Welcome to Tembucktew
Where Everything Happens Anytime
That Special Place where Your Imagination
Roam Free and Far,
and where even History does not last forever - "We blued them all to Tembucktew....." David grinned.
Part 1: A Revised Account of the Beginning
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the world as we know it changed, and a new beginning was born. Today we celebrate the efforts of those who made this possible, and invite you to join them in the Special Place where happy endings have a chance.
It was 1836, in the land that started as Texas. Nearly 200 men were enduring a harsh winter blast in the ruins of a fortress called the Alamo. Just months before, the Mexican Army surrendered in siege and went home. Texian victors cheered and jeered but let them go home with their arms and their pledge to never return. The prize won was an old building, once a missionary outpost converted to a garrison of troops in the service of colonial Spain.
And the cannon. Lots of cannon although several were useless. Lots of rifles, and bullets, and black powder.
The Texian nation was in turmoil and confused with its many possible destinies. Leadership was weak but numerous, and many men knew what they should do, yet none agreed on much except the time was near to govern themselves as a Mexican State. They were ready to break the bonds imposed by the new dictator and rise against the distant government which did not understand its spirit and need for the ideas of freedom birthed and nurtured in their native United States. Their blood was hot for freedom, and land. Lots of land.
You know the story of the Legends Who Walked: Travis, Bowie, and Crockett. They were real men, with passions and hope for much more than they had left behind.
These were men of different ages, born on the frontier and each a bit notorious in his own way. They all had families they left behind in their homes of Alabama, Tejas, and Tennessee, and they all left with debts owning to many. This was a common practice. Those who managed to stay ahead of the next payment survived peacefully where they were. Those who struggled and tried but continued to sink, went to Texas...the newest frontier where a man was reborn and given the chance to start over fresh. Some sank again, some floated, and some swam like a fish. Each story was different and each story was the same. That's the way frontier life was then.
Buck Travis started again and did much better this second time around. He was a young lawyer. He loved the horses and the women but drank not. New clients were abundant because they were selling land and collecting debts. He had time to read books such as Rob Roy by Scott. He was a spirited romantic, a dreamer. In his former life, he went broke publishing a newspaper. He loved to write, and his family suffered in the long run from his passions. He got to Texas as soon as he could, and he was a hothead who saw independence as the only answer. He cooled down and learned patience to wait for the right time, so that when he led there was someone to come along. He became the official Secretary of the Convention which put him in the center of all the activity and he could clearly see what was coming. He volunteered for the regular Army, and they let him lead the calvary if he could muster one up. He recruited a few, but not enough. He was sent to Bexar to reinforce the garrison called The Alamo while the storm brewed all around him. He got there on Christmas Day 1835.
Col. Neill had to leave after securing the Alamo and its munitions on Feb 6, and thus leaving the command of the regular army, as it were, to young Buck Travis. Buck was a cavalry man and this did not set fully well yet he accepted his duty. The other half, mostly more than less, were militiamen under the elected command of the restless Jim Bowie who had returned to his most recent home under sorrowful and dramatic conditions.
David Crockett came from Tennessee where he had nearly become candidate as the next President of The United States which was presently led by the Democrat Jackson. The Whig party valued David for what he could do to keep things stirred up but they did not support him when he needed it most. David was not really a Party man. He was his own thinking/feeling man, and he would do what he thought was right. That was not politically correct and he lost re-election for the forth time to the US Senate. "They can go to H..., and I'm going to Texas" he said. He was already famous as the frontiersman, legendary already from the eager press and published books about his plain and simple life. He had caught the fever, and got to Texas as quick as he could. Brought a bunch of friends with him.
When he got to Texas it was love all over for the frontiersman. He signed up in the militia as a Private, not a leader. He and his small band drifted on down to the firestorm to be, and learned Santa Anna was on the way with thousands of trained professional troops. "Oops he thought, I done stepped in one now" and he knew it was time finally to make a stand, and be the hero everyone in the world considered him to be.
They all had a lot to gain, if they could defend this crossroads from the angry army. There was much to lose by all should they fail, while Texas was at last trying to form a government of their own at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
They would gain fame, recognition, opportunity, and mostly...land. Lots of land, cheaply.
The fighter Bowie did not take well to the cold weather that kept coming back each week, and his old wounds weakened him so that he took ill. His feverish condition kept him bed ridden for days as preparations were being made for Santa Anna’s welcoming reception. During this time he had a vision which he shared with Crockett, who in turn convinced Travis that defensive walls alone were not enough. A trap needed to be set and sprung at the right time in the right places. Bowie, always the fighter, then continued to improve and eventually regained his strength and vigor in a few days.
The idea was to use the vast supply of black powder stock to the last grain. They would take half of the powder in the store room battery and place it strategically on the surrounding hills and homes to be ignited on command when the Mexican Army was entrenched and the Generals boarded in the finest houses in town.
Lt. Almaron Dickinson was a blacksmith who came from Tennessee with his young bride Susannah Wilkerson. He was in charge of the small cannon at Gonzales confrontation when they said "Come and Take It". He was later placed in charge of the numerous cannon in the Alamo, and was responsible for their repair and maintenance. After the conclusion of the Seige of Bexar months earlier in 1835, his family joined him in town where they set up residence in the Musquiz house on the southwest corner of Portero Street and the Main Plaza. This was one of the finest houses in town and a likely choice for the unwelcome Gen Santa Anna to place his HQ command post. He knew the town well and his special devices worked well when the time was upon them.
On Valentines Day Martial Law was declared and the local townspeople were gathered in the Alamo by "special invitation" to prevent spies from seeing what would be going on. For the next four days men from the garrison placed explosives in strategically inviting locations and suspected abodes of the Mexican High Command. Then the town’s people were released back to the town.
When the huge Army from the South arrived on February 23 they began to locate themselves in the positions easily anticipated.
Fannin had been a leader at the Seige of Bexar. He was now in charge of the garrison at Gonzales with orders to march to San Antonio and reinforce the Alamo bravehearts. The Mexicans knew he was there, and they split their army to send one large force to contain and subdue him. The Texan troops were not well trained, they were only volunteers afterall. What regular army there was amongst them, were unpaid and poorly equiped. Another expedition had swept the month before through San Antonio and then Gonzales and requisitioned all the supplies for their military mission further South. But in spite of the setbacks, bad weather, and low provisions, Fannin's band of 300+ slipped through the Mexican lines at night. By dawn they turned around and attacked with fury on the slumbering Federal troops and won the day. They captured supplies, food, arms, horse, and cannon. None escaped.
The majority proceeded to Bexar, while a small detachment remained to guard the prisoners. There was no time to celebrate or rest. It was too cold anyway.
The rest they say, is history. After nine days of bombardment and seige of the defiant fortress (this was a Leap Year February), the majority of the Mexican Army was gathered and ready to grant no mercy or quarter to the enemy, the pirates, the invaders.
Then the next blue northener arrived and chilled the mobilization for the final assault. Essentially the sudden chill froze the Mexian army in their tents which were flapping in the wind.
On March 2 as the Convention met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the much anticipated Declaration and form the new Government, the selected agents of the garrison under the direction of Crockett and Travis slipped into the dark and cold night with their big knives and hawks, and lit the fuses of destruction for the Mexican Army. From his elevated position in the ramparts of the Alamo fortifications, Bowie the fighter observed the progress on a night with freezing winds which preceded the freezing rain the next day.
Fannin and his men approached discreetly from the southeast, and some (both Tejanos and newly recruited desserters) wore the uniforms of the Mexican Lancers under the command of Juan Seguin. They were in place when the moment arrived to deliver the final surprise to Santa Anna's army.
From the north, the Commanche and Cherokee warriors were there to prevent escape. Sam Houston had convinced them to become allies and they were there as agreed. In later years the warriors from the Indian State would become reknown for their contributions to the military might of the future nation.
Slowly and carefully in unison, the fuses were lit and the deed was done. Most of the Mexican High Command was lost in a single explosion. General Santa Anna would be severely but not mortally wounded in his bed, inadvertently shielded by a pair of young girls of the town.
The soldiers were essentially caught by surprise in their tents either with their pants down or hunkered down for a bitterly cold night. Their arms and cannon were captured, including the large cannon which arrived two days later. In all, 500 of the 5,000 were killed or died in retreat when the Alamo garrison descended upon them. Amazingly, only 10 of the Alamo defenders perished.
The soldiers of the Napoleon of the south dispersed as best they could as their own cannons were used against them, fleeing in every manner possible. They were cut off by Fannins troops in a classic flanking manueuver. Those that fled to the north were never seen or heard from again.The others were soon rounded up and contained. General Santa Anna was found and captured, his injuries slight but painful.
At sunrise on March 6, under the large, old Live Oak outside the old Mission, The General and President of Mexico surrendered the entire extent of Mexico to General Sam Houston who had just arrived after riding all night with his staff by horseback from San Felipe. Texas had not only won its independence, it was now in possession of its own entire country which was once the grand extent of the Spanish colonial empire extending to the Pacific Ocean westward, and the narrow isthmus of Guatemala southward. The news spred quickly and was rejoiced beyound the borders of Texas throughout Mexico and even within the United States.
David Crockett said it plain and simple. "We blued them all to Tembucktew....." he grinned.
Travis brought down the flag he brought with him from San Felipe that flew high over the fortifications. It was the 1824 Constitution flag of Mexico celebrating its independence from Spain and the Constitution that promised freedom. From each of the blue dress coats of Generals Santa Anna and Cos he cut out a star, using his bloodied sabre. He sewed one to each side of the flag in the white center field, covering the numbers 1824 where the Mexican Eagle with Snake once resided. The threads were from the golden decorations of each generals coat. Their gold buttons adorned the points of the Star. This new flag was raised in joyful celebration for all to see, and became the first flag of the new nation.
They had lots of land now. More was to follow each decade as this remarkable story unfolds.
The first election by the Convention for President was a draw. Both candidates agreed to settle the outcome as gentlemen from Tennessee, and have a drinking contest. On March 17 Houston lost after three days and Lamar declared Crockett the first President of Tembucktew. Houston later became the first Governor of Texas, and eventually suceeded Crockett 15 years later.
Bowie who was joining the match just for fun, lasted only two days before lapsing into a week long coma. As always, he recovered. The State of Bowie was named for him after his epic non-stop ride to the Pacific where he stumbled into a mother lode of gold when he fell off his horse in a mountain stream before reaching the coast. His discovery was a significant contribution to the future wealth and growth of the young nation. He oversaw the distribution of land to the new immigrants who flooded the borders from all directions.
Newly elected President Crockett stood over the unconscious Houston and drew his bow across his fiddle, and then he played a fiery number which soon became the National Anthem of the new Nation. An entire genre of frontier music was born, today called Bluesky music for its driving Scotch Irish rhythm roots and it’s never ending blue sky of Texas. They called the improvised tune “The Rio Grande Reel”. This music set the pace of the new nation.
Travis retired after his term as Governor of the dessert State named for him between Texas and Bowie, to Galveston Island where he was editor/publisher of the largest newspaper in Tembucktew, exercising great political influence throughout the Nation. With his support and financing the Island became known as a luxury resort, featuring more high class brothels than anywhere else in the world. The great "impossible" storm of 1900 washed it clean, and as an older gentleman Travis oversaw it’s reconstruction into a luxury resort for tourist and visitors. The Island soon became a Mecca for the greatest artist of the period, as well as for tourist.
More to come in Part 2: A Nation Discovers Itself.
Notes about this Website
This website is Under Development and will continue to evolve for Citizens of Tembucktew.
If you have not noticed, this story begins with real history and is transformed into an imaginative interpretation of what could have been. Some describe this Special Place as the gentle twilight between night and day when deep sleep brings forth the best of dreams, while others recall the bugle and cannon fire of March 6, 1836 with the flash of the bayonet.
The use any of the material from this site is at your own risk. All persons associated with this material disclaim any responsibility or liability for damages or injuries resulting from the use or application of this information. They assume no responsibility or liability for the accuracy, fitness, proper design, safety or safe use of any information presented here.
The webmaster's spellerchecker does not always work and your tolerance for those items not caught and fixed has been and will continue to be appreciated!
Please send all feedback/correction/omission/suggestions to your webmaster and author , Richard Boswell .
Last updates were on February 22, 2007
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