The cry to “Remember the Alamo” went up in 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texan rebels routed Santa Anna’s Mexican army and General Sam Houston became the first President of the Republic of Texas. However, the Mexicans did not relinquish their claim on the Lone Star State very easily. For several years after the battle, there were skirmishes between the two countries. In 1842, General Woll marched into San Antonio, with his 1600 Mexican troops and exchanged gunfire with local citizens. Among these was 27-year-old James Lawrence Trueheart, whose family emigrated from Scotland.
Trueheart was no stranger to defending his precious homeland. In 1841, he enlisted with the Texas Rangers under command of the brave and legendary ranger, Jack Hays. Hays is considered by many to be the ranger who first established the Ranger legacy in Texas. San Antonio was at the edge of the frontier and the Rangers had to patrol and protect the citizens from Comanches and Mexican bandits. Courage and grit were essential qualities all Texas Rangers had to have in great measure.
Trueheart and the entire district court, which was in session that day, were captured and marched on foot the 1800 miles to the foreboding Perote Prison, a massive stone fort complete with moat and drawbridge, near Mexico City. The journey took them 90 days… days of deprivation, hunger and suffering. There, though the prisoners were kept in a dungeon shackled one to another in pairs, starved and suffering, Trueheart was somehow able to keep a diary of his experience. The men remained in prison for 2 years, until their release was negotiated. Upon returning to San Antonio, he married the beautiful and prominent Margarita de la Garza, whose father coined the first money in Texas, bearing his initials and the Lone Star, which later became the state symbol. The oldest Spanish mission in Texas, Mission Espada, was located on Margarita’s family land.