June 29, 1835 ~ William Travis, South Carolina’s Hero of the Texas Revolution
They say everything is bigger in Texas. From Longhorns and BBQ to Fiesta and Football, Texans always go Big. But noting is bigger in Texas than the story of the Texas Revolution and the Last Stand at the Alamo by William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett.
Born in Saluda County, South Carolina and raised in Alabama, William Travis moved to Mexican-controlled Texas in 1831 at the age of 22.
He established a legal practice in Anahuac, a small frontier town about 40 miles east of Houston.
In 1832, he clashed with local Mexican officials and was jailed for a month. When he was released, the growing Texan independence movement hailed him as a hero.
Early in 1835, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrew the republican government and proclaimed himself dictator. Correctly fearing a rebellion was imminent, Santa Anna quickly moved to reinforce control over Texas and dispatched troops to Anahuac and to other key areas in the region.
On June 29, 1835, Travis raised a company of 25 volunteer soldiers. The next day, the small army easily captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the leader of Santa Anna’s forces in Anahuac, and forced the troops to surrender.
More radical Texans again proclaimed Travis a hero, but others condemned him for trying to foment war and maintained that Santa Anna could still be dealt with short of revolution.
By the fall of 1835, however, conflict had become inevitable, and Texans prepared to fight a war of independence. As soon as the rebels had formed an army, Travis was made a lieutenant colonel in command of the regular troops at San Antonio.
On February 23, 1836, Travis joined forces with Jim Bowie’s army of volunteers and took command of an old Spanish mission called San Antonio de Valreo, better known as the Alamo.
The next day, Travis sent out a plea for help to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the world” to come to the aid of the defenders of the Alamo. Travis signed the letter “Victory or Death.”
Some support made it’s way to the Alamo, including a group of Kentuckians led by Davy Crockett, but fewer than 200 men faced 4,000 of Santa Anna’s soldiers.
Travis, Bowie, and Crockett held out for 13 days before the final assault came. On March 6, Santa Anna’s soldiers stormed the Alamo and killed nearly every Texan defender, including Travis. Five South Carolina’s would die alongside Travis that fateful day.
In the months that followed, “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry as the Texans successfully drove the Mexican forces from their borders.
By April, Texas had won its independence.
Travis, who hastened the war of independence became a then became a martyr to the cause. He and the defenders of the Alamo will forever be remembered as enduring as symbols of Texan courage and defiance.
And in South Carolina, William Barret Travis will be remembered as the son of the Palmetto State who helped make Texas what it is today.