Experiencing All That Was Goliad, Heritage Tourism Today

PRESIDIO LA BAHIAThere are those things that happen in life that are so huge, so overwhelming, so horrible, or so wonderful, for that matter, that they forever leave their mark upon a town and its people, a mark for which that town and those people will forever be known. Thus it is with the little town of Goliad, Texas and the battle cry, “Remember Goliad!”

It is also a wise town and a wise populace who understand marketing the heritage tourism that wants to follow these events (horrible or wonderful) and who will then capitalize on the events as a way to solicit tourists…and their dollars, of course.

This past week, Rickey and I made the long trek to Goliad, Texas (population 1,076), not to see a football game, not to experience fine dining, not to do a lot of shopping, and certainly not to rest inside a beautiful hotel.* No, we traveled to Goliad because we wanted to see, to better understand, to KNOW as much as we could about those long ago Texians who gave their lives there at the Presidio la Bahia…Goliad. Obviously, we were not the only ones who were interested since others also came…by the thousands.

The following photos will show exactly why we think it is worth your time to attend. In some ways, it seems a bit crass, I suppose. After all, lives were lost here, brutally lost. On the other hand, history that is not studied and understood is doomed to repeat itself. And on yet one more hand, heritage tourism has turned into big business for struggling economies in this country.

SATURDAY

On Saturday, you will have your choice of 3 skirmishes that include a lot of canon fire to choose from or watch them all!

On Saturday, people had 3 skirmishes that included a lot of canon fire to choose from or watch them all!

The Mexican army fires on the Texians.

The Mexican army fires on the Texians.

The Texians return fire.

The Texians return fire. The skirmishes are a great way for children to learn a bit about the weaponry of 1836, etc. We were very excited to see scores of children in attendance!

 The next series of photos will give you a tiny glimpse of the living history that takes place inside the old fort.

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The silence from the audience was deafening as the Mexican flag went up over the fort.

The silence from the audience was deafening as the Mexican flag went up over the fort.

Up until this point, the day was great, and I think everyone should attend; however, if you have to pick and choose, the segments that you just cannot miss begin at 8:30 Saturday night when the last scheduled candle light tour begins. I could not use my camera so you are going to have to trust me when I tell you that this tour is superb!

SUNDAY

The events on Sunday are the climax to the entire weekend. The day begins with one of the few prisoners to escape execution who tells his story. The story of that Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. And then…

Under the guise of going home, the Texians were marched out of the old fort.

Under the guise of going home, the Texians were marched out of the old fort.

After a walk of about a mile, the Texians were told they could stop to rest.

After a walk of about a mile, the Texians were told they could stop to rest.

And then the Mexicans executed the Texians.

And then the Mexicans executed the Texians.

You could have heard the proverbial pin drop as the crowd took it all in.

You could have heard the proverbial pin drop as the crowd took it all in.

And then those men too wounded to march were brought out of the makeshift hospital..

And then those men too wounded to march were brought out of the makeshift hospital..

...and executed.

…and executed.

And finally Col. Fannin was executed alone. He requested that he not be shot in the face, that his belongings be sent to his family, and that he receive a Christian burial. Of course, the Mexicans ignored every request.

And finally Col. Fannin was executed alone. He requested that he not be shot in the face, that his belongings be sent to his family, and that he receive a Christian burial. Of course, the Mexicans ignored every request.

Following the execution of Fannin, visitors had the option of attending a short worship service inside the fort's chapel. I did not take a photo during the service.

Following the execution of Fannin, visitors had the option of attending a short worship service inside the fort’s chapel. I did not take a photo during the service.

And then we lined up behind the flags.

And then we lined up behind the flags.

For the walk to the Fannin Memorial where wreaths were laid. This photo of the monument was actually taken earlier in the day.

For the walk to the Fannin Memorial where wreaths were laid. This photo of the monument was actually taken earlier in the day.

Of course, the reason for the monument is something that Texans who know their history understand. After the Texians were executed, many of their remains were left lying on the ground at the mercy of the elements and worse.

Those remains lay there until June 3 when General Thomas J. Rusk passed through Goliad and found them. The general had what was left of the bodies gathered up and buried in a common grave…with full military honors. Today, the Fannin Memorial Monument stands guard over that common grave.

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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Presidio la Bahia remembers the historical events that most of us simply call Goliad. It is also heritage tourism at its best.

*Of course, the coffers of Goliad now owns quite a few of our dollars because we bought a few things, ate several meals, spent a few nights in a motel, bought gas, etc.

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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3 Responses to Experiencing All That Was Goliad, Heritage Tourism Today

  1. Missy Jones says:

    Yes, I do remember hearing about “Goliad”. One reason, my late sister-in-law, Effie Mae Montgomery Cox of Brownwood told me about this and also about the Alamo. Her ancestor, on her mother’s side ( Jennings), Gordon C. Jennings died at the Alamo. He was serving in William R. Carey’s artillery unit. AND, his brother, Charles B. Jennings was executed at Goliad. Just think, two young men with families, brothers, born in Conneticut, lost their lives fighting for Texas.

  2. Myrtle Jones says:

    Roger and I enjoyed reading about this. Thank you for showing the pictures and writing a well written story of the town of Goliad and its History.

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