Historic Oak / Muster Oak - La Grange, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member WayBetterFinder
N 29° 54.357 W 096° 52.707
14R E 704834 N 3310255
Quick Description: The oak tree at Washington St. and Colorado St. have been the mustering point of La Grange militia and modern military members since the 1840s.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 12/10/2012 12:08:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMFX09
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member briansnat
Views: 4

Long Description:
The large, old oak tree known as either The Historic Tree or as The Muster Tree (or the Historic Muster Tree) is located at the intersection of N. Washington Street and W. Colorado Street in La Grange, TX. La Grange is location of the Fayette County Courthouse and the Historic Tree is just across the street from the corner of the Courthouse Square where the Veterans Memorial is located. This is significant because the oak tree was the meeting place for 36 Texan militiamen who signed up under Captain Nicolas Mosby Dawson as a company of Fayette County Mounted Volunteers who met at this tree in September 15, 1842. Some 17 other militiamen from Fayette County also joined the company on the march to San Antonio to help Col. Matthew Caldwell. Col. Caldwell was fighting Mexican soldiers under the command of Gen. Adrian Woll, who had captured San Antonio de Bexar. By Sept 18th, Dawson met up with Caldwell at Salado Creek just outside San Antonio. They were caught in cannon fire and 36 men were killed, 15 were captured and 2 escaped. The Texan prisoners were marched to Mexico City and imprisoned.
The Mier Expedition also included many Texan soldiers from La Grange, TX. The expedition was partly inspired as revenge against the Mexican Army for the Dawson Massacre and partly for reinforcing the dominance of the white settlers claim to the Republic of Texas boundary with Mexico. The Texan troops marched into Mexico and on December 26-27, 1842 fought Mexican soldiers at Ciudad Mier, Mexico. The Texans were soundly defeated and many were captured and marched to Mexico City. When Santa Anna heard of the captives, he ordered them all killed. However, Governor Mexia, the governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila, refused to carry out the order. Some time later, Santa Anna changed his order such that only 1 in 10 would be executed. Thus, of the 176 Texan captives, 17 prisoners from the Mier Expedition were the ones who drew black beans and were shot to death.
In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, Captain John E. Dusenbury, himself a white bean survivor of the Mier Expedition, was assigned duty in Mexico and while there found and exhumed the remains of the martyered Texan militiamen. Capt. Dusenbury returned the remains of the 17 men to La Grange, TX to be buried along with the remains of those exhumed remains of the Dawson Expedition. These remains were interred in a common large crypt on Monument Hill near La Grange, TX.
The oak tree has ever since been the mustering point of military personnel who hail from La Grange. The oak tree has been damaged in recent times but was repaired by a concrete support and is reported to be in better health now than in the past few decades. Military recruits from six conflicts, beginning with the struggle for Texas independence from Mexico have mustered at this historic oak tree.

At the corner of this Courthouse Square formed by the intersection of Washington Street and Colorado Street is an atypical, multi-paneled Texas historical marker commemorating The Dawson Expedition and the Historic Oak of La Grange and Fayette County, TX. The markers are composed of two tall pink granite slabs mounted in an angled manner to form a “V” shape. They are mounted between the street curb and the city sidewalk, near a historic tree adjacent to the first panel of the historic marker. The main text of the markers are on the sides of the panels facing the sidewalk. Panel 1 addresses the facts of The Dawson Expedition, while panel 2 addresses the Historic Oak. On the back of panel 2, facing toward the street, is the dedication information of when the marker was installed and the names of those involved in its creation.

(Panel 1, The Dawson Expedition/Historic Oak, reads as follows)

Under this historic oak on Sept 15, 1842, Capt. Nicholas Mosby Dawson organized his company of Fayette County Mounted Volunteers, who rushed to reinforce Col. Matthew Caldwell after San Antonio was captured by Gen. Adrian Woll.
On Sept 18, upon approaching Salado Creek near San Antonio, Dawson found a battle already in progress. His men were surrounded beyond rifle range by Mexican cavalry who opened with cannon fire, and soon half were killed or wounded. Dawson tried to surrender but when some of his men kept firing, the Mexicans closed in, and a general massacre ensued. Thirty-six Texans were killed. Only three escaped. Fifteen were captured, marched to Mexico and imprisoned in Perote Castle. Those who survived were later released.
The dead were buried on the field of battle and reinterred Sept 18, 1848, in a tomb on Monument Hill overlooking La Grange. A Texas County was named in honor of the brave Capt. Dawson.
-W. P. Freytag

The Seal of the State of Texas

(Panel 2, Historic Oak Tree, reads as follows)

Here on this Courthouse Square the scarred remains of what was once a mighty oak marks the spot from which Fayette County has on every occasion sent its sons to battle. Wives, mothers and sweethearts have bade farewell here and sent their men to war each time to win acclaim as true patriots.
They held in their keeping the safety of the Lamp of Liberty because they refused to betray their Texas heritage by abandoning the eternal values embodied in the concepts of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Their patriotic sense of duty helped to preserve the American way of life, and their record of service to God and country is almost without peer. They lived and died so that the eternal verities by which men live shall not perish from the Earth.
-W. P. Freytag

The Seal of the State of Texas

(Panel 3 – on the back of Panel 2)

Erected by the
La Grange State Bank
John Schuhmacher, Chairman
G. H. Osthoff, President
L.H. Frede, Vice President
J.E. Morgan
Dr. L.D. Roelsche
Dr. A.J. Darilek
Fred Kasper
L.W. Stolz, Jr.
Theo. V. Adamcik

Additional references:

Dawsons Massacre -
(visit link)

Mier Expedition and Black Bean Lottery-
(visit link)
(visit link)

Historic Oak / Muster Oak -
(visit link)
(visit link)
(visit link)
(visit link)
Website: [Web Link]

Historic Event:
Captain Nicolas Mosby Dawson of the Dawson Expedition in Nov. 1842 mustered his newly recruited voluneets under this tree. Military recruits from six other military conflicts have all mustered under this famous oak in La Grange, TX. This tree is listed as a historic tree of Texas. http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasHistory/TexasHistoricTrees.htm

Year: 1842

Species: Oak

Approximate Age: 170

Location: La Grange, TX

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