Jay Stout (author of Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers) replied to the website announcement of Oct. 5.
I had first emailed Jay on July 2, 2011, in my quest to engage sympathetic professionals in my case with TPWD. I wrote then:
I’ve been reading a lot about the Texas Revolution lately. My great-great-grandfather, James Peter Trezevant (1815-1860), joined William Ward’s Georgia Battalion, which came under the command of Fannin at Goliad. He fought in the battle of Refugio but managed to escape with Ward’s men. He was among about 10 men who were left behind by Ward in the Guadalupe swamp and so was not with Ward when he surrendered at Dimmit’s Landing. A fellow soldier, Samuel G. Hardaway, then met up with Trezevant and two more men, and they headed northeast. They were picked up by scouts from Houston’s army, were taken to his camp, and subsequently fought in the battle of San Jacinto. So, you can imagine how much I enjoyed your book, since I could experience vicariously some of the situations my guy faced.
This past year I submitted Trezevant’s name to be acknowledged by the folks at San Jacinto as a participant in the battle. Believe it or not, they turned him down. It is a long story, for which I have all the documentation. They rely almost solely on the original research of Louis Kemp, who prepared the list of participants for the centennial of the battle in 1936. They will not accept the research of Harbert Davenport, who was a contemporary of Kemp’s who focused his research on the men stationed at Goliad. Did you see Davenport’s “Fannin and His Men: 1936”? It is online and was edited in 2002 by David Maxey. Among his biographies of the all the men, he includes Trezevant as a participant in the battles of Refugio and San Jacinto, based on the narrative written by Hardaway in June of 1836.
Anyhow, I’m very disappointed and angry. The folks at San Jacinto say that I now have to apply again in 25 years! Well, I’m 70 years old and have no intention of waiting that long. If you are interested in helping me pressure them, I would much appreciate it. It’s a struggle over their using a “measuring stick” that does not include Davenport or even the memoir of Trezevant’s sister. I can send you any and all information that you can bear to deal with!
Jay’s response that day (July 2, 2011) included the following:
The notion that the folks at San Jacinto will not reconsider James Peter Trezevant in the face of new data is absurd. For 25 years?!? That’s not historical preservation and integrity…that’s called institutional laziness. They’d rather pass the work on to their grandchildren?!? They won’t consider Davenport!?! What more prominent Texas historians are there? I used him extensively in my work.
As I am buried with work on my new book (I primarily write about aviation), I cannot take on a real campaign on your great-great-grandfather’s behalf. However, if you’ll provide me with a few details, I might be able to find enough time to write a short letter urging them to reconsider.
On Oct. 9, 2012, a year and three months after this earlier correspondence, Jay responded to my announcement of Oct. 5:
I took a look at the material you sent to include all the e-mail exchanges.
Firstly, I think you can (and do) take great familial pride in the role that your ancestor, J.P. Trezevant, played during the Texas Revolution. That he participated in some watershed events is irrefutable.
Where the Battle of San Jacinto is concerned, I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote in one of your e-mail exchanges that you were missing the “smoking gun” that would definitely place him there. The lack of documentation does just seem to make him disappear just prior to the battle until several months later, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s very frustrating for you.
Until positive proof (rather than implied/associative/circumstantial) is uncovered, I guess I can understand the position of the historical arbitrators. As of now, there is simply no way to tell where he was during the battle.
. . . . . . . . . .
I do wish you luck at proving the case. With the information I saw I’ve got a gut feeling of 50/50, but the project is exciting, regardless. And I’m sure that half the fun is uncovering other bits of information along the way.