Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fredonia or Petoria: The Flag Makes the Nation

Flag of Fredonia 1825-1826
In April of 1825, Hayden Edwards received a grant from the districts of Texas and Coahuila (districts of Mexico) to colonize the area of Nacogdoches with 800 families.  Edwards began to promote and organize the colony with his brother B. W. Edwards.  As a condition of the grant, Edwards had to honor any prior grants of land in his settlement territory.  This led to a vetting of prior settlers in the area to determine who had a legitimate land claim, a contentious process which sparked a feud between Edwards and the Mexican government. Those who lost their land appealed to the regional Mexican authorities.  Empresario Stephen F. Austin attempted to quench the rebellious tendencies of Hayden Edwards. In a letter to Edwards, Austin wrote, "The truth is, you do not understand the nature of the authority with which you are vested by the government, and it is my candid opinion that a continuance of the imprudent course you have commenced will totally ruin you, and materially injure all the new settlements." The truth was that Edwards envied and despised Austin. So, being told by Austin that he should know his place probably pushed Edwards to secede from Mexico. The irony of this is that Austin would eventually mount his own rebellion, successfully establishing the Republic of Texas. In preparation for the secession, Hayden signed a treaty with the local Cherokee Indians (represented by the red band in the flag) and declared independence from Mexico on December 21, 1826. Assisted by Stephen F. Austin (and the Cherokee Indians), the Mexican government forcibly suppressed the rebellion, which ended on January 31, 1827. (more info on Fredonia) After fleeing to Louisiana, Hayden Edwards returned to Texas during the Texas Revolution and settled in Nacogdoches. Hayden Edwards died within the territory of his colony in 1849.
Flag of Petoria

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