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On March 2, we celebrate Texas Independence Day! On that day in 1836, a delegate from each of the 59 existing settlements in Texas signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. This document officially declared Texas’ independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas. The delegation met at Washington-on-the-Brazos and also organized the interim government, naming Sam Houston commander-in-chief of the republic’s military forces.
Here are five things happening around your state:
Teacher Vacancy Task Force releases recommendations
Last week, the Teacher Vacancy Task Force released recommendations to help with teacher retention and recruitment. The task force was established in March of last year by Governor Abbott to examine the challenges teachers face and why teachers are leaving the profession. The state is facing a severe teacher shortage and school districts are doing their best with the resources they have. The task force included teachers and school administrators from across Texas. The task force developed three key areas that need to be addressed: compensation, training and support, and working conditions. According to the task force, teachers need an increase in overall compensation, including benefits, and additional strategic compensation strategies. There is also a need to improve the teacher pipeline, expand training and support for teacher mentorship, and provide access to high-quality instructional materials. Lastly, the task force identified working conditions that led to a lack of value for teachers’ time and a need to ensure culture and discipline support. To read more about the task force’s findings, go to tea.texas.gov/tvtf.
Senate Bill 3 filed, raises homestead exemption to $70,000
This week Senator Paul Bettencourt filed Senate Bill 3 and Senate Joint Resolution 3 which would raise that homestead exemption to $70,000. This would be a 75 percent increase in the current homestead exemption which is currently $40,000. All 31 members of the Texas Senate, including me, have signed on as co-authors to the bill and the constitutional amendment. This change would provide an additional $341 in savings on school taxes for the average homeowner each year. Senate Bill 3 is one of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s top priorities. Delivering property tax relief has never been more important as property values and inflation rise. I look forward to voting for this important legislation and working with our counterparts in the House to pass meaningful property tax relief.
Jobs and Education for Texans grant application now available
The Texas Workforce Commission announced the agency is now accepting applications for Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grants. JET grants are given to public junior, state, and technical colleges, and Texas independent school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and the Windham School District. The funding is for career and technical education programs, including equipment, in those education entities. The education courses lead to a license, certificate, or post-secondary degree and many include dual-credit and technical education programs. The JET program also supports employers by preparing students for careers in high-demand jobs in local businesses. The program currently has $8.6 million available. Applications are now open with a deadline of March 14.
Senate Bill 2 raises illegal voting penalty
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted out Senate Bill 2 this week. The bill, authored by Senator Bryan Hughes, would increase the penalty for illegal voting from a misdemeanor to a second degree felony, which was the penalty prior to 2021. Illegal voting has been a felony for almost 50 years, and this bill treats it with the degree of seriousness it deserves. This bill is also a priority of the Lt. Governor this session and I look forward to working with the rest of the members of the Senate and the House on this legislation.
TxDOT developing record $100 billion plan for projects
The Texas Department of Transportation is proposing a record $100 billion unified transportation plan that will increase the number of projects approved over the next ten years. This is projected to be $15 billion more than the 2023 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) and is based on revenue for the state, derived from the growth in Proposition 1 revenues. The projects would improve congestion, maintain roadways, and increase safety across the state. TxDOT currently has more than $33 billion in transportation projects under construction throughout Texas with more than 7,000 transportation projects underway or scheduled to break ground in 2023. TxDOT will be evaluating projects for inclusion in the 2024 UTP through May.
2nd Lt. Lloyd T. Grubbs, A Texas Boy Killed in France
I had not known much about Lloyd Grubbs.
My grandfather joined the American Legion in about 1924. He had been in France with the 36th Infantry Division. He and several of his friends, I found later, had been in the 141st Regiment.
I did not know how Lloyd Grubbs had served until about a year ago when my curiosity got the better of me and I did a search.
There is not much available, but enough to give his service. It was interesting to find that his mother had been able to visit his grave in France.
The Orange Daily Leader reported on December 16, 1918, that the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Grubbs had been killed on October 2, 1918. They were informed of the death by telegram, there were no details given in the message. The family had received no mail from their son since August.
Lloyd Thildmon Grubbs graduated from Orange High School in 1914 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1915. He had been promoted through the ranks until he achieved the rank of Second Lieutenant. After arriving in France, he attended the field artillery school at Samur, France.
Upon graduation, he had been assigned to the 52nd Field Artillery Brigade.
On September 9, 1918, he joined Battery F, 109th Field Artillery. The unit went into battle in the Oise-Aisne offensive and proceeded to the Argonne front.
The position of Grubbs battery near Montblainville, near Lorraine, France, was under heavy and sustained artillery fire.
On October 2, Lt. Grubbs was hit by shell fragments in the back of the neck and spine and killed instantly.
Lt. Grubbs and several other men were in a small dugout trying to survive the heavy shelling by the German forces when the shell exploded that killed Lt. Grubbs and another officer.
Major Thomas Atherton, the commander of Battery F was within a few feet of Lt. Grubbs and was thrown by the shock of the exploding shell to one end of the dugout.
In July 1925, Mrs. Grubbs received a letter from Maj. Atherton informing her that the army camp at Tobyanne, Pennsylvania had been renamed Camp Grubbs in honor of her son.
Enclosed was a copy of a General Order for the 109th Field Artillery that gave official notice of the name change.
Camp Grubbs was a training base for artillery units.
By this time, the American Legion Post 49 in Orange, Texas had also been named in Lt. Grubbs honor.
He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial at Lorraine. There are 14,765 graves in this cemetery.
Maj. Atherton, in his letter to Mrs. Grubbs, stated that Lt. Grubbs was “a lanky Texas boy that always had a smile, and loved to joke with his fellow soldiers.” He wrote that her son had always been friendly to everyone and was one of the most well-liked officers in the unit.
In late 1925, Mrs. Grubbs was able to travel to France and visit the cemetery and her son’s grave.
“I Came to America to Live, Not to Die”-Moses Rose
ears ago while on the road to announce a rodeo at Stonewall, Louisiana I passed a sign that said “Moses Rose Gravesite” and an arrow pointing down the road. It took several years before I went back and tried to find the site.
The sign I had previously seen was gone and I drove from Logansport to Keatchie and could not find the right road. I went back home and did a search on Google and Google Maps and found I needed to find Funston Road.
On the next trip, I found the right road. I went down a winding tree-shaded road (a really nice drive) and saw a large sign that said it was the site of Moses Rose’s gravesite.
The site is the old cemetery of the family of Aaron Ferguson, the man whose family cared for Rose during the last years of his life.
There are about a dozen graves in the cemetery. It is unfenced and occasionally mowed by someone with a bush hog. The ground is rough and uneven, but there is a concrete walkway that goes past Roses’ grave and across the cemetery.
The grave of Rose has a granite tombstone. Of interest to me is that in the bottom left corner is a Boy Scout emblem engraved. There is no information about the troop that may have provided and placed the stone.
When I saw the sign on the highway I was surprised to see that Rose was buried so far away from San Antonio. It was interesting to research and find out the “whys and hows” of his life after the Alamo.
Anyone familiar with the story of the Alamo knows about the less than 200 men who held off thousands of Mexican soldiers for 13 days. Some may know about the man who left the Alamo the day before, or maybe a few days before the last day. Fewer may know much about that man.
His name was Louis Rose. He was born in La’Fe’ree, in the Ardennes region of France in 1785. In 1806 he joined Napoleon’s 101st Regiment and may have worked his way up to Lieutenant. Rose served in Naples, Portugal, Spain, and possibly Russia. He received the French Legion of Honor for service as an aide-de-camp to General Jacques de Montfort.
It is not clearly known when he came to America but by 1827, he was living in Nacogdoches and working as a log cutter and log hauler in a sawmill.
In Nacogdoches, he joined the Fredonian Rebellion and fought in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832. He had become friends with Jim Bowie and followed him to San Antonio.
The Texas State Historical Association has information about him taking part in three armed conflicts between Anglo settlers and the Mexican authorities.
After this time, there are some conflicts in his story.
At the Alamo, he was given the nickname “Moses” because of his long beard and his age. This writer has found his age stated as 50, 51, and 54 years of age. He was either the oldest or one of the oldest at the Alamo.
The story of Travis drawing the line in the sand with his sword and telling those who would stay and fight to the death is said to have come from Rose. Most historians agree that the “line in the sand” is more likely lore than fact.
Rose let the others know that he was not willing to stay and fight to the end. Supposedly Bowie said, “Rose you seem not prepared to die with us.” Rose was said to reply, “No I am not prepared to die and will not if I can avoid it.”
A bit of conflict is whether Rose went over a back wall or whether a window was opened for him to crawl out of.
Rose was able to cross through the Mexican lines in part due to his “swarthy complexion”, and the fact that he spoke better Spanish than English.
Rose made his way out of San Antonio and went down the San Antonio River about three miles then east across the prairie to the Guadalupe River, avoiding the roads. The country he traveled through was a rough country with lots of cacti and difficult terrain. He appeared at the ranch owned by Abraham Zuber in Grimes County. He was haggard, in bloodstained clothes, and had infected wounds from cactus spines.
He told the Zuber family that he had escaped from a battle at the Alamo and that all the other men had died.
Rose was nursed back to health by the Zuber family and after a while, he went to Nacogdoches. Some of the cactus spines could not be removed and would plague him for the rest of his life.
In 1840 Rose gave testimony in Nacogdoches on behalf of families seeking to prove their menfolk had died at the Alamo. His testimony helped them obtain veteran’s heir’s land grants.
In Nacogdoches, he operated a butcher shop. When he would be asked about leaving the Alamo, he would look the person straight in the eye and say, “By God, I wasn’t ready to die.”
In 1842, he left Nacogdoches and went to Logansport, Louisiana. His health had begun to fail due to infections from the cactus spines. He was befriended by the Aaron Ferguson family. Eventually, the infections became so severe that they caused him to be bedridden. He died in 1851 and was buried in the Ferguson family cemetery. He never married. His brother Isaac had several sons. In 1927 his nephew Arthur Rose presented Moses Rose’s rifle to the Alamo Museum.
A 2021 book, Forget the Alamo, written by Bryan Burroghs, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason challenged many assumptions about the battle. “Despite all the times he claimed to have been there, there is no other record, nor even a secondhand account that he ever told the story the Zuber family attributed to him.”
North of Logansport, Louisiana on Highway 5, Funston Road intersects on the east side of the highway. About three miles down the road, on the right side is a sign that has wording about the historic gravesite of Moses Rose. There are only about a dozen graves there. The site is about a quarter acre mowed by a bush hog. On the right side of the cemetery is the grey granite tombstone that has “Moses Rose 1785-1851 Soldier of the Alamo” engraved on it.
The story of the Alamo has gained heroic mythical status in Texas history. That there was a small number of men greatly outnumbered by an overwhelming force is a fact. A lot of what happened in those 13 valiant days cannot be fully documented. For example, Alamo survivor Susanna Dickinson’s story varied over the years each time she told it.
Whether or not Travis drew the line in the sand does not matter, nor does it really matter if the Moses Rose of this story really was at the Alamo. It brings to mind the statement, “When fact and fiction collide, go with the fiction, it makes a better story.”
The International Boundary Marker Inside The United States.
It is out in the boondocks, but not that hard to find. The times I have been there I have gone via Logansport because I have gone to another place or two in that area. One of these days I am going through Carthage just for the heck of it.
From Carthage, you would go east on Hwy 79, which would take you past, or near the Jim Reeves gravesite. I first went to his grave shortly after the memorial was built. I was living in Marshall at the time. Over the years I have gone several times.
Hwy 79 goes to Greenwood which is on the TX-LA border. The Lickskillet General Store is closed now, but the border goes through the center of the store. Its claim to fame used to be two pay telephones about three feet apart on the back wall of the store. The state border ran between the phones, so you had to pay long-distance charges to call from one phone to the other…..Mike
International boundary markers are located on the borders between two countries. There is one at the intersection of Texas FM 31 South and Louisiana Highway 765 that is totally inside the United States. The location today is the boundary between the states of Texas and Louisiana.
It was placed when the boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States was surveyed beginning in 1840. The marker was placed at this location in 1841.
The location is a three-acre site shared by DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, and Panola County, Texas. The marker is owned by the U.S. government. The site is 10 miles from Deadwood, Texas, and 21 miles from Carthage, Texas. It is approximately six miles from Logansport, Louisiana.
The survey crew began work on May 20, 1840, at the Gulf of Mexico near Sabine Pass. They placed a 36-foot pole in the middle of a large earthen mound. From there they proceeded north, placing eight-foot posts denoting miles from the 32nd Parallel. Reaching the parallel, they placed granite markers on the west bank of the Sabine River. From that point, they proceeded north to the Red River. The work was completed in June 1841.
As a result of erosion, the first marker fell into the river. The second marker remains. It was placed to mark the north-south meridian. The marker is the only one that remains. Others either sank into the ground or for some reason were removed.
The marker was set on April 23, 1841, and discovered in 1971 by crews working in the woods.
The survey team faced hazardous conditions due to often swampy areas and was forced to take several extended breaks due to weather and lack of funding.
On the survey crew, John Forsyth represented the United States and Memucan Hunt represented the Republic of Texas.
The marker was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 1977, and was designated as a State Civil Engineering Landmark by the Texas and Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The granite pillar is nine inches square, ten feet long, and about four feet above the ground. Three sides are engraved. One side is engraved Merid. Boundary, Established A.D. 1840. One side has R.T., and the third side, U.S.
The Texas Historical Marker reads in part, “When Texas became a republic in 1836 it appointed a joint commission with the United States to survey and mark the established boundary from the Gulf of Mexico up the Sabine River and on to the Red River…This is the only known marker remaining and it is believed to be the only original International Boundary Marker within the contiguous U.S. Today the boundary between Texas and Louisiana follows the Sabine River to the 32nd Parallel, at which point it connects with the boundary established by Hunt and Forsyth.
The Texas Historical Foundation purchased this site to provide public access to the early boundary marker.”