Goliad Courthouse

Our next stop on the Involuntary Vacation was one that excited us both.  Goliad is a town steeped in the history of Texas invasion and independence.  It was first settled by Spanish conquistadores in 1749.  This mission, Presidio La Bahia, is a short distance from the current town on the banks of the San Antonio river and it was built on the site of an existing Aranama village.  It was renamed Goliad, an anagram of Father Hidalgo who was a hero of the Mexican war of independence (from Spain) in 1821.

In 1835 the first Texas declaration of Independence was signed on the altar of the Presidio chapel.  Texas is the only mainland state that was an independent nation before joining the USA.  That is why the Texas flag may fly at the same level as the US flag.  The revolutionaries were a mixture of Tejano and white settlers.  In 1836, Colonel Fannin, of the Texas Revolutionary Army, and 341 of his soldiers surrendered in the battle of Coleto Creek.  The next day they were shot by the Mexican army outside the walls of the Presidio.  This was the Goliad Massacre.

In 1836 General Sam Houston, the Governor of the Texas Republic, granted some land to the settlers where the current courthouse and market square are located.  My father and his grandfather, one of the early settlers in Texas, had the middle name Houston to honor the General.  I am highly amused when people ask me about my Scottish heritage because of my accent…(I have no Scottish roots but long Texan ones).

Pretty Masonic Lodge
Dentist and Title Company on the Goliad square
Longhorns were the first cattle raised by early settlers

There is a Hanging Tree on the north lawn of the courthouse.  There is a rather sad history of excessive violence and ruthlessness for a period which was ended by the Texas Rangers.  Perhaps the turbulent history of the settlement led to part of this.  When the early settlers returned from fighting in the battle for Texas independence some of their farms had been ransacked.  It is conveniently forgotten that all this land belonged to indigenous people before any of the settlers arrived.  There is very little knowledge of the Aranama Tribe.  It was believed they were farmers and after the Spanish invasion some moved north and the last survivors were likely absorbed into the Hispanic population.

References Texas State Historical Association and the City of Goliad

28 thoughts on “Goliad

  1. There is a lot of historical interest in this post Kerry. Now I know about the Texan flag and Texas Rangers and perhaps why there is strong anti Mexican sentiment in fractions. It was indeed the wild west.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Katharine. There is a difference between the Texans of Mexican heritage who have been here for generations (Tejanos) and new immigrants many of whom are not Mexican. It really was the wild west!


      • Interesting? Yes! But if I would have liked it? I’m not so sure.
        Btw, Fredericksburg had a yearlong celebration of the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the town and the treaty with the Comanches. I’ll be writing abotu that soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As I’ve never even heard about Goliad before, I had to use Google to see where it is on a map. It’s pretty impressive how much violence happens in such a little town. As you mention indigenous people – I just finished reading a book called ”Empire of the Summer Moon” which basically is about the war between the Comanche tribe, who lived in northwestern Texas and between white settlers for control of the American West. It was pretty horrifying to read how Comanche Indians butchered babies, roasted enemies alive and would ride 1,000 miles to wipe out one family. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We also love to visit and explore small towns and villages, and learn about local history. In some places people are starting to acknowledge the tribes on whose homelands we now live, but there needs to be more awareness and acknowledgments. The big question remains, though: How does one right all the wrongs committed to America’s Indigenous groups?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lots of interesting history there Kerry. Who knew it was so interesting when you watch an episode of JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen.
    I love exploring old towns and villages. It’s always fascinating.
    How far are you from Mexico?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anne. We live over 700 miles from Mexico – it is easier and safer to fly there. There are places that feel like the series ‘Dallas’ but it is widely varying much like the landscape.


    • I think that most of the other States thought ‘typical Texans’ but that is the reason why the flags hang at the same height. Just like Scotland there are many Texans who would like it to return to an independent nation…


  5. Thanks for sharing. I always become speechless hone I hear about the history of buildings and the things that were there before them. I embrace the good and the bad in history even though sometimes it puts me in the worse mood.

    Liked by 1 person

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