Yep, went to the Alamo…but…when I heard that someone had turned a cannon into a church bell, and that it was just blocks away, I had to go find it. I may have already been standing in front of an iconic site for Southwest history when I heard this news, but THIS had to be seen too! It was a story that began before the battles for Texas independence; in fact, it was the first battle that the legendary cannon was used.
1831, Gonzales Texas, home to American settlers living under the authority of the Mexican government, a government that granted them a cannon with which to protect themselves from surrounding natives. It was understood that the cannon was to be returned when the Mexican military asked for it, and ask for it they did, in 1835. Well, it didn’t quite go as planned.
The Mexican military sent a corporal and five soldiers to go get the cannon. The settlers said “no,” captured the five soldiers, and sent the corporal back with the bad news. Meanwhile, they buried the cannon in their peach orchard and sent for assistance. The Mexican commander, upon hearing of their denial, sent for some assistance as well. He sent back to the settlers a Lieutenant and one hundred soldiers. The colonists’ called-upon-support came in the form of a captain and thirty mounted Indian fighters. They dug up the cannon, sent it to the blacksmith who mounted it on a cotton wagon, ready for battle. A couple of ladies in the colony sewed up a white flag that infamously read: Come and Take It…meaning the cannon. The rest is history.
What is unique is that the cannon (one of two involved in this battle), through a series of events and owners, is now a church bell hanging over St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio!
Samuel Maverick, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and early mayor of San Antonio is said to have dug up this bronze cannon. It, and others, had been buried in the Alamo grounds. Maverick’s widow Mary later had the cannon sent to New York and recast into a bell. The Mavericks were instrumental in the early establishment of St. Mark’s church and had donated land for its use. There it hangs today over the sacristy.
Enter the church yard from Jefferson street, climb a few steps….and don’t miss it! Look up! It’s the bell in the open cove above the wooden door. The bell that was a cannon, the bell they said “come and take it!” about, in the first battle leading to the Texas Revolution.
Leave a Reply