The Heart of Texas Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held its monthly meeting on Monday, February 11, in their meeting room located in the 100 block of North College Street, Brady, Texas (center door).
The meeting began with a program presented by President Sheila Van Zant about the drawing of black beans. It was not about pictures of legumes, but rather, selecting beans from a pot. In the pot were 176 beans – 159 of the beans were white except for the 17 which were black.
In December of 1842, a militia of Texans crossed the Rio Grand River at Matamoros and was captured by Santa Anna and his Mexican Army. Santa Anna and his Generals could have decided to give “no quarter” to the captured men which would have resulted in the death of all of them. Instead, it was decided to “decimate” the militia by executing one tenth of them. (From the Latin term, decimate, which was used by the Roman Armies; ‘deci’- is a prefix indicating one-tenth.)
Those who drew the black beans were allowed to write to their families before being executed. Van Zant read one of the letters written by R. H. Dunham. The letter began, “Dear Mother, I write to you under the most awful feelings that a son ever addressed a mother for I am doomed to die …” The next day, they were executed.
Eventually, their remains were interred in a plot located in Fayette County near La Grange, Texas. Changing hands many times, the monument and site is now operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It shares the land with the remains of the Kreische home and brewery. The two sites are operated jointly, and the 40.4-acre park provides hiking, picnicking, and an interpretive center to tell the stories of the monument and the beginnings of the Texas brewing industry.
Inquiries about membership and association may be directed to President Sheila Van Zant at 325-344-5423 or to Registrar Jerry Wilkinson at 325-597-2456. Their meetings are always open to the public. Additional information is also available on the official DRT web site, www.drtinfo.org and at the local chapter email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.