Library resumes Plum Creek Symposium


The Historic Dr. Eugene Clark Library will again host the Plum Creek Symposium on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 9 a.m.-noon. This focus on Texas history resumes after a two-year hiatus, this becoming the fifth in the series.

Held in the Library’s Lyceum, symposiumpresenters will include Lockhart’s Donaly Brice and Fletcher Clark, and Bastrop’s Ken Kesselus. After a brief greeting and introduction, there will be two presentations (with a short break), concluding at noon. No advance registration is required and the public is welcome. A suggested donation of $15 will support an honorarium for the presenters.

Ken Kesselus begins the morning with a panoramic overview of the life and career of Col. Edward Burleson. This early Texas soldier and statesman is remembered for his part in the Siege of Bexar, the Battle of San Jacinto, the Battle of Plum Creek, the Mexican American War, and as Senator of the Republic of Texas. Kesselus is an author, historian, retired Episcopal priest, and former mayor of Bastrop. He is vastly knowledgeable in Texas history and passionate in his sharing thereof.

Arguably the most significant historical event in Lockhart and Caldwell County was the 1840 Battle of Plum Creek. Brice’s first book, “The Great Comanche Raid,” is considered the definitive work on this last great move by this most powerful tribe against the inexorable advance of white civilization. Joined by his songwriter colleague Fletcher Clark, they will recount the tale of the Great Comanche Raid and the conclusive Battle of Plum Creek near Lockhart on Aug. 12, 1840. Comanches would never again pose a significant threat to the growing population of Central Texas settlers in the new Republic of Texas, and this would mark the beginning of their fading as a civilization.

Brice, Senior Reference Archivist emeritus for the Texas State Library, has written/co-written five books on Texas history and a number of historical articles. He is a founder and continuing member of the Caldwell County Historical Commission. Having earned his BS from Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University) and his MA from Sam Houston State University, he is a Fellow of the East Texas and Texas State Historical Associations, and is also member of the West Texas, Central Texas, and Southern Historical Associations. Together with Clark, they regularly make presentations of two programs of Texas history, SONGS OF SUSANNA and RUNAWAY SCRAPE. It was at Brice’s instigation that the Plum Creek Symposium began in Lockhart in 2016.

Clark had answered a 2013 commission to write his epic ballad on the life of ‘Messenger of the Alamo’ Susanna Dickinson, “There Must Be a Good Man in Texas.” This was followed by several additional commissions to write songs and verse for the Gonzales Historical Commission and the Gonzales Crystal Theatre. “Donaly has been my mentor and source for what has become an intense interest in early Texas history,” Clark said. “This led to joining my performance style with his scholasticism in creating our programs. For a third program, it has long been my ambition to create song and verse to complement Donaly’s seminal work on the Great Comanche Raid, rendered here in the imagined historical retrospectives of two youths – a white girl and a Comanche boy.”

This fifth Plum Creek Symposium is presented at Lockhart’s historic Dr. Eugene Clark Library Lyceum (the oldest continually operating library building in Texas) by its highly successful monthly series Evenings with the Songwriter, and through the efforts of Library Director Bertha Martinez and her staff.

“Our previous Symposia have attracted scores of enthusiastic followers, many traveling a great distance to nourish their hunger for Texas history,” Clark said. “It is a pleasure to resume the series.” Devotees gather on the Plum Creek Symposium Facebook page.


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