Title: Travis letter and Texas Declaration of Independence, facsimiles
Description: Facsimiles of the Travis letter and the Texas Declaration of Independence, three groups. 1). Framed and typed letter from Travis from the Alamo. 2). Framed letter in Travis' handwriting. 3). Facsimile of Declaration of Independence, 1836 (matted; five frames).
Description: Historical Note: Texas Declaration of Independence: The Declaration of November 7, 1835, passed by the Consultation announced that the Texan war against Mexico principally intended to restore the Mexican Constitution of 1824, abrogated by the actions of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and to achieve separate Mexican statehood for Texas. The members of the Consultation had hoped to attract popular support for the Texan cause from the other Mexican states. George Childress, the committee chairman, is generally accepted as the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, with little help from the other committee members. Since the six-page document was submitted for a vote of the whole convention on the following day, Childress probably already had a draft version of the document with him when he arrived. As the delegates worked, they received regular reports on the ongoing siege on the Alamo by the forces of Santa Anna's troops. A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared on March 2, 1836, when the 54 delegates - each representing one of the settlements in Texas - approved the Texas Declaration of Independence. After the delegates signed the original declaration, 5 copies were made and dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. This is a copy of the original declaration. Travis Letter: On February 23, 1836, at the Alamo in San Antonio, then called Bexar, 150 Texas rebels led by William Barret Travis made their stand against Santa Anna's vastly superior Mexican army. On the second day of the siege, Travis called for reinforcements by writing a letter, signed Victory or Death, and dated February 24, 1836. It has come to be known simply as the Travis Letter. But little help came. Santa Anna's troops broke through on March 6. All of the defenders of the Alamo died. This historic letter was carried from the Alamo by 30-year-old Captain Albert Martin of Gonzales, a native of Rhode Island. On the afternoon of the 25th, Martin passed the dispatch to Lancelot Smither, who had arrived from the Alamo the day before with an estimate of Mexican troop strength. Both Martin and Smither added notes to Travis's letter. That evening, fighting an icy wind, Smither departed for San Felipe. In less than 40 hours he delivered the appeal to the citizens' committee in that town. Several copies were made, and transcripts of the letter began to appear in newspapers as early as March 2. The original holograph was returned to the Travis family shortly after the Revolution. In 1893, Travis's great-grandson, John G. Davidson, sold the letter for $85 (about $2000 in today's currency) to the Texas Department of Agriculture, Insurance, Statistics, and History. Custody of the letter was transferred to the Texas State Library and Historical Commission (today's Texas State Library and Archives Commission) upon its creation in 1909. These are copies of the original letter.
Citation information: ATF0501, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
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Size or duration: 1). 9 in x 11.5 in; 2). 20 in x 22.5 in; 3). 14 in x 9. in