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.

1 comment:

davmart said...

Very good report on a very good Texas History event!!!