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).
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