Guest post by David Falloure
We celebrate heroes like Houston, Travis, and Fannin on each anniversary of Texas Independence from Mexico. However, one overlooked hero of the Republic lies right in front of us—Buffalo Bayou.
During Santa Anna’s bloodthirsty chase after Houston and the Texian army, this lazy backwater sustained a virtual cavalcade of boats that included the paddle wheelers Cayuga, Laura and the Yellow Stone, along with the schooners Flash, Kosciusko, and Shenandoah.
But it was the paddle wheelers that bore the oxen task of ferrying men, timber, and supplies in order to fortify Galveston against a possible invasion. Indeed, these were the liberty ships of the Texas Revolution.
Still, boats are nothing without a waterway, and the Buffalo was that and more: it was an escape route.
In hot pursuit of the Texas provisional government and in hopes of executing them, Santa Anna stormed into Harrisburg. Furious he’d missed them by hours, maybe minutes, Santa Anna sent a mounted patrol stampeding after them. Fortune favored the rebel government because when the patrol came upon President Burnet in a canoe, paddling his way out to the Cayuga, they failed to recognize him and went on about their frantic search.
Destiny had taken a hand, and it was in the form of Buffalo Bayou.
David Falloure is a Houston author who writes about state and local history. You can find more about the Buffalo Bayou and its impact on Texas in his book: Sheer Will – The Story of the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel, available on Amazon.