Star of the Republic Museum

Star of the Republic Museum Located at the site where 59 delegates gathered on March 2, 1836 to declare Texas’ independence.

Located at the site where 59 delegates gathered on March 2, 1836 to declare Texas’ independence from Mexico, the Star of the Republic Museum depicts the colorful saga of the Texas Republic.

In 1814 we took a little tripAlong with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip'We took a little bacon and we took a l...
01/09/2024

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip'
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans...

On January 8th, 1815, Andrew Jackson and his forces defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. This battle, the last battle of the War of 1812, remains one of the most important victories in United States. Often considered during the period a "second Independence Day", the day was often celebrated with dances and fireworks all the way until the Civil War.

Many future Texans, including James Bowie and John Hall (the founder of Washington-on-the-Brazos), participated in the battle, and veterans of the conflict used their experience during this conflict to leverage support to gain commanding positions during the Texas Revolution.

  The sloop of war Austin, the flagship of the Second Texas Navy from 1840 to 1846, was commissioned. Under the command ...
01/06/2024

The sloop of war Austin, the flagship of the Second Texas Navy from 1840 to 1846, was commissioned. Under the command of Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, she participated in the Battle of Campeche in 1843 and remains the only sail-power ship to defeat a steam-driven warship. The Star of the Republic Museum holds over 20 documents related to both the First and Second Navy, including this requisition of uniforms for the Texas Marines stationed on the sloop Austin.

For more information about the Republic of the Texas Navy, check out Texas Navy Association.

Are you "plotting" your New Year's plans?Join us in January for a history filled start to the new year! From enjoying a ...
01/04/2024

Are you "plotting" your New Year's plans?

Join us in January for a history filled start to the new year! From enjoying a hot cup of coffee (just check it is actual coffee) with Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, to learning how to sort out that toothache using 19th century medicine with Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site, to staying productive when it's too cold to go outside with Barrington Plantation State Historic Site, kick off your New Year with a historic twist!

Image is from SRM1969-70, Atlas Geographique, 1762, a gift from the Cletus Brown Family. , ,

Have a beer on us to celebrate the New Year!**Conditions apply including: Figuring out where Red Top Salon is, if Red To...
01/02/2024

Have a beer on us to celebrate the New Year!*

*Conditions apply including: Figuring out where Red Top Salon is, if Red Top Salon is currently in business, and if they still take trade tokens.

Prior to the mid 20th century, cash in Texas was always in short supply. Lack of central banks, a mostly agrarian economy. and distance between towns hindered the circulation of money. Instead, most people relied on barter or credit. In the late 19th century, trade tokens like this week's object were used to drum up trade to salons up and down the cattle trail. Handing out chips, the hope was to lure cowboys in for one drink (and then another). Trade tokens were also used from everything to ferry crossings to daily groceries. Tokens passed out of favor, however, as the modern economy made the circulation of cash much more reliable.

12/28/2023

Washington-on-the-Brazos SHS, including all buildings and grounds, will be closed Jan. 1, 2024 (New Years Day). We hope to see you when we reopen in the New Year!

  in 1836, Stephen F. Austin died. He had been serving as Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas in the new capita...
12/27/2023

in 1836, Stephen F. Austin died. He had been serving as Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas in the new capital of West Columbia. Austin, as diplomat, empresario, and politician, had been one of the driving forces in Texas since he secured the first American empresario contract in 1821. His influence continues to this day, including the naming of the final capital of Texas after him.

12/25/2023
12/23/2023

*Whispers* Guys...does anyone know how to move a more than thousand pound printing press...

Thankfully with the help of the talented crew from TyArt Moving, two motercycle jacks, and several piano dollies, we were able to get the printing press out of the exhibit area and safely into storage.

"Therefore, be it resolved, that the former province and department of Texas is, and of right ought to be, a free, sover...
12/21/2023

"Therefore, be it resolved, that the former province and department of Texas is, and of right ought to be, a free, sovereign, and independent State"

in 1836, the garrison of Goliad signed the first Declaration of Independence of the Texas Revolution. The document was drafted by Ira Ingram, the first alcalde of Matagorda and secretary to the commander of Goliad. It was rushed to San Felipe for official adoption by the General Council, however, the council saw the document as rash and inconsiderately adopted. It was filed away, and quietly ignored by the council. The document, however, was an important turning point in the Texas Revolution. It was one of the first definitive moments that the revolutionaries turned away from the Mexican Federalist cause and began an earnest push for independence. This push would culminate in March of 1836, when Texas officially declared independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Did you know that the Star of the Republic Museum has the only handwritten copy of the Goliad Declaration of Independence dated to the Texas Revolution? Our copy is included in a letter to Sam Houston from William G. Hill and was passed down by Houston descendants until it was donated to the museum.

*Slides into the room to a mean banjo solo*Robert McAlpine Williamson was one of the most influential lawyers in Mexican...
12/19/2023

*Slides into the room to a mean banjo solo*

Robert McAlpine Williamson was one of the most influential lawyers in Mexican Texas and the Republic. Also known as Three Legged Willie. due to a childhood illness that left his right leg permanently drawn back at the knee leaving him dependent on a crutch, Williamson was known for his personal characteristics, his unique decisions, his adroitness as a campaigner, his amusing legislative manipulations, and the succinctness of his oratory. Among these talents was being one of the first document white banjo players (Because of this, our educator always envisions him having a mean Banjo playlist on Spotify)

In December of 1836, the First Congress of the Republic elected Williamson judge of the Third Judicial District located in Columbus. Through this, he became a member of the first Republic of Texas Supreme Court. Columbus burnt down during the revolution, and when Williamson convened the first session of the Third Judicial District court, he held it under a tree where the current Colorado County Court house was eventually built. He eventually held positions as judge, legislature, and US senator.

Our object of the week is a colored sketch of Robert McAlpine Williamson including his crutch. (SRM 187-12)

We enjoyed spending yesterday with Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site! Our educator got to learn how to use a ...
12/17/2023

We enjoyed spending yesterday with Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site! Our educator got to learn how to use a reflector oven, as we made basic tavern food to go with our Smoking Bishops.

12/16/2023

It takes a village to pack up a museum!

Our site manager and one of our talented maintnence crew help our collections manager and exhibit's person load the frame of our oversized floor loom onto the top shelf of collections storage. Every item is carefully assessed to make sure it goes into the best spot for both its needs and the needs of the wider collection. And sometimes it requires a village to get it there!

It's a cold winters day, and you are curled on your most comfortable couch. The fire crackles in the fireplace. You're t...
12/14/2023

It's a cold winters day, and you are curled on your most comfortable couch. The fire crackles in the fireplace. You're thumbing through a well-worn copy of "A Christmas Carol". In your hand is a Smoking Bishop, a hot punch made from port, red wine, lemons, sugar, and spices. Which of these two cups from our collection would you prefer to be drinking from?

While our curator would never let us actually drink a Smoking Bishop from a collection piece (something about bugs and staining), join us this Saturday from 10-4 at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site as we make non-alcoholic Smoking Bishops, read from A Christmas Carol, and write letters to Santa.

"(The Republic of Texas) Congress was going on with the work of legislation. A bill has been introduced to expel all fre...
12/12/2023

"(The Republic of Texas) Congress was going on with the work of legislation. A bill has been introduced to expel all free (blacks) from the country-a very wise law for a slave State, and which should have been adopted here thirty years ago."

Mexican law did not discriminate based on race, and any Free Black who immigrated to Texas was assured equal citizenship and qualified for land grants on the same terms for land grants as white settlers. This made Mexican Texas an attractive place for Free Blacks to immigrate to, and, between emancipation and immigration, Texas held a surprisingly large population of about 500 by 1836.

This changed with the new Republic of Texas Constitution. The Constitution tied race with enslavement. Free Blacks were stripped of their citizenship. Debates were held, and a series of confusing and contradictory laws were passed during the late 1830s trying to establish the future of this (to the legislatures) problematic population. Finally, in 1840, a draconian law was passed stating that all Free Blacks must leave Texas or face enslavement.

Petitions poured into the government, requesting permission to stay within Texas. Veterans of the Texas Revolution, laundresses whose children were still enslaved, important landowners, Free Blacks from all walks of life pleaded to stay in Texas. They backed up their petition with lists of signatures from their white neighbors. On December 12, 1840, the Republic passed the Ashworth Act. It was named after one of the most influential group of petitioners, the Ashworth family, one of the wealthiest families in what is today Orange County. The Ashworth Act allowed all Free Blacks who had been in Texas before the Revolution to stay. Immigration after that point, however, was forbidden and Free Blacks did not regain their citizenship rights until after the Civil War.

Our Object of the week is an article published in the New York Times and Commerical Interests, discussing the February law that led to the passing of the Ashworth Act.

Sometimes in life, you just have to bubble wrap a cow...
12/09/2023

Sometimes in life, you just have to bubble wrap a cow...

Looking to celebrate this Holiday season with a historic twist? Join us at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site!...
12/06/2023

Looking to celebrate this Holiday season with a historic twist? Join us at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site! Continue (or start!) your family tradition of joining us Barrington Plantation State Historic Site for our annual Candlelight Christmas, or enjoy a reading of the Christmas class "A Christmas Carol" in front of a crackling fire. Our grounds are open every day except December 24 and 25 this month to spend time with the people you love most enjoying history!

"Who will follow ol' Ben Milam?!"According to Milam family legend, not Anna McKinney. Ben Milam and Anna McKinney met in...
12/05/2023

"Who will follow ol' Ben Milam?!"

According to Milam family legend, not Anna McKinney. Ben Milam and Anna McKinney met in 1826, while Milam was scouting for land to establish an empresario contract. They became engaged, however, Milam asked for the marriage to be postponed so he could conduct business in Mexico. His trip stretched longer than expected, lasting over 3 years including an additional trip to England. While in England, he went about purchasing furniture and silverware for his future marriage. It is unclear what Anna McKinney did during those long three years. No letters survive between the two of them, and there is little evidence she or her extended family would have received any news from him. Stories within the Milam family differ on the motive, some argue McKinney had thought Milam died and others argue McKinney grew tired of waiting for Milam to return to Texas. Whatever the reason, when Milam returned to the McKinney homestead with a cartload of English furniture in 1829 he found Anna McKinney married to someone else. With a cartload of furniture and no fiancée, he went to his newlywedded nephew (who had married McKinney's sister). He gifted the new couple the household goods declaring "I am going to give you these things I bought for her; I haven't any time for women anyway; my country needs me." Milam went on to immortality with his death during the Battle of San Antonio. Anna McKinney moved to Arkansas with her husband, and died in childbirth in 1834 at the age of 25.

Our object of the week is a humble survivor of this complicated story. This coverlet is embroidered with the initial A McKinney, and descended down the Milam family through her sister Eliza. Whether it was a coverlet woven by Annie McKinney or her women relatives in preparation for a wedding that never arrived, or was commissioned by Ben Milam as a courtship gift is not noted. If only the coverlet could tell us about the tangled web Milam and McKinney wove!

How do you store oversized objects like the signers painting, the gin screw, and the printing press? Our maintenace and ...
12/02/2023

How do you store oversized objects like the signers painting, the gin screw, and the printing press? Our maintenace and exhibits staff have worked hard during the past few months to build custom storage for some of our largest and most fragile objects. This includes carefully measuring the dimensions of the object and working with the curator to design housing that will support and protect the artifacts while there in storage.

This week's object is "The Reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence by Charles and F***y Normann. The Normann's ...
11/28/2023

This week's object is "The Reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence by Charles and F***y Normann. The Normann's meticulously researched each signer to make sure their painting was as authentic as possible. The culmination of that research is this detailed depiction of the Reading on March 2nd, 1836. It has been a cornerstone of the collection since the 1970s and has been in its current custom-built case since 1999. In preparation for the upcoming renovation, the panting has been moved to storage. Join us this week on Facebook as we document the move and show off its new (temporary) home!

Painting on loan from the Fultz Estate, Navasota, Texas.

Me when they say Thanksgiving Dinner is ready...Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Washington on the Brazos State Hist...
11/23/2023

Me when they say Thanksgiving Dinner is ready...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site and Barrington Plantation State Historic Site will be closed today, however, if you need to walk off that turkey we will be open tomorrow.

Colored lithograph by John James Audubon; plate ###I from The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, SRM 1983-64.2

Checklist for Thanksgiving travel: One ferry boat to bypass Highway Six traffic over the Navasota River (Check), 33 Gall...
11/21/2023

Checklist for Thanksgiving travel: One ferry boat to bypass Highway Six traffic over the Navasota River (Check), 33 Gallons of Whisky to survive the yearly Thanksgiving Debate on Politics (Check), 1 pair of pantaloons and a spiffy new shirt to prevent Aunt Marge from complaining about how scruffy you look (Check), a new saddle for a quick exit while everyone else is distracted by pie (Check).

This week's object is an 1840 receipt for the commission of a new ferry boat and 33 gallons of whisky (don't drink and ferry!). Safe travel to all those visiting family and friends, and a happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a busy weekend of events! On Saturday, our museum educator joined with Washingto...
11/20/2023

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a busy weekend of events! On Saturday, our museum educator joined with Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site staff and volunteers to try the case of a potential horse thief (turns out if the green bottle does not fit, you must acquit...). On Sunday, we enjoyed spending an afternoon with Bryan College Station Public Library System learning how to bead daisy bracelets and discussing the Comanche Culture. Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped make these events happen and thank you to everyone who came out and enjoyed them!.

Do you live in College Station, and looking for something to do Sunday afternoon? Join us between 2 and 3 pm at the Larr...
11/18/2023

Do you live in College Station, and looking for something to do Sunday afternoon? Join us between 2 and 3 pm at the Larry J. Ringer Library with the Bryan College Station Public Library System for our Lord of the Plains Touch Table! Join us as we explore how the Nʉmʉnʉʉ (Comanche) transformed buffalo and beads into children's toys and everyday artifacts with an artistic flair. We'll have a touch table exploring the role of the Buffalo in an everyday Comanche households, and a beading activity to show the unique beading heritage of the Nʉmʉnʉʉ nation.

Doll with cradleboard c. 1890, National Museum of the American Indian (2/1535)

Did you know the first Spanish capital of Texas is now in Louisiana? The Royal Spanish Court decreed in the New Law of 1...
11/14/2023

Did you know the first Spanish capital of Texas is now in Louisiana? The Royal Spanish Court decreed in the New Law of 1729 that Presidio Los Adaes, about 12 miles from the French settlement of Natchitoches, as the capital of Tejas. In 1716, the Spanish established four churches and a presidio in an attempt to counter French alliances with tribes within the Caddo Confederacy. The Spanish were hampered, however, by the complicated mercantile system demanded by the Royal Court. Officially all goods used by the settlement, for both personal and diplomatic use, had to come from Mexico. This made goods scarce and expensive, leading to rampant smuggling with nearby French settlements. This also hindered Spanish relations with the Caddo Confederacy. The Caddo Confederacy rejected Spanish overtures in favor of more reliable trade and better gifts offered by the French. Los Adaes failed by the mid eighteenth century, however, its legacy lives on. The series of trails from Mexico to Los Adeas became known as the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association , one of the most important road systems in Texas until the 1850s

This week's object is an early 18th-century French map showing the settlements of Los Adaes, Natchitoches, and the Caddo. To see the entire map, view it on the Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth31887/?q=indian)

11/11/2023

Join us next week in District Court! Too intoxicated to know better or deliberate horse thief? You be the judge!

You know the nagging feeling you have the first few months of a new year, when your not quite sure you've got the date r...
11/07/2023

You know the nagging feeling you have the first few months of a new year, when your not quite sure you've got the date right? Imagine having to remember you belong to a whole new country...

This week's object is a Galveston County District Court summons from 1847. Although the summons is for the State of Texas, the summons is using an old Republic of Texas printed form. The clerk has crossed outdated information out and replaced it with the most current information. Edits include switching from Republic to State, court is now held on the eighth Monday. and we are now the 71st year from American Independence instead of the 11th year of Texas Independence. This takes refusing to use a new calendar to a whole new level...

Address

23200 Park Road 12, P O Box 317
Washington, TX
77880

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm

Telephone

+19368782461

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