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Board Member of the Month
Learn more Cyndee Smith, President of the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association
Why did you join the Association board? When I purchased land in Washington County in 2000, I thought my address would be Chappell Hill (which has its own notoriety, of course). When the address was “Washington”, I had no idea such a place existed! After living on the land where the first settlers began their new lives almost 200 years ago, it did not take long for me to become obsessed with reading historical novels about their struggle to survive here. The more I read about the hardships they endured to start a new life in this vast wilderness, it hit me like a ton of bricks the reason Texans were, and still are, so fiercely independent. Having been blessed to live just a few miles from the actual place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, I just felt a calling to help preserve the story of Washington on the Brazos. After all, I was now the steward of land that had been owned by one of the first settlers, William Devers.
Why is preserving history important? Particularly, the history of Washington on the Brazos. Texans are fiercely proud and independent today. Without a doubt, this must be attributed to the hardships and the bravery that the early settlers exhibited so they could survive and thrive in the area that was to become Texas. Future generations must know the story of the struggle so they will understand the reason Texas is a special place. Since Texas was its own country, we will always be unique in America. The brave 59 signers of the Declaration put their lives at risk to make it happen. If we, and future generations, do not continue to tell the story, we could easily lose that independent spirit.
Do you have any ancestors that were involved in the Texas Revolution? If so, in what capacity? My grandfather came from Poland to start a new life in America. My parents came to Texas to start a new life. Consequently, I am a first generation Texan but I grew up with that special feeling of being “Texan” without truly understanding the reasons. The more I learned about Texas, the more I understood. When travelling overseas when someone asks where I am from my reply is always “Texas!”. People around the world are fascinated with Texas.
What is something you wish more people knew about Washington on the Brazos? The 59 men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence were willing to die for freedom. Think how brave they must have been. Inside a tiny, humble, wooden building the great Nation of Texas was born. This action eventually changed the face of the entire United States of America. Had it not been for the establishment of a government at WOB, all the lives lost in the battles for independence, including the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto, would been wasted. The fabulous interpreters at WOB take you back to a time in history that you will not experience anywhere else.