I was watching some old true crime story on one of the cable channels recently. Probably a rerun, though I don’t keep up with T.V. and its general blather. As a rule, T.V. is about as entertaining and educational as two goats eating weed grass without disturbing the dandelions. And the “news” is even worse.

Anyway, this crime had taken place in Texas several years ago, and, having remembered the crime (Federal Judge John Wood was assassinated) I sat down, fired up my pipe, and watched. Since the crime took place in San Antonio the announcer felt compelled to give us a brief “history” lesson on San Antonio’s most famous tourist attraction, The Alamo.

I am a home-grown Mississippi fellow and proud of it. But I have been a Texan for just over half a century and am just as proud.

When I grew up it was hard not to find a boy or girl anywhere in the South who didn’t know a whole lot about the Alamo. And not just because of Walt Disney (who did a fine entertaining job on the subject) but because of at least two reasons.

One, many (maybe most) of those Texans at the Alamo were from somewhere else: Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and as well as other Southern locations. The other Southern boys and I had read or been taught at home and school about the courageous history of Texas independence.

And, two, we for the most part had been raised mostly by courageous men and women (fathers, mothers, teachers, coaches) who followed the law.

When I moved to Texas one of the first things I did was buy T.R. Ferenbach’s history of Texas, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans (I also highly recommend Frerenbach’s, Commanches: The History of a People)

In the true crime presentation, the narrator, in his telling of San Antonio’s connection to the Alamo mentioned Mexico’s independence from Spain. He then mentioned that shortly thereafter Texas up and demanded its independence from Mexico. The (not so subtle) message was that Americans (now Texans) had moved into Mexico and begun to (in typical Anglo-Saxon fashion) convert lands into a new colonial powerhouse, mistreating the poor Mexicans who had become freed from Spain.

It may seem minor but these blabber mouth T.V. announcers, bilge water blowhards, pseudo newsmen, and general know-nothings love to throw out something indirectly, hopefully largely unnoticed. Like throwing a dead mouse under your car seat. Ultimately it may not do great damage but it will stink.

The truth is that the Americans led by Moses Austin had been asked by the Mexican Government to come and settle lands, mostly north of The Rio Grande to offer a buffer and defense against the fierce and warrior Commanche Indians.

The Texans who came, came and settled under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. To this, they agreed.

To this, the Mexican Government also agreed until Santa Anna thought he could diddle with the deal through his alteration of the 1824 Constitution. Santa Anna wanted the Constitution forged into a commitment to a central state. The Texans wanted separate localized governments as the 1824 Constitution stood for.

Stephen Austin(son of deceased Moses Austin) tried to talk with the Government but was thrown in jail for his troubles. When he was released and returned to Texas (northern Mexico) he quite bluntly told the Texans it was time to load their guns and assert their rights. He told them that Santa Anna was not going to honor his government’s agreement under the Constitution of 1824.

With the availability limited of men and supplies, a handful of Texans (approximately 200) commanded by William Travis, Jim Bowie, and the oldest man at the Alamo, Davy Crockett hunkered down in an old Spanish mission, The Alamo, and swore that they would hold on to the death, if necessary, while Texas Commander, Sam Houston built an army.

They did and they died. They were men. They were courageous men.

So, for the weak-kneed sissy journalists, T.V. announcers there was no spontaneous get-rich-quick grab for independence by free land seekers. They were men fighting for independence from a government that had corrupted itself via its violation of its own constitutional agreement– and did not realize that there were in fact men who would “load their gun and assert their rights.”

The flag that the Texans flew over the Alamo was the flag of “1824”; a signal that they were willing to fight and die for the agreement that they had made.

William Barrett Travis: “Victory or Death.”

Remember the Alamo.

Paul H. Yarbrough

I was born and reared in Mississippi, lived in both Louisiana and Texas (past 40 years). My wonderful wife of 43 years who recently passed away was from Louisiana. I have spent most of my business career in the oil business. I took up writing as a hobby 7 or 8 years ago and love to write about the South. I have just finished a third novel. I also believe in the South and its true beliefs.


  • Sam McGowan says:

    I’m not sure when I first heard of the Alamo. It may have been when the Walt Disney series about David (he HATED to be called Davey) Crockett was on TV. At the time, I had no idea that his last home was only a half hour of so from where I was growing up in West Tennessee. When I went to Lackland Air Force base for basic training, my buddies and I went straight to the Alamo after church the day we got off base privileges. (I ieft the following Saturday for Amarillo for maintenance training,) As far as I know, none of my relatives died at the Alamo but my great-great grandfather died during the Mexican War, although the circumstances of his death are unclear.) I’ve been to the Alamo a time or two since. In fact, I lost my wife there right after our wedding! She was wondering around somewhere in the gift shop, I live near Houston and have been to San Jacinto where Houston’s army avenged the Alamo and Goliad a number of times .

    I may have to disagree with the author about why many Southerners (and some Northerners) came to Texas. Land was definitely the attraction, although it wasn’t free. There were set rates for land, with men desiring to get into cattle ranching being able to buy a lot lot of land while those who wanted to farm got a lot less. I live on one of the old Brazos River plantations that Austin sold to the first hundred or so settlers. The author also failed to point out that there were some Mexicans in the Alamo originally but Travis let them leave. Juan Sequin went out to get word to Houston of the situation. Sequin’s Tejanos would play a major role in the battle of San Jacinto where Santa Ana lost Texas but kept his life.

    Otherwise, a good article.

    • Paul Yarbrough says:

      “The author also failed to point out that there were some Mexicans in the Alamo originally but Travis let them leave. Juan Sequin went out to get word to Houston of the situation.”

      I did not mention it because I believe it to be generally known. In any event, it was not my intention to write a lengthy essay but a short article for the “spirit” of the Alamo (on March 6). There is MUCH to read about the Texas war for independence.
      Thanks for your interest and comment

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    Yes sir. I will.

  • tommy montgomery says:

    Texas wasn’t the only Mexican state vying for independence from the dictator Santa Anna during that period. Off the top of my head Coahuila, Yucatan and others were quelled by Santa Anna…A fact that is almost always overlooked.

  • Keith Redmon says:

    Thank you for a great story. I’ve been to Goliad, San Jacinto and the Alamo. The Alamo was most haunting. If you stay there long enough, the walls will start talking to you.

  • Tom Plowden says:

    Lighten up a little bit on Paul…go back and read his prior articles, especially current, in college “athletics” is : https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/farmers-and-families-and-football-and-fools/, with all going on in college football, and Paul wrote it 10/06/23. YES , and Sports Illustrated cover from the 1960’s, with the Confederate flags, front and center. Lest we forget.
    The Alamo, he sure got it right with South Carolinians headed to Texas, especially Travis and Bonham from my county, Edgefield District. Yep, two monuments to Travis and Bonham in Saluda, S.C., commemorating The Alamo.
    Certainly enjoyed the recent Abbeville Institute conference @ Callaway Gardens, “Virginia First, the 1607 Project”! Salute!
    Have a good Dixie Day!

  • Phillp Dickey says:

    Thanks very much for an entertaining bit of writing. You made my day, and God bless Texas.

  • Albert Alioto says:

    It takes nothing away from the courage of the Martyrs of the Alamo to remember that Houston told Travis to abandon the mission and save the garrison. That, too, is part of the story.

  • Jim Barraza says:

    There were more Tennesseans (31) who gave their lives at the Alamo in San Antonio, Tx, for the cause of liberty and freedom than any other state. David Crockett, Tennesse’s native son, is the most famous. We celebrated Crockett’s life and sacrifice at the Alamo on March 6, 1836 (188 yrs ago), in a public event held at the Town of Alamo, County of Crockett, Tennessee on the same day.
    Remember the Alamo!

  • THT says:

    Southerners built Texas.

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