like I knocked the L out of it.
It's supposed to be a seven-letter word referring to an important
judicial/administrative/law enforcement position held by Irish immigrant
and early Texas pioneer Humphrey Jackson.
Sin of omission: By the time I got through with the word in an article
published in The Baytown Sun alcalde became alcade.
When a reader told me what I had done, I was so embarrassed. If
in doubt, all I had to do was glance at the bookshelf near my desk.
There is it is in big bold letters, ALCALDE, the name of my husband's
yearbook from Sam Houston State University.
Oh well, I could use the spelling mishap as an excuse to write again
about one of my favorite subjects, Humphrey Jackson, the first Texas
colonist to settle in Crosby in eastern
Harris Country and the ancestor of a well-known Chambers
were never called alcaldes, but a number of Jackson's descendants
have been involved in the similar work for generations. Ever since
Humphrey's son James served as Chambers
County Judge, there's been a Jackson serving as a judge, district
attorney, surveyor, constable, justice of the peace or private attorney.
Must be in the DNA -- Humphrey's father was a member of the Irish
Parliament. But Humphrey didn't come to America to be an alcalde.
Truth known, he was relieved when he lost his last bid for election
in 1830 after serving since 1824. He never sought that time-consuming
When he left Ireland for the New World, Humphrey settled in Louisiana
just in time to fight under the command of another Jackson - Andrew
- in the War of 1812. He and his family moved to Texas
In 1824 the Baron de Bastrop, on behalf of the Mexican government,
presented him the title to his land, including the spot where he
already had built a home near the San Jacinto River. He received
the land grant during a ceremony in the home of William Scott on
Scott's Bay, a popular gathering place for Stephen F. Austin colonists.
Ten days later Jackson was elected alcalde and militia captain in
the San Jacinto District which covered most of present-day Harris
Country. Soon enough, he was trying to reason with the unreasonable
in a round of disputes that begora! -- reminded him
of his home land.
For example, James Strange, whose home occupied space known now
as the Baytown Nature Center, accused Nathaniel Lynch of treading
on his turf. Lynch had moved his eastern boundary of Lynchburg
a number of times, encroaching on Strange's land, but Lynch's excuse
was that Scott had moved his boundary too far west.
Jackson, as alcalde, ended the dispute with the help of four arbitrators.
I don't know the details of the settlement, but I presume both Lynch
and Scott were told to back off. Besides having to deal with local
area disputes, running the gamut from grounded schooners to unpaid
bills and land surveys, Jackson had to go to Nacogdoches
to help quell the biggest dispute of that time - the Fredonian Rebellion.
Historian Andrew Forest Muir wrote: "Jackson did not relish his
job as alcalde. He entered the office with misgivings. … He was
completely tired of the job and looked forward to the approaching
end of his term when he would be no more than a good citizen again."
In spite of not liking his work, Jackson never neglected his duties
as alcalde. "I will do all that lies in my power to keep harmony
in the district," he said.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
3, 2017 column