Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Battle of the Alamo, Part I

[Note: This is part one of a 2-part series on the Battle of the Alamo.  Though the Alamo isn't mentioned in Part I, the events leading up to the Battle are summarized here.  The debut of the Alamo will be in Part II.]                    

A Rocky Start for a New Republic
After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, there was a lot of political unrest. While the government was set-up as a constitutional monarchy, there were those that still wanted a federal republic. This struggle lent itself nicely to those with “ruler” aspirations to assert their own personal agendas, and these agendas weren't always in the Mexican citizens' best interests [to say the least]. The first ruler of Mexico was [the self-appointed] Emperor Iturbide I who would soon abdicate his throne in 1823, but not before granting Stephen F. Austin's request for the new Mexican government to recognize the Spanish land grant that was left to him after his father's [Moses Austin's] death. However when Iturbide abdicated, a republican congress was elected by Mexican citizens and they nullified all of Iturbide's acts during his reign. Luckily though, Austin and his very diplomatic and friendly ways had made some friends in Congress during his stay in Mexico City and in April 1823, he was on his way back to Tejas to settle his colony. [More of the Austin family's story can be found here.]

A Familiar-Looking Document is Created
In 1824, this republican congress also created the Constitution of 1824 which was heavily based on the United States Constitution except for the whole freedom of religion “thing”. Mexico made the Roman Catholic Church the official and legal church of the Republic of Mexico. Also, states were recognized in Mexico, but their roles were not explicit causing the constitution to be ambiguous and thus considered liberal, or permissive. It created a weak president elected by strong state legislators. It had a strong federal framework and not a centralized government. The Constitution of 1824 also combined the territory of Tejas with the state of Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas [...not very original]. The citizens of the state of Tejas were not exactly excited about this because they had been advocating for separate statehood. However, Congress did indicate that they could apply later to be a separate state when the population had increased. The capitol of Tejas then moved from San Antonio to Saltillo and then later to Monclova. [See map below.] This really alarmed the Tejanos [Tejas citizens of Mexican heritage] and the Texians [Tejas citizens of mostly American heritage] because their seat of government was getting further and further away [which usually leads to a disconnect between government and its citizens].

View Leading Up To Revolution in a larger map

The Floodgates Are Opened
Another very important govermental action made by Congress was the passage of the General Colonization Law, which allowed heads of households who were citizens and/or immigrants to Mexico to claim land. Mexico at the time was hurting for money due to the expense of fighting for its independence from Spain. Therefore, they did not have enough military to fight off the Comanche and Apache Native Americans who executed hostile raids in Tejas. In hopes of having colonists fend off the Native Americans, they literally opened the floodgates of immigration to Mexico and especially to the state of Coahuila y Tejas. However, like most laws it had some rules attached to it.  For example, the new immigrants had to learn Spanish, had to convert to Roman Catholicism, and had to become Mexican citizens. In most areas, these rules were both ignored by the colonists and not usually enforced by local officials. [...and remember their seat of government wasn't exactly close by.]

The Six Flags of Texas ~ The Nine Flags of Nacogdoches
There were 3 failed rebellions for the Independence of Tejas. Two were before Mexico's independence from Spain: the Magee-Gutierrez Expedition in 1812 and the Dr. James Long Rebellion [the husband of Jane Long, the “Mother of Texas”] in 1819. The third was after the independence of Mexico in 1826: the Fredonia Rebellion. All three were located in the Nacogdoches area and [I find this surprising] all three had their own flags. As mentioned on a previous post about Nacogdoches, a total of nine flags have flown over it, while only six flags have flown over Texas [you know, like the amusement park, the Six Flags of Texas?].

Trouble Is A-brewin'
In 1829, it was becoming apparent that there was trouble brewing in Tejas concerning the colonists. The Anglo colonists [those who spoke English] were outnumbering the Mexican-born colonists, and Anastacio Bustamente, a dictator [and thus, a centralist], who had ousted the previous president of the Mexican Republic, wanted to send a representative to Tejas to see the effects of the General Colonization Law. He sent General Manuel Mier y Teran to check it out. Well, he discovered that the colonists were not assimilating into Mexican culture. They weren't speaking Spanish; they weren't converting to Catholicism or if they had, they weren't practicing it; they weren't agreeing to be naturalized; and most importantly, they weren't obeying the slave reforms that had been passed by the state.  These problems with the colonists; the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826; and the 2 proposals made by the United States to purchase Tejas in 1827 for $1 million and in 1829 for $5 million, concerned Bustamente a great deal. In order to “control” the immigration that had become out of hand, Bustamente carried out a few more laws as follows:

  • Foremost, with slavery being officially outlawed in Mexico in 1829 and with the non-compliance by the colonists, Bustamente issued an order on 6 Apr 1830 for Tejas to comply with the emancipation proclamation, or they would suffer a military attack. To go around this law, many of the Anglo-Americans made their slaves indentured servants.
  • Bustamente also rescinded the property tax law which had up until now allowed colonists a 10-year exemption for new settlements.  
  • He increased tariffs on imports entering Mexico from the U.S., which made the costs of living go up for the colonists.
  • He changed the control of settlement contracts from the state level to the federal level & required all colonies to have at least 150 inhabitants, or they'd be canceled.
  • He cut-off all immigration from the United States to Tejas. [Interestingly, they were still welcome to settle in other parts of Mexico.]
  • He ordered new military garrisons to be set-up in Tejas, which he was hoping would encourage Mexicans to settle in the area. Unfortunately, though, these garrisons would be partly staffed by convicts. [I guess his prisons needed some cleaning, too.] These convicts would be given land grants in Tejas after their military service was complete.

A New Culture Is Forming...
It would be fair to say at this point [if you are, indeed, still reading] that not all the colonists were of American heritage nor were they all slave owners. There were also colonists of Mexican heritage, but as mentioned before, the Americans outnumbered the Mexicans in Tejas. In Teran's report to Bustamente on the effects of the immigration law, he indicated that he was not against immigration, but that there needed to be some more balance between the two entities. Also, he was in favor of and in fact encouraged placing new military garrisons in Tejas. However, Bustamente, was worried about the lack of control. He had wanted the Anglo colonists to “handle” the Comanches and the Apaches, but he had not intended for the American culture to take hold in Tejas. Putting aside for a moment the issue of human rights and decency, however right he was on the enforcement of the emancipation proclamation [which he most certainly was], most citizens of all the states in Mexico were caught up in the political unrest of the time.  Both sides had a responsibility to the emancipation of slaves.  The colonists should have freed them, and the government [who had oftentimes looked away on this issue] should have enforced the laws that they had made.  Also because of this political unrest in Mexico between the federalists [those who advocated for less centralized government] and the centralists [who obviously advocated for a more centralized government and who were throwbacks to the constitutional monarchy], the other states of Mexico were worried about the increasing centralism in Bustamente's dictatorship. There had practically been revolts in Mexico since its independence from Spain in 1821, and in 9 years Mexico had had, according to George McAlister's book The Battle of the Alamo: The Price For Freedom, one “emperor and eleven presidents – one a self-styled dictator,” referring to Bustamente. So, federalists in all states of Mexico were worried about these laws and Bustamente's quickness and strictness in implementing them all at the same time.

Did Someone Mention, “Dictator?”
Speaking of “dictators,” one had been rising up in the ranks of first the Spanish Royal Army, then after seeing that the Mexican insurgence was working, he quickly switched to the other side during the Mexican Revolution. His name was Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and this kind of “hopping-around-always-looking-for-a-better-personal-opportunity” would become a habit for Santa Anna. Federalists of all states were concerned about Bustamente and how much his “rule” was moving away from the ideals of the Constitution of 1824, and this led to more unrest. In turn, this unrest allowed Santa Anna to take up the federalists' side and he ousted Bustamente with the support of the federalists throughout Mexico including the colonists of Tejas in 1832. However Santa Anna, always on the look-out for an opportunity, would soon switch to the other side and become not only an advocate of a centralized government, but a very ruthless dictator who would forever change the history of Mexico as a whole, Tejas, and the United States.

Part II: The changes that Santa Anna makes in the Mexican government that sets off a battle that had been long in the making...[stay tuned].

The Online Handbook of Texas

McAlister, George A. Alamo ---The Price of Freedom: A History of Texas. San Antonio: Docutex, Inc, 1988.

Constitution of 1824 [English]

Constitution of 1824 [Spanish]

Various documentaries, lectures, tours, and classes the author has participated in over a 20-year period. [Who knew that college class I took, Political Systems of Latin America would come in handy?]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Mother of Texas

And the Mother of Texas is...

Jane Long

Jane Long is known as the "Mother of Texas."  Why?  Now that's a good question.  According to the Online Handbook of Texas, Jane was given this title  for giving birth to one of her children on Bolivar Peninsula, even though she wasn't the first English-speaking woman to give birth in Texas or on Bolivar Peninsula.  So, how did she get this title?  [Hm.]  Could it be who she knew?  Possibly.  Her husband was Dr. James Long of the "Dr. James Long's Rebellion" fame.  [This is one of the 3 failed rebellions that proceeded Texas' fight and win for independence.]  Also, Jane was to have dined at one time with Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate [but not the pirate from my family tree] on the Bolivar Peninsula.  Also, years after her husband's accidental death in Mexico City in 1822, it's rumored that she was courted by the likes of Ben Milam, Sam Houston, and Mirabeau B. Lamar.  [Wow.  Not many can say that, if the rumor was true.]

She was given a league of land from the empresario Stephen F. Austin in 1824 that was located in Ft. Bend County, though she didn't live there until 1837.  She operated 2 boarding houses: one in Brazoria in 1832 and one on her league of land in 1837.  She sold a portion of her original league of land to Robert F. Handy, a developer of the town of Richmond in Fort Bend County, Texas.  Jane not only operated a boarding house on her league of land, she developed a plantation as well.  According to the Handbook, she "bought and sold land, raised cattle, and grew cotton." I dare say she was an overachiever, which brings me to the reason that I think she was called the "Mother of Texas."  Could it be that she earned this moniker not from birthing a child on a peninsula, but perhaps earned it through losing her husband in the pre-fight for independence, the loss of 2 of her children, her support of the community of what would become Richmond, Ft. Bend County along with the support she gave the people in her boarding houses, and the obvious business woman that was?  I don't know about you, but I think the latter is the reason she's called the "Mother of Texas." [Of course, I "penned" it, so I'm biased...]

Below are photos of the Long-Smith Cottage that she owned.  Later, Thomas Jefferson Smith [...with that name, I'm glad I don't have to research his ancestry...], a survivor of the Goliad Massacre, lived in the home.  The home has been restored to the 1860's upper-middle class with many of Jane Long's antiques and is is now located on the grounds of the Fort Bend Museum where it was moved to.  Enjoy!  Also, visit my companion blog Family Stories in Stone for Jane Long's tombstone in Morton Cemetery.

Long Smith Cottage

Long Smith Cottage Inside 1

Long Smith Cottage Inside 3

Long Smith Cottage Inside 2

1. Online Handbook of Texas
2. The Fort Bend Museum Association
3. All photos taken by Caroline Pointer.  
4. All collages designed by Caroline Pointer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

They Were First

A Great Day Trip
A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor called me up to see if the kids and I wanted to go to the Fort Bend County Museum and the Morton Cemetery in Richmond, Texas
After about half a second of thinking, I replied, "Yes!"  [How cool of a Cajun neighbor do I have?]  We all had a great time touring historic homes that contained many beautiful antiques.  The little museum was a pleasant surprise in this sleepy town.  From the outside you'd never imagine what is packed inside of it.  Between the museum, the historic homes, and the Morton Cemetery, I took a ton of pictures [and we didn't even tour all of the homes in Richmond].  Some pictures are of official registered landmarks and some tell an important part of our Texas history.  There are so many to share that I've broken them down into more "easily-digested" pieces. Plus, I'll share the tombstone and cemetery pictures on my companion blog, "Family Stories in Stone." [I've already shared some here.]


The Museum & The "Old 300"
As I mentioned before, the museum was a pleasant surprise.  It may be small, but it packs a big "punch" as far as Texas history is concerned.  It starts off with an exhibit of Stephen F. Austin [a.k.a. Father of Texas], and his "Old 300."  I've mentioned him before on a previous post.  He followed his father to Texas, where his dad procured a Spanish land grant, but then shortly thereafter, he died.  After a few "hiccups" [mainly Mexico winning its inependence from Spain in 1821] Stephen F. Austin finished the job, and the rest, as they say, is Texas history.  According to the Handbook of Texas Online and the museum exhibit, Austin [now an "empresario" a.k.a. an immigration promoter] divvied up the land grant then actively recruited his first group of colonists from the United States from about 1822-1824.  A lesser known fact is that there were actually 297 grantees not 300, not counting Austin's own grant.  [I guess I'm not the only one who likes "round" numbers.  The "Old 297" just doesn't have the same ring to it either...]  The grants were family grants, so in order for Austin to allow single men into the colony, they had to be issued to partnerships of two men [who would further divide up the land between them].  Also, there were 9 families that received 2 land grants.  The only stipulation was that the grantees had to have the land improved within 2 years of grant issuance, and most were able to comply [only 7 grants were forfeited].  Each farming family received one "labor" [or abt. 177 acres], and each ranching family received one "sitio" [or abt. 4428 acres].  [If I had been those colonists, I would've said I was a rancher...]  Actually, according to the Handbook of Texas Online, some did do this, even though they had never ranched before.  Hey, it came with waterfront property on the Brazos River "equal to about one-fourth" of the land grant's length.  For those who have no clue about ranches and ranching [not that I have first-hand knowledge; we're not all ranchers here...], a water source is imperative for your operation to keep the cattle watered and the grass green for grazing. Basically, no water leads to no cattle, which leads to no money, which leads to no food, etc. Not only did these first colonists settle on the Brazos  River, but the banks of the Colorado and the San Bernard Rivers were occupied - from the areas that are now known as Brenham, Navasota, and La Grange down to the Gulf Mexico.  [Below is an overview map of the general area of Fort Bend County and surrounding counties.  Richmond, Texas is marked.]

View Larger Map

Where Were the Colonists From?
Austin was a planner, and I say that because he didn't just open up his colony and let anyone into his colony.  He was careful to think about who he wanted to invite.  According to the Handbook of Texas Online, he wanted no problematic issues with his colonists, so he recruited those mainly from a good class who were from what is known as the Trans-Appalachian South - mainly Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.  [Drunks, gamblers, and/or ne'er-do-wells need not apply.]

How Did the Colonists Get To Texas?
Pictured above is a diagram of the migrations of the "Old 300" to Texas.  Some came by land, and some came by sea [or, rather, by the Gulf Of Mexico].  No matter which way they came, it was a rough ride, and when they got here, they found a very unforgiving land [as the first German immigrants would find out approximately 20 years later].  Also, pictured here is a diorama of what the colonists would've brought with them when coming via the Gulf of Mexico.

So What Does This Have To Do With Richmond, Texas?
A good question because if you'll notice, I haven't really mentioned Richmond in this whole explanation of the first colonists of Texas.  If you take a close look at the map pictured below, you'll see that Richmond, Texas is on the Brazos River.  It is located in and is the county seat of Fort Bend County, but neither was formed and/or incorporated until 1836 [when Texas won her independence from Mexico, and the Republic of Texas was formed].  However, in the area that would become Fort Bend County, 56 families of the "Old 300" settled.  In fact the "Fort" in Fort Bend comes from the term "Fort Settlement" which was the name of the the first 2-room cabin built in the area.  The word "Bend" comes from the bend in the Brazos River that occurs in the county, which is shown in the map below.  [Not really all that creative, but, hey, it stuck...]  Also, the museum had an exhibit on the life on the Texas frontier pictured below.  Notice how the logs are squared-off.  This was essential because of the humidity.  If left round, the moisture would collect in between the logs.

View Larger Map

So Were These Colonists Still American?
Uh, no.  When Austin and his father came to what is now known as Texas, Spain was running the show.  Then in 1821, Mexico, tired of being ruled by a monarchy that was too far away to understand its day-to-day problems [a common theme in history, I might add], fought and won its independence from Spain.  Of course, Mexico's problems with Spain would later mirror the problems that Tejas would have with Mexico's government [but I'm getting ahead of myself and all that's for a later post...].  Now, back to our first colonists:  it was part of the land grant deal that they become naturalized citizens of Mexico.  I'd imagine with the wide-open spaces, the sizes of  & cheap prices of the land grants combined with the long distance of the Mexican government all helped to make becoming a Mexican citizen not that big of a deal.  However, that long distance from their government would later become a seed of resentment that would help to grow problems that led to an all-out bloody fight for independence. [More on that later...]

Next post: The story of a woman who would later be known as "The Mother of Texas."



Texas Historical Commission's Texas Online Handbook

Fort Bend Museum Association

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Piney Woods of East Texas, Part 2

Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin was born in Virginia 3 Nov 1793 and after several unsuccessful ventures reluctantly followed his father to Texas.  As Texans we are glad he fought his reluctance and, we are forever in his debt!  The original grant that was issued to his father for colonization in Tejas was authorized by the Spanish government, and after Mexico won its independence from Spain, there were some questions/problems about the authorization.  After a "quick" visit to Mexico City, Stephen F. Austin ironed out these problems.The original 300 families that Austin sponsored for his colony and issued grants to are now known as the "Old 300".  The below "SFA" design is of a memorial celebrating the birth of Austin, "The Pioneer of Texas Colonization" and is located in front of the Old Stone Fort on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

Stephen F. Austin

Oak Grove Cemetery
Oak Grove Cemetery is the "home" to 4 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas and is a registered Texas landmark.  It is also "home" to many of the original settlers/families of Nacogdoches, Texas.

Oak Grove Cemetery

Old Stone Fort
This is an official Texas replica of the Stone Fort originally built by Antonio Gil Y'Barbo, a Spanish trader who led a group back to what is now Nacogdoches, Texas when they had been ordered out of the settlement by the Spanish government due to the costliness of running the settlement.  It was re-settled and Y'Barbo was its first Lt. Governor.  The Stone Fort was used for Y'Barbo's trading business.  Interestingly, in the past it's housed a commercial building and saloon.  Today it serves as a museum of Nacogdoches' history located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

Old Stone Fort


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Landmark Hunting in the Piney Woods, Part 1

We Went Snarfin', or Landmark Hunting, in the Piney Woods
To escape the rain of Houston, Texas the Sunday before Memorial Day, my family and I decided to go snarfing [a Markeroni term for landmark hunting] in Nacogdoches, Texas.  I looked up some places to go see there, and, lo and behold, there are a ton of them!  We only went to a few before it started raining again.  I have plenty of pictures [and stories] to share though.

Even the Landmarks Are Texas-Sized!
The Millard-Lee HouseWhen we got back, I started to sift through everything and look things up.  I found that Texas really loves landmarks.  I mean you cannot sneeze without hitting one, and Nacogdoches is no exception.  According to this listing of Texas Historical Markers, there are 80 landmarks of various designations in Nacogdoches County [where the town of Nacogdoches is], but according to the Texas Historical Commission [THC] and their 3rd party atlas/database, there are 306 markers in Nacogdoches County.  [Whew!]  Because of the interruption by Mother Nature, I knew that the kids and I would be back in the summer, but, goodness, I think it's going to take more than 1 more daytrip.  I cross-referenced the lists and discovered there are some double and triple entries in the listings on the second database because some landmarks had met, had applied, and were approved for more than one marker. [Sigh of relief.]  I won't go into detail about all the designations [you can find them here], but as I introduce you to the various landmarks I'll let you know what they are designated as [because that's the way I roll...].

What Exactly Is That Funny-Named Town?
I'm so glad you asked, and lucky for you, I know the answer.  Nacogdoches is located in East Texas, about  3 hours northeast of Houston and is known as the town of "firsts".  According to the Texas Historical Commission, it is the oldest town in Texas.  Some other "firsts for Texas" in Nacogdoches listed are as follows:
  • First Ceiling Fans [to those up north it may not sound like a big deal, but it gets HOT here!]
  • First Oil Well [drilled in 1866]
  • First Oil Field
  • First Pipeline
  • First Steel Storage Tanks
  • First 2-Story Building
  • First Newspaper [1813]
  • First Wine Cellar
  • First District Court Session
Burrows-Millard House

As you can probably guess Nacogdoches has a long and varied past.  It was the epicenter of a new republic that fought and struggled to keep its independence.  A total of six flags have flown over what is now the state of Texas [hence, the Six Flags Amusement Park], but a total of nine flags have flown over Nacogdoches.  This bit of information [courtesy of the THC] is new to me.  I remember learning about the six flags in 7th grade Texas History, but not the nine flags over Nacogdoches.  The additional three flags represent three failed rebellions prior to Texas' independence: the Gutierrez-Magee Rebellion [1812-1813]; the Dr. James Long Rebellion [1819-1821]; and the Fredonia Rebellion [1826-1827].  Keeping in mind that Texas became an independent republic in 1836, it seems that persistence and determination do pay-off.  For a full history of Nacogdoches and the beginnings of Texas, or anything else about Texas, see the Texas Online Handbook.  [I like the use of the word "handbook" for our online encyclopedia.  It makes it sound like before you come to stay here, you need to read it...]

Double Corn Crib
The First Stop
We first went to Millard's Crossing which was touted as a representation of a 19th century East Texas Village with a couple of Texas landmarks [nice and efficient], and it didn't disappoint.  Turns out, though, it's a registered Texas museum as well. [I told you we're serious about our landmarks!] This particular historical village/museum once started out as a dream to save Nacogdoches' history by a Lera Millard Thomas, and she is another "first" for Texas.  She became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress for Texas following the death of her husband former U.S. Congressman Albert Thomas for Harris County in 1966.  She was the daughter of John Joseph Millard who lived his whole life in Nacogdoches, Tx.  His father, Robert F. Millard came to Texas in about 1835 [actually it would've been known as Tejas then], and according to unverified information the Millard family came to Maryland from England in the early 1600's.  However, I was able to trace the Millard family by census through 1790 [they stayed in Maryland], and this coincided with the unverified information that I found on this family.  Along with Millard's Crossing being a recognized historical museum, there are two Texas Recorded Historical Landmarks located there: the Millard-Lee House and the Burrows-Millard House.  The rest of the pictures/collages are other historical beauties that I liked and wanted to share. [Census information accessed through Heritage Quest Online and Ancestry.com.]


This caboose was chartered by E.B. Hayward Lumber Co in 1905 to haul logs out of East Texas bottomland forests.  This charter eventually became the Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railroad Line.
Old Log Schoolhouse

Watkins House

A Few More...
I have a few more landmarks and stories from Nacogdoches to share with you next week.  Also, check out my companion blog Family Stories for a photo collage of an 1860's log office and visit my other companion blog Family Stories in Stone for some photos of a Texas historic cemetery...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time's Imprint on a Lil' Texas Town

Old Town SpringOld Town Spring, A Texas Landmark
Old Town Spring is tucked away east of Interstate 45 just north of Houston [the FM 2920 / Spring Cypress exit].  Though most people around Houston know where Interstate 45 is, they don't usually know where Old Town Spring is.  This wasn't always the case because Old Town Spring has been around since the late 1800's [when it was known just as "Spring"].  Old Town Spring was a railway community [Houston and Great Northern Railroad] that was supported by many local farmers' crops of mostly cotton.  Many settlers and farmers in the area were of German descent.  With the addition of a new rail line in the early 1900's, Spring expanded commercially and with the integration of a railway junction in Spring, the lumber industry [from the piney woods of East Texas] grew as well.  The rail facilitated the transport of raw resources to Houston and on to the ship channel for distribution, and the little town of Spring benefited and prospered.  By this time, the town of Spring included hotels, saloons, gambling houses, a bank, a hospital and an opera house. 

A Town's Reaction to Changing Times
However, when Prohibition rolled around, the residents began to see a decline in the town, and in addition the roundhouse was moved to Houston.  It didn't begin to grow again until the early 1970's when new businesses and specialty shops began to open there due to the oil boom in Houston.  Today Old Town Spring is a shopping destination with Christmas being its most busy time.  Some of the types of businesses that can be found there include Texas artist shops, antique shops, a plant nursery, gift shops, Amish furniture shops, jewelry shops, home decor shops, and restaurants.  Old Town Spring is also the host of the annual Texas Crawfish & Music Festival.  Basically, there's a little somethin' for everyone in Old Town Spring, Texas.  [Find out more about Old Town Spring.]

Wunsche Brothers Cafe, A Texas Landmark
Wunsche BrosAs mentioned above many settlers in Old Town Spring were of German descent. One of these was the Wunsche family that first settled in Spring in 1846, around about the same time other German immigrants were beginning to come to Texas.  The Wunsche family was diverse in their interests which included farming, the railway, and operating a sawmill.  Then in 1902, the Wunsche brothers - Dell, Charlie, and William - began to build Wunsche Hotel and Saloon with pine lumber cut at their own sawmill.  The decline of the town caused by the move of the railway roundhouse to Houston and also Prohibition affected Spring including the Wunsche Hotel and Saloon.  According to some, the Wunsche Saloon was the last to close on the eve of Prohibition in Harris County with people drinking and dancing in the streets.  In 1949, it was converted to the Wunsche Brothers Cafe, which it still is today. After 121 years of  family ownership, it was sold out of the family in 1982, and today eating there is a delightful step back in time to when life was simpler.  A time where a big juicy cheeseburger, a basket of crispy fries, a tall cold glass of iced tea, and a piece of whiskey cake could solve all your problems.  [And it works today, too.]