William B. Travis
“God and Texas – Victory or Death”
Only twenty-six old at the time of his death, William Barret Travis will always be remembered as the brash and defiant young “defender of the Alamo.”
The eldest of eleven children, Travis was born August 9, 1809, in Edgefield County, South Carolina. His family moved to Conecuh County, Alabama, in 1818, where he attended Evergreen Academy. He later studied law, and was admitted to the bar before his twentieth birthday. Shortly thereafter, he became a member of Alabama Lodge No. 3. In 1831, after an unhappy marriage, Travis left his wife and young son behind and went to Texas, settling at Anahuac. His divorce became final in November 1835.
Angry with the Mexican Centralist regime, Travis became the leader of the War Party at Anahuac. In 1832 he moved to San Felipe de Austin and opened a law office, and in 1834 he was appointed Secretary of the Ayuntamiento.
In June 1835 Travis raised a company of volunteers and captured the Mexican garrison at Anahuac. He had so distinguished himself during the fall campaign that he was appointed Major of Artillery and was soon transferred to the cavalry with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In early February 1836 Travis rode into the Alamo with twenty-five men, and assumed joint command of the garrison, with Jim Bowie in charge of the volunteers, and Travis in command of the regulars. On February 24, however, Bowie fell ill with pneumonia, and Travis was left in full command.
On that day Travis penned his famous letter “To the People of Texas and all Americans in the World.” He wrote, “….I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country – Victory or Death.” It remains as the most heroic document in American history.
* From The Texas Mason
By Pete Normand, PM
Texas Lodge of Research
Read More About William Barret Travis
Another Account of William Barret Travis
* The Texas Masons
The Fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons in the History of Texas
by Pete Normand, © 1986
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