A True Romance of the Alamo


PREFACE

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In these days of airships, automobiles and creature comforts, it is hard to realize the trials and hardships of the early Texas pioneers. No State has a more interesting history, and none was settled by braver or finer men and women. First the French landed on the Texas coast, but did not stay and almost no record of their experiences is left. Then the Spaniards came in through Mexico in great numbers, and the King of Spain sent fifteen families of Canary Islanders, who landed in Tampico and came overland by way of Saltillo to settle the town of San Antonio. Last came the pioneers of our own blood and race, the noble men and faithful women who suffered every privation in the early days of Texas’ independence. Their very hardships and loneliness in a savage country made them more devoted and unselfish comrades, and we, their descendants, are justly proud of such forbears.

A TRUE ROMANCE OF THE ALAMO

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The “Indian bell” rang out with the harshness of a death knell, and in an incredibly short time the minute-men galloped away on their horses, which were always ready with ten days rations for such calls, and were chained in their stalls to guard against theft by Indians. They hastened to the Apache Crossing, near the head of San Pedro Creek, which was the natural barrier to the west, for the wily Comanche was not willing to trust his fleet-footed pony into the deep morasses along its borders.

La Calle de Flores, “The Street of Flowers”, began at the Apache Crossing and was the only entrance to the town from the Northwest. Here three young Americans, adventurous spirits not long from college, visitors who had joined the party of minute-men, sat on their horses with disappointed expressions, watching the clear water ripple over the hard gravel bottom of the stream. “Fooled again! We’ve missed our chance to kill an Indian!” one said, putting his pistol into the scabbard, “but watch Old Man Flores putting his goats into the pen—he’s not so sure the Indians are gone.” “Come on! I’m hungry as a hunter.”

Riding down Calle de Flores they were struck by the wonderful beauty of the foliage along the Acequia Madre, or main ditch from the San Pedro Springs. Trees and vines from either side arched overhead; fruit trees were laden, flowers bloomed, and the elite of the town had their country homes or “quintas” there. After long and toilsome travel over scorching prairies and lonely wastes, the scene was like the Promised Land to the three Americans.

Passing the garden of Don Luis Delgado Curbello, they saw the Senorita Maria, one of the fairest daughters of the Canary Islanders, sitting by the water’s edge, surrounded by roses and jasmines. She held a white lily in her hand, and dipping it playfully into the water, held it high in the sunlight and told her fortune as the sparkling drops fell: “He loves me! He loves me not!” Looking up she saw the passing horsemen, and with an astonished gaze said to herself, “Que hermosos Americanos!—He loves me! He loves me not!” More astonished than she were the young Americans, who thought they had found an angel unawares, and passing on, all exclaimed, “She’s a beauty!” One, not forgetting an old saying in the East, remarked, “She’s the prettiest thing in seven counties!” Another, more serious, said bluntly, “She shall be my wife!”

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Senorita Maria Jesusa Delgado Curbello arrived late at the grand ball given in her father’s honor at the Governor’s palace; she was dressed in the rich brocades of the time and sparkled with diamonds. It is no wonder the Capitanes, Dons and Americanos were entranced with her beauty. She was only sixteen and very small, but no one could forget her lustrous eyes, gentle yet deep with meaning. Her hair was long and beautiful and was so coveted by the Indians that as a child she was hidden when they were known to be passing through on a trading expedition. Heedless of all the admiration she received, her thoughts were now only of fair-haired American, and she kept repeating to herself, “He loves me! He loves me not!”

But there was trouble in the air! She had caught mysterious words from time to time as she danced in the sala or promenaded in the patio. The three young Americans, Maverick, Smith and Cocke, were suspected of giving information to Burleson’s army—she caught whispers of “Alamo at daylight!—Soldiers!—General Ugartichea!” What could it mean? “Madre de Dios! Are they to be shot at daylight near the Alamo? What shall I do? I must save them—I will or die myself!”

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Day approached through a thin mist and the smell of jasmines hung heavy as death. “The birds sing—the uraco calls! Santo Cristo, give me strength! Suppose I am too late!” Throwing her shawl about her, she grasped the hand of her old servant and fled into the darkness, her heart keeping time to the foolish words of the day before, “He loves me! He loves me not!” Down the gray streets she went, fearful lest the first rays of sunlight burst forth; on to the Alamo, trembling but determined. Nearing the old walls, built to bring “Peace on earth and good will to men”, she saw three strong, erect figures like statues, while in front of them a group of Mexican soldiers stood with rifles ready, and to one side General Ugartichea and his aide.

Prostrate she fell before the Commander. “For the love of God! Have mercy!” The old General rubbed his eyes: “Senorita, what does this mean? The belle of the ball embracing my knees, begging the lives of three gringos, Americanos, renegados! Ah, dear daughter, it is impossible!”

But youth and beauty won, and the Americans owed their lives to their beautiful daughter of the Canary Isles.

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History reveals that Samuel A. Maverick, John W. Smith and P. B. Cocke finally escaped and joined the Texas army. Early on the morning of December 5th, 1835, Ben Milam entered San Antonio with two hundred and fifty men, with Maverick and Smith as guides. On the 8th, Milam was killed in the yard of the Veramendi House on Soledad Street; he was shot through the head and was caught in the arms of Maverick as he fell. On December 10th, 1835, the Mexicans ran up the white flag of surrender. The Texans had fought incessantly day and night, and had spiked the Mexican cannons, while the Mexican gunners either fled or were cut to pieces. General Cos was allowed to retire with his troops across the Rio Grande. Maverick’s absence on March 6th, 1836, the day of the Massacre of the Alamo, was due to his being sent as a delegate to the convention of the people of Texas at Old Washington, where he and Jose Antonio Navarro, the other delegate from Bexar, signed the Declaration of Independence on March 2nd. John W. Smith was the last messenger sent out from the Alamo for assistance, and escaped the enemy through an underground passage made by the early Spaniards. He was married to Senorita Maria Delgado Curbello, the daughter of one of the early governors of Texas under Spanish rule. He later became the first Mayor of San Antonio. After the Battle of San Jacinto, Maverick went to Alabama and married, returning to San Antonio with his family in 1838.

Jane Maury Maverick (Copyright applied for by Mrs. Albert Maverick, San Antonio, Texas)

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