Update on 13th Annual Pre-1840s Pilgrims’ Camp and Swap Meet

13th Annual Pre-1840s Pilgrims’ Camp and Swap Meet – January 24-25, 2015
The folks at the Cowboy Action Shooting Range outside of Columbus have once again graciously volunteered their facility to provide a friendly, safe, informative and fun place for “civilians” and “old hands” to explore their interest in living history. The range is located just Northwest of Columbus, Texas off of US Hwy 71. Plenty of camping space is available.

Saturday afternoon forensic sculptor, Amanda Danning will give a talk on putting a face on the remains of two of La Salle’s settlers. David Martin will give a presentation on indigenous natives of Texas at first European contact and the success of the French and the failures of the Spanish to interact with them. And Charlie Yates will give a talk on the Mexican artillery positions at the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and what they tell us of Santa Anna’s strategy.

There will also be a limited amount of range time for those wishing to shoot. Jerry Tubbs will be in charge of the range and will have rules and procedures for the firing.

The event is open to living historians, reënactors, interested individuals and groups. In conjunction with the “Pilgrim’s” Camp, the “old hands” are encouraged to bring their surplus gear, equipment, clothes and accouterments for an old fash-ioned trading session and swap meet.

There is a $10 general registration fee to help defray expenses and period dress is not required, but it is encouraged. Wood will be provided and if you’d like to help out, bring a chainsaw for a wood cutting party on Friday. For additional information contact Jerry Tubbs at coloneltubbs@yahoo.com (telephone 713-973-1136) or Charlie Yates at cmyates_50@yahoo.com .

Texas Archaeology Month – October 2013

Some recent details from Comrade Michael on some great upcoming Texas history events:

Texas Archaeology Month at the Brazoria County Historical Museum

October 3rd at 6:30pm: Alamo Artillery: Ampudia and a Real Cannon. As part of the Brazoria County Historical Museum’s Archeology Series, Dr. Gregg Dimmick will attempt to convince the audience, through historical data, that the brass cannon currently on loan to the Alamo from San Jacinto Battleground was actually at the Alamo in March of 1836.

October 10th at 6:30 pm: Prehistoric Appetites. Second of four in the museum’s Archeology Series, Jack Johnson will explore the life of prehistoric hunter gathers as it relates to weapons, edible plants, processing and cooking techniques. Artifacts and demonstrations will help bring to life the realities of our prehistoric ancestors.

October 17th at 6:30pm: Hatteras 150: Rediscovering the Naval Battle that Shaped the Civil War in Texas. Three of four in the museum’s Archeology Series, Andrew Hall will present the 1863 battle that sunk USS Hatteras, a Union warship whose mission was to help block the passage of supplies and arms to and from the Confederacy. 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the only Union warship sunk in combat in the Gulf of Mexico.

October 24th at 6:30pm: Discovering the Bernardo Plantation. The final program in the museum’s Archeology Series, Charlie Gordy will reveal the latest excavation discoveries made at Bernardo Plantation, former home of Jared E. Groce and site of the Texas Revolution encampment of the Texian Army before the Battle of San Jacinto.

All programs are free and open to the public. The Brazoria County Historical Museum is located at 100 East Cedar Street in Angleton, Texas. For Information call 979-864-1208.

Texas Navy Day & Cannon School – 9/17/2011

Celebrate Texas Navy Day on Saturday, 17 September at the Home Port of the Texas Navy at Velasco, Texas (now Surfside).

Flag-raising at 8 a.m.

Cannon school at 10 a.m.

Ceremony at 4 p.m.

Primitive camping on-site (bring your own firewood) available Friday evening through Sunday noon. Restrooms available.

For those with ‘tin tipis’, RV camping is available nearby. Looking for cannon, crews, infantry (sorry, no horses or livestock at this time). School organized and conducted by the Brazoria Militia. RSVP to Jim Glover co3militia@yahoo.com.

We won’t be firing on the beach, but we’ll be real close!

Texas Free Trappers Rendezvous XIII info

Friends of TFT,

We announce some changes that are being made in the hope of improving the quality of the event and boost attendance. As you can imagine, the cost of putting on a first class event is not low. For most of us the prizes are not the real reason we rendezvous, but the re-creation of a unique American and Western piece of history, the fur trade rendezvous of 1825-1840.

All of you know that competitors must be members of the White Smoke Company of Buckskinners, Inc. The club has three divisions, Texas Free Trappers, Fritztown Free Trappers and the White Smoke Brigade. FFT has rendezvous on the second weekends of March and October; TFT has rendezvous on the second weekend of April and November; WSB has black powder matches on the fourth Saturday of each month. All four rendezvous will be at the La Vernia site for the foreseeable future and WSB matches are on private land on Highway 306, east of Canyon Lake.

That being stated, we are going to have the same $15 entry fee for TFT rendezvous competitors. In addition, there will an opportunity to re-enter each event. A re-entry fee of $2 will let you make an attempt to better your score. The score of the last event entered will be your score, so if you do worse on the re-entry you can re-enter one more time….event schedules and daylight permitting.

As before, each event will have a First Place prize winner with the number of additional Second and Third Place prizes determined by the number of entries; the more entries the more prizes.

Guns must be loaded with black powder or a substitute for black powder. No smokeless powder blends are permitted. Only patched round balls may be used.

Smoothbores used in smoothbore matches may not have a rear sight.

Tomahawks must be of traditional design with blades no longer than 4 inches.

Knives must be of traditional design and no longer than 13 inches.

I was contacted by a family in Iowa that cooks breakfast, fry bread and Indian tacos at rendezvous and bike rallies that will be setting up at Rendezvous XIII as a “trial run” in this area. I had great success with a similar operation at two of my Taos Free Trappers rendezvous in New Mexico. You might become an addict of fry bread and Indian tacos like I am. We will try to teach them to make breakfast tacos. This is their webpage: www.crazyladyscafe.com

Members of Celtaire String Band, a group that plays at Texas Revolution events, and other places, is planning to join us Saturday to get introduced to rendezvous and regale us with some period music at Council Fire.

Our good friend, David Sutherland, the bagpiper who lives in La Vernia is invited too.

We asking any serious buckskinner in our group to study up on a character from the fur trade and entertain us at Council Fire with a true story (or tall tale) from the life in the Shin’ Mountains.

In closing, I also ask you to participate in all of the Council Fire activities and show some appreciation to the folks who make a presentation or perform period music with the goal of bringing the fur trade era back to life. These programs are for your entertainment as well as knowledge and are not available at many rendezvous.

Keep an eye on the horizon . . .

Grey Wolf, Bushwah

More details are available on the Events page.

Texas Archeology Lectures at Brazoria County Historical Museum

October is Texas Archeology Month

The Brazoria County Historical Museum is hosting four lectures during the month of October.

The lectures are to be presented at the Brazoria County Historical Museum, located at 100 East Cedar Street, Angleton, TX.

October 7, 6:30 p.m.
“Recent Archeological Discoveries at the San Jacinto Battlefield”
Lecture by Douglas G. Mangum of
Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc.

October 14, 6:30 p.m.
“Bernardo Plantation Excavations”
Lecture by Charlie Gordy of the
Houston Archeological Society

October 21, 6:30 p.m.
“Following the Paper Trail: Researching the Plantations of Brazoria County”
Lecture by James Smith of the
Brazosport Archaeological Society

October 28, 6:30 p.m.
“Weapons of the Texas Revolution: How the Texians Armed Themselves”
Lecture by Flem Rogers of the
Brazoria Historical Militia

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call 979/864-1208, or visit the Museum’s website at www.bchm.org.

Upcoming Living History Events at Washington on the Brazos SHS

September 19th, 2009 –
Life at the Crossing– Rivers have always served as a lifeline for inland settlements and the relationship between the Brazos river and the town of Washington was no different. The town’s very existence could be attributed to the crossing on the Brazos and the rise of Washington was definitely due to the river traffic that began in earnest in 1842. Oddly enough the downfall of Washington can also be linked to the river because of the towns’ dependence on the traffic there and their resulting reluctance to try out the railroad.

This special program focuses on the importance of river traffic to the town of Washington. Living historians will set up a small interpretive camp at the overlook and will visit with the public about what took place at this crossing and others just like it. This program is on-going throughout the day.

October 16th-17th, 2009 –
Storytellin’ at the Tavern– Once again the old Anson Jones kitchen will serve as the local tavern and the perfect setting for storytellin’. This time rather than merrymaking we will offer an hour long program of tale telling and yarn spinning in the finest tradition of the old time Texians. Visitors will settle in to a period setting after a brief introduction and the tale telling will begin. This is a special after hours program in keeping with the holiday season and will be offered two times per evening at 6PM and 7:30, on Friday and Saturday or per registration. Due to the nature of this type of program all attendees will be required to pre-register.

November 14th, 2009 –
Texas History Symposium– This one day history symposium will focus on the Texian War of Independence and the early republic period. Lead presenter for the symposium will be Dr. Richard Winders, curator of the Alamo and military historian and he will be joined by other noted Texas historians. Speakers will present sessions on military and social culture of the revolutionary and republic eras. This one day symposium will be held at Washington on the Brazos SHS.

December 12th, 2009 –
Christmas up in Washington– Experience the magic of the holiday season with a candlelight visit to Independence Hall, the Birthplace of Texas. Enjoy caroling in the Visitor Center while shopping for those special gifts. Afterwards, stroll down a candlelit trail to Independence Hall, and enjoy stories of Washington’s past and learn how the residents of Washington would have celebrated the holiday season. Discover the holiday traditions at Washington on the Brazos….they just might become your traditions as well. Designed to coincide with Barrington Farm’s event, this special program will be an ongoing experience from 6PM to 8PM.

January 16th, 2010 –
Passing through Washington– In 1836 David Crockett and four friends spent the night in Washington headed to Bexar to join the Texian forces gathered there. While in Washington the traveler’s likely visited with recruits gathering in the area as a part of the ever growing Texas Army. Visitor’s will get a chance to meet Crockett and some of his traveling companions as well as locals gathered to see the famous Bear Hunter and Politician and if the Col. is of mind(and he always is!), visitor’s will be treated to some of his tall tales and hunting stories. This special program is on-going throughout the day.

February 27th-28th, 2010 –
Texas Independence Day– March 2nd, 1836 is one of, if not the most important dates in Texas history. The importance of that date is most relevant here at Washington on the Brazos SHS. Washington was the town where Texians declared independence from Mexico and as such is know as the Birthplace of Texas. Come out and spend the weekend visiting with us here at the park. Admission to the park is free and there will be folks demonstrating period crafts, food vendors from all over Texas, period music by local musicians and historic figures on hand to visit with you about the early days of Texas.

February 27th, 2010 –
Who were the Washington Guards?– While most Texans have heard of the garrison of the Alamo and Goliad and of Sam Houston’s army at San Jacinto, most don’t know that there was a militia unit raised right here in Washington during the revolution! In March of 1836, amidst the chaos of the revolution local citizens from Washington were formed into a volunteer unit to serve as part of Sam Houston’s command. The Washington Guards did their duty acting as rear guard for the Runaway Scrape as well as participating in the battle of San Jacinto. Visitors will learn who these men were, what they were fighting for and what became of them after the revolution was over. This special one hour program will take place at Independence Hall and will be scheduled twice daily at 11AM and 3PM.

March 20th, 2010 –
Original Texas Women– An early visitor to Texas once remarked, “Whether she be handsome or homely, accomplished or otherwise, all women made their mark on Texas. ” This program will share stories of the lives of early women settlers, who had connections with the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. They may have been spouses, children, or grandchildren of these early Texas patriots. Drop by Independence Hall and celebrate with us the lives of these original Texas Women. Designed to coincide with Barrington Farm’s event, True Texas Women, this special one hour program will take place at Independence Hall and will be scheduled twice daily at 11AM and 3PM.

April 17th, 2010 –
Republic of Texas District Court Day– Washington hosted the district court during the later 1830’s and into the early 1840’s. Notable judge, ranger and Texian icon, R.M. Williamson presided over district court here in Washington during the republic era. It was also here in Washington that Commodore Moore came for his court martial after returning from his adventures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now almost one hundred and seventy years later the district court will be returning to Washington. Court will convene in Convention Hall and will hear several cases, some based on historic cases while others will be created for the event. Participants in the case from the attorneys to the plaintiffs will be dressed in period clothing and will be conducting the trial based on mid 19th century law in the Republic. Visitors will be encouraged to sit in on the trials and if interested, serve as jurors.

May 15th, 2010 –
Rowdy Loafers and Upstanding Citizens– Texas is full of colorful characters from rough and ready frontiersmen to upstanding citizens. This special program focuses on the clothing and accessories of some of these male character types as well as their manners(or lack thereof), and habits. Visitors will not only get a chance to see what these characters looked like but will also be able to examine some of the typical garments and accessories worn and used by these men. This special one hour program will take place at Independence Hall and will be scheduled twice daily at 11AM and 3PM.

For more information call Washington on the Brazos SHS Monday through Friday from 9AM-4PM at 936 878-2214 ext. 224.

Republic of Texas History Symposium 2009

November 14th, 2009 – Washington on the Brazos SHS

The Republic of Texas, A Social and Military History

Saturday, November 14th, Washington on the Brazos SHS and Star of the Republic Museum will host a one day symposium of Republic of Texas authors and scholars. Dr. Bruce Winders, noted military author of Mr. Polk’s Army and curator of the Alamo will serve as the lead presenter and will be joined by Dr. Stephen Hardin, author of Texian Iliad a Military History of the Texas Revolution, and professor at McMurray University as well as by Dr. Paula Mitchell Marks author of Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas : Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick and professor at St. Edward’s College. Joining the symposium will be David Vickers, winner of the prestigious 2001 DRT Texas History Teacher of the Year award, Andrew Gray, researcher of McKinney and Williams and Scott McMahon, researcher of material culture of the Republic of Texas.

Each of the presenters will cover a different topic related to the social and military history of the republic. Registration for the symposium is $20 and includes a catered lunch. There will be a book signing during the midday break and the park giftshop will make available titles from the published presenters.

-Dr. Richard B. Winders Law and Order in the Republic of Texas – a look at the legal system of the Republic

-Dr. Paula M. Marks Women’s Roles, Women’s Challenges in the Republic – a look at the roles and challenges of women in the Republic

-Dr. Stephen L. Hardin Valor, Wisdom & Experience : Early Texas Ranger Captains and the Nature of Frontier Military Leadership – a look at early ranger captains and their roles in the Republic

-David Vickers Thicker Than Fiddlers in Hell – Popular Music in the Republic of Texas

-Andrew Gray Pretending to Be Patriotic (Without it being Offensive): Cotton, Speculation, and the Quest of McKinney, Williams & Co to Get out of Debt – the struggle of McKinney and Williams to recoup their losses after the revolution

-Scott McMahon Clothing the Texas Army – The dress and appearance of the Texas Army circa 1836-1839

For more information call Washington on the Brazos SHS Monday through Friday from 9AM-4PM at 936 878-2214 ext. 224. Registration should be made out to the Washington on the Brazos SP Assoc. and can be mailed to ROT History Symposium PO Box 305, Washington, TX 77880.

April 21, 1836 – The Battle of San Jacinto

The battle of San Jacinto was the concluding military event of the Texas Revolution. On March 13, 1836, the revolutionary army at Gonzales began to retreat eastward. It crossed the Colorado River on March 17 and camped near present Columbia on March 20, recruiting and reinforcements having increased its size to 1,200 men. Sam Houston’s scouts reported Mexican troops west of the Colorado to number 1,325. On March 25 the Texans learned of James W. Fannin’s defeat at Goliad, and many of the men left the army to join their families on the Runaway Scrape. Sam Houston led his troops to San Felipe de Austin by March 28 and by March 30 to the Jared E. Groce plantation on the Brazos River, where they camped and drilled for a fortnight. Ad interim President David G. Burnet ordered Houston to stop his retreat; Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk urged him to take a more decisive course. Antonio López de Santa Anna decided to take possession of the Texas coast and seaports. With that object in view he crossed the Brazos River at present Richmond on April 11 and on April 15, with some 700 men, arrived at Harrisburg. He burned Harrisburg and started in pursuit of the Texas government at New Washington or Morgan’s Point, where he arrived on April 19 to find that the government had fled to Galveston. The Mexican general then set out for Anahuac by way of Lynchburg. Meanwhile, the Texans, on April 11, received the Twin Sisters and with the cannon as extra fortification crossed the Brazos River on the Yellow Stone and on April 16 reached Spring Creek in present Harris County. On April 17, to the gratification of his men, Houston took the road to Harrisburg instead of the road to Louisiana and on April 18 reached White Oak Bayou at a site within the present city limits of Houston. There he learned that Santa Anna had gone down the west side of the bayou and the San Jacinto River, crossing by a bridge over Vince’s Bayou. The Mexicans would have to cross the same bridge to return.

Viewing this strategic situation on the morning of April 19, Houston told his troops that it looked as if they would soon get action and admonished them to remember the massacres at San Antonio and at Goliad. On the evening of April 19 his forces crossed Buffalo Bayou to the west side 2½ miles below Harrisburg. Some 248 men, mostly sick and ineffective, were left with the baggage at the camp opposite Harrisburg. The march was continued until midnight. At dawn on April 20 the Texans resumed their trek down the bayou and at Lynch’s Ferry captured a boat laden with supplies for Santa Anna. They then drew back about a mile on the Harrisburg road and encamped in a skirt of timber protected by a rising ground. That afternoon Sidney Sherman with a small detachment of cavalry engaged the enemy infantry, almost bringing on a general action. In the clash Olwyns J. Trask was mortally wounded, one other Texan was wounded, and several horses were killed. Mirabeau B. Lamar, a private, so distinguished himself that on the next day he was placed in command of the cavalry. Santa Anna made camp under the high ground overlooking a marsh about three-fourths of a mile from the Texas camp and threw up breastworks of trunks, baggage, packsaddles, and other equipment. Both sides prepared for the conflict. On Thursday morning, April 21, the Texans were eager to attack. About nine o’clock they learned that Martín Perfecto de Cos had crossed Vince’s bridge with about 540 troops and had swelled the enemy forces to about 1,200. Houston ordered Erastus (Deaf) Smith to destroy the bridge and prevent further enemy reinforcements. The move would prevent the retreat of either the Texans or the Mexicans towards Harrisburg.

Shortly before noon, Houston held a council of war with Edward Burleson, Sidney Sherman Henry W. Millard, Alexander Somervell, Joseph L. Bennett, and Lysander Wells. Two of the officers suggested attacking the enemy in his position; the others favored waiting Santa Anna’s attack. Houston withheld his own views at the council but later, after having formed his plan of battle had it approved by Rusk. Houston disposed his forces in battle order about 3:30 in the afternoon while all was quiet on the Mexican side during the afternoon siesta. The Texans’ movements were screened by trees and the rising ground, and evidently Santa Anna had no lookouts posted. The battle line was formed with Edward Burleson’s regiment in the center, Sherman’s on the left wing, the artillery under George W. Hockley on Burleson’s right, the infantry under Henry Millard on the right of the artillery, and the cavalry under Lamar on the extreme right. The Twin Sisters were wheeled into position, and the whole line, led by Sherman’s men, sprang forward on the run with the cry, “Remember the Alamo!” “Remember Goliad!” The battle lasted but eighteen minutes. According to Houston’s official report, the casualties were 630 Mexicans killed and 730 taken prisoner. Against this, only nine of the 910 Texans were killed or mortally wounded and thirty were wounded less seriously. Houston’s ankle was shattered by a rifle ball. The Texans captured a large supply of muskets, pistols, sabers, mules, horses, provisions, clothing, tents, and $12,000 in silver. Santa Anna disappeared during the battle and search parties were sent out on the morning of the 22. The party consisted of James A. Sylvester, Washington H. Secrest, Sion R. Bostick, and a Mr. Cole discovered Santa Anna hiding in the grass. He was dirty and wet and was dressed as a common soldier. The search party did not recognize him until he was addressed as “el presidente” by other Mexican prisoners. One of the eight inscriptions on the exterior base of the San Jacinto Monument reads: “Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.”

From The Handbook of Texas Online

Texas Independence Day – March 2, 1836

One of the most important documents in Texas history is the Declaration of Independence, adopted in general convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, March 2, 1836.

Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas


When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted; and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression; when the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood – both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, and the ever-ready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants; When long after the spirit of the Constitution has departed, moderation is at length, so far lost, by those in power that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms, themselves, of the constitution discontinued; and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons; and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet. When in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication, on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements: In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation – the inherent and inalienable right of the people to appeal to first principles and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases – enjoins it as a right towards themselves and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness. Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is, therefore, submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

Full text.

TEXAS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE . . . . The Texas edict, like the United States Declaration of Independence, contains a statement on the nature of government, a list of grievances, and a final declaration of independence. The separation from Mexico was justified by a brief philosophical argument and by a list of grievances submitted to an impartial world. The declaration charged that the government of Mexico had ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people; that it had been changed from a restricted federal republic to a consolidated, central, military despotism; that the people of Texas had remonstrated against the misdeeds of the government only to have their agents thrown into dungeons and armies sent forth to enforce the decrees of the new government at the point of the bayonet; that the welfare of Texas had been sacrificed to that of Coahuila; that the government had failed to provide a system of public education, trial by jury, freedom of religion, and other essentials of good government; and that the Indians had been incited to massacre the settlers. According to the declaration, the Mexican government had invaded Texas to lay waste territory and had a large mercenary army advancing to carry on a war of extermination. The final grievance listed in justification of revolution charged that the Mexican government had been “the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrannical government.” After the signing of the original declaration by fifty-nine delegates, five copies of the document were dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. The printer at San Felipe was also instructed to make 1,000 copies in handbill form.