Friday, January 28, 2011

Texas Tidbits: The Flute Player at San Jacinto (?)

When I post on something here on Three States Plus One, I tend to lean to the more historical and "serious" topics. I thought for today's post, I'd take something lighthearted from something very serious - The Battle of San Jacinto, the deciding battle in the War for Texas Independence. For those of you who are not Texans, this (the battle) is a real big deal to us Texans. Out of the War for Texas Independence, generally, and the Battle of San Jacinto, specifically, came a story the likes of which I have never even considered before. It's a pretty cool story.

After the War, many of the men in the Texas Army went back to their jobs as farmers, blacksmiths, store owners, whatever. One guy, Frederick Lemsky, had a job before the War, during the War and after the War that was something you'd never expect from a man who had just fought in one of the most famous Wars and Battles the world had ever seen. I am going to let the Texas State Historical Society's website take it from here.
"On this day in 1838, Frederick Lemský advertised in the Telegraph and Texas Register offering his services as a music teacher and teacher of German and French. Lemský, born in Europe, came to Texas in 1836 and enlisted in the Texas army. He was a musician in the army until December 1836 and is said to have played "Come to the Bower" on the fife at the battle of San Jacinto. In 1841 Lemský was a charter member of the German Union of Texas, and in 1842 he was recorded as the employer of thirty men digging the Brazos and San Luis Canal in Brazoria County. Lemský and a partner named Franke drowned while transporting corn on a flat barge in Galveston Bay when a "hard norther" blew in and capsized the barge. According to the probate records in Brazoria County, "1 octave flute" and "1 keyed flute" were included in the inventory of his property. They were sold for $2.25 at auction in June 1844". A flute player! I have never in my life ever once thought of a flute player serving under Sam Houston and was a participant in the Battle of San Jacinto. that's off the hook wild. As best I can figure, the fifes in the armies at the time of the Texas War for Independence were used to signal various commands to the infantry during a battle. The flute later gave way to trumpets in this regard.

The next time this subject comes up in polite conversation, you'll be able to impress your friends, one of which is bound to be a smartass know-it-all, with what they think is your near encyclopedic knowledge of the War for Texas Independence. Especially if they are drunk. You'll thank me later.

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