Stephen F. Austin chose to set up the capitol of his colony on the banks of the Brazos River where the El Camino Real crossed the river. He envisioned a major metropolitan area as the center of immigrant activity in his colony. He named the town San Felipe. San Felipe de Austin became the second largest town in Texas before Sam Houston ordered it burned in advance of Santa Anna’s army in 1836. It was at San Felipe that land titles were issued, commerce thrived and politics was done. Today, it is a very interesting historic site at which you can get a feel for life in pre-revolution Texas. In this episode, learn more about the San Felipe State Historic Site with site manager Bryan McAuley.
The account of the Texas revolution makes for glorious telling, retelling and reading. It seemed that every man, woman and child in early Texas just couldn’t wait to rebel against the tyrannical Mexican government and win another glorious war for independence. Didn’t they? Well, not exactly. Just like the 13 American colonies, Texas had its tories too. Learn more about “differences of opinion” in revolutionary Texas in the latest episode of Wise About Texas
What is it about Texas women? Independent, smart, strong, spirited, they can do it all! Ask any Texas man and he’ll tell you, the ladies run the show! But this is nothing new. Back before the Texas revolution, the women of Texas formed the spirit of Texas. Some were because their husbands moved the family to this new land of opportunity. These women did their best to build a household in the harsh Texas frontier, and they did it well. But some came on their own, and brought their spirit with them. That was Pamelia Mann. She was a Houston entrepreneur, hotelier, rancher, businesswoman, forger, possibly a thief, and willing to be a killer. She was even sentenced to death…but slipped the noose. During the Texas revolution she handed Sam Houston himself the only defeat he would suffer in command of the Texas Army. Celebrate the spirit of Texas women in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.
The Flash was a schooner built in Connecticut for a new enterprise in Texas. She came to Texas in possession of James Morgan to support his new endeavor, a town and community called New Washington. But as war clouds gathered, Morgan mounted an 18 pounder on her foredeck and commissioned her Captain into the Texas Navy. From commerce to combat, rescuing refugees to carrying cannon, the Flash did it all during the Texas revolution. Her noble service ended quickly after her Captain was replaced with someone who apparently couldn’t find the largest harbor in Texas. The Flash carried some of the most important cargo in Texas history, presidents, cannon, even important groceries. Hear the story of the schooner Flash in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.
181 years ago this week, the Texian Army surprised the Mexican army and won the Battle of San Jacinto. The battle lasted a mere 18 minutes, but its effects changed the world. After the initial 18 minute rout, many of the Texans pursued the fleeing enemy into the bayous and swamps around San Jacinto while others took stock of what could be found in the Mexican camp.
From champagne, to silver, to fancy camp equipment, the Texians found a creative way to dispose of the spoils as well as improve the fiscal affairs of the hours-old Republic of Texas. But it wasn’t all celebration. A reckless youth set the prairie on fire and a lone guard almost changed world history with his bayonet!
Learn more about the immediate aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto and hear about how the victors handled the spoils of war.
Built in 1831 for John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, the steamboat Yellowstone was the first steamboat to travel past the Council Bluffs. She reached parts of the upper Missouri River previously unreachable by other boats. After conquering the fur trade, she was sold to Thomas Toby & Brother of New Orleans and registered under an American flag. But she was secretly at work in Texas. Sam Houston happened upon her on the Brazos river and commandeered her for his army! After saving the Texas Army, the Yellowstone raced full speed past the Mexican Army (avoiding bullets, cannon and over-eager ropers) and onward to Galveston. She later carried Sam Houston and Santa Anna–at the same time! Her last errand for Texas brought the Father of Texas to his final resting place. Author Donald Jackson called Yellowstone “the engine of manifest destiny.” Hear more about the exciting service of the Steamboat Yellowstone in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
We all remember the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto but there were many more battles in the Texas revolution than are commonly discussed. A big issue at the time of the Texas revolution was whether to attack Matamoros, Mexico in hopes that federalist sympathizers would join forces with the Texians and achieve glorious victory over the centralists. The issue split the provisional government and almost dissolved into total chaos. Multiple individuals each thought they were in charge of the army. In the meantime, fighting began in various places between the center of the Texas colonies and Matamoros, usually with poor results. Two of those battles, San Patricio and Refugio are covered in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.