We travel through the little town of Gonzales, Texas as often as we can because it is through Gonzales that we must travel to reach the home of my youngest brother, Scott. However, it is not Scott I’m thinking about as we drive through the town. No, instead, I never pass through Gonzales without turning into a Texan…maybe even a Texian…who wants to jump on top of the vehicle and scream into the wind, “Come and take it!!”
Very undignified, I know, but there’s just something about that name…Gonzales…that carries me right back into 1835, October 2, to be exact, when the first shot of the Texas revolution (or the War for Texas Independence) was fired by those also very undignified Texans who screamed across the Guadalupe River to Mexican soldiers, “Come and take it!”
The “it” in question was a cannon given to the Texans back in 1831 by the Mexican government. It was meant to be used to protect the settlers from raiding Indians. However, by 1835 it was the Mexicans whom the Texans feared even more than the Indians, for it was the Mexicans who stood between them and independence.
The Mexican government, realizing the intent of the Texans, decided that it was time to get their cannon back, sending troops to do just that.
The story varies just a bit at this point. You will find certain sites and signs that claim that eighteen men from Gonzales held off the Mexican troops; however, I believe that those eighteen were joined by another 130 or so from around the area and that they were there when the Mexicans opened fire on the morning of October 2, 1835.
Suffice it to say that the Mexicans did not get their cannon back. Did the Texans really scream the taunt across the river? Knowing Texans as I do, I’d say probably. What is for sure is that those Texans did design a white flag with a black cannon on it and the wording, “Come and Take it.”
I can also tell you that while it might not have been the shot heard round the world, all eyes in 1835 were definitely staring straight at what was to become the Lone Star State for (as it has been ever since) Texas was definitely the prize of the day, and everyone wanted her.
Of course, you will remember from your Texas history that the town of Gonzales made history once again on March 1, 1836, when thirty-two men from that town became the only reinforcements to arrive at the Alamo. Of course, all thirty-two died alongside the others.
Shortly after the fall of the Alamo, Houston ordered the town of Gonzales torched. I believe the rebuilding of the town began in the early 1840s.