Nov 18, 2008
|We're in Texas!!
We arrived at the Encino Grande RV Park in Goliad early today. The RV Park is in a farm field but everything is full hookup and you can tell that there is a lot of business later in the season. There are a few trailers parked already. The lady that owns the land came out and showed us to our spot. It really was quite lovely because she has done a lot of planting and set out swings and other garden ornaments. However, you pull up on grass. I didn't like the looks of a long trail of fire ants that were marching in front of our camper so we got out the fire ant poison. We are only overnight so I doubt they would get in but better safe than sorry.
Since we got in early we decided to take a tour of the town as the lady in charge gave us some suggestions on where to go. Our first stop was Goliad State Park. The park is located on the San Antonio River and is on 188 acres.
It contains a refurnished replica of Mission Nuestra Senora del Espíritu Santo de Zuniga.
It was reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The mission was originally established in 1722 near Matagorda Bay and moved to its present site in 1749. This mission was the first large cattle ranch in Texas supplying its own needs and those of Spanish colonial settlements as far away as Louisiana. In 1886, a severe hurricane destroyed virtually the entire mission.
We learned from the museum in the Mission that the Mission was once home to the first large-scale cattle ranch in Texas. The Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church built the mission with Native American help in the 1700's. It was a part of an outpost for the Spanish effort to colonize Texas and defend its territory. The Franciscans were dedicated to converting the Native Americans especially the Aranamas Tribe for nearly 70 years. The dedicated instructed the natives in the language, law, culture, religion and professions that were brought to America from Europe. Artifacts from those early days of the mission are displayed in the museum that adjoins the mission chapel.
Although the mission was destroyed by a hurricane, the original rock walls and the remains of the foundations of the living quarters for the mission priests still remain.
Farther into the park we came across the birthplace of General Ignacio Zaragoza. He was born in 1829 and became a military leader in the 1850's. In the battle of Puebl on May 5, 18862 his undermanned Mexican armby defeated the French army, the supreme military force at that time in history. This victory was a source of pride in Mexico and is now the focus of the Mexican holiday The Cinco de Mayo.
Across the street from the birthplace of General Zaragoza is the Presidio La Bahía. It was built in 1749 to protect the mission and the frontier. It later housed Col. James Fannin and his men before they were executed on Santa Anna's order. Unfortunately, we got to the Presidio too late and so we couldn't get inside to take a tour but we did take pictures outside. They were shutting the doors as we arrived.
Just down the block from the Presidio we came across the statue of "The Angel of Goliad". It is the statue of Donna Francisca Alverez. Alvarez was the common-law wife of a captain who served in the Mexican Army under Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna. On March 27, 1836, three weeks after the battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna ordered the execution of about 350 Texan soldiers at the Goliad fort. Alvarez persuaded soldiers to free about 20 of the men, and after the Goliad Massacre, she helped some 40 other soldiers escape in Victoria and the nearby port of Copano. The statue was dedicated in March of 2004 and was the work of her proud descendants.
Next we came to grave of Colonel J W Fannen and his men. During the battle for Texas independence from Mexico Col. J. W. Fannin surrendered expecting to be prisoners of war with 284 of his men after the battle of Coleto. The Mexican army killed ten Texans, all the horses, and wounded fifty men including Fannin. Seven days later, Col. Santa Anna executed him and all the remaining prisoners. Only 28 men escaped while 342 died. The Fannin Memorial Monument marks the gravesite of Fannin and his men.
Since it was getting dark we decided to head toward the town of Goliad and see what we could see. We passed over a bridge on the San Antonio River and finally got to town. They really roll up the streets after 6:00 PM.
In the historic district we came across an Obelisk that commemorates the Texan independence from Mexico.