Good teachers inspire students, and often instill lessons that last a lifetime. This week, Martin Gonzales, Chair of the Atascosa County Historical Commission shares a memory that recalls his earliest influencer in his passion for history.
Take me back to Mr. Johnson’s 4th grade Social Studies class at Poteet Elementary, about 1987. For those of you too young to remember, Social Studies was basically History class. That’s when I recall the lessons of history that caught my attention. Mr. Johnson explained about the Six Flags over Texas. He wove tales of explorers from other countries that claimed this area of land as their own.
The nations having sovereignty over Texas were:
Texas (as a Republic)- 1836-1845
The United States of America- 1845-1861
The Confederate States of America- 1861-1865
The United States of America- 1865- Today
Each nation left its imprint on Texas in one way or another along with their share of scandal and tales of misfortune.
France’s colonization was accidental. Rene- Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle discovered Matagorda Bay in search of the mouth of the Mississippi River. LaSalle discovered the Mississippi River on a previous expedition, during his exploration of Canada. His landing on Matagorda Bay, Texas caused the wreckage of his ship, LaBelle. This led to his multiple, unsuccessful foot searches for the mouth of the Mississippi River. He was losing men and hope as the search continued.
On March 19, 1687 Lasalle was shot and killed by a fellow rival explorer near modern day Huntsville. LaSalle’s exploration of The Great Lakes, Ohio, Mississippi, the Mississippi River, Louisiana, Texas and several forts along the way ended in Texas. Robert Lasalle’s final resting place has been lost to history.
Eight Texas museums have united to create the “LaSalle Experience.” The exhibits display artifacts and archaeological finds of Robert Lasalle’s expedition. The “LaSalle Experience” can be visited in person or by using the mobile app. You can find the information for both on The Texas Historical Commission website at: www.thc.texas. gov/preserve/archaeology/ la-salle-archaeologyprojects.
I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed the production of this article.
Until next time.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING is written by Atascosa County Historic Preservation Officer, Marie Levy, on behalf of the Atascosa County Historical Commission. If you have history to share, you may contact her at 210-846-1728.