Request: Minor Modification to the "Texas First Families Sticker" [closed]

+5 votes
102 views

Request: Add "born" as a third available parameter to the Texas First Families Sticker (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Template:Texas_First_Families).

Background: Creation of this sticker was spearheaded in 2018 by Steve Harris (G2G topic here). Currently the only parameter for the sticker--other than a choice of flag--is either "settled" or "served" with the fixed date of "before February 19, 1846," the date the Republic of Texas handed over governmental operations to the United States; statehood itself became official on 29 December 1845.

The three available flag variations, logically, start with an 1823 date and the Mexican Republic Flag active at that time. Mexico's independence from Spain became official on 24 August 1821 with the Treaty of Córdoba, but the First Mexican Empire was replaced in 1823 by a republican form of government. The 1823 date also coincides with the "Imperial Colonization Law of Mexico" under which "empresarios" like Stephen F. Austin received land grants and began apportioning them to immigrants who committed to actively either farm or raise livestock. By the 1830s, not just empresario lands but also gateway regions in what is today East Texas and the Texas Gulf Coast were being settled in significant numbers.

Rationale: Effectively, there was a window of approximately two decades during which the early settlers had children who were born in the territory; I have several in three of my lines.

The sticker parameter "settled" is not appropriate for those who were born in Texas between 1823 and 19 February 1846. It seems just as worthwhile to be able to note not only those who settled, but also the ancestors who were born in Texas prior to it becoming a part of the United States.

closed with the note: Sticker modified
ago in Policy and Style by Edison Williams G2G6 Pilot (239k points)
closed ago by Edison Williams
I don’t wish to be controversial here, but “First Families” implies that no one lived in Texas before it was settled by the “first families”. Is this an official US historical term, or one that WikiTree has developed?

Hi, Fiona. It definitely isn't a WikiTree-only term, but I doubt it's an official U.S. historical one, either, since the Republic of Texas is the only independent nation ever admitted as a state to the union, and the period covered involved the time leading up to that statehood. Texas was never a colony, district, territory, or possession of the U.S.

There has been, I believe since the '60s, a "Texas First Families" heritage certification program operated the Texas State Genealogical Society. I also believe the "settled" or "served" terminology was gleaned directly from that program, which has over 6,000 certification awards. You can read about the TxSGS program here: https://www.txsgs.org/programs/heritage-certificates/first-families/.

However, the "Texas First Families" sticker and Category do already exist on WikiTree. So this request isn't about creating/adding. All I'm advocating is that we modify the sticker to include a designation of "born," not just "settled." The Category [[Category: Texas First Families]] is applicable as-is, but the sticker currently can't differentiate between someone who was born in, or who immigrated into, pre-statehood Texas.

I would think that a "First Families" born in sticker would also include those who were there before the "settlers".  It would, of course, depend on how you see the term "first families".

Thanks, Edison. I just wanted to know if the term were used elsewhere. I know that in other jurisdictions, terms like this can cause issues.

Yeppers. I wholly agree about levels of ambiguity with the term "first families." Not really in scope for this thread, but I think in this instance much revolves around the unique history of Texas itself. You see, there was never an entity or territory called Texas until the Republic of Texas declared itself...which is another technical rabbit hole as to dates. But...

Starting at the beginning, there are no written records from indigenous, pre-Columbian Texas. Those, of course, would truly be the first families of the region, but the only record is archeological. The earliest skeletal remains discovered in the region was the so-called "Leanderthal Lady"...named not for relationship to those other ancient European hominids, but because the remains were discovered, in 1983, near the town of Leander. I had no involvement, so can't be blamed for the groaner wordplay.  :-)  The remains, with carbon dating and analysis of geological stratification, were placed at between 10,000 and 13,000 years old.

Spanish explorations into what is now Texas began, sporadically and sparsely, as early as 1519. The first European...resident presence, I suppose you could call it, was established in 1680 along the northern bank of the Rio Grande River, not terribly far from what today is El Paso. These were actually excommunicado Spaniards and some Native Americans who had fled there after what's called the "Pueblo Revolt" in today's northern New Mexico. So this wasn't an official emplacement.

Shortening the story, the region was nominally under French control from 1684 through 1689; the small "Fort Saint Louis" had a French flag planted in the ground in 1682 near today's Matagorda Bay, before the establishment of New Orleans. But after three years the fort was no more, reclaimed by the Native Americans who lived in the region.

With the French growing their presence around the mouth of the Mississippi River, and with small, temporary excursions farther down the Gulf Coast, Spain felt pressured to once again try to "settle" parts of the region in order solidify their claim to the land over France. The first attempts, circa 1691 in the east, near the Louisiana border, flopped and were abandoned.

It was 20 years before Spain again gave it the old college try, and over the next century they established a small number of missions and presidios in the region. Most of the "colonists," though, were soldiers and missionaries; very few actual settlers arrived to attempt to make homes in the new land. But the area was nominally Spanish from 1690 to 1821.

The Mexican War of Independence saw its first shots in 1810. In what amounted to assistive incursions, a number of Anglo Americans fought on the side of Mexico against Spain; one of the largest cadres of these guerilla Anglo units, part of the so-called "Republican Army of the North," consisted of over 130 men who fought under Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and the Anglo Augustus Magee. In 1813 (here comes the technical rabbit hole) after a victory at the Battle of Rosillo Creek, the Republican Army of the North declared an independent "Republic of Texas" and named Gutiérrez de Lara its president.

That was in early April; it screeched to a halt only four months later when the Spanish army crushed the Republican Army of the North at the Battle of Medina. So technically that was the first time the word Texas was used to denote a geographical and political entity. Some of the veterans of that deciding battle would, two decades later, go on to become signatories of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The notion of an independent, sovereign Texas continued to simmer--and even percolate once in a while in skirmishes--during those 20 years...and to be clear, this wasn't a purely Anglo American thing; key leaders and fighters in the push for Texas independence were Mexican.

So...Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821 and declared a constitutional monarchy under Emperor Agustín de Iturbide. The empire only made to 1823 when Iturbide was ousted and replaced by a republican form of government. In 1824, with its capital placed as far as possible south of the Rio Grande, two very sparsely populated areas were combined to form an official Mexican state, the State of Coahuila y Tejas.

The State of Coahuila y Tejas was the first formal apportionment defining the area, part of which would become Texas. And as of that point we're now into the timeframe covered by the "Texas First Families" designation. And there was still no "Texas," per se...er, ignoring the four months in 1813 when nobody recognized the claim of the Republican Army of the North anyway.

By 1834/35 the number of Anglo permanent settlers in what would become Texas greatly outnumbered the number of Mexicans. But considering the expanse of our state, the numbers were infinitesimal: a bit over 30,000 Anglo settlers to about 7,800 Mexican counterparts.

The Battle of Gonzales on 2 October 1835 was the first engagement of the Texas Revolution, and the start of what would become the sovereign Republic of Texas for a decade before an agreement was reached to admit the country into the United States as the State of Texas.

But now that I feel like James Michener--who really did write a novel titled Texas which, come to think of it, I haven't read since it came out in the late '80s--I did say that the reasons for the term "Texas First Families" was above my pay grade and really not in scope here because the WikiTree Category and sticker defining the particular timeframe and criteria already exist.

But ya really can't take a Texan anywhere. Because if someone asks why Texas is different, the darned Texan will start telling you about it until everyone else leaves the party...
devil

Edison:  you wrote " the Republic of Texas is the only independent nation ever admitted as a state to the union" and I must be confused as I thought there were 13 colonies that broke off from England and each became 13 independent nations although eventually federated but putting that semantic argument aside, were not the Sandwich Islands (a.k.a. Hawaii) an independent nation?

Hiya, Thom. The loose and sloppy wordsmithing was my fault. More correctly put, it would be:

"Texas was the only sovereign nation formally recognized as such by the United States at the time of statehood, and with which mutual negotiations were held in kind."

Since this question is closed, that might be worthy of a separate G2G conversation because it really is only clear about Texas if we frame the statement precisely and, technically, there have been several self-declared republics within what is now the U.S.--perhaps the most interesting Vermont, and maybe the shortest-lived the "California Republic" (despite the militia effort in Sonoma being honored still today on the California flag, it lasted only 25 days).

Hawaii is a different matter, and one that still harbors contention. The United States dealt with the Kingdom of Hawaii as an independent nation as early as an 1823 treaty, and a "U.S. Commissioner" was assigned to Hawaii December 1853. But the U.S.--probably not by malicious design because statehood followed too long after--never formally recognized the Kingdom of Hawaii as a sovereign nation. And the opening line of the 2008 Supreme Court opinion shows why contention still exists:

"After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, Congress annexed the Territory of Hawaii pursuant to the Newlands Resolution, under which Hawaii ceded to the United States the 'absolute fee' and ownership of all public, government, and crown lands."

The pain-point is that the U.S. opted for the view that Hawaii was not a sovereign nation at the time, in 1893, when the U.S. Senate passed the joint Congressional resolution on July 6 to annex the Hawaiian Islands, which resolution was signed by President William McKinley the next day. There is a dissident website at https://www.statehoodhawaii.org/.

To get all meta with this, there was even a declared republic in late 1826 within what would become the actual Republic of Texas. An Anglo land speculator named Haden Edwards moved about 800 settlers into the area around Nacogdoches (not far from the Louisiana border) under a grant from the post-monarchy Mexican Republic. Things did not proceed well--corruption charges and such--and his grant was revoked.

On 16 December 1826 Edwards and his brother took 30 men to Nacogdoches and, without much of a struggle, assumed control of a small fort there. They raised a flag (the words "Independence Freedom Justice" on a red and white background) and declared what had been the Edward's land grant to be the "Republic of Fredonia."

Both Mexico and Stephen F. Austin said, "Uh...no. Don't think so." Mexican troops and Austin militia rode together to Nacogdoches a month later, ending the Republic of Fredonia and sending the Edwards brothers back across the border into the U.S. state of Louisiana.

1 Answer

+2 votes

Edison,

As noted, the intent of the sticker is to identify the individuals/families that settled and served the Republic - those who had made contributions to the creation of the State of Texas.

While being born to one of these families may be notable in int's own right, in most cases, those children did not contribute to the creation of the State.

So if you wanted to indicate a child of one of these families, then you would use the |type=family parameter, or even the Nonmigrating Ancestor sticker. I know, the name is not the best, but that was created before my time...

As an example:

image

{{Texas First Families
|flag = US_State_Flag_Images-47.png
|type = family
}}

--or--

image

{{Nonmigrating Ancestor
|addinfo={{Name}} was born to a Texas First Family. 
|flag=US_State_Flag_Images-47.png
}}

ago by Steve Harris G2G6 Pilot (387k points)

Thanks, Steve. It wasn't my intention to complicate things, but when I didn't receive a reply from my July 21 private message to you about this subject, it seemed taking it to G2G was the appropriate way to go based on the instructions at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Stickers.

And thanks for just now adding "family" as a third option for the sticker. That solves the issue of neither "settled" nor "served" being appropriate for those born during the days of the Republic.

Sorry about the missed email Edison. I thought I had replied, but see now that my response is still a draft in my email client...

As for the family option, this has been available since March 2019 and was shown in the examples and parameter table, but was not described well in the text (which I just edited).

Thank you for the born in sticker, Steve! And also, thank you, Edison for bringing up the need of this sticker. This is just the ticket for several of my (and my husband's) people.  I appreciate it!

All the best,

Janet

(Waving to a fellow Texian)

Well, as Steve noted, the "family" parameter had been there all along. I'd even used it on my own profile, but I'd mistakenly assumed it was only for living, active WikiTree members...much like there is a separate one-name study sticker for participants as opposed to ancestral profiles that are part of the study.

I think the clarification on the "Texas First Families" sticker page clears everything up; it wasn't really spelled out before Steve modified it. Also, in keeping with the way the term is used by the Texas State Genealogical Society, I think it allows us to be able to mark our ancestral profiles accordingly as "descendants of" for those born of the early settler lines.

I sometimes have to convince fellow multi-generational Texans that I'm one of them because I don't have much of an accent (edges sanded off from years living elsewhere), but I'm proud of the heritage; I have one of those TSGS "Texas First Families" certification plaques on the wall of my office. Likewise, I plan to put the sticker on all the pertinent profiles that I manage. Give 'em a little flair and anchor them back to their Republic histories.

Ya know, I closed this topic but now I'm hoping Steve has his notifications turned on because we need a tiny bit more tweaking on the Texas First Families template page: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Template:Texas_First_Families.

Right under the three large versions of the available flag images, under the heading "Template Variations," the first example uses the correct flag image in the presented script, but has an incorrect heading. It currently reads:

Lone Star Flag

On March 2, 1836, Texians declared their independence from Mexico.

What's in play there is not the Lone Star Flag, but the flag of the Republic of Mexico. To offer a revision:

Mexican Republic Flag

The flag of the Mexican Republic flew over the area that includes Texas from 1823 until the Burnet Flag was approval by Sam Houston on 10 December 1836.

And to be really uber picky, the flag of the First Mexican Republic was in effect as of enactment of the federal constitution of 1824 and flew until 1835, when a new flag was adopted for the Centralist Republic of Mexico under López de Santa Anna. The flag image we're using, https://www.wikitree.com/photo/png/Flags_of_Mexico-3, is not that of the First Mexican Republic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Mexican_Republic. The dissimilarities aren't massive, but the two flags have distinct differences. Seems like, if we choose to use only one Mexican flag, that it should probably be the one that covers the First Mexican Republic.

The version we're currently using is actually not that of the Centralist Republic of Mexico, either: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralist_Republic_of_Mexico. In appearance, it's closest to the flag that was adopted by President Benito Pablo Juárez García 19 June 1867.

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