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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Some Texas Revolution History

October to April is an important interval in Texas history, and we're rapidly approaching its culmination in a few weeks. I've been reviewing some early Texas memoirs and want to post a few items that may pique your interest.
The first is from Noah Smithwick's book, The Evolution of a State, Or Recollections of Old Texas Days. I've posted a passage before, but I thought this was a good chapter.  It's not long, but it give a snapshot of life during those times. If you read the chapter to the end, you'll see he mentions a musical instrument called a 'clevis.' I haven't found a good definition, but my best guess is that it was a forked/cleft object with a flexible leather strap or string strung between the two tines. The player would pluck it and, maybe, control the pitch by changing the tension on the strap or string. If I'm correct, it must have made a 'twanging' sound. (I guess you go with what you've got.) Click Smithwick's photo to read his memoir.

The second item is a chapter from the memoir of John Crittenden Duval, a survivor of the Goliad massacre. His escape is quite a fascinating tale (to me), but even more harrowing is the William Hunter's story, which Duval recounts. Hunter was shot, stabbed, his throat cut, and his face beaten badly with a musket, but he survived and fled eastward to safety. Even then, he would have been recaptured and killed if a sympathetic Hispanic woman hadn't helped him. The link below starts with his escape after the captives were massacred, but you can begin earlier in the book if you wish. (The link should show a complete copy.)
This last item is more relevant to Fort Bend County. About this time in 1836, Santa Anna's army was moving through our area. I've provided a link to Clarence Wharton's History of Fort Bend County, where he takes up the story and cites Juan Almante's journal. (Almante was a Colonel in the Mexican Army.)
Once again, the link accesses the whole book, but if you want to skip to Santa Anna's foray into central Fort Bend, go to page 72 in Chapter VII, entitled The Revolution. Click the image below to access the book.