Thursday, April 21, 2016

Texas, The Alamo, And Independance

I love Texas. I love the history. I love the independence. Mostly I love the loyalty and patriotism that Texans have for Texas and for the United States of America. When you look at the refiners fire Texas went through, the six flags that have flown over the state, you begin to understand why the feelings Texans have are for real.
Davy Crockett was a bigger than life character. For some reason at certain times in our history writers have made legends. When the west was being tamed, these stories flourished in the east.
His first rifle, a .48-caliber flintlock, hasn't been outside Tennessee since 1806, and now resides in the pioneer collection at the East Tennessee Historical Society Museum in Knoxville. For much appreciated service in the Tennessee State Assembly, Crockett's Lawrence County constituents presented him with a .40-caliber flintlock crafted by James Graham around 1822.

Calling this rifle "Old Betsy", Crockett used it to kill 125 bears between 1825 and 1834. When he departed for Texas in 1835, Davy left "Old Betsy" with his son, John Wesley. Today, it resides in the Alamo Museum collection in San Antonio.

"Pretty Betsy," a rifle presented to Crockett in 1834 by the Whigs of Philadelphia, is located at Nashville, Tenn. None of these rifles took part in the Alamo fighting in the closing weeks of Crockett's life.

Historical documents record Davy Crockett sold two rifles to Colonel Neal of the Texas Army in January 1836, and that he had not been paid for the rifles when the Alamo fell in March 1836. After subsequent entreaties by his daughter, the Texas government finally paid Crockett's estate for these two rifles. Unfortunately, no specific details exist about the rifles Crockett sold to the Texas Army.

This part of a story from a Kentucky newspaper with Col. Crockett’s famous quote:
"A gentleman from Nacogdoches, in Texas, informs us, that, whilst there, he dined in public with col. Crockett, who had just arrived from Tennessee. The old bear-hunter, on being toasted, made a speech to the Texians, replete with his usual dry humor. He began nearly in this style: "I am told, gentlemen, that, when a stranger, like myself, arrives among you, the first inquiry is - what brought you here? To satisfy your curiosity at once to myself, I will tell you all about it. I was, for some years, a member of congress. In my last canvass, I told the people of my district, that, if they saw fit to re-elect me, I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but, if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas. I was beaten, gentlemen, and here I am." The roar of applause was like a thunder-burst. (Louisville Journal)

That attitude seems to be that of many “Texians.”
Jim Bowie is another such character. After he reportedly killed a man in a duel, Bowie went to Texas about 1828, where at Bexar (now San Antonio) he became friendly with the Mexican vice governor, Juan Martín de Veramendi. He assumed Mexican citizenship, acquired land grants, and married Veramendi’s daughter, Ursula (1831). He was one of thousands of U.S. settlers and adventurers who swelled the non-Mexican population in Texas, and restrictive Mexican legislation to curb the newcomers soon interested him in the Texas revolutionary movement. As a colonel in the Texas army, he fought with distinction in several battles and finally joined Col. William B. Travis in the gallant defense of the Alamo, an abandoned mission house in San Antonio. Already confined to his cot by illness, Bowie was killed with the other defenders when the Alamo finally fell to numerically superior Mexican forces.
Bowie’s daring and courage have become legendary through Western song and ballad. His name is also associated with the Bowie knife, a weapon (sometimes called the “Arkansas toothpick”) invented by either him or his brother Rezin. It is assumed that Jim used a rifle but none are really ever mentioned. His brother Rezin’s elaborate silver-mounted half-stock flintlock sold for $68,875 at an auction a few years ago.
These men were legends. They have helped to make Texas what it is. When you think of the west the state of Texas is associated with the west, cowboys, cattle, and John Wayne.
Remember the Alamo!

Semper Paratus
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