Thursday, October 9, 2008

Going To Texas, Part 4

My first "Going To Texas" blog presents an overview of Michener's novel, Texas; Part 3 compares the very real Kimbro family, who migrated to Texas from Tennessee as did some of the fictional characters portrayed in Texas. Did Michener's fictional character, Dewey Kimbro, the oil wildcatter, resemble any member of the authentic Kimbros? The real-life Euclid U. Kimbro (1833 - 1895) married into an "Alamo" family (Lucinda, daughter of Willis & Elzina (Weeks) Avery and granddaughter of Catherine (Overton) Avery McCutcheon Jennings). His wife's step-grandfather, Gordon Jennings, was thought to be the oldest person killed at the Alamo.

The prelude to the battle at the Alamo was described thusly by Michener:

Zacatecas had been ravaged because it refused to change its loyalty as quickly as Santa Anna had changed his, and word went out if Tejas continues to oppose the central government and tries to cling to its old constitution, it can expect like punishment: And in the dying days of 1835, backed by an immense army, aided by good generals and strong artillery, Generalisimo Santa Anna marched north, determined to humiliate once more the recalcitrant Texicans. All who opposed him would be slain. (Page 431, Texas)

The time between the fall of the Alamo and Sam Houston's victory at San Jacinto is known as the Runaway Scrape:

Then began the great retreat, the Runaway Scrape, in which civilians fled before the onrushing Mexicans. Towns were abandoned and set to the torch by their inhabitants. Cattle were herded north and east, then left to fend for themselves at river crossings. Hamlets were left bare. Nothing seemed able to halt the victorious dictator [Santa Anna]. (Page 468, Texas)

Gordon Jennings' daughter Catherine (Katy) (1826-1911) in a ride compared to that of Paul Revere, was sent by her mother to warn other settlers that the Alamo had fallen. The residents of Texas had a reversal of fortune and won the Battle of San Jacinto. Katy's half-brother, Willis Avery, fought at that battle.

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