William B. Travis Document
HERO OF TEXAS REVOLUTION MADE RARE REFERENCE TO ‘ALAMO’ AS HE SHORED UP GARRISON DEFENSES
On Feb. 21, 1836, Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna had reached the banks of the Medina River. Twenty-five miles away, about 100 Texians were garrisoned at the Alamo.
As Santa Anna prepared for his assault on the rebels, Lt. Col. William Barret Travis was shoring up the Alamo’s defenses. His plan included building platforms for cannons. The wood would be provided by San Antonio merchant Eugenio Navarro.
“There is now in use at the Alamo,” Travis wrote in what essentially was a work order, “six hundred and eighty-two feet of walnut scantling … belonging to Eugenio Navarro which are to be paid for, if not returned at their first value.”
The handwritten document is dated Feb. 21, 1836, and signed by Travis.
Navarro waited two years to be compensated, with the document endorsed 22 months later by Quartermaster General William G. Cook, who approved promissory notes for the new Republic of Texas. An accompanying document dated Dec. 1, 1838, shows Navarro was paid $85. It’s signed by Texas Army Capt. John N. Seguín and San Antonio Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Manchaca.
The documents, from the estate of noted Texana collector Robert E. Davis, are being offered together at Heritage Auctions’ Texana Grand Format Auction scheduled for March 24. The lot is expected to realize at least $75,000.
The Travis document represents a rare, explicit reference to the Alamo, says Sandra Palomino, Heritage’s director of historical manuscripts and Texana. “Travis rarely used the word ‘Alamo’ in his letters, instead more often referring to ‘this garrison’ or ‘Bejar,’ for San Antonio de Béxar.”
In December 2007, a receipt dated Feb. 23, 1836, and signed by Travis for heifers to feed his men at the Alamo sold for $191,200.