Fredonian Rebellion and the Old Stone Fort

The Fredonian Rebellion was a brief and unsuccessful uprising, which had a deep influence on Texas history. The leader behind the rebellion was Haden Edwards, the empresario of Nacogdoches who was in charge of bringing new settlers to the region. Arguments between Edwards and the established settlers living in the Nacogdoches area began soon after Edwards arrived when he demanded that all settlers produce titles for their lands. Those settlers who could not produce titles risked losing their land to Edwards.

Edwards also got involved in elections of local officials. When he continued his bullying policy, the Mexican government cancelled Edwards’ empresario contract. Edwards then decided to try to establish a state independent from Mexico so he could save some of his investment.

In 1826, the rebellion began with a group of thirty-six men who arrested the local authorities and took over the Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches. The leaders of the rebellion tried to get the local Indians to join the cause. Two Cherokee leaders pledged support for the rebellion in exchange for a promise of land. To symbolize this union, the flag of the rebellion consisted of red and white parallel bars, for the Indians and Anglo-Americans, respectively. The flag was inscribed “Independence, Liberty, Justice” and was signed by the rebels who flew it over the Old Stone Fort. The rebels signed a Declaration of Independence from Mexico. Indian assistance for the rebels never arrived. With the militia and Mexican troops closing in, the rebels abandoned the cause and the fort. Most of them fled.

Though the Fredonian Rebellion had failed, the event alarmed the Mexican government, who decided to check how to prevent such occurrences in the future. A report found that the state was rapidly becoming “Americanized.” In response, the Mexican government passed a law to reverse these trends. The law angered Anglo colonists and paved the way for the coming Texas Revolution.

Source: Fredonian Rebellion and the Old Stone Fort
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