A Landing a Day

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Refugio, Texas

Posted by graywacke on October 14, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  A little breather here, as I landed in the heart of US-land . . . TX; 124/158; 3/10; 5; 152.3.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I’ve landed around here twice before:

landing


As you can see, I landed in the Medio Ck watershed, on to the Mission R (2nd hit); on to the G of M.  Here’s an expanded view, showing the proximity of the same three landings shown above to the south TX coast:

landing2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot:

GE

I don’t know how to describe this except as South Texas scrubland.  I assume all of the roads are old abandoned oil field roads.

Anyway, as you can see on my landing map, I landed between Beeville, Refugio, Woodsboro, Skidmore and Papalote.

After a little Google perusal, I’ve settle on Refugio (partly because I like the name).  Speaking of the name, it’s important for my readers to pronounce place names correctly.  So, here we go now, repeat after me:  “re-fury-oh,” with the accent on the “fury.”  For those Spanish speakers, of course, it would be pronounced re-fuhio, but when in Texas . . .

There’s a connection between the Mission River and history of the town of Refugio.  From Wiki:

In 1795, Spanish friars relocated the Refugio Mission from a site south of present-day Victoria to the banks of the Mission River, a move that probably gave the river its name.

On March 14, 1836, during the Texas Revolution, a detachment of about 120 Texans (called Texians back then) under the command of Amon Butler King took a defensive position in one of the groves along the riverbank and repulsed repeated attacks of Mexican General José de Urrea’s troops (about 1500 strong) during the Battle of Refugio.

Because the day’s fighting nearly exhausted their supplies of gunpowder, King ordered his men to escape that night by swimming across the Mission River; they thus wetted the little powder that remained. The next day a party of Urrea’s men overtook and captured King and his troops. The Texians were returned to the Mission, where they were executed on March 16.

The Mission remained at Refugio until 1830.  So, how about that battle.  It makes me realize how little I know about the “Texas Revolution.”   From Wiki:

The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was a military conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 1835 to April, 1836, about a year and a half.

Animosity between the Mexican government and the American settlers in Texas (who were called Texians), began when Mexican President Santa Anna abolished the Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed a new one in its place. The new laws were unpopular throughout Mexico, leading to violence in several states.

War began in Texas on October 2, 1835, with the Battle of Gonzales. The Texians (who were a majority in present-day Texas) realized that the general unrest could give them the opportunity for independence.  Early Texian successes at La Bahia and San Antonio were soon met with defeat a few months later, under the crushing offensive of Santa Anna.

(The offensive included the Battle of Refugio as well as the famous Battle of the Alamo, where almost all of the Texian defenders, estimated at 182–257 men, were killed, including James Bowie and Davy Crockett.)

The war ended at the Battle of San Jacinto where General Sam Houston led the Texian Army to victory in 18 minutes over a portion of the Mexican Army under Santa Anna, who was captured shortly after the battle.  The conclusion of the war resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas.

OK, OK, I have to check out this 18 minute victory.  From Wiki:

The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.  Led by General Sam Houston, the Texas Army engaged and defeated General Santa Anna‘s Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. About 700 of the Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only nine Texans died.

Wiki goes on and on, but basically the Texians managed to sneak up on the main body of Mexican troops in tall grass.  They totally surprised (and massacred) the unwary and unsuspecting Mexicans (yelling “Remember the Alamo”).

After the Texian victory, the Republic of Texas remained an independent nation until 1845, when it became a state of the Union.  As you might expect, there’s quite a bit of history here also, but I’ll say no more than that Sam Houston served two terms as president, and the capital was moved from Columbia (now a small town south of Houston called West Columbia) to Houston to Austin.

Phew.  Sorry about the dry history, but I felt like it was something I needed to learn.  Whether or not my readers care, I know not . . .

Actually, I’m not yet leaving history behind, with these photos of the King’s Men Monument in Refugio (as mentioned previously, Amon King led the Texians at the Battle of Refugio):

Refugio Memorial

Here’s a close-up of the statue:

Refugio Memorial close-up

I’m not sure what this well-built fellow is supposed to represent, but anyway, the plaque at the base of the statue says ” Erected by the State of Texas in memory of Captain Amon B. King and other Texan soldiers killed in action or captured and afterwards slain as a result of the fighting at Refugio, March 14-15, 1836.”

Moving from traditional history to baseball history, I must let you know that one of the most famous pitchers of all time is from Refugio:  Nolan Ryan.  His accomplishments are legendary.

NolanRyan_001

From Wiki:

Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. (born January 31, 1947 in Refugio, Texas) is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher and current president of the Texas Rangers.

Ryan played in a major league record 27 seasons for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers, from 1966 to 1993.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Ryan, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, threw pitches that were regularly recorded above 100 mph (160 km/h), even past the age of 40.

While his lifetime winning percentage was a relatively pedestrian .526, Ryan was an eight-time MLB All-Star, and his 5,714 career strikeouts rank first in baseball history.  He leads the runner-up, Randy Johnson, by 856 strikeouts as of June 23, 2009. Similarly, Ryan’s 2,795 bases on balls lead second-place Steve Carlton by 962—walking over 50% more hitters than any other pitcher in Major League history.

Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher.  He is tied with Bob Feller for most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters. Perhaps interesting to note, despite the seven no-hitters he has not thrown any of baseball’s perfect games.

Personally, I remember my team the Phillies beating Nolan Ryan and the Astros in a memorable National League Championship Series game back in 1980 (the last year before 2008 that the Phil’s won the World Series).  From Wiki:

In the fifth and final game of the series, Ryan and the Astros held a 5–2 lead entering the 8th inning. But Ryan allowed three consecutive singles before walking in the third run. The Houston bullpen allowed the Phillies to take a 7–5 lead, and only a game-tying Astro rally permitted Ryan to escape the loss.

OK, OK, so technically speaking the Phillies didn’t beat Nolan Ryan, but they did win the game in the 10th inning (in one of the most exciting games ever played).

I’ll close with this shot of the full moon over Refugio (I’ll have to take the photographer’s word on the location . . .)

trip-2003-04-14-TX-Refugio-Full-moon-640

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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One Response to “Refugio, Texas”

  1. Hi there: thanks for using some time of producing up this info. I continually seek to additional my knowledge of matters. Whether or not I concur or disagree, I like material. I try to remember the old times when the only supply of advice was the library or even the newspaper. They both seem to be so archaic. : )

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