March 2, 1836: In the early morning hours of this day in 1836, a convention of Texians voted to accept a resolution declaring the Mexican province of Texas to be an independent republic. The weather was chilly, and the rented building where they met was unfinished. Signing of the declaration began the next day, March 3. In all, 59 men signed the declaration. One of those men, James Gaines, was my ancestor, an uncle I think, two or three “greats” removed.
It is worth noting that this convention was not a strictly Texas affair– in fact, it was an international group, if you consider the origins of the Texian delegates. The largest number of delegates were natives of Virginia, but others were natives of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetss, Mississippi, New Jersey, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and Mexico.
The convention formed committees and elected officers, the way most conventions do. Then on March 17, their business suddenly stopped, when they heard rumors that Santa Anna was on the way. Everyone left town in a big hurry, heading east as part of the “runaway scrape.”
Oh, about that building where they met. The fellows who arranged for the building never got around to paying the rent.
When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.— opening paragraph, Texas Declaration of Independence