Tag Archives: Texas history

Texas Romance With Secession and Rope-Dancing

Hi readers.

Probably a strong case can be made that the Texan love for the idea of secession is directly related to the long-term love affair so many Texans have with lynchings, beatings, bullyings, and executions.  Especially during the past 50-60 years the Federal Government’s been a terrible thorn in the side of folks who’d like to be able to drag accused offenders out of the jailhouse and hang them, as their ancestors were fond of doing.

The side of the Civil War in Texas a reader has to search deeply to find is the part involving Texas Homeland Security of the time.  Raping, burning, looting, confiscation of property, and indiscriminate lynching of anyone the forces of law decided might oppose secession or the Confederacy.

[Secession! Texas Makes Its Choice – Texas State Library and Archives Commission https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/exhibits/civilwar/secession.html]

According to the Texas Historical Commission, “Texas stands third among the states, after Mississippi and Georgia, in the total number of lynching victims. Of the 468 victims in Texas between 1885 and 1942, 339 were black, 77 white, 53 Hispanic, and 1 Indian. Half of the white victims died between 1885 and 1889, and 53 percent of the Hispanics died in the 1915 troubles. Between 1889 and 1942 charges of murder or attempted murder precipitated at least 40 percent of the mobs; rape or attempted rape accounted for 26 percent. Blacks were more likely to be lynched for rape than were members of other groups, although even among blacks murder-related charges accounted for 40 percent of the lynchings and rape for only 32 percent. All but 15 of the 322 lynching incidents that have a known locality occurred in the eastern half of the state. The heaviest concentration of mob activity was along the Brazos River from Waco to the Gulf of Mexico, where eleven counties accounted for 20 percent of all lynch mobs. Other concentrations were in Harrison and neighboring counties on the Louisiana border, adjacent to Caddo Parish, Louisiana, one of the most lynching-prone areas in the country, and in Lamar and surrounding counties in Northeast Texas.”

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jgl01

A couple of examples of Texas Cultural Lynchmen at work:

Today in Texas History: Teenage boy lynched in Center

On this date in 1920, the body of Lige Daniels, an African-American teenager, hung in the main square of Center, a small town near the border between Texas and Louisiana.

Daniels was the victim of a lynching. In a 2001 story on Refdiff.com, columnist Dilip D’Souza described the scene: “Wearing a white shirt, torn pants and no shoes, his head tilted back sightlessly, this black teenager hung that day from the limb of a tree.”

D’Souza noted Daniels, imprisoned on allegations that he murdered a white woman, was taken from jail by a mob of nearly a thousand citizens, who carried him to the square where they hanged him.

D’Souza said the Daniels’ lynching garnered much attention but no local protests. Instead, there was so much fascination with the strung-up corpse that photographers turned the event into a postcard that was mailed to families and friends across the country. Daniels’ dead body became an article of trade.”

http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/08/today-in-texas-history-teenage-boy-lynched-in-center/

Or Jesse Washington, Waco.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States

Texans have a legitimate pride in their history and their heritage.  Their heroes of the Alamo, of San Jacinto, of the wars with the Comanche, the Apache, the Civil War are, to Texans, reflections of what they are, themselves.  Their aspirations, their salutes, their strutting pride in a history they yearn to be a part of.

And being a part of the United States with its obstructive Supreme Court decisions, its attempts to stand between Texans and the act of being themselves, needs mending.

Needs another secession to open the doors to opportunities lost.

Old Jules

Confederate Capital of Arizona Territory

I probably should have added this to the last post, but somehow it seems to me to deserve a place of its own.

That building sitting on the corner of the plaza in Mesilla, New Mexico, was the self-same structure Col. Baylor of the Texas Baylor Baylors of Texas aristocracy chose as the capital building for the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

Baylor turned out to be a less-than-optimal governor to the Territory, brought himself up for all manner of criticism.  One of which being the source of an order to kill all the male Indians in the fledgling Territory, and make slaves of all the kids and surviving females.

News travelled slowly in those days, and this command reached Richmond, Virginia at a time to dovetail nicely with news of Sibley failures, chaotic retreat after Glorietta, and other matters not calculated to endear Baylor to the general Confederate command structure.

For instance, the retreating Texans left their severely injured in the hospital at Fort Davis as they passed through, hop-skip-and-jump ahead of pursuing Union Forces.  Obviously intending to defer medical treatment to the pursuers.

But Apache arrived at that hospital ahead of the Yankees.  Tortured, disembowelled, roasted those Texans at their leisure, finally killed them in time for the arrival of the rescuers.

Ultimately Baylor was reduced in rank to corporal and sentenced to spend the remainder of the war walking guard in Galveston, where he served honorably.

Old Jules

Try, Try Again – Texas Secession, Invasion, Evasion and Forgetfulness

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by  for a read this morning.  I promised a few days ago I wouldn’t tell you any Texas history anecdotes, but I’ve already got Old Sol’s sober promise to come up on schedule, the cats are fed, and I probably ought to write about something just to prove I can.

I mentioned Texas invaded New Mexico twice, once in 1841, then again during the early stages of the US War of Secession.  Both of those episodes were characterized by more human folly on both sides than anyone has a right to be part of, but one man, JS Sutton, was right up front for both of them.  First name on the monument. 

Captain in the 1841 Expedition, Lt. Colonel in the second.  Never got another shot at a third try because he was offed at Valverde.  But he must have been considered an expert on the second because the 1841 group surrendered without firing a shot and got frog-marched barefooted southward across the same route Sutton followed north to his death two decades later.

Sutton was a courageous, interesting man, lived a life I’d call worth living, but couldn’t seem to keep his eye on the dirt where he was standing, and it eventually got him killed.  As far as I’ve ever been able to establish, he was the only man involved in both expeditions.

However, there was a Lockridge [second name on the monument] involved in the 1841 debacle, shot himself while they were camped at Bird’s Battleground near Three Rivers.  Maybe this later Lockridge killed at Valverde was a brother, son, cousin.  Almost certainly kinfolk, in any case.

Some other similarities between the two expeditions involved both commanders spending a lot of their time drunk, generally being logistically ill prepared for the task, and plenty of poor command decisions to help it along.

That second expedition, however, came inches from being a success in the sense of achieving the main objective.  Driving the US Army out of Fort Union.  The secondary objective, Sherrod Hunter driving west, taking and holding Tucson, probably was doomed from the first.  Nobody could have anticipated the California Volunteers marching east with the equipment and numbers they managed.

Hunter’s force of 500 retreated from Tucson early in May, headed back to the Rio Grande with plenty of difficulties with Apache and desertion.  Only twelve of the force, including Hunter, arrived in Mesilla finally in August.

Which left them with one hell-of-a-long trek back to Texas and a long war to fight and lose when they got there.

Old Jules

Strange Folks, These Texans

Yankee sniper roost

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Sometimes I marvel, sometimes grind my teeth in frustration without intending to be so involved inside the heads of others, sometimes just don’t know what to think at all.

Texans carry around an over-weening, unconscious, cultural pride in the history of Texas, but mostly don’t know anything much about Texas history.  Literally don’t take the trouble to know.  Carry it around like kids playing cowboys and Indians, a given, picked up from John Wayne movies and a vague awareness the Alamo happened.  San Jacinto happened.  Sam Houston was somebody-or-other important, and naturally they admire him.

Mostly they don’t have a clue what the hell those guys were doing at the Alamo, why they were there, why they made the decision to die, instead of evacuating.  Don’t know why Houston made no attempt to relieve them.  But they venerate them because what-the-hell, everyone does.  Whoopteedoo.

One day when he was still visiting down here the neighbor from up the hill began the favorite Texas assertion, “Texas has the right to secede if it chose to.  Has the right to split up into five different States.”  Evidently the neighbor’d been learning his history from this ignorant twit calls himself Governor of Texas.  [Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Unionhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html“Sam Houston arranged it before Texas was annexed into the US,” the damned neighbor blandly tells me.

You happen to recall,” says I, “Texas tried once to secede?  Recall the consequences?”

  “Yeah, but it wasn’t voted by the State Legislature,” says he.

“What the hell you talking about?” says I.  “Sam Houston spent the last weeks before the vote to secede travelling all over Texas trying to talk them out of seceding.”

“Oh.  You mean THAT secession.”

Evidently he was referring to some later attempt by some Texas geniuses to secede.  Texans who never bothered to read up on how it turned out the last time it was tried for real.

But I’ve digressed.  I wasn’t going to tell you about the mindless drivel echoing around inside the heads of modern Texans.  I was going to tell you about some Texans and events of the 19th Century so truly remarkable they’d be worthy of study by anyone.  Texans and events, I was about to say, the overwhelming majority of Texans never heard of.

I was going to tell you a bit about Mirabeau Buonoparte Lamar, second President of the Republic of Texas.  Ten times the man, the courage, the intellect, Sam Houston ever was.  And a poet, besides.  Somewhere around here I’ve got a couple of books of his poetry. 

I was going to tell you about Jacob Snively.  One of the strangest, most interesting men in Texas, even US history.

I was going to tell you how Texas military forces invaded west, New Mexico twice, New Mexico and Arizona both, once, occupied Tucson.

I toyed with the idea of giving words to the Somerville expedition, the black bean incident Texans have a vague awareness of, but couldn’t tell you when, where, why, on a lottery-sized bet.

But to hell with it.  Texans ain’t interested in Texas history if it wasn’t in a John Wayne movie and I suppose it ain’t worth the effort anyway.  If they wanted to know anything about Texas history they’d learn to read.

Screw it.

Old Jules