Wednesday, June 04, 2014

K. K. Searle Receives San Jacinto Award and Appointed to WOB Park Association Board


Left to right: Kameron K. Searle,  
San Jacinto Descendants President General Robert "Scott" Patrick, 
and Executive Board Member  Russell Cartwright

Texas History Page editor, Kameron K. Searle, was awarded the San Jacinto Award by the San Jacinto Descendants on April 21, 2014. "The San Jacinto Award is presented to an adult citizen of the State of Texas who has demonstrated a commitment to preserving Texas history and who possesses the highest level of patriotism, leadership, and service to the State of Texas and their local community." Past recipients of the San Jacinto Award include Ray Miller (Eyes of Texas), Dr. Gregg Dimmick (Sea of Mud and General Vicente Filisola's Analysis of Jose Urrea's Military Diary), and James L. Haley (Sam Houston and Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas).

In May 2014, Searle was appointed to the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association Board of Directors. The Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association is the non-profit 501(c)(3) support group for the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site which includes Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum, and the Barrington Living History Farm.  The Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association was chartered in 1955 by the State of Texas and is a statewide volunteer organization dedicated to generate support to facilitate preservation projects, celebrations, and educational programming at Washington-on-the Brazos. Searle is very excited about his appointment as the Washington-on-the Brazos State Park Association is about to begin promoting the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site with the brand new campaign: Washington-on-the-Brazos - Where Texas Became Texas!.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Death of a Texas Ranger by Cynthia Leal Massey


Death of a Texas Ranger is a wonderfully researched and entertaining history about the killing of a Texas Ranger named John Green.  Sergeant Green had been a successful Indian fighter on the Texas frontier for many years prior to his death. What makes this history even more fascinating is that John Green was killed by another Texas Ranger in his own company named Cesario Menchaca.

Why would one Texas Ranger kill another Texas Ranger? Cynthia Leal Massey does an excellent job of answering this puzzling question in her new book, Death of a Texas Ranger: A True Story of Murder and Vengeance on the Texas Frontier.  Death of a Texas Ranger reads like a Western mystery novella with a twist that you will not see coming.  Death of a Texas Ranger would make an excellent Coen brothers’ movie.

In some of my recent talks and presentations, I have encouraged Texas historians, both vocational and avocational, to look for the hidden jewels of Texas history waiting to be discovered in the sea of unexplored primary source documents in courthouses, archives and private collections all over Texas. Death of a Texas Ranger: A True Story of Murder and Vengeance on the Texas Frontier is the latest example of a Texas historian getting into previously unexplored primary source documents to bring readers something new and interesting as well as factual.  Cynthia Leal Massey has indeed found several jewels of Texas history that no one else had uncovered before her. 

I highly recommend this very entertaining history book to anyone interested in Texas history, the Texas Rangers, or the life and culture along the Texas frontier between the 1850's and the early 1900's.  Death of a Texas Ranger: A True Story of Murder and Vengeance on the Texas Frontier  by Cynthia Leal Massey is 208 pages, $16.95, Paperback, published by Two Dots an imprint of Globe Pequot Press. Death of a Texas Ranger (978-0-7627-9305-1) has a release date of June 3, 2014.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Despu├ęs 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