It wouldn’t be hard to argue that one of the most iconic flags of the 21st century among liberty loving Americans is the Gonzales Flag. With its simple phrase and the black images on a white background, the message of “Come and Take It” make extremely clear the sentiments of the bearer. Would there be any doubt in your mind seeing this flag on a pole at a home, on the back of a car, or on a patch about what the person displaying it really has on their mind in regards to personal liberty? “Please….try me.”
Whether it is because Texans are a learned people or because freedom courses through their blood, they spelled out on the Gonzales Flag a familiar phrase uttered over 2,000 years before to another tyrannical army demanding submission. “Molon Labe” – “Come and Take Them” was the phrase Leonidas penned in response to Xerxes demand that the Spartans lay down their weapons. Texans told the Mexican Army the same thing Leonidas told Xerxes. This spirit of independence and an absolute commitment to life and liberty through the bearing of arms ultimately led to the demise of the superior armies in different ways.
The settlement of Gonzales housed the small, almost symbolic cannon loaned to the local residents in 1831 to keep Comanche Indian attacks under control. There it remained safely since the residents in and around Gonzales were initially in favor of remaining with Mexico despite souring relations across the Texas territory. That changed when a Mexican soldier beat a Gonzales resident and the Mexican army dispatched a small contingent of troops to retrieve the cannon lest it be used against them. The assault on a resident, the fear that their defenses against Indians would be weakened, and the suspicion that the Mexican authorities would seek to disband their militias caused the colonists to resist the attempt and they took the small group of soldiers hostage.
Mexican leaders sent about 100 soldiers to force the issue and take back the cannon. To buy time to build their defenses, the Texans exchanged vague letters with the Mexican leaders about the forfeiture of the cannon. Over the course of 2 days the colonists of Gonzales were able to send for help, ultimately getting about 140 men gathered to defend the community. When a final, formal request from the Mexicans was presented to the Texans, the Texans simply pointed to the cannon that lay not far behind them and declared: “There it is. Come and take it.”
By this time, the Mexican numbers had increased to about 200 and the Texan force grew to about 150. However, the Mexican forces were mainly comprised of dragoons, lacking heavier armament to mount an attack on the town. Realizing the juice probably wasn’t worth the squeeze, the Mexicans headed back to San Antonio. The Texans knew that they held the upper hand at the moment and on October 1st, they voted to attack the Mexicans at their encampment 7 miles from Gonzales. Under cover of fog in the early hours of October 2, 1835, the little cannon at the center of the entire event was hauled over the river and put to use. Colonists fired upon the Mexican Army and scattered them quickly; the Mexicans abandoned most of their equipment and lost 2 soldiers in the melee.
That day marked the beginning of the Texas Revolution and the defiant act of this little band of colonists was the spark that ignited the flames of freedom across Texas. Shortly thereafter, the colonists commissioned what we know today as the Gonzales Flag to be flown over the cannon. Made from one of the colonist’s wedding dress and painted in black outline, the flag’s composition definitively underlines the commitment to the cause and the seriousness of the Texan spirit of liberty.
Add our Gonzales Flag patch to your collection to be clear about your commitment to the right to bear arms and your assertion of your rights generally. You will not go down without a fight, make them come and take it.