Hawk Banks - Founding Texas, p.1D. Allen Henry
D. Allen Henry
© D. Allen Henry 2014
On the Cover
Photo named ‘The Cow Boy’ by J.C.H. Grabill downloaded at:
Photo cropped and Photoshopped by the author
Also by D. Allen Henry
Those Who Fought for Us
My Father the God
Of War and Women
Galileo’s Lost Message
To my wife Claudia,
who spent countless hours reading and commenting,
tolerating me as I typed obsessively,
and patiently listening to my relentless commentary,
such as the tale of Mephistopheles…
Significant portions of this novel were published by me some years ago under the title Renegade Republic. At that time, Renegade Republic compromising my first novel, I was a novice to the genre of literary fiction. As such, my skills were perhaps in need of considerable honing. Having now completed six additional novels, not to mention two historical nonfiction texts, both my skills and my perspective have been irrevocably altered and, one would hope, much to the better.
At the time that I perceived of the original story told herein, my primary motivation was to impart history via a fictional frame of reference. Some years having passed, I recently decided to take up Renegade Republic and read it through, expressly from the perspective of a detached critic. While this is admittedly impossible for the author him- or herself, I submit that I did in a certain fashion accomplish my mission. Finding the prose therein woefully inadequate, I set out to improve the style within, but, as is often the case in life, I found that I had moved on, perhaps even – matured.
Indeed, not only had my literary style evolved, my primary motivation had altered as well. In the process of rewriting Renegade Republic, I found that my interest had undergone a reflective transformation, from an interest in imparting history via a fictional frame of reference, to imparting fiction via a historical frame of reference. Realizing this to be the case, I became aware that my current focus necessitated sufficient alteration in the original account to necessitate the publication of my story under a new title – Hawk Banks.
This book grew out of a lifetime of fascination with my home state. It is important to note that it is a work of fiction. As such, readers with an eye to historical accuracy will doubtless find many details within these pages that do not meet their expectations. Indeed, I do not count myself a historian, nor is that my purpose here. Rather, my aim has been to tell an interesting fictional tale of how the events might have appeared to people swept up within the Texas Revolution. If I have imparted some history along the way, then I consider that to be frosting on the cake. For example, it is known that several tribes of indigenous Indians were still living in Texas during the time of the Texas Revolution, and raids by them on settlers were not uncommon. Also, it is known that a major snow storm struck extreme South Texas during Santa Anna’s march northwards. These are examples of two historically accurate events that I have fit within the storyline.
Where I have erred historically, the blame is mine and mine alone, as I have not consulted anyone now living in this endeavor. However, I have attempted to fit characters, as well as the story, within a properly historical timeframe. Where I have failed to do so, and surely I have, I apologize to those who may be offended. In most cases, at least I have erred unintentionally. Indeed, I have consulted several recent publications on the historical events of the time period laid herein, and the interested reader will find those publications listed in the section entitled “Selected Additional Readings” at the end of the book.
The characters within this novel are of widely varying upbringing. As such, it stands to reason that their manner of speaking would also differ. Where possible, I have attempted to reflect these differences within the monologue. However, I have in many cases softened these differences in order to avoid detracting from the storyline. Still, I am mindful of the fact that both language and style of writing have evolved considerably in the last two centuries. Accordingly, I have attempted to retain some customs of the early nineteenth century without diminishing the content of this novel.
The events portrayed within this novel took place over a span of time punctuated by numerous historical events within Texas and Mexico that may not be familiar to the reader. With this thought in mind, I have provided a Foreword, a Historical Timeline, a List of Main Characters, and a Glossary of Terms and Places immediately after this preface.
Finally, I have in most cases added location and date headings in boldface whenever there is a change of scene within the book. With regard to each of these subheadings, the reader is advised that the text contained within each of subheading is intended to portray the perspective of the character whose name is written in boldface at the beginning of the respective section.
The interested reader will find further information and photos related to the events chronicled in this book at my website:https://dayhahaha.wix.com/dallenhenry. There is also a vast literature on the subject that is at the fingertips of anyone who possesses access to the internet. A quick check will inform those interested that the history of the Texas Revolution is a living and thriving subject even today, with many of the events still undergoing continued study, elucidation and clarification. I have purposefully avoided engaging in as much of the controversy surrounding these current issues as I am able.
Preface to the Revised Edition
In this revised edition I have modified the text in an attempt to improve my usage of the English language. It is my hope that these revisions will improve the readability of the storyline.
D. A. H.
As far back as anyone can remember, there have always been disparate groups of people living in Western Europe. For a period of time around two thousand years ago the Romans seem to have united many of these into a single Republic, and ultimately, an Empire. But the old underlying tensions, related to culture, language, and even physical appearance came back. After the Roman Empire fell in 476, the lack of a central government caused the written word to disappear rapidly, thereby leading to the reescalation of the old cultural barriers. By the time of the Renaissance in the 14th century, deep seated mistrust pervaded national and ideological boundaries throughout Western Europe.
By the dawn of the 16th century a new wave of world exploration was underway, fueled by the expeditions of Columbus, Cabral, and others. In 1522-24 members of Magellan’s crew circled the globe under the Spanish flag. The Portuguese were their chief competitors in these endeavors but, thirsty for new sources of wealth, practically every country of any significance had joined the competition by the end of the century.
The Spanish were the leaders of exploration in the Central part of the Americas. Cortez crossed the Isthmus of Panama and subdued the Aztecs. And to the north, Coronado and De Vaca were the first explorers from Europe to pass through the area we now call Texas. The Spanish missions were later built throughout the southern area of the United States. In 1793, the mission San Antonio de Valero was built along the San Antonio River. Today we call that mission the Alamo.
Further east, in the colonies, events were unfolding around the same time that would eventually lead to conflict in the area known today as Texas. The American Rev
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, understood this fact intimately, having himself become a significant land owner in Virginia. With a bold stroke, he purchased Louisiana from Napoleon in 1803 for fifteen million dollars, thereby doubling the size of the fledgling country. And while his expenditure was questioned at the time, no one has since been so naive.
While the Louisiana Purchase temporarily quenched the quest for land by the settlers in North America, it was inevitable that the unchecked migration of Europeans would eventually mean that even more land was needed. At the southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase lay a vast territory claimed by the Spanish since the times of the great explorations of the early sixteenth century. This territory included Texas, and by the 1820’s it was well within the sites of the settlers pressing westward.
It was at this point that Moses Austin sought and received approval from the Spanish government to colonize a largely unpopulated portion of southeast Texas that stretched roughly eastward from the San Antonio River to the Trinity River. Having secured this dispensation, he was in route back to Missouri to fetch his family in 1821 when he contracted pneumonia, from which he ultimately died.
His son Stephen was destined to take up his father’s quest and colonize Texas with a group of settlers that would come to be known as “the old three hundred”. In 1822 Stephen Austin arrived in southeast Texas with his hand-picked families. They were essentially the first non-Hispanic settlers of any significance to settle in Texas. As such, their allegiance was supposed to be to the country of Spain, which ruled Texas through their colony of Mexico. But by the time the colonists arrived in Texas in 1822 Mexico had gained independence from Spain, and the colonies thenceforth fell under the rule of the Republic of Mexico.
At the time Mexico had an estimated population of eight million people. The northern portion of Mexico, called Coahuila y Tejas to the citizens of Mexico, was considered to be a wild and largely uninhabited territory of little value. Perhaps ten thousand Mexican citizens lived in the entire area north of the Rio Grande (called the Rio Bravo in Mexico).
The military hero of the Mexican war for independence from Spain was the mercurial Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He led the Mexican army to a great victory at Veracruz in 1821, thereby securing independence from Spain for Mexico.
Thus, shortly after arriving in Texas, the old three hundred found themselves without a treaty, as their colony had been established by Stephen Austin’s father with the government of Spain. Not to be deterred, Austin travelled to Mexico City and secured a new treaty for the colony in Texas. The three hundred became citizens of the newly formed country of Mexico, and would remain so until they found it necessary themselves to revolt more than a decade later.
Within this patchwork of Americans, Europeans, and Mexicans north of the Rio Grande a sort of camaraderie was to develop during the decade of the 1820’s that was respectful and even friendly despite the barriers imposed by differences in language and culture. Although Hispanics were more common west of the San Antonio River, east of the San Antonio River Mexican villas and haciendas were to become neighbors to English speaking settlers who were for the most part farmers. This sparsely populated region composed almost entirely of immigrants flourished because the populace shared a single common desire – to build a new life on the Texas plains.
Unfortunately, the peaceful coexistence among the settlers was to be repeatedly assailed by the government of Mexico to the south. And occasionally the intrusions came in the form of incursions by military forces. It would not be a stretch to say that the settlers who lived in Texas at the time, no matter where they came from, were coexisting for the most part contentedly, but as is so often the case, distant governments are prone to misunderstand the local populace. Such was the case on multiple occasions in Texas.
By the early 1830’s the government of Mexico had become more and more incursive. Whether this was intrinsic or was caused by the repeated waffling of Lopez de Santa Anna is immaterial, the reality is that Santa Anna seized power and formed a new government with himself as president of Mexico in 1832. Over the succeeding months he enacted laws that seemed capricious to the Texians, they having been used to the democratic ways of England and the United States. Eventually, Santa Anna repealed the Mexican constitution of 1824, thereby essentially setting himself up as de facto dictator of Mexico. Unfortunately, this did not sit well at all with the Texians.
The result was the so-called Anahuac disturbance in the summer of 1835. A Mexican army was sent by sea northward from Veracruz to quell a perceived uprising by a band of Texians, and although the outcome was peaceful, the seeds had been laid for a coming revolution.
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