Sam Houston and other dignitaries dedicate Monument Hill cemetery
On this day in 1848, Sam Houston and other notable Texans gathered a mile south of La Grange at Monument Hill, the chosen site for a military cemetery. Those to be buried there had died in the Dawson Massacre and other conflicts that beset the Republic of Texas as Mexico continued to contest the fact of Texas independence. Six years earlier, on September 18, 1842, while an army of Texans under Mathew Caldwell defeated the much larger forces of Mexican general Adrián Woll on Salado Creek near San Antonio, Capt. Nicholas Dawson and his fifty-eight volunteers fought a losing battle against 500 irregular Mexican cavalrymen and their two cannons. The Texans were slaughtered. A few escaped, and fifteen were carted off to Perote Prison, from where only nine survivors were eventually released. The dead were buried in shallow graves and, in 1848, moved to Monument Hill. The day was again solemnly commemorated ninety-one years after the massacre. On September 18, 1933, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas dedicated a new vault at the site, which had fallen into disrepair and abuse before they moved to rescue it.