Tag Archives: Texas Revolution

Today in Texas History – February 22

From the Annals of the Revolution –  In 1836, former Mexican soldier Nepomuceno Navarro joined forces with the Texas Revolution when he enlisted in Juan N. Seguín’s company of Tejanos. Navarro had been a private serving in the Mexican Army at Bexar and later at Fort Tenoxtitlan on the Brazos River.  He left the Army in 1832 and settled in San Antonio.  Seguin’s company served as the rear guard for the main body of Sam Houston’s army. Navarro also served with Seguín at the battle of San Jacinto. For his participation in the Texas Revolution he received land grants and a pension. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association until his death, in San Antonio in 1877.

Today in Texas History – November 4

From the Annals of the Revolution –  In 1835,  Texians and a Mexican Army contingent met at the battle of Lipantitlán on the east bank of the Nueces River three miles above San Patricio in San Patricio County, directly across from Fort Lipantitlán. A Texas force of around seventy men under Adjutant Ira J. Westover engaged a Mexican force of about ninety men under Capt. Nicolás Rodríguez.  Reports were that the battle lasted thirty-two minutes, leaving twenty-eight Mexicans dead, including Lt. Marcellino García, second in command. The Texans suffered only one casualty, when a rifle ball cut off three of the fingers on William Bracken’s right hand.  Red always questions these lop-sided reports of results, but then again the victors write history.

Today in Texas History – October 27

From the Annals of the Founders –  In 1806, Juan Seguín was born in San Antonio.  Seguin was an early opponent of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and participated in the Battle of Bexar which drove Mexican forces out of San Antonio in 1835.  He was commissioned as a Captain in the regular Texas army and joined William B. Travis at the Alamo.   He escaped death in the final battle only because Travis sent him through the Mexican lines to carry his famous “never surrender or retreat” letter.  JS got the letter through and returned with men to reinforce the crumbling mission only to find that it had already fallen.  He continued to serve and after the revolution became the only Hispanic Texan in the Senate of the Texas Republic and later served as mayor of San Antonio.

Today in Texas History – April 18

From the Annals of the Tejanos – In 1842, Juan Seguín resigned as Mayor of San Antonio due to threats on his life.   He was falsely accused of aiding the Mexican army and discrimination against Texans of Mexican origin – even those who served in the revolution –  became too oppressive.  He fled to Mexico to “seek refuge amongst my enemies,” where he was captured, arrested and coerced to enlist in the Mexican army as a staff officer. He returned to San Antonio with the opposition army of Adrian Woll  in September 1842 and in a cruel twist of fate later served under Santa Anna in the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848.

In February 1848, Seguín requested permission to return to Texas and eventually  established a home adjacent to his father’s house and began ranching in Floresville.  He also returned to political life and was elected to two terms as Justice of the Peace of Bexar County and later County Judge of Wilson County. In 1883 he settled in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas to be near his son Santiago, who was mayor. He died there on August 27, 1890. His remains were returned to Texas in 1974 and as part of the nation’s Bicentennial celebration were reinterred in Seguin during ceremonies on July 4, 1976.

Today in Texas History – March 15

From the Annals of Masonry –  In 1836, Texian soldier Lewis Ayers was captured by forces under the command of Mexican General Jose de Urrea.  Ayers in action under Captain Amon King engaging Urrea’s rear guard when he was captured  with 32 other soldiers.  The prisoners were ordered to be executed as rebels.  One of Urrea officers, Colonel J.J. Holzinger  intervened to spare the German prisoners.  Ayers was not German but was included in the group to be spared.  Legend has it that he was later released after giving a Masonic sign that Gen. Urrea recognized.

Image of Gen. Urrea from tshaonline.org.

Today in Texas History – February 23

From the Annals of the Revolution –  In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began when Mexican troops under the command of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Bexar and began to encircle the crumbling mission.   Despite knowledge that the Mexican Army was on the move, the Texian troops at the Alamo commanded by the inexperienced Col. William B. Travis were almost completely surprised by their arrival.  Historians have speculated that the Texians were still recovering from an all night party celebrating George Washington’s birthday.  The Mexican troops were no more than 1.5 miles from Bexar when they were finally spotted by a sentry in the San Fernando Church bell tower. Advance Mexican cavalry under the command of Gen. Joaquin Ramirez y Sesma would likely have taken the mission in a surprise attack but were delayed by rains which flooded the Medina River.  At the time, the Texians had only 156 able-bodied troops in the Alamo and almost no provisions.  They were able to herd a few cattle into the compound and scrounged enough corn from local houses to last for maybe a month.  By late afternoon, Béxar was occupied by about 1500 Mexican troops, who quickly raised a blood-red flag signifying “No Quarter.”  Travis answered Santa Anna’s request for a parlay with a cannon shot.  Believing that Travis had acted foolishly, James Bowie who was in command of the volunteers at the Alamo, sent Green B. Jameson to meet with Santa Anna.  The General refused but did allow Jameson to meet with some of his officers.  The Mexican officers conveyed the following message:  “I reply to you, according to the order of His Excellency, that the Mexican army cannot come to terms under any conditions with rebellious foreigners to whom there is no recourse left, if they wish to save their lives, than to place themselves immediately at the disposal of the Supreme Government from whom alone they may expect clemency after some considerations.”

Today in Texas History – January 5

From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, David Crockett arrived in Texas.  At the time, he was one of the most famous men in America.  In 1834, the newly formed Whig Party had seriously considered Rep. Crockett of Tennessee for its presidential candidate.  Crockett was a folk hero based on his backwoods origins, but he was also a reasonable shrewd politician who played up his popular image in winning a seat in Congress representing west Tennessee. He had pushed for land reform that would have benefitted his landless Tennessee constituents and refused to kowtow to Pres. Andrew Jackson.  He strongly opposed the president’s Indian Removal Bill.  But after suffering a last electoral defeat, he apparently realized that he could not compete with the powerful Jackson.  When he lost his congressional seat in 1835 he was at a low point.  Heavily in debt and estranged from his wife, he embarked on the trip to Texas undoubtedly hoping to revive his sagging political fortunes.  He was well received in Texas and likely would have been a political force in the Republic had he survived the Revolution.  “I told the people of my District, that, if they saw fit to re-elect me, I would serve them as faithfully as I had done,but, if not, they might to go to hell, and I would go to Texas.”

Today in Texas History – December 7

From the Annals of the Colonists – In 1830, Texas pioneer and memoir writer Noah Smithwick was banished from Texas as “a bad citizen.” Smithwick came to Texas in 1827 as a young man settling in San Felipe. He came to the aid of a friend who was accused of murder and chained in leg irons.  Being a blacksmith, Smithwick furnished the prisoner with a file and a gun so he might escape.  Smithwick was tried and declared and banished from the colony. Smithwick returned to Matagorda in the fall of 1835 and reached Gonzales the day after the opening battle of the Revolution.  He served in the Texas Army and after the Revolution, tried cattle ranching before establishing a mill near Marble Falls.

Smithwick was an ardent Unionist and after receive receiving threats from secessionists he left Texas with a number of friends and moved to  southern California in 1861.  He dictated his memoirs to his daughter. After his death in 1899, she had the manuscript published by Karl H. P. N. Gammel as The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days.

Today in Texas History – November 30

From the Annals of Lawlessness –  In 1890, Texas pioneer and author John H. Jenkins was killed in a gunfight in Bastrop.  Jenkins was attempting to save his son, the County Sheriff, from an ambush when he was shot down.  Jenkins had moved to Texas as a young boy with his family eventually settling on the banks of the Colorado near present-day Bastrop.  After his father was mysteriously killed while working his fields, Jenkins became the ward of Edward Burleson.  Jenkins joined the Texas revolution at age 13 fighting in Burleson’s First Regiment of the Texas Volunteers.  He is reputed to have been the youngest Texian soldier in the San Jacinto campaign although he was not present at the battle having been dispatched to aid his mother and siblings escape from the advancing Mexican armies.  He later served in the Texas Rangers and with the Confederate Army in the Civil War.  Jenkins is best known for his well-written and colorful memoir – Recollections of Early Texas – published by the University of Texas Press in 1958.

Today in Texas History – November 11

From the Annals of the Colonists –  In 1833,  members of the Beales Colony left New York aboard the Amos Wright headed for Texas. .  John Charles Beales and others had obtained large colonial grants that encompassed much of western Texas, eastern New Mexico, and the Rio Grande valley. The first colonists landed at Copano Bay on December 12, 1833. From there they traveled to a site on Las Moras Creek near Presidio del Rio Grande in the Rio Grande Valley.  The colonists named their settlement Dolores, in honor of Beales’s Mexican wife.  Beales’ Colony was a failure.  It was located in semi-arid brush unsuitable for farming and in country claimed by the Comanche.  Many colonists left for other settlements.  The final blow came during the Texas Revolution when the entire colony was abandoned before the advance of the Mexican Army.