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    Travis broadside with original provenance dating to 1836

    [William Barret Travis] Broadside Titled at Top: LATEST FROM BEJAR. COPY OF A LETTER FROM COL. TRAVIS TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONVENTION. Two pages (front and back), 7.75" x 10". [San Felipe de Austin: Printed by Baker & Bordens, about March 8, 1836]. Travis's last communication from the Alamo, carried by John W. Smith, reporting on the state of affairs since his last communication of Feb. 25th, and asking for aid:

    In part:
    "Commandancy of the Alamo, Bejar, March 3, 1836... From the 25th to the present date, the enemy have kept up a bombardment from two howitzers,( one a five and a half inch, and the other an eight inch,) and a heavy cannonade from two long nine pounders, mounted on a battery on the opposite side of the river, at the distance of four hundred yards from our walls... a company of thirty-two men, from Gonzales, made their way into us on the morning of the 1st inst. at 3 o'clock. And Col. J.B. Bonham (a courier from Gonzales got in this morning at 11 o'clock, without molestation. I have so fortified this place... At least two hundred shells have fallen inside our works without having injured a single man: indeed we have been so fortunate as not to lose a man from any cause, and we have killed many of the enemy. The spirits of my men are still high, although they have had much to depress them. We have contended for ten days against an enemy whose numbers are variously estimated at from fifteen hundred to six thousand men... A report was circulated that Santa Ana himself was with the enemy, but I think it was false... Col. Fannin is said to be on the march to this place with reinforcements; but I fear it is not true, as I have repeatedly sent to him for aid without receiving any. Colonel Bonham, my special messenger, arrived at La Bahia fourteen days ago, with a request for aid; and on the arrival of the enemy in Bejar ten days ago, I sent an express to Col F., which arrived at Goliad on the next day, urging him to send us reinforcements - none have yet arrived. I look to the colonies alone for aid: unless it arrives soon, I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms. I will however, do the best I can under the circumstances; and I feel confident that the determined valor, and desperate courage, heretofore evinced by my men, will not fail them in the last struggle... We have provisions for twenty days for the men we have: our supply of ammunition is limited. At least five hundred pounds of cannon powder, and two hundred rounds of six, nine, twelve, and eighteen pound balls - ten kegs of rifle powder, and a supply of lead, should be sent to this place without delay, under sufficient guard.

    If these things are promptly sent and large reinforcements are hastened to his frontier, this neighborhood will be the great decisive battle ground. The power of Santa Ana is to be met here, or in the colonies; we had better meet them here, than to suffer a war of desolation to rage in our settlements. A blood red banner waves from the church of Bejar, and in the camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance against rebels; they have declared us as such, and demanded that we should surrender at discretion, or that this garrison should be put to the sword. Their threats have had no influence on me, or my men, but to make all fight with desperation, and that high souled courage which characterizes the patriot, who is willing to die in defence of his country's liberty and his own honor...

    God and Texas - Victory or Death!!
    Your obedient ser't
    W. BARRETT TRAVIS.
    Lieut. Col. Comm.
    P.S. The enemies troops are still arriving, and the reinforcement will probably amount to two or three thousand. T.
    "

    Followed by a message from the Convention which met on March 6, 1836 at 10 o'clock upon receiving Travis's call for aid, and ordering that "one thousand copies be printed for circulation, by the Editors, Messrs. Baker and Bordens of San Felipe."

    Written just a week after Travis' famous letter this call for help arrived only hours after the Alamo fell, and its message would not be distributed until days later. Travis notes the red banner flown by the Mexican army; and is aware of its meaning, that no mercy would be given and no lives spared in the event of surrender. Although arriving too late, the circulation of this letter likely helped to recruit volunteers for Sam Houston's army; the number of volunteers surged as news spread of the fall of the Alamo and the tragic death of its heroes.

    Streeter writes: "Delays caused by the printing office being at San Felipe while the Convention headquarters were at Washington are shown by the issue of the Telegraph and Texas Register for Saturday, March 12, 1836. There it is reported that this Travis letter was not received by them until Tuesday morning, March 8, and though it was printed by that night, 'We could get no one to carry it to Washington till Thursday [March 10]'"

    Originally printed on the first two pages of a 4-page folder, the integral sheet has been removed. Professionally restored, matted and preserved between two sheets of Plexiglas. Broadside is affixed to an archival quality mat by 4 small tabs. Inspection has confirmed that the document is not trimmed.

    Streeter lists two copies of this broadside located at the Texas State Library in Austin, and at the San Jacinto Museum of History. This would be the third known copy, recently de-accessed from the collection of the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (TXUDC), our consignor. The TXUDC received this broadside along with a small archive of documents pertaining to Abram W. Hill, an early immigrant to Texas who served at San Jacinto. They were a gift from TXUDC member Eva Hill Karling, granddaughter of Abram W. Hill. Ms. Karling was the daughter of Augustus M. Hill (son of Abram), who served as a private in Co. B of the 26th Texas Cavalry, Debray's Regiment. As a colonist who arrived in Texas in 1835, it is likely Abram Hill received the Travis broadside upon its original circulation in 1836.

    This exceptional broadside is accompanied by documentation placing the original owner, Abram Hill in Bastrop County as early as 1835:

    Thomas Jefferson Gazley Autograph Document Signed Twice, Being Abram W. Hill's Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Mexico.
    One page, 7.5" x 4", Mina District (Bastrop County), July 17, 1835. Reading in part: "Hill appeared before me Thos. J. Gazley... and took the oath of allegiance and citizenship of the Mexican republic agreeable to law." Signed a second time, adding the title of Judge. With toning and heavy wears to the folds; but ink remains bold and clear. Docketed on verso: "Abram Hill / Certificate of Citizenship".

    Gazley, a practicing physician, moved his family from New York to Bastrop County in 1829. He was appointed clerk of the ayuntamiento in 1830, and the Convention of 1832 appointed him a member of the subcommittee of safety and vigilance for the District of Bastrop. He then attended as a delegate to the 1833 Convention. He was surgeon in Michael R. Goheen's company in the Texas army from September 28 to November 9, 1835. Gazley was one of three representatives from Mina (Bastrop) at the 1836 Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. (TSHA Online)

    Anson Jones Signed Land Grant as President of the Republic of Texas,
    one page on vellum, 16.5" x 14.5", Austin, April 30, 1845. Granting Abram Hill "Twenty five Labors... In Gonzales County". Near fine. Blind embossed paper seal is detached but present and in two pieces.

    Manuscript Document,
    one page, 8" x 13", "General Land Office / Austin April 30th 1845.", a receipt for a payment of $88.40 made by " A.W. Hill" on a promissory note for "Gov't dues" on "Certificate No. 170 Bastrop / A.W. Hill - June 1835". TSHA online lists that Hill purchased half of the land owned by Sarah Jenkins upon the murder of her husband Edward Jenkins in Bastrop County at around this time. With the usual folds, light toning and in fine condition.

    P[eter] H[ansborough] Bell Secretarially Signed Land Grant, one page, 10.5" x 16.75", Austin, July 22, 1852. Partly-printed document engrossed in manuscript, granting 640 acres "In Bexar County on the South Bank of the San Saba River, about 12 miles above its mouth..." to Abram W. Hill. Blind embossed State of Texas seal at bottom, gently toned, with light wear at folds and two small stains. Very good. Accompanied by a small note in an unknown hand stating that the grant is "Given by Mrs. Eva Karling / 1931."

    Also included is a facsimile copy of Ms. Karling's original application to the TXUDC, a facsimile copy of Augustus M. Hill's medical card while in service in the 26th Texas Cavalry, a copy of the 1920 census listing Augustus Hill, a copy listing inhabitants on Trinity County for the year 1860 that includes Abram Hill, and a copy of the de-accession log removing the Travis broadside with accompanying original documents from the TXUDC collection.

    Reference: Streeter 184.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
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