Representatives from much of Texas met at Washington on the Brazos in late February 1836 and quickly drafted a Declaration of Independence. Sam Houston and the other representatives signed it on March 2, 1836. Stephen F. Austin is known as the Father of Texas because he managed to get the Spanish government — and later the Mexican — to give him large land grants for settling immigrants from the United States. These Americans would be at the heart of the independence movement. When Austin died in December 1836, Houston declared, “The Father of Texas is no more.”
Austin may have been the Father of Texas but Houston was its lone star. He was the hero of the battle of San Jacinto. His Texas army defeated Santa Anna’s army and captured him. Houston used Santa Anna to secure the retreat of the remainder of the Mexican Army, which was many times the size of the Texan army. He also used Santa Anna to gain international recognition for the new Republic. Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas with about 80 percent of the vote, defeating Austin and a third candidate. He would later become the state’s first Senator and later its seventh Governor.
Things had not always been so wonderful for Houston. He had been a young military hero, befriended and mentored by Andrew Jackson, but was severely wounded and nearly died at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. He rode Jackson’s coattails to become the Governor of Tennessee. But he married too young of a woman who soon left him. In disgrace, he went to live with the Cherokees by whom he had been adopted as a youth. His Cherokee name had been Raven, but they started calling him Big Drunk. Fate returned him to Washington, D.C on behalf of the Cherokee. But he assaulted a Congressman and was brought up on charges before Congress. Francis Scott Key defended him. He was found guilty but was again in national prominence. Still a Jackson confidant, he was counseled to go to Texas. In a private conversation, Jackson gave Houston a pledge of unwavering support. Houston was to get Texas into the Union. It took a couple of years but on March 2, Houston saw the beginning of his and Jackson’s secret plan materialize. Even better, he was appointed commander of the Texas Army. It was the perfect birthday present for Sam Houston, who was born March 2, 1793.
If you would like to learn more about American, Texas or Cypress history, please visit Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park at 26026 Hempstead Highway, open daily from dawn to 7 p.m. The museum buildings are open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To arrange a special tour, contact the park at 281-357-5324 or email@example.com. The Cypress Historical Society is housed in the California Poppy yellow train depot in the back of the park; its hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and the third Saturday of the month from noon to 3 p.m. The society has a treasure trove of genealogy information and historical information for the greater Cypress area. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-758-0083. If you have questions or comments about this article, contact Fred Collins at email@example.com.
Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.
March 2nd — More than Texas Independence Day