Carl Hill Jr. of Missouri City and David Martin of Montgomery County were knighted in a ceremony Saturday at the San Jacinto Monument, making them Knights of Texas. I’m not very well versed in exactly what that means, but I do know that they don’t knight anyone just because they feel like it. These two men have given many years of dedication to preserving Texas history through re-enactments and living history programs.
Hill is a seventh generation Texan and has been a member of the San Jacinto Chapter, No. 1, Sons of the Republic of Texas, since 1992. He is also a member of the Texas Army and was recently commissioned an Admiral in the Texian Navy for all his volunteer activities in promoting Texas history.
For more than 20 years Hill has dedicated his time and efforts by participating in various community activities frequently dressed as a soldier in the Republic of Texas Army to ensure the public is aware of the Republic of Texas and its illustrious heritage. For the past several years he has participated in over 20 historical events annually from Republic of Texas battle re-enactments, Texas Honor Day events, Republic of Texas Past Presidents Commemoration ceremonies and other Texas historical events.
As a collateral descendant of James Wilder, who died at Goliad, Hill is a member of the Alabama Red Rovers. He often portrays his brave ancestor during the Battle of Coleto Creek and Goliad Massacre re-enactments at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad. (I feel a bit of kinship with him in that regard, in that my wife’s fourth-great uncle, Zachariah Short, was in the Red Rovers at Goliad.)
Hill is also cannon certified and can frequently be seen participating as a cannon crew member at Texas Heroes Day at Monument Hill in LaGrange, Texian Navy Day ceremonies at Battleship Texas, and the Sons of the Republic of Texas La Bahia Awards at Goliad.
Hill is a member of San Antonio Living History Association, an Alamo volunteer, and a member of the Texas Army Ceremonial Guard. He was a founding member of the Alexander Hodge Chapter, No. 41, (Sugar Land) Sons of the American Revolution in 1997. Not only was Alexander Hodge an American patriot, but he was also a Texas patriot. During the Texas Revolution, Hodge sent his sons and grandsons to join Gen. Sam Houston, while he guided his family to safety during the Runaway Scrape. Hill has just recently completed his second term as president and worked tirelessly promoting Alexander Hodge as a patriot of two revolutions.
As a member, Hill makes visits in colonial dress to the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center, paying tribute to military veterans who have given so much for our country.
I could keep going on about Hill, but I don’t want to neglect David Martin. He is a retired aircraft mechanic and inspector, but has a deep abiding love for Texas history, especially both sides of the Texas Revolution. He portrays both sides at various re-enactments, but mostly Mexican.
He has distant cousins and his great-great-grandfather as ties to the Republic of Texas and the Texas Revolution. Three of his relatives were part of the Mier Expedition and the infamous black bean incident. Antonio López de
Santa Anna, who had returned to power in Mexico by this time, was so impressed with John Chrisopher Columbus Hill that “he offered John a complete education if he would stay in Mexico and become a Mexican citizen,” Martin said. “And John told Santa Anna I will if you will send my father and my brother home. Santa Anna immediately sent them downtown and got him a new set of clothes because they were threadbare, and escorted them back to Texas. John C.C. Hill stayed there and became an engineer. He was instrumental in doing liaison between Mexico and the United States for the railroad systems. You have to have a liaison when you’re trying to tie two railroad systems together at the border. He also helped write the treaty after the Mexican-American War.”
Not only does Martin have that connection with Mexico, but he also spent a lot of time working there while working in aviation.
“I lived in Mexico two or three months out of the year and I learned to love Mexico and have good friends down there,” he said. “And I tell people, ‘mi Corazon esta en Texas y siempre estara, pero tengo a Mexico en mi sangre, which means my heart is in Texas and always will be but I have Mexico in my blood.’ So I do both sides. About the only thing I portray, on the Mexican side, is a cazador … and that translates to hunter in English, and that’s the light infantry of the of the Mexican Army in the 1830s that came through here with Santa Ana in the Texas Revolution.”
Martin has been very active with the Texas Army and other historical organizations and was recognized for his efforts to educate the public and keep Texas history alive for the next generations.
Also at the ceremony, nine members of the Texas Army were promoted to colonel. To make that rank, they must participate in a minimum number of events and also qualify as a marksman with a black powder rifle. Receiving that honor were Joe Weathersby, Doug Houston (a distant relative of Sam Houston), Rion Braddock, Frank Dietz, Chris Larsen, Howard Rose, Ronald Schrotter, Steven Sodich, and Kraig White. In addition, Claude Hunter was made an honorary colonel in the Army. A special award was given to Dan Smith, who is one of the original members who started the Texas Army 50 years ago.
I do want to give a special shout-out to Eron Tynes and Steve Roberts for providing me with some of this information.
These gentlemen have helped set a high standard of integrity and professionalism that I can only hope to aspire to as I begin my journey as a member of the Texas Army.