Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lone Star Cockades

"We have observed, for a few days past, a number of blue cockades, surmounted by metallic five-pointed stars, worn on the hats or coats, of many of our citizens. The cockade is the badge common to the citizens of the Southern States. The star is peculiar to Texians. The combination of the two emblems seems particularly appropriate to the times."

This report from an 1860 newspaper raises an interesting question: How did the star become "peculiar to Texians"?

Today is the 180th anniversary of Texas Independence Day, and guess what? That's where the story of Lone Star cockades originates!

Coahuila y Tejas in 1833
Two Stars in Mexico
The story starts in 1821 when Mexico won its independence from Spain. In 1823 it became the United Mexican States and created a constitution in 1824. Coahuila y Tejas was one of the states of this new republic. Their flag was the Mexican tricolor of red, white and green with two gold stars in the center. The two stars stood for the two areas of Coahuila and Tejas.

The area of Coahuila y Tejas that is now Texas was pretty sparsely populated at the time, except for the violent Comanche Indians. Therefore, Mexico was quite pleased to welcome American immigrants to the land. Stephen Austin led 300 American settlers there in 1823 and others followed, bringing prosperity to the area. Unfortunately for Mexico, they also brought American ideas on religion and politics. This led to clashes with the Mexican government.

Two Stars Over the Alamo

By October 1835 open war had broken out between the Americans and Mexico. The American settlers initially had some victories but by February 1836 General Santa Anna was on his way to personally retake Texas. Since this involved wiping out even troops that surrendered (including those in the Battle of the Alamo), he quickly became unpopular with Americans.

Me at the San Jacinto Monument
But since Santa Anna also decided to overturn the Mexican government and wipe out opposition, this made him unpopular with Mexicans too.

So it's not surprising that on March 2, 1836, the state of Coahuila y Tejas seceded from Mexico. As the secessionists fought against Santa Anna, eyewitnesses reported they flew a red, white and green flag with two stars on it - a star for Coahuila and a star for Tejas. Mexican Col. Juan Almonte, wrote in his journal about the Battle of the Alamo that, "the enemy, as soon as the march of the division was seen, hoisted the tri-colored flag with two stars, designed to represent Coahuila and Texas."

Though the Battle of the Alamo was technically lost, "Remember the Alamo" galvanized Americans across the United States to gather in support of Texas' independence. On April 21, an army under Sam Houston won the Battle of San Jacinto and captured Santa Anna.

Coahuila y Tejas was now independent of Mexico.

The Lone Star of Texas
Coahuila and Texas separated after they seceded and became independent republics. Texas now flew its own flag: Blue with a lone star in the center. Though this flag only flew a few years, it remains a Texas symbol and was used during the Civil War by the Volunteers of the Fifth Infantry Regiment, Hood's Texas Brigade.

In 1839 the current flag of Texas was adopted and was kept even when Texas gained American statehood in 1845. It too includes the iconic Lone Star of Texas.

So it's no surprise that by the 1860s, Texas cockades just naturally included stars!

Lone Star Cockades 
The Ranchero noted on December 1, 1860, "Many citizens are wearing the blue cockade, surmounted by metalic five-pointed stars. The Telegraph notices the appearance of the blue cockade on the streets of Houston, worn by numbers of citizens, and gives the following descrïption of it: It consist of a neat blue rosette, pinned to the hat, having a silver five-pointed star in the centre. It means that the wearers pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to resistance to abolition encroachments, and that they can see no way of successful resistance but in the withdrawal of their State from the Union."

And this is my favorite quote, from the Dallas Herald: "Many of our citizens appear on the streets of Dallas wearing the cockade of our national colors, blue ribbon with a golden star. Some wear cockades of red. An aged farmer said in our presence that 'he wanted to wear it over his heart and in front, that all the world might see it and know his position.'"

Need a Lone Star Cockade?
I'm happy to supply both blue and red cockades with the Texas star or a military star on them! Check out the ones listed in my shops or pester me for a custom order!


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