Austin, Texas March 4th, 2009
The Save Texas History project ofthe Texas GeneralLand office, headed by Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, unveiled today a new mural of Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas. The General Land Office is housed in the Stephen F. Austin building at the state capitol, and the new mural is displayed in the main lobby hallway of the building.
The unveiling program, which was attended by over 100 Texans, consisted of a welcome from General Land Officer Commissioner Jerry Patterson and a brief description of how the mural was created. After an excellent program on Stephen F. Austin, Grand Master David Counts was introduced, and he spoke about the role thattheMasonic Fraternityplayed in early Texas History.
Stephen F. Austin was aMason when he came to Texas, and he was named the WorshipfulMaster ofthe first lodge in Texas. It was organized in San Felipe in 1828, and a petition for a charter was sentto Mexico City. Thepetition was never answered, and that first lodge was never fully realized. Brother Austin died soon after Texas Independence was won, and thus never saw the foothold thatMasonry obtained in the Republic of Texas.
Commissioner Jerry Patterson
The “Masonic connection” was made when Sara Cely, the artist, was made aware of Austin’s Masonic background by Brother Jonathan Pascoe. Jonathan contacted his father Chuck, and Chuck contacted the Texas History Committee of Grand Lodge, who provided information to the artist. Part of this information included pictures of a MASONIC RIFLE that was built sometime after the Texas Revolution, but was ofthe same type used during the 1830’s. (More on this rifle, later!) The rifle is shown in the Mural, slung over
the shoulder of a rider, and the Masonic emblems are clearly visible on the stock. Square and Compasses are also shown on the buttons on the coats of both Stephen F. Austin and Erasmo Seguin, and on the butt of thepistol carried in Austin’s belt.
Press release from the General LandOffice
The Stephen F. Austin Mural
Spanish Land, Texas Home
by Sara Lee Cely (135 inches by 45 inches * Giclee from oil on canvas)
Commissioned by the Texas General Land Office Save Texas History program Jerry Patterson, Commissioner March 2009
This mural honors the life of Stephen F. Austin, his importance to Texas history and his connection to the Texas General Land Office.
In the mural, Austin stands along the banks of the Brazos River, surrounded by the Old Three Hundred the colonists he helped settle in Texas. His hand rests on his Registro, or colony record book, the original of which is kept here in the Archives of the Texas General Land Office. Austins vital role in Texas cartography is represented by his position astride an 1834 version of his landmark map of Texas. First issued in March 1830 by H.S. Tanner of Philadelphia, Austins map was the first widely available map of Texas. Reissued several times during the decade, the version depicted in the mural recreates the same language and spellings used by Austin.
Thoroughly researched, the mural strives for historical accuracy. Note the accurate caretta carts, period clothing and weaponry, including the Masonic symbols on Austins coat and his flintlock pistol. Tejanos, African-Americans and Native Americans are represented here in recognition of their role in the story ofAustins colony.
From the loblolly pines to the longhorn steer, the indigenous floraand fauna of early Texas are also depicted in great detail. The flow of settlers from the far distance representsthe ongoing settlement of AustinsTexas colony.
SAVE TEXAS HISTORY
Created by Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in 2004, the Texas General Land Office Save Texas History program is a highly successful initiative to conserve the historic maps and documents in the Land Office Archives while promoting the history those documents portray. First compiled after the Texas Revolution, the Texas General Land Office Archives now contains over 35 million documents dating back to 1720.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Artist Sara Cely, and Grand Master David Countswith the mural
Section of the mural showingErasmo Seguin (shaking hands, on the left) and some of the “Old 300” families arriving in Texas
Detail of buttons on Seguin’s coat
Detail of rider carrying Masonic Rifle. Note the symbols on the stock.
Detail of buttons on Stephen F. Austin’s coat
Detail of butt of pistol carried in Austin’s belt