Alamo Displays Cannon Likely Used During Battle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frank Heinz, NBCDFW.com

    A cannon thought to have been cast in Mexico and possibly used by the Texan army during the 1836 Alamo battle has taken its place at the historic mission.

    If its presumed link to the Alamo is proven, it would be the only known bronze Spanish cannon used by defenders that has been recovered, the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday.

    As was the case with other cannons seized and disabled by Mexican troops after the famous 1836 battle, the cannon's cascabel and trunnions, which are used to pivot and aim the weapon, have been broken off.

    "It's got the exact same damage as the other guns," said Alamo historian Bruce Winders.

    Researchers believe the cannon, which recently went on display at the Alamo, may have been given by the Samuel Maverick family to a Philadelphia family named French after the Civil War. The Mavericks had reported finding 13 cannons near the Alamo site in 1852.

    "We know the cannon was sent to Philadelphia as payment for a debt," said Jan DeVault, president of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground, which owns the cannon.

    For many years, it was displayed on the lawn of Howard B. French's country estate in Pennsylvania.

    Houston businessman J.P. Bryan bought it from a collector in 1986. It was resold to John McRae of Dallas. McRae's daughter in 2008 donated it to DeVault's group, which had it restored at Texas A&M University's Conservation Research Laboratory.

    The San Jacinto group plans to keep the cannon "on permanent loan" at the Alamo, as long as it's kept indoors and safe from visitors, said DeVault.

    "It definitely should belong to the people of Texas," she said.

    There are five known Alamo cannons at the Alamo and two in La Villita, said Winders. Another owned by businessman Red McCombs is at Southwestern University in Georgetown.