story goes that the old cannon was discovered by a group of kids searching for
a good place to swim in the Lavaca River – at least that’s the way I heard it
shortly after moving to Gonzales
in 1984. |
I’ve written about the cannon more than once, the first time
being some 14 years ago when I was working for The Gonzales Inquirer –
that original column brought folks out of the woodwork providing me with more
information than I could ever have imagined. People from Gonzales
and Lavaca counties contacted me with their versions of the tale – information
that had been passed down to them by their parents, grandparents, and various
acquaintances over the years.
Also, I would like to note that after my
original column was published, I faxed a copy to the Texas Historical Commission
– evidently the THC wasn’t interested because I never heard from them.
folks are of the opinion that this cannon belonged to Mexican Gen. Santa Anna’s
army. Legend has it that the cannon was dumped into the Lavaca River or some nearby
stream because it was becoming a burden on the Mexican army. After the
fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna was attempting to move swiftly and catch the
retreating Texas army being led by Gen.
What stirred me to write about the cannon again, is that;
first of all, there is no doubt in my mind that it exists, somewhere, and secondly
because I’ve recently found another article about people who were searching for
it in March of 1971.
The report from the March 30, 1971, issue of the
Hallettsville New Era-Herald contained information about a group using
metal detectors that would register things below the water as deep as 27 feet.
They were searching in a location known as Sycamore Pool; the article implied
that there may have been two cannons in that vicinity. To make a long story short,
however, they were either unsuccessful in their search or somebody has it and
is not going to give it up.
am going to share a bit of information from that very first article that I wrote
years ago. While researching Gonzales Inquirer newspapers from 1932, I
came across three different articles from October and November of that year which
mentioned the old cannon in Lavaca County. The articles had originated in the
San Antonio Express-News and were picked up by the Inquirer.
One fellow named W.G. Leazer of Kerrville
responded to the article, published in 1932, and was quoted as saying: “… I know
there is an old brass cannon in a large creek some 30 miles east of Gonzales.
This cannon was found by boys in swimming. They tried to pull it out with a horse,
but could not.”
Another man responded to the Express-News article;
Eric Brunkenhoefer, of San Antonio,
wrote, “I knew a man at Moulton,
Jacob Tomasko, now dead, who had knowledge of a buried cannon in that part of
the state. In 1923 or 1924 he wanted myself to go with him to this place and try
to recover this cannon, but I don’t think it was ever attempted.”
Tomasko’s son, W.J. Tomasco of Shiner,
wrote a letter saying that his father lived in the town of Moravia
and had found a cannon on a small creek known as North Fork which empties into
the Lavaca River. Tomasco also said his father (Jacob) told him the cannon was
protruding from a sand bar. Jacob Tomasco told his son that he sat on the barrel
of the cannon to eat his lunch.
Phil Hemmi, of Hallettsville,
said that his dad, Urban Hemmi, told him that his (Urban’s) father, Jahannes John
Hemmi, came to Lavaca County in 1885 at the age of 16; it seems that Jahannes
also talked about this cannon and how he used it as a diving board. He said it
was about 100 yards from an old iron bridge.
Another article from the
Inquirer in 1932 stated that some Hallettsville
businessmen were interested in retrieving the cannon. Once again it was mentioned
that the weapon was located at Sycamore Pool two miles above Hallettsville
on the Lavaca River. There was another report that a cannon had been seen at a
place known as Santa Anna crossing about one mile southeast of Breslau on the
In my research, so many locations are mentioned that we might
possibly surmise that there is more than one cannon out there. Let’s see, there’s
Sycamore Pool, North Fork, Robber’s Hole, Santa Anna crossing, Cotton Grove, Witting,
Breslau, and Moravia, just to name a few, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if
there aren’t more family stories out there that have the cannon or cannons in
But of one thing I’m certain, the cannon does exist –
perhaps it has already been found and just kept secret – maybe we’ll never know
for sure, but too many people have seen it for the story not to be true.
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