Home History This Brave Wife and Mother Was the Betsy Ross of Texas

This Brave Wife and Mother Was the Betsy Ross of Texas

by Enochadmin

Jane Lengthy had been left alone at coastal Level Bolivar, Texas, with a 5-year-old daughter and a new child to have a tendency. A 12-year-old slave lady named Kian was there to assist, however she too needed to be fed and sheltered. Lengthy grew more and more nervous as hostile Karankawa Indians gathered throughout the channel on Galveston Island to eye the all-but-abandoned Level Bolivar outpost. On prime of the whole lot else winter had come.

In 1819 the USA and Spain signed the Adams-Onís Treaty, which ceded Florida to the previous and outlined the border between the States and the shrinking viceroyalty of New Spain. Against the pact had been many American and French settlers within the South. Amongst them was James Lengthy

Born Jane Herbert Wilkinson in Charles County, Md., on July 23, 1798, she was the final of 10 kids and skilled trials early in life. A 12 months after Jane was born, her father died. In 1811 the Widow Wilkinson moved her kids to the Mississippi River city of Washington, the capital of Mississippi Territory (present-day Mississippi and Alabama). However a 12 months later she died, orphaning the kids. Jane moved in with older sister Barbara and husband Alexander “Sandy” Calvit, a captain with the territorial militia, at Propinquity Plantation close to Natchez. It was there in 1815 she met and married Dr. James Lengthy, who had served as a U.S. Military surgeon underneath Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson on the January 8 Battle of New Orleans, the climactic conflict of the Struggle of 1812. The couple settled at Lengthy’s close by plantation, Walnut Hills, the place their first little one, daughter Ann, was born a 12 months later.

However bother was quickly once more brewing. In 1819 the USA and Spain signed the Adams-Onís Treaty, which ceded Florida to the previous and outlined the border between the States and the shrinking viceroyalty of New Spain. Against the pact had been many American and French settlers within the South. Amongst them was James Lengthy, who promptly gathered some 300 males—together with Jim Bowie and Ben Milam—for an invasion of Spanish Texas. (He additionally sought in useless to recruit French pirate Jean Lafitte. who had participated within the combating at New Orleans). On arrival in Texas in June 1819 the expedition captured Nacogdoches, and Lengthy’s followers presumptively proclaimed him president of the primary Republic of Texas. Later that month, days after having delivered her second little one, a woman named Rebecca, Jane left their daughters within the care of sister Barbara and joined her husband. However his time period in workplace and the republic itself had been short-lived. In October a Spanish military drove out the would-be filibusters. Sadly, throughout her mother and father’ absence from the States, toddler Rebecca had died.

Round 1820 Jane designed this banner with a crimson subject and white star that will have been Texas’ first ‘Lone Star’ flag.
(Glasshouse, CC by-SA 3.0)

Escaping to Natchitoches, La., Lengthy instantly started recruiting males for a second expedition into Texas. Lastly, in April 1820 he headed to the Gulf Coast with Jane, daughter Ann and the slave lady Kian to his new headquarters at Level Bolivar, reverse Galveston Island on the mouth of the namesake bay. There his males erected a crude mud fort defended by a single cannon. Round this time Jane is claimed to have designed a flag for the expedition, that includes a crimson subject with a single white five-pointed star (she later added 13 alternating red-and-white horizontal stripes and moved the crimson subject and its white star to the canton, echoing the American flag). Jane dubbed it the “lone star,” intending it to symbolize her husband. The flag could have been the primary “lone star” flag in Texas.

After greater than a 12 months on the distant outpost, maybe seeing the handwriting on the wall, males began to abandon. Regardless, on Sept. 19, 1821, an undeterred Lengthy kissed his spouse goodbye and boldly sailed off with most of his remaining 56 filibusters to battle the Spanish. Unknown to anybody at Level Bolivar, he was captured at La Bahía inside days of getting landed in Texas. In the meantime, within the firm of three different civilians and simply 4 troopers, Jane, daughter Ann and Kian had been about to face one of many worst winters on report.

This 1872 lighthouse overlooks the spot at Level Bolivar as soon as occupied by filibuster James Lengthy’s lengthy gone mud fort.
(Anna Donnarumma/Dreamstime)

Pregnant along with her third little one, Jane resolved to attend at Level Bolivar for her husband’s return. However within the coming weeks and months, as provides dwindled and no phrase got here of the expedition’s destiny, the opposite settlers started leaving, and the troopers abandoned. Finally, solely Jane and the 2 women remained.

When the provisions gave out, the trio survived on fish and oysters scavenged from the bay. All of the whereas the Karankawas on Galveston Island watched and waited. Jane stored them at bay by periodically firing the cannon, making them consider the outpost remained occupied and as formidable as ever. Some accounts declare she flew a crimson petticoat from a pole in imitation of a battle flag and donned a uniform left by the deserting troopers to additional keep it up the deception.

On December 21 the dauntless 23-year-old, with the preteen Kian’s assist, delivered daughter Mary James within the chilly consolation of an ice-covered tent. Lastly, with the spring thaw in 1822, a celebration of Texas-bound American settlers landed on the outpost, bringing the unhappy information that on April 8 James Lengthy had been shot lifeless by one in all his guards in Mexico Metropolis. With no extra motive to carry the fort, Jane lastly left Level Bolivar along with her daughters and Kian.

In response to household lore, a number of well-known Texans courted the “Mom of Texas,” however Lengthy died a widow on Dec. 30, 1880.
(Galveston & Texas Historical past Middle)

After visiting Mexico Metropolis to inquire about her husband’s demise, Jane spent the subsequent decade dividing her time between Texas and Mississippi. In 1832 she purchased William Tennant Austin’s Brazoria, Texas, boardinghouse and ran it for 5 years. Three years later it hosted a cocktail party to welcome again Stephen Austin (no relation to William Austin) from his personal imprisonment in Mexico Metropolis. In 1837 Jane moved to land granted her by that “Father of Texas” in newly integrated Richmond, the place she opened one other boardinghouse and began a plantation south of city. By the 1861 outset of the Civil Struggle she’d acquired 19 slaves and greater than 2,000 acres of land. After the warfare she continued working the land with the assistance of tenant farmers. Daughter Ann, who lived close by, died at age 53 in 1870.

In response to household lore, over time Widow Lengthy was courted by—and refused marriage gives from—Stephen Austin, Ben Milam, William Travis and Sam Houston. Jane died a widow at age 82 on Dec. 30, 1880. Since her demise varied authors and boosters have erroneously credited her with having given delivery to the primary little one born in Texas to English-speaking mother and father, which was not true. A number of had been born earlier than Mary entered the world in an ice-covered tent. Nonetheless, the monument atop Jane Lengthy’s grave at Richmond’s Morton Cemetery bears the inscription THE MOTHER OF TEXAS. WW

this text first appeared in wild west journal

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