The Archive War
July 9, 2009

As a child, I begged my mother to pull over every single time we saw an historical marker in Austin - I was utterly fascinated with these little tidbits of history on the side of the road. So when someone on Twitter recently said, "I couldn't explain Austin any better than to share this story," I couldn't resist going to check. I love Texas history and particularly anything to do with my beloved Austin.

I about fell over laughing. Librarians and archivists, beware - this is a sordid and scary tale. English teachers - FLEE NOW - this was written, I think in 1974 and apparently by a committee of third graders. (I was going to say fifth graders, but I'm not so sure about that any more.)

Without further ado, I give you ... The Archive War!

In 1839 Austin became the capital of the Republic of Texas. The national archives - state papers and land titles - were house on Congress Avenue. In 1842, after Mexican armies seized San Antonio and seemed likely to capture Austin. Many residents fled in what was called "The Breakup." From his home in Galveston, President Sam Houston ordered removal of the government papers. A local "Archive Committee" responded by burying them. The president then tried unsuccessfully to have congress create a new capital near the coast. Later his men came secretly to haul the papers to the interim capital, Washington-on-the-Brazos, loading them before dawn on Dec. 30, 1842.
Mrs. Angelina Eberly, a noted innkeeper and one of the few women in Austin during The Breakup, found the men loading the archives in darkness. Running to the city cannon on Congress Avenue at Pecan (6th) Street, she fired at the wagons. The 26 men departed with the records. About 68 citizens rode after them, hauling along the city cannon. Some 20 miles from Austin they retrieved the archives without bloodshed.
Because the archives remained here, the president and the congress returned in 1845, preserving Austin as the capital of the republic and (later) the state.
The Archive War historical marker

Yep, gotta agree with the tweeter - nothing explains Texas as well as The Archive War.

Posted by Red Monkey at July 9, 2009 5:58 PM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Manictastic said:

That's a cool story, I think. Would make a great Hollywood movie. Town canon and stuff, wow, modernnnnn :d

July 12, 2009 4:33 AM
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