I don’t often go to see old stuff, unless of course, the weird and wacky roadside attraction I’m visiting happens to have been created a long time ago and is therefore old by default.
Not this time. This attraction’s only claim to roadside attraction fame is age. Okay, okay, some folks prefer the word “historical”. Whatever. It’s old. This particular city is rich in history, as is all of Texas. And it’s all about a cannon.
Come and Take It
Gonzales, Texas, is all about a cannon. An old cannon.
Gonzales is most famous as the “Lexington of Texas” because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government had granted Green DeWitt’s request for a small cannon for protection against Indian attacks. At the outbreak of disputes between the Anglo settlers and the Mexican authorities in 1835, a contingent of more than 100 Mexican soldiers was sent from San Antonio to retrieve the cannon.
When the soldiers arrived, there were only 18 men in Gonzales, but they refused to return the cannon, and soon men from the surrounding area joined them. Texians under the command of John H. Moore confronted them. Sarah DeWitt and her daughter sewed a flag bearing the likeness of the cannon and the words “Come and Take It,” which was flown when the first shots of Texan independence were fired on October 2, 1835. The Texians successfully resisted the Mexican troops in what became known as the Battle of Gonzales.
Gonzales later contributed 32 men from the Gonzales Ranging Company to the defense of the Alamo. It was the only city to send aid to the Alamo and all 32 men lost their lives defending the Alamo. It was to Gonzales that Susanna Dickinson, widow of one of the Alamo defenders, and Joe, the slave of William B. Travis, fled with news of the Alamo massacre. General Sam Houston was there organizing the Texas forces. He anticipated the town would be the next target of General Antonio López de Santa Anna’ Mexican army. Gathering the Texians at Peach Creek east of town, under the Sam Houston Oak, Houston ordered Gonzales burned, to deny it to the enemy. He began a retreat toward the U.S. border. The widows and orphans of Gonzales and their neighbors were forced to flee, thus precipitating the Runaway Scrape.
In 1837 the Republic of Texas incorporated Gonzales and established Gonzales County.
That, my dear Kernutties, is your history lesson for the day. You’re welcome.
Gonzales proudly displays the city’s motto, “Come and Take It” above a silhouette of a cannon, on everything: T-shirts, mugs, the city flag. And of course there is a “Come and Take It” Festival. The early-October festival is fairly large and a lot of fun.
The Gonzales Memorial Museum has the cannon, and many other items from the war, and the settler’s.
Visit the famous cannon at the Gonzales Memorial Museum, 414 Smith Street, Gonzales, Texas.