I often use this old family saying in the Westward Sagas Series “daylight is burning.” Modern energy grids provide enough electricity to light airport runways, shopping malls, streets and highways. Not so during the early days I write about; long before daylight savings time (DST).
This Sunday, we spring forward one hour and thousands of people will arrive late for Church. Then on the first Sunday in October, we fall back one hour and thousands will be early to Church.
Who to blame for this twice a year correction of our clocks and disruption of our routines? It was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 in an essay entitled “An Economical Project.” Germany was the first to establish DST followed by Britain in 1916. The U.S. first adopted DST in 1918, it met with much resistance. It has been changed and modified several times since.
Politicians claimed they were doing it to give farmers more daylight to tend their crops and livestock. Anyone that ever lived or worked on a farm or ranch knows that you are in the fields by sun up and you quit when the sun goes down. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Few farmers even had a time piece and didn’t need one. When the sun was directly over head it was noon, when it was shining in your face, afternoon. Dinner was at dark thirty and you better not be late.
My next blog will reveal the real reasons for DST.
March 3, 1836, inside the walls of the Alamo, Lt. Col. William B. Travis sat at a small wooden desk and contemplated his predicament after sealing his letter to Sam Houston, his last request for reinforcements. Two thousand Mexican soldiers now surround the garrison. One hundred ninety defenders had sustained five days and nights of continuous bombardment; the shelling suddenly stopped. Travis must advise his men the fate that awaited them, the time was now. Travis assembled his men and emotionally announced that there would be no more reinforcements. Their fate was sealed.
With his saber, a line was drawn in the sandy loam soil. Lt. Col. Travis said “Who will be the first to stay and die with me?” Tapply Holland was the first, followed by every man, but one. Moses Rose climbed the wall and lived to tell this story.
Please join the Son’s of the Republic of Texas and San Antonio Living History Association, Wednesday, March 6, 2013 in front of the Alamo at 5:30 a.m. for “Dawn at the Alamo.” This 177th pre-dawn commemorative ceremony is a solemn event honoring all who died at the Battle of the Alamo.
March 3-9 is Read an E-Book Week (REBW), an annual event to promote e-books. Publishers, retailers, and authors offer free or deeply discounted books. You can find Deals and Steals on the website for Read an E-Book Week. Plus a lot of information about ebooks and e-publishing. Whether you’re a first time ebook reader wanting to see what the excitement is all about or an avid ebook reader who wants to load up on free ebooks, you will find something great during Read an E-Book Week.
My offering is a free copy of my newest book, Children of the Revolution: Book 3 in The Westward Sagas. The story centers on Peggy Mitchell and her siblings, who work to forge a new nation from the back woods of North Carolina and Tennessee. Great historical adventure, travel, political intrigue, and romance play large parts in this novel.
The free download is no longer available, but you may purchase this book at any time. See you next year for “Read an E-Book Week!”
February 28, 1836 - The siege of the Alamo was now in its sixth day. Lt. Col. William Travis shared news with his men that enforcements were in route from La Bahia (Goliad). The Mexican Army now had 1500 troops camped across the river. They frequently fired randomly on the defenders. Santa Anna’s band played loudly for hours in attempts to unnerve the Texan’s. Constant vigilance was kept on the compounds aqueducts as the enemy tried several times to dam the Alamo’s flow of water.
The welcome news that help was on the way lifted the defenders spirits, a jubilant Davy Crockett challenged John McGregor to a music contest. His fiddle against the Scotsman’s bagpipes, the first to stop playing was the loser. Tonight they would compete, playing loudly inside the walls as others danced jigs and reels. Tonight the enemy would listen to the strange instruments of the Anglo intruders.
Note: Davy Crockett’s fiddle pictured below is on display at the Witte Museum, in the new South Texas Heritage Center, 3801 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209, (210) 357-1900.
February 26, 1836, two hundred Alamo defenders shivered behind the walls of the compound as the morning wind howled across the San Antonio River. Firewood and water supplies were in short supply on this third day of the siege. The water well inside the old mission was not sufficient for the sudden needs of the Texas Army and their horses. A small party of men ventured out to gather firewood and bring water from a nearby acequia.
Santa Anna’s troops fired on the Alamo defenders as they scurried about grabbing dead mesquite wood on the ground, others carrying wooden buckets of water. Cannon fire diverted the Mexican marksmen’s attention, but future such excursions outside the walls would be made under the cover of darkness.
Note to today’s reader: At the siege of Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo looked much different than today; as only the chapel and the long barracks still exist. To appreciate the size of this complex which was large enough to have livestock, horses and grow winter vegetables. The picture above depicts what the 1836 Alamo looked like.