Archive for March 6th, 2012

Fall of the Alamo – Anniversary Reminiscences

March 6, 2012

FALL OF THE ALAMO — ANNIVERSARY REMINISCENCES.

BY REV. H.S. THRALL.
SAN ANTONIO, March 3, 1876.

[excerpted from long article]

Forty years ago, the 6th of March, the Alamo fell, and the patriot blood of Travis and his brave companions consecrated the soil of Texas to the Goddess of Liberty. The Alamo was one of those church missions founded in Texas by the Franciscan Fathers, for the double purpose of holding the country for the King of Spain and for converting the Indians to Christianity. The corner stone of the edifice was laid May 8, 1744, though a slab in the front wall bears the date 1757.

The accompanying diagram will give our readers a tolerably fair view of the Alamo and grounds as they were in 1836…

THE FALL — SUNDAY, MARCH 6.

A little after midnight, the different divisions of the Mexican army silently marched to their assigned positions. At 4 o’clock the bugle sounded, and the whole line advanced to the final assault. Santa Anna, with all the bands, was behind an adobe house, about 500 years south of the church. The Texans were ready, and, according to Fillisola, “poured upon the advancing columns a shower of grape and musket and rifle balls.” Twice the assailants re??ed and fell back in dismay. Rallied again by the heroic Castrillon (who fell at San Jacinto), they approached the walls the third time. We again quote from Fillisola: “The columns of the western and eastern attacks meeting with some difficulty in reaching the tops of the small houses forming the wall of the fort, did, by a simultaneous movement to the right and to the left, swing northward until the three columns formed one dense mass, which, under the guidance of their officers, finally succeeded in effecting an entrance into the inclosed yard.

About the same time the column on the south made a breach in the wall and captured one of the guns.” This gun, the eighteen pounder, was immediately turned upon the convent, to which some of the Texans had retreated. The carronade on the center of the west wall was still manned by the Texans, and did fearful execution upon the Mexicans who had ventured into the yard. But the feeble garrison could not long hold out against such overwhelming numbers. Travis fell early in the action, shot with a rifle ball in the head. After being shot he had sufficient strength to kill a Mexican who attempted to spear him. The bodies of most of the Texans were found in the building, where a hand-to-hand fight took place.

The body of Crockett, however, was in the yard, with a number of Mexicans lying near him. Bowie was slain in his bed, though it is said he killed two or three of the Mexicans with his pistol as they broke into his room. The church was the last place entered by the foe. It had been agreed that when further resistance seemed useless, any surviving Texan should blow up the magazine. Major Evans was applying the torch when he was killed in time to prevent the explosion. It was reported that two or three Texans, found in a room, appealed in vain for quarter. The sacrifice was complete. Every soldier had fallen in defense of the fort.

Three non-combatants were spared — a negro servant of Col. Travis, and Mrs. Alsbury and Mrs. Dickinson. Lieut. Dickinson, with a child on his back, leaped from an upper window in the east  end of the church; but their lifeless bodies fell to the ground riddled with bullets. One hundred and eighty bodies of the Texans were collected in a pile and partially burned. Well informed Texans put the loss of the Mexicans at about twice that number. The official report of the Mexican Adjutant General left in command at San Antonio, puts their loss at sixty killed and 251 wounded. On the 25th of February, 1837, the bones of their victims were collected by Col. John N. Seguin then in command at this place and decently and honorably interred.

HYMN OF  THE ALAMO.
——-
BY R. M. POTTER.
——-

“Rise, man the wall, our clarion’s blast
Now sounds its final reveille;
This dawning morn must be the last
Our fated band shall ever see.
To life, but not to hope, farewell.
Yon trumpet’s clang and cannon’s peal,
And storming shout and clash of steel,
Is ours, but not our country’s knell!
Welcome the Spartan’s death–
‘Tis no despairing strife—
We fall—we die!—but our expiring breath
Is freedom’s breath of life.

“Here on this new Thermopylae,
Our monument shall tower on high,
And, ‘Alamo’ hereafter be
In bloodier fields the battle cry.”
Thus Travis from the rampart cried;
And when his warriors saw the foe
Like whelming billows move below,
At once each dauntless heart replied:
“Welcome the Spartan’s death—
‘Tis no despairing strife—
We fall! –we die! — but our expiring breath
Is Freedom’s breath of life!

“They come — like autumn leaves they fall,
Yet hordes on hordes they onward rush,
With gory tramp they mount the wall,
Till numbers the defenders crush —
Till falls their flag when none remain!
Well may the ruffians quake to tell
How Travis and his hundred fell,
Amid a thousand foemen slain!
They died the Spartan’s death,
But not in hopeless strife —
Like brothers died, and their expiring breath
Was Freedom’s breath of life!”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Mar 5, 1876

Cisco Cyclone

March 6, 2012

Image from Texas Tornado Storm Shelters

Dallas, Tex., April 29 — The News’s correspondent learned from passengers on the east bound train this evening that the destruction by a cyclone at Cisco this after noon was simply appalling. There are not more than twenty five or thirty houses left standing and up to the time the train passed there about 2 o’clock this afternoon twenty-one dead bodies had been recovered from the ruins and there were ten or twelve more persons missing. Strong one-story buildings with walls two feet thick were leveled to the ground. A heavy freight engine and a whole train of cars were blown from the track and demolished and several hundred feet of side tracking was torn up. The number injured is something  like a hundred. Dr. Coleman and citizens from Weatherford went out this morning to render any assistance possible. The building which Frank Hickman occupied was blown down and his five children killed.

Late this evening Mayor Levy received the following telegram from two citizens of Weatherford, who went to Cisco this morning.
“The town is nearly demolished. Twenty were killed and fifty injured, and hundreds are homeless.”

A telegram was also received by Mayor Levy from County Judge Davenport and Mayor Graves, of Cisco, that Cisco has been destroyed by the most destructive cyclone that has ever visited Texas. More than four fifths of the people are without houses. There are many killed and wounded. Help is needed to bury the dead and take care of the wounded and relieve those who lost everything. Mayor Levy has called a meeting of the citizens of Weatherford to take steps toward relief.

A Gainesville special says that Mayor Rollins received a message this afternoon from Judge Davenport, of Eastland county, and Mayor Graves, of Cisco, appealing for aid for the storm sufferers. Mayor Rollins at once issued an appeal to the citizens of Gainesville for contributions.

A message from Valley View stated that a severe storm passed over that town at 6:30 o’clock p.m., blowing down several houses and doing much damage to property. No one was hurt. Several freight cars were blown off the sidetrack and caused the people to take refuge in cellars.

?.R. Willie, who arrived here tonight on the Texas Pacific east bound train, was at Cisco an hour and a half. He says at that time twenty-one dead persons had been found. Over 100 injured were counted. Among the dead are Daniel Cameron, R.M. Whitesides, Mr. Sims, Mrs. Charles Jones and child, Mrs. J.T. Thompson. Five children of Mr. Hickman, who were in bed asleep, were crushed to death by the falling house. Mr. Hickman and his wife had gone outside to see what the roaring noise was and were blown off their feet. Mr. Hickman was seriously injured.
List of Dead and Injured.

The list of dead and wounded as near as can be obtained is as follows:

Killed — Mrs. Jones an baby.
Dave Cameron, brakeman
Captain Whiteside, a merchant
Five children of W.A. Hickman.
One child of Mr. Bowens
Mr. Bledsoe, brakeman
Mrs. J.T. Thomas
Mrs. Porter
Mrs. Knight

Injured — W.H. Sebastian severe cut on his head, Frank Vernon badly wounded, will die, Mrs. Vernon, leg broken, Mrs. Davis, crippled in the back, M.B. Owens, leg broken, Jim Hayes, badly cut on head. A daughter of Mrs. Stephens, wounded and will die. Mrs. Stephens, wounded and will die. Mrs. Powers and daughter, badly injured, Mrs. R.W. Jones, head badly injured, William Walker, head bruised, W.A. Hickman, face badly cut, George Harris, badly hurt, Mrs. Kennand, hurt badly; Mrs. Jones, seriously hurt, section boss, name unknown, and wife, severely injured, H.L. Bidwell, badly cut on head and arm and back injured, Mrs. W.D. Chandler, ankle crushed, Miss Elsie Moeller, arm broken. A conservative estimate place the number of wounded at about 150.

The cyclone traveled northeast, blowing down houses and laying waste farms. The houses blown down are too numerous to mention. Mrs. D.L. Ladd seven miles northeast of Eastland, was killed and Mr. Ladd severely injured. Others were more or less hurt. Mr. Ferguson, four miles northeast of Cisco, was killed and his house burned. The windstorm laste[d] not more than a few minutes. It was followed by a heavy rain. Telegraphic communication is practically cut off.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 30, 1893

Image from Texas Old Photos on Rootsweb

THE VICTIMS’ NAMES.

List of Killed and Wounded in the Cisco Disaster.

EASTLAND, Tex., April 30. — The following is the first official list of the killed and wounded in Friday night’s disaster furnished to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS relief committee, which includes only those killed or wounded in the city:

KILLED.

Will Sims, section hand, Texas and Pacific railway.
Jim Bibles, conductor, Texas Central.
Wad Bledsoe, brakeman, Texas Central.
Five children of W.A. Hickman.
Dave Cameron.
Ruby Ownes.
Mrs. Borton.
Mrs. J.T. Thomas.
Captain R.M. Whitesides, merchant.
Mrs. S.E. Knight, milliner.
Mrs. Charley Jones and child.

SERIOUSLY INJURED.

Mart Owens, jr., will die to-night.
W.A. Hickman and wife.
Miss and Mrs. Swartz.
M. Bowens.
Mrs. Frank Vernon.
Dr. Moeller and family.
Mrs. Hill.
Mrs. M.F. Mitchell.
Mrs. Vera Thomas.
Mat Mattock.
Mrs. S.E. Knight and two daughters.
Mrs. J.E. Luse.
Two children of Mrs. Chas. Jones.
W.J. Walker.
Tom Jones and wife.
Mrs. Will Walker.
Mrs. J.M. Williamson.
Mrs. Blank, wounded but condition not known.
Mrs. J.G. Wilson.
Miss Baten.
Mrs. Older and chldren.
Mrs. Rice.
Little boy of Mr. Drogden’s.
Minnie Loads.
Laura Ellis.
Frank Owens.
Frank Vernon’s infant.
Mrs. Wold Cleaves.
Mrs. M.E. Powers and daughter.
Three children of Sal. Eppler.
Two children of Mat Matlock.
Two children of Mrs. Chas. Jones.
Mrs. Moore.
Mrs. R.W. Jones.
J.M. Williamson.
Jim Hayes.
Will Walker.
W.V. Steele.

IN THE COUNTRY.

The following is a list of the killed and injured in the surrounding country:

W.H. Beaman, living four miles southwest of here, dead.
Mrs. L.D. Ladd, living five miles north of Eastland, reported killed, can not be verified or disproved.
Mack Ferguson, son-in-law of Beaman, badly injured.
Charles Jenkins, living at Boms, four miles east of here on the Texas and Pacific, seriously hurt in the breast.
Miss Johnnie Townsend, living with her father five miles west of Eastland, seriously cut on the head.
Elbert Townsend, seriously injured about the head and chest.
Bill Doolan, in the same neighborhood, is said to be badly hurt.
T.J. Davis, living four miles west of Eastland, had his ankle badly broken and is otherwise seriously hurt.
L.D. Ladd, five miles north of Eastland, had his arm broken and badly cut over both eyes.
Mrs. Latham, living west of Eastland, seriously hurt about the hand.
G.M. Davidson, in the same neighborhood, had one thigh broken and is otherwise badly injured.
Mr. Fein and wife, two miles west of here, both pretty dangerously crushed by falling timbers.

Dr. Van Zandt, one of the local physicians attending the wounded, makes this statement to THE NEWS:

“I expect there will be two or three more deaths. Little Mart Owens, whose skull is fractured, will certainly die and the chances are good for one or two more.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 1, 1893

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 3, 1893

APPEAL FOR AID

To Relieve the Suffering of the Family of Mart Owens.

ALBANY, Shackelford Co., Tex., May 9. — To the cattlemen of Texas: On behalf of the distressed family of Mart. B. Owens, a victim of the ___ Cisco cyclone, I appeal to you for aid and assistance to relieve their sufferings and wants with the hope that liberal responses will be the result of these lines.

The day following the disaster I took the opportunity to visit Cisco for the purpose of acquainting myself with the terrible condition of affairs. The scene that I beheld was indescribable. I visited the spot that Mart Owens once called home. All that remained to tell the tale of woe was three feet of a rock chimney, the stone steps in the terrace, one chair in the back yard and barely enough lumber to build a hen coop. Furniture, bedding and clothing all gone. A vacant lit remains as the silent witness who speaks in unmistakable words of the distress that befell the unfortunate ones.

Not far from the scene, I beheld another more pitiable. Mart Owens lay dying, one sweet little girl by his side with her hand mashed in, a son 14 years old dead near by, his helpless wife with an injured back close by. Six other children, all more or less injured and crippled with arms and legs broken magnifies the picture of distress.

Mart looked about him and in feeble tones, gently spoke: “I would help this if I could, but I don’t know as I want to. I’ll not be here to care for them.” One son, being absent on a round-up escaped injury.

A few days thereafter Mart Owens and two children lay in one grave, still in the cold embrace of death.

He had seen better days; he was an old-time cattle man and as such merited the respect of a large circle of acquaintances and friends. Adversity had overtaken him, and while fortune no longer smiled upon him, his credit was unimpaired and had he lived would have been able to regain his vanished fortune. Those of us upon whom prosperity has smiled should not be reluctant in opening our purses and assisting the destitute widow and helpless orphans, whose bitter wail and deep anguish imploringly cry to our merciful father for aid and comfort.

Mart Owens left no life insurance or other property; all that he left in the way of wealth to his family was a clean record. Mart has “turned over” his last herd and gone to meet Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the last “grand round-up,” from whence no herder has ever returned to camp. Friends, we have only a temporary lease on our “herds” and will soon be called on to “tally them out” to the giver of all goods, who will select another “herder” to take our place.

Mart Owens was the only cattleman in Cisco, and seems to have been the worst sufferer. The people of Cisco who had anything left did all in their power to relieve the suffering. The people of Texas have responded nobly for the general good, but it is our duty to help the Owens family. The cattlemen of this state have kind hearts and will sympathize with the distressed widow and helpless orphans of a brother cattleman.

In addition to the contribution already made, we cheerfully subscribe for the benefit of the Owens family the sum of $100 and trust that our action will be emulated by the cattlemen of Texas. Funds subscribed may be paid to the order of the undersigned at the First national bank of Albany, Tex., and will be devoted to the noble cause mentioned above. Statements of the amounts subscribed will be duly acknowledged to the subscribers through the public press. Let us then, one and all, do by Mart Owens what we would have him do by us. Trusting for early responses, truly yours,

GEO. T. REYNOLDS,
President First national bank, Albany, Tex.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 14, 1893

Cisco, Texas image from Eastland County, Texas Photos on Rootsweb from Laura Lindsey

Interesting bit of trivia from Wiki:

Conrad Hilton started the Hilton Hotel chain with a single hotel bought in Cisco. Hilton came to Cisco to buy a bank, but the bank cost too much; so he purchased the Mobley Hotel in 1919. The hotel is now a local museum and community center.