This week's My Town Monday is going to be a bit different. More of a My State Monday, because the famed and fabled, Chris Eldin has requested via twitter that I do a post about Travis County, Texas.
Truth is I don't know a whole lot about Travis County. After all the finely named county does lie right at 500 miles south of my hometown of Amarillo. I can tell you that the county seat of Travis County is none other than Austin, the state capital of Texas. A quick trip to the internet tells me that the counties population is just shy of one million. I also learned that the county has added 400,00 residents since 1990 and that it has one of the highest property tax rates in the nation. The county comes in 37th to be exact. Also Travis county was founded in 1840 and encompasses just over a 1,000 square miles. Within the county one can also find Lake Travis.
But the Austin area does not have the monopoly on the name Travis. There are dozens of schools, streets, and parks that proudly bear the name, including Amarillo.
I did not attend Travis Middle School, but here is a sign showing the front of the school which sits on the northeast side of Amarillo. Their sports teams are referred to as the Travis Texans.
Not to mention lots of people. It has become a fairly popular name among young kids here in the state. When I was growing up I only ever encountered one other Travis in any of my classes and he eventually moved away.
So what's with this proliferation of Travis's here in the Lone Star State. A simple battle cry can explain quite easily -- "REMEMBER THE ALAMO!"
William Barret Travis was but one of the many who died at the Alamo while fighting for Texas Independence. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texian Army.
Legend and lore are thick concerning the Alamo. Movies have been made and many of the names are very recognizable to even those not fortunate enough live here in The Lone Star State. James Bowie and Davy Crockett at the very least. Incidentally I attended James Bowie Junior High here in Amarillo. Yes there is a Crockett as well as a Fannin, Austin, Bonham, and Huston. The leaders of the Texas Revolution are represented quite nicely among out school district.
But back to William Barret Travis. On February 26th, 1834, Colonel Travis, under siege and badly outnumbered by Santa Anna's army, penned this famous letter,
- Fellow citizens and compatriots;
- I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country. Victory or Death.
- William Barret Travis
- Lt. Col. Comdt.
- P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
Help never came, and on March 4th of 1834 legend says that Travis called his troops together. Addressing the assembly he is reported to have said, "We must die. Our business is not to make a fruitless effort to save our lives, but to choose the manner of our death." At which point Travis took his sword and drew a line in the sand and asked who would step over the line and die with him in the name of freedom, liberty and the Republic of Texas.
Only one man did not. Moses Rose, a former french soldier of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armee. Rose has forever since been described as the Coward of the Alamo as the next night he snuck out and escaped through the line of Mexican soldiers beyond the Alamo's walls. It was Rose himself that first told of Travis's famous line in the sand.
In the early predawn hours of March 6, 1836 the Mexican Army attacked after a thirteen-day siege. Travis along with more than 200 other defenders dies during the Battle of the Alamo, but their deaths motivated others to finish the work. Remember the Alamo! and Travis's Victory or Death became the rallying cries and on April 21st, 1836 the Texian Army under command of General Sam Houston ended the war at the Battle of San Jacinto. The battle lasted a mere 18 minutes. Mexican General Santa Anna was captured shortly after the battle and with that the Republic of Texas was create.
The Republic stood until December 29, 1845 when Texas gave up it's status as a sovereign nation in favor of statehood.
And that is what I know about the name Travis.
For more My Town Monday posts from Bloggers the world over, check back throughout Sunday and Monday. I have dropped the ball and missed a few links the last few weeks so I am going to change my methods a bit this week. Colored links are active and the others are forthcoming. If you wish to participate please drop me a comment.
Jennifer Archer -- Canadian, Texas
David Cranmer -- Xunantunich, Belize
Crazy Working Mom -- Hector, Arkansas
Jenn Jilks -- Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Debra -- Cleveland, Ohio
Cloudia -- Honolulu, Hawaii
Patti Abbott -- Detroit, Michigan
Barbara Martin -- Canada
Clare2E -- Hyde Park, New York
Barrie Summy -- San Diego, Caifornia
Chris -- Cambodia
Junosmom -- Kentucky
Clair Dickson -- Brighton, Michigan
Mary -- Olmsted Falls, Ohio