Thursday, April 03, 2014

Después de un tiempo en Texas - Review of Magnolia City by Duncan Alderson

In some of my other book reviews, I have suggested that more fiction writers would do well to set their short stories and novels in Texas with its unique history, sites and blends of cultures. Texas appears often in the mostly mythologized Westerns, but the real Texas has remained virtually untapped by serious novelists.

In his novel, Magnolia City, Duncan W. Alderson has not only chosen Texas of the 1920's as the backdrop in which to develop his entertaining story, but the history of Texas and its mixed cultures are essential to his development of almost every single character in his novel, especially the protagonist, Hetty Allen. Duncan Alderson obviously did years of research in preparation for Magnolia City and it shows on almost every single page. Magnolia City is wonderful historical fiction.

I recommend Magnolia City to anyone looking for an enjoyable read as well as a wonderful trip back to a time and place you have never been before. Magnolia City is 448 pages and published by Kensington Publishing. Magnolia City is available at Amazon.com.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

San Jacinto Day Ceremony - April 21, 2014

This year's ceremony commemorating the Battle of San Jacinto will be held on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the foot of the San Jacinto Monument.  The Principal Speaker will be Texas State Historian, Bill O'Neal, Ph.D.   Ron Stone, Jr. will be the Master of Ceremonies. Rolling Thunder and the Texas Army will be present.  The Deer Park High School Orchestra will perform. DRT and SRT Scholarship winners will be recognized. USS Texas Sailor award winners will be recognized.  The public is invited.  The DRT, SRT, and San Jacinto Descendants will lay wreaths to honor the soldiers who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto 178 years ago when Texas won her independence from Mexico. Please RSVP to San Jacinto Day Ceremony organizers to help them plan. 713-468-6771 or alfred_davis1947@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Alamo Cannon - Bronze Four-Pounder

A four-pound bronze cannon that may have been used in the Texas war for independence was placed on permanent loan for display at the Alamo by the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy.  The cannon believed to have been cast in Mexico in the mid-eighteenth century, could be the only known bronze, Spanish cannon used by defenders that has been recovered.  Like other known Alamo cannons seized and disabled by Mexican troops after the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, its cascabel and trunnions---parts used to elevate and mount the cannon---are broken off.

Researchers believe the cannon may have been given by the Samuel Maverick family to a Philadelphia family named French after the Civil War as payment for a debt.  For many years, the cannon was displayed on the lawn of Howard B. French's country estate in Pennsylvania.  A Confederate artillery general, Samuel French, a relative of the Philadelphia Frenches, lived in San Antonio for a short time.  His brother, John C. French, was a longtime San Antonio resident and is known to have served on a railroad  line board of directors with Sam Maverick.  The Philadelphia French family had a factory that dealt in building goods and may have accepted the cannon as a partial payment by the Mavericks or someone else in San Antonio.

A history advocate, J. P. Bryan, bought the cannon from a collector in 1986.  It was then resold to John McRae of Dallas, who had a wooden carriage built for it.  McRae's daughter donated the cannon in 2008 to the San Jacinto Conservancy, who then had it restored at Texas A & M University's Conservation Research Laboratory.  It was placed on Permanent loan to the Alamo by the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy in 2010 with stipulations that the cannon be kept safe and indoors.

The 21 cannons at the Alamo in 1836 are said to have included several brass cannons and a variety of iron guns, from two-pounders to the compounds storied eighteen-pounder.  Historians believe the four-pounder may have been used at the wooden palisades by the chapel, on a platform in the chapel, or near the main gate on the compound's south end.

The conservation of the cannon has been paid for by donors listed below who asked that the following inscriptions be placed on a commemorative plaque at the Alamo.  The donors and inscriptions (in parenthesis) are as follows:

  • Beth and Pat Aucoin (Paschal & Elizabeth Aucoin)
  • Louis F. Aulbach (Louis F. Aulbach)
  • Roger E. Beeler (Roger E. Beeler)
  • Randy Billingsley (Randy Billingsey)
  • Thomas E. Brents II and Melinda L. Brents (Tom, Melinda, Sarah, and Emily Brents)
  • Elizabeth Coon-Nguyen (The Nguyen Family --- Elizabeth, Tu, Catherine & Julian)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Galen Coon (Cathlyn & Galen Coon)
  • Cecilia Davidson (Cecilia Driscoll Davidson)
  • Dr. Gayle Davies (Dr. Gayle Davies)
  • Jan DeVault (Bryan, Arlette, Nicholas & Mark DeVault) (Chris, Chelsey, Maddie, Jackie, Alex & Vivi Devault) (Scott, Mirta, Tomas & Emily Monette) (Jeff, Natasha & Sophia Monette) (Lee Miller) (S. T. "Buddy" & Ruth Miller)
  • Gregg Dimmick (Madison Pearl Dimmick) (Audrey Rehe Dimmick) (Benjamin Russell Kacer) (Brooklynn Rehe Kacer)
  • Ron and Lin Drees (Rona and Lin Drees)
  • Barbara Eaves (Barbara Eaves)
  • Charlie Fogarty (Charlie Fogarty, KSJ)
  • Colonel Richard & Linda Gorski (Colonel Richard & Linda Gorski)
  • Judy and Mike Habermehl (Judy and Mike Habermehl)
  • Sharon Hanan (Sharon Lyon Hanan)
  • Randal Allen Hankla (Randal Allen Hankla)
  • Houston Archeological Society (Houston Archeological Society)
  • Cecil N. Jones (Cecil N. Jones)
  • Matthew J. Jurick (Matthew Jurick & Vesna Mohorovicic)
  • David L. Martin (David L. Martin)
  • Steven and Melissa (Marrs) May (Steven and Melissa (Marrs) May)
  • Melissa May (The Churchwell & Roddy Families)
  • Melissa May (Keenan and Brandon May)
  • Roger Moore (Roger G. Moore)
  • Joe Edd Nelson / Gerold Reimondo (Joe Edd Nelson / Gerold Reimondo)
  • E Dwight Osteen (Dwight, Maria, Mia, Evan and Ben Osteen)
  • E Dwight Osteen (The Ennis and Osteen Family)
  • Robert E. and Dorothy E. Pledger (Robert E. and Dorothy E. Pledger)
  • Jay and Stacey Roussel (Roussel Family)
  • Kameron Kent Searle (Kameron Kent Searle)
  • Mildred Stelzig (Mildred Lymberry Stelzig)
  • Mildred Stelzig (Chris G. Thodos)
  • Fenner and Darcel Weller (Reese Weller) (Graham Weller) (Will Weller) (Riley Weller)
  • Fenner Weller (Tom Horan Family)
  • Fenner Weller (Russell Gordy Family)

Source: See San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy affidavit, Bexar County Deed Records, Book Type OPR, Book 16524, Pages 806-808, filed January 23, 2014.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

From Martin to Despallier - Book Review


From Martin to Despallier - The Story of a French Colonial Family is an extensively researched family history of Alamo hero, Charles Despallier, his ancestors and relatives written by Rasmus Dahlqvist.  With the exceptions of William Barret Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett, little has been written about most of the other Alamo defenders. This book focuses on one of the less known defenders.  Charles Despallier was in the Alamo at the beginning of the battle but was sent out as a courier.  He returned and is listed among the "Immortal Thirty-Two" Gonzales men who came to the aid of the Alamo defenders on March 1, 1836. Dahlqvist's book contains scans and transcriptions of a myriad of primary sources that document the Despallier's activities. This book includes extensive historical research of the Despallier family living on frontiers of the Louisiana Territory under Spanish and French rule and Coahuila y Tejas [Texas] under Spanish and Mexican rule. There are also genealogical charts to show family relationships. I hope Dahlqvist's excellent book, From Martin to Despallier - The Story of a French Colonial Family, will encourage other historians to do more research into the other men who fought and died defending the Alamo. This 428 page book is available from Amazon.com.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Come and Take It" Cannon - Dr. Gregg J. Dimmick's Latest Research from the Mexican Archives - March 13, 2014

Come and Take It Flag


At the next quarterly meeting of The Texas Heritage Society, Dr. Gregg J. Dimmick, famed Texas archeologist and acclaimed author of Sea of Mud: The Retreat of the Mexican Army after San Jacinto, An Archeological Investigation will be the guest speaker.  Dr. Dimmick will be speaking about the latest research he has conducted in the Mexican Archives concerning the "Come and Take It" cannon and the Battle of Gonzales.

Everyone who is interested is invited to attend the meeting which will be held on March 13, 2014. Note that the Texas Heritage Society is now meeting on the 2nd Thursday instead of the third. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Rico’s Grill in the Alamo Room located at 4747 Research  Forest Dr. in the Woodlands, Texas.

Rico's Grill (Cochran's Crossing)
4747 Research Forest Dr.
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Phone: 281.367.7382

Texas Heritge Society

2014 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy

Battle of San Jacinto Symposium

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9 am to 4 pm, at The Ripley House in Houston

(Patrons' Party at 6 pm on Friday, April 11, 2014 for those registering as Patrons)  

The 2014 San Jacinto Symposium looks at the Texas Revolution through the eyes of native-born Tejanos who fought for independence from Mexico alongside "newcomers" from the U.S. and Europe.  Six Texas history scholars tackle what has evolved into a somewhat off-kilter memory of the Texas Revolution - that it was simply Anglos against Mexicans.

For more information and to register online, www.sanjacintoconservancy.org  




Tour San Jacinto Battleground with Dr. Gregg Dimmick - March 29, 2014

Logo
San Jacinto BattlegroundConservancy 
invites you to have lunch and tour
 San Jacinto Battleground, Saturday, March 29, 2014
with Dr. Gregg Dimmick
cost $35.00
Dr. Gregg J. Dimmick
The San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy invites you to a
luncheon and "archeological" tour of the San Jacinto 
Battleground led by Dr. Gregg Dimmick.

Dr. Gregg Dimmick, a Wharton-based pediatrician and author,
has a passion for archeology. His recent focus has been on the 
Mexican Army's presence in Texas during the Texas Revolution.  
He is an active member of the Houston Archeological Society, 
the Texas State Historical Association, and serves as a Director 
of the Wharton County Museum and San Jacinto Battleground 
Conservancy.

Dimmick's highly acclaimed and award-winning book, Sea of  
Mudfocuses on the retreating Mexican Army following the 
Battle of San Jacinto. 

Dimmick has participated in archeological excavations across
Texas at many of the campsites of the Texan and Mexican 
armies including Sea of Mud (El Mar de Lodo), Fannin 
Battleground, and San Jacinto Battleground. 

Some of the better artifacts collected from the Sea of Mud
are on display at the Alamo and at the Bullock Museum in 
Austin. He has made appearances on the History Channel 
and the Discovery Channel.

Saturday, March 29, 2014:  Meet at the Monument Inn at 
11:30 a.m. for lunch, followed by a tour of the battleground
RSVP 713-237-8997
or cut and paste, then print and mail form below:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Lunch and Tour of San Jacinto Battleground with Dr. Gregg 
Dimmick

Please reserve  _____  for lunch and tour @ $35.00 per 
 person $_____

 Name ______________________________________________________
  
 Address _______________________   ____________________________
                                                    City,  State &; Zip Code   

Phone number:  ______________  Email address __________________


Check enclosed or please charge my

Amex           Discover           Visa           MasterCard

Name on Card: _______________________________________________

 Card Number: ________________________________________________ 

Expiration Date: _______________________________________________

Signature____________________________ Date____________________

Mail to:

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy / P. O. Box 940536 / 
Houston, TX  77094-7538 / 713-237-8997

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Celebration of Texas Statehood and Contributions of President Anson Jones


Tom Green with the San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas has provided the following press release:  

On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., the San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) will sponsor a ceremony at the grave of President Anson Jones to commemorate the 168th anniversary of Texas Statehood.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Kameron Searle, of the Sons of The Republic of Texas will be speaking about the impact that Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas had in getting Texas annexed into the United States of America.  Members of the Texas Army will fire a musket salute, and we will conclude the ceremony by leading everyone in a toast to Anson Jones and all those brave men worked to get Texas admitted into the USA.  The toast will be with good old Texas water.
A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared March 2, 1836, when the 56 delegates present at Washington-on-the-Brazos unanimously voted to declaration independence.   Most citizens believed that Texas would be admitted into the USA in 1836, but due to the political ramifications of a new slave state, there was much disagreement about annexing Texas into the USA.  In 1842, efforts were begun to obtain recognition of the Republic of Texas by foreign governments.  Efforts were made to convince the USA that Texas was going to join up with England and create a large country from Canada to the Rio Grande.  President Anson Jones conducted the affairs of the Republic of Texas in such a way as to convince James K. Polk, the new President of the USA in 1845, that Texas no longer wished to be part of the USA, and intended to enlarge the size of the Republic of Texas by joining with the Oregon Territory, then controlled by England. 
On December 29, 1845, President James K. Polk signed a letter to President Anson Jones telling him that both the U.S House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate had voted on a joint resolution to annex Texas into the USA.  This letter was received by President Anson Jones in January of 1846 and he called both the Republic of Texas elected officials and the newly elected State of Texas officials together in Austin on February 16, 1846 to canvas the vote and arrange for a change of power in Texas.  Then at high noon, on February 19, 1846, President Anson Jones gave a speech ending the Republic of Texas with the statement that the Republic of Texas is no more. It was on that day that Texas became the 28th state in the USA.
The Sons of the Republic of Texas is a 501(c)(3) organizations whose missions is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the people who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas and to encourage historical research into the earliest records of Texas, especially those relating to the revolutionary and republic periods.  The SRT encourages the preservation of documents and relics, the publication of historical records and narratives, and the celebration of important days in the state’s history. They also encourage the teaching of Texas history in schools and sponsor numerous scholarships.  The public is invited to join us at 10:00 a.m. at the grave of President Anson Jones in Glenwood Cemetery on Washington Street in Houston, to honor President Anson Jones, and all those brave men who took the important step toward making Texas what it is today!  For additional details about the celebration, please contact Event Chairman, Tom Green, KSJ at 713-340-1965.
Contact:                   Sons of The Republic of Texas
Contact Person:        Tom Green, KSJ
Email Address:           TBGreen3@gmail.com
SRT Web Site Address:          http://www.srttexas.org

Texas Railroading Heritage Museum News - February 2014

Gulf Coast Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, est 1961
  The Express  
Mid-February2014
 
News For the Friends of the
             Texas Railroading Heritage Museum            
    www.houstonRRmuseum.org     713 631-6612
            
name
Museum Will Be Known as "Texas Railroading Heritage Museum"

It's official- when we re-open in Tomball, we will take the name Texas Railroading Heritage Museum.

Anybody interested in suggesting or designing a new logo?.

 
meeting
Museum Planning Session to Feature Brainstorming Session and Discussion of Master Plan Development
 
The Gulf Coast Chapter will replace half of its program meetings with planning meetings in 2014. Why? Because there are numerous decisions that are required before a new museum can be established.
 
The February 18th meeting will feature two teams of consultants who will discuss museum master planning and then facilitate brainstorming sessions to try to clarify our next steps. For example, at some point we will need to determine which cars we will move to Tomball, in what order they will be displayed, whether or not to make interpretive improvements before moving in, and if so, which improvements are the most critical and the most practical.
 
Everyone is invited to participate. The Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant on Highway 290 is the site and if you want to come earlier than 7:30 for dinner, we will have a private room. 

The third Tuesday of odd numbered months will continue to feature railroading programs of interest. 
  
Genl Sherman
Board Adds Curator Position
....if only we had a curator


"Curator (from Latin: curare meaning "take care"). Traditionally, a curator of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallerymuseum,library or archive) is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. "

The Gulf Coast Chapter of the NRHS, the owner of the Texas Railroading Heritage Museum, now has a position (but not an incumbent) to focus on the interpretive aspects of our collection - telling the story of regional railroading development through artifacts, interesting signage, attractive and perhaps even interactive displays. In our long history, we have typically only been open a few hours each weekend and there have been enough qualified volunteers to give every visitor a personal tour.

However, we have aspirations of being open six days a week in Tomball and that means it will be difficult to give every visitor a guided tour. Accordingly, we will need to rely on signs and videos to tell the story. Furthermore, there are aspects of our story for which we do not have representation in our collection. A Curator will be responsible for identifying these gaps and recommending acquisitions to make our presentation comprehensive and logical.

The first step in the process is beginning on Feb 18th with a planning meeting to discuss our vision for the museum, building on the collection we have. Anyone interested in participating is invited to Logan's Roadhouse at 7:30 p.m.


Amtrak Loading
April 12th Trip to Dequincy via Motorcoach with Return on Sunset Limited
Reservation Deadline March 15th

JOIN THE GULF COAST CHAPTER FOR A MOTOR COACH/TRAIN EXCURSION TO THE DEQUINCY, LA. MUSEUM FOR "RAILROAD DAYS" ON SATURDAY, APRIL 12TH. WE WILL LEAVE THE HOUSTON AMTRAK STATION AT 7 A.M. BY BUS AND RETURN VIA THE WESTBOUND SUNSET LIMITED FROM LAKE CHARLES ARRIVING 6:18 P.M. THE SAME DAY. 

RESERVATION PROCEDURE: Reserve your own seats on the train (Lake Charles to Houston) through Amtrak and your seats on the bus by sending $30 per traveler ($20 for children ages 3 through 12) to Gulf Coast Chapter Event Committee, 1536 Indiana Street, Houston, TX 77006. The check should be made payable to the Houston Railroad Museum. If you prefer, you can use a credit card on the Chapter web page, www.houstonRRmuseum.org
  
AMTRAK RESERVATIONS: Reserve your one way ticket from Lake Charles (LCH) to Houston (HOS) by calling Amtrak at 800-872-7245 or via the web at www.Amtrak.com. A reserved seat is currently $20 with half price for children and small discounts for seniors and NARP members. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU MAKE YOUR AMTRAK RESERVATIONS FIRST BEFORE SENDING A CHECK TO THE CHAPTER since the train does sell out but we could add bus seating capacity. Amtrak raises fare price as the trip gets nearer. 

FOOD: Coffee and rolls will be provided on the bus and there will be food vendors at the festival. Dining or snack service will be available on the train. You are free to bring picnic materials(small cooler only).  

Call 713 319 8906 for more information.
Dec 15th 
What's Happening?
Upcoming Events

The February meeting of the Chapter will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18th at Logans Roadhouse, 12950 Northwest Highway. Non-members are cordially invited. 
 
Work parties are conducted many Wednesday mornings, Thursday evenings, and Saturdays. Call or check Chapter web page to confirm.
Seventeen Railroads
Gulf Coast Chapter
National Railway Historical Society

The Texas Railroading Heritage Museum is owned and operated by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The Museum is currently closed although the Chapter meets monthly(except for December) on the third Tuesday of the month for a planning session or a program of interest to railroading enthusiasts. While the museum is being stored, the meetings are held at various locations. Check the museum web page or Facebook for information on the location. Visitors are always welcome. .

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy Featured Charity by OKRA


 San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy
featured at 
OKRA Charity Saloon through February!
SJBC is honored to have been selected as one of the featured charities by OKRA.  This unique program highlights local charities and gives them an opportunity to earn needed dollars.  And, it is fun!
Please support us by grabbing your friends and colleagues for cocktails and tasty tidbits (fried okra is divine!) as you support the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy in its efforts to protect and reclaim the San Jacinto Battleground---a national treasure.
One drink equals one vote.
When
ENTIRE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2014!
From 4 pm to 2 am
(Happy Hour 4 - 6:30 pm)
Where

OKRA CHARITY SALOON

924 Congress
Houston, Tx  77002
 OKRA occupies a building from the 1880's.  It is located just off of the historic intersection in the hub of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District, directly across the street from the Hotel Icon. One of the oldest buildings in Houston, 924 Congress (originally 72 Congress St.) opened in 1882 as the Casino Saloon and served as a bar until Prohibition, when it became a barbershop. Since that time, the building housed several other businesses including the "Circle Bar", named for its original circle arch and barrel vault ceilings which are still intact today.


The San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy is a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, reclaim, and restore the San Jacinto Battleground and build greater public awareness of the battle of San Jacinto, the culminating military event of the Texas Revolution.  

No other nonprofit organization is devoted entirely to these goals. The San Jacinto Battleground was included on Preservation Texas' Most Endangered Places list in 2010. Preservation Texas is the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Visit  www.sanjacintoconservancy.org to find out what you can do to help.  We are so appreciative of your gifts and donations. If you would like to make a secure donation online, click here or go to the "Donations" tab on our website.

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy | | sjbc-texas@usa.net | 
808 Travis, Suite 1429
P. O. Box 940536
Houston, TX 77094-7536
713-237-8997

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Texas Flag 175th Celebration - Charles B. Stewart Statue Dedication, January 25, 2014

The City of Montgomery
Cordially invites you to the 
175th Celebration of the Texas Flag

To be held on the 25th of January
In the year two thousand fourteen

10 o'clock am until 12 o'clock am
At Cedar Brake Park
In Historic Montgomery, Texas

As we recognize the adoption of the 
Texas Flag on this day in 1839
With the unveiling of the statue of
Charles Bellinger Stewart

Special guest appearances by
State and county officials

Event hosted by Patrons of Cedar Brake Park
Partnered with Montgomery Economic
Development Corporation