Today being Texas Independence Day, I thought a little history on the beginning of the Texas Revolution was in order. The Battle of Gonzales begin as an altercation between a Texan and a Mexican soldier, who struck him with a rifle butt. The citizenry quickly rounded up an old bronze cannon not previously turned over to the Mexican. The cannon was likely useless, but it became a symbol of defiance to Mexico’s oppressive rule. Real conflict began when the Texans refused to give it up and “politely” told them to “come and take it.”
Howard made a passing reference to the battle in an October 3, 1935 letter to Lovecraft in which he enclosed a newspaper article published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the skirmish that started the revolution on October 2, 1835. On November 5, 1935, there was a big celebration of the cenntenial of the independance of Texas in Gonzales, hosted by Governor Allred:
Copies of “Come and Take It” Flag To Be Unfurled at Gonzales Today at Opening Centennial Parade.
San Antonio Express Newspaper, November 5, 1935, Tuesday.
Initial observance of Texas Centennial begins in Gonzales Tuesday when San Antonians will figure in a parade which will start at the boom of a cannon remindful of the famous Gonzales cannon which figured in the first hostilities in the struggle for independence and gave rise to the first Long Start flag.
Governor James V. Allred and other dignitaries are expected to witness the parade which opens the celebration at 1 p.m. Gonzales’ Centennial exposition will continue for five days.
San Antonio will be represented in the parade by a Fiesta de San Jacinto float on which will ride members of the Daughters of Republic dressed in the fashions of ’36 to represent a quilting party of that time. Alamo Mission Chapter members who will ride on the float are: Mrs. Gus Jones, Mrs. J. M. Olivarri, Mrs. Herbert Hearndon, Mrs. Lee Miller, Mrs. Joseph M. Carnal, Mrs. Henry Wofford, Mrs. Leita Small, Mrs. J. E. King, Mrs. Ethel Tom, Mrs. J. L. Browne and Mrs. Eugene Holmgreen. Mrs. R. F. Martin, president of the Presidio Chapter of Crystal City, also will ride on the float.
Jack Raybould, manager of the Fiesta Association, will be a judge of floats.
While aficionados of Texas history are familiar with the fight for the cannon, a lot of folks are not. The San Jacinto Museum and Monument website is a great place to read the story of how Howard’s beloved Texas came to be.
Of course, the war for Texas independance was one of his favorite topics. Here is a poem he wrote in tribute to that final, brief battle where Sam Houston and his men soundly defeated Santa Anna and his army:
Flowers bloom on San Jacinto,
Red and white and blue.
Long ago o’er San Jacinto
Wheeling vultures flew.
Long ago on San Jacinto
Soared the battle-smoke;
Long ago on San Jacinto
Wild ranks smote and broke.
Crimson clouds o’er San Jacinto,
Scarlet was the haze —
Peaceful o’er calm San Jacinto
Glide the drowsy days.