Sunday, August 14, 2016

Texas History in Goliad

Instead of taking the fastest way on our trip to Houston back in July, we decided to detour slightly through south Texas just to see what we could see.  We went through the town of Goliad where we made a stop at the Goliad State Park and Historic Site.

Goliad State Park Sign Goliad Texas

At the park there is camping, hiking, and fishing, but we were there to see the Mission of Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga or just Mission Espiritu Santo.  

Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

The missions in Texas were build in the 1600's and 1700's by Spaniards who wanted to colonize the area and convert the natives to Christianity. Some were successful, some were not but either way many are still standing today including the Alamo in San Antonio.

Mission Espiritu Santo was reconstructed in the 1930's by the  Civilian Conservation Corps.  (If you don't know about the Civilian Conservation Corps click on the link, it was a really interesting part of American history.)

Let's go into the Mission Espiritu Santo and have a look around, shall we?

The door was open and stayed that way because you know what, there was no air conditioning.  

Door Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

At all.  None...

It was hot.

We didn't stay long.  So come on, let's go through this quickly!

The sun was shining through the windows creating these amazing shadows.

Window and Shadow Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

The curls in the iron of the windows mirrored some of the curls found in the wall decorations.  

Holy Water Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

I love the simplicity of this church with its no pews and white walls. Compared to many other Catholic churches we have been in, this one is like a breath of fresh air (albeit a extremly hot breath of air!!)  I just speaks of a simpler time in history.

Even though it is not much more than a rectangular box the confession booth it seems more elegant in its uncomplicated design that we have seen in the fanciest of Catholic churches.

Confession Booth Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

The front of the church has the main alter.

Main Alter Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

Turning around to look at the door we came in, gave us this wonderful view of the balcony and the amazing circular window.

Back of Church Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

We oohed and ahhed and sweated then headed out the side door where there was at least a breeze!  Across the grass (or you could be proper and use the sidewalks) was a building that had been converted to a museum explaining how the mission came about and more of the history of the place.

Museum at Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

There is another museum on the grounds that is to the left of the entrance to the church.  This one had air conditioning!! 

Inside this lovely air conditioned museum there was a sign that talked about how these walls were some of mission's oldest one.  They are crumbling due to age, which is sad.  I hope they can figure out a way to preserve them for many years to come.

Last Wall in Museum at Mission Espiritu Santo Goliad Texas

Despite knowing that we were about to step out of the air conditioning, we ventured out anyways and moved on down the road.  As we left we saw a sign for the Fannin Memorial.  We thought, "Why  not?" and headed that way.

Here is what we saw.

Grave of Col JW Fannin and His Men Goliad Texas

Let me tell you what the historical marker said.  It is a rather sad story!
After the battle of Coleto (March 19 - 20, 1836), where a Texas Army under Col. James Walker Fannin met defeat by Mexicans in superior numbers, the Texas soldiers were held in Presidio La Bahia, supposedly as war prisoners. However, by order of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, approximately 400 of Fannin's men were marched out and massacred on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. The wounded were shot one by one in the fort compound. Col. Fannin was the last to die. Because of their profession, Drs. J. H. Barnard, J. E. Field and Jack Shackelford were spared; about 25 men were saved by a Mexican woman, "The Angel of Goliad". Approximately 30 escaped by feigning death or by swimming the San Antonio River. The Texans' corpses were stripped and partly burned, but left unburied. This atrocity three weeks after the fall of the Alamo gave Texans part of the battle cry--"Remember the Alamo! Remember La Bahia!"--under which decisive victory was won at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk and the Texan Army afterwards marched here and gathered the bones of Fannin's men from the terrain. From Presidio La Bahia the remains were carried in procession to the grave, and there given a military funeral and burial on June 3, 1836.
The men who fought in the Texas Revolution were fierce!  They were willing to fight to the death, and many of them did, to gain Independence from Mexico.  It's because of these brave men and women that I get to call Texas my home and I thank them for that.  (Sorry Mexico...)

Directly across the street from the Fannin memorial was a memorial to the "Angel of Goliad", Francisca Alavez.  If you would like to know more of her story you can read the historical marker here.  

Angel of Goliad Statue Goliad Texas

I really wish a bird hadn't pooped on her....sort of ruins the image of greatness!

There are other places of interest in Goliad but we decided against going to see them although they were all close by. It will just give a us a reason to go back!

 Before I sign off, let me tell you about two of the towns that we passed through on our trip.  One was called Raisin (which made me laugh pretty hard) and the other El Toro, which means "the bull" in Spanish.  There wasn't much to see or say about them except for the cool names they have.  Texas has some pretty strange town names!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will return for the next one which will be about the city of Gonzales and more Texas history!

Until then!