Here is part of my reply to Jay’s message of Oct. 9:
First, I appreciate your suggestions for streamlining the case, but quite frankly I don’t have the energy to rework what I’ve already submitted. Like you, I’m already working on my next project. However, your observations remind me of a significant challenge on the site itself. There are really two foci which may need to be more clearly delineated. One is the ongoing academic study of the Georgia Battalion, its fate in Texas, and its memorialization. Hence all the links and general articles that you noted. The other is the JPT case itself, and that is limited to the Application for Recognition tab. I hope you’ll read or re-read the Closing Statement to see how I identify the issues. One is simply getting JPT accepted as a participant in the Battle of San Jacinto. But the other and far more important one is exposing the bizarre way that such acceptances are done. I think it is scandalous from a professional historian’s point of view, that one anonymous historian who is embedded in a state’s bureaucracy can make such decisions with NO PEER REVIEW.
Second, you say that “the lack of documentation does just seem to make him disappear just prior to the battle until several months later, doesn’t it?” I beg to disagree. We know from Hardaway exactly where JPT was BEFORE the battle and DURING the battle. And we know from the records in my original application where he was immediately AFTER the battle.
There is exactly the crux of the matter. The fact that Hardaway was a highly credible eyewitness and fellow participant in the battle should be ENOUGH evidence to support JPT’s involvement. Period. What OTHER “positive proof” would make a difference and WHY? To me, Hardaway’s narrative IS the “smoking gun.”
And third, in terms of a “target audience” regarding the way some Texans are currently “doing history,” you are a prime example. Even if you don’t want to correspond directly to the Commissioners of TPWD, you can be most helpful to me by allowing me to quote you on the website. If nothing else I can post the quote from your earlier email to me on July 2, which I’ll add at the end of this email. I would be most appreciative if I could use this quote or another one from you.
Bear with me. I forgot another key factor. Kemp knew about the Hardaway narrative and used it. What he and subsequent historians involved with San Jacinto did NOT know about was the existence of the memoir written by JPT’s sister. That information had been given to Lisa Struthers at the San Jacinto Museum by my cousin Rick Allen at least a year before my application was submitted. Yet, she claimed that there was nothing new in the JPT file. Why isn’t the memoir considered as valid evidence in JPT’s behalf, especially in conjunction with Hardaway? Its credibility is much enhanced by the improbable surfacing of the miniature of JPT 130 years after it was painted.