Thursday, December 31, 2015

Clearing on the Halves - The Discovery of a Forgotten Real Estate Practice in Austin's Colony Pertaining to Mexican Land Grants

For several years I have been researching the early history of Montgomery County, Texas. The earliest Anglo-American settlement in what is today Montgomery County, Texas was the Lake Creek Settlement. The Lake Creek Settlement was located in Austin's Second Colony. While doing my research, I discovered a long forgotten real estate practice in Austin' Colony that was quite common in colonial Texas known as "clearing on the halves" or "clearing land."

First, it is important to know that Mexican land grants were not actually free.  There were a number of costs and fees associated with "clearing land" out of Stephen F. Austin's office in the town of San Felipe de Austin. To demonstrate this, we will use Owen Shannon's League which is located today in western Montgomery County.  Using Owen Shannon's League as an example, the costs and fees of obtaining a league of land in Austin's Second Colony in 1831 have been detailed by Galen Greaser, Translator with the Spanish Collection in the Archives and Records Division of the Texas General Land Office:

"In 1829, preparatory to the arrival of Commissioner General Juan Antonio Padilla in the colony, Austin put out a "Notice" advising settlers of the process for obtaining a land grant.  The first step was to obtain a certificate of admission showing that the settler had Austin's consent to locate in the colony.  The cost of the certificate was two dollars (pesos and dollars were on par at this time). As the Empresario, Austin also collected a fee of $50.00 for his services, $10 upon receipt of the title and the balance due one year later.  The Secretary (Samuel M. Williams) was due $10.00, $5.00 on presenting the petition to the commissioner and $5.00 one year later. The title was written on stamped or revenue paper of the third stamp, for which the interested party paid two reales (two bits). Two pages were required , making the total for paper 50 cents.  These are what we might label "office fees." They totaled $62.50.

The settler also had to pay a surveyor for surveying his land. Decree No. 128 of the Congress of Coahuila y Texas, dated April 1, 1830, set the fee at $8.00 for surveying a league of land.  You can find this decree in Gammel's, The Laws of Texas, Vol. 1. Previously, on May 15, 1828, the same Congress passed a decree, No. 62, setting the commissioner's fee at $15.00 for a league of grazing land and $2.00 for each labor of temporal land.  Finally, Article 22 of the 1825 Colonization Law fixed the government dues required from each settler.  The land was classified when it was surveyed. The two main classifications were grazing or pastureland and arable or temporal land. Each league of land contains 25 labors.

As an example, in Owen Shannon's title, 20 labors were classified as grazing land and 5 labors were deemed arable.  The fee for grazing land was $1.20 per labor, making $24.00, and arable land brought $2.50 per labor, or $12.50 in this case.  The total government dues were, thus, $36.50. Settlers were given six years in which to pay the government, the first payment being due in the fourth year.  If the commissioner charged $15 and the surveyor collected $8.00, added to the $36.50, the total would be $59.50 for this part, which added to the "office fees" make a total of $122.00. There may have been a few other incidentals, such as the cost of preparing the certified copy of the title that was given to the grantee, but I would be comfortable with stating that the cost of obtaining a title for one league of land in Austin's Colony in 1831 was in the neighborhood of $125 dollars."

$125 was a lot of money in 1831. Often, early settlers did not have enough money to pay these costs and fees to clear their land out of Stephen F. Austin's office at San Felipe.

"Clearing on the halves" or "clearing land" had nothing whatsoever to do with clearing trees or brush from land, as the name would initially suggest.  Many settlers that came to Texas had waited for years to get their land grants in Austin's Colony.  By the time the Empresario (Austin) had the deed papers ready, the settlers were often out of cash money when it came time to pay the costs and fees described above. Enterprising businessmen with ready cash would offer to pay these closing costs on behalf of the settlers in return for a portion of the league of land the settler was to receive. Typically the person "clearing land on the halves" got, as the name suggests, half of the settler's league of land.

The practice was a win-win-win situation.  The Empresario and the Mexican government won because they got all their costs and fees paid.  The settler won because he received clear title to his league of land without paying any money out of his own pocket.  And the business man "clearing on the halves" immediately got half of the league of land the settler received (about 2,214 acres) for an investment of about $125.00 (or just over 5 and a half cents per acre).

For instance, in the example in the section above, Thomas Taylor paid Owen Shannon's costs and fees on his behalf.  In return for paying these expenses on behalf of Owen Shannon, Owen Shannon deeded half of his league to Thomas Taylor.  This practice was known as "clearing on the halves."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Montgomery County History Road Rally. Historic Willis and Danville, Texas, January 23, 2016

The Montgomery County Historical Commission will be holding its 3rd annual History Road Rally on Saturday, January 23, 2016.  Each year the Montgomery County Historical Commission picks a different part of historic Montgomery County, Texas to make the focus of the History Road Rally. Two years ago, the History Road Rally focused on Montgomery, Texas and the historic sites around Montgomery.  Last year, the History Road Rally focused on Conroe, Texas and the historic sites around Conroe.  This years History Road Rally will focus on historic sites in and around Willis, Texas and Danville, Texas.

There will be trophies and prizes for the winning teams.  Teams of 2-5 participants per vehicle will be given clues to historic sites such as cemeteries, historic homes and churches, 1936 Centennial markers, Texas State Historical markers, etc. Those wishing to participate in the History Road Rally will meet at the North Montgomery County Community Center located at 600 Gerald at Lincoln Ridge in Willis, Texas beginning at noon.  The Rally will be held rain or shine.  Check-in is from Noon-1:00 p.m.  Road rally will start at 1:30 p.m. Each team will follow the clues given at the beginning of the rally.  Historical sites will be located by the teams and photographs of team members will be taken in front of the historic sites, markers etc.  So be sure and bring your cell phones and make sure your batteries are charged.  Each team will have two hours to complete the History Road Rally.  There will be free meals and team recognition beginning at 4:00 p.m. including trophies and prizes.

There is a pre-registration fee of $30 per vehicle and the registration fee will be $40 on the day of the event. This event is sponsored by Gullo Ford of Conroe, Gullo Mazda of Conroe and Gullo Toyota of Conroe. For more information or to register, call 936-525-7311 or 936-537-9070.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Descendants of the Signers Sought by Genealogical Consultant, Shelby Rowan, for Texas 180th Celebration

Are you a descendant of a Signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence (one of the 59 delegates or the secretary of the Convention)? The Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed beginning on March 2, 1836. The Star of the Republic Museum located at Washington on the Brazos State Park maintains a Registry of the Descendants of the Signers who have proven their descent genealogically.  Have you wanted to be a member listed on the Registry of Descendants of the Signers?  Do you need a little help with your application?  Then read on.

In 2011, the Star of the Republic Museum celebrated the 175th anniversary of the  signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence and over 1500 descendants were in attendance.  That number was largely due to the research done by many volunteer genealogists who compiled family trees of the 60 signers and located a significant number of living descendants who were subsequently invited to the 2011 celebration.  2016 will mark the 180th anniversary and there is currently an effort being made to locate the many additional living descendants.  New research has shown that there are hundreds, perhaps as many as a thousand, living descendants of the Signers still unidentified.

To learn more about the Star of the Republic Museum and the Signers Project, you can go to the Museum's website (, visit the museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park just outside Navasota, Texas, or call the Star of the Republic Museum (936-878-2461), and talk to Dr. Shawn Carlson, Curator, (ext. 214), or Dr. Houston McGaugh, Director, (ext.238). On the Star of the Republic Museum website, you will find family trees of all the signers (the 59 delegates and the secretary, Henry Kimble), and information about the project and about the Descendants Registry project.

For help with your application for the Descendants Registry, Shelby Rowan, Genealogical Consultant for the Museum, can also help.  It is her objective to review all current family trees and then see where descendants of the signers, dead or living are missing.  If you are a descendant of one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and you have not previously been identified, Shelby Rowan is looking for you. There is still a lot of work to do. Although most of the family trees of each of the signers have most of their children in the second generation identified and listed, Shelby Rowan has discovered several instances where any number of grandchildren or great-grandchildren are missing and thus long lines of living descendants are yet to be located.  You are encouraged to contact Shelby Rowan and forward this to your cousins because Miss Rowan needs your help in finding those missing living descendants.  You need to know that NO INFORMATION ABOUT LIVING PEOPLE is put on the website and the Museum does not share any of the information about living people with anyone!! Occasionally people will contact Miss Rowan  looking for cousins and she will only share contact information if she is given permission. The best plan is be at the 180th celebration  in 2016 and meet those cousins who descend from your signer ancestor personally!

March 5th and 6th have been selected as the dates for the 2016 Texas Independence celebration at Washington-on-the-Brazos as well as the Descendants of the Signers activities.  Information will be online and sent to the Descendants of the Signers beginning sometime in the fall of 2015. There will be a variety of activities on both Saturday and Sunday followed by a roll call of all the families on Sunday, the 6th.  Feel free to contact Shelby Rowan by phone, email or snail mail with any questions OR with additional names for her to add to her files. Remember, if the Star of the Republic Museum does not have your information (correct address and correct email) you will not receive formal invitations to the activities.  Whether they have your contact information or not, be sure and come up to Washington-on-the-Brazos March 5-6, 2016 for all the fun and to celebrate what your ancestor did "Where Texas Became Texas."


Shelby Rowan, Genealogical Consultant for the Star of the Republic Museum
2300 Avon Street, Bryan, Texas 77802

 For more information about the Descendants of the Signers activities for the 180th celebration, visit: or call 936-878-2214.

Photograph of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick speaking at 2015 Texas Independence Day celebrations at Washington-on-the-Brazos with the Descendants of the Signers flag in the background is courtesy of Jennifer Searle.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fifth Annual Houston History Conference - “On the Cusp of War: Houston in the 1860s”

The Houston History Alliance is hosting its fifth annual Houston History Conference on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the M.D. Anderson Library at the University of Houston, from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Titled “On the Cusp of War: Houston in the 1860s,” the conference will address not only the social, institutional and economic changes in the Houston area as a result of the Civil War, but also address historical movements since the 1860 through presentations and discussions with Houston leadership, scholars, academics and the public. The format includes keynote speakers, breakout sessions with the choice of two or more panel presentations per session, and exhibits/interactive displays from local history and neighborhood organizations.

At the conference, former Mayor Bill White will present two special awards to living history legends J.P. Bryan (Houston History Hero Award) and John Britt (Betty Trapp Chapman Houston History Award), in appreciation of their tireless work in the field of history.
Presentations scheduled for the program include:

·         Juneteenth – former Texas legislator Albert "Al" Edwards—author and sponsor of House bill making June 19th a paid holiday in Texas; Alvia Wardlaw, Ph.D., Texas Southern University; Merline Pitre, Ph.D., Texas Southern University; Naomi Carrier, Independent Scholar; Portia Baker Hopkins, Lee College
·         Worrying Women, Working Women: Houston Area Women during Civil War and Reconstruction - Angela Boswell, Henderson State University
·         The Slaves of Houston from Steamboat Arrival to Emancipation - Kelly M. Ray, Chicago, Museum Curator and Independent Scholar
·         Civil War on the Upper Gulf Coast - Ken Grubb, Battle of Galveston, Wharton County College; Brady Hutchinson, Sabine Pass, San Jacinto College
·         Reconstruction in Houston – Ronald Goodwin, Ph.D., Prairie View A&M University
·         Antebellum Wilderness: The Natural History of the Houston Area - Jaime Gonzalez, Independent Scholar
·         The Changing Images of Houston, 1860-1900 - Ann Becker, Harris County Historical Commission.
·         Houston Activism - Houston History magazine staff:
o       Yates High School Principal William Holland the Third Ward Community - Debbie Z. Harwell, managing editor
o       Animal Rights Activism in Houston - Lindsay Scovil, associate editor
o       Chicana Activist Maria Jimenez - Denise Gomez, oral history intern
o       Houston’s Graffiti Art: Visual Activism - Nimra Haroon, magazine intern
o       Can Catholicism Win America? Kennedy, Anti-Catholicism, and the Election of 1960 - John S. Huntington, University of Houston
o       Our Endurance is Exhausted! The Black Campus Movement in Houston, Texas, 1960-1969 - Stephanie Weiss, University of Houston
o       A Troubled Relationship: Gay Houstonians and the Police, 1975-1995 - Chris Haight, University of Houston
o       The Texas Federal Writers Project’s Houston City Guide: Travel For Change - Michael Mitchell, College Library Director, Houston Community College Southeast
o       Oveta Culp Hobby: How a Small-town Texas Girl became a National Treasure - Debra Winegarten, independent scholar and author of “Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist”
o       The War on Poverty and the Struggle for Democracy in Houston during the 1960s - Wesley G. Phelps, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Sam Houston State University
o       Houston in 1860 - Eddie Weller, Ph.D. San Jacinto College
o       Race and Faith in the Bayou City: African American, Latina/o, and Anglo Baptists in Houston’s Civil Rights Movements - David Cameron, Texas A&M University
o       Hidden Heritage: The History & Legacy of African American Planning in Houston-Area Freedom Colonies - Andrea Roberts, University of Texas (Paper and Workshop)
Sponsorships are welcome; all sponsors will be invited to attend a private cocktail reception and tour of the Nau Civil War Collection on Friday, September 11, 2015 Hosted by Bobbie and John Nau and Silver Eagle Distributors, the event will be held at Silver Eagle Distributors, home of the collection at 7777 Washington Ave.

Sponsors of this year’s conference include Ralph and Miki Lusk Norton, Jan and Jack Cato, Bill Barnett, Betty Trapp Chapman, The Strake Foundation, Humanities Texas, University of Houston-Center for Public History, Summerlee Foundation, Texas Historical Foundation, University of Houston Libraries, University of Houston Honors College and Texas State Historical Association.

“It has been an extremely successful year for Houston History Alliance as it becomes a model for preserving and disseminating local history for the rest of the state,” says Cecelia Ottenweller, Co-President, HHA. “Besides this incredible annual history conference which is also the launching place for articles and scholarly papers about Houston’s history, HHA is dissipating history through a monthly local history radio program, a bimonthly newsletter and—soon—its Handbook of Houston History project that will be available online. HHA also recently finalized partnerships with TSHA for the funding of an editor position to direct the Handbook project, and an affiliation with the Center for Public History at the University of Houston to provide us office space.”

The cost of the conference is $50 per person before September 11; $40 for seniors, for those presenting in the breakout sessions, and for representatives of exhibiting organizations; and $25 for teachers not covered by scholarships from their respected school systems. If space allows, on-site registration will be available for $60 per person. All tickets include lunch and admission for a full day of activities.

For more information on the conference, to register or inquire about exhibition opportunities, visit, email or call 713-828-3030. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sad Day For Texas - Editorial by Margo I. Green - Removal of Daughters of the Republic of Texas as Alamo Custodians


Friday, July 10, 2015 was a “Sad Day for Texas” with the removal of the Daughters of  the Republic of Texas” as custodians of the “Alamo”. My husband, Tom Green, member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas; Knight of San Jacinto; Texas Army; Texas Navy Admiral and past State President of the Sons of the American Revolution, and I participated in the final hour of the Daughters of the Republic (DRT) custodianship of the Alamo.

The Catholic Church sold the “Alamo” chapel (only) to the State of Texas in 1883. In 1892, a portion of the land surrounding the “Alamo” chapel was saved from becoming a hotel when DRT members Adina de Zavala and Clara Driscoll raised the money to purchase what was left of the “Alamo” battle field from Charles Hugo and Gustav Schmeltzer, merchants. In September, 1905 the State of Texas drafted a bill, sponsored by Adina De Zavala,  reimbursing Clara Driscoll for the purchase of the Alamo grounds. Ownership of the surrounding “Alamo” grounds was transferred to the state at that time.

In 1905 the state of Texas awarded The DRT with the custodianship of the  “Alamo” chapel and remaining grounds  The DRT would lovingly  hold the custodianship of the Shrine of Texas Liberty and honored their commitment  for 110 years with little or no state financial support. The DRT has supported the “Alamo” with thousands of uncompensated volunteer hours and monies earned from the gift shop and donations .

Now, The Congress of the state of Texas voted to remove the DRT as custodians of the “Alamo”. The “Alamo” is now placed under authority of the Texas Land Commissioner, George P. Bush. It is indeed a “SAD DAY FOR TEXAS” when the Daughters of the Republic of Texas have been basically kicked out of the “Alamo”. Saving the “Alamo” was a masterful fete in the first place and continued care by mostly their own expense has now disrespectfully been discounted by the state.

Many reasons can be cited on both sides, (political, personal vendetta's, private business investments, and differences of opinions on how the “Alamo” should be run)  for the termination of the involvement of the DRT. However, I do believe that a compromise could have been reach between the state of Texas and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to allow the DRT to have an honorary role in daily operations of  “The Shrine of Texas Liberty” after the DRT’S  110 years of dedicated care and service.  

Tears fell, by the hundreds of DRT members and supporters present, as they watch the DRT’S flag being lowered at 5PM Friday, July, 2015 as the bagpipes played the “Yellow Rose of Texas” followed by a salute by the Texas Army to the Daughter followed by the singing of “Texas Our Texas”.  A “Sad Day for Texas”, indeed!

Editorial submitted by Margo I. Green.   Member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Pearland, Texas.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Texian Heritage Festival - Montgomery Texas - October 17, 2015

 2015 Texian Heritage Festival

Save the date this fall, October 17, 2015 for the 2015 Texian Heritage Festival in historic Montgomery, Texas from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Put on your cowboy hat and have fun capturing a glimpse of the living history of Texas and supporting several excellent charities while you do it.

There will be fun for everyone!: Pioneer Activities, Frontier Children Activities, Civil War Era Fashions, Chikawa Aztec Dancers, Gunslingers and Shoot-outs, Vendors with Texas Cultural Products, Dutch Oven Cooking, Texian Heritage Army (1835-1836) Tent Encampment, Texas Independence Battle Reenactments, Cannon Barrages, Music of the 1800's, AND a whole lot more! The Texian Heritage Festival will be held at Fernalnd Historical Park, 708 Clepper, Montgomery, Texas.  Adult Donation are $5.00. Children are Free!  Parking is Free!  For more information about the 2015 Texian Heritage Festival, go to the website at:

 2015 Texian Heritage Festival YouTube Video

The Board of Directors of this year's Texian Heritage Festival are: Margie Taylor, President; Bea Rouse, Vice President; Annmari Cooper, Billy Ray Duncan, Bella Dall Flynn, Jack Flynn, Barbara Frazier and Jeredith Jones.  If you would like to be a preferred sponsor of this great event, contact the Texian Heritage Festival Board or President Margie Taylor at 936-828-6881 or email:

The Save Texas History Symposium - November 14, 2015 - In the Shadow of the Dome: Austin by Day & by Night

On November 14, 2015, the 6th Annual Save Texas History Symposium will be held at the William B. Travis Building, 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This year's speakers will include Lt. Doug Dukes (APD, Ret.), Dr. David Gracy, James L. Haley, Ali James, Jeff Kerr, Dr. Andres Tijerina, Juanita Tijerina and Richard Zelade. There will be book signings, archive tours, vendors and exhibitors. The Save Texas History Symposium is a project of the Texas General Land Office. If you have been before, you will want to go again.  If you have never been, save the date.

Returning to Austin for its sixth year, the symposium will look at the capital of Texas, Austin.  The symposium will feature eight speakers, including, James L. Haley, who will recount tales from the Texas Supreme Court; Ali James has details on the destruction and and construction of the State Capitol; Jeff Kerr will discuss the Pig War; Richard Zelade , will discuss his book, Guy Town by Gaslight; Retired Lieutenant from the Austin Police Force, Doug Dukes, brings his expertise to the story of the Servant Girl Annihilator; Dr. David Gracy will discuss cattle baron and Driskill Hotel founder George W. Littlefield; and Dr. Andres Tijerina, and his wife Juanita Tijerina, will talk about the Slave Narratives of Austin, Texas..

Space is limited. Register Today! For more information see or call 512-463-3289.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Texas Rising Trailer - Travis Letter "Victory or Death"

The mini-series Texas Rising starring Bill Paxton as General Sam Houston is about to premier on the History Channel on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015. If you have not seen the trailer yet, please click on the image below for one of the most artistically unique readings of the famous William Barret Travis "Victory or Death" letter you will ever see.
Texas Rising - Travis Letter
The William B. Travis letter is read by various actors of the series line by line with Sam Houston reading the final line - "Victory or Death." Texas Rising is fictionalized version of the history of the fight for Texas Independence from Mexico and the rise of the Texas Rangers. Here is a complete transcription of the famous Travis letter:

Commandancy of the The Alamo

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—

Fellow Citizens & compatriots—

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.

William Barrett Travis.

Lt. Col. comdt.

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

The cast of Texas Rising includes the following list of actors:

Bill Paxton as Sam Houston
Olivier Martinez as Santa Anna
Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Emily West
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Deaf Smith
Christopher McDonald as Henry Karnes
Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson
Trevor Donovan as Kit Acklin
Stephen Monroe Taylor as Gator Davis
Gerardo Taracena as Manuel Flores
Joe Egender as Bean Wilkins
Rhys Coiro as Vern Elwood
Jeremy Davies as Ephraim Knowles
Ray Liotta as Lorca
Antonio De La Vega as Almonte
Harold Torres as Portilla
Geoffrey Blake as George Hockley
Raúl Méndez as Juan Seguin
Jeff Fahey as Thomas Rusk
Johnathon Schaech as Colonel Sherman
Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar
Crispin Glover as Mosely Baker
Max Thieriot as Jack Hays
Robert Baker as Bigfoot Wallace
Darrel Fetty as Doc Ewing
Vico Escorcia as Sarah Ewing
Molly McMichael as Rebecca Pit
Adam Hicks as Truett Fincham
Dillon Lane as Yancey Burns
Jacob Lofland as Colby Pitt
Sarah Jones as Pauline Wykoff
Mayra Sérbulo as Guadalupe
Amen Igbinosun as Nate
Robert Knepper as Empresario Buckley
Nigal Haaswijk as Clarance
Miguel Angel Fuentes as Romolo
Horacio García Rojas as Buffalo Hump
John Elvis as Yellow Knife
Courtney Gains as Cole Hornfischer
Rob Morrow as Colonel Fannin
Jake Busey as Samuel Wallace
Thomas Jane as James Wykoff
Kris Kristofferson as Andrew Jackson

Image courtesy of the History Channel. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Sons of the Republic of Texas Annual State Convention - Fort Worth, Texas

The Annual State Convention of the Sons of the Repubic of Texas is Friday afernoon through Saturday evening, April 10-11, 2015 at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel, 1701 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 (817-335-7000). For hotel information contact: Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel. The Conference is Friday afternoon, 4:30 - 6:00 PM and on Saturday, 8:30 AM - 9:00 PM. Registration to attend should be received by the SRT State Office by March 18, which is not far off. For more information contact: The Sons of the Republic of Texas at Click here for additonal registration fees and details.

James Bevill at Heritage Society Tea Room March 19, 2015

 Jerry & Marvy Finger Lecture Series presents How to Spend Your Way Out of a Debt Crisis: Lessons from the Republic of Texas by James P. Bevill Thursday, March 19, 2015 The Heritage Society Tea Room 12–1 p.m. Free for members, $5 for non-members Award-winning author James P. Bevill pulls no punches in this enlightening presentation about the role that money and finances played in the founding of and the ultimate loss of sovereignty by the Republic of Texas. The story covers handwritten promises, treasury warrants, audited paper, stock, debt instruments and all issues of Republic of Texas paper money. An overview of how these fit together will tell an uncensored history of Texas which describes a government on the brink of both military and financial extinction. The surprising and sometimes shocking revelations about the Republic of Texas' finances and the consequences for Texas' brief independence will forever change the listener's view of the revolution and its aftermath. Jim Bevill has spent his career in the financial services industry since graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1983. He is a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management in the River Oaks office of UBS Financial Services. He is the author of The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas, a non-fiction work on the social and economic history of Texas from the colonial period through the annexation by the United States in 1845. If you would like to reserve a box lunch for this lecture, please contact Elizabeth Martin at or 713|655|1912, ext. 101 by 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Jerry & Marvy Finger Lecture Series is made possible by the generosity of the Jerry and Nanette Finger Foundation & the Marvy Finger Family Foundation. The Heritage Society is funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Pattison Area Heritage Society Fund Raiser - Antique Appraisal - March 7, 2015

Mark you calendar and get your Collectibles, Treasure, Antiques and Stuff - EVERYTHING that you want to get a sense of its value, and come on out and have it appraised.  The Pattison Area Heritage Society is hosting this fundraiser on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Pattison Volunteer Fire Department from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Pattison, Texas.


Location: Pattison Area Volunteer Fire Dept., 2950 FM 359 North, Pattison, TX
Time: 1PM to 4PM
Cost: $25 for the 1st item appraised, and $20 for each additional item appraised.
There will be also be a silent auction as well during the event. Snacks and drinks will be available throughout the event, as well.
And we are delighted to have a Certified and Licensed Appraiser helping make this event happen. The appraiser will be M.D. “Shorty” Yeaman. He will appraise anything you bring to the event, too.
Now get this! The special offering of this event, normal appraisals go for $100 and up or 20% of the value of certain items if you go to an appraiser. This is a bargain, folks. So bring your stuff, collectibles, jewelry, treasures, and antiques. And if the item is too large to move inside, the appraiser will go outside to your vehicle.
Thank you, Pattison Area Heritage Society

2015 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium

A principal Chief of the Cherokees, Chief Bowl (also called Chief Bowles) or Duwali, tried repeatedly to negotiate title to his tribe's lands in East Texas. Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
2015 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium
American Indians in Spanish, Mexican and Anglo Texas History

Who were the Native Americans who lived in the land we now call Texas?  How did they react when Spaniards, Mexicans, Anglo-Americans and, yes, other Indians, made their way onto - some say "invaded" - their lands?  How did these interactions affect the development of Texas under Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas and the United States?

Six scholars at the 15th annual San Jacinto Symposium break this complex subject into manageable pieces: Indian sovereignties; the Caddo tribes; the Plains tribes; the Alabama-Coushatta; Cherokee and other immigrant tribes; and the Cynthia Ann Parker case and its mythology.  Speakers will include Juliana Barr, F. Todd Smith, Sheri Shuck-Hall, Thomas Britten, Brian DeLay, and Paul Carlson.

The 2015 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium will be held at The United Way Community Resource Center located at 50 Waugh Drive, Houston, Texas 77007 on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  A payment of $65.00 covers the speakers, lunch, parking, exhibits and more.  Late registration is $80 and based on availability. The 2015 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium is a presentation of the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy, a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, reclaim, and restore the San Jacinto Battleground and build greater public awareness and scholarship concerning the Battle of San Jacinto. The Symposium offers Certified Professional Education (CPE) credits for teachers.

For additional information, call (713) 237-8997 or email or visit the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy web site.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Descendants of the Signers Reunion and Luncheon - March 1, 2015

On March 1, 2015, The Descendants of the Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence will meet at Washington-on-the-Brazos for a luncheon to celebrate Texas Independence Day.  All descendants of the 60 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence and their families are welcome to attend this annual event.  The reunion and luncheon will be held in the Washington-on-the-Brazos Conference Center. Come and represent your ancestor at the Roll Call of the Signers in the amphitheater on Sunday afternoon.

The luncheon will feature a plate of Texas Bar-B-Que, two sides, dessert, and ice tea.  Tickets to this year’s luncheon are $18.00 for adults and $8.00 for children.  Reservations are required and seating is limited.  Come to the Reunion early and meet your "cousins" and share stories. The Descendants Reunion begins when the doors of the Conference Center open at 10:00 a.m. and the buffet line will begin at 11:30 a.m.  Last year's Descendants Reunion luncheon sold out early and was a huge success, so get your lunch tickets as soon as possible in order to guarantee a seat.

Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst Speaks before the Descendants of the Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos at the 2015 Descendants Reunion/Luncheon

The Descendants Reunion and Luncheon is sponsored by The Star of the Republic Museum.  Click here to fill out the Descendants of the Signers Reunion luncheon ticket order form

2015 Descendants of the Signers of the Texas Declaration Reunion/Luncheon at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site Conference Center.
Houston McGaugh, Director of the Star of the Republic Museum, Addresses 2015 Descendants Luncheon

This year, Descendants T-shirts are available in red for the first time.  Also this year for the first time, Polo shirts with the Descendants of the Signers 1836 logo embroidered on them are also available.  Click here for the Descendants of the Signers T-shirt order form.
Descendants Committee Member, Kameron K. Searle, Spoke about the Minutes of the Convention at Washington where the 59 Delegates Signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, Wrote a Constitution for the Republic of Texas, Created an Ad Interim Government for the Republic and Appointed Sam Houston Commander and Chief of the Texas Army (Both Regular Army and Militia).  Searle Also Encouraged All Descendants to Join the Washington-on-the Brazos State Park Association and Apply for the Descendants Registry.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Speaking at the 2015 Texas Independence Day Celebration at Washington-on-the-Brazos
Descendants of the Signers are all encouraged to join the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association to show their support for the preservation of this most important site in the history of Texas where Texas Became Texas when their ancestors declared the independence of Texas from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Besides the Reunion and Luncheon, there will be plenty of other activities throughout the Washington on the Brazos State Park all day long. Click here for a list of events.
"Sam Houston" Made the Roll Call of the Names of the 59 Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence at the Texas Independence Day Celebration.  When Their Ancestors Name Were Called, Descendants Stood and Responded "Here" or "Aqui."
For additional information regarding the Descendants Reunion, the Descendants Luncheon, or registering as a Descendant with The Star of the Republic Museum, contact Dr. Shawn Carlson at (936) 878-2461, or Dr. Shawn Carlson, Star of the Republic Museum, P.O. Box 317, Washington, Texas 77880.  Or email:

Registry of Documented Descendants of the Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence as of 2015 Texas Independence Day Celebration

This year Descendants Souvenirs Available for Purchase included a New Red Descendants T-Shirt, a New Blue Descendants Polo Style Shirt and the new Descendants of the Signers Flag.


Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

You have probably heard of Manzanar and how the Japanese and the Japanese-Americans were rounded up following the attack on Pearl Harbor, but you have probably never heard of the internment camp at Crystal City, Texas.  At Crystal City, Texas, Japanese and German “enemy aliens” where were sent with their families to be traded for Americans in Germany and Japan.  

What makes this unusual piece of history even more unusual is that the German and Japanese families were composed almost exclusively of American-born children.  Yes, the United States of America, under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, traded American-born German-Americans and Japanese-Americans for Americans who were trapped in Germany and Japan when World War II began.  In her fascinating book, The Train to Crystal City, Jan Jarboe Russell has done an amazing job of researching and presenting this amazing and obscure piece of American history.  

After I began reading this book, I put down everything else I was reading in my spare time and read this book cover to cover.  It was just that good!

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Internment Camp During World War II is published by Scribner, A Division of Simon & Schuster.  The Train to Crystal City is available everywhere including Amazon.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Celebration of Texas Statehood and President Anson Jones - February 19, 2015

Celebration of Texas Statehood and Contribution of President Anson Jones On Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. the San Jacinto Chapter of The Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) will sponsor a ceremony at the grave of President Anson Jones to commemorate the 169th anniversary of Texas Statehood. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Kameron Searle, of the Sons of The Republic of Texas will be speaking about the impact that Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, had in getting Texas annexed into the United States of America. Members of the Texas Army will fire a musket salute, and we will conclude the ceremony by leading everyone in a toast to Anson Jones and all those brave men who worked to get Texas admitted into the USA. The toast will be with good old Texas water. 
A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared March 2, 1836, when the 56 delegates present at Washington-on-the-Brazos unanimously voted to declare independence. The citizens believed that Texas would be admitted into the USA in 1836, but due to the political ramifications of a new slave state, there was much disagreement about annexing Texas into the USA. In 1842, efforts were begun to obtain recognition of the Republic of Texas by foreign governments. Efforts were made to convince the USA that Texas was going to join up with England and create a large independent country from Canada to the Rio Grande. President Anson Jones conducted the affairs of the Republic of Texas in such a way as to convince James K. Polk, the new President of the USA in 1845, that Texas no longer wished to be part of the USA, and intended to enlarge the size of the Republic of Texas by joining with the Oregon Territory, then controlled by England. Anson Jones earned the title, Father of Texas Annexation. On December 29, 1845, President James K. Polk signed a letter to President Anson Jones telling him that both the U.S House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate had voted on a joint resolution to annex Texas into the USA. This letter was received by President Anson Jones in January of 1846 and he called both the Republic of Texas elected officials and the newly elected State of Texas officials together in Austin on February 16, 1846 to canvas the vote and arrange for a change of power in Texas. Then at high noon, on February 19, 1846, President Anson Jones gave a speech ending the Republic of Texas with the statement that "the Republic of Texas is no more." It was on that day that Texas became the 28th state in the USA. 
The Sons of the Republic of Texas is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the people who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas and to encourage historical research into the earliest records of Texas, especially those relating to the revolutionary and republic periods. The SRT encourages the preservation of documents and relics, the publication of historical records and narratives, and the celebration of important days in the state’s history. They also encourage the teaching of Texas history in schools and sponsor numerous scholarships. The public is invited to join us at 2:00 p.m. February 19, 2015, at the grave of President Anson Jones in Glenwood Cemetery, at 2525 Washington Avenue in Houston, to honor President Anson Jones, and all those brave men who took the important step toward making Texas what it is today! 

The general public is welcomed and encouraged to attend this event as well as public and home school teachers and students.

For additional details about the celebration, please contact Event Chairman, Tom Green, KSJ at 713-340-1965. Contact: The Sons of The Republic of Texas Contact Person: Tom Green, KSJ Telephone Number: (713) 340-1965 Cell Number: (832) 687-3474 Email Address: SRT Web Site Address:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Alamo Cannon Comes Home to Alamo - January 24, 2015

Huge crowd for the January 24, 2015 dedication of the McRae/Alamo cannon
A significant Spanish cannon has been returned to The Alamo. The barrel bears the Spanish royal crest and has the exact damage as other Alamo cannons that have been previously discovered to have been at the battle. Both of the cannon's trunnions have been broken off and the fire hole is not spiked. Researchers believe that this cannon was used by the Alamo defenders in February-March 1836. 

According to the cannon's provenance, it was sent from San Antonio to the French family in Philadelphia sometime in the 1880s as a payment for a debt. Howard B. French displayed the cannon on the lawn of his country estate called Aulderbrook.
Jan DeVault, President of the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy welcomes guests and donors to Alamo for dedication
In 1986, J.P. Bryan heard of the cannon's existence and went to Philadelphia to investigate. Although the cannon had been sold, Bryan was able to locate and buy it from the collector who had purchased it. He then shipped the cannon back to Texas and auctioned it to raise money for the Texas State Historical Association.

Mr. John McRae purchased the cannon and had a carriage constructed for the artillery piece.
McRae Cannon inside the Alamo

The cannon was donated to San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy. Under the direction of Mr. Jim Jobling, the Conservancy had the cannon conserved at the Texas A&M Conservation Research Lab. The cannon is on loan to the Alamo from the Conservancy.

An official dedication and "thank you" to donors will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. at The Alamo. San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy's Dr. Gregg Dimmick will discuss the history of the cannon. All are welcomed.
Contributors to the preservation of the McRae/Alamo Cannon
The San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy is a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, reclaim, and restore the San Jacinto Battleground and build greater public awareness of the battle of San Jacinto, the culminating military event of the Texas Revolution. No other nonprofit organization is devoted entirely to these goals. In 2010, the San Jacinto Battleground was included on Preservation Texas' Most Endangered Places list. Preservation Texas is the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. To find out what you can do to help, visit 

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy | | 808 Travis, Suite 1429P. O. Box 940536Houston, TX 77094-7536

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 26, 2015 Ceremony Honoring Mirabeau B. Lamar

On Monday, January 26, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, we will hold the 5th annual memorial ceremony honoring the 2nd President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar.

On this very day, 176 years ago, President Lamar signed an Act reserving three (3) Leagues of land in each county to be used to pay for a public school system in Texas. Even thought it was years before Public Schools came into being in Texas, President Lamar is remembered as the “Father of Texas Education.” In addition, President Lamar reserved 50 Leagues of land for two state supported colleges in Texas, which continue to benefited both the University of Texas and Texas A&M University today. In fact, one of his most popular phrases President Lamar used in his speeches was: “A Cultivated Mind is the Guardian Genius of Democracy,” and this phrase remains the Moto of the University of Texas to this today.

On January 25, 1839, President Lamar signed an Act making the current State Flag of Texas the last flag of the Republic of Texas, and on January 29, 1839, President Lamar signed the first Homestead Act in the world! The Homestead Act keeps the home place from being taken from the widow by the mortgage company when the husband dies. This was a monumental week in Texas history, with three (3) important bills being signed in a five (5) day period, which continue to affect our lives today. Do you know of any other governmental entity that has acted on three important bills in a five-day period?

The ceremony will be at the grave of President Mirabeau B. Lamar in the Morton Cemetery, located just north of downtown Richmond, Texas. This is a historic cemetery with Jane Long also buried just to the south of President Lamar’s grave, and the first Masonic Burial Monument located just to the east of President Lamar’s grave. The major purpose of both the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) is to perpetuate the history of the Republic of Texas and educated our citizens, so please not only mark your calendar to attend this important event, but to forward this News Release to anyone you know who might be interested. P

lease contact Tom Green at 713-340-1965 or if you have any questions.

History Road Rally in Conroe, Texas January 24, 2015

Explore Life in the Past Lane - On January 24, 2015, the Montgomery County Historical Commission will conduct the second annual History Road Rally in historic Conroe, Texas. Check in will be between Noon – 1p.m. at the First Baptist Church Gymnasium located in downtown Conroe at Main & Cochran Streets. The History Road Rally will start at 1:30 p.m. Teams will begin to return at 3:30 p.m. There will be a free meal and team recognition at 4:30 p.m. Teams will be composed of 2-5 participants per vehicle. The pre-registration fee is $30 per vehicle and the registration fee on the day of the event will be $40. There will be trophies and prizes for the winning teams. This historic event will. This event is sponsored by Gullo Ford of Conroe, Gullo Mazda of Conroe & Gullo Toyota of Conroe. For more information, see the Montgomery County Historical Society website at: : or call 936-525-7311.