Monday, April 22, 2013

Looking Back... Deaf Smith in Texas

One of the heroes in Texas' fight for independence was Erastus Smith. Better known as Deaf Smith, he lost his hearing to a childhood disease, but that did not prevent him from playing a pivotal role in Texas' history. He carried messages from Colonel William Travis out of the Alamo, led a company of Texas Rangers and at one point was wounded in battle. Most importantly, Smith destroyed a bridge during the Battle of San Jacinto, preventing the Mexican army from retreating. That's why Deaf Smith County is named after him and still pronounced "Deef" in honor of the way Smith's name was pronounced. Travis called him the "bravest of the Brave" and on hearing about his death, Sam Houston wrote, a "man, more brave, and honest never, lived."

The painting you see here is called the Surrender of Santa Anna. Artist William Henry Huddle painted the scene of the morning of April 22, 1836, the day after Texas' victory over Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. The painting shows various important people in the war, including Smith, who is seated on a log with his hand cupped around his ear.

Read more about Smith here.