Thursday, November 09, 2006

Passing of John Curtis Thrash, Jr.


On November 4th, 2006, John Curtis Thrash, Jr., departed peacefully and comfortably, with his loving family at his bedside, the result of a brief illness stemming from a previously existing cardiovascular condition. He was 81 years old.

John’s gentle, caring and thoughtful nature was known to all who knew him. The exemplary conduct of his personal and professional life informed and inspired everyone with whom he came in contact. If you knew him, you loved him.

Born February 9th, 1925, John was the only son of Allie and Curtis Thrash, Sr. living in Galena Park, Texas, where John and his sister, Evelyn, grew to become healthy, happy young adults. Here he excelled at the highest levels academically, lettered in four varsity sports, sang cheerfully with a beautiful baritone voice, and mastered a musical instrument, the French Horn, so much so that he was offered to play Second Chair with the Houston Symphony Orchestra when he was still less than 19 years old.

John matriculated in the University of Texas, Austin in 1943, earning a science baccalaureate four years later in Petroleum Engineering, a profession which proved to be his true calling. Ever the optimist, John relished the idea of improving the lives of others by providing for their energy requirements through prudent, efficient and conserving means. During his entire professional career, John frequently declared "Even with all the long hours, I still look forward to every project and I have never really felt like I was having to go to work a single day in my life."
His career continued until his passing, interrupted only by his service as a Naval Officer during World War II, in the Pacific Theater, and two years on Guam as a full Lieutenant during the Korean Crisis.

It was this vision, drive and intelligence that propelled John to become recognized by industry publications and writers and among his peers internationally, as one of the world’s foremost developers of complex clever reservoir engineering projects and solutions. His scope of interest was broad technically and international geographically examining everything from enhanced oil recovery potentials in South America to energy infrastructure in China and everything between.
One such project, the Two Fred’s Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery ("EOR") Project, located in the Permian Basin, is still regarded today as one of the most successful EOR projects ever undertaken, accomplished at a time when foreign oil dependency meant domestic production had to be wrought of every available barrel. Another important undertaking by John was the enhancement of the Bammel Natural Gas Storage Facility, serving Houston, Texas, one of the largest storage facilities of its kind in Texas when constructed. This project optimized use of the area’s pipeline capacity serving the communities and industries along the Houston Ship Channel, substantially mitigating the need and environmental impact of additional pipeline capacity in the region during that time.

At the beginning of his career, John held the distinction of drilling the deepest well of record at that time, when he was carefully coaxing and developing production from the Knox Bromide Field in Oklahoma, a complex retrograde condensate reservoir, producing at several thousands of pounds of pressure. Most recently, John was principal engineering architect of the highly successful Stagecoach Natural Gas Storage Facility, Owego, NY, which serves New York City and the Northeast U.S. much in the same way the Bammel Facility has served Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast.

John was a member, officer and director of numerous professional, civic and charitable organizations and boards. He has financially supported many civic, medical and arts organizations and research efforts. He served on the President’s Advisory Committee on Energy, and at the invitation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe he presented to their Symposium in Paris, France, a treatise on European storage potentials, Trends in Underground Storage of Natural Gas, which contrasted the U.S. natural gas industry with that of Western Europe. He was a representative to the World Petroleum Congress in Mexico City, Chairman of the Houston American Petroleum Institute and served on the University of Texas Engineering Advisory Committee. John was a recognized First Families of Texas and descendent and Current President of The Sons of the Republic of Texas.
After Mid-shipman’s School at Columbia University and receiving his degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, John began work as a young Petroleum Engineer in the Permian Basin near Odessa, Texas. Here he also played semi-professional baseball, obtained his pilot’s license and became quite the eligible bachelor.

It was also in West Texas where John met his lovely, intelligent and beautiful wife, Patricia Ruth Francis Thrash, recently moved to the area with her family from California. Patricia and John were soon married and shortly thereafter began their family, first with their daughter Denise, then son John, then youngest daughter, Allison. Moving as family through several oil-patch communities such as Midland, Odessa, Dallas and Oklahoma City, and after another period of service in the Navy during the Korean Conflict, the family finally settled in Houston, the "Oil Capital." Patricia and John have been happily married to one another for 57 years. They were blessed with a remarkable granddaughter, Meghan Patricia Thrash, who is the source of some of the greatest pride the couple felt for their family, and who was always the true apple of John’s eye.

Each of their children have developed independent careers while still helping to advance the family business, from time to time, that was founded by John and Patricia in the late 1970’s. Denise is a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Allison is engaged in a singing and recording career based in Austin, and John is a retired physician who practiced in Houston for a number of years before combining with his father full time to create a thriving, multifaceted energy concern. Moving from Enhanced Oil Recovery during the era of oil price deregulation through independent natural gas storage during the era of natural gas pipeline capacity deregulation, the family’s current day enterprise, eCorp LLC is a vibrant, private, integrated energy company which specializes in mid-stream asset construction, ownership and operation along with natural gas production and energy marketing.

As extraordinary as his many professional accomplishments and remarkable personal, family, civic and philanthropic achievements and milestones, John Thrash’s greatest abilities and contributions derived from his exemplary character and personal charisma. However, he was a gentle man with a calm demeanor, never loud or forceful with others. Nonetheless, with subtle urging and direction, he profoundly mentored those around him as to the formulas necessary for a successful, meaningful life in the human spiritual sense. If Will Rogers had met John Curtis Thrash, Jr. he would have coined a corollary to his famous quote "I never met a man I didn’t like!" which would have read something like, "I never met a man that didn’t like John Curtis Thrash, Jr.!"

Truly a bona fide member of "The Greatest Generation," John Curtis Thrash, Jr. is deeply loved by his family, friends and colleagues and we will mourn his absence. His exceptional life, extraordinary accomplishments, and enlightened way of being will be celebrated, remembered and revered. Most of all, we will strive to emulate his light as much as we are able.
In addition to his wife, children and granddaughter, John is survived by his sister, Evelyn, and brother-in-law, Gesna B. Davis, Jr., and many beloved family members.

The Family wishes to thank Dr. Neal Kleiman, M.D., Dr. William Winters, M.D., and the entire Methodist Hospital Cardiac Care Unit professional team for their exceptional care given John in his time of need.

Services will be held Thursday, November 9th, 2006, at 4:00 PM at The Sanctuary at Unity Church of Christianity, 2929 Unity Drive, Houston, Texas.

In lieu of flowers or similar expressions of condolence, the family requests that contributions be given, if desired, in the name of John Curtis Thrash, Jr. to any of the following organizations:

The Research of Dr. Neal Kleiman, M.D.
The Methodist Hospital Foundation
P.O. Box 4384
Houston, Texas 77210-4384
Questions: Karen Soh, 832-667-5829

The Sons of the Republic of Texas
Sam Houston Chapter #38
Lynden E. Rasch,
3507 Glenwood Springs Drive
Kingwood, Texas 77345

The University of Texas Nano-Research Project:
Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology
The University of Texas at Austin1 University Station Stop, Mail Code-A5300Welch Hall, Room- 3.202 Austin TX 78712

Rice University Nano-Research Project:
Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology
Rice University
6100 Main Street
Space Science Building. Room 301G
Houston, TX 77005

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

2007 San Jacinto Symposium


The date for the 2007 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium has been set for Saturday, April 14, 2007. This will be the seventh annual San Jacinto Symposium. Each year the symposium brings in some of the country's top Texas historians to discuss all aspects of the Texas Revolution and the Battle of San Jacinto where Texas won its independence from Mexico on April 21, 1836.

The seventh San Jacinto symposium promises to be a contentious affair with speakers facing off on various factions inside the Texas Revolution including Indians, land speculation and slavery, the Texas Rangers, and women. Speakers will include Dr. Gary Clayton Anderson, Dr. Paula M. Marks, Dr. Fred L. McGhee, and authors Stephen L. Moore and C. David Pomeroy, Jr. Dr. James A. Crisp returns as moderator.

The $45.00 registration fee covers the symposium, lunch and parking. The San Jacinto Symposium will be held at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for more information, write:

2007 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium
P.O. Box 940536
Houston, Texas 77094-7536

Phone: (281) 496-1488

Web: www.friendsofsanjacinto.org

Photograph: San Jacinto Monument at night. STARS OVER TEXAS © Paulwolf Dreamstime.com

Confederate Headstones To Be Dedicated - Houston


On Saturday, October 28, 2006, the Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Washington Cemetery Historic Trust will dedicate 12 new Confederate headstones in memory of Confederate veterans buried in Washington Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

The public is invited to the dedication ceremony which will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Washington Cemetery located at 2911 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas. A reception will follow at the Trinity Lutheran Church located at 800 Houston Avenue.

Confederate headstones in memory of the following Confederate veterans will be dedicated:

George Watson Crowder
Basil Crow Cushman
Joshua Hamilton Ham
Henry Hartmann
Charles Gilbert Heyne
Thomas Franklin Kerr
John Kreis
George Foster Pattillo
Joseph Poskey
John Schiller
E.B.H. Schneider
Robert Voigt

Photograph: Courtesy of K. K. Searle. Confederate headstone of John Martin Palmer, Evergreen Cemetery, Houston, Texas.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stephen F. Austin's Birthday Celebrations


At least two celebrations of the birth of Stephen F. Austin will be held in southern Brazoria County on Friday, November 3, 2006. One will be held at the site of Austin’s death near West Columbia at 1 p.m. that is sponsored by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. This was the home site of George McKinstry where Stephen F. Austin died on December 27, 1836. This is an annual event which features school children of the County to perpetuate the memory of this heroic Texan. The program will include pledges to the United States and Texas flags and the singing of the National Anthem led by a troop of Boy Scouts from West Columbia and music from a select band of students from the Columbia High School Band. The Barrow Elementary School choir "The Singing Eagles" will perform patriotic tunes. There will be a flag ceremony and the placing of a wreath at the flag pole. The Brazoria Militia will fire a gun salute and there will be demonstrations by "Texas Women and a Few Good Men." Tom Green, Pearland, will feature some of the many flags from early Texas.

The site of the celebration is located just off of Highway 36 just a few hundred yards north of the West Columbia WalMart. The road is marked by a special sign that notes a special Stephen F. Austin site. The actual site is about three-quarters of a mile down this road. There is adequate parking at the site of the celebration. For further information contact Mrs. C. R. Faulkner, District IX Representative of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas at 979-265-9525.

The second celebration will be at the giant David Adickes’ Stephen F. Austin Statue located on Highway 288 just south of the intersection with Texas Highway 35 in Angleton. This is the second annual Stephen F. Austin Birthday Party, Silent Auction, Raffle and BBQ Cook-off. The party will kick-off at 11:00 a.m. with the BBQ awards at 5:30 p.m. followed by the raffle drawing at 6:00 p.m. A donation of $25 is requested to help defray the cost of the Stephen F. Austin statue. For more information please call 979-239-8718 or visit the website at http://www.stephenfaustin.org.

Photograph: STATUE - STEPHEN F. AUSTIN © Wfc73 Dreamstime.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Come and Take It Festival" - Gonzales, Texas


Considered the first battle of the Texas Revolution by many, a small force made a stand to hold on to a small cannon entrusted to them to use as protection from the Indian raids on their little town of Gonzales. The first skirmish with Castaneda and his band of one hundred men was with a small group of men consisting of Albert Martin, Jacob Darst, Thomas Miller, Joseph Clements, John Sowell, Valentine Bennett, Thomas Jackson, George Davis, Andrew Ponton, JohnChisholm, Matthew Caldwell, Almeron Dickinson, Johnny Kellogg, Jesse McCoy, Andrew Kent, John Gaston, Benjamin Fuqua, Galba Fuqua, Williams, Turner, and others who tricked Castaneda and his men into thinking their group was too large to attack, thus holding them off till help from volunteer companies of Edward Burleson, Robert Coleman, John H. Moore andThomas Alley could arrive.

With the support of the other volunteers, their group out numbered Castaneda’s band and the Texan’s easily defeated their enemy...but this was only the beginning of a bloody revolution for Independence for their “Come and Take it” flag would be carried on to the “Siege of Bexar” at San Antonio.

Bring the family and friends to Gonzales “Come and Take it Festival” October 6 through 8, 2006 in the Downtown Square; Highway 183 in Downtown Gonzales Celebration marking the firing of the first shot in the battle for Texas Independence on Oct. 2, 1835.

For more information, contact:

Gonzales Chamber of Commerce
Barbara Hand
414 Saint Lawrence;
Gonzales, TX 78629
(830) 672-6532; (830) 672-6532; Fax (830) 672-6533

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Kuykendalls of Texas


Whether you are talking early Texas frontiersmen, Austin’s Old 300, the Texas Rangers, veterans of the Texas Revolution, Confederate soldiers from Texas or large Texas ranches, your talking the Kuykendalls of Texas. In his book, They Slept Upon Their Rifles, Marshall E. Kuykendall has written a fine family history of the Kuykendall family from its earliest days in Texas. Marshall Kuykendall is a descendant of Austin’s Old 300 colonist, Captain Robert H. Kuykendall, who arrived in Texas in 1821. This book is the story of the Kuykendall family that arrived from the Netherlands in the 1640's and migrated from New York to North Carolina and South Carolina. Marshall Kuykendall’s family history becomes much more detailed as the Kuykendalls move from the Carolinas into Tennessee, Kentucky, the Missouri Territory, the Arkansas Territory and then into Mexican Texas.

They Slept Upon Their Rifles is primarily about Captain Robert H. Kuykendall and his brothers that came to Texas prior to the Texas Revolution, their descendants, and several collateral lines. Detailed biographies include those of Adam Kuykendall, Captain Robert H. Kuykendall, R. H. (Gill) Kuykendall, Wiley Martin Kuykendall, Robert Gill Kuykendall, Wylie Moore (Bill) Kuykendall, William Erastus Moore, Arthur Swift, Captain Abner Kuykendall, Captain Gibson Kuykendall, Barzillai Kuykendall, William Kuykendall, J. Hampton Kuykendall, Joseph Kuykendall, Rev. Marshall Daniel Early and Col. Joseph Hardin . There is also an exhaustive list of Kuykendalls who served the Confederacy during the Civil War and of Kuykendall Texas death records from 1903 - 2000.

I would like to note how very attractive this family history is. Marshall Kuykendall obviously had a large budget to work with in publishing the book and it shows. In fact, They Slept Upon Their Rifles is one of the best looking family histories I have ever seen. From the photograph of a Texas pioneer on the cover to the beautiful illustrations by the late Charlie Shaw, the book’s quality is first class. They Slept Upon Their Rifles has also professionally reproduced photographs and primary documents such as deeds and letters. Charlie Shaw also drew many excellent original maps that clearly show the movement and routes taken by the Kuykendalls as they migrated across the American frontier making written descriptions much easier to understand. Shaw’s drawings of land grants and property lines will also help Kuykendall descendants figure out where family lands were in relation to natural landmarks instead of trying to figure them out from land descriptions in deeds alone.

The book has an excellent index which is something that is often missing from so many family histories. There is also an extensive 19 page bibliography providing source data. Marshall Kuykendall has done a tremendous amount of research here. Any Kuykendall descendant of these lines should have a copy of They Slept Upon Their Rifles in their libraries. They may also want to donate a copy to the Texas History Section of their local public libraries.

They Slept Upon Their Rifles is 400 pages, hardbound, Nortex Press, Austin, Texas, 2005. The book is available from Marshall Kuykendall for $50.00 and $5.00 shipping cost.

Marshall Kuykendall
900 Enchanted Oaks Dr.
Driftwood, Texas 78619
(512) 894-3220

Photo: Cover of They Slept Upon Their Rifles © Marshall E. Kuykendall

Sam Houston SRT Bar-B-Q Fundraiser


Make plans to attend annual barbecue fundraiser of the Sam Houston Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. The barbecue fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, October 21, 2006 at the Swinging Door Restaurant, located at 3818 FM 359 Road, Richmond, Texas. They will be serving a barbeque lunch from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. consisting of brisket, turkey, potato salad, and iced tea. The Sam Houston Chapter will also have a silent auction beginning at 11:30 and ending at 2:00 p.m. featuring numerous Texana and Texas History related items.

Sam Houston Chapter President, John Thrash, has asked his daughter to entertain the fundraising group this year with her blues/jazz band. Allison Thrash is a singer-songwriter who showcased in Toronto last year as a headliner at NXNE 2005, Canada's largest music festival.

Make plans now for attending the barbecue by purchasing tickets in advance of the event. Advanced ticket sales aid the Barbecue Fundraiser Committee with planning. If you cannot attend, a donation would be greatly appreciated. Mail your reservations, checks and donations to Lynden E. Rasch, 3507 Glenwood Springs, Kingwood, Texas 77345. The adult ticket price is $30.00, children 5-12 years is $15.00 and children under 4 are free. Please make checks payable to SRT.

All proceeds pay for the meal and the remainder will be placed into the Sam Houston Chapter treasury for chapter activies such as the United Sates Navy Ship, U.S.S. San Jacinto, CG-56, Annual Enlisted Man's Award.

Photo: Austin Texas Singer-Song Writer Allison Thrash

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

International Boundary Marker Ceremony


The Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) will dedicate a Texas historical marker on Saturday, October 7, 2006, 2 PM, at the site of the only known international boundary marker between the Republic of Texas and the United States. The boundary marker, set into the ground on April 23, 1841, marks the officially recognized boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States. Located on TX Farm Road 31 and LA State Hwy. 765 between Deadwood, Texas, and Logansport, Louisiana, the boundary marker sets on the line of adjacent tracts of land owned by the Texas Historical Foundation and the DeSoto Parish Historical Society. The Panola County Historical Commission worked with those entities and the Texas Historical Commission for approval of the historical marker.

Ron Stone, Professor of Texas History at Houston Baptist University and a former television news anchorman from Houston, will serve as emcee. Stone is also an honorary member of The Sons of the Republic of Texas and a Knight of the Order of San Jacinto, the highest honor that the organization bestows upon an individual for outstanding service in the cause of Texas heritage. Mr. Raymond Powell, past president and current board member of the DeSoto Parish Historical Society, will speak about the history of the boundary marker and preservation of the historic site. The SRT will recognize historians from Panola County, Texas, and DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, for their work in obtaining recognition for this historic site. The event is expected to draw attendance by historical and heritage societies from both states, as well as individuals interested in Texas and U.S. history.

Texas Historical Commission member Bob Bowman of Lufkin, author of 30 books about East Texas, provided the following excerpts about the international boundary marker:

“The marker established the boundary between Texas and Louisiana, but there was a time when the border underwent contests between France, Spain, the U.S. and the Republic of Texas. Before there was a Texas, both France and Spain claimed the region on both sides of the Sabine River--an area known as the “neutral ground” or “no man’s land” because of early explorations by both nations. French explorers claimed all land drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries as Louisiana Territory. Spain claimed all southern lands beginning with the first watershed west of the Mississippi. The dispute arose over claims that the “first watershed” was the Sabine or the Atchafalaya River. As a result the land between the two rivers was claimed by both nations. When the U.S. purchased the Louisiana territory in 1803 and inherited France’s claims, the U.S. and Spain agreed that the disputed strip would be neutral territory until an agreement could be reached by the two nations.

The strip soon became a refuge for outlaws and deserters seeking to avoid the laws of any government, leading to the violent Regulator-Moderator War in Shelby and surrounding counties. The boundary was further confused in 1819 when the U.S. purchased Florida from Spain and a new, tentative agreement established the Sabine as the international boundary. Texas, at the time, was still Spanish territory, but became a part of Mexico when Mexico won its independence from Spain. When the Republic of Texas was born in 1836, it became a matter of urgency to mark the actual boundary between the Republic and the U.S. A joint commission was established in 1838 to survey and map the land along the boundary.

W.J. Stone, a young engineer, was commissioned by President Martin Van Buren to perform the task “with all speed and accuracy.” The work was scheduled for completion in 1840, but wasn’t actually finished until 1841. The western bank of the Sabine was mapped and marked as the boundary from its mouth to the 32nd parallel, just north of Logan’s Ferry (today’s Logansport). To establish the line, a granite shaft was driven into the ground near the river. Three miles north, a second shaft was set. Each mile between the two shafts was marked by an earthen mound containing bottled information and a wooden mileage pole. With the passage of time and a crumbling river bank, the shaft on the Sabine was lost.

The remaining marker on Farm Road 31 was damaged in the l920s by loggers, but was repaired and still stands about 50 yards off the highway between Deadwood and Logansport. The landmark carries three simple inscriptions. On the south side are the words, “Merid. Boundary Established 1840.” On the east side, it reads: “U.S.” and on the west side are the letters, “R.T.” for Republic of Texas. An illegal trophy collector tried to dig up the marker in the 1970s, but gave up when he discovered it had a concrete foundation of ten to fourteen feet. Apparently, someone in the past wanted to make darned sure the marker wasn’t going anywhere.”


To reach the marker site from central and northern Panola County, Texas, drive two miles south of Carthage on U.S. Highway 59 S to TX Farm Road 2517, travel east on Farm Road 2517 approximately 10 miles to TX Farm Road 31, and follow Farm Road 31 to the southeast about nine miles to the Texas/Louisiana state line. Or, from U. S. Highway 84 in Logansport, Louisiana, drive north on Louisiana State Highway 764 for about three miles to the intersection with Louisiana State Highway 765, and follow Hwy. 765 northwest about two miles to the Louisiana/Texas state line. The roadside area is on the north side of the highway.

Contact:
The Sons of the Republic of Texas
www.srttexas.org

Billy Johnson, Past President General
(936)275-9988

David Hanover, Secretary General
(903)509-2206
dhanover@cox.net

Photograph: American and Texas Flags © Cjwright | Dreamstime.com

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ericson Books


One of the main purposes of the Texas History Page blog is to remember the exciting history of Texas and to assist those wishing to learn more. From time to time we will focus on authors of Texas histories and their books. Two of Texas most scholarly and prolific writers of East Texas history are the husband and wife team of Dr. Joe E. and Carolyn R. Ericson of Nacogdoches, Texas. Together and individually they have written numerous exceptionally well researched Texas histories. Their love of Texas history eventually led them to open their own book store, Ericson Books. The primary focus of Ericson Books is Texas and Southern history as well as numerous genealogy titles and resources. Ericson Books is also an excellent source of hard to find histories and rare books.

Below is a list of some of the titles they have authored individually or co-authored available from Ericson Books. No Texas history library is complete without these titles. Information about purchasing these titles is also included. If you own any of these books and would like to leave a book review in the comments, please feel free to do so.

They Came to East Texas (500-1850) -- Immigrants and Immigration Patterns: Just released. This item contains the names of over 5,000 persons who immigrated to East Texas during this time frame and where they settled. Soft cover $33.00.

Nacogdoches, The History of Texas Oldest City: Originally published in 1995. Reprinted 2005. A history of the Indians, the first missions in 1716, Spanish and Anglo settlement, and evolution of the region down to 1995. Hard cover, $29.99.

Early East Texas -- A History from Indian Settlement to Statehood: The story of the settlement and early growth of four East Texas municipalities: Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine, and Shelby. Soft cover, $22.50.

The Nacogdoches Story: An Informal History. An account of the evolution of Nacogdoches from an Indian village to a modern city entering its third century. Soft cover, $26.50.

Haden Edwards, East Texas Empresario: A brief biographical account of this early East Texas empresario, leader of the Fredonian Rebellion. Soft cover, $10.00.

Martin Parmer--The Man and the Legend: An account of this signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, a leader of the Fredonian Rebellion, the "Ringtailed Panther." Soft cover, $20.00.

Spoiling for a Fight--the Life of John S. Roberts and Early Nacogdoches: The story of the life of this signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, veteran of the War of 1812, the Fredonian Rebellion, the Battle of Nacogdoches, the Siege of Bexar, and keeper of the saloon located in the Old Stone Fort. Soft cover, $17.95.

Personalities of the East Texas Frontier--Brief Narratives of Their Lives ands Times: Includes sketches of Gil Y'Barbo, Moses Rose, John Durst, Vital Flores, Henry Raguet, and others. Soft cover, $25.00.

Ericson Books accepts all major credit cards. Please add $4.00 for the first book and $1.00 for each additional title, and 8.25% Texas sales tax for all, Texas residents. Ericson Books, 1614 Redbud Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965-2936. Phone 936-564-3625; FAX 936-552-8999. http://www.ericsonbooks.com

Photograph: The Old Stone Fort from an old postcard in the collection of K. K. Searle. Originally located in downtown Nacogdoches, Texas, the Old Stone Fort was the site of several important events in early Texas history. A replica of the Old Stone Fort built during the Texas Centennial is located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University and is now a museum.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Texian Navy Day


Saturday, September 16, 2006, is Texian Navy Day, honoring the contributions of the Texian Navy in helping secure the independence of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Long recognized in an ad hoc manner by Governors and the Texas Legislature, in 2005, the Legislature enacted a law officially establishing the third Saturday of each September as Texian Navy Day, which "shall be observed with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

History has forgotten that the Lone Star of the Republic of Texas shined brightly on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Without the daring and dangerous exploits of the Texian Navy, Mexico easily could have re-supplied their land armies still in Texas in the immediate aftermath of the surrender of Gen. Santa Anna at San Jacinto or mounted a seaborne invasion after the San Jacinto victory. The Texian Navy was able to protect the young republic’s long coastline with its many rivers, bays, and inlets to projecting power beyond its littoral waters to Mexican coastal towns as far away as the Yucat√°n. Ultimately, the Texian Navy was a real balance of power amongst the Navies of the United States, Mexico, and the European powers, all vying for influence in the Gulf of Mexico. The Texians’ courage and striking power were far in excess of that which reasonably could have been expected from such a numerically disadvantaged force, and it was their fighting spirit that made the difference.

Please help recognize this date in history and preserve the memory of the seaborne valor of those who helped create the Lone Star State by flying your Texas flag on this day.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
J. Richard Reese, KSJ
President General
The Sons of the Republic of Texas
713 871-0634

David Hanover
Texas Navy Committee Chairman
The Sons of the Republic of Texas
903 509-2206
dhanover@cox.net

Photograph: Flag - Texas, © Lonestarlet Dreamstime.com

Monday, August 28, 2006

San Jacinto Monument Elevator to Reopen


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association invite everyone to join them for the Grand Reopening of the San Jacinto Monument Elevator on Thursday, September 7, 2006. The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the San Jacinto Monument, One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas.

This festive event will mark the completion of the $2.14 million fire and safety renovations of the San Jacinto Monument that was appropriated by the Texas Legislature in 2005. The San Jacinto Museum of History will once again be able to offer visitors the famous 489-foot ride to the top of the newly renovated Monument this September. Taller than the Washington Monument in Washington DC, the view of the San Jacinto Battlefield is quite spectacular.

For more information please contact:

Evelyn Buchner, Executive Assistant
San Jacinto Museum of History
One Monument Circle
La Porte, Texas 77571
281-479-2421 phone
281-479-2428 fax
ebuchner@sanjacinto-museum.org

Photograph: "San Jacinto Monument at Dawn" © Paulwolf Dreamstime.com

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Texas Heroes Day 2006


Friday and Saturday, September 15th and 16th, 2006 the annual, Texas Heroes Day- The Legend Lives Event will take place at the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Monument Hill Kriesche Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange, Texas. This event is co-produced by the Friends of Monument Hill Kreische Brewery, the Monument Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Chapter Number 53 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and the Friends of the Fayette Library and Museum. This two day event will celebrate the contributions made by the men of the ill-fated 1842 Dawson Massacre and the 1846 Meir Expedition. Every year this event is held on the weekend closest to September 18th when the remains were placed in their final burial site on the bluff above the scenic Colorado River valley which is now part of the state park.

Friday, the Fayette Library and Archives is offering extended hours and a 5 PM private reception and archival presentation for families and scholars researching the historical period between 1836 – 1840’s when Texas gained independence from Mexico as a Republic through its transition into Statehood. Visitors are encourage to bring private historical collections with them to this event in order that those items can be copied or donated to the Fayette Archive adding to the efforts to grow the body of knowledge of this time period in this historic, central Texas region. Fayette County was part of the original Stephen F. Austin colony. Saturday will feature historical re-enactments, a historic flag display, period craft demonstrations and music in addition to a commemorative program beginning at 8 AM at the Park. This year’s commemorative program will feature a dramatic, historically accurate, re-enactment of the 1848 Masonic Order reburial of the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in the Dawson Massacre and Meir Expedition. Local school bands as well as the Park’s Dulcimer Ensemble will perform. The Saturday program begins at 10 AM and ends at Noon with a picnic.

Over 600 families throughout the world from Dawson and Meir Expedition descendents are contacted every year, encouraging them to plan family reunions around this event date.
Free handicap accessible, bus shuttles are offered using satellite parking at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on US 77 and Walnut Street in La Grange. The Park fee are $ 3 dollars for adults and $ 2 for children under the age of twelve. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic and folding chairs to enjoy a day in the Park. Proceeds from the tickets and donations go to the continuance and development of the Park’s interpretive program that focus’ on the 1836 – 1840’s period history. Refreshments will be available for sale. Monument Hill Kriesche Brewery State Historical Park is located one mile south of La Grange, Texas off U.S. 77 and Spur 92. The park is one mile west on Spur 92.

Contact Information:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Alamo Gala


The Daughters of the Republic of Texas will be holding their annual fundraising gala benefiting The Alamo. This year's theme is "A Lone Star Celebration" and will honor the Kleberg Family. The DRT Lone Star Celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m on Saturday, October 28, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Riverwalk at Paseo del Alamo, 123 Losoya Street. Activities for the evening include a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, grand auction, entertainment and dancing.

Individual tickets are $125. $5,000 for a reserved table for 8 with preferred forward seating. $2,500 for a reserved table for 8 with preferred seating. And $1000 for a table for 8. Last year this event raised over $100,000. Funds raised by the DRT gala will benefit education, preservation and operations of The Alamo. Dress for this event is Black Tie Optional.

For more information, please call 210-225-1391, ext 34 or write to The DRT, Inc. - Alamo Fund, Lone Star Celebration, P.O. Box 2599, San Antonio, Texas, 78299. Or contact Gala Chairman, Melinda Navarro at telephone: 210-859-2481. Email: mlndnvrr@aol.com Donations must be received by September 30, 2006. Checks should be made payable to DRT, INC. - Alamo Fund.

The Alamo depends soley upon money from sales in its Gift Shop, donations made from individuals and private foundations to fund its preservation, education and general operations. The Alamo receives no monetary help from local, state or federal government. The DRT, a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization, has served as custodian of the Alamo for the State of Texas since 1905.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have preserved and operated The Alamo for over 100 years. The State of Texas in "An Act Providing for the Purchase, Care, and Preservation of the Alamo," S.H. B. No. 1, January 26, 1905, legislated that "the governor shall deliver the property thus acquired, together with the Alamo Church property, already owned by the State [since 1883], to the custody and care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, to be maintained by them in good order and repair, without charge to the State, as a sacred memorial to the heroes who immolated themselves upon that hallowed ground; . . ." Let's help the Daughters in their continued efforts to preserve and operate of The Alamo.

Photograph: "Remember the Alamo" © Bobainsworth Dreamstime.com

Friday, August 18, 2006

Texas Scholarships - Texas History Essay Contest


The Sons of the Republic of Texas have announced the topic of the 2006 Texas History Essay Contest. Each year The Sons of the Republic of Texas award graduating high school students up to $6,000 in scholarships. The first place scholarship is $3,000. Second place is $2,0000 and the third place award is $1,000.

The uniqueness of Texas and Texans is recognized around the world. The purpose of the Texas History Essay Contest is to encourage students to explore the pioneer spirit of Texans on the early-day frontier, their methods of accomplishing their goals under very difficult circumstances, and the results of their efforts that we can see today. It is hoped that the topic chosen will stimulate the thinking of our youth, who will assume responsibility for the conduct of our affairs on local, state, national and international levels in the near future.

Each year the SRT picks a new Texas history topic for the contest. The topic of the Texas History Essay Contest this year is: "Sam Houston - The Key to Texas Independence." The American Heritage Dictionary defines "key" as "a means of access, control, or possession;" or "a vital, crucial element." This year's topic was selected to encourage students to focus on the many different crucial activities performed by Sam Houston in the years of 1835 and 1836 to secure the independence of Texas from Mexico and Houston's activities during the Republic of Texas to protect the independence of Texas until Statehood.

All entries must be submitted by February 1, 2007. The winners of the Texas History Essay Contest will receive their scholarship awards at the San Jacinto Day Celebration at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, Texas in April, 2007. The contest is open to graduating high school seniors anywhere in the United States.

For more details and rules, see the Texas History Essay Contest web site or The Sons of the Republic of Texas web site. You can also request a brochure from SRT Administrative Assistant, Janet Hickl, The Sons of the Republic of Texas, 1717 8th Street, Bay City, Texas, 77414. Photograph of the San Jacinto Monument courtesy of David Melasky.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Press Release - Battle of Medina 193rd Anniversary

The public is invited to attend the 193rd anniversary of the Battle of Medina, at a site overlooking the Galvin Creek where between 800 and 1,300 men died August 18, 1813. This was the bloodiest and largest loss of life in any battle in Texas history, and it occurred about 20 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. The ceremony will start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 2006, and everyone interested in Texas history is invited.

This battle was between the 1,400 man Republican Army of the North, called the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition by historians, and the 1,800 man Royal Spanish Army commanded by General Joaquin de Arredondo. This was at a time when only about 2,000 people lived in San Antonio, then called San Fernando de Bexar. At lease 5 Patriots of the American Revolution were involved in the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition, and one of these Patriots fought and died in the Battle of Medina. This man was Peter Sides, and he is one of over 50 Patriots of the American Revolution who are believed to have been buried in Texas. Direct descendants of Peter Sides are eligible for membership in both the Sons and Daughter of the American Revolution and The Sons and Daughters of The Republic of Texas. Some of the descendants of Peter Sides will be in attendance to dedicate a Sons of the American Revolutionary Patriot Grave Marker.

A Grave Marker will also be dedicated by the Sons of the Republic of Texas, as descendants of all the approximately 3,200 men who fought on both sides of this battle are eligible for membership in the SRT and the DRT. The descendants of Benjamin Allen, who also died in the battle, will dedicate the SRT marker, and the award winning author, Robert Thonhoff will be the key note speaker at the event. Members of the Mayflower Society will also be on hand to dedicate a marker, and we hope to include many other Societies in this ceremony, to honor the many other participants of this, the largest land battle in Texas history.

Another interesting fact about the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition is that the Republican Army of the North won all the battles leading up to the August 18, 1813 Battle of Medina, and had declared Texas free from Spain and had written and signed the First Declaration of Independence in Texas on April 6, 1813. Before coming to San Antonio, the Royal Spanish Army surrounded the Republican Army of the North for four months at the La Bahia fort in what is today Goliad. This is believed to have been the longest siege in American military history, and is the reason La Bahia flies the Emerald Green flag of the Republican Army of the North.

To reach the site of the ceremony, proceed south from San Antonio on Highway 281 some 15 miles from the intersection of Loop 410 South and Highway 281, to the community of Espey, Texas, and turn west where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For other details, contact Tom Green, at (281) 922-1118, or Cell phone (832) 687-3474.

Battle of Medina Remembered


Tom Green, President of the Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, has advised us that the 193rd anniversary ceremony commemorating the bloodiest battle in Texas history will begin at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 19, 2006. This is the 5th year that Texans have honored the approximately 3,200 men who fought in the bloodiest battle in Texas history on August 18, 1813. "We don't really know how many people were killed that day," explains Green, "but it could have been as many as 1,300 men." Many more were killed over the next weeks from San Fernando de Bexar (San Antonio) all the way to the Sabine River. This battle all but de-populated Texas and delayed the settlement of area for many years.

Last year, over 200 Texans gathered to commemorate the 192nd anniversary of the Battle of Medina and an official Texas Historical Marker was placed at the site. See picture.
The historical marker reads:

BATTLE OF MEDINA
TEXAS' BLOODIEST MILITARY ENGAGEMENT - THE BATTLE OF MEDINA MAY HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN THIS GENERAL VICINITY IN 1813. THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY WAS A TIME OF POLITICAL UPHEAVAL, AND IN 1812, WHILE THE U.S. WAS AT WAR WITH ENGLAND; SPAIN FACED REVOLTS THROUGHOUT LATIN AMERICA, INCLUDING MEXICO. IN THIS REVOLUTIONARY CLIMATE, AMERICANS AND OTHERS BEGAN EFFORTS TO INFLUENCE THE FATE OF MEXICO, OF WHICH TEXAS WAS A PROVINCE.
BERNARDO GUTIERREZ AND LT. A.W. MAGEE MARCHED FROM LOUISIANA TO TEXAS IN 1812 WITH THEIR REPUBLICAN ARMY OF THE NORTH. CAPTURING NACOGDOCHES AND TRINIDAD, THEY MOVED ON TO PRESIDIO LA BAHIA, WHERE THEY SURVIVED A FOUR MONTH SIEGE BY SPANISH GOVERNORS AND THEIR ROYALIST FORCES. THE ROYALISTS RETREATED TOWARD SAN ANTONIO IN FEBRUARY 1913, AND IN MARCH, THE REPUBLICAN ARMY FOLLOWED THEM AND WAS AMBUSHED IN THE BATTLE OF ROSILLO. THE REPUBLICANS PERSEVERED, CAPTURED SAN ANTONIO AND EXECUTED THE SPANISH GOVERNORS. GUTIERREZ'S NEW REPUBLIC OF TEXAS , WITH ITS GREEN FLAG, WAS MARKED BY INTERNAL POLITICAL PROBLEMS.
SPAIN SENT TROOPS UNDER GEN. JOAQUIN DE ARREDONDO TO RETAKE TEXAS. AMONG HIS MEN WAS ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA, LATER MEXICO'S LEADER DURING THE TEXAS REVOLUTION. THE REPUBLICANS MARCHED FROM SAN ANTONIO ON AUG. 15 1813 WITH ABOUT 1,400 TROOPS: AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS, TEJANOS, MEXICANS AND NATIVE AMERICANS, LED ACROSS THE PLAINS SOUTH OF THE MEDINA RIVER. THE FATIGUED ARMY FACED SPANISH TROOPS ON AUG, 18 AND WAS SOUNDLY DEFEATED, FEWER THAN 100 ESCAPED. MOST WERE EXECUTED. THE SPANISH LEFT THE DECIMATED TEXANS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND PROCEEDED TO SAN ANTONIO TO PUNISH CITIZENS WHO SUPPORTED INDEPENDENCE. EIGHT YEARS LATER, MEXICAN LEADERS ORDERED THE REMAINS OF THE FALLEN SOLDIERS TO BE BURIED UNDER AN OAK TREE ON THE BATTLEFIELD. ALTHOUGH THE EXACT SITE OF THE BATTLE HAS YET TO BE DETERMINED ARCHEOLOGICALLY, THE STORY REMAINS AN IMPORTANT PART OF TEXAS HISTORY.

Tom Green also advises that at least 5 men who participated in the American Revolution participated in the the Battle of Medina.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Texas - US International Boundary Marker Dedication


On Saturday, October 7, 2006, a long overdue event will occur in Panola County, Texas. A Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at 2 p.m. at the site of the only international boundary marker located within the continental United States. The marker establishing the boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States was set in place on April 23, 1841. there were other boundary markers along the Republic of Texas /United States border, but all the others have been lost with time.

The State of Louisiana has done an excellent job of identifying the location of the international boundary marker on the Lousiana side of the State line. However Texas which usually takes such pride in its history and historical sites had never marked the site with a Texas Historical Marker. The Louisiana State historical marker located on Louisiana State Hwy. 765 reads as follows:

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY
Original granite block 10' long
9" square marked the
United States - Republic of Texas
boundary. Date 1840. Set on
April 23, 1841. Only marker of
international boundary known to
exist within the continental U.S.
The Sons of the Republic of Texas International Boundary Marker Committee, chaired by Billy Johnson, working with local historians, the Panola County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission have finally brought about the placement of an official Texas historical Marker at the site of the international boudary marker. The Texas History Page blog would like to recognize Mr. Billy Johnson for his years of tireless service working towards the placement of this important Texas Historical Marker.
In 1977, a small International Boundary Marker Park was dedicated around the site of the international boundary marker. Since then, the site has been registered as National Historic Shrine. In 1980, civil engineers in Texas and Louisiana in a joint project, dedicated a marker under the auspices of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the site of the international boundary marker. Not until the recent placement of the Texas Historical Marker, which will be dedicated on October 7, 2006, had the State of Texas officially recognized this landmark.
The international boundary markers were commissioned by United States President, Martin Van Buren. The only remaining international boundary marker is a granite shaft. On one side, it is engraved "Merid. Boundary Established 1840." On the eastern side, it is engraved "U. S." On the western side, it is engraved "R. T." for Republic of Texas.
The international boundary marker is located by driving east on Texas Farm Road 31 toward the Texas/Louisiana state line. Just before the state line, the international boundary marker is located to the left on the north side of Farm Road 31. See PDF file with specifc directions to the International boundary marker here. Come on Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. for the dedication of the Texas Historical Marker for this one of a kind landmark dating from when Texas was an independent country recognized by the United States of America.
Photograph: International Boundary Marker, Courtesy of David Hanover.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Travis Letter from the Alamo

Below in its entirety is the famous letter written by William Barrett Travis on the second day of the siege of the Alamo on February 24, 1836. It is recognized world over as one of the most heroic dispatches ever penned. Writing from San Antonio de Bexar, Travis requests assistance but makes it clear that if no one comes to his relief, "I shall never surrender or retreat." He concludes this letter with his now immortal words, "I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country -- VICTORY or DEATH."

26 year old Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis together with Col. James Bowie initially defended the Alamo with 150 men. This number would grow to about 186 as some Texans actually made it through the Mexican lines to join the defenders inside the surrounded Alamo. The Mexican Army under Santa Anna would swell in number to 4,000 or 5,000. The defenders of the Alamo withstood the Mexican Army for thirteen days until the final morning of March 6, 1836, when the Mexican Army made an all out pre-dawn attack on the Alamo from all sides. All the defenders, including Travis fighting atop one of the walls, were killed.

The original Travis letter is in the collection of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives & Library Building located next to the Texas State Capitol at 1201 Brazos Street in Austin, Texas. The letter reads:
___

Send this to San Felipe by Express night & day

To the people of Texas

and

All Americans

___

Commandancy of The Alamo

Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world--
Fellow Citizens & compatriots

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & 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 & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country -- VICTORY or DEATH.

William Barrett Travis
Lt. Col. comdt.

P. S. The Lord is on our side -- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn -- We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 heads of Beeves.

Travis

Friday, August 04, 2006

Commissioning of USS Texas (SSN 775)


Saturday, September 9, 2006, the nuclear powered Virginia class attack submarine USS TEXAS will be commissioned in Galveston, Texas. The commissioning ceremony will be held at the Port of Galveston Pier Ten at 10 a.m. TEXAS was christened by her sponsor, First Lady Laura Bush, at the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia on July 31, 2004.

The seal of the USS TEXAS in the forefront shows a full view of USS TEXAS, ready to go forth and take the fight to the enemy. Emblazoned on her hull is the shape of the state of Texas, denoting the outstanding patriotism and leadership the citizens of Texas have contributed to the United States of America. Located within the state outline is a symbol of the atom, representing the awesome war fighting capability and endurance afforded TEXAS by nuclear power.

TEXAS is backed by the traditional badge of the legendary Texas Rangers. This identifies the singularity of purpose between the men who enforce Texas law and the Sailors who will man this fine warship to preserve freedom. The four white stars represent the four American warships to bear the great name of the great state of Texas.

"Don't Mess with Texas!" is a well known state slogan and a warning for those who attempt to prevent TEXAS from carrying out her mission. The battle scarred Lone Star flag flying behind TEXAS represents the gallant heroism of those who fought and died at the Alamo to ensure the future of Texas, and it also represents the perseverance with which TEXAS and her crew will endure all missions that are put before her.

Captain John L. Litherland, USN will assume command of USS TEXAS (SSN 775). TEXAS is assigned to Commander Submarine Squadron EIGHT and will be homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.

Texas History Page


For those around the world who love Texas and Texas history, the Texas History Page Blog is the place to keep up with the latest information about books, events, discoveries, reminders of historical dates, news, museums, monuments, markers and historical societies.

Blog author, K K Searle, is a 7th generation Texan and a member of The Sons of the Republic of Texas. He loves Texas history and is in the process of building the Texas History Page on the Internet as an alternative. The basic idea behind the new Texas history site is to take an online history book about Texas and Texans in as many directions as possible with the addition of photographs, scans of actual primary documents, bibliographical sources, genealogical information, book reviews, whole books in the public domain and transcriptions of famous documents.

Many people are not satisfied with many of the historical articles and inaccuracies found on other sites about Texas on the Ineternet. But they have no way of correcting errors or having their histories published. The Texas History Page on the Internet will provide a place for them to write their own histories with what they have discovered or know from other sources. On other Texas history sites, only one article by one author is accepted. The Texas History Page will allow more than one article on a given subject in Texas history by more than one author. Perfect for Professors of History who want to publish an article, university students who want to publish their Texas history thesis for the world to read or the family historian who wants to write a family history about a particular ancestor or family who lived in early Texas.

Let me hear your suggestions for the Texas History Page Blog and the Texas History Page on the Internet.

Pictured, Kameron K. Searle (left) with Texas country music legend Mr. Gary P. Nunn (right) who wrote London Homesick Blues a.k.a. Home with the Armadillo.