Texas Society Board of Managers Meeting
Lake Jackson, TX
Cradle of Texas Chapter - Hosts
July 30 – Aug. 2, 2009
It was very fitting that our first official appearance as President General and First Lady was at a Texas SAR Society event. We drove to this event, which was 525 miles round trip.
Dr. Don Pugh was the chairman of the event. He organized a wonderful full day historic tour of Brazoria County, TX, entitled “The Trails and Trials of Santa Anna after San Jacinto in Brazoria County, and Other Historic Sites”. Brazoria County is named after the Brazos River, the longest river in Texas. The river empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Brazosport, TX.
We joined about 40 Texas SAR members and wives for this tour. For the reader who is not familiar with Santa Anna, he was the Mexican general who lead thousands of Mexican soldiers against the few hundred defenders of the Alamo. Surely, the reader has heard the cry “Remember the Alamo”. Santa Anna’s army also slaughtered the defenders of Goliad, but was dispensed justice at the Battle of San Jacinto, just outside Houston, TX. This victory led to the creation of the Empire of Texas.
Santa Anna was taken prisoner at San Jacinto. It was a full time job preventing him from being lynched by the Texas survivors, who demanded blood. Wiser heads prevailed. He was kept alive as a bargaining chip. To hide him, he was brought to Brazoria County, the birthplace of Texas. In 1820, Stephen F. Austin, one of the four leaders killed at the Alamo in 1836, was deeded land in Brazoria County. The town of West Columbia, in Brazoria County, became the first capital of Texas.
Our tour took us to several of the plantations where Santa Anna was sequestered. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Durazno (“Durazno” is Spanish for “peach”) Plantation, which was to be Stephen F. Austin’s plantation. He died before it was developed. It became the home of his nephew. The Patton Plantation (Varner Hogg Historical Site) was the home of James Stephen Hogg, the first governor of Texas who was born in Texas. It was donated to the state by his daughter, Ima Hogg.
The meeting was held at the Cherotel in Lake Jackson. Robin and I were provided with a very handsome two room suite, which was very comfortable. Judge Tom Lawrence, state president, and his first lady Mickey, were conducting their first TXSSAR meeting since his election in March. I had appointed Tom as Vice President General of the International District, and he was an unopposed candidate for Chancellor General. Other General Officers in attendance were Secretary General David Sympson, Genealogist General Joe Dooley, both of whom were dual members of the San Antonio, TX chapter, and Vice President General for the South Central District, Harry Fife. Altogether, there were about 100 members and their wives in attendance.
Immediately after Robin and I arrived, Dr Pugh took me to the Brazosport Community College, where I was introduced to Dr. John C. Ray, Dean of Information and Community Resources. At the Spring Leadership meeting, I made a videotape presentation for prospective new members. I had understood that it would be recorded in the afternoon. When I walked into headquarters on that morning the videographers were already set up and wanted to record my presentation right then. Without an opportunity to review my notes, we completed the recording. Unfortunately, there were a few minor mistakes, which would have been unimportant to prospects. I knew the mistakes were there and so did several members. So, I decided to re-shoot the video, with Steve Lee, our videographer. Steve is an active member of SAR from Tyler.
Dr. Ray made his conference room available to us. We looked at it that afternoon, and it was perfect. I made arrangements with Tom Green and John Knox to use their respective flag collections as a backdrop. The following morning we reshot the video, and within a week it will be on our web site. While we were videotaping, there were 14 committee meetings that morning. We got back to the hotel in time for a sandwich buffet lunch. That afternoon, there were 10 more committee meetings.
At 4:45 p.m., the First General Session of the BOM was formally opened by President Lawrence. Mayor Bob Sipple of Lake Jackson brought greetings from the City of Lake Jackson, and I was afforded a few minutes to bring greeting from NSSAR. The BOM endorsed the following candidates:
President General David Sympson
Chancellor General Judge Tom Lawrence
Genealogist General Joe Dooley
Foundation Board Judge Ed Butler
At the banquet that evening, the primary speaker was Professor Wayne Pryor of Brazosport College. He spoke about Jamestown, Virginia, and how the citizens not only introduced slavery to the colonies, but also introduced a democratic form of government, which we still enjoy today.
After the feature speaker, I was afforded some time at the podium. First, I presented Aide de Camp badges to Mike Radcliff, George Harcourt, Tom B. Green, and Steve Lee, the NSSAR Videographer. In my brief remarks I summarized my goals to Modernize, Publicize, and Socialize. I informed those in attendance that we planned to unveil a modern and innovative web site at the Fall Leadership meeting; that my video message was on the web site now; and that I had a meeting scheduled the next week in New York City with the History Channel to seek their help in publicizing our efforts. I asked each chapter and state to institute a new social event to involve both the wives and prospective new members and their wives.
I hadn’t expected the standing ovation I received when I concluded my remarks. Everyone in attendance rose in my honor. I experienced a feeling of wonderful exaltation. It was very flattering. If Robin and I get similar treatment for the remainder of my term of office, it will have been a fantastic year.
We returned home by way of the toll way circling Houston. On the way we passed the huge white statute to Stephen F. Austin, as if he were bidding us farewell from his early days in Texas. That night, we went through our mail and answered phone calls. The following day was spent going to the cleaners, getting a haircut, making a bank deposit and packing for our trip to New York the following day. Four days down and 195 to go.