During Texas' rough time as a territory, it was bounced around through 6 different countries. This obviously led to a lot of loyalists of each of the 6. Obviously with that many differing opinions, trouble was to ensue. On several occassions the buildings that were used to hold the Capitol were burnt to the ground. One of the former Capitol Grounds is now a park dedicated to honoring the different sites that burnt.
This park is located directly across from the current capitol, in a nice little garden setting.
This imposing monument to Hood's Texas Brigade was erected 1910 by surviving comrades and friends.
On the gray granite shaft are hand-carved quotes Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, General Robert E. Lee, and others. The monument is topped by the bronze figure of a Confederate soldier, by sculptor Pompeo Coppini.
The monument stands as a memorial to the members of John B. Hood's Texas Brigade Army of Northern Virginia. Some 4,000 soldiers in the division died in defense of the South during the War Between the States. Names of the principle battles in which they were engaged are inscribed on the monument's base.
Hood's Texas Brigade
Seventeen monuments grace the 22 acres of the Texas State Capitol grounds. On these "General" pages I will highlight several of those monuments and a few other points of interest on and around the capitol. grounds.
The TERRY'S TEXAS RANGERS MONUMENT features a bronze statue, by Pompeo Coppini, portraying one of Terry's Texas Rangers astride a spirited horse. In 1861, during the War for Southern Independence, Texas Rangers were mustered at Houston after Benjamin Terry and Thomas Lubbock's call for volunteers. Ten companies of 100 men each were formally activated as the 8th Texas Cavalry. During the next four years they participated in many engagements defending the Confederate States from Northern aggression.
The monument was erected in 1907, by surviving comrades. A plaque on the side reads:
Headquarters Calvary Corps.
April 24, 1865
You have fought your fight. Your task is done. During four years of struggle for liberty you have exhibited courage, fortitude and devotion. You are the victors of more than 200 sternly contested fields. You have participated in more than 1000 conflicts of arms.
You are heroes, veterans, patriots. The bones of your comrades mark the battlefields of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. You have done all that human exertions could accomplish. In bidding you adieu I desire to tender my thanks for gallantry in battle. Your fortitude under suffering, and the devotion at all times to the holy cause you have done so much to maintain. I desire also to express my gratitude for your kind feeling you have seen fit to extend to myself and to invoke upon you the blessings of our Heavenly Father in the Cause of Freedom:
Comrades in Arms, I bid you farewell.
Leut - Gen. Commanding Calvary Corps.
Army of Tennessee
Terry's Texas Rangers Monuments.
George W. Bush, President of the United States, is a former Governor of Texas, and he still maintains a home and ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush's portrait is hanging in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building.
Admittedly, as of this writing, the president's ratings are not as high as they could be. However, he still holds the highest office in the United States, and many people consider him to be the most powerful man in the world. If you pass by, pay your respects to Mr. Bush. If you can't agree with all of his policies, at least honor his high office.
The White House
Like all Southern States, Texas is justly proud of the men from the Lone Star State who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending their homeland against the invading Federal armies during the War for Southern Independence.
The inscription on the Confederate Monument in front of the State Capitol reads:
FOR STATES RIGHTS
GUARANTEED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION
THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH, ANIMATED BY THE SPIRIT OF 1776, TO PRESERVE THEIR RIGHTS, WITHDREW FROM THE FEDERAL COMPACT IN 1861. THE NORTH RESORTED TO COERCION.
THE SOUTH, AGAINST OVERWHELMING NUMBERS AND RESOURCES,
FOUGHT UNTIL EXHAUSTED.
DURING THE WAR THERE WERE TWENTY TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN ENGAGEMENTS.
IN EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO OF THESE, AT LEAST ONE REGIMENT TOOK PART.
NUMBER OF MEN ENLISTED:
CONFEDERATE ARMIES 600,000; FEDERAL ARMIES 2,859,132
LOSSES FROM ALL CAUSES:
CONFEDERATE, 437,000; FEDERAL, 485,216
The Volunteer Firemen Monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds is in honor of volunteer firemen in the state who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The monument consists of an engraved ganite pedestal topped by a bronze statue of a fireman holding a baby. The monument was erected by the State Firemen's Association of Texas in 1896.
Listed on the base of the monument are then names of several firemen, going back to 1877, along with the dates and the name of the fire in which they lost their lives. These inscriptions are incomplete and contain a few errors, however they remain because of the monument's historical value. Names may still be added at the request of local fire departments.
State Firemen's Memorial
This ornate wrought iron fence on a stone base surrounds the Texas State Capitol Grounds . It was designed by William Munro Johnson, responsible for landscaping the capitol grounds, for both a decorative and a practical purpose. The fence encloses and defines the grounds in elegant fashion, and also originally served to keep wandering Livestock off Capitol Square.
The Texas State Capitol Fence originally incorporated eleven gates, six for carriages and five for pedesterians. The fence was completely reconditioned in 1996, at which time new pedesterian gates were added for ease of access. The original fence was painted black with decorative gold leaf. Now it is simply painted in metallic black and gold colors.
Texas Capitol Grounds
One of the newer monuments on the Texas State Capitol grounds, the statue honoring the Texas Pioneer Woman was ereted in 1998 by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, District VIII.
The statue is a life-sized bronze figure by Linda Sioux Henley depicting a young pioneer mother with baby on her arm. The statue stands atop a Texas Sunset Red granite pedestal.
Linda Sioux Henley
Tyler, a city in northeastern Texas, is famous for it's roses. Nurserymen from Tyler ship their roses and rootstock all over the world.
Here on the State Capitol grounds in Austin is a rose garden which features the Tyler Rose, which was developed from a native flower. In the early 1800s, the Tyler Rose was planted by Cherokee Indians to mark their trails.
On a marker in the capitol rose garden is the statement: "The beauty of the Tyler Rose is an example of what happens when God and man work together."
Tyler Rose Festival
When I saw this monument to the Heroes of the Alamo on the Texas State Capitol grounds it reminded me of my home state of Tennessee. That's because 32 of the brave men who died at the Alamo - more than from any other state - were natives of Tennessee. The most famous of these was a former Tennessee Congressman, David Crockett.
Texans are justly proud of the 187 gallant men who lost their lives at the Alamo in one of the most heroic fights in history. Tennesseans should also be proud to know that without the efforts of the "Tennessee Volunteers" there might not be a Texas today. Appropriately, the first governor of the independent Republic of Texas was Sam Houston, a former governor of Tennessee.
This monument is a bronze statue of a Texan holding a muzzle-loader rifle, standing atop a Texas granite base. In 1836 the 187 defenders of the Alamo fort, under the command of William B. Travis, laid down their lives during a 13-day siege. They were sorely outnumbered by Mexican General Santa Anna's army of more than 5,000. Names of the Texans who died in the battle are inscribed upon the four granite supports of the monument.
To learn more of the Tennessee/Texas connection, click on the link below.
Tennesseans at the Alamo
I personally liked this Texas Cowboy Monument, a tribute to the "rough and romantic riders of the range." Maybe that's because I tend to be a little rough, romantic and rangey myself. GRIN!
The bronze statue was presented to the State of Texas by Constance Whitney, the notable American sculptor. It represents the artist's portrayal of a typical Texas cowboy riding a rearing horse. Texas is known as the "native home of the cowboy." The monument was unveiled by Governor Pat M. Neff on January 17, 1925.
This is another newer monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds, erected in 1989 by the Pearl Harbor Survivors of Texas.
The Pearl Harbor Monument is placed in honor of the men and women of Texas serving the United States armed forces who were present on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on September 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This unprovoked attack was the catalyst that pushed the United States into the Second World War.
No doubt the most controversial monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds is this one to the Ten Commandments. The text, sacred to both Jews and Christians, was reportedly handed down by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai in ancient times. It is the moral code upon which most of the laws of western civilization are based.
Although the overwhelming majority of Texans approve of the Ten Commandments being displayed on the Capitol grounds, a small minority tend to become very shrill in denouncing anything religious other than their own religion of Secular Humanism.
This small granite monument of the Ten Commandments was at the center of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Van Orden v. Perry, in which the display was challenged as unconstitutional. In late June 2005, the Court ruled that the display was not unconstitutional and that the monument could remain.
Hooray for the Supreme Court doing what was right.
Supreme Court Ten Commandments Decision
Beside the Texas Capitol building are the remains of two underground reservoirs built to store rainwater for use in the Capitol. By 1889 an artesian well was supplying plenty of water, but it was heavily mineralized, so the rainwater stored in the Capitol Cisterns continuted to be used for fresh water until a municipal water system was built.
Rainwater was collected from the Capitol's roof through a series of concealed gutters, downspouts and pipes. A coal fired steam pump in the basement sent water throughout the building for drinking, restrooms and fire protection. Another interesting use of the cistern water was that it filled a large iron storage tank in the attic to provide power for the original hydraulic elevator. The top hatch of the cistern, seen in this photo, provided access for checking the water level and for maintainence.
Favorite thing: Five Historic Cannons are displayed beside the Great Walk on the Texas State Capitol grounds. Two 24-pounder howitzer cannons were presented by Major General Thomas Jefferson Chambers to the Republic of Texas in 1836. Two 12-pounder light field guns, cast in bronze, were displayed on the south lawn in 1864, near the end of the War Between the States, and were acquired "to maintain order." The fifth cannon is of wrought iron and dates to 1865. All of the cannons are original except for their wooden casings, which have been replaced with more durable metal.