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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 9, November 1976
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 9, November 1976 - Page 8. November 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 13, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/199/show/186.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 1976). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 9, November 1976 - Page 8. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/199/show/186

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 9, November 1976 - Page 8, November 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 13, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/199/show/186.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 9, November 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 1976
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 8
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File Name femin_201109_522h.jpg
Transcript Remember the Alamo? Women were there too! By Jo Anne Gerhardt "A hundred and eighty were challenged by Travis to die By a line that he drew in the dust as the battle drew nigh. He that stepped over the line vsas for glory And he that was left better fly. Over that line stepped a hundred and seventy-nine. Hey, up Santy Anna - we're killing your soldiers below So the rest of Texas will know And remember the Alamo!" — J. Bowers Vidor Publications For most of us, this romantic version of the old mission stoutly defended by mythic heroes - Crocket, Travis and Bowie - is what comes to mind when the Alamo is mentioned. This is the legend which was fed us in grade school, which was imprinted in our hearts by the 1959 John Wayne movie version and perpetuated in a special bicentennial re-enactment of the battle, staged last spring by the Texas Army at John Wayne's Brackettville Alamo set. Filming the re-enactment for a television documentary entitled Recuerden El Alamo!, I was struck by its similarity to the Wayne epic. The Texas Army adheres to the traditional romantic interpretation all the way - one in which women are conspicuously absent. Very few people are even aware that there were women present at the siege of the Alamo. History, colored as always by the biases of historians, has operated selectively. Transmission of this story from anglo father unto son has all but erased the part play by women and even discounted the role of Mexicans, who after all were the victors. Talking to the Texas Army or the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, either will give you a convincing account of what happened on or about March 6, 1836, in this battle which has been so celebrated in Texas history. Both versions are essentially compatable with the John Wayne account. The interpretation given by each is ritualized and reinforces itself in the public memory. A recent translation of a Mexican officer's diary by Mrs. Carmen Perry claims that Davy Crockett was hiding when cap: tured. Such heresies are rarely discussed openly. Women's participation in the event, like Davy's cowardice, is also kept a secret. In the John Wayne movie, the women and children, were allowed to leave the mission before the final attack of the Mexican Army. Actually, some fourteen noncombatants remained throughout the siege and were the only survivors. These were mainly women and children, San Antonio citizens of Mexican heritage. No source can verify all of their names, but the presence of the following women at the Alamo is well-documented. Mrs. Horace Alsbury, formerly Mrs. Alizo Perez, born Juana Navarro. At the time of the siege, her father was an officer in the Mexican Army. Juana Navarro had married Dr. Alsbury in January of 1836, a short time after she had been widowed. When news of Santa Anna's approaching army reached San Antonio, Dr. Alsbury left his wife and her eighteen-month-old son, Aligo Perez and her younger sister, Gertrudis Navarro, to travel to the East in search of a safe place for the family. The women and children were left in the care of J im Bowie, who at the final siege was too ill to care even for himself. Mrs. Gregoria Esparza and her four children, along with Trinidad Saucedo and Dona Petra Gonzales, were also present at the battle but little is known about them. Mrs. Tori bio Losoya was married to a Texas soldier who died in the Alamo and was present throughout the battle. Madame Candelaria claimed to have been in the Alamo, but many interviews proved her story to vary from one telling to the next. The most likely version is that her lover was a messenger and she left the Alamo with him prior to the final assault. In her later years, she claimed to have been Bowie's nurse and to have hurled her body over Bowie's in an attempt to save his life; however, the Mexican soldiers ,:t! ..~-;.v; pushed her aside and bayonet- ted him to death. The 1836 records do not bear this story out, but when Madame Candelaria died in 1899 at the age of 113, she was given a full military funeral. During her lifetime she received a pension as a survivor; her story was fully believed by many interviewers who never fully investigated it. There was, in fact, one angla present at the Alamo, inevitably the only woman to merit an occasional mention in the history books. This was eighteen- year-old Suzanna Dickenson, whose infant daughter Angelina is referred to as the "Babe of the Alamo." However much Texans might cherish the name of the sacrosanct "Babe," Angelina Dickenson was notable in later years only by virtue of being turned down by the Texas legislature for a scholarship with which to continue her college education. Women figured more prominently on the Mexican side. Soldaderas, camp followers, comprised almost a third of the Mexican military force. They followed Santa Anna's troops throughout Texas, serving as cooks, companions and nurses and at times as soldiers, fighting beside the men, enduring all the hardships of the march. One general in the Mexican Army, an Italian who was accustomed to European methods of warfare, objected to the presence of soldaderas and demanded that Santa Anna order them to leave. The latter dismissed this request, saying that if he were to order them to ^Pr at 30 at 60 Suzanna Dickenson was about 18 at the time of the Battle of the Alamo. Her husband, Almeron Dickenson, was in charge of the Alamo artillery. Her second husband, Peter Bellis, accused her of running a brothel in Houston and divorced her. Her third and last husband, J.W. Hannig, saw Dickenson converted to the Baptist faith. leave, half the army would desert. The 1976 Brackettville event was all male with few exceptions. The Mexican artillery had one angla (female derivative of the Spanish word anglo) dressed in uniform. The Mexican Army was comprised of anglos. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was played by a Chicano bystander. Since there are no Mexicans in today's Texas Army, he was drafted for the part. The competition was heavy for roles like Travis, Crockett and Bowie. Five men competed for the role of Davy Crockett (the role John Wayne played) and eventually this part was A woodcut printed in a Crockett Almanac of the 1840's shows Elizabeth Crockett assisting in the killing of a marauding bear. History says the marriage of Elizabeth Crockett (1788-1860) to Davy Crockett after the War of'1812 was one of "convenience." Both she and Crockett lost their respective spouses. Davy Crockett needed a guardian for his children so that he could pursue a career in politics. After her husband's death at the Alamo she took advantage of her land grant from the Republic of Texas and moved to the frontier. She died in what is now Hood County and a statue is still standing in the Acton Cemetery near Granberry. given to the best-costumed one, who had learned to play the fiddle for the occasion. Davy could actually play the fiddle and did so for the troops the night before the final assault. The role of Santa Anna -- the general who won the battle, and outstanding general throughout his military career, apparently was not as sought after. The wives of the members of the Texas Army were generally non-participants in the Brackettville event. Several women were costumed and played fictitious parts as wives inside the Alamo walls -- one claimed to be the wife of Davy Crockett in a film interview. Actually, Elizabeth Crockett was in Tennessee with the children in 1836 and only came to Texas years later to claim her land grant as did other widows and relatives of those who died. Davy was once asked about the family he left in Tennessee and remarked, "I've come to Texas - they have been set free." A review of our heroes' backgrounds indicates that they had failed in law (Travis), in politics (Crockett), and business (Bowie), so some perhaps were in Texas because of problems elsewhere. The Alamo itself is maintained by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In a film interview Mrs. Charles A. Hall, a representative of the Daughters, credits the original preservation of the Alamo to a woman, Clara Driscoll, whom Mrs. Hall refers to as a "great lady," leaving the audience with the impression that Clara Driscoll was a genteel, delicate woman who never raised her voice. Her philanthropic nature cannot be disputed, but as it was noted by other sources, "Politicians learned to respect her: she could drink, battie, cuss and connive with the best of them, outspend practically all of them." This description Page 8 Houston Breakthrough November 1976