The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 91
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The Amateur Historian
open the doors and windows closing down around them in the
old towns and new towns in Texas, and in the great cities, too.
It is startling to realize that so few descendants and so few old
men and women with memories live near the scenes of the deeds
they remember. It is almost a paradox that to find what hap-
pened during the San Jacinto campaign in South Texas, one
must go to West Texas,, or North Texas, or California, or Okla-
homa. Or else it is in the great cities of Texas, Houston, Dallas,
Austin, far away from the scenes remembered, and covered over
by generations of urban living, and non-pioneer experience.
Perhaps the most striking method of bringing home to Texas
amateur historians the need of exhausting local possibilities will
be to state some of these mysteries as questions. One has al-
ready been given: Why did the Alamo defenders die rather
than retreat? Oh, yes, they were brave men, they were patriots.
But that gets us nowhere. They would have been brave men and
patriots had they retreated in time. The question still stands:
Why did they do it?
It is true, neither the Alamo nor Goliad is included in the cycle
of five plays I am attempting on the San Jacinto compaign.
But their tremendous shadows cover the whole period, determin-
ing and reversing the general campaign and the individual for-
tunes of all concerned in that series of events. So it becomes
absolutely paramount that complete pictures of these two great
backgrounds of the San Jacinto campaign should be present in
the mind of the historian or artist recreating the time.
'One great way to solve a mystery is to study the lives of all
participants, both before and after the event. The Alamo had
no survivors of the first importance. So this problem requires
the study of the lives of the leaders and of the rank and file be-
fore the catastrophe. While I have by no means exhausted all
the possibilities, still from what I have studied, it seems to me
chance threw together an extraordinary number of men to whom
life was not particularly worth living longer. Certainly, this is
true of Crockett and Bowie, and most probably of Bonham. It
is probably more than half-true of Travis. And I have been
struck with the fact that little strip of light on the characters
of the Alano rank and file I have found confirms this general
mood of reckless scorn of death.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/95/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.