NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Monday was Texas Independence Day. March 2 is also Sam Houston's birthday.
Both were observed in Nacogdoches. The Oldest Town In Texas can't let these two important segments of Texas history go unnoticed.
Bell tolls from the Old University Building were intended to remind listeners of Texas Independence Day. School children had the important responsibility to ring the heavy bell 179 times in honor of the Lone Star State.
"This is hard," a student said.
It was nowhere near the difficult job Texas' founders had fighting for their independence from Mexico. The battles came with sacrifices. Joel Harreld portrayed Col. William Barrett Travis, who pleaded in a letter for help in the fight against Santa Anna.
"If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself for as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due his own honor and that of his country," Harreld said in-character as Travis. "Victory or death. William Barrett Travis, Lieutenant Colonel, Commander."
Musket fire could be heard in downtown Nacogdoches Monday as the Texas Army paid tribute to Major General Sam Houston. Houston died in Huntsville, Texas, but claimed Nacogdoches as his first Texas home.
An official Texas Historical marker on city hall marks the spot where Houston lived. Stephen F. Austin State University historian Dr. Jere Jackson discovered the affidavit proving the historical fact.
"This affidavit co-signed and testified to by Thomas J. Rusk said that Nacogdoches was his hometown," Jackson said. "The Texas Historical Commission when doing this marker thought that was so important they especially put the text in the marker."
"In an 1849 affidavit witnessed by Rusk, Houston stated that he first domiciled in Nacogdoches," said Peggy Jasso, the chair of the Nacogdoches County Historical Commission.
Familiar history and discovered history shows the significant role East Texas has in the Texas independence.
The Stone Fort Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas organized the ringing of the bells ceremony.
The Nacogdoches County Historical Commission conducted the historical marker dedication, while the Milam Masonic Lodge purchased the marker. Sam Houston was a Mason.