Dallas Historical Society Newsletter
Line in the Sand 


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In This Issue:
New Artifact
2009 Brown Bags
Tribute/Memorial Gifts
AFE StarA tribute or memorial gift to the Dallas Historical Society is a meaningful way to honor a friend or loved one. For more information, please contact Development Director
Betty Brownlee at 214.421.4500.

I am a native Texan, and, as family lore goes I am descended from a man named Lewis who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and whose brother was killed at the Alamo. I also have a working knowledge of muzzle loading artillery. A few weeks ago when I overheard my boss talking to a couple of people in his office and said "Alamo" and "cannon ball", my ears perked up. It seems that Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, who used to live in San Antonio, about a mile north of the Alamo, drug a small cannon ball out of their garden back in the 1950's. They offered the artifact to the Alamo Museum, but it was rejected because the museum already had three just like it, so they graciously offered it to The Dallas Historical Society. It was happily accepted.
 The little iron projectile is more egg shapedMARDI GRAS now because so much of it has rusted away, but with a little research we have decided that it is probably a three pound solid shot. What that means is that when the cannon ball was new it weighted three pounds and was a solid ball of iron. The nomenclature of artillery is very convoluted and boring, so we will not get into that now. If the cannon ball is what we think it is, it was most likely used in a small field gun nicknamed a "grasshopper". Both the Mexican Army and the defenders of the Alamo used these three pounder guns, and since the Mexicans' attack came from the north it seemed reasonable to think that the cannon ball may have been fired from the Alamo. It is unlikely that a Grasshopper could have thrown a projectile that far. It was more than likely dropped by a Mexican soldier. As it happens, the DHS has in its collection another piece of artillery dating from the time of the Texas Revolution: a bronze tankard, or beer stein, made from the barrel of what appears to have been a Mexican Grasshopper.
Three Pounder Cannon
The Dallas Historical Society has a fine collection of Texas Revolutionary artifacts. Until the cannon ball, only two items were directly related to the Alamo: a large printed document signed by R. M. Williamson and William Barrett Travis pleading with the Mexican government to release Steven F. Austin and a Derringer pocket pistol that was taken from the body of Dave Crockett by a Mexican officer. Many of the other items in the collection are just as wonderful. For example, we have General Santa Anna's personal battle flag that was captured after the Battle of San Jacinto and it may have flown at the Alamo. We also have the famous pocket watch that Coronel Fannin was carrying when he was executed at Goliad. The watch is a particular favorite of mine since I grew up hearing the story of how he asked that the watch be given to his wife and how it was stolen after his execution. We also have a letter signed by General Sam Houston, written soon after the battle of San Jacinto. It gives a detailed account of the fighting and includes the phrase "Remember the Alamo!"

 I often wonder if the good citizens of north Texas know just what a treasure trove the Dallas Historical Society is. I have worked here for almost two years and I am still having those "wow" moments of amazement. Whether it is finding an eighteenth century letter of mark, from the reign King George III, in the G. B. Dealey collection, our Bonnie and Clyde artifacts, or our massive photograph collection, the Dallas Historical Society is an amazing place.
-Ed Owens

 The Dallas Historical Society's 2009 Brown Bag Lecture Series

Generously sponsored by
CLAMPITT PAPER: The Paper People

Due to the renovation of the Hall of State, all eight lectures will be held in the Clampitt Paper's Creative Center. The Creative Center is located at Clampitt Paper's headquarters, 9207 Ambassador Row, Dallas, TX 75247. Click here for directions.
August 12th
Dallas Artillery Company 

Presented by: Ed Owens, local historian and staff member of the Dallas Historical Society.
Join us at 12 PM (noon) on the second Wednesday of every month as the DHS explores a variety of different topics about local and state history.  All lectures are open to the public and there is no cost to attend.
Don't forget to bring your lunch! Groups should RSVP by calling us at 214.421.4500 x 104 or emailing Booking@dallashistory.org. 

1911 Directory, Civil War Surgeon's Kit, Juneteenth Document

In a partnership with the Dallas Summer Musicals, DHS has unveiled four Texas Treasures exhibition cases at the Music Hall at Fair Park.  The cases, on the Hall's Mezzanine level, include items from our George M. Dallas collection; Bonnie and Clyde Barrow's marriage certificate, letters and jewelry; Lady Byrd Johnson's evening gown; a Native American doeskin wedding dress; photographs; and personal items belonging to Guy Hutchinson, artic explorer in the Perry expedition.
Baylor CaseDHS has also unveiled a Texas Treasures exhibition case at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.  In celebration of Juneteenth, the case features such items as a copy of the only known original Juneteenth document; a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation; a biography of Dr. Benjamin R. Bluitt, the first African American surgeon in Texas and one of the first African American physicians in Dallas; and a Civil War surgeon's field kit.  The exhibition is on display in the main lobby of Wadley Tower.

  If we may be of service to you in the future with discovering our past, please feel free to contact, visit or join the DHS. 
Dallas Historical Society