Auction Date:2011 Nov 17 @ 18:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:5 Rt 101A Suite 5, Amherst, New Hampshire, 03031, United States
Texas Revolutionary leader (1804–1836). After being outnumbered and surrendering to Mexican forces at the Battle of Coleto Creek, Fannin and nearly all his 344 men were executed soon afterward at Goliad, Texas, under Santa Anna's orders for all rebels to be executed, with Fannin being the last to be killed. Endorsement, signed “J. W. Fannin, Jr.,” at the bottom of a one-page manuscript document, written by Assistant Quartermaster Henderson Cozart, and signed by Cozart as well as Quarter Master David Holt, 8.5 x 12, dated February 18, 1836, headed at the top, “Head Quarters, Goliad.” Document reads, in part: “Rec. of Michael Riley for the use of the Garrison the following tools (to wit) which will be returned or pd. for by the Government, two four planes…twenty seven chisels…four augers…two iron squares…2 truant saws…three large & ten small files…two screw drivers…and several other small articles too tedious to mention most of the above mentioned Tools are in a damaged state.” Endorsed at the conclusion by Fannin, “Fort Goliad, J. W. Fannin, Jr., 18th Feby 1836, Col Cmt Army Texas & Agt. Provl. Govt.” In good to very good condition, with intersecting folds, moderate overall creasing and wrinkling, scattered toning and foxing, a few small edge tears, small pencil notation to lower right corner, and a couple very small old tape reinforcements of small paper loss repairs to reverse.
In February 1836, Fannin was so desperate to make badly-needed repairs to Goliad that he found himself buying shopworn tools from his own troops. Dated one month and a day before his under-prepared and outnumbered force surrendered at Coleto Creek, he endorsed this receipt itemizing several tools in various states of usefulness that Maj. Michael Riley made available while both were stationed at Goliad. Fannin would later be among the hundreds who were executed following a forced march back to the fort in one of the Revolution’s most shocking atrocities. Riley, however, was among the few survivors of this devastating defeat on March 19-29, 1836.
Having recently commanded Fort Defiance, Fannin knew the importance of a well-maintained and fortified garrison. Applying what he’d learned, the doomed colonel endeavored to make Goliad as stout and secure as possible. After the Alamo fell, however, Sam Houston ordered Fannin to fall back to Victoria. En route, Fannin encountered Mexican forces at Coleto on March 19. While the Colonel’s troops put up a courageous defense, the Texans were overpowered and forced to surrender. Santa Anna ordered Fannin’s men be marched back to the recently-refortified but disused garrison at Goliad. Once there, every prisoner was executed, and, per Santa Anna’s orders, Fanin was the last to be slain.
This incredible document is among the very few surviving items Fannin signed from within Goliad during the month prior to his execution. The Robert Davis Collection.