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Jeffery Robenalt

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Texas History


by Jeffery Robenalt

Author's biography & website
Email: jeffrobenalt@yahoo.com
Jeffery Robenalt
A chronological look at the people and events that make up the unique history of Texas, beginning with the wanderings of early Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca, on through the Texas Revolution, Texas Independence, and statehood, and eventually continuing through the American Civil War, the era of the cattle drives, and Reconstruction.

'A Glimpse of Texas Past' Columns:

  • Buffalo Soldiers 12-2-14
    In nearly thirty years of dedicated and arduous service, Buffalo Soldiers won the grudging respect of even the most prejudiced of their white officers. The black cavalrymen and infantrymen were awarded nine Medals of Honor for meritorious valor in combat and countless other awards and commendations for distinguished service. More importantly, Buffalo Soldiers were a credit to the African-American race.

  • Quanah Parker
  • Quanah Parker 4-1-14
    Quanah Parker was a major player in both the Comanche war of resistance against white encroachment of the Comancheria and in the tribe’s eventual acclimation to reservation life. Nomadic warrior of the plains, war chief of the Quahadi band, cattle rancher, man of business, and friend to American Presidents; it could truly be said that Quanah was a man of two worlds.

  • Leander H. McNelly
  • Leander H. McNelly and the Special Force 3-1-14
    In 1875, Governor Richard Coke commissioned Captain Leader McNelly to organize a Special Force of Rangers to deal with the bloodshed and crime that was ongoing throughout the Nueces Strip, the narrow strip of land that ran between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Captain McNelly’s accomplishments would add much to the lore and legend of the Texas Rangers.

  • Frontier Battalion
  • The Texas Frontier Battalion 2-1-14
    In 1874, Governor Richard Coke and the Texas Legislature decided to deal with the growing threats of the Indians and the outlaws along the western frontier by organizing a battalion of Texas Rangers. The Frontier Battalion was the first permanent force of Texas Rangers and would serve the state for the next twenty-five years.

  • Cattle Drives
  • The Era of the Texas Cattle Drives 1-2-14
    Though the era of the great cattle drives spanned only twenty years, from the end of the Civil War until the coming of the railroads to Texas eliminated the need to trail cattle, the era left an indelible impression on the American psyche that has continued over the generations.

  • Reconstruction
  • Reconstruction in Civil War Texas 12-1-13
    The aftermath of the Civil War left much uncertainty in the minds of Texans. Their economy was in ruins, their money was worthless, and they were faced with drastic changes to their basic way of life. Reconstruction was a long and burdensome process that affected the social, political, and economic lives of all Texans.

  • Annexation
  • The Struggle for Annexation 11-1-13
    In light of all that the two countries shared, Texans were convinced the United States would be eager to annex the Republic of Texas as a new state. They were shocked and disappointed when President Andrew Jackson not only failed to seek annexation of the Republic but also refused to extend recognition to the new government.

  • Land Policy and Foreign Settlement in the Republic of Texas 10-1-13
    The Republic of Texas emerged from the Revolution buried in debt and with practically no assets except for its vigorous population and vast, unsettled public lands, but with an end to Mexican immigration barriers, a rising tide of new settlers would soon pour into the Lone Star Republic to assist in the task of building a new nation.

  • Battle of Neches
  • The Battle of the Neches 9-1-13
    In the brief but glorious history of the Republic of Texas, the Battle of the Neches has been described as second in importance only to the Battle of San Jacinto as the most decisive conflict ever fought on Texas soil.

  • Capitals
  • The Capitals of Texas 8-1-13
    During the unrest and confusion of pre-Revolution Texas and the establishment of a new and independent republic, the capital of the Republic of Texas shifted locations several times, from San Felipe de Austin, the capital of Stephen F. Austin's original colony to the present-day capital city of Austin, a town created for the sole purpose of serving as the Republic's seat of government.

  • Republic
  • The Birth of a Republic 7-1-13
    The military phase of the Texas Revolution began on October 2, 1835, with the Battle of Gonzales, but a meeting of Texas delegates known as the Consultation was the true beginning of the political struggle.

  • Cavalry
  • Cavalry of the West 6-1-13
    Late in the fall of 1863, Union forces under the control of General Nathaniel Banks occupied the lower Rio Grande valley and sealed off the border between Texas and the French-dominated Empire of Mexico to disrupt the flow of Southern cotton to Europe. It would be left to John “Rip” Ford and his Calvary of the West to drive the Union out and restore the flow of the Confederate’s lifeblood.

  • Dissention
  • Dissention and the Draft in Civil War Texas 5-1-13
    Not all Texans were in agreement about secession and the Civil War and many more were opposed to the Confederate Conscription Act. Historians estimate that nearly 30 percent of the Texas population had Unionist sentiments, though the great majority, like Sam Houston and James Throckmorton, remained loyal to Texas. However, as events would bear out, many dissenters paid a heavy price for expressing their doubt of the Southern cause and their opposition to the draft.

  • War
  • War on the Texas Gulf Coast 4-2-13
    In light of the North's vast naval superiority, one of the most remarkable feats of the American Civil War was the Texans tenacious defense of their Gulf Coast ports. From Sabine Pass in the north to Brownsville in the south, the Texans bent now and then but they refused to break.

  • Civil War
  • Civil War in the Southwest 3-3-13
    Civil War battles fought in the American Southwest cannot be measured against the savage struggles that raged in the east where tens of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers clashed and died. However, large or small, the size of the battles meant little to the men on both sides who were wounded, killed or captured fighting for their beliefs.

  • Secession
  • Secession: Texas leaves the Union 2-1-13
    After the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860, events moved swiftly toward secession. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and other states in the old south quickly followed suit, but in Texas newly elected Governor Sam Houston stubbornly refused to call a convention to even discuss the issue.

  • Cortina
  • Trouble along the Rio Grande: The First Cortina War 1-5-13
    With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo on February 2, 1848, and the ending of the Mexican-American War, the official boundary between Texas and Mexico was established at the Rio Grande, leaving a large portion of the Cortina family land grant on the United States side of the border. The stage was now set for conflict.

  • Yucatan
  • The Yucatan Adventure 12-2-12
    In the spring of 1840, the Navy of the Republic of Texas was immersed in a political battle between President Mirabeau Lamar and arch-enemy, former president Sam Houston, currently serving as a member of the Texas Congress. Into the midst of this acrimonious struggle, stepped a 28-year-old naval first lieutenant, Edwin Ward Moore.

  • Battle of Antelope Hills 11-4-12
    During the years 1856 to 1858, Comanche raids on the Texas frontier began to escalate as settlers encroached further into the Comancheria. Ironically, matters finally came to a boil when four white outlaws disguised as Comanches massacred James B. Cambren and his two sons, who were plowing a new field on their homestead bordering the Brazos River in the far northwest corner of Young County.

  • Diablos Tejanos
  • Diablos Tejanos: The Texas Rangers and the Road to Mexico City 10-1-12
    The Texas Rangers arrived in Mexico at the express order of President James K. Polk, who wanted them to "disperse the guerrillas which infest the line between Veracruz and the interior of Mexico."

  • Monterrey
  • The Texas Rangers at the Battle of Monterrey 9-3-12
    During the war with Mexico, the Texas Rangers played an instrumental role in the American victory at the Battle of Monterrey.

  • Meusebach
  • The Meusebach-Comanche Treaty 8-1-12
    In early spring of 1847, a remarkable treaty between German settlers and Native Americans was negotiated on the banks of the San Saba River in the hill country north of Fredericksburg, Texas.

  • Sam Walker
  • Sam Walker Texas Ranger and the "Walker" Colt 7-1-12
    Thirty-two years is not a long life as measured against most men, but Texas Ranger Sam Walker's brief years were an epic adventure filled with Indian battles, wars, public renown, and honor.

  • Last Comanche Fight
  • Paint Rock: The Last Comanche Fight of Jack Hays 6-1-12
    Some historians have questioned the Rangers' victory at Paint Rock as pure fiction or an attempt to revise history, however, Jack Hays and the Texas Rangers need no help from me or any other historian to bring glory and honor to their name.

  • Houston & Lamar
  • Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar: A Contrast of Visions 5-1-12
    Former Presidents of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar, differed in many ways. Their vastly different visions for the new Republic would do much to shape the future of Texas.

  • Battle of San Jacinto
  • The Battle of San Jacinto 4-1-12
    In eighteen glorious minutes, Sam Houston and his fellow Texans won a remarkable victory, establishing Texas as an independent republic and opening the door for United States expansion southwest to the Rio Grande and all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.

  • Massacre at Goliad
  • Massacre at Goliad: A Texas Tragedy 3-1-12
    The massacre at Goliad branded Santa Anna as an inhuman despot and the Mexican people, whether deserved or not, with a reputation for cruelty. As a result of the needless slaughter, a burning desire for revenge arose among the people of Texas, and Americans became firmly united behind the Texas cause of independence.

  • Battle of the Alamo
  • The Battle of the Alamo 1-27-12
    After the defeat of General Cos at the siege of San Antonio, Texans thought their independence was won. They failed to understand that General Santa Anna was enraged over the disturbances at Anahuac and Cos's surrender. The dictator would never rest until his soldiers either killed every Anglo-American and Tejano rebel who openly defied his rule or drove them across the Sabine River and out of Texas for good.

  • seige
  • The Siege of San Antonio de Bexar 12-30-11
    On October 2, 1835, the Texas "shot heard round the world" was fired in a brief skirmish between Mexican troops and Texas settlers known as the Battle of Gonzales. After the battle, volunteers from all over Texas continued to gather in Gonzales, and on the morning of October 13, newly elected commander, Stephen F. Austin, marched the "Army of the People" toward San Antonio.

  • Come & Take It
  • The Battle of Gonzales: "Come and Take It" 12-1-11
    Although the Battle of Gonzales was, in reality, nothing more than a minor skirmish, its political consequences were far reaching.

  • Rising Tide
  • The Rising Tide of Revolution 11-1-11
    Mexico's independence from Spain and the Mexican Constitution of 1824 brought a new wave of American immigration to Texas. Not only did the settlers have to cope with the usual hardships of beginning life in a new land, but they also had to adjust to living in a country with a set of customs and laws that were alien to their own.

  • Texas Empresarios
  • Texas Empresarios 10-1-11
    Thanks to Stephen F. Austin, "the Father of Texas," and many other dedicated Empresarios, the population of Texas stood at nearly 20,000 citizens by 1830, most of them from the United States.

  • Filibusters
  • Texas Filibusters 9-1-11
    Although the Filibusters were unsuccessful in gaining independence for Texas, reports of their activities in newspapers and periodicals all across the country brought the vast land of Texas to the forefront of American thought and encouraged countless settlers to pull up stakes and journey to the new land of promise, paving the way for the era of the Texas Empresarios.

  • Father Miguel Hidalgo
  • Father Miguel Hidalgo and the Mexican Revolution 8-1-11
    The voice of the Mexican Revolution was father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla who was born in New Spain on May 8, 1753...

  • La Salle
  • La Salle and French Exploration in Early Texas 7-1-11
    "Although La Salle's expedition was unsuccessful, the French presence in Texas finally stirred the Spanish to action. Fearing they would lose the race to claim the Americas, the Spaniards renewed their exploration of the Gulf Coast and began working diligently to settle East Texas."

  • Coronado
  • Coronado’s Search for Cibola 6-1-11
    Coronado’s expedition, including 250 cavalry, 80 infantry, 1000 Indians, several priests, and thousands of horses, cattle, and sheep, departed from Culiacan in the spring of 1540.

  • Cabeza de Vaca
  • The Journey of Cabeza de Vaca 5-1-11
    Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to explore the interior of Texas, and the narrative he wrote of his experiences in the New World remains the most valuable source of information we possess today on the Native American tribes, landforms, plants, and animals of early Texas.

  • revolver
  • The Battle of Walker's Creek and the Colt Paterson Revolver 4-1-11
    The Battle of Walker's Creek was more of a minor skirmish than a battle, but thanks to Samuel Colt and the introduction of his Colt Paterson revolver, the outcome of the fight had pivotal consequences in the long-running struggle between the Comanches and the Texas Rangers. No longer would the Rangers be at a distinct disadvantage when engaging the Comanches on horseback. Armed with the five-shot Paterson, they were more than a match for the "Lords of the Plains" and their deadly short bows.

  • Mier
  • A March into Hell: The Mier Expedition 3-11-11
    In the aftermath of President Mirabeau Lamar's ill-fated expedition to Santa Fe, his successor, Sam Houston, did his best to maintain an uneasy peace between Mexico and the Republic of Texas. However, after Santa Anna twice ordered Mexican troops to occupy San Antonio, political pressure for action eventually forced Houston to dispatch General Alexander Somervell and 750 volunteers to the Rio Grande. What began as a demonstration in force soon ended in "A March into Hell: The Mier Expedition."

  •  Battle of Salado
  • The Battle of the Salado 2-21-11
    In March of 1842, Mexican President Santa Anna retaliated for Texas President Mirabeau Lamar’s ill-fated "Wild Goose" expedition to Santa Fe by sending General Raphael Vasquez and a substantial force of soldiers across the Rio Grande with orders to occupy San Antonio...

  • Lamar’s "Wild Goose Campaign to Santa Fe" 2-9-11
    In 1841, President Lamar proposed to send the expedition on his own initiative; ostensibly to establish a trade route across northern Texas to Santa Fe, and to offer the citizens of New Mexico an opportunity to voluntarily join the Republic...

  • Expedition
  • The Expedition of Colonel John Moore 1-26-11
    In the aftermath of the Great Comanche Raid of 1840 and the Battle of Plum Creek, Mirabeau Lamar, the President of the Republic of Texas, charged Texas Ranger Colonel John Moore with the responsibility of organizing an expedition for the purpose of attacking and destroying a Comanche winter village..

  • Plum Creek
  • The Great Comanche Raid and the Battle of Plum Creek 1-9-11
    One of the most storied events in the historic past of Lockhart, Texas occurred two miles south of town along the wooded banks of Plum Creek, when a small group of volunteers defeated more than 600 Comanche and Kiowa warriors who had participated in the Great Comanche Raid of 1840...

  • Council House Fight
  • The San Antonio Council House Fight 12-13-10
    In March of 1840, a meeting took place in old San Antonio between representatives of the government of the Republic of Texas and the Penateka Comanches to discuss terms of a peace treaty. The disastrous results of this meeting would soon lead to the Great Comanche Raid of 1840 and the Battle of Plum Creek.
  • Column begins December 2010
    © Jeffery Robenalt

    More Features by Jeffery Robenalt:

    Clock museum
  • Lockhart's Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches 1-1-11
  • Cabin
  • The Brock Cabin in Lockhart 11-28-10

  • Author's Biography

    Jeffery Robenalt was born and raised in Tiffin, Ohio. He served in Vietnam as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and later served as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer with the 101st Airborne Division. He has a BS in Sociology from Troy University, a BA in History from New York University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University. After earning his law degree, Mr. Robenalt was an Attorney for the State of Texas for ten years.

    "Saga of a Texas Ranger" is the first novel in Mr. Robenalt's "Saga" Series. Volume 2, "Star Over Texas" and Volume 3, "The Bloody Frontier" are also available. Volume 4 will be out in the fall of 2013.

    Mr. Robenalt currently resides with his wife Lizabeth and daughter Emily in Lockhart, Texas where he teaches Texas history at Lockhart Junior High School.

    January 2013
    His website: www.sagaofatexasranger.com


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