Goliad in Texas has entered the history books thanks to the fact that the First Declaration of Texas’s Independence was declared here on December 20, 1835. However, it was also here where the Goliad Massacre took place on March 27, 1836 after the Mexicans retook the place. The revolutionaries initially attacked and took Goliad in 1835, but the returning Mexicans decided to massacre them all when they eventually surrendered in 1836. Nowadays, the locals frequently reenact the massacre during historic events. My Lonely Planet guide book said that it is well worth a visit so I drove there first thing in the morning.
Goliad Market Days
Goliad is also well-known for its market days, but unfortunately I arrived on the wrong day so I missed it. In case you want to be kept up-to-date on market events, follow their Facebook page here. If you cannot be bothered, here it is: the Goliad Market Days are every month on the second Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. featuring more than 170 booths and vendors.
Goliad Market Days is an open air market which combines an arts and crafts fair, farmers market and community festival.
“Market Days aim to relive Goliad’s traditional role as a crossroads for commerce, beginning with the 1700s’ Spanish-colonial trade from Mexico to Nacogdoches.”
The tradition continued throughout the 19th century, as travellers included Goliad on the routes for oxcarts, freight wagons, and stagecoaches. Today, Goliad Market Days is one of the largest and most popular street markets in South Texas.
Arriving in Goliad from Houston and Galveston
I woke up to a truck driving past and the sun rising on the horizon so I got myself ready and set off for Goliad, which is an old Presidio. Goliad is basically a small town between the Gulf coast and San Antonio where most people live off agriculture. I drove from Houston to Goliad in two days as I wanted to visit Galveston on the way.
This post is part of a series about the Road Trip Around Texas
For me the main interest was to find out more about the independence movement as it really surprised me when I found out that Texas used to be an independent state! Once I found out about this, I made sure to go to as many historic places as I could during my visit.
Goliad Presidio Massacre Texas
On October 9, 1835, in the early days of the Texas Revolution, a group of Texans attacked the presidio in the Battle of Goliad. The Mexican garrison quickly surrendered, leaving the Texans in control of the fort. The revolutionaries signed the first declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas here on December 20, 1835.
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The Texans held the area until March 1836, when their garrison under Colonel James Fannin surrendered at the nearby Battle of Coleto. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, then President of Mexico, executed all the survivors. On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836 all 303 soldiers that surrendered died in the Goliad Massacre – the historic name of the execution.
The presidio looks like any other Spanish building from the outside with massive stone walls. The bells rang every quarter hour and it smelt amazing with all the flowers blooming.
Goliad’s town centre was also very pretty but quite small. The court and the surrounding square are the only tourist attractions. I even witnessed a young chap going to court in chains.
The Goliad Hanging Square
The below images are of the hanging square where they used to hang the convicts. After the court hearing they would lead the people out to the tree and hang them up on the branches.
Sitting there I could imagine riding up from my farm on horseback to the post office or the store once a week. On the odd occasion I would even find one or two bad guys hanging from the tree.
I arrived in Goliad a bit too early so nothing was open, otherwise I would have stayed for breakfast at least. A bit further down the road I stopped at another presidio near the Fannin Monument. By then I was getting very hungry so I didn’t go inside and instead drove on to Kenedy.
Related: Scenic Drive Along TX Highway 170
The Kennedy Walmart
Kennedy is a small town at the junction of seven major roads with only about 3,000 residents, yet there are a myriad of shops, malls and hotels. I imagine it’s because all those roads meet there. The strip malls basically line both sides of the roads, one shopping mall after the other. I wonder how many hundreds of acres of land they covered over with concrete. I took this photo below at the local Walmart, open 24/7 near a Best Western, Holiday Inn, Courtyard, a massive McDonalds and a dozen other shops. Of course the car park was full of pick-up trucks as if no other vehicle can tackle the wide and paved roads of Texas.
Interesting: The Grapevine Trail in Big Bend National Park
Visiting a Walmart is a recurring theme in my US trips. Not only it is the cheapest option but I also have a small connection to it. I studied at the University of Missouri in Columbia and the founders of Walmart also live in Columbia. So I normally stop at Walmart to reminisce. I checked out some tents in store in planning for my trip to the Big Bend National Park. In the end I decided I would wait until later in case I ended up not going to the park. Instead of a tent, I bought a pillow at the Walmart and had a snooze in their car park. When I woke up I had some Buc-ee’s beef jerky and beaver nuggets for lunch then I drove off.