March is Texas History Month
March is Texas History Month, a time to fly the Texas flag and celebrate our state’s unique history. Recognizing the importance of Texas history, the Legislature enacted legislation on June 20, 2003 declaring March 1-31 of every year as Texas History Month. Several key events which shaped the destiny of Texas occurred in the month of March and have been designed as Texas Honor Days by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (D.R.T.): Texas Independence Day, Flag Day, and the birthday of Sam Houston on March 2; Alamo Heroes Day on March 6; and Goliad Heroes Day on March 27.
Texas Independence and Flag Day, March 2
On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted. In near freezing temperatures, fifty-four delegates elected from all municipalities in Texas convened on March 1, 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. A draft was presented to the convention on March 2, and on the motion of Sam Houston, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted. Entitled, “The Unanimous Declaration of Independence, by the Delegates of the People of Texas, in General Convention, at the Town of Washington, on the Second Day of March, 1836,” Texans had declared themselves a free and independent republic.
March 2 is also Flag Day for Texas, as declared by the Legislature in 1915. A law was later passed in 1933 establishing rules for proper display of the flag and a pledge to the flag, “Honor the Texas Flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”
Texas Independence Day celebrations will take place in Nacogdoches on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the historic Old University Building. Citizens of all ages are invited to join the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in a Bell Ringing Ceremony to mark 177 years of Texas independence.
Sam Houston’s Birthday, March 2
One of the best known figures in Texas history, Samuel “Sam” Houston was born in Virginia on March 2, 1793. Before coming to Texas, he served in Andrew Jackson’s army, studied law, and was governor of Tennessee. Houston arrived in Texas in December 1832 and quickly became involved in politics. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Revolution Army, twice as President of the Republic of Texas, and along with Thomas J. Rusk, became the first U.S. Senators from the State of Texas. Sam Houston died on July 26, 1863 and is remembered throughout the state with monuments, streets named for him, a state university that bears his name, and the city bearing his name is now the largest city in Texas.
Alamo Heroes Day, March 6
On March 6, we remember one of the most inspiring moments in Texas history, when small force of Texian soldiers held the Alamo in San Antonio against Santa Anna and his army of almost 2,000. For twelve days, 189 brave men led by Colonel William B. Travis had held the fort, but on the morning of the thirteenth day of the siege, Santa Anna ordered the final assault, killing all the defenders in less than 90 minutes,. The unwillingness of the Texians to surrender had bought precious time for the Texian army and their sacrifice inspired Texian soldiers to greater zeal on the battlefield with cries of “Remember the Alamo.” All 189 names of the Alamo heroes who died in the battle are inscribed on a granite memorial in the Long Barrack Museum at the Alamo and today, the sacrifices they made are still remembered and are recognized throughout the world as a symbol of honor and courage.
Goliad Heroes Day, March 27
After the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna’s army attacked Colonel James W. Fannin and his men in the Battle of Coleto, near Goliad. The Texians were defeated, Fannin surrendered, and all taken prisoner. At sunrise on Palm Sunday, 1836, those men who were able to walk were marched out and executed less than a mile from the presidio. Most were killed instantly, but a few managed to escape. Back at the garrison, those who were unable to march, including Colonel Fannin, were also executed. In all, 342 brave Texans lost their lives at Goliad on March 27, 1836. Their remains were burned and left unburied for almost three months until the bones were gathered and buried in a mass grave with full military honors by General Thomas J. Rusk. On June 4, 1938, a massive pink granite monument was dedicated to Colonel Fannin and his men as part of the Texas Centennial. The tragedy at Goliad provoked an even greater fervor in the Texians to defeat Santa Anna and his army, and along with “Remember the Alamo,” the cry of “Remember Goliad” inspired the Texians to victory at San Jacinto a few weeks later.
Texas Independence Day, Flag Day, Sam Houston’s Birthday, Alamo Heroes Day, and Goliad Heroes Day are designated Texas Honor Days by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The D.R.T. is the oldest women’s patriotic organization in Texas, and is dedicated to the preservation and education of Texas history. For more information on the D.R.T., please visit the website at drtinfo.org.
The Llano Pioneers Chapter of the DRT meets the 2rd Monday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Llano County Library in Llano and visitors are always welcome. Anyone who is qualified to join the DRT or has any questions may contact President/Registrar Arlene Garey 830-598-7700 or Vice President/Secretary Patty Pfister 325-247-5024.
Sources: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Declaration of Independence, (www.tsl.state.tx.us/trearuers/republic/declare-01.html). Texas State Historical Association, Texas Declaration of Independence, (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mjtce).
Stephen L. Hardin, “ALAMO, BATTLE OF THE,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qea02), accessed February 17, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, Texian In
dependence Convention, (http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/consultations6.htm). The Convention at Old Washington, March 1, 1836 by Sam Houston Dixon, texashistorypage.com, accessed February 16, 2013. Charles A. Spain, Jr., “FLAGS OF TEXAS,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/msf01), accessed February 16, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Thomas H. Kreneck, “HOUSTON, SAMUEL,” Handbook of Texas Online. (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho73), accessed February 17, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Presidio La Bahia, Goliad, Texas (http://www.presidiolabahia.org/massacre.htm), accessed February 17, 2013. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Texas Honor Days, http://www.drtinfo.org