Texas Progressive Alliance – April 23, 2012
The Texas Progressive Alliance honors the life of Dick Clark by bringing you a weekly roundup with a good beat that you can dance to.
Off the Kuff began a series of interviews with Congressional candidates in contested primary races, publishing conversations with Rep. Silvestre Reyes, State Rep. Pete Gallego, and former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.
Republicans are talking like they want a race war. Either that, or they want to just kill all the liberals. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documents last week’s conservative verbal atrocities.
BlueBloggin wants American voters to understand that until they force honesty and accountability from the leaders they elect, they will become subjects to the Koch Brothers Machine vs American Destiny.
At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw brings us up to date on what Governor Oops is up to, and it isn’t pretty. Read Rick Perry Grovels for Norquist While His War On Women, Children and the Poor Continues.
Neil at Texas Liberal posted the newsletter of Occupy Wall Street: Houston. A strong effort to reboot the Occupy effort in Houston, OWSH is meeting on a regular basis, and has a Facebook page where you can join in and take part.
Stace at Dos Centavos tells us about a study which basically slams Higher Education in Texas. The post is basically an “I told you so!” about Texas’ screwed up priorities in pushing “Tier 1” funding, while leaving retention and graduation rates to suffer.
… To disparage the sublime martyrdom of the heroes of the Alamo does not add to Houston’s fame, nor can it stain the memory of Travis. The news of the fall of the Alamo, and the inhuman butchery at Goliad, flew with be wind to the pioneer families scattered between San Antonio on the west and Nacogdoches on the eastern border of the State. Houston sent Lieutenant Sharp to assure the people that there was no cause for alarm; but the fact that his army was retreating flew faster than his courier, and added panic to the widely spread terror.
All the able-bodied men of the settlements were with the army, only a few old men and boys being left to guard the homes. On the women-brave wives and mothers of brave men fell the responsibility of protecting their families. Knowing the quality of Mexican mercy, they gathered their children and servants and started at once for the Brazos. Any kind of vehicle served for transportation; in carriages, wagons, ox-carts (sometimes with cows hitched to them), were piled the bedding and babies, the women driving, or following on foot or on horseback as they could. The panic was so great that frequently families would leave a meal on the table to join the rush, and the next one that came that way would snatch it as they raced by. It was an unwritten law that smoke-houses were to be left open for the hungry to supply their wants, but nothing was to be wasted. Many pathetic incidents are related of this women’s exodus as well as ludicrous ones. In Jasper County, a woman tied a feather bed on her one pony and fastened three of her children on it; taking the fourth in her arms and leading the pony, she joined the “flying squadron” of Jasper’s “runaways.” Another started from home in a wagon with a baby nine days old. While camping for the night there came up a terrific rain-storm, when the women in camp gathered around the sick woman and held blankets over her to keep her and her baby dry and warm. No “red badge of courage” shows finer than this.
It had been an unusually wet winter, and the roads were long quagmires of bottomless mud, the prairies trackless sheets of water. Colonel Guy M. Bryan, in a paper on early days in Texas, says he can never forget the pitiful sight of the runaways when his family joined them at Cedar Bayou. On the road, as far as the eye could reach, east and west, a motley crowd of suffering and perplexed humanity struggled, uncomplaining, through the mud. Many women and children were walking, some barefooted and bareheaded. A woman whose cart-one of those rude “truck-carts” with wheels sawed from a large tree, into which the spindle of a wooden axle worked, the rough body being fastened to the axle by wooden pegs, and covered with a cotton sheet for tent; you may see many such in old Mexico today was bogged in one of the numerous reedy mavilas of the Neches prairie, the oxen lying in the water with only their noses out for air. The woman, with two little girls, sat on a little knoll patiently waiting for help. Colonel Bryan took his mother’s carriage to her assistance, but she would drive her oxen herself. Cracking her whip, she called to them, “Rise, Buck! Rise, Ball! Now is the time to do your best!” And Buck and Ball rose to the occasion. The cry of “Mexicans,” though of daily occurrence, always created a panic. Bedding, provisions, any and everything, would be thrown off to lighten the wagons, and the horses whipped into a run. The prairie at times was white with feathers emptied from beds, and the road lined for miles with household goods. Mrs. Anson Jones, wife of the last President of the republic, tells of camps suddenly abandoned, where trunks were left open from a hasty rummage for some needed article, and mirrors were left hanging on the trees. Danger from the disaffected Indians was another source of alarm. A solitary horseman across the prairie would often cause a stampede. Soon hunger and sickness added their gaunt forms to the general distress. Women sank by the roadside from exhaustion, and many little children died. The stronger women became veritable Sisters of Mercy as they went about nursing, encouraging, and comforting the less fortunate. General Rusk pays a glowing tribute to these noble women. He said:
“The men of Texas deserved much credit, but more was due the women. Armed men facing a foe could not but be brave; but the women, with their little children around them, without means of defence or power to resist, faced danger and death with unflinching courage.”
General Rusk’s wife [Mary Cleveland Rusk] was one of the heroines of those trying times. Calm, thoughtful, and steadfast, she set an example of fortitude and self-reliance to all who came under her influence. A true and fit “helpmeet” she was to the noblest and most disinterested patriot Texas ever knew. When General McLeod advised the women and children to leave Nacogdoches, Mrs. Rusk and the other women, with quiet self-control, placed their children and such things as were indispensable in the wagons, and started on their perilous march to the Brazos.
Not so the men. They were wild with excitement and terror, and would ride at full speed along the line of the wagons loaded with women, shouting, “The Indians are coming!” Mrs. Rusk would beg them “not to be alarmed; the army was between them and the Mexicans, and the thirty men at Nacogdoches would fill bloody graves before the Indians could reach them.” And she would look so calm that her courage became infectious. The runaways from the west found the Trinity River out of its banks, and were compelled to halt until such time as they could be ferried over. The old rule “first come first served” held good here as elsewhere in the colonies. The eastern contingent halted, for the same reason, at Groce’s Ferry on the Brazos, and some time was spent in camps. At Donoho’s, three miles from Groce’s, General Houston and the little army on their way towards Harrisburg passed the runaways. A young officer on Houston’s staff, attracted by a blue-eyed tot of a girl in the camp, leaned from his saddle and patting her pretty head, called her a “little heroine.” Ten years afterwards, in the old town of Washington, the then capital of the republic, this same soldier, now member of Congress and Speaker of the House, met this “wild rose” and a love-match followed!
The 16th of April, after a long march in a cold rain, the runaways halted at McCauley’s plantation, on Buffalo Bayou, the women refusing to go another step. They had borne privation and suffering so far without complaint, but human nature could bear no more. “Rest, only rest,” was their crying need. On the 20th, a squad of soldiers riding into camp found a Sabbath stillness, the children asleep under the trees, the women in groups talking quietly or reading aloud, the old men dozing around the campfires. The 21st day to be remembered of all time was misty and cold, but strangely electric; the suspense was intense and the waiting agony, Suddenly, as the sun shone out, the booming of cannon came faintly across the prairie.
“God of battles, remember the helpless! Let thy strength be with us this day!” Towards sunset, a woman on the outskirts of the camp began to clap her hands and shout “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Those about her thought her mad, but, following her wild gestures, they saw one of the Hardins, of Liberty, riding for life towards the camp, his horse covered with foam, and he was waving his hat and shouting “San Jacinto! San Jacinto! The Mexicans are whipped and Santa Anna a prisoner.” The scene that followed beggars description. People embraced, laughed and wept and prayed, all in one breath. As the moon rose over the vast flower-decked prairie, the soft southern wind carried peace to tired hearts and grateful slumber. As battles go, San Jacinto was but a skirmish; but with what mighty consequences! The lives and the liberty of a few hundred pioneers at stake and an empire won! Look to it, you Texans of today, with happy homes, mid fields of smiling plenty, that the blood of the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto sealed forever “Texas, one and indivisible!”
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