Saturday, November 06, 2010

Houston History Book Fair & Symposium

Houston Arts & Media and Story Sloane's Gallery will be presenting the Houston History Book Fair & Symposium on Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the heights Church of Christ on Heights Blvd. and 16th Street.

There will be plenty to do. Dozens of local history books will be available. Come and meet the authors and get your books autographed. A different author will speak every half hour and The Arcadia Publishing Authors Panel will conduct a discussion at 12:00 noon which will cover researching and publishing a book on area history.

Speakers appearing in the church library will include:
  • 10:30 - Carol Vance: Boomtown D. A.
  • 11:00 - Bill Hobby: How Things Really Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics
  • 11:30 - Naomi Carrier - Go Down Old Hannah
  • 12:00 - Arcadia Publishing Authors Panel Discussion, Main Hall, four authors on preparing your book on local history: Brian Davis Lost Galveston; Ron Goodwin African-American Houston; Sallie Gordon Courtlandt Place; Anne Sloane Houston Heights.
  • 1:00 - Ed Cotham: Four Gulf Coast Civil War Titles
  • 1:30 - Kurt Voss: Elissa: The Tall Ship of Texas
  • 2:00 - Jim Bevill: The Paper Republic
  • 2:30 - Michael Botson: Labor, Civil Rights & Hughes Tool Company
  • 3:00 - Doug Weiskopf: Rails Around Houston
  • 3:30 - Dwight Watson: Race & The Houston Police Department, 1930-1990
Other authors attending will include Ann Becker Houston 1860-1900; Ruth Burke & Dan Holbroke Seabrook; Burton Chapman Telephone Road Texas; Audrey Cook Obedience Fort Smith; Daniel Monsanto Houston Postcards; Pat Pollicoff & Bruce Kelly Sugar Land; and David Welling Cinema Houston.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Texas Declaration of Independence - 175th Anniversary Program for Descendants

There will be a special program to honor the descendants of the signers of the the Texas Declaration of Independence. Dr. Shawn B. Carlson with the Star of the Republic Museum has provided us with the date and time of this special program. The program will be held on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Washington-on-the-Brazos Historic Site in Washington, Texas. This special program is part of the celebration of Texas 175th birthday.

On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was unanimously adopted by the delgates at the Convention held at Washington, Texas. As March 2, 2011 falls on a Wednesday, the celebrations will be held on the prior weekend on Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27, 2011.

If you had ancestor who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, The Star of the Republic Museum needs your ancestor's name, your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. For more information contact:

Shawn B. Carlson, Ph. D.
Curator of Collections and Exhibits
Star of the Republic of Texas Museum
P.O. Box 317
Washington, Texas 77880

Office: 936-878-2461, ext. 241
Fax: 936-878-2462

email: scarlson@blinn.edu

http://www.starmuseum.org

Image above courtesy of Dr. Shawn B. Carlson and the Star of the Republic Museum.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pattison Area Heritage Society Guest Will Be Sam Houston IV


On Monday, September 27, 2010, at 7:00 pm., the Pattison Area Heritage Society welcomes you to their monthly "Mystery Guest Night." This month's "mystery guest" is Sam Houston IV, great grandson of Texas hero, General Sam Houston and his wife, Margaret Lea Houston. Texas historian, Sam Houston IV, is a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and has been honored as a Knight of San Jacinto. Governor Rick Perry also recently appointed Sam Houston IV General of the Texas Army.

The location of the Pattison Area Heritage Society meeting will be at the Pattison Area Volunteer Fire Department in Pattison, Texas. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for visiting and networking.

Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park Web Site

The Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park being built in Conroe, Texas has a detailed web site with lots of great information. The web site can be seen at http://www.texasflagpark.org . The Unveiling and Grand Opening Ceremonies for the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park will be will be held on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 2011 and will mark the 175th anniversary of Texas independence from Mexico.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

USS Texas Vets Reunion October 8-11, 2010

This article was written by Steven K. Howell for the Summer 2010 editon of "The Dreadnought" the newsletter of the Battleship Texas Foundation and appears with his permission. The web site of the Battleship Texas Foundation is http://www.battleshiptexas.org/ .

The annual reunion of the USS TEXAS veterans will be held October 8-11, 2010. The reunion will again be headquartered at the Nassau Bay Hilton on Clear Lake. If you are interested in participating, please contact Johnita Smith; she is President of the TEXAS Veterans Association. Her phone is 405-823-8638 and her e-mail is Bajaok54@hotmail.com. We are always honored when our TEXAS vets come "home" for a visit.

The Battleship TEXAS has been honored to serve as the host for a wide range of events and reunions by local, regional and national veterans organizations. We always welcome the opportunity to help veteran, military and patriotic groups bring their members together on board the world's last dreadnought-class battleship.

If your organization is looking for a place to hold its next reunion, meeting or funciton, please consider the TEXAS. Contact the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff at 281-479-2431 for additional information.

Monday, August 09, 2010

197th Anniversary of the Battle of Medina: The Bloodiest Battle in Texas History

The public is invited to attend the 197th anniversary of the Battle of Medina, at a site in Atacosa County overlooking the Galvan Creek, where it is believe between 800 and 1,300 men died on August 18, 1813. This was the bloodiest and largest lose of life of any battle in Texas history, and it occurred about 20 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. The ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 21, 2010, and everyone interested in Texas history is invited.

Due to the heat, we will only be at the battle site for about one hour so that each Society can re-dedicate their marker. The marker for American Revolutionary Patriot Peter Sides, and the Sons of the Republic of Texas marker for Benjamin Allen and all the other men who fought and died in this battle will be re-dedicated. The SAR, DAR, SRT, DRT, The Daughters of the War of 1812 Society, and the Mayflower Society will all re-dedicate their markers, making this one of the most honored and dedicated historic sites in Texas. Members of the Mayflower Society will also re-dedicate their marker for Samuel Alden, a printer from Philadelphia, who is believed to have died after the Battle of Medina and descended from the Mayflower Pilgrim.

The combined Color Guard will present the Colors to begin the ceremony and will fire a musket salute to all those who participated in this battle on both sides to conclude the event. Everyone will then retire to Pleasanton, Texas for lunch on your own, and then reconvene at the Pleasanton Church of Christ located at 1003 North Main Street for an air-conditioned history seminar from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m. in the church meeting hall. The Atacosa County Historical Commission members will graciously be providing us with refreshments in the afternoon at the church during the symposium again this year.

The afternoon history seminar will present the latest research on the First Republic of Texas and the Battle of Medina. Several speakers will be featured including Robert H. Thonhoff, KSJ, an award winning author; and Dr. Jesus F. de la Teja, PhD. Chair of the History Department at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. Frank, as Dr. de la Teja likes to be called, is also the former President of the Texas State Historical Association and was appointed the first Texas Historian by Governor Rick Perry.

To reach the site for the 10:00 a.m. outdoor 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 right (west) where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For additional details contact Tom Green, at (281) 922-1118, or his cell phone at (832) 687-3474. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and bring drinking water and a lawn chair that will not easily sink in the sand.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cabins Moved to Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery, Texas





On August 5-6, 2010, in the middle of the night, Honea Egypt Road in Montgomery County looked like a scene out of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There were patrol units from many different law enforcement agencies from all over Montgomery County and bucket trucks from numerous electric and telephone companies serving Montgomery County. And all of them had their emergencies lights on. The police were there to control traffic and the utility companies were there to raise power-lines as two of the oldest log cabins in Texas were moved to Montgomery, Texas to the Fernland Historical Park.

The two cabins moved were the Crane cabin and Jordan (Jardine) cabin. These two cabins were the first two homes moved to the site of the Fernland Historical Park of Montgomery which is set to open in early 2011. A few days earlier, an early Texas blacksmith shop was moved to the site by the Cherry House Moving company of Houston which was the same company that moved the two cabins to the Fernland Historical Park.

The site of the Fernland Historical Park project is near the Charles B. Stewart Library in the Buffalo Springs planned development community on Clepper Drive in Montgomery, Texas. The acreage was donated by Holly and Philip LeFevre. This site will represent a unique attraction and educational experience.

Soon to be a destination in Montgomery for historical tourism, Fernland Historical Park will be the new home for six examples of early Texas architecture. The oldest cabin dates back to 1826, one of only five cabins in the State of Texas from that era. Five of the structures have been or will be moved in the near future from a site off Honea Egypt Road. They will be joined by the Arnold-Simonton home, which is on the National Historical Register, now just a few blocks away from the Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery.

The group of five buildings were purchased some years ago by Mae and Carroll Tharp, members for decades of the Montgomery Historical Society. Mr. Carroll Tharp was an architect who designed many buildings in the Houston area. The Tharps had the structures dismantled, moved to their acreage off Honea Egypt Road, and reconstructed exactly as originally built. The four cabins are on the Texas Historical Register (see the Texas Historical Commission markers on the two cabins above). The Tharps spent many years collecting artifacts and furnishings appropriate for each building.

The City of Montgomery holds a long-term lease for the group of five buildings from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. The Arnold-Simonton home is owned by the Montgomery Historical Society, which will manage the tours and tour docents and assist with special events. This will truly be a unique historical site that will be the pride of all Texans. The web site for the Fernland Historical Park can be seen at fernland.org. See you in early 2011 for the grand opening!

Top two photos of cabins being moved to Fernland Historical Park are courtesy of Jack B. Shepherd. Bottom three photos of cabins at Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery, Texas are courtesy of Marisa A. Searle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park Groundbreaking Ceremony






The Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park Groundbreaking was held June 24, 2010 where the park will begin construction adjacent to the Montgomery County Memorial Library (I-45 in Conroe). The land was donated by Montgomery County for the park and was a city/county cooperative effort. The vision of making it The Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park came from Craig Campobella and the "Friends of the Flag" with the creation of the statue known as "The Texian" and the added sculpture of Dr. Charles B. Stewart by Campobella.

The park will be educational and will help promote Texas history and tourism for all of Montgomery County - "Birthplace of the Texas Flag"and the surrounding area including the history of Conroe, The Woodlands, Magnolia, Shenandoah, Montgomery (Home of Charles B. Stewart when the Lone Star Flag was designed and the new Fernland Historical Park); as well as Huntsville (Home of General Sam Houston and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum) and Washington on the Brazos - "The Birthplace of Texas."

Those who brought greetings during the ceremonies were: Conroe Mayor Webb K. Melder; Judge Alan B. Sadler; Todd Stephens (Congressman Kevin Brady's office who presented an American Flag); Luine Hancock (Senator Robert Nichols Office); Huntsville Coucilman Mac Woodward; State Representative Brandon Creighton; Huntsville Mayor J. Turner; Montgomery Mayor Travis Mabry; Shenandoah Mayor Gary Watts; Shenandoah City Manager Gregg Smith; Janice Campbell (lead Interpreter for Washington on the Brazos); Nelda Luce Blair (The Woodlands Township); Willis City Manager Hector Forestier; Pat Spackey (Descendant of Texas Flag Designer Charles B. Stewart; President of the Judge Nathaniel Hart Davis Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and Publicity Chair of the Texas Heritage Society); and David Martin (President of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and a member of the Texas Heritage Society).

A special "thank you" was given to the "Friends of the Flag" committee: Jim Walker, Dave Clements, Joe Kolb, Kathleen Rowland, Karen Strong, Pat Spackey, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and David Martin and John Homman and the Sons of the Republic of Texas; and local artist Craig Campobella. The ceremonies were planned by the City of Conroe which included: Paul Virgadamo, Jr. (City Administrator); Larry Calhoun (Downtown Manager); Mike Riggens, Lauren Arnold and Staff (Parks and Recreation); Norman McGuire, Arthur Buckner and Staff (Public Works); and Jana Patrick (Arts and Communications Coord./PIO & Administration).

The park is scheduled for completion and the dedication is planned for April 21, 2011.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67 Meeting July 21, 2010

The Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67 of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans will be holding their monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. The guest speaker will be Danny Sessums who will speak on "The Battle of Arkansas Post." The meeting will be held at The Briar Club in Houston, Texas which is located at the intersection of Westheimer and Timmons Lane.

The Executive Board meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and all camp members in good standing are invited to attend. There is a happy hour (cash bar) at 6:30 p.m. The dinner and camp meeting begin at 7:00 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. to Ev Gardner at 281-980-9054 or Dodd Eastham at dodd@bayoudog.org .

Officers of the Albert Sidney Johnston SCV Camp #67 include:

Commander Everette Gardner
First Lt. Commander Bill Holmes
Second Lt. Commander John Beard
Third Lt. Commander Peter Gryska
Adjutant/Treasurer Dodd Eastham

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Texian Navy Day Ceremony in Matagorda - September 18, 2010

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., The Sons of the Republic of Texas will sponsor a ceremony at Matagorda Cemetery, honoring Secretary of the Navy Samuel Rhoads Fisher and the entire Republic of Texas Navy. After witnessing the capture of the Texas flagship Independence during a running battle with the Mexican ships Vencedor del Alamo and Libertado near the mouth of the Brazos River on April 17, 1837, Secretary Fisher planned the storied Yucatan Expedition, where the Texas Navy raised the Lone Star Flag of the Republic of Texas on Mexican soil.

The local citizens in Matagorda are excited about the event that will honor the Republic of Texas Navy and one of their early citizens, Samuel Rhoads Fisher. Several descendants of Secretary Fisher will be present to participate in the ceremony. Representatives from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas Navy Association will participate.

With the approach of the 175th anniversary of Texas Independence from Mexico, it is appropriate to remember the events that led to the Texas Revolution. Much of the colonists' discontent with the centralist Mexican government involved maritime issues, including unreasonable tariffs on shipped goods. In September 1835, the first naval engagement occurred near Velasco, between the Texian privateer ship, the San Felipe, and the Mexican revenue cutter, the Correo Mejicano, the Correo Mejicano was forced to surrender unconditionally.

Less than one month later, the first land engagement between Texian colonists and Mexican forces occurred at Gonzales on October 2, 1835. The fall of 1835 in Texas was as volatile as the pre-revolution American sentiment in the British colonies only 60 years earlier.

Bringing lawn chairs, hats and umbrellas for rain or sun will be good planning. If storming or lightning, the ceremony will be held in the Stanley-Fisher House Bed & Breakfast, the historic home of Samuel Rhoads Fisher - 107 St. Mary Street, Matagorda, Texas 77457. Overnight accommodations in Matagorda are limited or already booked, but there should be ample room in nearby Bay City, 15 miles from Matagorda.

After the ceremony, the Texas Navy Association is sponsoring a BBQ lunch at Christ Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall located at 206 Cypress Street in Matagorda. The cost of the meal is $7 per person, and lunch reservations are requested for planning purposes. Tickets for lunch will be pre-sold in Matagorda County. For attendees outside of the Matagorda area, lunch reservations must be made by contacting Admiral William C. Fisher, IV by email at: wyebrook@swbell.net .

After lunch, Rik and Peggy Stanley, owners of the Stanley-Fisher House Bed & Breakfast, have graciously opened their historic home to everyone attending the Texian Navy Day ceremony. This home was built in 1832 in Matagorda by Samuel Rhoads Fisher.

For people staying in the area Saturday night, Christ Episcopal Church has planned a colonial Texas church service at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Christ Church is the oldest Episcopal Church in Texas, established in 1838; Samuel Rhoads Fisher was one of its early members.

Texian Navy Day is observed on the third Saturday of September. The Honorable Todd Staples, currently the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas and SRT honorary member, authored the legislation designating Texian Navy Day as an official state recognition day. Enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature in 2005, Texian Navy Day is honored each year on the third Saturday in September. Commissioner Staples drafted the legislation as a Texas State Senator, which office he served at the time.

For additional information, contact SRT Texas Navy Committee Chairman David Hanover at (903) 509-2206 or by email at: dhanover@suddenlink.net

Our special thanks to D. A. Sharpe for providing this press release to the Texas History Page. D. A. Sharpe is a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and the Texian Navy Day Committee. He is a member of the Ephraim M. Daggett Chapter of the SRT in Fort Worth and is the Web Master for that chapter. D. A. Sharpe is an Admiral in the Texas Navy and Executive Officer for the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Squadron of the Texas Navy Association.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The Grand Opening and unveiling of the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park will be held Thursday, April, 21, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at the site of the park at the intersection of I-45 and FM-105 in Conroe, Texas. There will be a parade from downtown Conroe to the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park.

Texian re-enactors and SRT/DRT members: You are needed to make this a great 175th annivesary opening of this great site dedicated to the heroes of the Texas Revolution. For more information see the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park web site or contact David Martin at dmartin@lonestarsrt.org or (281) 467-8146. This will be a 3 1/2 rated event. There will be volley salutes and at least one cannon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SRT Lone Star Chapter Annual Dinner Meeting

Lone Star Chapter #58 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas will be holding their annual dinner meeting at the Steamboat House Restaurant On July 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. The Steamboat House Restaurant is located at 8040 N. Houston Parkway W., Houston, Texas.

The Lone Star Chapter of the SRT will welcome as their guest speaker Texas historian, Dr. Gregg Dimmick. Gregg Dimmick is the author of the the much acclaimed book, Sea of Mud. The dinner program will also include the Montgomery County Texas History Teacher of the Year Awards. There will also be a drawing for a Brown Bess Musket and a Bowie Knife. Dinner including gratuity is $40 per person. Please R.S.V.P. by July 8, 2010 by emailing dmartin@lonestarsrt.org or by calling 281-467-8146.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Confederate Flag Memorial - Texas Division SCV

Honor your ancestor by helping the Texas Division of the SCV construct a Confederate Flag Memorial on Interstate-10. See an artist rendition of the Confederate Flag Memorial in the image above. The land for the new Confederate Flag Memorial is located 5 miles west of the Texas/Louisiana state line on I-10. Your support will enable passengers in over 55,000 cars per day to see Confederate Flags flying proudly in the Texas breeze.
Help the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans make this dream a reality, become a sponsor with your tax deductible donation. Sponsor one of the 20 Memorial Flagpoles available at $1100 each, or one of the 13 State Memorial Columns for $2000 each. Flagpoles and Columns will bear a plaque with an inscription of the donors choice. Or, sponsor a Memorial Brick at $50., $100 or $300; or a Memorial Bench at $800. Memorial Bricks and Benches will be engraved with an inscription of the donor's choice. You can also recieve a "Texas Dvivison Crest" for each $10.00 donation to the Confederate Flag Memorial fund.
Mail checks payable to "Texas Division-SCV," and mail to Texas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, c/o Lt. Commander Granvel Block, 1604 Buckingham Dr., Orange, Texas 77632. For more information, contact Granvel Block Lt. Commander of the Texas Division at granvelb@gt.rr.com
or at his cell phone # (409) 779-6657. You can also make a donation online at https://www.bricksrus.com/order/texasdivscv/index.php

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Texas Heritage Society Meeting - June 17, 2010 Dr. Gregg Dimmick

"The Archeology of the Mexican Army in Texas" will be Texas historian and archeologist Gregg Dimmick's topic of discussion at the next meeting of the Texas Heritage Society on June 17, 2010. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m at 18 West Shaker Court in The Woodlands, Texas. Refreshments will be served starting at 6:00 p.m.

Beginning with his work with the "Sea of Mud" (El Mar de Lodo) in Wharton County, Dr. Gregg Dimmick has done more to advance our knowledge and understanding of the Mexican Army in Texas during the Texas Revolution than any other historian or archeologist before him. He has performed archeological digs at numerous historical sites around Texas including the "Sea of Mud," the San Jacinto Battleground, the Fannin Battleground, and Madame Powell's Tavern. Dimmick is a member of the Houston Archeological Society, Texas State Historical Commission, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground.

Gregg Dimmick is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Sea of Mud, which completly modified our perception of the retreating Mexican Army following the Battle of San Jacinto. He is also the editor of General Filisola's Analysis of Jose Urrea's Military Diary which has also shed considerable light on this period in Texas history.

The Texas Heritage Society informs us that Dr. Dimmick will be bringing copies of his books to sell and sign. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

David Crockett in Congress Wins IPPY Award

In February, I had the opportunity to review David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend by James R. Boylston and Allen J. Wiener (Bright Sky Press, 2009). We have just been advised that David Crockett in Congress has just received a 2010 Independent Publisher's Book Award for Best Regional Non-Fiction.

For fourteen years the Independent Publisher Book Awards have been conducted annually to honor the year's best independently published titles. The "IPPY" Awards reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

David Crockett in Congress is the first significant new biography of the famous frontier congressman and Alamo martyr in over a half a century. Crockett emerges as a savvy politician, hardball campaigner and advocate for the poor. The book is based on Crockett's own writings and other original documents and appends all of his surviving correspondence, political circulars and key speeches.

Congratulations to the authors, Boylston and Wiener, for their much deserved recognition for this important and detailed work on the life of David Crockett. I continue to recommend this book very highly to anyone looking for a better understanding of David Crockett and/or the Jacksonian age.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Clayton Library Hours of Operation

With thousands of books, microfilm and microfiche, the finest genealogical research facility in southeast Texas is the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston, Texas. As it is part of the Houston Public Library System, the Clayton Library is free and open to the general public. Recently, the Clayton Library changed its hours of operation and will no longer be open on Mondays.

The new hours of operation for the Clayton Library as of June 14, 2010 are:

CLAYTON LIBRARY HOURS

Monday - CLOSED
Tuesday - 10:00 A.M. - 6 P.M.
Wednesday - 10:00 A.M. - 8 P.M.
Thursday - 10:00 A.M. - 6 P.M.
Friday - 10:00 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Saturday - 10:00 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Sunday - CLOSED

The Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is located at 5300 Caroline, Houston, Texas. As the hours of operation have been changing frequently lately, be sure and call the Clayton Library before you go at 832-393-2600. For the locations and hours of other Houston Public Libraries call 832-393-1313,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, "The Vision," Republic of Texas History Complex

By consolidating the activities of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas and The Republic of Texas Museum in one location in downtown Austin adjacent to the historic French Legation Museum, The Daughters of the Republic of Texas will be able to create the Republic of Texas History Complex. The Republic of Texas History Complex will provide a larger, more appropriate setting for exhibitions, educational programs, family gatherings, conferences and public festivals. In this way, the DRT will better serve the State of Texas and visitors seeking to learn about and appreciate the rich and fascinating history of the State of Texas.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas currently provide educational programs on Texas history for children of all ages and other special groups, in a building located in North Austin near the overpass at the intersection of U. S. Highway 183 and Interstate Highway 35. This is also the site of its daily business operations and The Republic of Texas Museum. Originally commercial in nature, the building was not designed as a museum. It is difficult for visitors to locate, and does not have adequate parking for school buses and larger numbers of visitors.

The French Legation grounds on historic Robertson Hill have been managed since 1949 by the Daughters of The Republic of Texas, and as a musem since 1956. The site is centrally located near downtown Austin at 802 San Marcos Street. A new building called the Republic of Texas history Center will be constructed on adjacent property. The Center will house the DRT Business Office and Republic of Texas Museum. It will be designed in keeping with the historic nature of the location. In addition, some existing spaces will be rearranged for improved public access, and more parking will be provided.

The Republic of Texas History Complex will contain new and existing areas:
  • Vistor Center, including a Viewing Theatre
  • Republic of Texas Museum (relocated)
  • French Legation Museum
  • Gift Shop
  • Children's Interactive Museum (relocated)
  • Business Office (relocated)
  • State-of-the-Art Texas Family Research Center
  • Meeting and Conference Accommodations
  • Expanded Parking
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas are rasing money for this project with their program called A Vision for the 21st Century. A Vision for the 21st Century is intended to help The Daughters of the Republic of Texas more effectively achieve their mission which includes the following goals:
  • To perpetuate the memory and spirit of those who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas.
  • To provide educational programs of the highest caliber in close cooperation with school districts, as well as ongoing educational programs for the general public.
  • To encourage research into early Texas records, preserve historic documents, and encourage the publication of historic records.
  • To secure and memorialize historic sites.

You can help. A Vision for the 21st Century's budget is $9.5 million. Of this amount, approximately $1 million will be provided from the sale of the DRT's North Austin building and charitable donations, already made. This leaves $8.5 million to raise to attain their Vision. Included are funds for land acquisition, construction, reprogramming exhibits, and endowment for long-term maintenance. Name recognition will be available for donors of $10,000 and more. For more information, contact Lana Boussidan, DRT Administrator at 512-339-1997.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Campaign

510 East Anderson Lane

Austin, Texas 78752

Email: lana.boussidan@drtmuseum.org

Website: http://www.drt-inc.org/

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Three Projects at the San Jacinto State Historic Site

This article was written by Steven K. Howell for the Spring 2010 editon of "The Dreadnought" the newsletter of the Battleship Texas Foundation and appears with his permission.

There are three significant projects in process at the San Jacinto State Historic Site. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working on the Visitor Information Center; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Battleship Texas Foundation are working jointly on the Dry Berth Project; and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Battleship Texas Foundation are also working jointly on the Wharf and Amenities Project. Details on each of these projects are presented below.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working on the construction of a permanent Visitor Information Center at the San Jacinto State Historic Site. Five sites are under consideration, including two sites close to the location of the Texas. Public hearings have been heard to solicit input from interested parties regarding this Center. As planned the Visitor Information Center will provide a focal point for helping visitors to the Park to understand the Battle of San Jacinto, the Battleground, the San Jacinto Museum of History as well as the Battleship Texas. The Battleship Texas Foundation looks forward to working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as the Visitor Information Center Project moves forward. Funding for the Center comes from a Federal grant.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues to negotiate a contract with the top bidder for the Dry Berth Project. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received written proposals from interested consultants in late 2009 and received in-person proposals from the top five bidders during November and December. The successful bidder will take on the responsibility to design and engineer the dry berth and to meet environmental compliance requirements for the construction of a permanent dry berth for the Texas. Funding for the Dry Berth Project comes from $25 million in voter-approved Bonds, suplemented by $4 million raised by the Battleship Texas Foundation.

As the Visitor Information Center Project has continued to develop, the Battleship Texas Foundation has modified the components of its Wharf and Amenities Project to coordinate with and be compatible with the Visitor Information Center. The Battleship Texas Foundation has prepared and presented revised designs to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and, once they are reviewed and accepted, the designs will be presented to the Battleship Texas Foundation Members and financial supporters. At this point in the design process, the Wharf and Amenities will be located on the north side of the existing slip. When constructed, this will permit two existing parking lots (to the south and to the east of the ship) to be removed; and this will allow additional interpretation of of the Battleground. The Amenities building is designed to include a staging area for the Overnight Education Program, a dedicated shop and restoration space for the First Texas Volunteers, a covered open-air space for the interpretation of large exhibits and new restrooms.

Many thanks to the members of the Texas Legislature, as well as to a host of other elected officials, who continue to be advocates for the preservation, restoration and presentation of the world's last dreadnought-type battleship through their continued support of the Dry Berth Project.

Click here for more information on the Battleship Texas Foundation at their web site.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Texian Navy Day

David Hanover has provided some preliminary information regading the 2010 Texian Navy Day. The 2010 Texian Navy Day ceremony will be sponsored by the Sons of the Republic of Texas and will take place on September 18, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. This year's ceremony will honor the Secretary of the Republic of Texas Navy, S. Rhoads Fisher and the Republic of Texas Navy. The ceremony will be held in the Matagorda Cemetery in Matagorda, Texas. For more information, Texian Navy Day Chairman, David Hanover, can be reached at 903-509-2206 or dhanover@suddenlink.net Also check http://www.srttexas.org/ for any other changes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Texas Heritage Society - June 2010 Meeting Historian Gregg Dimmick "The Archeology of the Mexican Army in Texas"

The May meeting of the Texas Heritage Society is scheduled for June 17, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at 18 West Shaker Court in The Woodlands. The June meeting will feature Texas historian Gregg Dimmick. His topic will be "The Archeology of the Mexican Army in Texas."

Dr. Dimmick is a pediatrician in Wharton, Texas whose avocation for many years has been archeology. Beginning with his work with the "Sea of Mud" in Wharton County, Gregg Dimmick has done more to advance our understanding of the history of the Texas Revolution than any other historian in recent years. Dr. Dimmick is a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground and the Wharton County Museum.

Dimmick is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Sea of Mud, which completely modified our understanding of the retreating Texas Army following the Battle of San Jacinto. He is also the editor of General Filisola's Analysis of Jose Urrea's Military Diary which has also shed considerable light on this period in Texas history.

Texas Independence Web Site

In a collaborative project, the Star of the Republic Museum and the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site together with a number of sponsors and contributors have poduced an interactive web site for children and all students of Texas history around the world.

The promotional literature for the new "Texas Independence" web site provides the following information:

"Independence, Freedom and Democracy...What more important concepts can we teach our children? These crucial concepts were the motivation behind the convention held at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Birthplace of Texas, in early March 1836. Texas was in turmoil, as fifty-nine elected delegates met to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. Discover what motivated them to take this bold and unprecedented step for democracy at:


Students are immersed in the story of Texas Independence. Fun, educational activities, designed to complement both the 4th and 7th grade TEKS, include:

  • The Independence Story in 92 Seconds - an animated, action-packed overview.
  • In Washington Town - a 3D game which lets students interact with the citizens in 1836.
  • Convention Comicmaker - a fun activity which allows students to create their own story.
  • Timeline of Independence - notable events that led to the formation of the Republic of Texas.
  • Behind the Grievances - an interactive look at the Declaration of Independence based on primary sources.
  • Delegate Connection - a searchable database with key information about the delegates.
  • Primary Sources - a searchable collection of primary artifacts and documents.
  • Teachers Resources - lesson plans, TEKS correlation, activities and resources.
To learn more about Old Washington and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, see this interesting new web site.

Albert Sidney Johnston Camp No. 67 Meeting - May 19, 2010

The Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67, Houston, Texas, will be holding their monthly meeting Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Mark Vogl will be making a presentation about "The Life and Times of Lt. Dick Dowling, CSA."The Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans meets at The Briar Club located at Westheimer and Timmons Lane in Houston, Texas. There will be an Executive Board meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. (all camp members in good standing are invited to attend the Executive Board meeting). A happy hour-cash bar will follow at 6:30 p.m. The dinner and Camp Meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. to Ev Gardner at 281-980-9054 or Dodd Eastham at dodd@bayoudog.org


Image of "The Johnston Journal" masthead courtesy of Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 07, 2010

On May 6, 2010, the Conroe City Council voted unanimously to release bids for the construction of the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park.

The Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park has been designed with a number of different elements to celebrate Texas and Montgomery County history. In the center of the park will be a life-sized bronze monument. The bronze monument will represent common man who volunteered to serve in the Texas Revolutionary Army to win and preserve Texas Independence. The bronze statue of the Texas Revolutionary Soldier will be holding the Lone Star Flag on a flag pole. The flag will also be made of bronze. In front of the monument will be a bronze plaque inscribed "The Texian."

Behind the monument, on flag poles, will fly several different flags significant to the Texas Revolution and to Texas as an independent nation. At the base of each flag pole will be a plaque that describes the flag and its place in Texas history.

At the entrance to the park will be a four-sided granite stand with a bronze bust of Charles B. Stewart. A biography of Stewart and directions to Montgomery, Texas where Stewart spent most of his adult life will be inscribed on this monument. Many historians credit Charles B. Stewart with the design of the Lone Star Flag of Texas in 1839 while residing in the Town of Montgomery then the county seat of Montgomery County, Texas.

The stated purpose of the park is to serve as an educational tool for the citizens of Texas, to become a source of local pride and inspiration for Montgomery, County; and to enhance heritage tourism by being a point of destination for the great number of tourists that pass through that area daily.

For more informaiton about the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park, go to: http://www.texasflagpark.org/park.htm

Monday, May 03, 2010

Madam Powell Marker Re-Dedicated




A Centennial Marker dedicated to Madam Powell in 1936 was re-dedicated on Saturday, May 1, 2010. This marker had been knocked down over the years and the Texas Star had been removed by vandals. The San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas took a leading role in the repair and cleaning of the Madam Powell 1936 marker. Jack Wendt, who now owns the property, up-righted the marker and improved the road to the marker site.

The Master of Ceremonies for the ceremony was Tom Green. Curt Osborne, Chaplain of the San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas led the invocation. Sam Clark, KSJ, the President General of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, led the pledge to the United States flag. Ron Brown, the President of San Jacinto Chapter #1 led the pledge to the Texas flag.

Jack Wendt then provided the history of the land that the Elizabeth Powell marker is located on going back to the original Mexican land grant and tracing the history of the ownership of the land to the present. Bert Bleil, the Chairman of the Ft. Bend County Historical Commission also spoke and welcomed everyone on behalf of the Ft. Bend County Historical Commission. Charles Sadnick, III, Historian with the Texas Historical Commission spoke about the history of the 1936 Centennial markers and the importance of efforts such as this one to preserve Texas history.

Several descendants of Elizabeth Powell were then introduced. Some of the Powell descendants had come all the way from Louisiana to be here for the re-dedication of the marker. Descendants of Elizabeth Powell included Frank and Vickie Deffes, and their son Frank and his wife, Alicia.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Gregg Dimmick, spoke about his archeological investigation of the Madam Powell site several years ago. His archeological investigation confirmed that the Mexican Army camped at the location where the Madam Powell marker was erected in 1936. Dr. Dimmick believes that the site of the Madam Powell marker marks a critical location in the history of Texas.

It was at this site, following the defeat of the Mexican Army at San Jacinto, that all the Mexican Generals met to decide what to do next. Should they take the large combined army they had (about 2500 and about 1,500 camp followers) and go after the much smaller Texas Army (about 800), or should they retreat. They decided to retreat to two towns within Texas. Shortly after leaving Powell's Tavern, it began to rain and the Mexican Army got stuck in what became known as the "Sea of Mud" or "El Mar de Lodo" near present day town of Wharton, Texas. It took the Mexican Army two weeks to extract itself from the mud. Having lost much of their supplies, General Filisola the commander of the Mexican Army decided to retreat across the Rio Grande River.

Had the Mexican Generals decided to take the attack to the much smaller Texian Army, Texas history would probably have been much different.

The up-righted, restored and cleaned marker was then unveiled by SRT President General Sam Clark and San Jacinto Chapter President Ron Brown while members of the Sons of the Republic of Texas (David Martin, Tom Houston, Carl Hill, and Dale Williamson) in 1836 period attire fired several black-powder rifle salutes.

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wendt then welcomed everyone into their home for refreshments following the re-dedication ceremony.

SITE OF THE HOME OF
ELIZABETH POWELL

BUILT BEFORE MARCH 21, 1831, WHEN
THE LAND WAS GRANTED TO HER. THIS
POINT MARKS THE MOST EASTERN
ADVANCE OF URREA'S ARMY AND THE
MOST SOUTHERN ADVANCE OF SANTA
ANNA, WHO TURNED EAST FROM HERE
TO THE BRAZOS AND SAN JACINTO.
HERE THE MEXICAN ARMY ENCAMPED
AFTER THE BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO

Erected by the State of Texas
1936

For more information on Madam Powell and the archeological investigation conducted by Gregg Dimmick, see Chapter Four of the book Sea of Mud. All photos courtesy of David L. Martin and K. K. Searle.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bevill Recieves Summerfield G. Roberts Award for Paper Republic

On Saturday, April 10, 2010, at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Sons of the Republic of Texas held in Tyler, Texas, James P. Bevill received the prestigious Summerfield G. Roberts Award for his book, The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas. The Summerfield G. Roberts Award is awarded by the Sons of the Republic of Texas for excellence in Texas historical literature and also includes a cash award of $2,500.

The Son of the Republic of Texas describe the Summerfield G. Roberts Award as follows:
"The purpose of this award is to encourage literary effort and research about historical events and personalities during the days of the Republic of Texas, 1836-1846, and to stimulate interest in this period. The judges will determine which entry best portrays the spirit, character, strength and deeds of those who lived in the Republic of Texas."
Because of his use of so many new primary sources, we are huge fans of Bevill's book. Click here to see our review of The Paper Republic. The first printing of The Paper Republic in September of 2009 was such a huge success, Jim Bevill has advised us that The Paper Republic is already being prepared by his publisher Bright Sky Press for a second printing.

The photo above was taken at an earlier time when Bevill presented a signed copy of The Paper Republic to former First Lady Barbara Bush. Left to right: James P. Bevill, Barbara Bush, and Jodie Bevill.

David Hill San Jacinto Veteran Memorial Ceremony

On Saturday May 29, 2010 at 2:00 p.m., the San Saba River Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Family of David Hill will be conducting a veteran memorial ceremony for David Hill's service at the Battle of San Jacinto. The ceremony will be held at Bluffton Cemetery in Llano County, Texas. The speaker will be historian, Karylon Halmark "Bitsy" Russell. The ceremony will be presented by the San Saba River Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT). There will be light refreshments and visitation from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Directions: From Llano take TX 29 E to RR 2241, Bluffton Cemetery on your left about 11 miles. From Burnet take 29 W 13 miles to CR 261-Lakeshore DR. 8 miles to Bluffton stay on 2241 2.5 miles cemetery on right.

For more information contact Louise Barton Sanders at 512-752-3400 or email at lsanders8@wildblue.net .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rolling Thunder


video

Fred Mead has been kind enough to share some of the history of the famed Texas cannon, Rolling Thunder, with the Texas History Page. He writes:

The historic Texas cannon, Rolling Thunder, has changed handlers recently. Rolling Thunder is a 3/4 scale firing replica of an 1841 Mississippi or Tennessee field cannon. There is some argument as to which state claims the design. But no matter, it is more often referred to as a "field piece" and was usually towed by horses way back then together with a following "limber box" with its own axle. Today, the "limber box" is much smaller and contains all the supplies that the multiple members of the gun crew use: large gloves, friction primers, and all the multitude of miscellaneous items that it takes to make the gun charges as well as the special effects often used and safety items.

Rolling Thunder was made about 20+ years ago, machined from a solid piece of oilfield steel by a local machinist working at home in his off-hours. Some friends from San Jacinto Chapter #1 of the historic organization, The Sons of the Republic of Texas, formed a partnership among the 3 or 4 of them: Richard (Dick) Reese, Jr., Sam Clark, Tom Houston, and Leonard Cloud. They purchased the gun barrel, then had the wooden carriage built to fit the barrel and found some antique wagon wheels, which were at the time, about 130 years old and that had been used on overland wagons carrying settlers West to explore America.

These gentlemen put all this together and had themselves a great field piece and began carrying it around Texas to help celebrate the anniversaries of Texas holidays and other important historic dates and events in Texas history. Rolling Thunder was also used to help teach Texas history which is one of the cornerstones of the mission of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. While the SRT does not sponsor Rolling Thunder, all these men are members of the SRT and have displayed and fired Rolling Thunder to celebrate Texas history as individual members of Texas Volunteers or Texas Army. They took Rolling Thunder all over the state for various purposes, parades, displays, and firing demonstrations for more than 18 years.

The individual owners of Rolling Thunder decided that based upon their personal activities and the demands on their time from family, professions and age that they would look around for a new generation of men to step forward and take on the tasks and traditions they began. The Conroe area Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, Lone Star Chapter #58, had three members who stepped forward and took on the ownership and responsibility of carrying on these important traditions already begun for Rolling Thunder.

Charlie Fogarty from the Steamboat House Restaurant, Mike Wilson from a local energy company, and Fred Mead from his own construction related business, stepped up to the plate and took on the task. They called upon additional friends from their Chapter and the San Jacinto Chapter of the SRT to become members of their Rolling Thunder gun crew and have begun displaying and firing the cannon. They had their first chance to learn to fire Rolling Thunder three weeks ago when Dick Reese and Sam Clark took them out to some vacant land and ran through some safety drills and the proper handling of the cannon. They also learned how to make the charges that are the ammunition for the cannon. This past weekend, a special cannon school was held at the George Ranch to get the gun crew certified as "Cannoneers." This is a State and Federal requirement to display and fire the cannon on the lands belonging to State and Federal parks.

In its career, Rolling Thunder, has been in parades all over Texas in many communities. It has fired at ceremonial activities at Washington on the Brazos, the Alamo, the Presidio La Bahia at Goliad, the San Jacinto Battleground, and many other historic and civic locations around Houston and other areas too numerous to list here. Rolling Thunder is a true Texas native and part of our history. It might be relatively young but it represents over 150 years of Texas history and spirit. Look for Rolling Thunder when you next go to a historic place or event in Texas.

Rolling Thunder is a 3/4 scale cannon. It was built from specifications of what is called a 6 pounder cannon, so Rolling Thunder is actually a 4 pounder with a 2.25" bore. It is about 4' long, 4' tall, has 4' tall wheels, and 6' trail piece. It has its own trailer it rides on from place to place. When it is not being displayed or fired somewhere, Rolling Thunder is on display at the Steamboat House Restaurant in Houston, Texas along with other beautiful and historic items and artifacts of Texas history for visitors to view and enjoy. It is referred to as a "black powder" cannon. It is fired using a "friction primer" so it can be fired with a lanyard rather than lighting it with a fuse which is much safer for all. It has been used to fire projectiles 3/4 of a mile or further. Rolling Thunder has fired many different types of loads, including some for fun (such as colored smoke) and some for special tasks. These types of cannons are very powerful, quite loud and produce a lot of smoke.

In the photo above, left to right, Fred Mead and Mike Wilson stand with Rolling Thunder. Photo courtesy of K. K. Searle. In the video above, Rolling Thunder is fired by a cannon crew composed of Charlie Fogarty, Fred Mead, Mike Wilson, John Homman and K. K. Searle. Instructor, Jerry Tubbs has placed a steak over the fuse hole to show the dangers of being near the fuse hole when the cannon is fired. Video courtesy of Linley Johnson.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Master Mason Degree - Battleship USS Texas

All Texas Master Masons are invited to observe a unique and historic Master Mason's Degree aboard the battleship USS TEXAS BB-35 on April 23, 2010. Frontier Lodge No. 28 has been given the opportunity to present this historic Masonic event. This will be joint degree conferred by Frontier Lodge No. 28 and Garden Oaks Lodge No. 1306.

The date and time again: Friday, April 23, 2010, 7:30 p.m. Please note that you may want to arrive early as chairs are limited. Click here for more information on the Battleship Texas.

See maps and directions to the Battleship Texas here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Re-Dedication of 1936 Madam Powell Historical Marker Set for May 1, 2010


The public is invited to attend the re-dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker originally placed where the Mexican Army met at Madam Powell's Tavern after learning of the Texian victory at San Jacinto. After learning of the defeat of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, General Vicente Filisola, second in command of the Mexican Army, ordered the other Mexican Generals all to meet him at Madam Powell's Tavern for a council of war, which was held from April 24 through April 26, 1836.

Instead of moving the remaining two or three thousand man army on across the Brazos River and attacking General Sam Houston's Texian Army, the Mexican Generals decided to fall back to the west side of the Colorado River and wait for orders from their government. If these Mexican Generals had decided to attack the Texian Army instead of withdraw, our history might be considerably different. As the huge Mexican Army began their retreat, the rear guard is believed to have burned Madam Powell's Tavern.

The San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas believes this is an important event in Texas history and they will host a ceremony starting at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, 2010 to re-dedicate the marker that was placed at the site of Elizabeth Powell's home as part of the massive state wide project in 1936 to mark all historic sites in the state. Dr. Gregg Dimmick will be the featured speaker, and Bob Brinkman with the Texas Historical Commission will tell us about the history of the 1936 marker program. Everyone interested in Texas history is invited to join them.

The marker is located near the crossing of Turkey Creek in the middle of Mr. Jack Wendt's cattle ranch, and was knocked down by cows some years back. Mr. Wendt uprighted the 1936 marker and the San Jacinto SRT Chapter has replaced the missing lone star on the marker and cleaned the years of grime from the granite marker. Mr. Wendt has also greatly improved the road through his farm to the marker, and has vounteered the use of his onsite ranch building for a reception after the re-dedication ceremony.

Directions and Contact Information-

To reach the site of the ceremony, proceed southwest from Houston on Highway 59 to the town of Kendleton, Texas. As you exit at the Kendleton exit, make a "U" turn and drive back toward Houston on the access road for about one mile to Darst Road, where you turn right and continue until you cross the bridge over Turkey Creek. The next farm entrance on the left is the entrance to Jack Wendt's farm and ranch, where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For other details, contact Tom Green at (281) 922-1118 or his cell phone at (832) 687-3474.


Photos showing Elizabeth Powell marker on ground missing lone star at the beginning of the preservation process are all courtesy of Dale Williamson.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Julia Ideson Library - Archival Wing and Reading Garden Opening April 5, 2010

On Monday, April 5, 2010, the new archival wing and reading garden of the Julia Ideson Library in Houston, Texas will be opening.

The Julia Ideson Library has been undergoing extensive preservation and extension during the past year. The Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners thanks the City of Houston/Downtown Redevelopment Authority TIRZ #3 and the hundreds of individuals, foundations, and corporations who have helped them raise more than $30.1 million to date.

Phase I of the expansion and restoration of the Julia Ideson Library, the construction of the new archival wing for the invaluable holdings of the Houston Public Library's Houston Metropolitan Center, will open on April 5, 2010. Please come and visit the HMRC as well as the adjacent palm-shaded reading garden and open-air loggia (entrance at the corner of Smith and Lamar Streets). For hours of operation call 832-393-1313. For more information on the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and its archives visit http://www2.houstonlibrary.org/hmrc/index.html .

Phase II of the $32 million project, the restoration of both the exterior and the beautiful and architecturally significant interiors of the original 1926 building at 500 McKinney designed by Ralph Adams Cram, is now underway and expected to be complete by Summer of 2011. For more information on the project, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to Phase II, visit http://www.ideson.org/ or call Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners executive director, Margaret Lawler, at 713-660-0772.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Save Texas History Symposium

Mark your calenders for the inaugural Save Texas History Symposium in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 6, 2010. The topic of the symposium will be "Discovering Spanish and Mexican Texas." The Save Texas History Symposium will be hosted by Commissioner Jerry Patterson and the Texas General Land Office. The symposium will be held at 1700 North Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Save Texas History Symposium is only $25 per person. To register, call 1-800-998-4GLO or email: archives@glo.state.tx.us .

There will be plenty to do at the symposium:
  • Survey downtown Austin with a real-life survey team
  • Learn tips to research your family tree
  • Visit the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Tour the Texas General Land Office Archives - See original signatures of Stephen F. Austin and other Texas heroes
  • Make handcrafted paper from old fashioned materials
  • Print your own map on an antique iron hand printing press

Guest speakers will include Texas State Historian Dr. Light Cummins, former Texas State Historian Dr. Frank de la Teja, and Dr. Felix D. Almaraz. Click here to read more about the Save Texas History Symposium.

The Texas General Land Office Archives was created after the Texas Revolution when Sam Houston directed the first land commissioner, John P. Borden, to collect all available land records defining the new Republic. These valuable documents, now housed in temperature- and access-controlled vaults, are used daily by genealogists, historians, archeologists, surveyors and anyone interested in Texas history. For more information about the Texas General Land Office Archives go to http://www.glo.state.tx.us/archives/archives.html . For more information about what you can do to help save Texas history, go to http://www.glo.state.tx.us/OC/savetxhist/index.html .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memorial to General Carroll A. "Curly" Lewis, Jr. of the Texas Army



The following is from the memorial service brochure for General Carroll A. “Curly” Lewis, Jr. held on January 20, 2010 at the San Jacinto Monument at 2:00 p.m.


GENERAL CARROLL "Curly" LEWIS, JR. left this world January 7, 2010. Born February 3, 1924 in Houston, Texas, he was known at an early age as the Poet Laureate of Poe Elementary School. This was not the end of his literary career for he late wrote numerous magazine and newspaper articles, a definitive history of Fort Anahuac (The Birthplace of the Texas Revolution), enjoyed the fifth printing of his popular book The Treasures of Galveston Bay and is included in the American Diaries of WWII


Also excelling in art, when attending Lanier Junior High School, he won a four year art scholarship at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. At Lamar Senior High School he formed his own twelve-piece dance band and was the founding president of the MAC (Make Action Count) Club – a quasi fraternity. While studying chemical engineering at Rice Institute, he continued his musical activities with the Rice Band and the Knight Owls dance orchestra.


When World War II interrupted, he flew twenty five missions as a B-17 bomber pilot in the Eighth Air force; being shot down twice over Nazi Germany


Returning to Rice he was founding president of the Rice Veteran’s Association, Student Council chairman, re-organized and led the Knight Owls dance orchestra, ansd was of the Rice Owl band where his outrageous innovations created a spirit that was thereafter adopted by the MOB (Marching Owl Band). There is a legend at Rice University, that one Friday afternoon, before a Rice / A & M football game, Lewis secretly flew an airplane from Houston to College Station and dropped a large stink bomb and one hundred pounds of rice on an Aggie pep rally. The 1947 Rice yearbook shows photos of the mission.


Before graduating from college he began investing in land; eventually developing the following subdivisions in the Houston Area of Memorial Estates, Shady Oaks, Karankawa Pines, Richmond Road Farms, Shamrock Estates, Battleground Vista, Belknap Acres, Braeburn Gardens, Pinegrove Valley, Lomax Gardens, Greendale, Richmond Road Estates, Skyview Farms, Captains Retreat, Pirate’s Grove and Battleground Estates.


A former Eagle Scout, he served as scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop l1 Airscouts and Girl Scout Troop 116 and as a council director of Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts of America. He was a Sunday School teacher, officer and choir member of First Presbyterian Church of Galveston, and the United Church of Idaho Springs, Colorado, and chairman of the Greater Houston Presbyterian Extension committee of the Brazos Presbytery. A 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, he played in the Arabia Temple Shrine Drum and Bugle Corps. Band. Early in his life, he served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA camps.


A business degree from the University of Houston guided him to other interests such as building and operating the Post Oak Twin Drive-in Theater, a Giant Slide, and Movie land Golf – a 36-hole miniature golf course where each hole represented a famous movie. He was president of the Southwestern Historical Exploration Society and in 1968 directed its recovery of many Civil War artifacts out of the Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston. Leading another exploration in 1968, he discovered Puritan Pilgrim fortifications on the Caribbean Islands of Santa Catalina that had been lost from history for over 300 years. He wrote many articles for True West, Treasure World, and Treasure magazines, and had a weekly shooting sports column for Citizen newspapers.


In1969, he convinced Governor Preston Smith to reactivate the Texas Army, which had been inactive since 1845, and was appointed Commanding General in which capacity he served for 40 years. He was well known for his impersonation of General Sam Houston on television, the news media and at public events. Curly was dedicated to perpetuating the memory of early Texas heroes; as one journalist put it, “The General keeps Texas’ past alive!” A consummate hunter, fisherman and sailor, his large Texas flag mainsail was frequently seen on Galveston Bay – Curly loved all things Texan. Since retirement, he enjoyed monthly meetings with his Lamar ’41 classmates and singing and playing drums every Wednesday night with the jazz group known as the Over The Hill Gang.


He is survived by his wife Candace Frazier, daughter Marsha Blake, grandchildren Jordan and Sawyer Ross.


The service will be at 2:00 p.m. on January 20, 2010 at the San Jacinto Monument (Auditorium) the General Staff of the Texas Army will conduct a public ceremony of remembrances and celebration of the General's life. Dressed in 1836 attire, the Texas Army will perform full military honors; firing a 21-gun salute using cannon and flintlock rifles. The United States Air Force Funeral Detail will also fire a salute and execute its flag presentation ceremony. Officiating will be Rev. Joe Hause and Rev. John W. Lancaster will close with the benediction. The family has requested donations to the Texas Army War Chest in lieu of flowers. For Information, please email Col. John Martin at Coljwm@gmail.com .



Photo of of Governor Preston Smith reactivating the Texas Army in 1969 (l. to r. unknown Texas Army soldier, Governor Preston Smith and General "Curly" Lewis). This photo is from the collection of K. K. Searle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Houston: 1860 - 1900 (Images of America)

Review of Houston: 1860 - 1900 by Ann Dunphy Becker
Review by K. K. Searle

Another wonderful pictorial history from Arcadia Publishing and their Images of America Series. This history takes the City of Houston from the period just before the Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century. The book's author, Ann Dunphy Becker, has illustrated Houston: 1860-1900 with hundreds of rare old photographs taken during this unique period in Houston's history. Many of these photographs are from private collections.
Between 1860 and 1900, Houston developed into a major railway center and an international port of call that would allow Houston to eventually become the fourth largest city in the United States of America. With every photograph, author Ann Dunphy Becker has included many fascinating anecdotes and historical details. Houston: 1860 - 1900 is a wonderful visual feast that will transport you back in time to when the City of Houston was young.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010 San Jacinto Day Ceremony

You are invited to the official San Jacinto Day Ceremony commemorating the 174th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. This ceremony is celebrated on April 21st every year. This year's ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at the San Jacinto Monument on the San Jacinto Battleground beginning at 11:00 a.m.

This year's Principal Speaker will be James L. Haley author of the acclaimed biography, Sam Houston. Ron Stone, Jr. will be the Master of Ceremonies. There will be a prelude by the Deer Park High School Orchestra. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas will be presenting the winners of DRT and SRT Scholarships.

The San Jancinto Chapter and the Sam Houston Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas will be presenting their Sailor of the Year Awards. Sam Houston's report of the Battle of San Jacinto will be read. The Texas Army will will fire ceremonial black powder rifle salutes and there will be a wreath laying at the foot of the San Jacinto Monument to honor the memory of those Texian soldiers who fought and died to win Texas' independence from Mexico.

Please R.S.V.P. to help them plan at 713-516-3429.