Susanna Dickinson would probably agree with those who say, “Life in the early days of Texas was an adventure for men and dogs, but hell on women and horses.” Texans and historians will always remember her as the sole adult Anglo survivor that witnessed the massacre at the Battle of the Alamo.
I recently finished reading a novel titled Escape From the Alamo, written by Dac Crossley, a retired professor who lives in Georgia. However, as he says, he’s still “a Texas boy.” To me, he’s a gentleman Western author who writes about Texas Rangers in the Wild Horse Desert of South Texas. His latest novel, though, is different. Without relating the plot, he does mention Mrs. Susanna Dickinson, a survivor of the fall of the Alamo. She was real, just like Davy Crockett and Colonel Travis.
Why was Susanna Dickinson in the Alamo in the first place?
She lived in Gonzales in Mexican Texas with her first husband, Almaron Dickinson. As Antonio López de Santa Anna entered the city, Dickinson reportedly caught up his wife and baby daughter behind his saddle and galloped to the Alamo, just before the enemy started firing. In the Alamo, legend says William B. Travis tied his cat’s-eye ring around Angelina’s neck. Angelina and Susanna survived the final Mexican assault on March 6, 1836.
On March 7, Santa Anna interviewed each of the survivors individually. He was impressed with Mrs. Dickinson and offered to adopt Angelina and have the child educated in Mexico City. Dickinson refused the offer. A few days after the battle, Santa Anna released mother and daughter to act as a messenger to General Sam Houston.
Susanna Dickinson reported that after the battle, the following had occurred during the siege and ultimate fight:
- There were very few casualties before the final assault. She did not know the number.
- She confirms that the legendary “line in the sand” incident, where Col. William Travis gave the defenders the choice of staying or leaving, did happen–but at a different time.
- She hid inside the chapel and did not see the actual battle.
- She saw the body of Davy Crockett between the chapel and the barracks building.
- She saw the body of Jim Bowie with two dead Mexican soldiers lying beside him.
- She was taken to a house where she’d previously lived, and from there could see the pyres of the dead being burned.
- The next day she was taken before Santa Anna, and a soldier convinced Santa Anna to release her rather than imprison her.
- At some point after the battle, she has no recollections, only that she wept for days.
Susanna was a strong woman and a survivor, but the memory of those days would haunt her the rest of her life. She sometimes suffered from what she called her “black days”. She married and divorced 4 more times and is reported to have lived in a brothel for a time before she met and married Mr. Joseph Hannig. She and Hannig had a successful marriage until her death in 1883.
In my most recent release, Texas Promise, the hero is a Texas Ranger, and he marries his childhood friend, Jo Cameron. My novels feature brave, strong willed heroines–such as Susanna Dickinson. I’d love to give away a copy of Texas Promise. This novel is in eBook form. I can send the pdf version, or if I can learn how (oh, this new technology!) I’ll send a copy for your Kindle. P&P will choose a winner.
After two years, Jo Cameron King’s life as a widow abruptly ends when her husband returns home to Austin. Unable to understand her angry and bitter husband, she accepts a call to travel to the New Mexico Territory to meet her dying birth father whom she knows nothing about. Her plan to escape her husband goes awry when he demands to travel with her.
Dalton King, believing lies his Texas Ranger partner tells him about Jo, seethes with hatred toward his wife. Now he must protect Jo from his partner’s twisted mind, while sorting out the truth. Jo’s bravery and loyalty convince him she’s innocent. But can they regain the love and respect they once shared?
Buy Page Link Texas Promise: Book I-The Cameron Sisters:
Thank you Petticoats and Pistols! I enjoyed writing this blog and meeting you.
Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas
53 thoughts on “Susanna Dickinson, the Woman Who Survived the Alamo, by Celia Yeary”
thanks for coming by!
very interesting story about susanna!
love the quote about men and dogs vs women and horses 🙂
love the cover of your book
it sounds very interesting
had to laugh about the technology comment–i’m so behind too!
interesting post. my first one didn’t go through. Lets see if this one does.
Very interesting post! I enjoy reading about anything that includes a strong female and one can never go wrong with the Texas rangers.
I loved seeing the Alamo, although it was much smaller than I always thought it was. Was facinated by the other missions also.
Looking forward to reading Texas Promise.
What a fascinating post!!! I am truly fascinated by the women of the Old West and their incredible stories. Your book sounds wonderful 🙂
Welcome to the Junction, Celia! I love this post. What a terrific woman Susanna was. I spent a few days in San Antonio last spring and walkead through the Alamo and its gardens at least twice a day. What a place. Thanks!
Good morning! I see I’m a little late, and oh so sorry–but I was making pecan pralines, the Never-Fail Kind, and if I don’t follow the recipe to a “t”, well, then, they fail! So far, they’re looking good. Celia
Hi, Tabitha! Yes, some days I feel like my head will explode if I have to learn something new to fiddle with. right now–it’s my new Kindle–let me just say I have not fallen in love with it yet. Celia
Enjoyed reading about Susanna Dickinson. I can not imagine living through the Alamo. It must have been extremely difficult. I love the cover of your book and it certainly sounds intriguing.
I’ll look forward to reading it!!!
CONNIE–yes, every visitor, from far and wide, marvel that it’s so small. Remember the front is actually part of the chapel, and the battle took place out there in the open space.
My little nephew visited there a couple of years ago, and all he could say was, “where’s the real one–the BIG one?” Thanks for your comment! Celia
MELISSA–I, too, love the Women of the West. My books usually have a heroine who is stronger than the hero–which editors have a little problem with. But I am “called”–sort of–to write about the women. Plus, they get to reform the hero! Celia
TANYA–I agree–I always experience a sense of awe that I’m standing on Texas “holy ground.” In addition, I am a Daughter of the Republic of Texas,the organization who cares for the Alamo. Celia
Hi Celia, welcome to P&P. We’re so happy to have you. Susanna Dickinson has always had a fascinating story. She had so much courage and handled the events that happened with such grace and strength. Your book sounds awesome. I love those beautiful bluebonnets on the cover.
I am always fascinated at the way you relay Texas history, Celia. The men and women of Texas are always larger than life in their acts and courage. I very much admire your passion for your home state, and I have high hopes for the sales of your Texas Promise.
SHARON–oh, thank you! I love to hear anything about my books. It was terrible living through it, and as I wrote, this woman suffered the remainder of her life with something that sounds much like PTSD our soldier suffer. She witnessed horrible things. Celia
LINDA–thanks for the welcome! P&P is one of my favorites, even though I read and run much of the time. And I love the cover for Texas Promise, too. The artist did exactly what I asked for. The second in the Cameron Sisters series will have the same cover except covered in Indian Paintbrush. Lovely, I think. Celia
MAGGIE–THANK YOU! There’s a never-ending supply of stories in Texas, as well as other states, too. I, too, hope to sell Texas Promise–it’s my favorite of all my Texas books. I’m editing the last one now, Texas True, about the younger daughter. Then what? Start another series, I guess. Celia
Apple Blossom–thank you for sticking in there. It seems things are working at glacier speed today! Celia
First off I’d like to mention the name of this group ‘rocks’. Love it.
I always thought if I were to come back in another life, it would be the Wild West. Of course I’d be one of the women who wore pants and slept out under the stars.
Very interesting post Celia.The more I get to know you, the more I know I will be in love with your writing.
Thanks for the great post.
Celia, this was such an interesting story and a bit of Texas history I had not heard before. My husband and I were in San Antonio twice. Frst time we drove down to see the Alamo and it was closed so we just walked around it. Lsst time we got to see inside. It felt, like so much of history, to be “holy ground.” I loved your book (and the cover) and can’t wait for the last one in this series to be released. It’s bound to be a winner, too. Linda
ADELLE–you don’t know how much I appreciate you and all you do. Yes, I agree, Petticoats and Pistols is a fantastic group, with a “killer” title. If I were an Old West woman, I’d be whining all day about something! I’m a sissy.
I’m very happy to get to know you, too. Celia
LINDA–thank you, dearest! The Alamo is supposed to be “hallowed ground,” because it’s actually a shrine for out Texas ancestors who died there. Plus, it’s a church. I love it, too, but haven’t visited it in several years.
Thanks for reading my books–we have a mutual admirations society, going here! You know how I feel about yours. Love you–Celia
Thanks for sharing this info on Susanna Dickinson… your book Texas Promise sounds like alot of emotions are involved…
Yes and thank you
You always come up with the very best posts–so interesting and unusual! In school we were always taught there were no survivors. I guess it was easier that way. It was not until years later when I saw the John Wayne version of The Alamo that I thought “Hmmm…what if there were some women and children who made it out of there?” I had a children’s book that I bought for my kids that told the story of Susanna Dickinson and was really good for that age. Her story is just amazing. I imagine she would have those dark times–she lost her husband and saw all that going on around her–and I’m sure she spent several hours wondering if she and the baby would be spared. It’s no wonder her life was troubled ever after that. And how odd that Santa Anna would want to take the child and raise her. To me, that seems like kind of a “trophy” for him in some way. I’m glad she didn’t let him, but it sounds like the baby had none too stable a life with her mother either. Very interesting. I’m so glad you are here with us today!
And of course, you know I love your books. Your characters are just so realistic and “relatable”–(is that a word?)
Wonderful story, Celia. I knew about Susanna Dickinson, but it’s one of those stories I’d forgotten. So nice to have my “rememberer” prodded. 🙂 Your stories are rich with the strong Texas folks like I remember; some family, and others in my hometown.
Colleen–oh, yes, it’s chock full of high emotions. Lots of tension. Thanks for reading about Susanna. Celia
We visited the Alamo last year. I remember reading there were women and children survivors, but nothing more specific. What a terrible time for all of them. It is understandable that she found it so difficult to settle down after her experience. I am sure she was suffering from what we now consider Post Traumatic Stress. She just needed to find the special man who could understand and help her.
Like the sound of TEXAS PROMISE. Misunderstandings and lies make for good plot elements. I hope its release is going well.
CHERYL–thanks for the big welcome! Remember Dac Crossley on Sweethearts of the West the other day? His latest book is called “Escape from the Alamo,” and he told me just what you said you wondered–“what if someone did escape,” and his imagination took off with his character Possum.
The baby who survived had a really rough life as she grew up. In fact, she died in early adulthood, maybe thirty years old. Her story is another one altogether, not too pleasant, but it’s true. At first, I had a little in my post about her, but I thought…no, this is Susanna’s story. The daughter will have her day. Hope you’re feeling better! A cold is a real bummer! Celia
joyce–YES, I remember you’re a Texan, too. I never knew most of these stories as I grew up, only Davy Crockett, basically. But I learned to love Texas History as a young adult. Now, I can’t get enough of it. Celia
PATRICIA–I agree with everything you said. Her “black days” did sound like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, after all, she suffered there from everything she saw..And yes, the book is doing well. The fourth…and last…of my Texas series will be out in April. I think I’d better write a little faster! Celia
Love the post. I do genealogy at the library I work at and the most fascinating “not famous” people pop up. Each one could be their own novel. Love the post and can’t wait to read the book and from a Yankee to the great state of Texas – “God Bless Texas” LOL
Hi Celia, wow this was a fascinating post! I really love history and you totally made it come alive for me! What a great site. Good luck with your writing. Hugs, Regina
Very interesting post!
I’m looking forward to reading Texas Promise.
Linda #3–yes, we’ve had three Lindas today. You’re so right that many “not famous” people have wonderful stories. It’s an endless supply. And from a Texan to a Yankee–I hope you like the book! Celia
REGINA–thanks for the comments and the hugs! I always need hugs, even if they’re on-line. And yes, this is a wonderful site. Visit often–they always have something interesting. Celia
ESTELLA–thank you! I hope you enjoy Texas Promise and Jo’s story. Thanks for the comment–Celia
Hi Celia– Since my recent trip to Amarillo, I am very interested in stories about Texas. Thank you for a great story about a woman who deserves to be a novel heroine.
Oh, hi, Mona–wow, you’re really stepping out of your element! Your novels are so sophisticated and internaitonal–but, hey, we can fit you in Texas–we have big hearts! Thanks, friend–Celia
Celia – fascinating about Susanna D. I read a Paul Hutton article – Susannah confirmed the line in the sand, kinda. Reportedly, she said there was a chance to choose – leave or stay – but wasn’t sure if an actual line was drawn. She did confirm Moses Rose (she called him “Ross”). William Groneman recently claimed that “there was no evidence of Rose.” Groneman is a denier anyway. I’m curious about the brothel story.
Hi, Dac–I’m glad to see you here among all these lovely authors who live and breathe Western Historical Romance. If I need any sort of research about South Texas, the Rangers, or the Alamo, I’ll know whom to ask. Yes, Susanna confirmed there was a line in the sand, but at a different time than was reported. Really, you can find all kinds of articles concerning speculation about the events at the Alamo. Guess what? One I found said Davey Crockett might have escaped the Alamo! Thanks for your input–Celia
She sounds like a classic case of PTSD, the poor woman, with those Black Days. But she was a survivor and an amazing woman. I hope you find a way to work her into a book or two!
Hi, Liana–She must have really suffered mentally and emotionally. Santa Anna released her with instructions to “spread the word that there were no survivors at the Alamo.” I guess she did her job. Actually, books have been written about her, and she’s been in a couple of novels, too.
I always appreciate your thoughtful comments. Celia
I enjoyed your post about Susanna Dickinson. How sad she suffered so much after witnessing the tragedy at the Alamo. I agree with Cheryl – you always write such interesting posts on your blog and your guest blogs. Thanks for sharing Susanna’s story. I can see why you enjoy writing about strong heroines surviving in the West. Your female characters always exhibit remarkable strength and are memorable.
Hi Celia and P&P,
I always enjoy your posts and learn something. This one was no exception. Susanna sounds like a remarkable woman doing what it took to survive back then. How brave of her to tell Santa Anna ‘no’ when he wanted her child.
Celia, Your post confirmed what I’ve always been too lazy to research–Susanna Dickinson and her daughter really existed. I appreciate the info and am awed by her fortitude. Congrats again on TEXAS PROMISE. Great cover!
Celia,wow, wonderful post. I vaguely recall Susanna Dickinson from reading history books. However, you’ve brought her to life in my memory. If you’re human who wouldn’t be completely devastated by living through that horrific battle? I can only admire her courage and resolve for living her life the best way she could.
What a great post! Your books sound great, I love books set in Texas
Thanks, Diane–yes, she was one of those strong women who helped settle Texas. Even though she had a rough time, she eventually found a man who appreciated her. I love your comments–Celia
REBECCA–yes, I suspect it would hard to say “no” to Gen. Santa Anna. But I always heard he loved the women,so obviously he had a soft spot. Thanks so much for you comment–Celia
SANDY–she did indeed exist. She bcame a messenger for Santa Anna, spreading the word about no survivors. I’m not sure how good she felt about that, though! Thanks for coming by–Celia
SAVANNA–I don’t think the woman ever had it easy–plus her daughter died in early adulthood. rough life. Thank you for commenting–Celia
QUILT LADY–Oh, thank you!Celia
Where did she work I mean I am doing a class projet with my friends and we need to know that contact me
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