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The Alamo and DRT celebrate Texas Independence Day

March 4, 2009

The Alamo and the DRT celebrate Texas Independence Day with a ceremony in Alamo Plaza.

The Alamo and the DRT commemorate Texas Independence Day with a ceremony in Alamo Plaza.

On Monday, March 2, the Alamo and the DRT celebrated Texas Independence Day with a ceremony in Alamo Plaza. The ceremony, held by the Alamo Mission Chapter of the DRT, featured a speech from DRT Library Director Leslie Stapleton. Mrs. Stapleton spoke about the library’s history and collection. Specifically, Mrs. Stapleton discussed the great primary sources that the library has in its archives.

Leslie Stapleton, DRT Library Director, speaks at a ceremony on March 2, 2009 to commemorate Texas Independence Day.

Leslie Stapleton, DRT Library Director, speaks about the library's history and collection.

Among the one-of-a-kind documents is a letter written by Alamo defender Daniel William Cloud on December 26, 1835 to his brother, John B. Cloud. A lawyer from Kentucky, Daniel William Cloud joined David Crockett’s Tennessee Volunteers to help in the fight for Texas Independence. He describes what many of these young men might have been feeling when he writes,

If we succeed, the Country is ours. It is immense in extent, and fertile in its soil, and will amply reward all our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not cause for shuddering. Our rifles are by our side, and choice guns they are, we know what awaits us, and are prepared to meet it.

This letter was donated to the library by the Cloud family in 1979. Click here for a previous post about the Cloud letter.

Another great document in the collection is a letter written by Abishai Mercer Dickson written to his wife from New Orleans on December 29, 1835 on his way to Texas. He writes to her,

My Dear, my lips have not been wet with spirits of any description since I left you and I do hope they never will again and I think this trip will not only wean me entirely from it but will give me a new constitution.

He closes the letter by writing:

I have some hopes of making a little fortune. I feel more anxious than I ever did.

Dickson joined the Alabama Red Rovers and served under Col. Fannin at Goliad, where he was killed by the Mexican army along with more than 340 other Texan soldiers.

Lastly, another unique document in the collection is Samuel Augustus Maverick’s copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Maverick was an early Texas land baron, legislator, and leading citizen of the Republic. He lived at the corner of Alamo Plaza and Houston Street and played a large role in the Siege of Bexar in December 1835. He was chosen as one of two representatives from the Alamo to go to the independence convention on March 1, 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Maverick left on March 2 but did not arrive at the convention until March 5. By that day, the Declaration had already been drafted and adopted. Maverick printed his name as well as the names of the other late arrivals to his broadside copy of the Declaration. Although one thousand broadside copies were originally printed, today only thirteen are known to exist. The DRT Library is fortunate to have two of these known copies. Click here for a previous post about the Maverick copy of the Declaration of Independence.

After the ceremony, Mrs. Stapleton invited all guests to visit the library, which is not usually a browsing collection, to view these and other special primary sources from the library’s collection.

Library visitors look at items on exhibit from the collection.

Library visitors look at items on exhibit from the collection.

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