Happy St. Patrick’s Day! San Felipe de Austin Historic Site

3/17/13 Sunday at Columbus, TX (Colorado River Campground-TT)

St. Patrick is my patron saint. I remember dressing up as him in elementary school. Now this day brings memories of the St. Patrick’s Day party given by the Winston Cashett Law firm, their fun invitations and marvelous free food, as well as good times with fellow Bankruptcy co-workers.

Last evening was WARM, so we kept our bedroom window open and still had trouble sleeping. This morning was WARM, 70 degrees by 9:30 am. With that, we went to Mass, then got groceries at H E B. I tell you, I think I know why Texans tend to overweight problems, it’s all H E B’s fault! Our freezer and fridge are stuffed with goodies we couldn’t refuse. By buying 4 pounds of Tilapia (for $11), we got a package of rice with corn and pablano, coleslaw salad, re-fried beans and corn tortillas for free.

For our hot afternoon we took our air conditioned car to the Stephen F Austin Park, near Houston. We ran into heavy traffic, on a Sunday no less, so we suspect that was because of the Spring Break people returning home.


Looks like they had fun on Spring Break







Maybe they were chased by this ATV, like it’s carrier is chasing them now.






Stephen Fuller Austin – The Father of Texas. (can click on photo to enlarge-good looking guy)  He brought “The Old 300” colonists to Texas, giving them and others land grants from Mexico, over 1,000 in the end. Thus forming San Felipe de Austin, the first major city in Texas. William Travis and Sam Houston lived here as well as Austin.



A replica of Austin’s log home, serving as the land office and center of commerce. It was later given a second floor and became “Whiteside Hotel”, although this was burnt with the rest of the town in the end.





Copy of page from land grant book. Cool signatures. Stephen Austin’s signed his name in Spanish, so that’s why it’s Esteven Austin. Samuel Williams has the most beautiful signature.





This is a replica of the flag designed by Stephen Austin and fellow commissioners for an “Independent Flag” (independent from Mexico), also known as the San Felipe Flag and Mosely Baker Flag.  It has the English Jack for origins of Anglo-Americans, 13 stripes for their coming from all 13 states, the star is for Texas, the only state in Mexico “retaining the least spark of the light of Liberty”.

Speaking of liberty, at this point Mexico had outlawed slavery, yet these colonists brought slaves with them. They got around this law by having the slaves sign contracts, then calling them “contract labor”.

After the incidents at Alamo and Goliad, the settlers feared Santa Anna’s approach so, not wanting his army to have access to their provisions, they set their town (San Felipe) ablaze before they left in the “Runaway Scrape”. Interestingly, we understand that one woman stayed behind: Celia Allen, an African American who came as a slave but later was given her freedom. She ran the local bakery (had a brick oven). She stayed and Santa Anna used her oven to store his cannon.

A history of Texas in short: “During the colonial era, Texas was governed by the Republic of Mexico. Mexican independence from Spain in 1821 was followed by Texas independence from Mexico in 1836. The Republic of Texas lasted through 1845 when Texas became the 28th US State.

All of this was displayed at the Stephen F Austin Historical Site. We went on to investigate the Stephen Austin Park. It could handle our 40′ RV. The fun moment here was when we were asking the park ranger about the San Jacinto Historical Park, pronouncing it as (huh SIN toe) but she corrected us, saying it’s (Juh SIN toe), because “we won the war”! They are SO proud of Texas. We see Texas flags all over. I think part of it is because they were a country in their own right, unlike the other states, before they joined the US.

On our way home we saw still lots of of congestion on I-10, heading towards Houston, all the way back to Columbus.

We spent the rest of the day determining what we’ll do and where we’ll stay until Easter Sunday. We also got in a wonderful talk with our son Justin.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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