SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2010, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved

Back to page 2

Reader Commentaries, Opinion and Topical Inquiries

 


Anglo Settlers' Disrespect.   "Sir: If the settlers that you speak about respected Tejanos and tried to live peacefully with the Indians how come the story of the Republic of Texas and US Texas is one of disrespect for Tejanos, and the annihilation of the Native Americans. Why such a radical change?  And in relation to the Anglo settlers not being interested in owning slaves, can you tell me why did Lundy write his famous letter? And why Stephen F. Austin in his private correspondence expresses disappointment about the fact that he will probably not be able to bring slaves into Tejas? You say that you are seeking deeper understanding of the history of Tejas.  Can you help me deepen my understanding by answering these questions?"  Miguel Bedolla

See sections on Slavery, Tejanos and Indians on Shorts and Opinions by Don Guillermo, and other original documents and archives on these controversial topics on Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas and the Texian Web Sites--DG


Alamo Legend is Haunting By Joe OlveraThe Alamo still haunts me. After all these years, after all that’s been said and done about how great that Texas monument is, the Alamo still haunts me. I realize it’s only a symbol, but the symbolism is what bothers me. Because, as a Chicano, I haven’t heard the whole truth about why tejanos fought for independence from Mexico. At this stage of my life I wonder if I ever will. The Alamo stands as a symbol of good vs. evil. The good, of course, was the fight for freedom by "Texians," those Anglos who had made "Tejas" their own and who clamored for Coahuila, the seat of Mexican power in 1835, to stop interfering. The evil was the Mexican nation, which owned Tejas and more than 1.1 million square miles of the territory that is now the Southwestern United States. The Texians were good, the texts would have us believe, because they wanted freedom from the tyranny of Mexico.

What they never tell us is that the "tyranny" was connected to the fact that Mexico had abolished slavery and it demanded that the Texians free their slaves. It’s as cut and dried as that. But Anglo historians would never own up to it. In fact, most still deny it was a significant factor today. Actually, the Texians were willing to free their slaves. But they demanded that Coahuila reimbuse them for the great economic loss they would suffer from $1,500 to $2,000 a head. If a Texan owned 100 healthy slaves, he was claiming a $150,000 to $200,000 financial "loss." Slavery was about economics as much as race. Coahuila refused to pay for the slaves’ release from human bondage. That didn’t sit too well with the Texians. Rumbles of revolution began to stir in the desert wind. As it was, many slaves were running away, across the border to Mexico. There they were given land and money to help them set up homesteads. There they received their first taste of freedom, and they loved it. They married Mexican women and conceived children of mixed heritage. They invariably learned the language and settled in for a life of relative happiness. They became Mexican citizens and lived the good life in the midst of their Mexican brethren.

The Alamo still haunts me, then, because it represents a lie. It marks the first major battle in the Texians’ war for independence from Mexico. Independence for the Texians. But for their black slaves, there would be no such thing. For them, it would be business as usual. The business of being owned by a Texian. In that battle for independence, more than 200 Texians were killed by the Mexican army. Ironically, the Texians regarded as heroes because they died under the banner of freedom from tyranny. Should I forgive and forget? Let bygones be bygones? After all, it’s been more than 160 years. I visited the Alamo at age 19, when I was a member of the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Of course, I didn’t know then what I know today. Since that time, I learned a lot from books like Across the Rio Grande to Freedom: Negroes in Mexico by Rosalie Schwartz (Texas Western Press, 1974). Coahuila was stepping on Texian toes in other ways. But it most crucial sin was its demand that the slaves be freed.

So how can I forgive and forget? How can I raise my hand to honor the Texas flag when no atonement has been made for the most unforgivable of acts against humanity? Mexico lost Tejas because it took the high road on the issue of slavery. The United States gained another slave-owning state and all that it represented when it annexed Texas in 1845. The Concord Desk Encyclopedia at my elbow compacts it into two sentences:

"Alamo." Spanish mission-fortress in San Antonio, Texas, the site of a heroic defense in 1836 by less than 200 Texans in the struggle for independence from Mexico. All the defenders, including such heroes as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, died in a lengthy siege by 4,000 Mexicans under Santa Anna."

The Mexican armies of the bungling Santa Anna have been made the culprit. They are the evil that caused the Texians to wage a war for freedom. Let freedom ring. Forgive and forget? I don’t think so.

Mr. Olvera is a native of El Paso, a columnist with The Frontier Voice, and a veteran border journalist. This commentary appeared in the Outlook section of The Houston Chronicle and Latino Link Commentary in 1999.

See Slavery and the Texas Revolution at Shorts and Opinions by Don Guillermo, the general section on Slavery, and other original documents and archives on these controversial topics on Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas and the Texian Web Sites--DG


Texian Criminals & Tyrants. "It is quite apparent that these rebels and down right criminals didn't abide by the laws and conditions......of 1830, and to be given the respect as national heroes is absurd!!  It is no wonder that many historians see only the atrocities the "Mexican Government"......delivered. But, how is one to react to tyrants who were given free land, a new opportunity for life, and turn this to their own personal revolution.....If you recall, William Travis abandoned his family and business due to personal failure, Jim Bowie as a Louisiana renegade took advantage of a prominent family in San Antonio, and need I say more about Mr."King of the Wild Frontier" David Crockett, who packed his bags and left due to personal failure! But, OH! What a hero!........yeah right, read "De La Peña" diary without interpretation! It is quite evident what occurred that misty morning of March 6, 1836. The man surrendered and Gen. Castrillon plead for his life to no avail.  How else would you treat a tyrant, rebel and coward!!  In your eyes of course he is a true American hero! But then again those are only the pre-requisites to become an American hero! Remember....go to a foreign country, pretend that you like it (become a productive citizen) when you don't agree with with something start your revolution! It's the ole' American recipe! You know what's unfortunate for those that maintained the political climate since???  Hispanics are soon to become the majority of the minority, and I guess our saying will be "Remember San Jacinto", "Remember Bilingual Education",  "Remember Affirmative Action",  "Remember It Is Us Who Decide Where Our Future Lies."  Rolando Salinas, Eagle Pass, TX 

Also see Shorts and Opinions by Don Guillermo, original documents and archives on these controversial topics throughout the Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas and Texian Web Sites--DG

 


Hispanic Contributions.   "I would like to thank-you on behalf of the Hispanic population, with origins in the early Colonial Spanish and Mexican Texas days for your website. It is the first site I have been to that enobles the contibutions and participation of those Pioneer Hispanics who have been for forgotten or white washed. It is so important to be able to see a site and understand that these societies did have a presence.  I am Don Michael Salinas de Longoria, a descendant of the Salinas family, connected to José María Salinas, and also a descendant earlier from the Navarro family line from Coahuila-Texas.  I live in New York, so I  don't have access to much in the way of Texas history here, its all about the Yankees....

I also happened to notice the articles relating to Slaves, Texas and Mexico. I understood the different points of view but I wonder how much the person speaking about Santa Ana really knows.  My research of ancestors who were Original Spanish Land Grantees reveals that they had slaves. They are listed with all of the first settlers coming into New Spain after the conquest. They eventually became the servants of the household.  Many documents exist to verify this. Was he not aware that the Spanish were in the shipping business, and slaves was one of their cargoes?"  Michael Salinas


Revisiting the Alamo
By Agapito Mendoza, Ph.D.
© 1999 Agapito Mendoza

The recently generated interest in the history of events surrounding the Battle of the Alamo in Texas has brought back an onslaught of memories that I am sure many of my generation share. In the early 1950’s as we were going through the educational process in the western-most part of the State, the presentation of those events were always one-sided. We were given the Disney version promulgated by the personage of John Wayne who played the hero David Crockett. To hear teachers tell and retell that story as part of planned curriculum, it was a battle fought by a handful of daredevil Anglos against thousands of Mexican soldiers. Only after days and days of constant warfare was the Alamo overtaken, at the expense of many Mexican deaths but at little consequence to the Anglo defenders. Many schools and buildings were named after these individuals, again all of them Anglos.

So all of us Chicanos carried with us this constant stigma that was ascribed to us through lessons in Texas history. This continued on to high school, and for some of us, even in college and university classrooms. "Remember the Alamo" was a constant reminder of this supposed treacherous act by Mexicans against all that was right and virtuous. This battle cry was often heard even at high school sporting events such as football, when a predominantly Anglo school played a predominantly Chicano populated one.

Personally, I did not give this phenomena much attention as the years passed. There were other priorities in life and I actually did not spend any time speculating about any truths, mistruths, or lies about this historical event. One year, we decided that the family vacation would involve a tour of Texas since we had been away living in Illinois for a few years. Part of our plans were to spend a considerable amount of time in San Antonio, a place I had visited before but had intentionally not played the tourist at the Alamo. Was I in for an awakening.

As we entered this hollowed shrine, my attention was immediately drawn to a series of names that surrounded the upper part of the walls within the structure. They seemed to be carved into the rooms themselves, ensuring their existence forever. I inquired at the information desk what these names represented. They informed me that these were the "martyrs" that died defending the Alamo and were all heroes bar none. My eyes swelled with tears as I read some of the names:

Carlos Espalier
Gregorio Esparza
Antonio Fuentes
Jose Maria Guerrero
Toribio Domingo
Andres Nava
Antonio Cruz Y Arocha
Alexandro de la Garza
Juan N. Seguin
Losoya (first name not given)

What joke was someone trying to play? These men were actually there within the walls of the Alamo fighting for the independence of Texas from Mexico? Was I truly that ignorant that this most important fact about Texas history had eluded me for so many years? I quickly scribbled their names on a piece of paper which I have held on to for the last fifteen years. This was known knowledge. These names had been embedded in these walls for decades. Why was this story not told in the classrooms to young Chicano children? Was it worth the efforts to portray their ancestors in a negative fashion or to not mention their contributions at all?

To rethink and discuss topics such as this is a healthy endeavor. We must reassess historical data from a realistic perspective and forget how Hollywood and superfluous writers have distorted or not portrayed history as it happened.

Dr. Mendoza is Vice-Provost at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  From Latino Link Commentary, June 1999.  Reprinted by permission.

See also Hispanic Tejano Patriots and associated links--DG


Mexican-American War.   "I'd like to learn more about the Mexican-American War or War of North American intervention in Mexico.  I am interested in hearing what your site has to say on the subject."  Francisco Castaneda

To oversimplify a topic which has given rise to and still requires volumes of detailed description and debate:  The event you refer to represents the triumph by default of self-service, tribalism, vice regalism, union of church (superstition) and state, dictatorship, blind nationalism, racism, centralism and imperialism over individual, cultural and regional self-determination, democracy and federalism, a consequence of subversion of the vision and sacrifice of early American patriots like Miguel Gregorio Antonio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mandarte y Villaneñor, José María Morelos y Pavon, José Felix Fernández, Vicente Guerrero, and others.

Porfirio Diaz in 1891------If Morelos had lived to the year 1821, Iturbide would not have been able to take control of the national insurrection; and the nation would not have passed through a half century of shameful and bloody revolution which caused it to lose half of its territory. Today it would be the powerful republic which we would have expected from seventy years of development initiated by the courage, the abnegation, prudence, and political skill, of which that extraordinary man was the model."

In that half century of shame out of which the Mexican Republic is still evolving, 1821-1845 Tejas, with her coalition of self-reliant and independent-minded native Tejanos and immigrants from the young United States of the North, was the Lone Star of hope, the example and potential cornerstone of a second, multi-cultural democratic Federal Republic in the Americas.  Texas (and most of the independent-minded Northern Mexican States for that matter) were shamefully neglected and feared, her residents constantly threatened with genocide, her protagonists like Manuel de Mier y Terán, Lorenzo de Zavala and Stephen F. Austin, driven to early deaths or alliance with the United States of the North for survival.  Countless nameless Creole patriots who resisted lie in unmarked graves throughout Mexico, the victims of unrecorded executions of Centralist despots.  Continued refusal of Mexican Centralists (and more unfortunately many Federalists) to recognize the Republic of Texas and to ally with it in peace to build a free and economically prosperous regional alliance of Northern Mexican States with or including Texas forced Texas to look to the United States of the North for survival and eventually be annexed to it.  These events left the area open for unrestrained adventurism and random development with both its good and bad aspects exercised in the extreme.  This gave the power structure of the Northeastern United States carte blanche to fulfill its greed, exercise its imperialism and colonialism with distal bureacratic incompetence over Texas and territory west to the Pacific.  The US War with Mexico and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with the accompanying net loss over time of near half of the Mexican Republic from the Sabine River to the Pacific was a culmination of these long series of events.

On an ironic and optimistic note, the State of Texas as eloquently symbolized in its current Lone Star flag and primarily the former territories of New Spain and the Republic of Mexico represents the realization of the dream of both Hispanic (Spanish Peninsulares and Mexican Creoles) Federalist and Nordic immigrant Mexican patriots for multi-cultural, economically prosperous, regionally-independent Federalist states within an American federation which is coming to include the Mexican Republic, the United States of the North and the Canadian Republic.  This idea was first implemented in Texas in 1811 while Mexico was still a part of Spain by the revolutionary government of Juan Bautista de Las Casas.  The Las Casas government proclaimed free commerce between the United States and Texas which was acclaimed in the press of the United States

"by autumn of 1811 self-government would be exercised by the people from Texas to the Gulf of Darien; and that the profitable results of the revolution for United States citizens would be the establishing of a free and profitable commerce with Texas and Mexico."

The region comprising Texas and the former territories of the Republic of Mexico together with the Northern Mexican states is and will continue to be the strongest and most dynamic in respect to both economy and culture in this larger North American Federation fulfilling the subverted dreams of early Mexican Federalist Republicans, most precisely those spelled out by Mexican statesman and Texian, first Vice-President of the Republic of Texas, Lorenzo de Zavala.--DG.

For general information and diverse views on the subject:
The Descendants of Mexican War Veterans
The History Guy:  The Mexican-American War
PBS--The US Mexican War (1846-1848)


Period Mexicans want to, but cannot, should not forget.  Just to congratulate you for your awesome, spectacular website! I'm a Mexican graphic design student and a history geek (specially a Santa Anna one) in my free time. In spite of some differences of opinion due to obvious reasons, I've found your site informative, objective and respectful. I've been surfing through it for hours, surprise after surprise and quite delighted with the inmense amount of data at my disposal; I felt like a little girl in the country fair.A very valuable resource of an almost forgotten period in my country's history, I'm glad to see and read the testimonies of both parts from their very voices. It's such a shame the best studies about the War of Texas and the Mexican-American War are written not by Mexicans, but by others as if those very humiliating and painful events (as they are for us) hadn't been the most shameful proof of what selfishness and fighting over power can do to a whole nation. As if their example hasn't been enough for teaching us it is work and not intrigue that makes a country rich and prosperous......But, let's stop sobbing uselessly. Again, congratulations for your website, I loved it and I'm very likely to visit it for the nex weeks and months. I adored to read Almonte's biographyPeter Ellis Bean's life was agreeably astonishing.  I was delighted.  Want to know more about him. A great work.  Keep on with that. Cierra los ojos y verás--Joseph Joubert.  Cecilia Tentle 2005


Respect for Mier y Terán.  "....As a youngster I was taught Texas history and it gave me a deep and lasting appreciation for my heritage, but alas, it was distorted.   I am not a proponent of ethnic history months but I do recognize that there has been a terrible omission of truly important histories regarding "minorities" which must be corrected.  I already had a profound respect for de Zavala, de Leon, Seguin, and Navarro, but your narrative on Mier y Terán has abruptly and irreversibly altered preconceived impressions I had about this man (my ancestors were both at Anahuac and Velasco).  Thanks again for your invaluable website." John B. Boyce


Anglo-Celts at their best.   Just got through looking through your website.... excellent, very nice work.   I like the term Anglo-Celts  to describe the early English speaking settlers circa 1800-1880s.  By Anglo-Celts I mean the large (and dominant) group of people in the South who descend of the waves of immigrants from the Celtic fringe of the British Isles who settled on the American Backsettlements from 1700 to 1800.  The were Celtic in ancestry and folkways, but had gone through a language shift to English. They were a mixed bag of Celts, native Irish, Hebrideans, Ulster Scots, Manx, Lowland Scots of both Cymric and Gaelic ancestry, Highlanders, border English, etc. added to the hybrid Celtic mix was the occasional Indian family and Deutsh settler.......A Potent mix.  They were an non-prefixed anonymous people who in their metamorphosied state of frontiersmen/cowboy/mountainman/free-range rancher and small farmer, extended their culture across the South and southwest.  They made the trails, suffered uncounted hardships, and with axe and rifle made a country in the process.  I always thought they were at their best in Texas circa 1836 to 1848.   Again, your Sons of De Witt Colony Texas is an excellent read.  Don Barra (aka B. R. MacCain) Oxford, Mississippi


The Ayuntamiento.  What an excellent site.  I stumbled upon the Sons of DeWitt Colony, Texas from the Gonzales County, TxGenWeb site.  It is such a great source of Texas information.......While looking at the Sons of DeWitt Colony, Texas, I noticed that there was a "Proceedings of the Gonzales Ayuntamiento."   What is a Ayuntamiento?  I have a petition for a Ayuntamiento in Tenehaw located in what is now ShelbyCo, TX.  I couldn't figure out the Ayuntamiento word until I was on this site and it just rang a bell that what I had, had the word Ayuntamiento in it.  Renee Smelley Longview, Texas

RS:  From the Handbook of Texas: TENEHAW MUNICIPALITY. Tenehaw (Tenaja, Tenaha, Teneha) District, part of Nacogdoches Municipality in 1833, became Tenehaw Municipality in 1835, with Nashville (now Shelbyville) as the seat of government. On January 11, 1836, the name of the municipality was changed to Shelby. 

The Handbook online also has about the best definition of the Ayuntamiento around.  It was the basic unit of local government as a city or community council in Mexican Texas.  You can find a lot more detail about government in colonial Texas under DeWitt Colony Government (also Coahuila y Tejas for colonization laws) on the site, where ayuntamiento and laws of colonization are mentioned often, including the ayuntamiento.   The citizens of Tenehaw were following the regulations of their government, Mexico, in the document--DG


Rio Rojo v. Colorado Rivers.   I ran across a document "E.W. Ripley on immigration--August 1823" that says that a group of people want to emigrate from the U.S. "into the Mexican Territory on the South Side of the Colorado of the Mississipi." Surely from the context this is a reference to the Red River, not the Colorado River of Texas. Do you know who the recipient of this letter might be, I am guessing either Austin or some official in the Mexican government?  Roger Griffin, Austin Community College

RG:  General Eleazar Wheelock Ripley (1782-1839) earned the rank of brigadier general in the War of 1812 and after resignation from the army in 1820, he practiced law in New Orleans. He was later a Louisiana congressman. He showed great interest in the separation of Mexico from Spain and the political and economic development of an independent Republic of Mexico with a focus on activities in Texas. He was a political advisor and financial backer of Dr. Colonel James Long’s activities in Texas in establishing the short-lived second Republic of Texas in partnership with José Félix Trespalacios and leader of the first Republic of Texas, Bernardo Gutierrez. Ripley was invited by Long's Supreme Council to become President and ex-officio Commander in Chief of the armies and navies. He outlined a detailed policy, which included plans for stimulating trade, culture, religion, education and manufacturing and agriculture. Slavery would be forbidden in the new Republic. Ripley drew up detailed plans for roads, bridges, canals and clearing land for farms. Apparently, Ripley never assumed the position and never came to Texas presumably because of health and personal reasons. The document on which your inquiry is based shows Ripley’s continued interest in Texas as a Louisiana politician. His son, Sergeant H. D. Ripley, sergeant of Captain Burke’s Company of Mobile Greys, was captured and executed at Goliad in 1836.

In direct answer to your queries, the long name of the Rio de San Andres de los Cadadachos was shortened to Rio Rojo obviously because of its characteristic red color from the soil of the Redlands area. The name Colorado meaning colored is one step away from specifically red, the term was probably the most generally used, because of less than clear water, by the various Spanish entradas to name Texas rivers other than the one which bears its name today. Ripley may have made the error of calling the Rio Rojo the Colorado due to similarity of the terms, or Colorado could have been in use at one time for the Rio Rojo (I have not seen a reference to that so far).  One assumes that Ripley is referring to south of the Red River, but west of the Sabine River, the boundary established by the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819.   Conceivably Ripley may have felt that the Louisiana-Texas border was still the Arroyo Hondo and Calcasieu Rivers, if not firmly, then for flattering political reasons aimed at his correspondent, likely a Mexican government official (see below).  However, this was certainly not the view of the recipient of his support, Dr. James Long, whose filibustering activities were based on dissatisfaction with the arrangment of 1819.

If the date on the letter, August 1823, is correct, this would have been after José Félix Trespalacios resigned as first governor of Texas with a full term under the independent Republic of Mexico 17 Apr 1823. However, he started his term 17 Aug 1822. In the event the 1823 date is one year off, the letter could well have been from Ripley to his colleague which he knew well who had just become governor of Texas.  To me the tone of the letter, e.g. "they will conform to your language..." and "vast service to yourself individually and to the nation of Mexico..."  leans toward an official within the newly independent government other than a foreign-born empresario, but does not preclude them.  If the 1823 date is correct, then this may well have been to second Texas governor Don Luciano Garcia, or as you suggest one of the empresarios---DG


Sherman San Jacinto Liberty Flag of the Newport VolunteersNewport Volunteers & General Sidney Sherman.  I have been reading your website with intense fascination. Thank you for all the work you have put into it. I am particularly interested in the Kentucky Volunteers under Colonel Fannin, and I have some questions regarding them that I am hoping you can answer for me, or can suggest where I might find the answers:
1. As volunteers, what sort of training and drill would they have undergone before they left Kentucky?
2. What equipment and clothing did they take with them?
3. On what date did they leave Newport, Kentucky, and by what route did they arrive at Gonzales? I am assuming that they took a single steamship down the Ohio river to the Mississippi, around the Gulf of Mexico, and back up the Guadalupe. Is this correct? It seems to me it would be a long and difficult journey to make, and an expensive one for 50 men. Who paid for it? I thank you for your time and trouble, and for the great website. yours truly, Mike Rose.

**********************

Sidney Sherman PortraitI assume you refer to volunteers recruited by Sidney Sherman of Kentucky who were never asssociated with Col. James Fannin. They were known as the Newport Volunteers, Newport Rifles, Kentucky Rifles or Buck-eye Rangers in various sources. Sympathy for the Texian cause of self-determination under the Mexican Constitution of 1824 after betrayal by the dictator Santa Anna in 1835 was especially intense in the state of Kentucky and particularly around Covington, Newport and Cincinnati. Sidney Sherman, a man of considerable means, was a native of the area and especially aroused for the cause. Records of numerous public meetings and newspaper accounts in Cincinnati indicate the interest in the Texian cause. There are multiple written documents of resolutions made by local government to aid the cause conceptually and materially. In Dec 1835, Sherman began to sell off his assets and recruit his company of 50 men. According to Sherman's granddaughter's writings, he "uniformed, equipped and supplied them with ammunition and food from his private purse." Sherman was a commissioned Captain in the Kentucky militia, he set up a camp and exercised rigid military discipline and training. It is believed that Sherman recruited most of the 50 from the military post at Newport. It is unclear if he was allowed facilities or cooperation of the post directly for training or supplies, but some think that may have occurred. In several accounts, the volunteers are referred to as "handsomely uniformed, fully equipped with a good supply of ammunition and provisions." It is conceivable that the volunteers received material aid from the local citizens groups and particularly the "ladies organizations" who gave extensive moral support and material support in the form of banners and uniform insignia, if not full uniforms.

On 31 Dec 1835, the troop boarded a steamer at Cincinnati and began their journey down the Ohio River. The night before the troop were given a huge ball and banquet at a high standing citizen of Cincinnati's mansion where the Liberty flag of San Jacinto was presented and consigned to James Sylvester. Sylvester asked the beautiful daughter of the host if she would give him a token of good luck to carry to Texas. Pulling off one of her long white gloves and casting it at his feet, she replied "Here, Sir, let this be your gage of battle, bear it foremost in the fight." Sylvester placed it on the staff of the company flag which had been presented to the troops by the ladies of Newport. He said "I take it as a pledge of victory and I will die before I surrender it to a foe." The flag and glove became the single most recognized flag at the Battle of San Jacinto which resulted in Texas independence from Mexican dictatorship. US soldiers from the barracks at Newport and many citizens of the area were on the docks to wave them off although it was snowing heavily. The steamer Augusta left Cincinnati in a snowstorm with Mrs. Sherman aboard. She planned to leave the group at Natchez and return home to family at Frankfort, KY until Sherman would later return to take her to Texas. The steamer stopped at Louisville where more soldiers headed for Texas boarded. At Louisville, the volunteers were drilled intensively to keep fit and prepare for war mentally. After joining the Mississippi River, the steamer arrived at Vicksburg, MS on 6 Jan as documented by journals of other passengers who referred to Mr. and Mrs. Sherman and the volunteers. On 8 Jan they reached Natchez where Mrs. Sherman departed. At Natchez, the Kentucky Volunteers boarded the steamer Statesman and traveled the Red River to Natchitoches, Louisiana which was as close as they could get by riverboat to their destination Nacogdoches. Sherman became ill at Natchitoches and sent his men on by foot to Nacogdoches where he joined them later after recovery. He arrived on 28 Jan in Nacogdoches on a well-known ferry owned by Capt. James Gaines, which crossed the Sabine River. From the diary of a Colonel Gray who was not a member of the troop, but accompanied the Kentucky Volunteers to Washington-on-the-Brazos and San Felipe, one has a daily account of their movements and activities in and after leaving Nacogdoches. On 1 Feb 1836, the troop was still in Nacogdoches where an armed confrontation initiated by Lt. William Wood of the volunteers occurred over their denial to vote by election judges for delegates to the upcoming independence convention in Washington. Impassioned speeches by multiple local leaders including Potter and Rusk exhorted the troop to abide by the current constitution and laws of the land and reserve their action for engaging the enemy, not the Texians that they had come to support. The situation was defused, a general vote upheld the denial to vote, but was reversed later. The troop at first refused like spoiled children to vote when the polls opened, but finally did end up voting. The troop left Nacogdoches about noon on 6 Feb 1836 and arrived in San Felipe on 14 Feb. where Capt. Sherman presented his company to provisional governor Smith for service. By 23 Feb the volunteers were in Washington where they learned of the siege of the Alamo and where the independence convention had begun. Capt. Sherman obviously pondered heavily over whether to remain at the convention and participate in it or go to the aid of the besieged Alamo as many others in Washington. Apparently reaching the conclusion that he had come to Texas to fight in defense of liberty rather than politic, he proposed to the citizens of the town to march the next day for the relief of the Alamo. As history shows, the troop, like all others except the men of the DeWitt Colony from Gonzales, opted against going in relief of the Alamo. On 6 Mar the troop, instead of relieving the Alamo arrived in Gonzales after its fall to participate in the muster of Houston’s army and the march to San Jacinto--Don Guillermo. Sources: General Sidney Sherman: Texas Soldier, Statesman and Builder by W.N. Bate and A Comprehensive History of Texas 1685 to 1897 by Dudley Wooten.


Relevance of Texas History in Schools  If studied in depth, Texas history is European, Spanish, Mexican, Black and US history. It is time, not to discuss ablating mandatory Texas history, but to increase the relevance of the content and train a new generation of teachers who can creatively present it.  

Hear, hear! In my researching of the Gibson family, I have learned so much about American history, reading about Texas history. I highly recommended Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach. This is absolutely one of the best histories of Texas. Imagine this as the keystone of a Texas history curriculum and you're on to something.  Anyone who thinks that Texas history is irrelevent today is in dire need of the course!  I grew up in Indiana and Florida. I know very little about those states. There is no mandatory state history requirement in either state (at least there was none). It was not until I began reading for an understanding of my and my wife's ancestors' behavior that I discovered the interconnections between these former frontier states and Texas. Even though each was part of the great American frontier at one time or another, their histories pale in comparison to Texas. Nowhere else in America, if not the world, did pioneers face three distinct and deadly, dangerous frontiers. Mr. Fehrenbach does an admirable job driving home this point, so I will defer to him in educating those who are clueless of this fact. Suffice it to say that Texas history is unique and filled with lessons to be learned that can provide a basis for understanding and dealing with the complexities of todays world. One has but to drink from the well.  Shannon Clyde Gibson/Gipson Family History and Genealogy


Was learning Spanish required by law in Mexican Texas?  I have been searching for documentary evidence that Spain and/or Mexico required colonists to learn Spanish as one of the conditions for settling in Texas. I have not been able to find such evidence. Can you point me in the right direction?  Frank D. Whiteside, Model Lesson Writer 2004

You will find in the national and state colonization laws of the Mexican Republic no Spanish language requirement although Spanish was designated as the official language for legal documents. Until subverted by continuous revolution and then Centralism and dictatorship, under the Federalist Constitution of the Mexican United States of 1824, the colonization rules were quite liberal and even more liberal in the state of Coahuila y Tejas.  Under Mexican Federalism states enjoyed great autonomy in determining local laws to fit their individual region and citizens. The only restriction on personal attributes for colonization was generally good moral character, otherwise restrictions were based on merit and productivity. Although the Constitution of 1824 and that of the State of Coahuila y Tejas of 1827 declared the Apostolic Catholic Church the official state religion, in practice membership was not enforced, but professing it guaranteed constitutional protection in its practice.  In practice, Christianity in general was accepted by generally liberal official Catholic priests in the region..

In my opinion most Anglo-Mexican immigrants who were granted land by the government under the Empresario System and were sincere and dedicated to building a new prosperous and democratic state within Mexico that would be an example and might spread to all of Mexico learned Spanish those days for practical reasons. Those who came later as squatters, opportunists, fortune hunters, etc. from the US with no intentions to become Mexican citizens showed little interest.


SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2010, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved