The October meeting of the Heart of Texas Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas was held on Monday, October 8, at the ranch of Linda and Andrew Davis, located in Mercury, Texas.
Perched high on a hill in the center of Texas, members and their spouses greeted Lt. Col. Paul Burrier (U.S.A. Retired) and his wife Pat from Lakey, Texas. Col. Burrier is an authority on firearms of early Texas and also the early German history of Texas. Mrs. Burrier is a member of DRT. It was through DRT that Mrs. Burrier and Heart of Texas member, Sharon Purcell, recognized a common ancestor revealing that Purcell and Col. Burrier are cousins.
Burrier demonstrated a variety of black powder firearms, early model flintlocks, and later model percussion cap rifles and pistols. Chapter President Sheila Van Zant assisted Burrier by firing a pistol as well. Other weapons used during the time of the Republic included the Bowie knife and hatchets.
Early militiamen also carried “possible bags”. Burrier demonstrated one of these small purse-like bags which were worn slung across the shoulders. In them were carried all the necessities of the camping soldier. Mess kits of cup, plate, knife and fork could serve the simple meals. A straight razor, mirror, shaving brush and comb were for grooming and tooth brush and powder for dental care. A well-stocked possible bag might also contain some coffee beans, hard-tack and matches.
Col. Burrier also provided an interesting history of settlement by the Germans who immigrated to Texas during the 1840s. These plans developed as a result of political and economic events in the principalities which would later unify into the country of Germany in the 1870s. Their early vision for the settlement was to found a New Germany in Texas, perhaps even developing into an independent entity. This was based on their perception that Texas was too week to prevent them from becoming independent due to the dissolution of its army and navy after its own fight for independence. Although the German Immigration Company purchased the rights to settle the Fisher-Miller Land Grant, their most successful settlements of Fredericksburg and New Braunfels were settled to the south of that grant.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is an organization whose purpose is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas, to encourage historical researching of the earliest records of Texas, and to foster the preservation of its documents and relics. Additional information about the DRT is available from President Sheila Van Zant at 325-344-5423 or at the official DRT web site, www.drtinfo.org.