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The Lost Cannon of Lavaca County

Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery

Not long after I moved to Gonzales, Texas, in 1984, I heard a story about an old cannon that was located somewhere east of here and had been found by a group of kids while they were searching for a good swimming hole.

It seems that they had found this old gun sticking out of a sand bar and they used it as a diving board. I really hadn't thought about this story much, until recently; while researching some Gonzales Inquirer newspapers from the year, 1932, I came across some information strikingly similar to the old story I had heard before.

Three different articles appeared in October and November of that year (1932) and they were all about a mysterious old cannon supposedly located in Lavaca County. The articles had originated in the San Antonio Express News before they were published in the Inquirer.

The Express News had written a story about the famous Gonzales cannon that fired the first shot for Texas Independence in 1835. In the article, they said that the cannon had disappeared and they were making an attempt to find it.

Mr. W.G. Leazar of Kerrville, Texas, responded to the Express News item with a letter in which he was quoted as saying: "... I know there is an old brass cannon in a large creek some 30 miles east of the town of Gonzales. This cannon was found by boys in swimming. After a big rise in the creek or river, it left a deep hole of water and one of the boys told me he used to climb on this cannon and jump off."

Leazar went on to say: "They tried to pull it [the cannon] out with a horse, but could not. I know one of the boys who found this cannon in the water and he tells me he can go within 50 feet of the place."

Another man, this one from San Antonio, told the Express News that he knew some old timers living at Moulton, Texas, that knew something about the old cannon. This man, Mr. Erick Brunkenhoefer said, "I knew a man there [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."

According to the letters received by the Express News, I don't doubt that a cannon was found in Lavaca County. In fact, Jacob 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.

Mr. Tomasko also said his father told him that the cannon was protruding from a sand bar. Jacob Tomasko told his son that he sat on the barrel of the cannon to eat his lunch.

Another article in The Gonzales Inquirer, in 1932, stated that some businessmen from Hallettsville were interested in getting their hands on this old cannon. The article went on to say that there were reports of a cannon located at the old Sycamore Pool two miles above Hallettsville on the Lavaca River. One report had a cannon seen at a place known as Santa Anna crossing about one mile southeast of Breslau on the Lavaca.

We know that this is not the famous "Come and Take It" cannon, but it would be very interesting to find out where this mysterious cannon is located and what's more important - find out where it came from.

Also, there is something else to consider - could there be more than one cannon in Lavaca County waiting to be discovered?

Lone Star Diary >
December, 2000
Published with author's permission.

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