Sunday, November 27, 2011

Treasure Hunter by W. C. Jameson - Book Review

I recently had the opportunity to review W. C. Jameson’s book Treasure Hunter. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be a modern day Indiana Jones, then Treasure Hunter is the book for you. Texan, W. C. Jameson, and his treasure hunting partners, Slade, Poet, and Stanley, traveled across the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in search of lost Spanish mines and buried treasure. They often found it and sometimes they even got to bring some of it home and cash it out. In his book, Treasure Hunter, W. C. Jameson is ready to take you along for the ride.

These treasure stashes were located primarily by doing extensive historical research in Mexico in old Spanish archival records. Then Jameson and his partners would go searching for the treasure and that is where the adventures would begin. To get some idea, just ask yourself, “How would you retrieve hundreds of pounds of gold or silver bars out of an old abandoned mine in Mexico and get it across the United States border without having the gold stolen from you by Mexican bandits or confiscated by the Mexican or United States governments?”

I enjoyed reading Treasure Hunter very much. I found it to be very entertaining and lots of fun as Jameson takes you along vicariously on several of his treasure hunting adventures. If you decide to go along, don’t forget your leather jacket, fedora, bullwhip, and your gun. You will need your gun!

Treasure Hunter: Caches Curses and Deadly Confrontations by W. C. Jameson. Treasure Hunter is available from for $14.95. For a few dollars more, copies signed by the author are available at the publisher Seven Oaks Publishing Company.

Texas Cannon Rolling Thunder Rolls On With New Wheels

On November 12, Rolling Thunder, the cannon of the Lone Star Volunteers, came home with a new set of wheels.  The Lone Star Volunteers attend Texas historic events all over the State of Texas demonstrating Rolling Thunder.  Rolling Thunder is a three-quarter scale replica of an 1841 Mississippi field cannon and is similar in size to the 6 pound Twin Sisters cannons used by the Texians to win their independence from Mexico in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.  As you can see in the photograph above, Rolling Thunder is a real firing cannon.  The picture above is a picture of Rolling Thunder taken at the Texian Navy Day Celebration held at the Battleship Texas in the San Jacinto State Park near LaPorte on September 17, 2011.

It looks scary since that is about 2500 degrees of fire coming out of the end of the barrel and also the primer hole at the rear. That is the reason all the gun crew members are wearing heavy gloves and ear protection. On this occasion, the Lone Star Volunteers were firing directly into the wind and the burnt powder was blown back on them. That is one of the reasons the gun crew wears the red shirts made of 100% wool, which is a requirement for outerwear for this type of gun handling. Their ever-ready water bucket is in front, and they were joined by four other cannons from the Texas Army.

Recently the Lone Star Volunteers discovered that Rolling Thunder's 160 year-old wagon wheels were coming apart at the seams from the dryness of our recent Texas drought and the summer heat. It was customary during the Revolutionary and Civil War eras to pull the cannons down into a creek to let the water soak into the hubs and spokes of the wheels, so the cracks in the wood would swell and close up.

Rolling Thunder was machined from a solid billet of steel about 25 years ago by a local oil field worker as a hobby project, and the wood carriage that supports it was handmade to fit. Rolling Thunder's wheels came from a 160 year old wagon.  Rolling Thunder It has been hauled around, fired and shown off all around Texas making appearances in many places. When they discovered there might be a problem with the 160 year old antique wheels, they asked a wagon manufacturer to take a look to see what could be done to repair them. It was decided that the wheels had deteriorated too far for repairs, and the decision was made to have new wheels made. It took three months to have the new wheels made from scratch. Yes, The wheels were made in Texas.

However, 2011 is the 175th anniversary of Texas independence from Mexico, and the whole time the wheels were being fabricated, the Lone Star Volunteers were still taking Rolling Thunder to historical events all over Texas, firing it and showing it…but being very careful whenever they had to move it. But they never held back. The only time they had to draw the line was when it was suggested that they put Rolling Thunder on the bow of the Battleship Texas using a helicopter since there is no passageway wide enough to allow for it to roll onto the Battleship Texas. Consequently they fired salutes to the Texian Navy beside the bow as shown in the picture above.

New Wheels on Rolling Thunder Cannon (Click to Enlarge)
 On Saturday, November 19, Rolling Thunder showed off its new wheels at the Tomball Holiday Parade in Tomball, Texas.  The cannon has been attending this parade for 11 years…it hasn’t missed one yet and doesn’t plan to miss one in the future. May Rolling Thunder roll on for another 160 years on her new wheels and continue to preserve Texas history.

New Wheels on Rolling Thunder Cannon (Click to Enlarge)

Article and photographs courtesy of Fred Mead.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passing of Dr. Wesley Weeks Williams

We report the glory of graduation to heaven on November 17 of an esteemed Methodist Pastor and long time member of the Ephraim M. Daggett Chapter #36 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, Dr. Wesley Weeks Williams, age 88. As many of you know, he was the father of current active chapter member and past chapter president, John Wesley Wiliams. Memorial services will be held Monday, November 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM at the First Christian Church, 601 Southwest Johnson Avenue, Burleson, TX, 76028-5805 Office: 817-295-4123.  An obituary can be found in the Fort Worth Star Telegram for November 19, 2011.

Our special thanks to Ephraim M. Daggett Chapter #36 webmaster, D. A. Sharpe, for providing this important information to the Texas History Page.

Fernland Historical Park Has Grand Opening

Ribbon Cutting by Gareth Westlake and Dana Gibson in front of the 1846 Arnold-Simonton House at the Grand Opening of Fernland Historical Park

The Grand Opening of Fernland Historical Park was held  on September 17, 2011 in historic Montgomery, Texas.  The park features numerous authentic Republic of Texas and Civil War era homes, a museum focusing on the early history of the town and a teaching center for students of early Texas history.

Sam Houston State University President Dana Gibson

The ribbon was cut by Dana L. Gibson, President of Sam Houston State University, and Gareth Westlake, President of the Fernland, Inc. Board.  Fernland Historical Park is located on Clepper Street in Montgomery, Texas located in western Montgomery County. The Fernland Historical Park is the product of a group effort of several entities including the Tharp Family, Sam Houston State University, the City of Montgomery, Texas, the Montgomery Historical Society and Fernland, Inc.

Guest Entering the Arnold-Simonton House to View Fernland Museum Exhibits

The Fernland Museum has already had 27 different collections of artifacts and archival documents donated or loaned to the museum. The museum curator is Melinda Cagle and she will be glad to assist you with the donation or loan of historical items, artifacts and/or documents to the museum's collections now that the museum is officially open.  The collections focus on the history of the Montgomery, Texas, Montgomery County, Texas, the early Republic of Texas, and the State of Texas.  Mrs. Cagle has already begun cataloging the museums collections to make the collections accessible to historical researchers and other students of the history of Montgomery, Texas and the State of Texas. If you are visiting Montgomery, swing by the museum and walk among the all the historic Texas buildings, cabins and homes in Fernland Historical Park.

Photos courtesy of Billy Ray Duncan.