Thursday, April 25, 2024

County approves placement of Alamo Letter structure on courthouse grounds

Posted

Hood County residents and visitors alike will soon be able to view a significant piece of Texas history right here in Granbury.

During a regularly scheduled meeting of the Hood County Commissioners Court March 12, a motion was unanimously approved to place a structural representation of “The Alamo Letter” on the south side of the historic courthouse grounds.

“The Alamo Letter” is one of the most famous letters in American history. It was written by William B. Travis Feb. 24, 1836, when the Texan Army at the Alamo was outnumbered. The letter was addressed “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” and was a passionate plea for aid for the Alamo garrison, according to thealamo.org.

The letter — as taken word-for-word from thealamo.org — reads as follows:

“Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

“I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man √ The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.”

“Everybody in this room that's a native Texan knows what ‘The Alamo Letter’ is — the ‘Victory or Death letter,’” Hood County Judge Ron Massingill said during the meeting. “And our Sen. Brian Birdwell has purchased a bronze copy of that letter and has donated it to Hood County. The cost is $4,000 and he paid for it out of his own pocket.”

Ron Sutton, member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, explained that the bronze is two feet wide, three feet long, and weighs 202 pounds. The structure will be placed on the south side of the courthouse across from Eighteen Ninety Grill & Lounge.

“The way that the foundation will be built, is that the letter will be placed at like a 38-degree angle, so it's readable from a distance,” Sutton said. “It's really a beautiful piece of art, and the whole project is steeped in history.”

A few weeks ago, Massingill, Sutton and Birdwell, along with a few other individuals from Hood County, attended the bronze dedication ceremony for Ellis County in Waxahachie to “check out” the statue.

"Each bronze will be identical,” Sutton explained. “This was the brainchild of a guy by the name of Bill McNutt and his daughter, Slone. Their dream — their vision — is to have these Alamo Victory or Death Letters written by Colonel James Travis placed in every county seat. They've got the full backing of the Texas Senate, and that's why our excellent state senator, Brian Birdwell, jumped on board.”

Massingill commented that he has now gotten approval from the Texas State Historical Society, the Hood County Historical Society, and Birdwell to place the statue on the courthouse grounds. All that’s left, he said, is to hold the dedication ceremony.

"We're taking bids right now to get the concrete construction, which is exactly what was used in Ellis County to display their Alamo letter, and the reason for that is some of the counties are going to be able to put their letter inside their courthouse because they have seven days a week, 24-hour security,” he said. “We don't. But there's so many people that come to Granbury that they'll be able to see this letter every time they come and visit the courthouse where it's really not obtrusive. Reading the letter almost brings tears to your eyes no matter how many times you read it.”

Massingill added that in his opinion, Travis’ Alamo letter is the “most significant document out of Texas history,” next to the Texas Constitution.

“I think this is wonderful,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson said. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

Massingill added that the court is not asking the county to pay for anything at this particular time; they are just approving the placement of the statue and will revisit bids at a later date.

“We can get a complete bid on placing it and then after we find out the final costs, we're hoping that we can generate private funds that will pay for it so that the county will not have to spend any money on this,” he added.

The dedication ceremony for “The Alamo Letter” will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Hood County Courthouse.