On this same date, March 6, 1836, Sam Houston left the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos with a number of men to go to the aid of the Alamo via Gonzales. When he got to Gonzales he found 400 untrained men. Among these men was a company of 50 Kentucky rifles brought from that state at the personal expense of Sidney Sherman. The Sherman family was of Welsh origin.
Houston was organizing the training of these men when he learned the fate of the Alamo. He got this information from eye witnesses Santa Anna allowed spared so they could spread the word of his victory. Suzannah Dickerson, the wife of Almeron Dickerson, and her infant daughter, "the Babe of the Alamo," got to Gonzales on William B. Travis' horse, Shannon, with the help of Travis' slave. The three were escorted into Gonzales by Henry Karnes. In a speech at the McClure homestead just outside Gonzales, Houston warned citizens about remaining in the area.
< Suzannah Dickerson
< The home of Bartlett and Sarah McClure in the DeWitt Colony where it still stands today. McClure attended the Texas Consultation representing Gonzales in 1833. McClure was the primary judge in Gonzales and when the first county was organized out of the DeWitt Colony, he was elected County Judge. Judge McClure is often shown in Texas History books as Bartholomew McClure. I am guessing he was called Bart and that people knew he had a more formal name and guessed at it.
The oak tree on the McClure property underwhich Sam Houston had his meeting in 1836 and told the colonists they should probably leave is pictured to the right. This speech and his retreat is what led to the Runaway Scrape. Sarah McClure thereafter called this tree The Sam Houston Oak.
After the speech her husband, Judge McClure was sent by Houston to East Texas to recruit more troops. Judge Bartlett D. McClure is pictured to the left.
Houston ordered Fannin to destroy Fort Defiance at Goliad and to join him in a retreat toward the Colorado River. Houston set fire to Gonzales to deny its use to the enemy which he believed to be closing in. Texans everywhere hearing of fall of the Alamo and of Houston's ordered retreat began to fear the Mexicans were just over their shoulders.
THE RUNAWAY SCRAPE
The settlers panicked and left their homes in mid-meal. In what has become known as the "Runaway Scrape", families literally picked up and left the dinner on the table in their haste to escape the invading Mexican Army with its policy of no quarter, no mercy, and no prisoners. At one time there were 5,000 people on the south side of the Lynchburg Ferry waiting to get across and to get back on the road out of Texas. Looters and Indians took advantage of the situation. An example was what happened to an Irish family, the Douglas'. The Douglas' were getting ready to leave their farm. Augustin Douglas, fifteen years old, and his younger thirteen year old brother, Thaddeus, were sent by their parents to find the oxen in the pasture. The parents began to load their wagon with the family possessions. When the boys returned to the farm with the oxen, they found their home and the nearby Daugherty home engulfed in flames and under attack by Indians. They hid until the Indians left. They found the homes destroyed by fire. They found their parents and younger sisters and brothers stripped naked and scalped. All told, including the Daughertys, there were eight dead. The brothers walked to the nearest town, Halletsville, for help. They found that everyone had gone from there. They followed the Lavaca River in hopes of running into someone who would help them. They were picked up by Mexican scouts. They were taken before General Woll, a Frenchman in the Mexican service. He arranged for them to get into the hands of Captain Henry W. Karnes. Captain Karnes turned the boys over to their sister who married Irish born John McHenry. McHenry was the same man who fought with Lafitte, Long, Jackson at New Orleans and Bolivar in South America.
The news of the fall of the Alamo and the subsequent Runaway Scrape reached the delegates at Washington-on-the Brazos. The delegates hurried to conclude their business. After an all night session that ended on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1836, David G. Burnet, of Irish ancestry on his mother's side and Scottish ancestry on his father's side, was elected Ad-Interim President of Texas.
Samuel Price Carson, who was also nominated to be President, lost to Burnet by only 6 votes. Carson's father was born in Fermanagh, Ireland, his mother was Mary Moffit McDowell. Carson's father, Col. John Carson arranged for the Irish lawyer, Francis Scott Key, who wrote our national anthem, to defend Sam Houston in the U.S. Congress. Houston, as a Representative from Tennessee, tended to be over animated in his discussions on the House floor, especially if his hand was near an opponent. Samuel P. Carson, previously a U.S. Congressman (from Burke County) and U.S. Senator from North Carolina, graciously consented to be the Secretary of State of the newly declared Republic of Texas. He went on to commission the Great Seal of the Republic.
.................................................................Samuel Price Carson >
The fact that Carson felt his Irish heritage is underscored in a book written by Moffitt Sinclair Henderson, A Long Long Day in November. In the book, Henderson writes of a young Carson singing an old Irish folk song:
O Irishman forget the past
Whack fol the diddle lol the dido day
And think of the day that is coming fast,
Whack fol the diddle lol the dido day
When we shall all be civilized,
Neat and clean and well advised.
O won't Mother England be surprised,
Whack fol the diddle lol the dido day.
< Thomas Jefferson Rusk was elected Secretary of War. Rusk's father was born in Ireland, so you see the leaders of this first government of an independent Texas were to a large degree, Celts. Thomas Jefferson Rusk's family settled in South Carolina living on land owned by John C. Calhoun. This famous Irishman was a family friend and it was Calhoun who got young Thomas interested in the study of law. It was not law that brought T.J. Rusk to Texas: he was chasing some men who swindled him out of some money.
Secretary of the Treasury was Bailey Hardeman. Hardeman County is named for him and his brother, Thomas Jones Hardeman. Their mother was Mary Edwards from Ireland.
In the first meeting of the cabinet shortly after their election, Thomas Jefferson Rusk told the officers of the new republic - the republic and they "... were in terrible condition and they ought to take a drink, get on their horses, go to the army, and fight like hell 'til they get out of it".
David G. Burnet, the first President of Texas, was fighting for liberty years before the Texas Revolution. He served under Francisco Miranda who teamed with Simon Bolivar in an effort to throw of the Spanish yoke on South America. Burnet commanded a launch that fired the first shot to free a South American country (Venezuela) from the Spain. He once lived among the Comanches for an extended period. He didn't marry until he was 41 years old. It was on his honeymoon that the newlyweds traveled to Texas, only to have their ship wrecked as they were approaching Galveston. Burnet bought land from Irish born Nathaniel Lynch. In partnership with Lynch, he operated a sawmill at Lynchburg. Shortly after Burnet was elected President, when the Runaway Scrape was panicking many of the settlers, Burnet went to the Lynchburg Ferry and left soldiers to aid the settlers and speed up the operation of the ferry. During the Revolution, it was necessary to move the government of Texas from place to place to avoid the Mexican army. The weather was unusually wet and cold. These two conditions, the weather and the constant movement caused Burnet's young son to become ill. With the whole area topsy turvy, the Burnets were unable to find a doctor. This was compounded by the need to keep moving. The son of the President of the Republic of Texas died; unable to receive the care he needed.
While Houston was retreating and training his men, Fannin responded to a request from Refugio on March 10 to escort some of the families that did not flee earlier to safety. He sent Captain Amon Butler King of the Georgia Battalion and 28 men to bring the settlers the 29 miles to Goliad. When King arrived in Refugio, he found advance elements of Urrea's army all about. He took refuge in the Mission and sent back word on March 12 via Thomas O'Brien for reinforcements. Fannin then sent Lt. Col William Ward with 125 men to aid King. At this point, Fannin received the order from Houston to destroy and evacuate Goliad. The next day Fannin sent scouts to Refugio to tell King and Ward to return. In Refugio; Ward, King, and the families King was escorting, were safe behind the walls of the old mission at Refugio. They disagreed on how to extricate themselves from the area and each left with his force in a different direction from the mission. Ward's route allowed him to reconnoiter the strength of Urrea's army. Ward then hastened to get his men back to the protection of the mission. King and his men were overtaken and captured at the Malone Ranch. They were marched back to the Mission. Just before getting to the Mission, and in sight of those inside the walls, almost all the men were shot and killed. Among those killed was James Murphy. Their bones were later buried by twelve year old John Hynes of Refugio who knew many of the men (see Appendix V section 5 for a list of those with a Celtic connection). Six men captured with King were spared. Among these were Nicholas Fagan and Benjamin Odlum. Colonel Ward defended the church against several attacks, but when the Mexicans started to fire cannon, bringing down the roof on the defenders and the families, they planned an escape.