Friday, May 6, 2011

Bexar, Jacinto, Houston and Saltillo

Bexar County Courthouse
San Antonio, Texas

It was an unusually cool May evening last week in downtown San Antonio when I snapped this photo of the Bexar County courthouse with my phone's camera.  Unfortunately, I didn't capture the most beautiful element of the building which is its distinctive beehive-shaped tower.   The courthouse is the largest and oldest continuously operated historic courthouse in Texas.

Bexar County was created in December 1836 in the new Republic of Texas.  Texas had won its independence earlier that year in the Battle of San Jacinto, a decisive battle in which General Sam Houston led his troops to victory over the Mexican army under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.   Just a few months before, Texans and allied American soliders were crushed at the Alamo, a Catholic mission that was surrendered at the end of 1835 during the Siege of Bexar.   Everyone knows the battle cry, Remember the Alamo!

A second war with Mexico took place in 1846 and 1847, following the 1845 annexation of the Republic of Texas as a state of the United States.  Many southerners had family members who served in one or both conflicts.

Itawamba was herself a newly created county in a newly opened part of Mississippi in 1836, and its communities were in the process of being settled.   As many soldiers returned to their homes, and later relocated their families to this new territory, the names of their settlements were often taken from their recent experiences during the war for Texas independence.  

Saltillo, now in Lee County but then in Itawamba, was one of those early communities, and was likely named after the Mexican city by the same name, located just below the border with Texas.   Jacinto (pronounced locally as Jay-Senter), the former county seat of Old Tishomingo, was named for the victorious Battle of San Jacinto.  Bexar (pronounced locally as Bex-Er, which is different from the anglicized version 'Bear' found in Texas today - the 'x' is silent! - or the Spanish version pronounced as BAY-har) is a small community on the Itawamba-Marion county line; it was named for the former Spanish settlement. Houston, over in Chickasaw County, was named for General Sam Houston who led the victory over Mexican troops at San Jacinto.

Can anyone name more connections?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you didn't have to stay holed up in the hotel due to the unsually chilly weather this past week. I do hope that you and Mike got to take a riverboat cruise - to see the sights along the riverwalk - should be lovely this time of year with the rare foliage in bloom. During the Christmas holidays of 2001, we managed to board the small boat just as the sun was setting - that in itself was a surprise with the orange colored sky blaring thru the likes of the old Electric Bldg. and I can't recall the name of the hotel with atrium windows up high in the sky! Then as darkness fell upon the river, the Christmas lighting was magnificent reflecting in the shop windows and on the river.

For you beer lovers, I think they still give samples of the Pearl Beer brewed there as well as "Lone Star Beer". No, it isn't for me, but I do love to go to the museum with all the antlers and horns from eveything that is fastened down!

Drive out south of town on Presa St. and here you can see the new hospital that has been created for the Iraqi and Afghanistan war injuries are treated. I believ this is on the old Brook Air Force Base properties - I do know it is called Brook Medical Center. A word of warning! - if you were stationed at Brooks many years ago when the "side gate" along Presa was an entrance to the base - well it isn't anymore! We had the A. P's flying off that hill when Ron approahed the gate in Dec. 2001 at mid-day. They were nice when they learned he hadn't been on the base since early 1952 and invited him to visit thru the guests entrance around the corner.

I could go on and on about San Antonio, and would have been happy to live the rest of my life in the city - except for that unbearable heat.

Do come and enjoy this multi cultural city. If you don't have to have the hotel with every perfect thing, and like history as well, the Crockett Hotel located near the back side of the Alamo is I do believe the oldest hotel in the city. Dining in the restaurant with the lace curtains makes you look around to see if you can spot Doc Holliday or other characters out of the old west. They have a parking garage with valet service - they will bring your car around anytime of the day with no extra charges for the in and out services - they do expect tips! Or at least this was the way in 2001.

I would like to tell those of you who might be interested in making this a vacation site, please please do not go between mid April and mid October - the heat and humidity is unbearable! But!, there are botanical gardens, a great zoo and museums everywhere. It has been so many years since we were in the Witt Museum, but I am hoping I'm right - I'm telling you of the mueseum that has "one of" every type of horseless carriage and up thru the 1920's.

The Governor's Palace isn't extremely large, but the courtyard is a huge surprise.

Mona, thank you for paying homage to Bexar, Marion Co., AL! who's residents could neither speak nor read Spanish, yet kept the name in proximity. bettye