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  Texas : Features : History :

New Letter from the Alamo

"I know not what the truth may be - I tell it as 'twas told to me." - Popular Motto of 19th Century Newspaper Editors
Editor's Note:
When we "open" the mail here at Texas Escapes - we never know what it might contain. Frequently we hear from descendants of founding families, descendants of famous Texans and occasionally we get new historic information - that is - information that has never been released to the public. On July 30th, 2005 we received an interesting letter from Mr. David London of Bonham, Texas - with an attached image of a very brown - but easily-read letter. The letter is dated 1836 from what the world now knows as the Alamo. The signature is that of William B. Travis.

We are honored that Mr. London is allowing us to share this document with our readers. The wording of Mr. London's Alamo letter and the one in the Texas State Archives is nearly identical - down to the abundant ampersands. One very important difference is the spelling in the signature of William Travis' middle name of Barrett - or Barret.
Signature of William Travis' with the middle name spelled with one T.
Alamo Letter in Texas State Library and Archives
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/republic/alamo/travis-01.html
Travis signature in new Alamo Letter
William Travis' middle name spelled "Barrett"
Alamo Letter from Bonham
Photo courtesy David London & Patricia A. Rochette

New Travis Dispatch from the Alamo

Our Initial Letter from Mr. David London
[Dear Editor,]

I am sending a copy of a letter written by William B. Travis at the Alamo that has been in my family for over 160 years. We allow you to use it in Texas Escapes and hope that you [and your readers] appreciate it. We have never offered it for sale and are not charging for its use.

It had never been published [until] we recently allowed a relative to use it in her book about Capt. James Bourland (Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory during the Civil War). Her web site is www.bourlandcivilwar.com.

During a trip to the Texas Archives in l915, my grandmother discovered that the famous letter from Col. Travis is probably a fake; it was purchased by the State of Texas from the Travis family in 1892 - 66 years after the Alamo had fallen. None of his relatives had been in Texas during that period.

If you search Google, you will see that Col. Travis spelled his middle name [Barett] with two 't's, like our letter does. Also, the handwriting on our letter is identical to law papers filed by Col. Travis in Texas before the Alamo.

We believe the letter was sent to North Texas by Joel Fuller -- who married Bailey Inglish (the founder of Fannin County and [one of] the first white settlers in North Texas). Fuller married one of Inglish's daughters, and their offspring married into the Bourland clan. The letter was controlled by Cora Fuller, my great aunt - a maiden schoolteacher who taught for 51 years in Bonham. She raised my mothers' mother and died in l952.

Capt Bourland was my great great Grandfather. He was a Texas Senator in l846 and we have documentation about him waving this letter from Travis as he campaigned. He was later commander of North Texas Confederate forces during the Civil War.

We had debated for years whether to ever release this letter; since it may cause embarrassment to some people...In fact, it was hidden by my great aunt (who is still alive at 101) until she went to the nursing home last year.
- David London, Bonham, Texas, July 30, 2005
Cora Lee Fuller of Bonham, TExas, 1864-1952
Cora Lee Fuller, 1864-1952

"The letter was [once] controlled by Cora Fuller, my great aunt - a maiden schoolteacher who taught for 51 years in Bonham. She raised my mothers' mother and died in l952. Cora was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Daughters of the American Revolution."

Photo courtesy Patricia A. Rochette
The following links tell the story (as of August 2005)

  • ALAMO LETTER:
    From Travis' hand to the State Archives
    or Is there a Graphologist in the house?
    by John Troesser

  • Bonham New Travis' Alamo Letter - Image


    The State Archives Website and
    images of the well-known letter that the Archives hold:
    www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/republic/alamo/travis-01.html
  • John Troesser
    Readers' Forum
    Subject: Travis Letter

    Dear Texas Escapes,

    I have been studying William Barrett Travis for many years, and notice, I spell it with two t's... next page
    Any constructive or informative letters are invited.
    Contact editor@texasescapes.com

    See The Alamo
    August 11, 2005
     
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