Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gonzales Memorial Museum - Gonzales Texas

We had no real plans to go through Gonzales, Texas on our trip to Houston, but on the way home the GPS showed that it wasn't too far out of the way and it was still in the direction we needed to go, so we thought, "Why not?"

We ended up at the Gonzales Memorial Museum, which is dedicated to the battle that ignited the Texas Revolution.

Memorial to the Gonzales Men Who Fought at the Alamo at Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

 What drew us to this particular spot was the star laden fence that surrounds it. It was hard to miss as we drove past.

Star Fence at Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

While we were there we we got to learn some interesting Texas history which, lucky you, now you get to learn too!

Gonzales is know for the October 2, 1835, battle that began the Texas Revolution. The white settlers, called Texians, who were living in Mexico in the area now know as Texas were fed up with the Mexican government and wanted independence from them.

A few years before this incident in 1831, the Mexican government had loaned a cannon to the Gonzales settlement for protection against the natives. You might not think this a very important detail, but just hang on.

In September 1835, as relations between the Mexican government and all of Texas started to crumble, the Mexicans demanding the cannon be returned and sent 150 soldiers to get it.  Eighteen Texas men were able to hold off the soldiers for two days while reinforcements were sent for.  These brave men, called "The Old Eighteen at Gonzales", have a memorial to them at the museum.

Memorial to the Old Eighteen at Gonzales at Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

Once reinforcements arrived the battle broke out.  With the first shots fired, one Texan fell off his horse and got a bloody nose.  It is believed that was the only injury on the Texans side and one Mexican was wounded by cannon fire.

Both sides retreated temporarily.  A meeting between forces was held with the Texas representative saying to the Mexican representative that the Mexican soldiers could either surrender and join the Texans in support of the Constitutuion of 1824 or prepare to fight.  The Texas representative pointed to the loaned cannon, which now had a white flag flying on it, and told the Mexican representative that he should just try to, "Come and Take It".

On the flag, which was made from one of the settlers wedding dresses were the words, "COME AND TAKE IT" with a cannon and star.  The design was similar to the magnet we bought there as seen below.

Come and Take It Magnet from Gonzales Memorial Museum in Gonzales Texas

The Mexican troops feeling outnumbered. So they withdrew and went to San Antonio.  The Texans headed to San Antonio as well with the cannon.  Unfortunately, the wheelbase was damaged and the men decided to just abandon the cannon.  They buried it in a creek and continued on to San Antonio, where Texas was defeated by the Mexican army in the battle of the Alamo.

They didn't give up though.  Another battle broke out in San Jacinto and in this one the Texans were victorious!  We had our independence, which we celebrate every March 2nd on the anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence!  Texas remained its own independent country, called the Republic of Texas, for 10 years until 1846 when it joined the United States of America.

Let's fast forward 100 years from the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence.  In the beginning of 1936, the Texas government built memorials to the Texas Revolution.  One of those memorials was the museum in Gonzales honoring the cannon that was the catalyze for independence.  Since the real cannon was missing a replica was made for the celebrations.

Come and Take It Cannon Replica at Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

In July of 1936 there were heavy rains in Gonzales which caused flooding.  While looking for flood victims a man stumbled upon what he though was a pipe.  He and a friend dragged it out of the river and left it along the side of a road.

A mail carrier picked it up and took it to the post office where it sat in the basement until 1968 when it was traded and put on loan in a museum in San Antonio.  After passing hands a few more times it finally ended up in the Gonzales Memorial Museum in 2000, where it sits to this day.

So after all of that, would you like to see the original "Come and Take It" cannon?

Here it is!

Come and Take It Cannon at Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

Isn't it adorable??

Side View of Come and Take It Cannon Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

One more parting shot.

Front of Come and Take It Cannon Gonzales Memorial Museum Gonzales Texas

That was all we got to see in Gonzales since it was so late in the day.  We will have to take another trip out there.  They have walking and driving tours of the town's historic places.  That alone is worth another look!

In my next post, which will be more Texas history, but this time no wars!  It will be about the painted churches of Fayette County.  They are gorgeous and you will not want to miss them.  I hope you will come back to read all about it.

Until then!