Monday, May 1, 2017

Descendants of San Jacinto

One of the most memorable events of a busy State Historian spring schedule was the annual meeting of the Descendants of San Jacinto, held at Brady's Landing Restaurant on Saturday, March 25. I first met a large number of these Descendants on April 21, 2013, when I delivered the keynote address at the San Jacinto Monument. These men and women gathered for a group photo on the monument steps, and I was deeply impressed. During the ensuing years I've renewed several of these acquaintances at State Historian appearances during chapter meetings of Sons of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

With President General Fred Mead

 
At an SRT meeting in Conroe I encountered Fred Mead, currently serving as President General of the Descendants of San Jacinto. Two of Fred's ancestors played a key role in capturing Santa Anna following the Battle of San Jacinto. Fred and I have kept in touch, and he was kind enough to invite me to speak at the 2017 meeting of the Descendants of San Jacinto. He specifically asked me to talk about the Battle of San Jacinto, a program he had heard on a couple of previous occasions.    
 

Denton Bryant delivering a memorial for recently deceased Sam Houston IV

 
Brady's Landing Restaurant is located adjacent to the townsite of Harrisburg. Standing beside Buffalo Bayou at a site only a few miles west of San Jacinto Battlefield, Harrisburg was burned by General Santa Anna shortly before the famous battle, and Sam Houston's army saw the charred ruins on their way to San Jacinto. My program on the Battle of San Jacinto concludes with a dramatic incident that occurred a few hours after the battle, late on the afternoon of April 21, 1836.

Fred Mead and Judge Sharolyn Woods


With Marianne Messenger, Educator of the Year from Conroe ISD

I arrived early on the morning of the Descendants of San Jacinto luncheon. I found historical markers describing early-day Harrisburg, along with the pioneer cemetery and the homesite of Mr. and Mrs.  Harris, founders of the town. By the spring of 1836 Mrs. Harris was a widow, and she opened her home to David G. Burnet, interim president of the Republic of Texas, and his cabinet. They were on the run from Mexican forces, and when Santa Anna arrived only to find that they had escaped, he ordered the town destroyed. It was in these ruins on April 21 that a band of Texian refugees came, trapped, they thought, and soon to be captured by Mexican troops. But at the height of their desperation, a horseman suddenly galloped into sight . . . . 

Site of the Harris Home (founders of Harrisburg)

Venerable Glendale Cemetery

 When I entered Brady's Landing Restaurant Fred Mead was conducting the annual business meeting.  The lunch was excellent, and the State Historian's description of the battle produced a standing ovation. Afterward the Descendants presented several awards, inducted new officers, and offered a memorial to Sam Houston IV, who had passed away the previous week. Following a benediction the meeting adjourned, but a number of members wanted signed copies of my biography of Sam Houston, and it was a pleasure to visit with the Descendants and hear the stories of their illustrious ancestors.

Historical Marker at the Frost Bank

 

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