Come and Take It, I Guess

Residents of Gonzales, birthplace of the famed “Come and Take It” flag, say they can’t do much to control other people’s use of their hometown’s banner.

By Alexandra HartOctober 4, 2016 12:26 pm| ,

It’s a symbol of Texas Independence nearly as iconic as the Alamo itself – the Gonzales flag. Or if that doesn’t ring a bell, the “come and take it” flag.

That battle cry and its accompanying skirmish marked the start of the Texas Revolution, moments of history long held dear by the people of Gonzales, Texas.

But over the years, the flag has taken on different meanings, co-opted by groups to fit their own agenda – perhaps the most visible being gun rights activists.

Erik McCowan, a journalist for the Gonzales Inquirer, says town residents are pleased to be home to the flag, putting it up businesses, front porches and vehicles.

“For Gonzales, it is definitely a point of pride in history,” McCowan says. “It’s a show of defiance from when times were beyond simpler, when things were decided on a battlefield, or in this instance a river plain, when two factions got together.”

In 1835, residents fashioned a white flag out of a wedding dress and drew a cannon and the words “come and take it” above it during a conflict on the Guadalupe River. A garrison of Mexican soldiers came to the river to reclaim a cannon they had loaned Gonzales residents. Town residents met them there.

“They weren’t so keen on giving it up just yet, and raised their white flag and said, If you want it, you can come and take it,” McCowan says.

The two sides exchanged vollies – the supposed first shots of Texas independence. After the battle, the cannon was lost for many years, but local legend has it that young boys found it when they were crossing a creek in town.

“They tripped over a piece of metal and after unearthing it, found out that it was a cannon,” McCowan says. “After research, found out it was THE cannon.”

Since the flag’s inception, it has spread across Texas and the United States, taking on symbolism beyond its original meaning.

“People now have taken it as a sign of defiance in many other things in life and have run with it,” he says.

McCowan says there’s not much Gonzales residents or lawmakers can do to keep other people from co-opting the flag.

“It’s a hard thing, if you haven’t copyrighted it from the start and gotten ahold of it,” he says, “it’s now open-sourced, basically, the flag. I think people feel it’s out of their hands.”

Post by Sunny Sone.