Every year the Blanco Pioneers Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) hosts an essay contest for Blanco County fourth and seventh graders. This year there was one and only one winner in the person of Townes Reed Curbow, the fourth grade son of Christopher and Courtney Curbow of Blanco.
On March 21 at the regular monthly meeting of the Chapter that was held at the Johnson Settlement in Johnson City, Townes was presented with a check in the amount of one hundred dollars for his winning essay entitled, "The Runaway Scrape." Seated with his proud parents as Townes was recognized was Linda Romano, principal at Blanco Elementary School.
"Much of the credit for Townes' literary success," said Ms. Romano, "must go to Mr. Colton Clark, his writing teacher, along with Ms. Dina Torres who gave much needed encouragement. Towne's homeroom teacher at Blanco Elementary School is Mrs. Kainer."
Townes is a good-natured, confident boy who pitches for his Little League baseball team and has fun with his fellow Webelos Scouts. He enjoys camping with the Scouts and his Dad. At a recent Pinewood Derby he won an award for "Best Craftsmanship." His favorite subject in school is math. He helps care for the family's three dogs and is responsible for chores both inside and outside his home including raking leaves, taking charge of the recyclables, and vacuuming.
When asked what he intended to do with his winnings, he quickly replied, "First of all, I'm going to get a new skateboard. The rest is going into my bank account to save for college." He said that even though it took him two weeks of research in the library and on the internet, he would do it again because he learned lots of new and interesting things about Texas history. When informed that the DRT would be sponsoring an Art Contest in the near future, his bright eyes betrayed his intent to give that a try, too.
"The Runaway Scrape," by Townes Curbow:
"When people heard about what Santa Anna did at the Alamo, Sam Houston and his troops hauled butt toward the Sabine River. They never actually got there. Many people called Sam Houston a coward for retreating constantly, but sometimes intelligent people are mistaken for cowards.
"The Texans at the Alamo fought courageously throughout the whole battle but were slaughtered by Mexican leader Santa Anna and his troops. Panic spread quickly upon many Texans. Texas General Sam Houston had his troops evacuate and burn the town of Gonzales. The reason they burned the town of Gonzales is so Santa Anna couldn't gather any supplies. Sam Houston ordered all the Texans to head in the same direction as him and his troops. People left so fast that one house was found with fried chicken and a pitcher of milk on the dinner table.
"There were many hardships along the way. Most of the civilians retreating were old men, women, and children. It was cold, wet, and most people were bare foot because their shoes wore out. There were also all kinds of sicknesses going around. One of the main diseases was measles. Many people died. Even with all those commotions they tried their best to have fun along the way. One example of this was they had a wedding.
"There were reasons why Sam Houston was retreating. One he was buying time to train his troops because his men were inexperienced and Santa Anna's troops were powerful. Two he was also retreating to find a good place to pounce. Santa Anna let them do that by splitting up his troops. Santa Anna sent a letter to Sam Houston saying, 'Mr. Houston: I know you're up there hiding in the bushes. As soon as I catch the other thieves, I'm coming up there to smoke you out.' Santa Anna had gone ahead of his army with a few hundred of his troops. This is finally when Sam Houston stopped retreating and took his troops to meet Santa Anna's troops. That was a good thing because most of Sam Houston's troops were so tired of retreating that they were either going to leave or find a new general.
"The battle came on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna had reinforcement troops come and help him and Sam Houston was outnumbered because the Mexicans had 1,350 men and the Texans had 783. Everybody was by the San Jacinto River. Most of the Mexicans were taking siestas. Some Mexicans were on the Texas side because they hated Santa Anna. They put pieces of cardboard in their hatbands to tell that they were on the Texas side. There was a bridge where the Mexicans could retreat or could get reinforcements so the Texans had a guy named Deaf Smith burn the bridge. The Mexicans didn't even know.
"Sam Houston led the charge. They were yelling, 'Remember the Alamo.' Because the Texans wanted revenge badly, the Texans ended up winning the battle and they captured Santa Anna.
"This is how Texas gained its independence. I'm glad Sam Houston was a 'coward' or else we may have not won the battle."
Leanne Haley served as ramrod for the Essay Contest. She, Leigh Whitten and Connie Weirich served as judges. Monies for prizes were donated by Dr. and Mrs. Roy Hotz. For information about the Pioneers Chapter of the DRT, call June Hensley at 830-833-0650. Sherry Jenkins is Chapter president.