Monday, December 19, 2011

Texas: The Lone Star State


The "Come and Take It" flag of the Texas revolution, 1835
It's October 3, 1835, in the town of Gonzalez, Tejas and a white flag is flying. 

This white flag, however, is not a truce flag. Quite the opposite.

This white flag proudly carries a single star above a cannon as it boldly proclaims, "Come and Take It." 

Santa Anna
The taunt at once refers to the canon on the flag, originally a gift from the Mexican government, as it also refers to the spirit of independence that marks this first battle for Texas independence from the rule of the Mexican dictator, President Antonio López de Santa Anna.


Come the following spring, by March 2, 1836, and Texas will have won her independence and declared herself an independent republic. 

An independent nation 
For nearly 10 years Texas was an independent republic. 

On December  29, 1845, Texas becomes the 28th state to join the United States of America. Then, in 1861, Texas seceded from the Union to join the Confederacy.

The Coajuila y Tejas, Mexican state flag
Back in 1835, however, Texas was part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas, "tejas" meaning "allies" or "friends". The Mexican state flag for the Coahuila y Tejas state had two stars on it. When Texas fought for its independence from Mexico, it kept a star from the Mexican design and became known as the Lone Star Republic and then, when it joined the United States, it became the Lone Star State.

Other flags flew on behalf of Texas independence, a movement that spread throughout the United States and inspired independent battalions of volunteers to join the fight for Texas independence.  

The Dodson flag, c. 1835
A tri-color flag with the Texas lone star was sewn by Sarah Dodson in December, 1835. It was sewn for the battle at San Antonio de Bexar.



The current Texas state flag with its single star






Joanna Troutman (or Johanna Troutman) from Georgia created a lone star flag, also in 1835. The Troutman flag flew at the Battle of Goliad. Her flag has a blue star and bears the legend, "Liberty or Death." 
Cronin portrait of Joanna Troutman with flag





The Troutman flag is sewn out of white silk with blue silk stars on both sides.



Lorenzp de Zaval Texas flag
The Lorenzo de Zaval flag has a blue field with a white star encircled by the letters T-E-X-A-S. 

The de Zaval flag was adopted as the flag of the new republic in May, 1836.



The Burnet flag of the Texas republic
By December 10, 1836, the flag was again changed, this time to include a gold star on a blue background. It was designed by David G. Burnet. The Burnet flag is the first flag to bear the distinction of being the first official flag of the Republic of Texas.



The current Texas state flag was designed by Dr. Charles Stewart and adopted January 5, 1839. Dr. Stewart was the second person to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. Before the Burnet flag became the official flag for the state of Texas, it flew as the third official flag of the Republic of Texas.

Did you know Texas has the right to divide into four states?
The Constitution of 1845, a federal document that relates to Texas' incorporation as a state, gives Texas the right to divide into as many as four states. The document, however, allows Texas to divide just one time, and one time only.

Other flags that flew for Texas Independence and some interesting online resources ... 
These flags have interesting stories behind them that are well clicking on the attached links below or at http://bit.ly/vjWsQf. 

PBS has produced an excellent 8-part documentary on the Wild West. The episode on Texas is titled, Tejas and can be found at http://to.pbs.org/vfBhud

Davy Crocket, US Senator and hero from the Alamo
Lastly, the Portal to Texas History  is an excellent academic resource linking historical collections throughout the state of Texas, including university archives and it is viewable online.

To find out about the Alamo, including the debunking of several myths associated with that famous battle (there were survivors), go the TheAlamo.org.

Let It Fly!

Sherman's Kentucky volunteers fought at the Battle of San Jacinto
The 1st Co. of Texas Volunteers fought at Goliad, Bexar and the Alamo
The Texas Red Rovers flag flew at Goliad, March 27, 1836










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