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Journey to Goliad

Journey to Goliad

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Journey to Goliad

167 pages
1 heure
Apr 14, 2020


Hannah followed Nick's gaze to gray stone walls. In the corner, the highest point on the horizon, stood a chapel with a bell tower topped with a cross. It was Presidio La Bahia. They were headed back to the fort in Goliad. On the top of the wall, seven soldiers aimed muskets toward the prairie and hills.

"What did we get ourselves into this time?" Hannah murmured.

When Mr. Barrington brings his trunk on a field trip to Goliad, Hannah, Jackie, and Nick find themselves back in the Texas Revolution. It’s 1836, just weeks before Colonel James Fannin and General José de Urrea face off at the Battle of Coleto and Santa Anna orders the execution of all prisoners. Are Nick and his new friend Benjamin Hughes being watched by a spy? Will the girls succeed in helping Francita Alavez, the Angel of Goliad, rescue Fannin’s men?
Apr 14, 2020

À propos de l'auteur

Fourth-grade teacher Melodie A. Cuate draws from extensive research, travel, and classroom experience for each new episode in Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk. In addition to writing, she conducts teacher workshops with curriculum developed specifically for the series, as well as school visits. She lives with her husband, Tony, in McAllen, Texas.

Catégories liées

Aperçu du livre

Journey to Goliad - Melodie A. Cuate




Historical Characters




Presidio La Bahia


Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk




Fort Defiance


Nick’s Predicament


Jackie’s Kindred Spirit


Fishing for Trouble




The Battle of Coleto




Nick Meets the General


A Night of Shivers and Chills


The Surrender


Hannah Meets the Angel





Nick’s Secret Mission


The Massacre


The Survivors



Historical Characters


Alavez, Francita (?–?): Helped the Texians held prisoner by the Mexican army on several occasions during the Texas Revolution. Before the Goliad Massacre, she hid several Texian prisoners, saving their lives, and was eventually called the Angel of Goliad. After the revolution, she was abandoned by her husband and befriended by some Texians who knew about her heroic deeds. Francita reportedly lived the rest of her life on the King Ranch. She remarried and had children.

Brooks, Captain John Sowers (1814–1836): Aide to Colonel Fannin at Fort Defiance in Goliad. Brooks wrote several letters home about his experiences in Texas. He described his life at Fort Defiance, the hardships the soldiers faced, and the feelings he had for his family. Brooks was wounded in the Battle of Coleto on March 19, 1836, and died in the Goliad Massacre, March 27, 1836.

Duval, John Crittenden (1816–1897): A member of the Kentucky Mustangs at Fort Defiance. John and his brother, Burr, participated in the Battle of Coleto. During the Goliad Massacre, Burr was killed but John escaped. Later he became a Texas Ranger and also served as a private in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Duval wrote many accounts about his life, including his daring escape from the Goliad Massacre.

Fagan, Nicholas (?–?): An Irish immigrant in Texas, Fagan was a blacksmith at Fort Defiance. He participated in the Battle of Coleto along with his sixteen-­year-­old son, John, and was spared execution because of actions taken by his neighbor, Carlos de la Garza, who sided with the Mexican government against the Texians.

Fannin, Colonel James Walker, Jr. (1805–1836): Once a slave trader, Fannin became commander of the Texas forces in Goliad. He was disliked by many of the soldiers at Fort Defiance. During the Battle of Coleto, he was wounded and eventually surrendered his men to General Urrea. He was executed in front of the chapel in Fort Defiance on the same day as the Goliad Massacre. His last request was to have his gold watch returned to his wife. The watch was pocketed by a Mexican soldier. Fannin was survived by his wife, Minerva, and their two young daughters, Missouri Pinkney and Minerva.

Garay, Colonel Francisco (?–?): Under the command of General Urrea in Goliad, he spared the lives of many Texians, including Fannin’s medical staff, during the Goliad Massacre. Garay hid the staff in his quarters within a peach grove.

Garza, Carlos de la (1807–1882): The son of a Mexican soldier stationed at Goliad, he was a respected rancher in the community and led about eighty ranchers who served as scouts for the Mexican commander, General Urrea. De la Garza was responsible for sparing the lives of several Texians about to be executed in the Goliad Massacre.

Holzinger, Lieutenant Colonel Juan José (?–1864): Originally from Germany, Holzinger was under the command of General Urrea in Goliad. He was responsible for sparing the lives of Texian soldiers after engagements at Refugio and Victoria. Holzinger was one of the officers sent by General Urrea to negotiate the surrender of Colonel Fannin and his men at the Battle of Coleto.

Hughes, Benjamin (1821?–?): Before living in Texas, Hughes worked aboard ships during several voyages. At fifteen, he was an orderly for Captain Horton at Fort Defiance. When the Texians were being lined up for execution, he was pulled out of line and spared by the actions of Francita Alavez. Hughes was taken by the Mexican army to Matamoros and eventually released.

Merrifield, William Jefferson (?–1836): A member of the Kentucky Mustangs at Fort Defiance, the townspeople of Goliad were reportedly frightened of him because of his unruly behavior. He participated in the Battle of Coleto and died in the Goliad Massacre.

Portilla, Lieutenant Colonel José Nicolás (1808–1873): Under the command of General Urrea in Goliad, Portilla was left in charge of Fort Defiance by Urrea after the Battle of Coleto. On March 26, he received two letters. One was from Santa Anna, stating that any prisoners who took up arms against the Mexican army were to be considered pirates and executed. The other letter, from General Urrea, ordered Portilla to treat the prisoners fairly, especially Colonel Fannin. Following Santa Anna’s orders, Portilla carried out the execution of the prisoners in Goliad on March 27, 1836.

Santa Anna, General Antonio López de (1794–1876): President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution, he enforced the Decree of December 1835, which stated that all foreigners who took up arms against the government would be treated as pirates and executed. This controversial position to control the immigrants in Texas served to gain sympathy in the United States for the Texians. Money, arms, and soldiers came from the United States in support of the Texian rebels.

Shackelford, Captain Jack (1790–1857): Doctor and commander of the Alabama Red Rovers, Shackelford and the medical staff of Fort Defiance were spared from execution by Colonel Garay. Shackelford’s son and two nephews were killed in the massacre. Shackelford was forced to remain with the Mexican army to care for their wounded, including soldiers injured during the Battle of the Alamo in Béxar. After the Battle of San Jacinto, he escaped. Later he wrote about his experiences at Fort Defiance in a journal.

Urrea, General José de (1797–1849): General in the Mexican army, he led troops to victory during the battles of San Patricio, Agua Dulce Creek, and Coleto. Urrea was commander of the Mexican forces in Goliad. Colonel Fannin surrendered his men to Urrea on March 20, 1836. After the Texians’ victory at San Jacinto, Urrea was opposed to leaving Texas and would have preferred to continue the campaign.

Journey to Goliad


Who caused the stones to cry,

To softly sigh

For the forgotten lives

Nearly lost to time?

Who caused the stones to cry?

Hearts touched by those once dear,

Unspoken fears,

Secrets La Bahia walls can hear.

Bound for home one Palm Sunday

Men deceived, orders obeyed.

Hundreds of lives sacrificed.

Who caused the stones to cry?

Release the crimson petals.

Let them drop as velvet tears

In honor of the fallen

Who should be remembered here.



Are you sure that used to be a hanging tree? Hannah Taylor stared out the window of the Chevy Suburban at a massive oak in front of the Goliad courthouse, a tree that once held life and death in its clutches. The tree’s gnarled, twisted limbs loomed over the shaded ground like a hungry octopus seeking its prey.

Hannah’s best friend, Jackie Montalvo, leaned forward with a camera and snapped a picture. That’s what I read on the Internet. Mr. T, do those branches look strong enough to support a body dangling from a hangman’s noose?

They’re­ plenty strong. They didn’t­ need a gallows with a tree like that next to the courthouse. It must be over two hundred years old. Mr. Taylor’s green polo shirt matched his cap perfectly. Both Hannah and her brother had gotten their chocolaty-­brown hair from him.

Creepy, Jackie whispered.

What a horrible way to die . . ., Hannah remarked. She relaxed back in the seat and straightened out her navy-­blue T-­shirt. I Dig Archeology at Travis Middle School was printed on the front.

Mr. Taylor reached for a can of soda in the cooler on the passenger’s seat beside him. Does anyone want one?

Later, Dad.

No thanks, Mr. T.

Hannah glanced behind her. Her thirteen-­year-­old brother, Nick, slept soundly on the third row seat. He wore a black Houston Astros cap turned backwards. Wires from his iPod hung loosely around his neck.

Hannah twisted a strand of her shoulder-­length hair around a finger. She felt a twinge of guilt. Mr. Barrington, her seventh-­grade history teacher, had rewarded some students with an invitation to an excavation site where he’d been working the last few weekends—Presidio La Bahia, an old fort in Goliad, Texas. All the students had to do was wear their navy-­blue school shirts and find their own transportation.

Her dad immediately volunteered to take Hannah and Jackie to Goliad. He also thought it would be an excellent learning experience for Nick, but Goliad was the last place that Nick wanted to go.

Mr. Taylor took a right and headed back down the highway. Up ahead is the San Antonio River. Right after that is the Presidio.

We’ll need some good pictures for our PowerPoint presentation, Hannah

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