Celebrating My Texas Heritage

Sunday, March 2, is Texas Independence Day.

A little Texas history:

The name Texas comes from the Tejas Indians and means friendly. 

A wild and diverse landscape, only sparsely settled, Texas was a state of Mexico.  After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the new nation was broke.  To generate income, the government welcomed settlers, most of whom came from the United States.  Stephen F. Austin led a group of 300 to settle near what is now Galveston.

The independent spirit of the inhabitants became evident from the beginning.  Mexico passed strong new laws to control the activities of these new citizens, which met with resistance in a number of Mexican states, but especially in Tejas (Texas).

The new President of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, determined to take control of Texas and harshly enforced the new laws.  The Texans—more commonly called Texians or Texicans—stiffened, though greatly outnumbered.

Under the leadership of Austin and Sam Houston, Texas declared its independence on March 2, 1836, even as the Battle of the Alamo raged, with approximately 200 Texians and volunteers holding off Santa Anna’s army of 1500 for 13 days.  The brave stand at the Alamo allowed Houston to gather more troops for his army.

This brief revolution, which began in October, 1835, ended on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto.  Houston’s army surprised Santa Anna’s weary troops and routed them, capturing Santa Anna, who agreed to a treaty, independence for Texas and to never attack Texas again.


The Republic of Texas became a reality.

A little personal Texas history:

I celebrate Texas Independence Day because it is an important part of my family heritage.

My mother’s ancestor, William Stanhope Taylor, my great-great grandfather, arrived in Texas with Stephen F. Austin.

Hence, I love to say that we helped to settle our great State.

And my great-great grandfather played a role in the Revolution.

Our family has a letter describing his role in the Battle of San Jacinto, recounting especially chasing after Santa Anna, discovering him dressed as a simple soldier, capturing the General and bringing him back to General Sam Houston.

So in reality, he could have gone down in Texas history with the fabled Yellow Rose of Texas (but that’s another story).  There have also been rumors that my family is related to Sam Houston, who became the first president of the Republic of Texas.  Can’t prove that, though.

Because I have lived my entire adult life in California and Florida, not in my home state, I have brought a little of Texas with me.  If you ever visit my home, you can see my Texas room.Probably you won’t want to ask me any questions about that great state—I know way too many interesting (to me) facts.  But you might love to partake of some real Texas barbecue, provided right here in Orlando by Cecil’s Texas Style BBQ.

And on March 2 it is always right to celebrate with some great tamales, which I get from the Texas Tamale Warehouse in Ft. Worth.

I imagine sometimes you get a little weary of Texas bragging and boasting.  But I bet you really do love that revolutionary spirit!

What about you?  What do you know about your heritage?

C2014 Judy Douglass