Texas Independence Day, March 2

March 2, 2009

The place to be today is Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Site, looking back 173 years.

Here on March 2 of that year [1836], 59 delegates signed the six-page document that declared the Republic of Texas free and independent of Mexico.

As related in the Dallas Morning News, it was a fretful time in Texas.

The convention delegates actually gathered on March 1, 1836, a month after they were elected and sent to Washington, a growing town on the Brazos River less than 100 miles northwest of what now is Houston.

The convention within weeks would adopt a constitution amid a swift series of events. While they were meeting, Travis and his men were killed at the Alamo. And just over another month later, Gen. Sam Houston’s army would defeat the Mexicans in the famous Battle of San Jacinto.

And, just in time for this year’s celebration, researchers announced they have recovered a document lost from the Texas State Archives for a century, the order for copies of the Texas Declaration to be copied and printed.  Jim Bevill found the scrap of paper placed haphazardly in a file now housed at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Michael Paulsen Chronicle  Author Jim Bevill found the order issued on March 2, 1836, for the first copies of the Texas Declaration of Independence in a collection donated to the Southern Methodist University library. The order had long been missing from the state archives

Author Jim Bevill found the order issued on March 2, 1836, for the first copies of the Texas Declaration of Independence in a collection donated to the Southern Methodist University library. The order had long been missing from the state archives. Photo by Michael Paulsen, Houston Chronicle

Bevill was doing research for his upcoming book, The Paper Republic, a history of the Republic of Texas from the viewpoint of economics rather than the usual military perspective.

The new Texas government was desperately short of money. Investors in New Orleans refused to give the fledgling country a loan until Texas officially declared independence from Mexico.

The document Bevill found was an order sent to San Felipe to have printers make five handwritten copies and 1,000 printed copies of the declaration.

Hope you have a good Texas Independence Day.  We have grades due.

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