America's Lost Treasures: Austin

Facts About the Artifacts in This Episode

Photo: Captain Allee's Supposed Pistol

This Colt “Peacemaker” revolver may have belonged to the infamous Texas Ranger, Captain Alfred Allee.

Photograph by Original Productions

Santa Anna & The Alamo

  • The Alamo was originally a mission before being converted into a fortress for the Spanish Cavalry in the early 1800s.
  • Santa Anna referred to himself as the “Napoleon of the West,” and fought more battles than Napoleon and Washington combined.
  • Nearly 200 defenders lost their lives at the Battle of the Alamo, but Mexican troops lost around 600.

The Lost Cause & The Confederacy

  • The motto printed on The Great Seal of the Confederacy is “Deo Vindice” which translates to “God Will Vindicate.”
  • The Lost Cause is a movement that seeks to reframe the Civil War with a perspective that puts the Confederacy and the Old South in the best possible light.  The movement was based on several accepted tenets, two of which are:
    - Confederate fighters were saintly and heroic.
    - Slaves were loyal to their masters, and not overly willing nor ready to be free.

Rodeo

  • Rodeo evolved out of cattle-raising in the Old West, and has origins that date back to 16th Century Spanish Conquistadors.
  • The best possible score for a bull ride is 100 points. Half of the points are awarded for the bull and half for the rider.
  • To date, there has been just one perfect score of 100 in PRCA Bull Riding.  It was awarded to Wade Leslie in 1991.

Texas Rangers

  • The Texas Rangers, as a special law enforcement organization was established in 1835.  The 56 men were responsible for their own horses, guns and ammunition, and earned $1.25 per day.
  • Today there are approximately 150 commissioned Texas Rangers.

Guns

  • The Colt Single-Action Revolver a.k.a. Peacemaker is known as “the gun that won the West,” due to its popularity, power and reliability.
  • The Winchester Model 1873 Rifle is a “repeating” rifle which allows rounds to be fed into the chamber mechanically instead of having to be reloaded by hand.

The Black Bean Lottery

  • In 1843 after Texas soldiers failed an escape attempt from a Mexican prison, Santa Anna ordered that 1 in 10 of the soldiers executed.  A clay pot was filled with 159 white beans and 17 black.  Those who drew a black bean faced the firing squad at sunset.
  • Santa Anna originally ordered that all of the Texas soldiers be executed, but after protest, changed the order to decimation. (1 in 10).
  • Seventeen-year-old James Shepherd survived the Black Bean Lottery firing squad but pretended to be dead.  He lay still with his fallen comrades until dark, when he was able to sneak out of the prison and escape.  However he was recaptured 4 days later and immediately put to death.

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