Monday, April 30, 2012

The Historical Marker

I came across this Texas historical marker driving back from San Antonio via Route 281. It's a little more revealing than the sign-makers intended, I'm guessing.

HAMILTON COUNTY, C.S.A. [Confederate States of America].

CREATED AND ORGANIZED IN 1858. BY 1860 HAD 489 PEOPLE IN 78 FAMILIES FROM 15 STATES. [A contemporary census map indicates that about 5% of the new county's population were listed as slaves; for all of Texas, the slave population was about 30% in 1860, which then surged higher until just before the US Army decree of June 19th, 1865, since celebrated as "Juneteenth," abolished slavery throughout Texas].

VOTE IN 1861 WAS 86-1 IN FAVOR OF SECESSION. [That's 17.6% of the population making the decision. The vote indicates either a reckless gung-ho choice to break away from the USA, a coerced one-sided vote as in many corrupt elections anywhere anytime, or both. In any case, 82.4% of Hamilton County's people either weren't eligible to vote, or otherwise did not vote].

Skipping down to the third section: WITH FEW MEN ON HAND TO BRAND AND HERD, FEUDS ROSE OVER THEFTS AND STRAYING CATTLE. IN DIFFERENCES OVER WAR ISSUES, 2 MEN FLED TO MEXICO TO JOIN FEDERALS. LATER THEY RETURNED, TRYING TO RECRUIT NEIGHBORS INTO UNIT DISLOYAL TO TEXAS TO WELCOME PLANNED FEDERAL INVASION. [Here one can't help but be amazed by the irony -- and bizarre nature -- of this statement. "Disloyal to Texas?" Where does the Confederacy fit in? Where does the United States fit in? Weren't many Texans previously "disloyal" to Mexico? Weren't Texans being "disloyal" to the United States during the American Civil War, which had started just sixteen years after Texas had freely became annexed into the Union in 1845? And what happened to the slaves living in the county?].

FURTHER TROUBLE CAME FROM MANY CONFEDERATE DESERTERS WHO TOOK REFUGE ALONG THE STREAMS AND LIVED BY THEFT AND VIOLENCE. [How many of these were county residents at the start of the war? How many came from other places? What about Comanches and Kiowa?]

(1965). [This was one in a surge of historical markers put up during the 100th anniversary of the American Civil War. In Texas, county judges were authorized at the time to choose local historical commision members for drafting the text for signage. Are things looked at any differently now, during the 150th anniversary? Depends on the asker and the asked, I am sure. Today, Hamilton County's population is about 93% Anglo/white].

Today's Rune: Protection.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like the setting for a few Louis L'Amour stories.