Hausmann remembers when Scout Troop 10 of the Guadalupe
Valley Council found a bone that helped lead to the
location of the mass burial ground of Col. James W.
Fannin and his men at Goliad.
In a recent column (Oct. 29, 1997), mention was made
of a gopher having kicked a bone to the surface. Hausmann
recalls it was after a Friday night campout on the
San Antonio River, where Goliad State Park is now
located, when the bone was found.
"William Bennett and I were assistant junior Scout leaders,"
he says. "I had to go to work at Walker Cash Store early
that Saturday morning and wasn't there, but William
took the boys out for a hike across the river in back
of Presidio La Bahia. They were just messing around,
as boys do.
"One of the boys found a bone and showed it to William."
Bennett then showed it to his father, Dr. W.B. Bennett,
a dentist, and they went out and looked at the place.
His father also took the bone to Judge J.A. White, who
was instrumental in the 1930s in getting Goliad State
Park established and in having a monument erected at
the Fannin burial ground after the site was verified.
Hausmann, now of San Antonio, was for many years a band
and choral director and principal at Port Lavaca High
School before it became Calhoun High School, and also
operated a music store.
The Scouts' role in discovering the burial ground was
not mentioned in a May 6, 1934 article in the Houston
Post, which I had referred to in the previous column
regarding the discovery of the burial ground, though
it is mentioned in various other accounts.
The finding led to further research at the location.
Mary Elizabeth Martin of Goliad recalls being there
with a group that included Dr. Bennett and her father,
Edward A. Martin, when a portion of a jaw bone was found
that Bennett determined to be human. The Post article
gives her father credit for locating the site where
Gen. Thomas J. Rusk had buried the collected remains
of the 342 men who had been massacred by the Mexican
army on March 27, 1836.
The site had been marked for some years with a pile
of rocks that were later scattered along nearby fences
after the area was put into cultivation.
Archaeologists at the University of Texas determined
that bones from the site were indeed human and subsequent
excavations resulted in a definite location of the gravesite.
"They sent a bus load of students to Goliad and they
dug a cross trench," Hausmann recalls, "on a little
mound and found the bones.
"Martin recalls, from when she was there with her father
and others after the jaw bone was found, that one of
the Cabrera family had come up and showed them where
the rock was scattered, verifying the site by local
tradition. The family had lived near the burial site
for years, as some family members still do.
"Near the center of that field," the Post article noted,
"at the peak of the hill, the gopher unearthed some
small, partly charred bones, and Mr. Martin did his
part by discovering the bones."
While various sources give credit to one or the other,
the find can be attributed to a combination of factors
The gopher having cared less about what it had found.
Both the Oct. 19 and Nov. 6, 1997 columns on the discovery
of the mass grave at Goliad are in Henry's book, "Ghosts
of Goliad and Other Stories of Presidio La Bahia," available
at the Advocate, Presidio La Bahia, and Soho Goliad,
the Emporium. The book may also be ordered by mail from
Henry's Journal, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, Texas, 77902,
for $10 (includes the sales tax, P&H).