Commandancy of the Alamo at Bexar
February 24, 1836
To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world
Fellow citizens and compatriots:
I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a
continual Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy
has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword if
the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves
proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of
liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with
all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three
or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain
myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own
honor and that of his country. VICTORY OR DEATH.
William Barret Travis
P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels
of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20
or 30 head of Beeves.
|The Six Flags of Texas
States of America
The pecan is the state tree of Texas. The sentiment that led to its official adoption
probably grew out of the request of Gov. James Stephen Hogg that a pecan tree be
planted at his grave. (Acts of 1919, 36th Legislature, regular session, p. 155; also
Acts of 1927, 40th Legislature, p. 234.)
The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet, also called buffalo clover, wolf flower
and el conejo (the rabbit). The bluebonnet was adopted as the state flower, on
request of the Society of Colonial Dames in Texas, by the 27th Legislature, 1901.
(See acts of regular session, p. 232.) The original resolution designated Lupinus
subcarnosus as the state flower, but a resolution (HCR 44) signed March 8, 1971, by
Gov. Preston Smith provided legal status as the state flower of Texas for "Lupinus
Texensis and any other variety of bluebonnet."
The mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is the state bird of Texas, adopted by the
Legislature at the request of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs. (Acts of 1927,
40th Legislature, regular session, p. 486.)
State Air Force
The Commemorative Air Force, based in Midland at the Midland International Airport,
was proclaimed the official air force of Texas by the 71st Legislature in 1989.
The Brachiosaur Sauropod, Pleurocoelus, was designated the official state dinosaur
by the 75th Legislature in 1997.
Chili was proclaimed the Texas state dish by the 65th Texas Legislature in 1977.
State Fiber and Fabric
Cotton was designated the official state fiber and fabric by the 75th Legislature in
The Guadalupe bass, a member of the genus Micropterus within the sunfish family,
was named the official state fish of Texas by the 71st Legislature in 1989. It is one of
a group of fish collectively known as black bass.
State Folk Dance
The square dance was designated the official state folk dance by the 72nd
Legislature in 1991.
The Texas red grapefruit was designated the official state fruit by the 73rd
Legislature in 1993.
Texas blue topaz, the official Texas gem, is found in the Llano uplift area, especially
west to northwest of Mason. It was designated by the 61st Legislature in 1969.
Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), a native grass found on many different
soils, was designated by the 62nd Legislature as the state grass of Texas in 1971.
The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was designated the state insect by the
74th Legislature in 1995.
The armadillo was designated the state small mammal; the longhorn was designated
the state large mammal; and the Mexican free-tailed bat was designated the state
flying mammal by the 74th Legislature in 1995.
State Musical Instrument
The guitar was named the official musical instrument of Texas by the 75th
Legislature in 1997.
State Native Pepper
The chiltepin was named the official state native pepper of Texas by the 75th
Legislature in 1997.
The jalapeño pepper was designated the official state pepper by the 74th Legislature
The prickly pear cactus was designated the official state plant by the 74th
Legislature in 1995.
The Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) was named the state reptile of
Texas by the 73rd Legislature in 1993.
The lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi) was named the official state shell by
the 70th Legislature in 1987. One of the few shells that open on the left side, the
lightning whelk is named for its colored stripes. It is found only on the Gulf Coast.
The battleship Texas was designated the official state ship by the 74th Legislature in
The crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was designated the official state shrub by
the 75th Legislature in 1997.
Rodeo was named the official sport of Texas by the 75th Legislature in 1997.
Petrified palmwood, found in Texas principally in counties near the Texas Gulf Coast,
was designated the official state stone by the 61st Legislature in March 1969.
The Texas Bluebonnet Tartan was named the official state tartan by the 71st Texas
Legislature in 1989.
The Texas sweet onion was designated the official state vegetable by the 75th
Legislature in 1997.
Information provided by 2007 Texas Almanac
|The Spindletop oilfield was discovered on a salt dome formation south of Beaumont in eastern Jefferson
County on January 10, 1901. It marked the birth of the modern petroleum industry.
The Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company, formed in August 1892 by George W. O'Brien, George
W. Carroll, Pattillo Higgins, Emma E. John, and J. F. Lanier, was the first company to drill on Spindletop Hill.
Three shallow attempts, beginning in 1893 and using cable-tool drilling equipment were unsuccessful; Lanier
and Higgins had left the company by 1895.
Anthony F. Lucas, the leading US expert on salt dome formations, made a lease with the Gladys City Company
in 1899. Higgins and Lucas made a separate agreement a month later. With Lucas in charge of the drilling
operation, another attempt was made on the John Allen Veatch survey on Gladys City Company lands. Lucas
was able to drill to a depth of 575 feet before running out of money. He was also having great difficulty with the
tricky sands of the salt dome. Despite the negative reports from contemporary geologists, Lucas remained
convinced that oil was in the salt domes of the Gulf Coast.
He finally secured the assistance of John H. Galey and James M. Guffey of Pittsburg. Much of the Guffey and
Galey support was financed in turn by the Mellon interest. The terms of the deal left Higgins and Lucas with
only a small share of the potential profits. Nonetheless, Lucas pressed ahead in his effort to vindicate his
theories. Galey and Guffey played a crucial role by bringing in Al and Curt Hamill, an experienced drilling team
from Corsicana. Lucas spudded in a well on October 27, 1900, on McFaddin-Wiess and Kyle land that
adjoined the Gladys City Company lands. A new heavier and more efficient rotary type bit was used.
From October to January 1901, Lucas and the Hamills struggled to overcome the difficult oil sands, which had
stymied previous drilling efforts. On January 10 mud began bubbling from the hole. The startled roughnecks
fled as six tons of four-inch drilling pipe came shooting up out of the ground. After several minutes of quiet,
mud, then gas, then oil spurted out. The Lucas geyser, found at a depth of 1,139 feet, blew a stream of oil
over 100 feet high until it was capped nine days later and flowed an estimated 100,000 barrels a day.
Lucas and the Hamills finally controlled the geyser on January 19, when a huge pool of oil surrounded it, and
throngs of oilmen, speculators, and onlookers had transformed the city of Beaumont. A new age was born. The
world had never seen such a gusher before. By September 1901 there were at least six successful wells on
Gladys City Company lands.
Wild speculation drove land prices around Spindletop to incredible heights. One man who had been trying to
sell his tract there for $150 for three years sold his land for $20,000; the buyer promptly sold to another
investor within fifteen minutes for $50,000. One well, representing an initial investment of under $10,000, was
sold for $1,250,000.
Beaumont's population rose from 10,000 to 50,000. Legal entanglements and multimillion-dollar deals became
almost commonplace. An estimated $235 million had been invested in oil that year in Texas; while some had
made fortunes, others lost everything.
The overabundance of wells at Spindletop led to a rapid decline in production. After yielding 17,500,000
barrels of oil in 1902, the Spindletop wells were down to 10,000 barrels a day in February 1904. Deposits from
the shallow Miocene caprock seemed to diminish, but the Spindletop oilfield had not yet dried out.
A second boom came when Marrs McLean speculated that production could be found on the flanks of the
dome. Miles F. Yount also believed more oil was present at deeper depths. Their convictions proved correct;
on November 13, 1925, the Yount-Lee Oil Company brought in a flank well drilled to 5,400 feet. This and other
discoveries on the flanks of the salt dome set off another speculative boom. The Gladys City Company
participated with the Yount-Lee Oil Company and others in this second boom. Although this second wave was
more controlled than the first, competition was keen; one particular one-acre tract sold for $200,000.
By 1927 Spindletop production reached its all-time annual high of 21,000,000 barrels. Within five years
60,000,000 barrels had been produced, largely from the new-found deeper Marginulin sands of the flank wells.
Additional deposits were found in the Midway (Eocene) formations in 1951. Over 153,000,000 barrels of oil
had been produced from the Spindletop fields by 1985.
The discovery of the Spindletop oilfield had an almost incalculable effect on world history, as well as Texas
history. Eager to find similar deposits, investors spent billions of dollars throughout the Lone Star state in
search of oil and natural gas. The cheap fuel they found helped to revolutionize American transportation and
Storage facilities, pipelines, and major refining units were built in the Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sabine Pass, and
Orange areas around Spindletop. By 1902 there were more than 500 Texas corporations doing business in
Beaumont. Many of the major oil companies were born at Spindletop or grew to major corporate size as a
result of their involvement at Spindletop. The Texas Company (later Texaco), Gulf Oil Corporation, Sun Oil
Company, Magnolia Petroleum Company, and Humble (later Exxon Company, U.S.A.) were a few of the major
The Spindletop oilfield again boomed in the 1950s, with the production of sulphur by Texas Gulf Sulphur
Company (later Texasgulf ), until about 1975. Salt-brine extraction became a lucrative operation in the 1950s.
In 1963-66 even deeper oil production was achieved with an average depth of 9,000 feet. The old field
continued in the 1990s to yield very limited oil production in the form of stripper wells and salt brine production.
Some parts of the salt dome cavities were being developed as storage facilities for petroleum products.
In commemoration of the importance of the development of Spindletop oilfield, a Texas pink granite monument
was erected in 1941 near the site of the Lucas gusher. The withdrawal of oil, sulphur, and brine from beneath
the surface, however, caused the Spindletop dome to subside, and the monument was moved to the recreated
Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum across the highway on the Lamar University campus at Beaumont.
The Gladys City Company, as well as many major oil companies, continued to reap the benefit of their
involvement in the discovery of the Spindletop oilfield.
|Travis' Letter from the Alamo
February 24, 1836
|Texas State Symbols