In September 1825, empresario Haden Edwards acquired a grant from Mexico to settle 800 families in an area of East Texas that included Nacogdoches. Edwards posted notices in Nacogdoches demanding that all landowners show evidence of their claims. His threatening behavior upset these settlers. Some of them held earlier grants from Spain and Mexico, even though they did not have legal documents to prove ownership.
Edward’s son-in-law became mayor of Nacogdoches in a questionable election.
Authorities in Mexico annulled the 1826 Edwards land grant and ordered Edwards to leave Texas. A Mexican military commander set out from San Antonio with over 100 soldiers to enforce this decision. Edwards vowed to recruit an army and win independence from Mexico.
Edwards called his disputed land the Republic of Fredonia. He designed a flag with the words “Independence, Liberty, Justice.” Then he tried to finalize a treaty with the nearby Cherokee to strengthen his claim.
Edwards appointed his brother, Benjamin, to lead the colony, after which he left for the United States to raise support for Fredonia. Benjamin gathered 30 men loyal to the Fredonian cause and rode to Nacogdoches. There they seized control of the Old Stone Fort and replaced the flag of Mexico with their own. The residents of Nacogdoches were mostly loyal to Mexico. They moved out when they learned that the Mexican military was on the way.
Fredonia survived only a few weeks. When Mexican military forces and Austin’s militia arrived, the revolutionaries retreated. Not a single Cherokee warrior had joined the revolt. Mexican authorities eventually offered amnesty to all who participated in the revolt, except for the Edwards brothers.
The Fredonian Rebellion accomplished little, but some historians consider it the true beginning of the Texas Revolution. Liberty would be achieved less than ten years later.
Source: The Short History of Fredonia
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