Yesterday, I had a most delicious day: The Texas General Land Office held their Second Annual Save Texas History!™ symposium to highlight aspects of Texas history and I got to attend. Created by Commissioner Jerry Patterson, the Save Texas History!™ program is their initiative to conserve historic documents and maps in the General Land Office. This event is one of their main fundraisers because, sadly, the Texas Legislature does not appropriate funds to conserve and maintain these documents.
This event was fodder for my soul.
The speakers were authors and historians, mostly of Texas history, but there was one who talked about U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, his idea of Manifest Destiny and how that impacted Texas. Later this fall, the symposium will be broadcasted on C-SPAN 3 in its entirety.
The best presentation of the day, by far, was Jim Bevill’s on his book The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas. He is a great storyteller and he literally brought everything to life. This was a treat that I was not expecting. I had read his book a couple of years ago but now I need to re-read it and listen for his voice.
The neatest thing I learned was one of the ways Santa Anna funded his campaign in Texas. At a Texas archaeology site, coins were found that had the word Zacatecas on them. Now why in the world would there be coins in Texas with the name of Zacatecas on it? To my knowledge, there were no economic connections between Zacatecas and Texas. Well, in May 1835, Santa Anna brutally sacked the city of Zacatecas and the historical record indicates that it took many years for the infrastructure to recover. Apparently Santa Anna not only sacked the city but also raided its treasury (hence the long recovery period) and used these funds in Texas.
Another tidbit: in San Antonio, after the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna gave surviving women two coins and a blanket. Those coins were also most likely the dollars from Zacatecas.
In the afternoon, there was a panel discussion titled Untold Stories of the Texas Revolution, moderated by Dr. Alwyn Barr. This was the real reason I signed up to the symposium because this session was to highlight women, Tejanos and slaves in Revolutionary Texas, exactly what I am writing about. I was hoping to come away with little nuggets of information that I could use in my story but, unfortunately, I did not. It was more of a general overview of their roles in the conflict. Sigh.
All in all, it was a great event to attend. I made connections with other attendees as well as some of the authors which, I hope, will help me as I continue to move forward with GTT.
Books and their authors:
Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 co-authored by Dr. Gene Smith.
Hers, His & Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain & Early Texas by Dr. Jean Stuntz.
Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution by Stephen L. Hardin.