rhe Siginiq of exras'
Declaration of lHdepeHdece.
Ayth and Record
R. HENDERSON SHUFFLER
ACH MARCH 2, TEXANS CELEBRATE the anniversary of
Texas' Declaration of Independence. The height of emo-
tion with which this anniversary is observed is matched
only by the depth of ignorance about the original event and about
the surroundings in which it occurred.
The principal observance is customarily held at Washington
State Park, in the village that was, on March 2, 1836, the birth-
place of Texan independence. A group of devoted patriots
gather in the little rock auditorium on the park grounds to hear
a program sponsored by the Texas Independence Day Organiza-
tion.' Later they visit the small white frame building nearby,
which is called a "replica" of Texas' original Independence Hall.
There they view a weird assortment of pictures, clippings and
artifacts in battered display cases, including a badly-corroded
steel blade which bears a crudely-lettered tag with the com-
pletely inaccurate legend: "This knife made in this blacksmith
shop before the Declaration was signed."
In front of the hall they see the statue of George Campbell
Childress, "author of the Declaration," two other monuments,2
and the gilded upper half of an old "Washington hand press."3
'The organization was founded in 1956, "to perpetuate the memory of those
intrepid Texans who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico
on March 2, 1836, at Old Washington-on-the-Brazos." 1961 membership card, Texas
Independence Day Organization; Jim Ethridge, Box 6268, Houston, president.
2These are a stone bearing a metal plaque listing the fifty-nine signers of the
declaration and a squat stone commemorating establishment of the state park in
1915. Some distance away is the simple shaft erected in 1899 to mark the site of
8This object bears no inscription. A note in the State Parks Board files, signed by
former board director Gordon K. Shearer in 1958, says that this is a portion of the
old Washington hand press used by Captain Joseph Lancaster in publication of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed March 10, 2014.