The History of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Texans

Texas-history Mar 17, 2020

Saint Patrick. The patron saint of Ireland and the man who may have actually been two people: Patricius and Patrick the Briton. Patricius was born in Britain, supposedly around AD 390, and died in 462 on March 17 (Patrick the Briton died in 492). For argument’s sake, we’ll stick with Patricius.

At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and consequently spent six years in captivity tending sheep. When he escaped, he said it was the voice of God that told him it was time to leave Ireland. But he would soon return to Ireland to preach the Christian message.

For more than a thousand years, there have been St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland. The first recorded celebration on our continent took place March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony now known as Saint Augustine in Florida. The first New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1772 and has taken place every year since, and now there are thousands of celebrations across the country every March 17.

What About Those Irish Texans?

Due to the centuries of severe treatment at the hands of the British, many Irishmen fled their country for the safe haven of America. In the 1700’s and 1800’s, many began to usher into what would soon be known as the greatest state in the Union: Texas.

From 1767 to 1770, a Dublin man by the name of Hugh O’Connor became Spanish governor of Texas. There were numerous Irish-natives in Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred. In the late 1820’s, two Spanish colonies — San Patricio Colony and Refugio Colony — were settled by the Irish. Shortly thereafter, the rise of Santa Anna led to the Texas revolt and the Battle of the Alamo. In this most famous Texas battle, 12 Irish-born settlers were killed along with 14 others who were apparent Irish descendants. Approximately 100 Irish soldiers fought in what is the most important Texas battle for independence — the Battle of San Jacinto.

Many Irish were part of the US Army that fought in the Mexican-American War, which took place about a decade after Texas won its independence in 1836.

St. Patrick’s Day Not So Lucky This 2020

The coronavirus has put much of the world on hold, which has included St. Patrick’s Day parades and city celebrations. From Houston to New York City to Dublin, the parades have been cancelled or postponed. But that doesn’t mean this March 17 you shouldn’t wear green.

Here in America and especially in Texas, we owe a little too much to the memories of St. Patrick and the brave Irish settlers and soldiers to let the day go by without fanfare. So go celebrate!

From all of us at Tippit Dental Group, we wish you a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Tippit Dental Group

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