tv C-SPAN Programming CSPAN August 5, 2015 6:02pm-6:21pm EDT
said we don't serve mexicans are dogs, that was very prevalent throughout texas. >> we begin our special feature with on how austin became the texas capital. the book i have written is about the founding of austin as the capital of the republic of texas. it is also the story of the rivalry between the two political titans of the age. have same hand, you houston, who everybody knows spirit he was a larger-than-life texas frontiersman, large man physically, very handsome, love to dress nicely, and love to speak. people drove from miles around to come hear him speak. mirabelle lamarr was short, andpy, not a ladies man, somewhat shy. he spoke slowly. many people who met him for the first time came away thinking he was not very bright, which was not the case.
was the only president to be inaugurated in the city of houston, which he hated for the name alone. sam houston was the only president to be inaugurated in austin, a city he fought against. only political rivals, but personal enemies who hated each other. between the first rumblings of independence in 1835 and the spring of 1837, the seats of government of the republic of texas shifted several times. they started incidentally be with a convention in 1835. in 1830 six they signed the declaration of independence in the town of washington. subsequently, the alamo fell. everybody fled east, including the government. the government ended up in a town called harrisburg and what is now the city of houston. they do not stay there long before being forced to leave by santa ana and the mexican army as well. they escaped down to galveston island, which is where they were when sam houston won the battle
of san vicente. it took five days to find enough wood to fire up the steam ship. was they did they came up to the battlefield, held several ofsions of congress, and one their decisions was to reconvene down in the town of blasco, on the gulf coast. out that velasco was not a particularly good site to conduct government. the buildings were cramped. the may run out of lamp oil and had to start meeting outdoors. they pulled up roots once again and moved up river to the town of columbia a few miles inland. once again the facilities were not up to snuff and they passed a law finally saying in the spring of 1837, government would shift to the brand-new city of houston, which was in the process of being developed by john and augustus allen. they moved up there in 1837 and pretty quickly the congressman realized it was not their ideal
city as well. he allen brothers had come through on their promise to build enough government facilities. capital built a nice that did not have a roof when they showed up here and they had several round -- rainouts of congress in the spring of 1837. congressman started to realize it was somewhat hot in houston. the streets were mud, the water they were drinking was not particularly palatable, and there were lots of mosquitoes, something people in houston still complain about. they started talking about leaving early. the law that had placed them in houston said they would stay until 1840, at which point they would figure out where to go permanently. aboutss started talking moving earlier than that, and sam houston, who was president, came out publicly against it. not because he wanted to keep government in the city named for him, because there's no evidence
in any writings of his to suggest that. but because his political base , a let of these guys were from houston and they invested a lot of money into building the infrastructure that dependent upon government eating in the town. he came out against it but congress ignored him, they passed a law that would move government before 1842 a brand-new city that was going to be located on what was known as a lens league, a plot of ground up near the present-day town of lagrange on the colorado river. that bill passed. it came across sam houston's death and he vetoed it. president came to this spot, this place on the colorado river which was on the frontier. we are here at the 100 block of congress avenue in austin. to my left just down the block is the colorado river.
this is an important historic site because this is where waterloo, austan's predecessor, was. i'm standing at about the spot where the harrell cabin was and this is where mirabelle lamarr was staying when he and the rest of the men got wind of this big buffalo herd in the vicinity. lamarr and the other men jumped on their horses. in those dayse -- it was a muddy ravine that led north to the hill where the capital now sits. the men galloped on their horses. they had stuffed their belts full of pistols and rode into the midst of this herd of buffalo, firing and shouting. became eighth and congress, shot that a norm is he went to the top of the hill and that is where he told everybody this should be the seat of the future empire.
he very much meant that word empire. he dreamed of one day texas extending all the way to the pacific ocean. he won his presidential election rather handily, and then urged his supporters in congress to get about to this business of moving the capital. they once again passed a law saying that government would leave houston early, but they did not determine a site. they picked a big chunk of ground between the trinity river and the east, the colorado and the west, and everything north of the old san antonio road for this five-man commission to go out and find the most appropriate spot. the five men that went of these men, two were from the east, two were from the west and one was from neutral territory. and thened the rivers, they took a vote on which river the capital would be placed on. the neutrale with man siding with the westerners,
the colorado river was chosen. in a unanimous vote, the site of waterloo was picked as well. it was not coincidence that they chose waterloo. hadre they had left, lamarr said please do not overlook this site. i had a great time shooting buffalo and it's a wonderful spot or a new capital. lamarr chose a man named edwin waller to come up. up inss was due to show october 1839. out all the streets, decided where the government buildings would be, and he had them built. there was nothing fancy. these were rough log cabins. the exceptions were the capital and president's house, framed lumber. in october 1839, i what i imagine was the highest watermark of lamarr's political career, he made this grand entrance into the city which he had helped build.
here, one of houston's supporters in the fourth congress stood of and introduced a bill that would immediately pull government out of austin down to houston again. that went nowhere, and then lamar's supporters kicked into action and started talking up a bill that would organize an expedition to go out to santa fe. they left austin in late june of 1840. it proved to be another disaster. .hey went north they were to leave dinner leaving because they did not take long enough -- they do not take enough cows. once they got the cows they headed north again. he turned left at the wrong river and got hopelessly lost. they found out that west texas in the summer is a hot, dry place. they were totally lost.
the livestock started dying. a lot of men ended up on foot. the ones that fell behind started to be picked off by indians, who were rather against this whole expedition idea. got close tohey santa fe, the men were starving and exhausted. so much so that the leader told everybody that still had a horse that they could ride to hurry on ahead to the city and send back help. the final assumption they had made which proved false was that the governor of santa fe would see the wisdom in betraying his own country and siding with mexico. a peaceful trade expedition coming into his country, but an armed invasion. texas and mexico were at war with each other. it was no difficult matter for him to send his own army out, round up these texans, disarm them, put them in chains, and march them down to mexico city on foot in a process in which
several men died or were shot along the way, and it proved to be a complete disaster. had grand empire that lamar dreamed of never came off. news of this disaster got back to austin just as lamar was leaving office. his successor was staying in houston. houston had defeated david burnet, a lamar supporter in a nasty campaign. when of the charges that had been hurled against him was that he supposedly had said he intended to desolate the city of austin and he would not be happy until grass grew in the streets. houston denied having ever said that, but there it was. he won handily, and once he took office he did not do anything. sent an army up to occupy san antonio. probably just to make a statement that they still had the right to do so because they did not stay. a few weeks later another army came up and this time they look
prepared to stay. the texans organized a force that went down to that area, leeward the mexicans into the open, and killed them. the mexican army turned around and went back to the rio grande. sam houston seize this opportunity to say, this is what i have been warning everybody about. suppose they had come all the way off and destroyed all the archives? the archives he was most worried about was the record of the general's office. who ownedecord of what was written on little scraps of paper that were stored in the log cabin at eighth and congress. in order to prevent this happening again, sam houston declared a national emergency and ordered government temporarily out of austin back to the city of houston. most of the congressmen refuse to go. they remembered how miserable they had been in houston and they cannot get a quorum in houston. president houston compromised and said, let's go up to washington.
everybody obeyed that order with one exception. the reason he did not obey was because every time he tried to , the local archives committee would stop him and point guns at him and tell him to go back to the land office. the people oflled austan traders and the people of austin did not care what sam houston thought about it, and till houston found two men willing to go over to austin and get the records themselves. their names were john hall and buck pettit. they evidently did not know what they were up against because they came into town and in plain view of everybody started loading up these wagons at eighth and congress. the retired into the nearest saloon, had a few beers, went to bed good when they got up the next morning, there stood all the people of boston armed with clubs-- austin armed with
and guns and knives and everything else and a loaded cannon pointed at them. buck pettit said, john, you may have a letter. they have a canon. the cannon won. left without the records. in the middle of the night someone had snuck into the stables, shaved the manes and , in whattheir horses was evidently a very high insult, and these men had to write out of home on these ride out ofcks -- town on these laughingstocks of animals. then he sent two more guys. he saw this as a threat to his authority and therefore a constitutional crisis. eli chandler and thomas smith were going to take some help with them this time. they recruited a force of 15 to 20 men.
they told him they were coming out to the frontier to patrol for indians. really what they were going to do was come to austin and get those records. on december 31, 18 41, somebody rang the indian alarm bell on congress avenue. the women, children, the older men, the injured men gathered at the safest place in town, richard bullock's hotel at six and congress. not long thereafter smith and chandler and their men rode into town. saw what was happening. he went up the street and said, what are you doing? they told him to leave. he went back to his group and said, we know what's going on but there's nothing we can do about it. it might have been except for a whoty texas pioneer woman started shaming these men, calling them all sorts of names,
and finally pointing across the street where the cannon was turned and said, why do we have that cannon? they rolled the cannon out into the street while she came out with a lit torch. she looked at the canada did not like the way it was aimed, kicked it over to the right and applied the torch. around of grapeshot and flying out, slamming into the land office, punching several holes in the walls, amazingly not hurting anybody, but it did speed these guys out of town. without they were being sneaky. instead of heading east, they headed north towards brushy creek, modern-day round rock. there was the remains of an old fort there. they figured they could make it there by nightfall, campout, and the next day make it to washington. picked up of austin the trail of these men and they caught up with them at fort kinney about midnight on
december 31 and they set up camp around. the next morning smith and chandler got up and there stood all those guys from austin carrying weapons of all kinds and a loaded canyon -- cannon. they tried the same argument that pettit and hall had tried. the trench showing their documents a presidential authority. notr own men said, this is what we signed up for. we signed up to fight indians and there are no indians over there. we are going home. smith and chandler realized they were beaten. the records came back to austin. thomas william ward came out of the land office very disgusted and said, put the records back in the office. they said, sorry tom, we do not trust you anymore. they buried them in angelina everly's backyard for safekeeping. a city.early died as the population shrank from 1000 when government was here to 200 when it left. in the early 1840's they heard
the rustle across the river from the south, wondered of congress avenue, several of them straight through the abandoned capital avenue through the halls of congress. in 1844, and stan jones was elected president is the final president texas. he had been relatively quiet in public about his intentions regarding the capital and did not do anything at first. congress was still meeting in washington. ton the treaty of annexation the united states was approved. in early 1846 they had a ceremony in which jones here in austin at the old capital lowered the texas flag and raise the stars and stripes and declared the republic of texas is no more. one of his other declarations was that the first state legislature would meet not in washington, but back in the city of austin. once they were back, they passed a law that said there would be a statewide election in 1850 two
place government until 1870, at which point they would have a final election which would determine it for all time. in 1850 austin won over several candidates. in 1872, they defeated several cities including waco. in its brief nine-year history the republic of texas had multiple seats of government in its 175 plus year history, -- government. in its 175 plus year history, the state of texas has had one. city storethe c-span visits the texas home a writer william sidney porter. while in prison on charges of embezzlement he began writing under the name o. henry.