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.

The Sons of the Republic of Texas

Billy Johnson, Past President General

David Hanover, Secretary General

Photograph: American and Texas Flags © Cjwright |

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.

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.