Historic Cannon of Fort Bend County, Texas


There are but few people, no doubt, in Texas, who are aware of the fact that the ladies of Havana, Cuba, soon after Texas became a republic, presented her people with two brass cannon in emulation, it might appear, of those patriotic ladies of Cincinnati, Ohio, who also presented the struggling young republic with two brass pieces, which fortunately arrived in time and without much to spare to help win the great victory which meant so much for Texas on the bloody field of San Jacinto.

In regard to the cannon now in question, we find the following in Daniel Shipman's "Frontier Life," published in 1579, and is as follows :
A Scrap Of Texas History
"Some two or three weeks, ago we noticed the recovery of two fine brass cannon from the wreck of the old Texas schooner-of-war, Tom Toby, and suggested that the guns be purchased by the Galveston Artillery Company, which was done. The recovery of these guns created some inquiry, and an effort was made in a sensational sort of a vay to prove that they were a part of the armament of one of Lafitte's privateers, and never had belonged to the Republic of Texas. We took the trouble to institute inquiries, and have learned enough to know that these were on the schooner Tom Toby, and what is more interesting and which mill render these relics of the past particularly valuable in the eyes of their present owners, they were pre-sented to the Republic of Texas by the ladies of Havana.

"In proof of this fact we quote the following, which is the copy of a letter from the Acting Secretary of War, Williain G. Cook, the original of which is in possession of a gentleman of this city, to whose courtesy we are indebted for the privilege of making subjoined copy:

War Department, Columbia
December 3, 1836.
To Messrs. Thomas Toby & Bros.
I am instructed by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas to take necessary measures to procure the pieces of cannon (brass), which were presented by the ladies of Havana to the Republic. By a letter received by Messrs. Shrives & Grason it appears that they received from you, on board the schooner Tom Toby, two brass cannon, and they are under the impression that they are the pieces alluded to. You will please inform us as soon as possible if such is the case.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. G. Cook, Acting Secretary.'

"At the time this letter was written, December, 1836, Mr. Thomas Toby was the financial agent of the Republic of Texas at New Orleans. The schooner-of-war Tom Toby was blown ashore near Virginia Point in, the great October storm of 1837, and there can be but little doubt that the guns now in possession of the Galveston Artillery Company are the ones alluded to, and that they are the identical pieces contributed by the generous, patriotic ladies of Havana.

"The gentleman who favored us with the letter copied above thinks that the reply of, Mr. Toby will be found in the archives at Austin. This letter of Colonel Cook brings to mind a fact but little known to this generation, that the ladies of Havana presented the Republic of Texas with two pieces of cannon. Such an act, coming from such a source and at such a time, should not be lost sight of, and all the circumstances should be preserved as a part of the history of the times. And I do think that the Texans ought to remember their Cuban friends, and particularly those Havana ladies, and assist them in their troubles.

"This letter also brings to light at least two persons who bore a conspicuous, eminent and honorable partiry the early struggles of the Republic, Colonel W. G. Cook, the associate of the lamented Milam at San Antonio, and Thomas Toby, the government agent. Both of these gentlemen have passed away, but their generous actions remain green in the memory of their old associates, and those of the present day must not permit their services to be forgotten."

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