Southwestern Historical Quarterly
TRAVIS-A POTENTIAL SAM HOUSTON
ROBERT I. WILLIAMIS, JR.
Investigators into the history of the Texas Revolution during
recent years have written voluminously about the Alamo and its
leader, William Barret Travis; but an extensive search of history
shelves has failed to reveal any introspective study of Travis, more
than an occasional paragraph. This lack is easily explained: Travis,
though at times fiery and impulsive, apparently kept his own
counsel on personal matters, exposing such emotions as ambition
and disillusionment only to the more silent Bonham, if to anyone
at all. Furthermore, Travis was scarcely to be called an outstand-
ing figure till the last few days of his life-and who was there to
gather historical data about him in perturbed revolutionary Texas?
Ruby Mixon, in her unpublished thesis in the Texas University
Library, did a highly commendable job of gathering shreds of
pertinent data and compiling them into a biography from which
the careful reader may reconstruct for himself a sketchy dramatiza-
tion of Travis during his few years in Texas. Amelia Williams'
admirable search into Alamo annals likewise presents salient facts
about Travis. But not much has been found that directly exposes
the aims, ambitions and emotions of Travis.
From the above mentioned sources and others it is my purpose
to attempt briefly to define Travis' ambition and probable reasons
for his courses of action to meet rapidly changing conditions during
the last few months of his meteoric career. It is hoped that the
limited information available will not be considered inadequate for
the deductions, though some deductions depend on interpolation.
In speaking of Travis' selfish ambition no conflict is found with
his patriotism, and no intimation of such conflict is intended.
A much published manuscript called "Crockett's Diary" quotes
Colonel William B. Travis as saying, when the handsome young
Bee Keeper was presented to him at the Alamo, "Give me five
hundred men like him and I'll march to Mexico City." While the
last part of this so-called diary is rather generally considered
spurious the remark nevertheless is worth investigating, partly
because a good case can be made out in support of such an ambition
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/. Accessed May 5, 2016.