’  These words electrified all.  Onward was the cry.  The unerring aim and irresistible energy of the Texan army could not be withstood.  It was freemen fighting against the minions of tyranny and the result proved the inequality of such a contest.”  The quotation is thought to have been condensed from Rusk’s handwritten account of the battle from April 22, 1836.

firstsanjacintomonument

(Image: uncredited)

The marble used in the monument was later described as being constructed of the best Rutland, Vermont variegated marble.  The names of the nine individuals engraved on it are Lemuel Stockton Blakey, Benjamin Rice Brigham, Mathias Cooper, John C. Hale, George Lamb, Thomas Patton Fowle, William Junius Mottley, MD, Ashley R. Stephens and Olwyn J. Trask, all of whom were believed to have been killed or mortally wounded on the day of the battle.  The monument is alternatively referred to as the Brigham Monument. According to the comments of Louis W. Kemp written between 1930 and 1952 on the San Jacinto Museum website, when the monument was being developed (as of 1881) the simple grave markers for the deceased had deteriorated to the extent that Brigham’s was the only one still clearly identified.  For that reason, the monument was placed at his known grave site.  The monument is located due south of the Battleship Texas on the west side of Independence Parkway South, the road leading into the State Historic Site.  A small cemetery grew up around it and includes just over five dozen names.

The monument is now part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, which includes the battlefield, museum and the much larger  and better known obelisk monument.  Located at 3523 Independence Parkway South, La Porte, Texas, it is open generally from about 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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Posted by on January 17, 2019 in republic of texas

 

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Nat Love

Nathan/Nathaniel “Nat” Love was born into slavery but became a well known cowboy, even publishing a book on his life experiences, “The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick’.”  The book can be purchased or downloaded free from various sources.

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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in biography, black history

 

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The Legacy of John Avery Lomax and Alan James Lomax

We first became acquainted with the name John Avery Lomax, Sr. when we found a 1942 recording of “Goodbye Old Paint,” which song is attributed to singing cowboy Charley Willis.  The following is a brief overview of the many achievements of John Avery Lomax and son Alan James Lomax.

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Posted by on January 3, 2019 in biography, black history

 

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Liz Carpenter

Mary Elizabeth Sutherland Carpenter was born in Salado, Bell County, Texas in 1920 to Thomas Shelton and Mary Elizabeth Robertson Sutherland.  Her father was a state highway inspector and her mother was a homemaker.  Liz was the middle child of five children.  According to traditional genealogical sources, her mother, Mary Elizabeth Robertson was the daughter of Maclin Robertson who was in turn the son of Sterling Clack and Sarah Maclin Robertson.  Sterling Clack Robertson was born in 1785 in Tennessee and came to Texas as empresario of his own colony, settling in what would become Bell County near the current town of Salado.  Robertson was also a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.  On Liz’s father’s side, her Texas roots went back just as far.  Her father was Thomas Shelton Sutherland III.  His father was Thomas Shelton Sutherland II and his father was George Sutherland, born in Alabama and by profession a cowboy and rancher, who is noted as having served in the Texas Army and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto.

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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in authors, biography, texas women

 

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John R. Baylor

Various members of the Baylor family have figured into Texas history over the years.  John Robert Baylor was a nephew of Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, a judge and a preacher and also co-founder of Baylor University.  John Robert was born in 1822 in Paris, Kentucky to John Walker Bledsoe and Sophie Marie Wiedner Baylor.  John R. Baylor grew up in a military family, as his father was an Army doctor.  John Robert was the brother of George Wythe Baylor, a Texas Ranger and Henry Weidner Baylor, also a surgeon and a Texas Ranger.  Henry Weidner Baylor was the namesake of Baylor County in North Texas.

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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in biography, civil war

 

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Fort Davis

Fort Davis was one of the group of Texas frontier forts.  Also located on the short-lived Overland Trail, it provided protection for the travelers and settlers as well as the U. S. Mail in this contested area.  It was situated roughly equidistant between Fort Clark to the southeast and Fort Bliss to the northwest in what is now known as the Davis Mountains.  We would think of it today as being the northern point of a triangle with the points of the southern base being Marfa to the west and Alpine to the east.

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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in civil war, forts, tribes and tribal leaders

 

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Choctaw Code Talkers

People are probably more familiar with the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, but the Choctaw Tribe is proud to acknowledge the United States military service of its members.  As early as the Spanish-American War and in every conflict since, members of the Choctaw tribe have served as American soldiers.

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Posted by on December 6, 2018 in tribes and tribal leaders, world war 1

 

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