The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 285
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days of Texas history you'll find anywhere. The 45 sessions will cover all
parts of the state in addition to El Paso. Religion, the Civil War, art col-
lecting in Texas-there will be more choices than ever. Mark your calen-
dar now and plan to attend the lo07th annual TSHA meeting in El Paso-
for a time of presentations, featured speakers, auctions of historical
material, and exhibits of new books.
Many people are already planning their driving itineraries so that they
can take in as many of the historical sites along the way as possible, but if
you don't have time to drive, Southwest Airlines will be offering discount
fares. See you in March in El Paso.
A few months ago, historian Rick McCaslin, who is nearing completion
of a history of the Association that he has undertaken at our behest, called
our attention to an interesting document that he had found in the Austin
History Center. It was a memo that former TSHA director H. Bailey Car-
roll had placed there to document the discovery of a rare item during the
celebration of the Texas Centennial in 1936: the first seal of the Republic
of Texas. McCaslin did not know that I had been searching for the seal on
my own for some time, for I had been taken with it when I saw it on the ti-
tle pages of some early Association publications and thought that we
might be able to revive it in some of our printed materials today.
One reason Carroll documented the seal's discovery was because of the
circuitous and unusual manner in which it had been found. It came, he
wrote, out of a contest organized in preparation for the Texas Centennial
of 1936 among the school children of the state to see who could come up
with the best Texas relic or document. Benjamin Neel of Menard submit-
ted the seal and won first place in district four. According to Carroll, the
seal consisted of a solid piece of brass that weighed about two pounds and
was about one and seven-eighths inches in diameter and about one inch
high. Miss Winnie Allen, then the University archivist, went to Menard to
obtain ink copies of the seal with the intent of making an exact repro-
duction for TSHA use. They discovered, however, that they needed a
"splash" impression, and master engraver Charles Simmang of San Anto-
nio went to Menard to make the impressions.
While Simmang was making the impressions, sixty-five-year-old R. S.
Trimble walked into the shop and exclaimed, "Why, I haven't seen that
old seal-pecan cracker in over forty years, I guess-but I sure was brought
up with it." Trimble said that when his family lived near La Grange they
had found the seal at their home place. They attached no particular sig-
nificance to it and even used it to drive back tacks in boots; the children
found it ideal for cracking pecans and walnuts. The Trimbles took the seal
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/337/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.