"Women of Gonzalez" "Come and Take It"

    • (1913-1989)
    • San Antonio Artist
    • Image Size: GONZALES "COME AND TAKE IT" CANNON. The Gonzales cannon of “Come and Take It” fame was a Spanish-made, bronze artillery piece of six-pound caliber. The gun was the object of contention in late September and early October 1835 between a Mexican military de
    • Medium: Oil
    • Mid Century
    • "Women of Gonzalez" "Come and Take It"
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    GONZALES "COME AND TAKE IT" CANNON. The Gonzales cannon of “Come and Take It” fame was a Spanish-made, bronze artillery piece of six-pound caliber. The gun was the object of contention in late September and early October 1835 between a Mexican military detachment from Bexar and American colonists who settled in Texas. The disagreement produced the battle of Gonzales, considered to be the first battle of the Texas Revolution
    On January 1, 1831, Green DeWitt initiated the new year by writing Ramón Músquiz, the political chief of Bexar, asking him to make arrangements for a cannon to be furnished to the Gonzales colonists for protection against hostile Indians. On March 10, 1831, after some delay, James Tumlinson, Jr., a DeWitt colonist at Bexar, received one bronze cannon to be turned over to Green DeWitt at Gonzales, with a stipulation that it was to be returned to Mexican authorities upon request. The fact that the gun was not carriage mounted until about September 28, 1835, suggests that in 1831 it was probably swivel mounted in one of the two blockhouses that had been constructed at Gonzales in 1827. Thus mounted it would have served as a visual deterrent to hostile Indians.

    The Gonzales cannon is was next mentioned in September 1835, when Col. Domingo de Ugartechea, the military commander at Bexar, sent Corporal Casimiro De León and five soldiers of the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras to retrieve the cannon. The Gonzales colonists notified Ugartechea they were keeping the gun and took the soldiers prisoner. The cannon was then buried in George W. Davis's peach orchard and couriers were sent to the settlements on the Colorado River to obtain armed assistance. Ugartechea responded by sending 100 troops under Lt. Francisco de Castañeda to make a more serious request for the return of the gun. On September 29, Capt. Robert M. Coleman arrived at Gonzales with a militia company of thirty mounted Indian fighters. The gun was retrieved from its shallow grave, taken to John Sowell's blacksmith shop, and mounted on the fore-wheels of Albert Martin’s cotton wagon.  This cannon was fired twice in the third skirmish of the battle on October 2. 

    DeWitt Colony
    DeWitt Colony and surrounding areas. Image courtesy of Texas A&M University. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

    Battle of Gonzalez Cannon
    The "Come and Take It" cannon of the Battle of Gonzales (The cannon is the real thing, the carriage a reproduction) on display at the Gonzales Memorial Museum, Gonzales, Texas, United States. Courtesy of Larry D. Moore Photography. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

    Replica of the Come and Take It Flag
    Replica of the Come and Take It Flag Hanging at the Texas State Capitol. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

    The name "Come and Take It" refers to the motto adopted by the Texian rebels.  A few days prior to the battle, two young ladies from Gonzales, Caroline Zumwalt and Eveline DeWitt, hastily prepared a flag with an image of a cannon and the words “Come and Take It”.  This flag was raised above the Gonzales cannon during the battle on October 2, and later carried with the gun toward San Antonio, but was soon lost without a trace.
    After organization of the Texian "Army of the People" under Gen. Stephen F. Austin at Gonzales, the cannon was assigned to Capt. James C. Neill's artillery company, hauled to San Antonio and used during the Siege of Bexar.  After the capture of Bexar in December 1835, the cannon remained at the Alamo, where it was one of twenty-one large artillery pieces commandeered by the Mexican army upon the recapture of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
    There was a second cannon at the Battle of Gonzales, a much smaller iron gun called an esmeril, the smallest of Spanish cannons of the first class, of one-pounder caliber or less. Several of these were recorded in Texas during Spanish colonial era.  Although never mentioned in American accounts of the battle, Lt. Castaneda’s two reports of the battle, dated October 2nd and 4th, clearly indicate that two cannons were used in the battle. The esmeril was the first one fired in the second skirmish. This type of small cannon was typically swivel-mounted or carried on the back of a mule during frontier campaigns.  Two other Mexican accounts mention both cannons in Gonzales. Noah Smithwick repaired the esmeril’s touch hole after the battle and it was mounted on a crude carriage made with sawn cross sections of a tree trunk.  Both guns left Gonzales with the Texian army headed for San Antonio, but the small gun’s carriage failed and it was abandoned at Sandies Creek. A major flood in 1936 uncovered the small gun leading to its rediscovery; it is now on display in the Gonzales Memorial Museum.
    The bronze Gonzales cannon was buried with other captured Texan cannons inside the Alamo compound.  It was unearthed by Samuel Maverick in 1852, and sent to New York by his widow Mary Maverick in 1874, where it was recast into a bell that hangs in the belfry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio.  

  • Biography

    Margaret Putnam (1913-1989)

    Margaret Putnam left an artistic legacy rare even in the art world. Revered for her innovative techniques and inimitable style prior to her death in 1989 , her renown continues today. She was a 20th century woman with a Renaissance soul who lavished her work with brilliant color, always breaking and making the rules to achieve the desired effect. An explorer, Putnam was basically self-taught; it could not be otherwise because no one had the vision that she had. She worked in oil, watercolor, wax resist, casein, and pastel, exploring new avenues, developing new techniques, combining mediums, and creating an unique style, instantly recognizable, unlike any other. A background in fashion illustration was evident in the color, texture, and design that adorned both male and female figures. In abstract work, there was always a keen but unique sense of design. She worked over 8 hours a day, 363 days a year. Even after becoming partially paralyzed from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), she continued this schedule, working all day on the day that she passed away. I paint seven days a week because there is nothing else I would rather do. Of Margaret Putnam, Dr. Amy Freeman Lee has said: �The apogee of her achievement was reached as she struggled upstream against the dangerous currents of life without complaint or self-pity. For Margaret, it was always full courage ahead! In my entire life, I have never known anyone with more valor. Deep in the heart of Texas, drowsing placidly in the prairie sun, is that famous symbol of last-stand courage - the Alamo. Nearby, a few blocks up the street, in the little arts and crafts community of La Villita, artist Margaret Putnam paints every day. Although paralyzed from the waist down and stricken with an incurable disease, she continues to produce exquisite, expressive pictures filled with radiant colors and undefined joy, pictures which must be viewed as the triumph of art over life. "I paint seven days a week because there is nothing I'd rather do. It's such a delight. Sometimes, I feel like I'm still a child, playing with colors," she says happily. But at seventy-two, and confined to a wheelchair, Margaret Putnam is neither playing with colors, nor is she a child. She is a remarkable woman, a talented artist, and, in the real spirit of the Alamo, she represents true Texas grit. Margaret had always liked painting a big picture. Her strokes were broad, her colors bold, her paintings powerful and expressive. Her 18-by-7-1/2 foot mural at the top of the San Antonio Hilton Hotel is an example of the size she was comfortable with. An ambitious project, the mural traces epochs and events in Spanish history; then centers of Ferdinand, Isabella, and Columbus; and ends with the launch of Spanish explorers to our continent in search of the Seven Cities of Gold. "It took me a year to finish it," she remembers. "But I liked working on something so grand in scope and big in size." That was twenty-eight years ago. Today, she paints on narrow strips of paper, fractions of the canvases she once managed. Stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease often compared with polio, and one that kills through slow paralysis, Margaret may have been forced to modify the size and style of her paintings, but not her creative enthusiasm. She remains undaunted, and the strength of her artistic vision propels her forward. Awards * River Art Show, San Antonio, TX, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962 * Beaumont Museum, Beaumont, TX, Purchase Award, 1957 * Texas Fine Arts Museum, Purchase Award, 1958, 1962 * Texas Fine Arts Museum, Honorable Mention, 1958, * Texas Watercolor Society, Award, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1981 * Texas Watercolor Society, Purchase Award, 1959, 1963, 1965 * Local Artists Exhibition, San Antonio, TX, Purchase Award, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1972 * Old Testament National Exhibit, Award * One of Ten Outstanding Women in San Antonio, 1964 * San Antonio Art League, San Antonio, TX, Outstanding Artist of the Year * J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, 1987 * Texas Fine Arts, Three-Time Winner of Top Award for Oils * San Antonio Business Committee for the Arts, Recipient of the Year Award