The Legend of the Easter Fires.

Each year. the residents of Fredericksburg, Texas enjoy a tradition that began with the town’s founding in 1847.  On the night before Easter, residents dress up as settlers, Comanches, and Easter bunnies to commemorate a peace treaty the town signed in 1847.

When the early German settlers arrived, they were greeted by a harsh land full of fierce native people.  The Comanches were not happy with this latest intrusion on their territory–and for good reason. They had experienced violent encounters with immigrants moving in from the East and Mexico from the West

It didn’t take long for the German settlers to realize that if they wanted to survive, their first job was to strike a treaty with the Comanches. As such a thing had never before been accomplished, it must have seemed like a daunting task.

Just before Easter, the town’s founders rode over the hill to negotiate with tribe leaders, leaving women and children behind. 

While the men were away, Comanches scouts stood atop the hills surrounding the town. Even scarier, they sent up smoke signals. 

Not knowing what had happened to their men, the women feared the worse. This caused a near panic in the town, especially among the children who were convinced of an attack.

According to legend, one woman came up with a story that calmed everyone down. The fires, she said, had been started by the Easter bunny so he could boil his eggs to deliver the next day.  

Not long after that, the men returned, treaty in hand. it was a unique treaty struck by the two different cultures, and it turned out well for both sides. It is reportedly the only North American Indian treaty not to be violated by either party. 

Now, every year, the town celebrates the occasion with church bells, bonfires, and pageantry.   

What is your favorite Easter or Passover tradition?

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Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

30 thoughts on “The Legend of the Easter Fires.”

    • Janice, I always loved getting a new Easter outfit for my boys were little, and of course, that gave me an excuse to buy something for myself. I couldn’t have them looking all handsome and me not looking spiffed up too.

  1. Cool story.

    We always go to church, if able. The kids love decorating the Easter eggs and having an Easter egg hunt.

    • Denise, that’s one thing I miss right now–in person church services. For me, online services just aren’t the same, especially on holy days such as Easter and Christmas.

    • Janine, that’s what we’ll be doing, too, but it’s just not the same. I miss the interaction and the swell of the music reverberating through me. Hopefully someday soon it will be safe to worship in person again.

      • I agree, it’s not the same as being there. There are so many things I miss about going to church every Sunday. There is an elderly woman who would sit by me and we would always talk before service while my husband volunteered as a door greeter. I have been staying in touch with her through emails and sending cards.

  2. When I was a child we colored eggs and went to the my grandmothers house for a big Easter egg hunt and we also went to church for the egg hunt. My so did this too. But now with know young children around I don’t even get to color eggs anymore. I kind of miss it.

  3. When my children were young I would get them a basket with very little candy and something they might need or want. With grandchildren we would decorate and color eggs. Now that most of them have grown, I go to church.

  4. What a fantastic story! I’m familiar with Fredericksburg, having written a novel set there, and having visited many times, but I never knew that! Thanks for the education, Margaret.

  5. I just moved to Texas last month and our family is going to Fredericksburg this summer! Now I know a little history before we go there! Thanks!

  6. I love this story, Margaret!!

    Our Easter tradition in addition to dinner is our Easter egg hunt. I have 10 grandkids, so hubby and I fill a lot of eggs. Even the older kids get a turn.

    One year, my daughter gave me a special Easter egg after the hunt, bigger than the others. Inside, was an ultrasound photo of her baby-to-come. What a fun way to let us all know she was pregnant!!

  7. It’s always a tradition to go to church and then hunt for Easter eggs and we always do Easter baskets with gifts and candy for the kids.

  8. Margaret, what a great post! I’ve never heard that story before. When I first read the tradition, that the night before Easter they dressed up as settlers, Comanches, I thought, WHAT? But once I read your post, I was amazed by the mom’s ingenuity! What a lovely tradition.

  9. Margaret, what a great story–and a very happy ending! I didn’t know about this treaty–so interesting! That mom really used her brain and calmed things down.

    When I was growing up, of course, like everyone else I knew, we got a new dress, usually new shoes, and back then a hat of some kind. Also white gloves! It was great–so exciting, and of course, the Easter Bunny came. We did that for our kids, too, but they didn’t have any cousins their age like I had growing up to hunt Easter eggs with. Now, I still try to get them something special for Easter and we do try to get together for a big meal and visiting. I’m looking forward to this year, since we’ve not seen much of them this year due to COVID.

  10. When my girls were little…I am the mother of FOUR daughters….I would color coordinate their easter baskets.
    Different color baskets
    Different color candies.
    Different color bunnies
    Pink, yellow and blue seemed easy but then it’d get hard. Purple? Green? I’d have to figure out which candies had which colors and try to get enough in Fun-Sized candy bags in that tricky fourth color.
    I’d put matching ribbons on the basket. Sometimes tuck in a candle or lotion or hair bows, whatever I could find that matched. It was the Martha Stewart-est thing I ever did.

    Sorting the small candies, snickers, whatever…those all come wrapped in Easter colors…was the most fun. Nothing like playing with mounds of candy. And of course SOME of the colors didn’t match. So I was forced to EAT THEM

  11. I like to start Easter Sunday off by listening to Dolly Parton sing He’s Alive, and then go to Easter services at church. When I was much younger, we always got new outfits for Easter Sunday, and I kept that going when I was older and working. Now, I’ve stopped that, because it’s so hard for me to find clothes I like for church!

      • yes, I think so! I’ve heard it by at least 3 different people, but I really love Dolly’s (probably because hers was the first time I heard it!) and she’s got sooo much energy behind it! It’s not Easter for me until I hear her sing it, and also I love the Road to Emmaus on Easter.

  12. Growing up, my sister and I always got a new store bought dress, gloves, shoes, socks, sometimes a purse and hat. We always colored eggs, and then had egg hunts all day long. We didn’t get candy, but my mom always made a bunny cake that was a special treat for us kids.

  13. Thank you for sharing this about Fredericksburg , I had no idea, it sure is a cute little town and we have stopped there many times, but I did not know this. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love Easter , I will be listening to Mass from our local church on the internet. I always fix little baskets for my grandchildren just like I did for my 2 kiddos. I still get them all a little something. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. “Easter Blessings” to you and your family.

  14. Now all I’m going to have in my head the rest of the day are Comanches, settlers and big Easter bunnies sitting around a fire swapping tales. Interesting history, Margaret. Thanks for sharing! I’ve always wanted to see Fredericksburg. This makes me want to visit it even more!

  15. Margaret, I’ve spent time down in Fredericksburg and love the town. I absolutely adore this blog and story. Oh I wish I’d known it when we had little ones. Love it! Thanks for sharing. Hugs Phyliss

  16. An interesting tradition we discovered when we moved to Northeast TN – The Peters Hallow Egg Fight. They celebrate their 198th year this year. It all started when “the famers of Peters Hollow and Rome Hollow had to find a way to settle their controversy over whose hens laid the hardest eggs. The two sides chose to settle the dispute by combat, agreeing to meet on neutral ground at the community of Pinhook on Easter Sunday 1823 and have it out…..First of all, only hard-boiled chicken eggs are allowed. In the past, contestants could bring as much ammunition as they can carry. Today, each adult contestant is limited to six dozen dyed eggs. The contestants now draw numbers and sit in a circle, tapping the eggs of the contestants on the left and right until one of the eggs crack. The circle gets smaller and the action faster as the contestant exhaust their 72 eggs. It’s a good-natured fight involving children so young they can just barely grasp a hen’s egg and lifelong residents in their 90s who would never miss the chance to compete. There will be four separate contests this year. The first group is for newborns to 3 years old. After that, children from ages 4-6 will get cracking. The third contest is for older children, from 7-12. The final and the biggest contest is for everybody else, with a minimum age of 13. Trophies are traditionally presented for the champion and runner-up in each division”
    It acts as a family reunion for the Peters family, but anyone can participate. It is a variation of the family feuds here in the Appalachian Mountains, but much safer and more fun than the Hatfields and the McCoys.

  17. We enjoy making picked eggs as well as beef and onion cheeseballs. We do not have any children or grandchildren. We have an Easter dinner.

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