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Alamo Briefs - October 2002

Excerts from: "Alamo Families," a monthly newsletter produced by ADDA member Bob Bowman.

Disney's Slowness May Cut Howard Out of 'Alamo'

The Alamo may have lost its fearless leader. No, not William Travis or Jim Bowie, but Oscar winner, Ron Howard, who was to direct a new film about San Antonio's historic battle. An article in Variety says that Howard "will not lead the charge after all on 'the Alamo.'" Disney is taking too long in getting it into production, it explains, and Howard has other film projects on the burner. Casting for director Ron Howard's proposed film about the 1836 battle in San Antonio has slowed and work has ceased on an Alamo movie set on Eugene Reimer's ranch on Hamilton Pool Road near Dripping Springs, Texas. The word is that, even with Howard out of the project, Disney is trying to push the idea forward, but Howard's withdrawal may discourage some movie stars from appearing in the film.

Is the Alamo Haunted?

San Antonio has a number of buildings with ghost stories, and one of them is the Alamo. For decades, people from all walks of life have told chilling tales of ghostly experiences at the Alamo, such as strange smoky spirits that wander its grounds, screams heard from inside its walls, sounds of explosions, even faint trumpet notes of the Deguello, Santa Anna's "song of no quarter." It is important to remember that the Alamo is essentially a cemetery, a place where nearly 200 Alamo defenders and 1,600 Mexican soldiers died in 1836. Their remains were dismembered, burned, dumped in the San Antonio River, or simply left to the elements. It was one of the bloodiest battles in American and Texas history. The first account of ghosts at the Alamo came shortly after its fall.

Santa Anna left San Antonio in the hands of General Andrade, who made camp several miles from the Alamo because of the carnage and disease born by the bodies left in the sun. When Santa Anna sent word for Andrade to destroy the Alamo, the general sent a colonel with a contingent of men to carry out the orders. The men came rushing back with a frightening story of six "Diablos" or devils guarding the front of the old mission. The specters were screaming at the advancing Mexican soldiers and waving flaming sabers in their hands. When General Andrade went to investigate himself, he described six men with balls of fire in their hands, advancing on his terrified troops.

Digging Into History - Fort Anahuac

Archeologists are getting closer to learning more about a crucial site in Texas' fight for independence. Laboring in the dense, sticky gumbo soil just off Trinity Bay near Anahuac, the archeologists recently unearthed the bases of the four-foot thick brick walls that formed the foundation of Fort Anahuac. The fort, built by Mexico in 1830 on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Trinity River, is considered by some historians the site where the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired. Chambers County historians hope to obtain grants to uncover more of the old fort and build a replica to help show its significance in Texas history.

The fort, named for an ancient capital of the Aztecs, was used by Mexico to collect customs from cargo ships to the Galveston Bay area and enforce laws curtailing further Anglo-American settlement in the area. The fort's commander was David Bradburn, a Kentuckian in the service of Mexico. The Mexican laws annoyed the colonists, including young William Barrett Travis, who later commanded the Alamo's defenders. Bradburn imprisoned Travis and others, sparking the first open rebellion against Mexican rule. Bradburn's threat to use cannon fire on the nearby town of Anahuac resulted in gunfire from the colonists, resulting in the first casualties of the revolution. Although the fort has been mostly forgotten, it lies just across the water from the San Jacinto monument, which marks the spot where Texas finally won its independence in 1836. "Anahuac, Goliad and San Antonio have their names written on the floor of the rotunda of the state capitol, but Anahuac's contribution to history isn't as well known as the other two," said Stephen Rowland of Chambers County.


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