Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’


I learned this about American, and more specifically, Texas history this evening. It is a chilling story of how captured fighters to earn their independence from Mexico were systematically executed by something as small as chance.

The story begins on the 20th of December, 1842, the 308 Texan soldiers who ignored orders to pull back from the Rio Grande to Gonzales approached Ciudad Mier. They camped on the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

261 soldiers participated in the attack on the town, while the others remained behind as the camp guard.

The Texans were unaware that thousands of Mexican troops were in the area under the command of Generals Francisco Mejia and Pedro de Ampudia.

Although they inflicted heavy casualties on the Mexicans, 650 dead and 200 wounded, the Texans were forced to surrender on the day after Christmas Day.

243 Texans were taken prisoner and marched toward Mexico City via Matamoros and Monterrey for punishment.

On the 11th of February, 1843, 181 Texans escaped, but the lack of food and water in the mountainous Mexican desert forced 176 to surrender or be recaptured by the end of the month.

When the prisoners arrived in Saltillo, Coahuila, they learned an outraged Santa Anna ordered the execution of all the escapees, but Governor Francisco Mexía of the state of Coahuila refused to follow the order.

The new commander, Colonel Domingo Huerta, moved the prisoners to El Rancho Salado. By this time, diplomatic efforts on behalf of Texas by the foreign ministers of the United States and Great Britain led Santa Anna to compromise that only one in ten would die. Which is the definition of decimation– one-tenth.

To help determine who would die Huerta had 159 white beans and seventeen black beans placed in a pot. In what came to be known as the Black Bean Episode or the Bean Lottery, the Texans were blindfolded and ordered to draw beans. Officers and then enlisted men, in alphabetical order, were ordered to draw. The seventeen men who drew a black bean were allowed to write letters home and then were executed by firing squad.

On the evening of 25th of March, 1843, the Texans were shot in two groups, one of nine men and one of eight. According to legend, Huerta placed the black beans in last and had the officers pick first, so that they would make up the majority of those killed.

The first Texan to draw a black bean was Major James D. Cocke. As a witness recalled, Cocke held up the bean between his forefinger and thumb, and with a smile of contempt, said, “Boys, I told you so; I never failed in my life to draw a prize.” He later told a fellow Texan, “They only rob me of forty years.” Fearing that the Mexicans would strip his body after he was dead, he removed his pants and gave them to a companion whose own clothing was in worse shape. He was shot with the sixteen others who drew black beans on that gruesome day. His last words were reported to have been, “Tell my friends I die with grace.”

The seventeen that drew black beans in the lottery were James Decatur Cocke, William Mosby Eastland, Patrick Mahan, James M. Ogden, James N. Torrey, Martin Carroll Wing, John L. Cash, Robert Holmes Dunham, Edward E. Este, Robert Harris, Thomas L. Jones, Christopher Roberts, William N. Rowan, James L. Shepherd, J. N. M. Thompson, James Turnbull, and Henry Walling.

Shepherd survived the firing squad by pretending to be dead. The guards left him for dead in the courtyard, and he escaped in the night but was recaptured and shot. Eastland County, Texas is named after William Mosby Eastland.

Captain Ewen Cameron had drawn a white bean, but was ordered executed anyway by Santa Anna. As he waited to die, Cameron refused to confess to a priest. Standing before the firing squad, Cameron declined the offer of a blindfold, declaring, “For the liberty of Texas, Ewen Cameron can look death in the face.” He then opened his hunting shirt and yelled at his executioners, “Fuego!”, meaning fire in Spanish.

The white bean survivors, including Bigfoot Wallace, and Samuel Hamilton Walker finished the march to Mexico City and were imprisoned at Perote Castle along with the fifteen survivors from the Dawson Massacre. Some of the Texans escaped from Perote or died there, but most remained captive until they were released, by order of Santa Anna, on the 16th of September, 1844.

Captain Ewen Cameron sure had some balls to face off against his executioners as he did so. Even after drawing a white bean, his fate can be seen by many to be unjust and unfair.

But to think about how a man’s life would be decided by the drawing of something as simple back then as a bean, had to be terrifying. The rest as they say is actual history.

Cruise Bound!!!

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

“I’ll be 65 in September and I work as much as I want to, take cruises with Kay, relax with my family, do everything in moderation, because I want to enjoy my life.”~ Frankie Avalon

Well, I hope Frankie Avalon was able to do just that……

After the horrendous meeting that took place this afternoon, I was engaged in conversation with a close neighbor who seems to have adopted me as “her son”. (I have plenty of grandparents here that have “adopted me”…. trust me.)

Just last week, she went on a cruise to Cozumel with someone she has been friends with for over 50 years. The cruise was not necessarily a pleasure trip as the friend of hers was there to teach a class. But I think that the neighbor was there to relax and enjoy.

She’s come back with a lot of wonderful and fun stories. I remember the day that they left to go to port. Her friend told me, “I’m sorry we’re not able to take you. The boat is completely full. But we’ll bring you back a nice looking señorita from Cozumel.”

I had to laugh. But I was also happy for my neighbor. My neighbor though, she is still on a high, similar to the ones I get when I go see SIX MINUTE CENTURY in Houston.

She brought back a few gifts. A couple of keychains, some postcards and what not. I got something to put on my head. It’s really neat. These bandanas are pretty cool.

Well, she tells me that the same friend of hers is going to be doing a few more cruises like she just returned home from. Of course, the friend will be teaching her class while on board. But the neighbor turned around and said something to me that I just was not expecting at all.

She told me “Next year, we’re gonna work very hard to put you on that boat. We’re going to call the cruise line and make sure that they have an accessible room for you to get on the boat.”

I wasn’t taking her seriously at that point. She had just told someone else that if we all saved our pennies, that we could get on board on one of the cruises that will happen in November of 2012. It would cost us… $400.

Not bad considering that I spent over $6,000 on a two week long cruise throughout the Atlantic for a honeymoon that never happened and lost it all because the relationship was terminated. $400 isn’t really that bad. Considering the stories that we keep hearing from her that everything on that boat was free (all except for soft drinks and liquor.)

Today though she continued the conversation by saying, “I’m gonna get you on that ship, boy! I’ll have someone put it on their credit card and you can pay them back each month as much as you can afford. Or even better, I’ll give up MY spot on the ship so that you can go.”

She’s serious. VERY serious.

Her room that she had? I looked it up online: $2,300. Fantastic view of the ocean and a stellar deck just off the room. Gorgeous!!

I was stunned. I’m sure that her friend would agree and she would help to make it happen as well.

I’ve never been on a cruise before. I’ve been fishing in the Gulf of Mexico- just off the coast of Galveston, but never on a cruise ship.

And I’ve never been to Mexico either. I understand that she got on board with just a certified indentification and her birth certificate. The question of whether or not to obtain a passport is up in the air still. I don’t know how these things work at all!

I’ve only been out of the United States once. And that was a quick road trip into Ontario, Canada. We drove for about 90 km and stopped at a McDonald’s, then came right back. We were visiting family in Michigan at the time.

I have to tell you though, I am TOTALLY excited. I know that this neighbor is flat-out serious about this. She’s going to do everything she can to make sure I get on this cruise.

Granted it will be more than a year from now, but still. Holy crow balls!!!

So yeah, totally pumped and totally excited. This is most likely going to be an experience that I will never forget. Anyone wanna come with me?!?