Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Exploring Historic Gonzales, Texas, on Foot - Sun., Dec. 1 (Part 2)

** OR ** How I Ended Up in Jail...

Palmetto State Park is 13 miles northwest of the "Come and Take It" city of Gonzales, Texas, a historic town involved in the First Shot of the Texas Revolution on Oct. 2, 1835. Thus starts the fascinating history of this small town which was the westernmost Anglo settlement until the end of the Texas Revolution. We decided to do the Volksmarch here because of its proximity to Palmetto State Park...we were in the neighborhood already.

[Quick off-topic note: In yesterday's blog about Palmetto State Park there was a photo of me as "Swamp Monster." That's because there is a legend in the area about the "Ottine Swamp Thing." I thought I'd try to emulate it. Click on link to read more about it.]

I have to admit, I was in jail Sunday. Bob pulled up in front of the building, I got out and went in willingly. The Old Jail Museum is the start point for the Gonzales Volksmarch. The Old Jail also houses the Chamber of Commerce.

Old Jail Museum and Chamber of Commerce

Bob with the city's flag: Come and Take It
By now you're most likely wondering what is all the hubbub about "Come and Take it." The story is that in 1831 the Mexicans loaned a six-pound cannon to the town of Gonzales to help fight off the Comanche and Tonkawa Indians. Over the intervening four years, tensions grew between the U.S. and Mexico, so Mexican officials at San Antonio de Bexar demanded the cannon back.

A Mexican corporal and five soldiers were sent to retrieve the cannon. Andrew Ponton refused to give it back. The little cannon was buried in a peach orchard.

Next, a Mexican lieutenant with 150 mounted soldiers came to "take" the cannon. When the soldiers appeared on the west bank of the Guadalupe River, only 18 men were in Gonzales, but "The Old Eighteen" stood their ground. They hid the ferry and called for volunteers to reinforce their ranks.

Not to be deterred, the soldiers scouted upriver for a place to cross and spent the night (without crossing). Early morning on Oct. 2, 1935, the colonists crossed the river with the cannon, waving a flag that said, "Come and Take It." Almost immediately the cannon fired killing one of the Mexican soldiers. The rest of the lieutenant's men scattered and retreated.

Gonzales became known as "The Lexington of Texas" where the first shot was fired and the first Texas army of volunteers was formed in the fight for Texas Independence. Thus began the Texas Revolution. According to the Gonzales Memorial Museum we visited on our walk, the six-pound bronze cannon was again buried. No one knew where it was or, if they did, they weren't telling. In a flood years later, the original cannon was washed out of it's hiding place. You can see the replica and the original cannon in the museum.

If you make it to Gonzales, Texas, be sure to look around Gonzales Memorial Museum. There are a few surprises there you can ferret out on your own. It is a very small museum with no admission charge.

Art deco Gonzales Memorial Museum
The Immortal 32 Monument
Below is the main part of the inscription on the art deco monument above:

The wind displayed the flag beautifully!

"The Runaway Scrape" refers to the fleeing townspeople as Gonzales burns. The decision was made to burn down their city so the Mexicans could not pillage it and find anything to use in the war. The American soldiers, women and children fled from the pursuing armies, who wanted to kill them all, trying to make it to safety. It was springtime. There had been heavy rains which led to muddy conditions making travel hazardous.

Replica six-pounder cannon
Original bronze six-pounder cannon.
Other images from our Volksmarch in Gonzales...
The county courthouse
Butterflies in the sun
Randle-Rather Building
Stately homes. (We wondered where the money came from to have a town filled with such grandeur.)

The house below is built in the dog-run style. Kitchen space is on the right of the dog run and sleeping quarters are on the left of the dog run. Dogs slept in the open-air center to scare away raiders and thieves.

Dog-run cabin known as the "Eggleston House."

The following photo brings back childhood memories from southern California.

Anyone remember getting fuel and full-service at Mobil?
Whoever owned this was a grand citizen indeed!
Our walk ended back at the Old Jail Museum where we found the Escape Pod patiently waiting for us. Our weather was gorgeous, maybe even a little warm.

We took a break between our two walks to have lunch in Gonzales at a new restaurant with a very limited menu: chicken wings with choice of sauce, cheeseburger, chicken burger, club sandwich, BLT, jalapeno poppers and a couple of other appetizers. Know this, if you try to eat in a small town in Texas on a Sunday not much is open!

Today's walks = one 10K + one 5K for a total of 15K (9.3 miles). With that, we drove off into a gorgeous sunset on our way back to San Antonio on US 90.

Travel Bug out.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice tour of Gonzales. Liked Palmetto yesterday too. I haven't made it there myself but it's on the list.


Please let me know what you think, your experiences, and constructive criticism to make this blog stronger.