Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 16, 2014

Commissioners sign proclamation for San Jacinto Day

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The battle of the Alamo may be the best remembered conflict in Texas’ fight for independence, but the battle at San Jacinto closed the deal.

Representatives of the Sons of the Republic of Texas were on hand at the Henderson County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday in observance of a proclamation, declaring April 21, San Jacinto Day.

Reverend Jimmy L. Steele of the SRT James George Chapter, a descendant of the last surviving Texas soldier, told the court said Santa Anna was fresh from the victory at the Alamo, leading a large and well trained army, when his forces were taken by surprise on that spring day, near the Gulf of Mexico.

“The only problem was he kind of went to sleep, failed to post guards before San Houston attacked him that day,” Steele said.

Steele’s great-great grandfather, Alfonso Steele, came to Texas to fight at the Alamo, but too late.

“He almost got there, then got word that the Alamo had fallen,” Rev. Steele said. “Then he turned and joined Sam Houston’s army.”

Alfonso Steele was shot in the lung during the 18 minutes of fighting.

“He continued to fight until he became too weak from loss of blood,” Rev. Steele said.

According to historic accounts, Alfonso was born April 9, 1817, in Hardin County, Kentucky.

After the battle, he settled in Montgomery County and eventually to Limestone County.

He revisited the San Jacinto battlefield in 1907 and two years later was honored by the Texas Legislature as one of the two living survivors of San Jacinto. Alfonso Steele died in 1911.

Also at the Tuesday meeting, Precinct 3 Commis­sioner Ronny Lawrence asked for an update on the plans to repair the roofs at the Henderson County Justice Center and Courthouse Annex.

County Judge Richard Sanders said the bids should be in next week and the item is likely to be on the April 29 agenda.

In other action, Commissioners approved payment of bills in the amount of $357,898.93.