Tuesday, March 17, 2009

San Jacento Battlegrounds.. and ancestors..

The San Jacento Monument. La Porte, TX

Below is an e-mail my brother sent me and others.. it starts with comments from him about our family and then most is a message from Senator Hutchinson. I knew my family had deep roots in Texas history but didn't realize it was so deep and strong... by the way my mom, Christine Lena Williamson, was raised by her aunt..Artie Lena Thomas, not her mom. So you can see the immediate connection... Interesting. I've added pics from our visit to the battlegrounds today.

From my brother.....

My ancestor, David Thomas signed this document, he's below Sam Houston. They both represented Refugio County. David was Secty of State, and later additionally acting Secty of War. He was traveling in a stagecoach when a pistol discharged and wounded him. He was taken to De ZaValla's home (the VP of Texas) where he died the day before the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21st). He is buried in the De ZaValla burial plot, located south of the Battleship Texas, behind the huge sundial. A red Texas Granite tombstone sits over both De ZaValla and Thomas at each corner on the plot.
Thomas is on the maternal side of our family.
Some claim that one of the reinforcement troops from Gonzales, Tx to the Alamo was one of our family, a Williamson, who died there.
doc anderson

Texas Independence Day Honors Our Tradition of Patriotism
February 27, 2009

Nearly 173 years ago, two very different groups of Texas patriots led a double-barreled effort that would eventually secure Texas’ independence from Mexico and change the future of the United States.
On March 2, 1836, a convention of 54 men drafted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at a small settlement called Washington-on-the-Brazos. Among the signers were my great-great grandfather, Charles S. Taylor of Nacogdoches, and his friends Sam Houston and Thomas Rusk, who later became the first Senators to represent Texas. On behalf of all Texans, they declared, “We, therefore . . . do hereby resolve and declare . . . the people of Texas do now constitute a free, sovereign and independent republic.”
During this time, 189 Texas soldiers were under siege at the Alamo in San Antonio by an estimated 6,000 Mexican troops who were determined to extinguish this newly created republic. Under the valiant leadership of Colonel William Barret Travis, these Texans, outnumbered 10 to 1 by Mexican forces, fought courageously in the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution.
Though Colonel Travis and his soldiers were willing to lay down their lives in service to Texas and in pursuit of its freedom, they knew that without reinforcements they would not be able to withstand the much larger Mexican army. In a final letter to all Texans shortly before the fall of the Alamo, Colonel Travis wrote:
Fellow citizens and compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man – the enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demands with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wall – I shall never surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country – Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis, Lt. Col, Commander
The sacrifice of Colonel Travis and his men made General Sam Houston’s subsequent victory at San Jacinto possible. As cries of “Remember the Alamo!” were delivered during the final battle of the Texas Revolution, General Houston and his soldiers won independence for Texas.
The Texans leading the fight against Mexico weren’t alone in their sacrifice. The signers of the Texas Declaration, like their forefathers who signed the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, risked their own lives and those of their families when they put pen to paper. They were considered traitors to Mexico as they used their voices, professions, and positions of influence to wage a critical battle in Texas’ struggle for independence.
My great-great grandfather’s own loss was significant. While he was doing the work of the Republic, all four of his children (ages seven and younger) who remained back at home in Nacogdoches died during the “runaway scrape,” when the women and children in the Nacogdoches Territory fled toward Louisiana because they feared Indians and Mexican troops were headed their way. Our family story did not end there, however. Charles S. Taylor and his wife, my great-great-grandmother, went on to have nine more children who were blessed to lead lives of independence and opportunity in Texas.
It is important that every generation of Texans pause to remember these patriots: each soldier who gave his life at the Alamo and Goliad; the 54 men who met at Washington-on-the-Brazos, putting their lives in danger by signing that Declaration of Independence and becoming heroes for a cause; and every man, woman, and child who struggled to make Texas the marve lous place it is today. While few of these Texans could have predicted Texas’ future prosperity and achievements, they all knew independence and freedom were worth any sacrifice.
Each year on March 2, I am honored to recognize our history by reading Colonel Travis’ letter on the floor of the United States Senate. The late Senator John G. Tower, who served in the Senate between 1961 and 1985, initiated this practice, and I am proud to carry on the tradition today. It is my hope that this ritual will last for generations to come, as our children and grandchildren carry on our state’s legacy of freedom and patriotism.

A view of the battle grounds from the monument.

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