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  • History Friday: Two Brothers and the Twin Sisters

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd May 2014 (All posts by )

    The two brothers were the McCulloch brothers, Ben and Henry – and the twin sisters were a pair of six-pound cannon, which were sent by the citizens of Cincinnati to Texas at the start of the Texas War for Independence. The good citizens of Cincinnati were persuaded to support the rebellious Texans, and so raised the funds to have a pair of cannon manufactured at a local foundry and shipped down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and from thence by coastal schooner to Galveston, where they were presented to the representatives of the harried and scattered government of the Republic of Texas sometime around early April, 1836. A resolutely determined settler in Texas, Dr. Charles Rice had arrived on the same schooner, accompanied by his family – including a pair of twin daughters. This was too charming a coincidence to pass unnoticed – that the schooner had arrived with two pairs of twins, and so the pair of Cincinnati-cast and paid-for 6-pounders were christened ‘The Twin Sisters.’ By the time that they caught up to Sam Houston’s expeditiously-retreating army, temporarily camped at Groce’s Landing on the Brazos, they would be the only cannon possessed by said army. (All other artillery pieces had been captured at the Alamo or after the defeat of the Goliad garrison at Coleto creek, or dumped in the Guadalupe at Gonzales to lighten the retreat).
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    Posted in Diversions, History, Military Affairs, War and Peace | 2 Comments »

    History Friday: Houston and Lincoln

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th March 2013 (All posts by )

    It’s an old-fashioned study in contrasts, to look at the two of them, Abraham Lincoln and Sam Houston; both political giants, both of them a linchpin around which a certain point of American history turned, both of them men of the frontier. The similarities continue from that point: both of them almost entirely self-educated, as lawyers among other things, and from reading accounts by their contemporaries, it is clear that each possessed an enormous amount of personal charm. In their own time, though, each of them also acquired equally enormous numbers of bitter enemies. In fact, for a hero-founder of Texas, Houston attracted a considerable degree of vitriol from his contemporaries, and a level of published vilification which was not bettered until Lincoln appeared on the national scene as the presidential candidate favored by the north in the 1860 election. And both of them had ups and downs in their political and personal lives, although it’s hard to argue that Lincoln’s personal story arc was anything as eventful as Houston’s – the ADHD child of Jacksonian-era politics.
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    Posted in America 3.0, Biography, History | 5 Comments »

    The Southern Belle With the Spine of Steel

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 13th July 2012 (All posts by )

    Stephen Vincent Benet nailed down the type, in his poem epic John Brown’s Body, in a phrase that has resonated with me ever since I read it so long ago that I don’t recall when I read it – the quintessential southern belle, who propped up the South on a swansdown fan:

    Mary Lou Wingate, as slightly made
    And as hard to break as a rapier-blade.
    Bristol’s daughter and Wingate’s bride,
    Never well since the last child died
    But staring at pain with courteous eyes.

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    Posted in Americas, Biography, History, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    The Innkeeper And the Archives War – Or Why Is That Woman Firing a Cannon?

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 12th March 2012 (All posts by )

    A lady of certain years by the time she became moderately famous, Angelina Belle Peyton was born in the last years of the 18th century in Sumner County, Tennessee. For a decade or so Tennessee would be the far western frontier, but by the time she was twenty and newly married to her first cousin, John Peyton, the frontier had moved west. Texas beckoned like a siren – and eventually, the Peytons settled in San Felipe-on-the-Brazos, the de facto capitol of the American settlements in Texas. They would open an inn, and raise three children, before John died in 1834. She would continue running the inn in San Felipe on her own for another two years, until history intervened.
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    Posted in Americas, Entrepreneurship, History, USA | 5 Comments »

    On This Day, 176 Years Ago

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 6th March 2012 (All posts by )

    The Alamo fell.
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    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, History | 13 Comments »

    Lone Star Glory

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th February 2012 (All posts by )

    It was always hoped, among the rebellious Anglo settlers in the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas that a successful bid for independence from the increasingly authoritarian and centralist government of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna would be followed promptly by annexation by the United States. Certainly it was the hope of Sam Houston, almost from the beginning and possibly even earlier – just as much as it was the worst fear of Santa Anna’s on-again off-again administration. Flushed with a victory snatched from between the teeth of defeat at San Jacinto, and crowned with the capture of Santa Anna himself, the Texians anticipated joining the United States. But it did not work out – at least not right away. First, the then-president Andrew Jackson did not dare extend immediate recognition or offer annexation to Texas, for to do so before Mexico – or anyone else – recognized Texas as an independent state would almost certainly be construed as an act of war by Mexico. The United States gladly recognized Texas as an independent nation after a decent interval, but held off annexation for eight long years. It was political, of course – the politics of abolition and slavery, the bug-bear of mid-19th century American politics.
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    Posted in Americas, Anglosphere, History, Politics, USA | 3 Comments »