Gonzales in the Texas Revolution
Come and Take It: The Early History of Gonzales
Gonzales was established by Empresario Green DeWitt in August 1825, near the junction of the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers, and was made the capital of his colony of settlers.
It was the first Anglo-American settlement west of the Colorado River and was named in honor of Don Rafael Gonzales, provisional governor of Texas and Coahuila, Mexico. Surveyed by both James Kerr and Byrd Lockhart, the city today remains as it was originally laid out.
In July of 1826, Indians attacked the settlement, one man was killed and the cabins plundered. In 1831 the Mexican government gave the settlers a small brass or bronze cannon for protection.
During the years unrest developed among colonists because of increasing restrictions and controls. As a frontier settlement, Gonzales was destined to play an important role in the resulting Texas Revolution.
The open break with Mexico widened and authorities demanded that the cannon be returned. A corporal and five Mexican soldiers were sent with an ox cart to get the cannon. When this request was refused, officials in San Antonio sent Lt. Castaneda with 100 mounted soldiers to "take" the weapon.
When the Mexican cavalrymen appeared on the riverbank on Sept. 29, 1835, there were only 18 men in Gonzales to deny their crossing. Those men hid the ferry, buried the cannon in George W. Davis's peach orchard and sent out a call for help. The men, known forever after as "The Old Eighteen" delayed the soldiers for two days, claiming that the keeper of the cannon was away on business.
On the morning of Sept. 30, Castaneda was met by Reg. Joseph D. Clements, who read the message, "I cannot, nor do I desire, to deliver up the cannon ... only through force will we yield."
Castaneda and his men scouted the river for a place to cross, moving upstream some seven miles to Ezekiel Williams' place, near the present community of Cost.
As the women hastily fashioned a battle flag, the cannon was unearthed; Joe Martin donated a wagon for wheels and it was mounted by Mr. Sowell, Mr. Darst, Mr. Chisholm and others. By now the original 18 had grown in number and more were arriving.
On Thursday evening, Oct. 1, the Texans, 50 of whom were mounted, crossed the river with the cannon, stopped at DeWitt's home and continued along the road.
When the early morning fog lifted on Oct. 2, the Mexicans found themselves confronted by a force of Texans commanded by Col. J. H. Moore and Lt. Col. J.W.E. Wallace, with the controversial cannon. Over the weapon proudly waved the new flag - a black replica of the cannon upon a white background emblazoned with a star and the words that would echo forever through the years - "Come and Take It!"
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