Angelina Eberly

633 Congress Ave Austin

Austin History Center
Written By Austin History Center

The Austin History Center's mission is to procure, preserve, present and provide the historical records that make up Austin's unique story.

austin -- 1842

Angelina Eberly earned her spot on Congress Avenue. She played a significant role in Texas history and is the reason Austin is the capital of Texas. No wonder locals and tourists alike love to pose with her!

Twice a widow, Eberly was an expert in loss. She ran an inn all by her lonesome, having already lost her previous inn to Mexican forces during the Texas Revolution (when Texas declared independence from Mexico), and the Texas Revolution was still ongoing. 

San Antonio, Goliad, and Victoria had already fallen. Now, the Mexican forces were advancing on Austin and locals were getting scared. And angry. And awaiting a plan from the new president of Texas, Sam Houston, who seemed much more concerned for his namesake city of Houston than for Austin -- even though Austin had been proclaimed the young country's new capital. 

Sam Houston did send men to Austin, but not to protect it. He'd ordered three wagon loads of archives taken from Austin's capitol building to Houston. What he was actually ordering was to relocate the capital to Houston, a call that could leave Austin in dire straights. 

what can one woman do?

Eberly heard Houston's men sneaking about across from her hotel. In this time of war, when many men had vanished from the community due to the war effort, a lone woman would have to make the difference. But how to raise the alarm?

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 Angelina Eberly fired a six-pound cannon (the projectile weighed six pounds and the cannon more than 1,000 pounds) across the escaping wagons' path and into the General Land Office Building, alerting everyone around that Austin’s symbols of national governance -- its archives -- were about to leave town. 

Austin awoke. And Houston's men found themselves staring down the maw of a canon. 

Eberly and a group of vigilantes took back the Austin archives, holding the thieves at gunpoint just past Brushy Creek in Williamson County. The event is now referred to as the "Archive War."

One hundred and seventy-five years later, Eberly still stands guard over Austin, and Austin is still the capital of Texas.

Cover photo credit basiliobriceno via Instagram.

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