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This is the initial annual report of the USAV.  Each year, reports and/or report summaries will appear in this publication, as will occasional reviews and other academic papers pertinent to the workings and projects of USAV.

1.  "Initial Observations on the Long Meadows Site"
2.  "Notes on Part of the State of Virginia:  Williasburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown"

"Initial Observations on the Long Meadows Site: Lamspasas Co., Texas"
Fall 2000-Sprig 2002
by Judd H. Burton, B.A.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, Texas was a long way from the English colonies.  New Spain was a world away for most people, but not for the Cox family.  According to the family history, one intrepid member of the family, Thomas Isaac Cox, used his connections with Berdardo de Galvez to procure mustangs from central Texas for use in the American Revolution.  Sound crazy?  Not as crazy as you might think.  Spain's support of the American Revolution is well-documented, and it was Spain who took over patrols in the Gulf of Mexico, to allow the French to lend a crucial hand at Yorktown.
  At any rate, Cox allegedly utilized an abandoned presidio/mission/ranch complex as a base of operations while in Texas (present-day Lampasas County).  The family history states that Father Alonso Giraldo de Terreros, who administrated the Mission Santa Cruz near present-day Menard, Texas, also bore responsibility for this undocumented mission and ranching effort.  The mission staff opted to abandon the location in 1756 due to constant threat from the Indians, most likely Comanche and Tonkawa.  Cox was familiar with the structure and used it to his advantage while making the necessary expeditions to Texas during the American Revolution.
  Cox and his family made several subsequent horse-hunting ventures to this region of Texas, which they called the Long Meadows.  Their exploits garnered each man great wealth and the location and horse-hunting remained part of family lore.  A descendant of Thomas Isaac Cox, one Pleasant Cox, would return to the area in the early 1800s and eventually, would become one of the founding members of Lampasas County.
  In the fall of 2000, Brandywine Crucible Inc. and the Gowen Research Foundation, two organizations connected with Cox family history research, called upon USAV to undertake an intensive project surveying the archaeology, ethnography, and history of the Long Meadows area.  Since January of 2001, working in time between graduate classes and jobs, USAV has been conducting archaeological survey, test excavations, ethnographic interviews, and genealogical and historical research in connection with the presence of the Cox family in the Long Meadows.  While our efforts have yet to turn up  conclusive Spanish Colonial artifacts, we have found valuable nineteenth century finds dating to the founding of the county and the late 1800s.  Currently, we are looking at an area enclosed by rocks which does conform to the irregular quadrangle configuration of Spanish presidios.  Given the proximity to established finds, such as Presidio San Saba in Menard, and the San Xavier Missions, the features are certainly thought-provoking.  The Long Meadows contains a myriad of interesting features including the remnants of the original Pleasant Cox homestead, several foundational remains, a possible waterworks, Archaic presence, and the feature that drew us there:  a stone fence encircling the huge acreage of the region (ranging from two to five feet in height).
  Research and fieldwork are ongoing, and this project will likely be years in the making.  Additional pedestrian surveys will constitute the remainder of Phase I.  We will need all manner of diagnostic artifacts to begin connecting dots.  A more thorough literatur review will also be necessary.  Lastly, ethnographic interviews with landowners, local residents familiar with the family stories, and potentially other scholars will be added to archaeological research methodologies.
  Initially, my team was larger, but because we are graduate students and due to other responsibilities, it became difficult for some members to effectively maintain their commitments.  Thanks to Lee Allen, Elizabeth Cooper, and Matt Steel for their initial assistance.  As our team changed for the 2001-2002 trips, personnel was comprised of myself, Judd H. Burton as primary investigator, Lee Allen, archaeologist, and Wesley Burton and Cliff Owen as archaeological technicians.  We made weekend tips once a month in Jan, Feb, Mar, and Apr of 2001-2002, in which we conducted pedestrian surveys, mapping, metal-detecting, literature searches, site registry, and a test excavation.


Subject: Virginia Expedition

Agent of Record: Judd H. Burton, B.A.

Expedition Date: 3-10 August 2003

Report Date: 15 August 2003


“Notes on Part of the State of Virginia: 

Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown”


Upon arriving in the lush eastern forest of Virginia, one is struck by how green and alive things are.  There is a vibrancy to the place, whether owing to the Powhattan and other Natives who used to live there, or the long colonial tradition, or the biosphere and population itself, I cannot say.  What I can say is that it was palpable.


Williamsburg is the quaintest of old quaint towns in America.  It was once the capitol of the Virginia colony, where the burgesses of the region met to discuss the state and future of their home.  The College of William and Mary—one of the oldest in the states—still calls the town home.  Though it is thoroughly modern, it is also purposefully stuck in the past.  A whole quarter of the city is devoted to the colonial period, and by walking into and through it, one effectively steps into the eighteenth century, into a bygone era where things were done by hand, English had a different cadence, and civil discourse seemed to carry more weight.


In the historic section of this town—which is effectively a walk-in living museum—one can observe and interact.  You are likely to see a blacksmith at work, shop keepers plying their trades, horse-drawn carriages, persons in tricorn hats and leggings, and buildings that looked now exactly as they did in the 1700s.  You can enter the house of burgesses, where Jefferson and Washington shared ideas and debated colonial politics.  The legacy of those men lives on, I tell you, in the very wood paneling on the walls, and the grandiose molding of the ceilings.  A stop at the local tavern promises a good ale—or rootbeer if you prefer—and the local fare, including roast chicken, fricasseed something-or-ther, and conch fritters, and corn, and grits, and….well it was all very, very good.  As you stroll pass the wooden fences of fields and farmhouses, and speak to people, you can put yourself in touch with that age.  If you can suspend judgment just long enough, you might even forget it’s the twenty-first century.


Jamestown, on the other hand, is quite a different experience than Williamsburg, though no less enlightening. Jamestown was the first successful British colony in North America, established in 1607 by Sir Walter Raleigh’s Virginia Company.  In the wake of the Roanoke failure, Britain deemed the colonial enterprise necessary in order to fill her empty coffers and catch up to Spain and France.  It was situated on the banks of the James River near the Chesapeake Bay, and  nearly failed the first winter, but the help of local Indians and addition of Capt. John Smith and a new crop of recruits willing to work ensured the colony’s success.  During the 17th century, it was the capitol of colonial Virginia.  The current reconstruction of the Jamestown village creates quite the picture—you walk directly into that world, with persons in period dress going about their daily work, be that farming, domestic chores, or, if native, hunting in the forest for game.  Moored in the bay is the Discovery, one of the vessels that brought this first British Colony.  Walking along the pickets and palisades to the square and churches gives one a sense of the complexity of the colony, that these were a people set on preserving their culture and religious beliefs in a wilderness far from what they knew.  From Jamestown, along with New England colonies, Britain began to make their own “New World” on the continent, and in doing so, laid the foundations for an entirely separate nation.


It was that separate American nation whose ultimate fate was decided on the beaches at Yorktown.  Yorktown today is somewhat austere in comparison to other historic sites in Virginia, but is no less hallowed for it.  This beach was the location that Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis, commander of British forces during the second half of the Revolutionary War, retreated upon his defeat at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina.  He had hoped to meet up with remaining British forces and the fleet, to not only make a hasty exit from these shores but also to save his reputation.  Unbeknownst to him, the militia and Continentals pursued him from the south, Gen. Anthony Wayne headed east, and Washington’s forces came from the north, all to trap him.  Cornwallis’ forces were cut off on the beach at Yorktown by the French fleet in October 1781, who bombarded the pinned British troops with canon fire.  Cornwallis was shamed and defeated, and sent a member of his staff to surrender his sword to the French (not Washington).  They directed him to General Washington, who returned the slight, insisting it be surrendered to one of his generals.  Some skirmishes ensued afterwards, but Yorktown was pivotal, and moved the country toward a recognized independence.  If you close your eyes, you can almost hear those canons.


If you are interested in American history, Virginia is an wonderful place to visit.  If you like museums, even moreso.  But, if you have dreamed of travelling back  in time to interact with people from a bygone era, Virginia is ideal.

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