Hello fellow Texans and friends of Texas. Today is Tuesday, April 22, 2014.
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Santa Anna captured as Texans searched for prisoners<
On April 22, 1836, the day after the Battle of San Jacinto, Texans were confident that their ne Read more ...
t would snarl additional prisoners. Detachments were sent out to scour the countryside in the direction of Harrisburg. A party of five reached Vince's, bayou and continued the search down Buffalo Bayou.
Reports generally agree that James A. Sylvester was about to shoot a deer when he discovered a member of the Mexican army moving toward the bridge. They pursued the soldier. He fell in the grass, and threw a blanket over his head. They told him to get up, but he only uncovered his face. They repeated the request for him to rise two or three times before he stood up.
He advanced toward Sylvester, and shook hands with him and then kissed his hand. He asked for Gen. Sam Houston. They said he was in camp. They then asked him who he was. He said he was a private soldier. Seeing the fine studs on the bosom of his shirt, they pointed toward them. He then said he was an aide to Santa Anna and burst into a flood of tears.
They reassured him. He was dressed as a common soldier and had no arms. The captive was placed on a horse and taken to the camp by some of the party.
The distinguished prisoner was Santa Anna. He was handed over to Col. John Forbes, at the guard-lines and, exhibiting to him a letter addressed to "Don Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna," desired to be conducted to General Houston. The matter was referred to Colonel George Washington Hockley.
Both concluded that their captive was Santa Anna. His very thin cover was lost when other Mexican prisoners exclaimed, "El Presidente!"
He was then taken to Gen. Houston who was lying on a mattress under an oak which he made his headquarters. Made as comfortable as possible, Houston had dozed off. He was awakened to receive a VIP -- Very Important Prisoner. One account said the captive chieftain said to him, "I am General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and a prisoner-of-war at your disposition." Another report said Santa Anna told Houston, "Sir, yours is no common destiny. You have captured the Napoleon of the west." Houston was said to have looked at him, and motioned him to a tool-chest, where he could sit down.
Forbes was sent after Santa Anna's private secretary, in order to identify his chief. He was brought and, in Col. Thomas J. Rusk, secretary of war, and others came up.
Santa Anna reportedly asked for opium. A piece was handed to him. He immediately proposed to enter into negotiations for his liberation. Gen. Houston said that Texas had a government to make that decision. Santa Anna observed that he disliked to have anything to do with civilians -- that he abhorred them -- and would much rather enter a treaty with members of the military.
Santa Anna tried to deflect blame but agreed to Houston's requirement that he write orders calling for Mexican troops to fall back to Monterey. Houston immediately saw the value of keeping Santa Anna alive.
"Texas, to be respected must be polite," Houston was to say later. "Santa Anna living, can be of incalculable benefit to Texas; Santa Anna dead, would just be another dead Mexican."
With the capture of Santa Anna, the world was changed.
A panel on the side of the monument at San Jacinto reads:
"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost on-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."
A little more than three weeks later, the treaty of Velasco was signed, allowing the captured Santa Anna his freedom and allowing Texas to be recognized as an independent nation.
The treaty did clear the way for the independent nation but much of the document was not honored by Mexico.
Details of the treaty were not completely ratified until Texas was annexed by the United States, and Mexico’s challenge was put down during the U.S. War with Mexico.
The binding treaty was signed in 1848 and produced basically the agreement Texas thought it originally had with Mexico.
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DeLeon discovered remains of LaSalle's Fort St. Louis<
On April 22, 1689, Spanish explorer De León discovered the ruins of a French settlement, Fort St. Louis, on the Texas coast. The fort had been established by La Salle in the summer of 1685.
In February 1685, La Salle, seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, had landed 280 colonists, including 100 soldiers, at the mouth of Matagorda Bay in Spanish-claimed territory. The explorer made a temporary camp on Matagorda Island while he sought a more secure location farther up the bay. In April he chose a site on an eminence overlooking the "Riviére aux Boeufs."
Though disease devastated his men, La Salle saw the building well underway by autumn, when he set out to explore the surrounding country. In January 1687 he departed on his last journey, leaving at the fort scarcely more than 20 men, women, and children in the charge of the Sieur de Barbier.
In late 1688 or early 1689 the Karankawa Indians gained entry to the fort under guise of friendship and murdered all the occupants but five children.
Meanwhile, news that the French had founded a settlement on the northern Gulf Coast had agitated New Spain in the mid-1680s. As a result, De León led four expeditions between 1686 and 1689 seeking to find and destroy the French installation. The fourth expedition left Coahuila on March 27, 1689, with a force of 114 men, and found the deserted settlement on April 22.
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Also on April 22 in Texas:
• In 1540, an expedition led by Spanish explorer Coronado left Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Cíbola. There was no gold at Cíbola (Zuñi villages in western New Mexico), but the explorer was led on by stories of great rewards to be found. The search occupied Coronado until the early part of 1542. Along the way he apparently marched across the Llano Estacado of eastern New Mexico and Palo Duro Canyon. In an official examination of his conduct as leader of the expedition, he was cleared of charges in connection with the expedition, but was fined on other charges and lost his commission. He died in 1554.
• In 1803, James Pleasant Tackitt (Tackett), pioneer minister, was born near Louisville, Ky. In 1856 his family located near Fish Creek, about eight miles south of Fort Belknap in Young County. He served as minister and county official and did missionary work for the Brazos Indian Reservation. Under his leadership the first Methodist church in Young County was established at Fort Belknap in 1858.
• In 1814, George Washington Hill, secretary of war and secretary of the navy in Sam Houston's cabinet, was born in Tennessee. Hill County is named in his honor. He moved to Texas in 1836 and was a surgeon at Fort Houston. From January 16, 1843, to December 9, 1844, he served as secretary of war and navy in Houston's cabinet. After annexation Hill resumed the practice of medicine in Navarro County. In 1855, he was appointed first agent for the Brazos Indian Reservation. He died at Spring Hill on May 29, 1860, and is buried there.
• In 1836, Dr. James Phelps established a hospital in the home of Lorenzo de Zavala. Later, Santa Anna was held prisoner at Phelps's home, Orozimbo Plantation from July to November 1836, He joined the Texas army and attached to the medical staff on April 6. As the army moved toward San Jacinto, Phelps was left at Harrisburg to attend the sick.
• In 1848, Robert Shapley Ross, younger brother of former Texas governor Sul Ross, was born at Station Creek, a ranger station near Waco. He was possibly the first white child born in the environs of present McLennan County. He was a newspaper editor, publisher and Civil War soldier. In 1876 Ross edited the Advance, a Waco afternoon newspaper. Later, with his brother William Hallam Ross, he owned and published the Daily Reporter.
• In 1856, Thomas Mitchell Campbell, governor of Texas from 1907 to 1911, was born in Rusk. In his two terms in office, Campbell initiated a number of reforms involving railroad regulation, equitable taxation, and lobbying restrictions. In 1907, he named the legendary Captain Bill McDonald of the Texas Rangers as the state revenue agent.
• In 1863, J.H. Wayland, physician, religious leader and founder of Wayland Baptist College, was born in Missouri. He moved to Plainview in April 1891. His practice covered a radius of 250 miles. He owned and operated the Wayland Drug Store and continued his medical practice at Plainview for 30 years. He founded the Wayland Baptist College with a gift of 30 acres of land from his ranch and $100,000 in cash. After retiring as a doctor, he built and operated the Wayland Hotel. He died in Plainview on Feb. 6, 1948.
• In 1873, the state legislature repealed the law authorizing the corrupt State Police. Established during Reconstruction, State Police Capt. Jack Helm was accused of murdering prisoners. In 1872 James Davidson, the head of the force, embezzled $37,000 and disappeared. After repeal of the authorization law, Leander H. McNelly and at least 36 other State Police members became Texas Rangers.
• In 1915, during flash floods and storms of April 1915, Austin firefighter Thomas Edward Quinn was killed in the line of duty while attempting a rescue from flood waters on Shoal Creek.
• In 1965, Granite Shoals Lake, was renamed Lake Lyndon B. Johnson on April 22, 1965, for President Lyndon B. Johnson "in gratitude for his work as United States Congressman and Senator toward the development of the project." The project is owned and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority and is used primarily for generating hydroelectric power. It is one of six such operations on the Colorado River; the other five are Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis and Lake Austin.
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Texas History Day-by-Day is compiled by retired newspaper journalist Bob Sonderegger (email@example.com). A primary source of information is Handbook of Texas Online. Your comments or additions are welcome.