Battle of Gonzales

The Battle of Gonzales began on October 2, 1835 after some preliminary events. Back in 1831, Mexican authorities had loaned a small cannon to settlers in and around Gonzales to assist them in defending against Comanche incursions. Relationships between settlers and the Mexican government improved and declined over time, though trending toward animosity between them. At some point, the commander of Mexican troops in Texas favored seeking a return of the cannon, possibly to prevent it being used against them.

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Anahuac Disturbances

Anahuac, Texas is located a little less than an hour’s drive due east of downtown Houston. Early inhabitants are said to have included Native tribes such as the Caddo and Atakapan followed by European explorers. There were other European settlers living there by 1824 after which Mexican dictator Santa Anna overthrew the constitutional government of Mexico, leading to rising tensions in the area. The conflict and tension in Mexico between those who favored either the federalist or the centralist form of government was an undercurrent of the Texas Revolution and a complication for the Mexican government while trying to hold on to Texas.

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David and Hannah Burnet

David Gouverneur Burnet was born on April 14, 1788 in Newark, New Jersey to Dr. William Russell Burnet (1730-1791) and Gertrude Gouverneur Burnet (1725-1791). Dr. Burnet had been married twice, first to Mary Camp (1737-1781) with whom he had at least eleven children. After Mary died, Dr. Burnet married Gertrude, with whom he had another three children of which David was the youngest. The Burnet family was quite well known and influential in the early days of New Jersey. Many of the adult sons enlisted in the militia upon learning of the Battle of Lexington. Dr. Burnet had previously opened a medical office in Newark. During the Revolutionary War, he became surgeon general of the eastern army. One account stated that Dr. Burnet was stationed at West Point and was in the room with former patriot and traitor Benedict Arnold when he received a letter from a messenger that a British officer, a Major Andre, had been captured. Arnold knew that his activities in cooperation with the British were about to be exposed. During the war, the Burnet family hosted George and Martha Washington. Dr. Burnet and Mrs. Burnet died rather suddenly in 1791. Both of David’s parents having died when he was three years old, he went to live with two of his half brothers, Jacob and Isaac, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Vicente Filisola

Vicente Filisola is best known as being second in command to Gen. José López de Santa Anna in the latter days of the Texas Revolution. Filisola (1789-1850) was born in Ravello, Italy. Early in his life, Filisola’s family had moved from Italy to Spain, and he joined the Spanish army while still a young man in 1804. Filisola served in Europe for a time, but around 1811 is believed to have begun serving in Mexico, or New Spain as it was also known.

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Death of Stephen F. Austin

Known as the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, who succeeded his father Moses Austin as empresario of the Austin Colony, died on December 27, 1836. He had previously campaigned for the presidency of the new Republic of Texas but had overwhelmingly lost to Sam Houston. Houston and Austin had been competitors at times, but they also appear to have remained personally cordial, if not even friendly. Upon winning the election, Houston appointed Austin to be secretary of state. One of Austin’s primary duties was to seek recognition for the Republic of Texas from the United States.

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