Phil Collins Delivers
Alamo relics returned to Texas
SAN ANTONIO — The fringed leather pouch David Crockett carried his musket balls in the day he fell at the Alamo probably started out its life in a Creek Indian village in Tennessee. Its trip to Texas with Crockett in 1836 was just the start of a journey that would eventually land it in Switzerland, in the home of British pop legend Phil Collins.
Crockett's pouch returned to the Alamo shortly after 10 a.m. on Oct. 28, along with Collins and the rest of what is widely considered to be the biggest and best collection of Alamo artifacts ever assembled. The Collins Collection was unloaded from a truck in crates, which were temporarily placed in the adjacent Gallagher House, under the direction of Collins and Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, steward of the Alamo.
Collins' Alamo collection includes invaluable artifacts like Jim Bowie's legendary knife, and one of only four remaining rifles owned by Crockett. There are letters from William B. Travis and many other historical documents that shed insight on early Texas history.
Like many Alamo artifacts, the story of Crockett's pouch is not entirely clear. Some say Crockett gave the prized possession to a Mexican officer. Some suspect it was looted from Crockett's corpse.
But its return will bring its own story full-circle. The pouch, when found, held Crockett's last remaining musket balls and two tortillas, long gone. After the battle, somehow, the bag found itself in the possession of Mexican Col. Jose Enrique de la Peña. When Peña died, it was documented along with the rest of his belongings.
"Texans are deeply indebted to Phil Collins," Patterson said. "Now these Texas treasures need a home where all can see them and study from them and learn about how Texans won our liberty."
Patterson, as chairman of the Alamo Endowment, is leading the effort to build that permanent home for the Collins Collection. The private collection was popularized in Collins' 384-page book, “The Alamo and Beyond” in 2012. Patterson said Collins' decision was swayed by the Texas General Land Office being granted authority over the 300-year-old former mission in 2011. Patterson personally closed the deal that Land Office staff and Collins had been discussing for several months.
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