Q: It’s been more than 60 years since I took Texas history, but I seem to recall pretty clearly that many of Texas’s most significant formative events occurred during the month of March. So why isn’t March known as Texas History Month?
Steve Clatt, El Paso
A: Congratulations, Mr. Clatt. Your power of recall is strong. Though not, the Texanist feels compelled to note, exceptionally strong, at least among Texans. Whether one is a pimply-faced seventh-grader sitting rapt at the front of Coach E.A. “Boots” Simmons’s Texas history class at James B. Bonham Middle School, or a sagacious septuagenarian such as yourself, the colorful history of Texas does, after all, tend to stick in the mind. And much of that gripping history was indeed made during the month of March, with many of the key dates of the seminal six-month-long Texas Revolution falling in that eventful 31-day span.
To more clearly refresh your memory, the Texanist has come up with a handy if woefully incomplete timeline of noteworthy Texas historical events that fall in March.
Notable March Moments in Texas History:
- March 2, 1793: Sam Houston is born in Virginia.
- March 2, 1836: The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
- March 6, 1836: Colonel William B. Travis and the Alamo defenders are overwhelmed by Santa Anna and his Mexican troops.
- March 27, 1836: Colonel James Fannin and more than 400 Texians are, under orders of Santa Anna, massacred at Goliad.
- March 5, 1842: For the first time since the Revolution, Texas is invaded by Mexican forces—in this particular case, by 700 soldiers, led by the General Rafael Vasquez, who briefly occupied San Antonio.
- March 25, 1843: Seventeen members of the Mier Expedition, a remnant of a failed raid into Mexico, are executed in the Mexican town of Salado in what will come to be known as the Black Bean Episode. Notable survivors include famed Texas Rangers Bigfoot Wallace and Samuel Walker.
- March 2, 1861: Texas, after seceding from the United States of America against then Governor Sam Houston’s wishes, joins the Confederate States of America.
- March 30, 1870: The United States Congress readmits Texas into the Union.
- March 23, 1893: The Fort Worth Stockyards are incorporated.
- March 6, 1905: Bob Wills is born on a farm in Limestone County.
- March 26, 1918: Texas women win the right to vote in primary elections.
- March 24, 1930: The Texanist’s sweet mother is born in Dallas.
- March 11, 1939: Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez is born in San Antonio.
- March 1, 1962: NASA opens the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.
- March 15, 1985: The Texanist attends his first Spring Break on South Padre Island.
- March 3, 2018: The Texanist’s editor, a man of remarkable patience, demands that the Texanist abandon his list of notable March moments in Texas history.
Considering all of these aforementioned entries, partial though that list may be, it was no surprise to the Texanist that the 78th meeting of the Texas Legislature, in 2003, resulted in a unanimously passed act that amended the Government Code by adding Section 662.102, which reads thusly:
“TEXAS HISTORY MONTH. (a) March is Texas History Month in honor of those Texans who helped shape the history of the State of Texas and in recognition of events throughout Texas’ history.
“(b) Texas History Month shall be regularly observed by appropriate celebrations and activities in public schools and other places to promote interest in and knowledge of Texas history.”
What took them so damn long, and why they’ve done so poor a job of promoting their handiwork that a fairly attentive Texan such as yourself has spent the past fifteen years unaware that March is Texas History Month, the Texanist cannot say. He can only say that they did it, and that it is good that they did it.
Thanks for the letter and the chance to put your mind at ease, Mr. Clatt. The Texanist is pleased to have the honor of bidding you the happiest of what he hopes will be, for you, the first of many proud Texas History Months to come.