By LARRY M. JONES
Despite what I perceived as little or no fanfare to note the occasion, Saturday marked the 177th anniversary of Texas’ Declaration of Independence.
I’m sure that most of you native Texicans, like me, were hosting parties, grilling hot dogs or burgers, and partaking of your favorite cold drinks to celebrate this hallowed day for our great state of Texas. No?
On March 1, 1836, almost 50 delegates representing the colonists and settlers of Texas met in the town of Washington-on-the-Brazos to declare independence from what they felt was a brutal and repressive Mexican regime. Convention President Richard Ellis appointed a committee comprised of George C. Childress, Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman and Collin McKinney to draft the resolution declaring Texas as an independent republic. With amazing speed, these men drafted this historic document, literally overnight. It was resoundingly approved the following day, March 2, 1836, by the delegates of the convention.
It is interesting and appropriate to note that every one of these five men had a county and/or a county seat named in his honor, with the exception of Edward Conrad. I can’t imagine why he was so conspicuously left out. I did read in the Handbook of Texas Online that he was single, served as a lieutenant in the Texas infantry and died in Victoria a couple of months after Texas gained her independence. Must have gotten caught raiding someone else’s hen house.
Not unlike the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, these Texas delegates took a fearsome risk by signing such a document. At the time, Texas had no standing army, and the only thing standing between the colonists and a large relatively well equipped Mexican army was a rag-tag group of settlers and frontiersmen loosely assembled, ill provisioned, and even more poorly trained.