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Friday, April 22. 2011
Yesterday was Texas Independence Day, a day well remembered by all Texicans as the day freedom was won from Mexico. Although times change, Texas history is still taught in our schools and the day will be remembered in the future!
Buck Barry and Brinson Bryan arrived in Texas a little too late to take part in the Battle of San Jacinto, 9 years too late, but 2 things are sure, had they been in here they wouldâ€™ve participated, but on April 21st they celebrated just like all the other Texans! July 4th has put Texas Independence Day a poor second as far as celebrations go, but being a 5th generation Texan, my chest goes out a little farther and I stand a little taller on that special day.
In my minds eye, I can see General Houstonâ€™s army, the rag tag, Texican army, slowly approaching the unsuspecting Mexicans, Santa Anna hadnâ€™t posted sentries, see them fire a ragged volley into them, then finish them off hand to hand, with tomahawks and Bowie knives. The surprise was complete with over 600 Mexicans perishing in the onslaught, over 200 were wounded and 700 more or less were captured, all with the Texanâ€™s loss of only 7 killed, most of these by the first Mexican volley and 28 wounded, 4 of the wounded would later die.
I can see General Santa Anna surrendering to a wounded Houston, shot in the ankle, after having two horses shot out from under him. Six months later Santa Anna returned to Mexico a dismal failure, Texas became its very own Republic and 9 years later became our Countryâ€™s 28th state. This event was one of the causes of The Mexican War of 1846-48, with Mexico claiming that Texas was part of its State of Coahuila y Tejas. The war settled matters with the Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo that resulted in the American Nation adding over 1,000,000 square miles and eventually the states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Utah, Oregon and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma!
While Houston retreated away from Santa Anna, his route led him down Cypress Creek in northwest Harris County, approximately 40 miles from where the battle took place, also where for 5 years my home was not 200 yards from the creek. Many times while I worked my Brittanyâ€™s we would skirt the creek and come upon the marker that commemorated one of his camps and I would wonder just how it was then, how did they cross the creeks and bayous, what shape were the roads, if any, were in and how did they handle the rain that flooded the streams? In the final results, against overwhelming odds, they succeeded
Someone smart once said, â€œOleâ€™ Santa Annie chased Genâ€™l Houston till Houston caught up with him!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 11. 2008
After rereading Buck Barryâ€™s, diary, edited in 1978 by James K. Greer, I thought the following tale of a battle fought over 160 years ago would be appropriate.Â Referencing Mr. Greerâ€™s book and discovering more details on the internet, Iâ€™m pleased that I can summarize it.Â These men, Texans, all volunteers, responded to an urgent plea from an American General.Â Remember only two years before, Texas had been annexed into the United States, but old ties are strong.
Fight Along The San Juan River
Buck Barry, my 3G, Uncle was a veteran, a veteran of the Indian Wars, the Mexican War and the Civil War and was, Iâ€™m sure, a supporter of the fore runner of our Veteranâ€™s Day - Decoration Day.Â Decoration Day began in Virginia in late 1863, with southern ladies decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers with red and white bunting.Â It quickly spread across the South, then the North and finally in 1867 was named, Memorial Day, a national holiday.
In 1846, before Decoration Day was even thought of, Buck had joined a company of volunteers in Franklin, Texas, under the command of Capt. Eli Chandler and the unit had made haste to south Texas, responding to the urgent request for reinforcements from Texas, from U.S. General (later President) Zachary Taylor.Â Arriving, ten days late for the battles at Resaca De La Palma and Palo Alto, the Texans, Buck included, were formed into a regiment of other Texas units and elected Capt. Jack Hays, who Buck had served with as a Texas Ranger in 1845, their Colonel and Samuel H Walker, their Lt. Colonel. Â
Digressing, Walker, a former Texas Ranger, was the inventor of the famous Walker Colt pistol, that until the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, was the most powerful, hand gun ever produced.Â Walker was later awarded a direct commission in the U.S. Army and served under Gen. Winfield Scott during the march to Mexico City.Â In 1847, Capt. Walker was killed by enemy fire while leading a charge into the Mexican city of Huamantla.
Buck and the Texans were the lead units of Gen. Taylorâ€™s column heading up the San Juan River, a tributary of the Rio Grande, until their advance was stopped outside of Monterrey, by a regiment of Mexican Lancers and this led to a very, spirited fight!
The Texans had stopped for a break and unsaddled and were rubbing their horses down when the Lancers surprised them!Â Buying time for a hasty defense, Col. Hays rode out and challenged the Mexican Colonel to a saber duel.Â Hays mentioned to Buck that he knew nothing of saber dueling.Â The challenge was accepted and valuable time was gained when the Mexican officer removed all of his accoutrements and then rode out to meet Hays.
The Mexican drew his saber, and unceremoniously, Hays drew his pistol and shot him!Â At that breech of etiquette, the infuriated Lancers came boiling down the riverbank and charged the Texans!Â Hays ordered his men to fire from behind their horses using them as shields.Â The Lancers rode through the Texans three times, rifles and pistols were emptied and the fight continued with bowie knives against lances, until the attack was beaten off.Â Texan losses were one dead and many wounded and eighty of the Lancers were killed. Both sides suffered heavy losses of horses.
Buck said, â€œAfter that fight, I never called Mexicans cowards again!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 22. 2007
This story has been passed down through my family for well over 100 years. I have heard it from my Dad and his Brothers and Sisters. Brinson and Fannie Bryan, who were living near Riesel, Texas, McLennan County, were my paternal Great Grandparents and their son, Peyton Bryan, was my paternal Grandfather.
The Dogs were raising a racket outside, waking Brinson Bryan and his wife, Fannie, up from a sound sleep. He figured they had a Possum or â€˜Coon treed in the large oak tree near the Hen house. Next thing he knew all eight of his kids were awake and asking him â€œPapa, what is all the racket with the Dogs.â€ Fannie was expecting their ninth, and she hoped the last, child the next month, December 1889.
Brinson slipped on his heavy clothes, it was cold for mid November, and lit a coal oil lantern. He was going to â€œchunkâ€ the â€œcoon out of the tree and not even mess with loading his .44 pistol. With all these kids around, it didnâ€™t pay to leave the old pistol loaded. He handed the lantern to his oldest son, Peyton, slipped on his boots and said to him, â€œLetâ€™s go run that varmint off.â€
Stepping outside and heading the 100 feet to the old, oak tree with the Dogs furiously barking, Peyton held the light up towards the tree and he and his Papa were rewarded by seeing two of the biggest, yellow eyes staring back at them. â€œPapa, thatâ€™s no â€˜Coon,â€ he exclaimed, as he and Brinson edged closer to the tree, plainly making out a very large cat, rather a very large Mountain Lion, crouched on a branch about eight feet off the ground.
This looked like another â€œtight spotâ€ shaping up. Brinson had had his share of â€œtight spotsâ€ in his life. Joining the Texas Rangers in 1845 he had fought Mexicans and Indians during the Mexican War. After that war he guided wagon trains to California facing more Indians, wild animals and thieves. Next was his three and a half years of service with the Confederate Army of Tennessee and experiencing some of the fiercest battles of that war. He had married Fannie in 1867 and settled into a life of farming, mule trading and raising his family.
Now, he is being stared down by a big Cat and knowing the Dogs will keep the Cat treed, he tells Peyton, â€œBoy, hold the light on the Cat while I get something to finish it off with!â€ That â€œsomethingâ€ happened to be his old Bowie knife, almost two feet of it, which he tied onto a walking stick, or Moses stick. Counting the knife and stick, his â€œlanceâ€ was nearly 6 foot long. He knew if he shot the Cat with his pistol that it would die, but not before it would leap down on he and Peyton.
As Peyton held the light, Brinson shinnied up into the tree and with one thrust shoved the knife into the Catâ€™s throat and then, with both hands, held tight to the stick as the animal thrashed about, impaled on the knife. After it was over and the Cat lay still on the ground, Brinson thought it funny that his three Dogs could tree the Lion and keep it treed, while the Lion could easily kill the Dogs and also how the light from a coal oil lantern had kept the Cat off of them.
The Dogs had apparently intercepted the Cat before it had gotten into the Hen house. It ended up a very lop sided victory for Brinson and Peyton, no Dogs or Chickens injured, just a little lost sleep.
This may have been the last Mountain Lion killed in McLennan County, Texas.
Continue reading "Treed"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 09:08 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 15. 2007
On February 12, 2007, I was going through a trove of old Bryan family momentoes and opening a box of keepsakes from my Uncle, E. Jay Bryan, who served in the Army during the Mexican Border Campaign with Gen. Pershing, and died in France during WW 1, well before I was born, I came across the following handwritten poem, author unknown to me.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 11:16 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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