I think I’d better explain for our non-Texan listeners why March and April are important months for us here in the Lone Star state.
And just so you don’t think I have all of this information in my head, I’m going to share some of what’s on the Texas State Library & Archives Commission Web page (http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/republic/declare-01.html).
The Declaration of November 7, 1835, passed by the Consultation announced that the Texan war against Mexico principally intended to restore the Mexican Constitution of 1824, abrogated by the actions of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and to achieve separate Mexican statehood for Texas. The members of the Consultation had hoped to attract popular support for the Texan cause from the other Mexican states.
George C. Childress
By the time the Convention of 1836 met at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, such temporizing was no longer acceptable. On the first day, Convention President Richard Ellis appointed George C. Childress, James Gaines, Edward Conrad, Collin McKinney, and Bailey Hardeman a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence.
George Childress, the committee chairman, is generally accepted as the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, with little help from the other committee members. Since the six-page document was submitted for a vote of the whole convention on the following day, Childress probably already had a draft version of the document with him when he arrived. As the delegates worked, they received regular reports on the ongoing siege on the Alamo by the forces of Santa Anna’s troops.
Printed broadside of the Texas Declaration of Independence, printed shortly after the hand-written original was approved by the delegates
A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared March 2, 1836, when the 54 delegates — each representing one of the settlements in Texas — approved the Texas Declaration of Independence. After the delegates signed the original declaration, 5 copies were made and dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. 1,000 copies were ordered printed in handbill form.
As we know here in Texas, last week marked the anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo, the 13-day siege that ended on March 6, 1836.
And, if you’ll indulge a little more host privilege, I’d like to read what may be one of the greatest letters in the history of this or any other nation. Col. William B. Travis wrote his famous “Victory or Death” letter on Feb. 24, the second day of the siege:
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 Barret Travis
Lt. Col. comdt
Wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff, in my opinion.
Our guest today was Bryan Frazier with Public Affairs, Promotions, and Marketing for State Parks with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Bryan oversees all aspects of the promotions, marketing, special events, advertising, and public information campaigns of the Texas State Park system, and manages many of the public relations, media tours, and public presentation messages for the state park division in his role as the official public spokesperson for the Parks Division.
If you receive Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine (http://www.tpwmagazine.com), as we do here at the ranch, you will recognize his name as a contributor to the fine articles about state parks in Texas. Or you may recognize him from his other works in public relations, journalism, and photography, which have garnered him more than 20 regional and national awards.
You can receive a free Park Information Guide with comprehensive information on the locations, phone numbers, facilities and activities available at 120 state parks and state historic sites by calling 1-800-792-1112 or submitting a request on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web site ( www.tpwd.state.tx.us).
You can find the most recent up-to-date information on special events and re-enactments at state historic sites at this link (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/events) .
A final program note, tomorrow is Open Blog Friday where we encourage you to call in and discuss what’s on your mind, or else you’ll have to hear what’s on my mind. That’s tomorrow on Gone to Texas at 2pm Central here on Blog Talk Radio.