“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bryan in Brazos County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Twin Sisters


The Twin Sisters Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, April 3, 2021
1. The Twin Sisters Marker

On November 17, 1835, after Francis Smith convinced the people of Cincinnati, Ohio, to aid the cause of the Texas Revolution, the Ohioans began raising funds to procure two cannons and their attendant equipment for Texas. Since the United States was taking an official stance of neutrality toward the rebellion in Texas, the citizens of Cincinnati referred to their cannon as "hollow ware.” Two guns, probably six pounders, were manufactured at the foundry of Greenwood and Webb in Cincinnati and then shipped down the Mississippi to New Orleans. William Bryan, an agent of the Republic of Texas in New Orleans, took official possession of the guns on March 16, 1836. From New Orleans, the guns were placed on the schooner Pennsylvania and taken to Galveston Island. For some reason they were not accompanied by their limbers and ammunition, perhaps because the dangerous military situation in the republic did not allow for any delays. The cannons arrived in Galveston at the beginning of April 1836. On board the Pennsylvania was the family of Dr. Charles Rice, who was moving to Texas. Upon arrival in Galveston, the guns were
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presented to representatives of Texas under the sponsorship of Dr. Rice's twin daughters, Elizabeth and Eleanor. Someone in the crowd made notice of the fact that there were two sets of twins in the presentation, the girls and the guns, and thus the cannons became the Twin Sisters.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get the Twin Sisters to the Texas army under Sam Houston, which was retreating toward the Sabine before the forces of Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Twins finally reached the army on April 11, 1836. A thirty-man artillery "corps” was immediately formed to service the guns, the only artillery with the Texas army, and placed under the command of Lt. Col. James Clinton Neill. Only nine days later the Twin Sisters saw their first action during a skirmish between the armies of Houston and Santa Anna on April 20. In this fight Neill was wounded, and command of the guns passed to George W. Hockley. The next day, April 21, 1836, saw the battle of San Jacinto and the securing of fame for the Twin Sisters. That afternoon, near the banks of Buffalo Bayou, the Texas army struck at Santa Anna's unsuspecting troops. The Twins were probably near the center of the Texans' line of battle and ten yards in advance of the infantry. Their first shots were fired at a distance of 200 yards, and their fire was credited with helping to throw the Mexican force into
The Twin Sisters replica and the Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, April 3, 2021
2. The Twin Sisters replica and the Marker
confusion and significantly aiding the infantry attack. During this battle the Twins fired handfuls of musket balls, broken glass, and horseshoes, as this was the only ammunition the Texans had for the guns. Among the crews serving the guns were several men who later made prominent names for themselves in Texas history, including Benjamin McCulloch, a future Confederate general who helped bring the Twins back from oblivion in 1860. In 1840, the Twins were reported to have been moved, along with other military stores, to Austin, where on April 21, 1841, they were fired in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto. When Sam Houston was inaugurated as president of the republic that year, the Twins were fired as Houston kissed the Bible after taking the oath of office.

Liittle is known about the Twin Sisters after this. In 1845, the Twins appear during the battle of Galveston, January 1, 1863. Lt. Sidney A. Sherman, son of Texas revolutionary hero Sidney Sherman, was killed while in command of one of the Twin Sisters at that battle. After the recapture of Galveston, the Twins once again disappeared until November 30, 1863, when Maj. A.G. Dickinson, commander of the Confederate post at San Antonio, reported that they were in the rebel arsenal at Austin, although in very poor condition. On February 8, 1864, Lt. Walter W. Blow wrote to Col. John S. (Rip)
The Twin Sisters replica image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, April 3, 2021
3. The Twin Sisters replica
Ford, who was preparing an expedition to recapture the Rio Grande from invading federal troops, that he was preparing to send the Twins to San Antonio so that they could accompany Ford's command. However, there is no certainty that the cannons actually accompanied Ford on his campaign. Blow's February 1864 report is the last official and certain mention of the Twin Sisters.

This replica of a Twin Sister was meticulously manufactured by and under the watchful eye of Sam Smith, Knight of San Jacinto, Sons of the Republic of Texas from Kerrville, Texas; he has generously donated it for permanent placement in the Boonville Heritage Park.
Erected by Boonville Heritage Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, Texas IndependenceWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is January 1, 1863.
Location. 30° 40.342′ N, 96° 19.855′ W. Marker is in Bryan, Texas, in Brazos County. Marker can be reached from Boonville Road, 0.1 miles east of Austins Colony Parkway. The marker is located in the Boonville Heritage Park in the central section of the park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2421 Boonville Road, Bryan TX 77802, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Brazos County Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Men of Vision
The view of the Twin Sisters and Marker from the entrance to the park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, April 3, 2021
4. The view of the Twin Sisters and Marker from the entrance to the park
(within shouting distance of this marker); Stagecoach Travel (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Town of Boonville (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Boonville School Play Yard (within shouting distance of this marker); The Town Plat (within shouting distance of this marker); Turner-Peters Log Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); Brazos Union Lodge No. 129 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bryan.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 8, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 494 times since then and 78 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 8, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Apr. 14, 2024