The Missourinet forgot to skewer Texas Governor Rick Perry a few days ago when we talked to him during his job-recruiting visit to our state. But the fact is this:
By rights, Missourians should consider Texas little more than a southern colony. If it hadn’t been for Missourians, there might not be a state for Rick Perry to govern, which makes his visit even harder to swallow.
Plenty of other people have commented on what they see as the hypocrisy of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which presumably advocates for Missouri business, welcoming him to our state and even giving him a big forum to encourage Chamber members to move to a state that Missourians helped create. We won’t go into that very much here. But Missouri deserves more respect than Governor Perry seemed to give it with his raid.
To begin with, it was Moses Austin, a Potosi lead entrepreneur, who came up with the idea of establishing an American Colony in Texas, the first incursion of American settlers into Spanish territory. He got permission to bring 300 families, descendants of which proudly claim membership in “The Old 300” organization. Moses died before he could lead the settlers but his son, Stephen, carried on his father’s dream. It was while traveling from New Orleans to San Antonio that he learned Mexico had declared its independence from Spain, which allowed closer ties between Austin and the state of Coahuila y Texas. He took the first 300 families to his settlement in 1825 and got the government to let him bring in 900 more in a few years.
Austin sowed the seeds of trouble for the Mexicans when, under the power given him, he created a Constitution of Coahuila y Texas. He also formed an armed group to protect his colonists, an effort that some consider the start of the Texas Rangers.
Austin’s Americans grew increasingly restive as citizens of Mexico and when Santa Anna started trying to push the settlers out of Texas, the settlers fought back. The first shooting happened at Gonzales. A Republic of Texas was proclaimed and six months after the revolution began, Sam Houston captured Santa Anna and Texas became its own nation. Austin died at the end of 1836.
Governor Perry works in a city named for this Missourian. One would think, therefore, that he would have more respect for Missouri.
Apparently not. At least he didn’t try to take Moses Austin’s bones back home with him. Texas tried that in 1938 and we wouldn’t let it happen. Moses and his wife still sleep in Potosi.
Then there was Green DeWitt. Green DeWitt was the Ralls County Sheriff when he, with Austin’s support, got permission to take 400 respectable, hard-working, Catholic families to Texas. The capital of his colony would be Gonzales. DeWitt died in 1835. The story is told that his widow and daughter made a dress into a banner that read “Come and Take It,” a reference to the cannon the Mexicans gave to the community to fend off Indian attacks. The flag was waved during the battle of Gonzales that started the Texas revolution.
The revolution that created a state for Governor Rick to govern began in a town founded by a Missourian.
More than 30 men from that Missourian’s town marched to San Antonio to help the besieged garrison that had taken refuge in the Mission San Antonio de Valero. Some of those men were Missourians or had Missouri ties.
One was John Smith, a carpenter and engineer from Hannibal who had gone to Texas to collect a debt and stayed there, deserting his Missouri family. Some sources say Smith was the last adult to leave the Alamo after the siege began, carrying a message to Houston asking for help. He later became San Antonio’s first mayor and was a member of the Texas Congress.
Jacob Durst left Missouri in 1830. His name is “Darst” in Texas. He was one of those who dug out the hidden cannon at Gonzalez and fired a load of shrapnel at Mexican troops.
George Washington Cottle, a member of a pioneering Lincoln County, Missouri family joined other Cottles who settled in the Gonzales area. Daniel W. Cloud was a Kentuckian who had come to Missouri, as many Kentuckians did in those days, but found little success as a lawyer here, so he headed to Texas. Missouri native George Tumlinson was also one of those who went to the Alamo from Gonzales.
Several others with Missouri ties were inside the walls of the Alamo on that final day including two cousins, Asa and Jacob Walker, relatives of Joseph R. Walker, the first sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri. And the legendary Jim Bowie lived some of his childhood years in southeast Missouri.
The “Father of the Santa Fe Trail,” William Becknell, moved to the northeast corner of Texas in 1835, fourteen years after leading Missouri’s first successful trade mission to a foreign country (Santa Fe, then Mexican territory). One story says former Congressman David Crockett spent some time at his home waiting for associates before going on to San Antonio. Becknell established a company of mounted volunteers in the summer of ’36 to protect his region from Mexicans. After the revolution he became a successful livestock raiser and broker. When the first United States congressional elections were held in Texas, Becknell was appointed to supervise them. He died in Texas in 1856.
Missourians considered Texas such a Missouri-friendly place that our Confederate government sought refuge in Marshall where it established the Confederate capitol of Missouri. The Confederate commander of the western theatre, E. Kirby Smith, gathered the governors of four Confederate states at Marshall to discuss whether he should disband his army. Missouri Confederate Governor Thomas C. Reynolds didn’t want to give up although a month had passed since Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. But the other three governors decided the cause was lost. So Smith told United States officials that he had disbanded his army—except for the Missourians.
In June of 1865, Reynolds, Missouri commander Sterling Price, Jo Shelby’s Iron Brigade, and others headed for Mexico, refusing to admit the South had lost the war. They lowered their banner into the Rio Grande and crossed the border. Some of the Missourians returned home. Others went to Mexico hoping to take part in another revolution. But when the revolution collapsed three years later they came back across the river and eventually most came back to Missouri.
Despite all of the things Missouri has done for Texas, Rick Perry has trotted into Missouri— the parent state of Texas for crying out loud—and has allowed himself—various editorial writers have more or less said– to become a tool of business interests playing political games with a tax increase bill.
Rick the ingrate, the Governor of Missouri’s prodigal child, Texas.
And to think Missourians fought and died so he could pull something like this.
tsk, tsk, tsk.