The ayes of Texas

Not too many years ago I attended an Elderhostel in Vermont.

When not out doing strenuous things (the point of being there), I could always find pleasure in getting better acquainted with the others in the group.

Michelle and Jimmy, Texans through and through, have remained good friends to this day. Four years ago they attended a conference in Mayville so showing them why I so love this area was a natural. Part of the visit included their meeting Major and Minor.

Afterward, Michelle sent the dogs (yes!) two lovely Texas Lone Star blankets commemorating their Independence Day.

While the dogs certainly enjoyed their flannel warmth, I was curious to learn more about Texas. I drove through a corner of it once, stopping in Shamrock (an easy name not to forget) but know little more than that except that there wasn’t much there. Around Shamrock.

Independence from Mexico was declared on March 2, 1836, and remains an official state holiday.

I have to say their timing seems rather unfortunate for the Mexicans routed the few hundred defending the Alamo in a battle that ended just four days later. In fact, the revolt continued until the final battle was won at San Jacinto on April 21.

Widening my scan, I was surprised how much happened during the early 1800s in such a very brief time. (I also learned that Wikipedia is hardly infallible for one of my articles repeatedly spoke of the “Texians.”)

It wasn’t until 1821 that Mexico won its independence from Spain as did Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, Panama and Santo Domingo. Missouri became a state, George IV was crowned, Napoleon died and James Monroe began his second term as President. This was also the year the Rosetta Stone was used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Once named Mexican President, Santa Anna quickly began establishing dictatorial policies which led to a rebellion of those living in the area then known as Tejas and part of the state of Coahula y Tejas. Sam Huston, the same general who had routed the Mexican enemy in the final battle, was named president of the Republic of Texas.

So Spain out in 1821 and Mexico out just fifteen years later.

Intermittent troubles continued, however, finally being resolved with the Mexican-American War, 1846 to 1848, which ended with the annexation of Texas to the United States.

Earlier, during the war, negotiations between the two countries had broken down when the United States failed in its attempt to purchase New Mexico. Troops were sent into the disputed area, we declared war and annexed New Mexico in August. The next year Mexico City was captured. Then, in 1848, a peace treaty was ratified. The United States got Texas, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Mexico got, as they say now, an undisclosed amount. (I don’t know if terming it an “indemnity” made it any easier.)

Note: Thanks to an update from Michelle, I have learned of my error. Not only do the Mexicans call her people Texians but the expression is also frequently used in museums and other historical places. I should have stayed to see more of the state than just Shamrock.

During these same years, all of Europe seemed to be revolting – Paris, Vienna, Venice, Rome – so I guess the peace here at home was doubly appreciated.

I know I welcome it in my home as I watch the dogs return to the coziness of their blanket-lined crates.

Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com