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Bold Prairie--Part Three

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  • Susan Rektorik Henley
    Part Three Remember Goliad, Remember the Alamo! was said to be the chant at the Battle of San Jacinto where in less than twenty minutes of battle the Texians
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2003
      Part Three
      “Remember Goliad, Remember the Alamo!” was said to be the chant at the Battle of San Jacinto where in less than twenty minutes of battle the Texians and Tejanos sent the Mexican Army into rout. More than 600 Mexicans were killed and hundreds more were wounded or captured. Only nine of the Texians and Tejanos died in the fight although it is thought to believe that the Mexican troops numbered between 1,100 and 1,300 and the Texians around 900. What a vision Texas must have seemed to a people such as the Moravians who were toiling under the restrictions and rigors imposed by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Even if Davy Crocket was led away and executed in a remote desert region of Mexico (as goes the account of Enrique de la Pena) instead of dying while defending the Alamo, the Republic of Texas was founded on some mighty tall shoulders and impressive imagery.
      And, from that time until the great tragedy that was the American Civil War, Texas continued on it own bold, colorful, and inextricable development. Although the Spanish and Mexican influence on the Southwestern half of the State greatly flavors the culture to this very day, it as the Anglo culture of the deep American South that was entrenched in the Eastern part of the state from the time of the Stephen F. Austin Empressario Land Grant that in great part flavored the economic development of the State and indirectly affected the settlement patterns of the Czechs and Moravians in Texas.
      The Austin Colony was established in East Texas where the rivers ran deep enough to transport heavy goods to a regional port and beyond. And, it was also there that the Old South cotton plantation lifestyle was recreated. In great part, it was men with connections to this part of Texas who fought for the Texas at the Battle of San Jacinto (along with a company of Mexican-Americans (Tejanos), commanded by Juan Seguin). These men from East Texas were “old Texans” who had family and land to defend. They had an investment of years of toil in building their homes and lifestyle.
      A good number of Czechs and Moravians may have been led to Texas, at least in part, by a sense of admiration for the Texians and how these men liberated their lands. But, once the Slavs set foot on Texas soil and saw a lifestyle based, in considerable degree, on the enslavement of African Americans, they knew they could not participate in that lifestyle (in addition to the definite anti-slavery position of the Czechs and Moravians, they also could not afford to purchase the huge tracts of land necessary for a plantain lifestyle) . It was from the yolk of serfdom that they themselves had only recently been released. It was then to the German communities that the earliest of our Czech and Moravian immigrants gravitated. First, while the use of the German language had been an imposition in the Old Country, it was a tool that allowed them to communicate with whole communities in Texas. Secondly, the Germans were either small-scale farmers or businessmen and their interests were much more closely connected to the needs of the Czech settlers.
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