Heroes You Long For . . .
Tessa is giving away an e-copy of Castillo’s Fiery Texas Rose and a signed, print copy of Tejas Conspiracy Incident at Cold Creek. So be sure to leave a comment!
In the vast canvas of my imagination, nothing stands larger than the western landscape. The endless horizon provides a home for the thousands of wandering stars just waiting for a cowpoke or a cowgirl to lasso and dream large. The magic of the west seems to palpitate from its borders, drawing in all who will listen. Of course, I’m talking about the great state of Texas.
Long ago its siren song called to a young Virginian from Wythe County named Stephen Austin. Armed with a ‘sitio’a grant to colonize for mining from the Spanish government, he made his way to the area between San Antonio and Brazos River. After exploring the land all the way to the Gulf Coast, he returned and let his elegant words describing the golden land speak for themselves. For just twelve and a half cents an acre, a family of four could receive 1280 acres, farmers a mere 177 acres, and ranchers 4,428. This was the stuff of dreams, considering the wave of foreclosures and bank failures that plagued our burgeoning nation. As lands failed because of lack of crop rotation, farmers seeking to avoid debtors’ prison packed up and carved three letters into the doorway, fence posts, or barn doors. Those letters would lead to colonization of Tejas and later a revolution – GTT – Gone To Texas.
As the years progressed, many residents of the Lone Star State complained about the newest residents. In 1857, Fredrick Law Olmstead wrote in his book, A Journey Through Texas, that, “….residents of other states appended the initials to name every rascal who stepped out, and that in Texas, many newcomers were suspected of having left home for some ‘discreditable reason.’ ” These reasons are the stuff dreams and romance are hung on. Even today, if you can prove to be a direct descendant who came to Texas prior to 1886, you can apply for a certificate appropriately called, Gone To Texas Pioneer.