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Sam Houston's Cannonball

After Texas won it's independance from Mexico in 1836, The Republic of Texas was born. While Sam Houston was President of the republic, the town of Houston, (located several miles north of Harrisburg on Buffalo Buyou), was it's capitol. The Hoity-Toity folks from America's east coast and from overseas would arrive in town by paddlewheel up Buffalo Bayou from ships landing at Galveston. In order to impress visitors and alert townsfolk, there was a standing presidential order that a cannon be fired whenever a boat arrived. The townsfolk would gather to greet folks because strangers were a rare pleasure. The folks arriving would have come on what today would have been avery long and tedious voyage. Firing of a cannon would have been appropriate then.

The Cannonball

Having read Margerite Johnston's book about Houston's early years, I was well aware of the city's history. There was a lot of construction going on in and around downtown. I happened to have kinfolk installing new sewer and water pipe for some of these areas. I spent a summer out there and found many things from Houston's past just 5 to 8 feet underground. When the backhoe turned up this cannonball, I couldn't believe nobody picked it up! I at first assumed it was possibly from the civil war. I don't think the battles came up this far then. I later found that this particular size and weight of ball was used for that period of time that President Houston was celebrating new arrivals.

Location of find

As you can see by this map, this cannonball landed just over 1 1/4 miles from the banks of Buffalo Buyou. This would have been well out of town back then! The red star marks the area this cannonball landed. It was fired from the banks of buffalo bayou near the top of the map where the "h" on smith street is. Looks as though it was fired south southwest.

Location of find

Once the frontier town and capitol of the Republic of Texas, Houston has grown into the 4th most populated city in the United States of America.