A Famous Captor
At any given time the largest population of Round Top , Texas has been 350 people. So, it is amazing that so many people from this small town were so influential in shaping Texas history. One of the most famous men was Joel Robinson. Joel was born in Washington County, Georgia. In 1933 the family moved to Fayette County, Texas. He moved with his father John, mother, Emily and his sister. He had fought with his father in the battle of Velasco, the Grass Fight, Siege of Bexar and he, along with his father was at the battle of San Jancito. The battle at San Jacinto happened on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna was not one of the prisoners taken that day. He was captured the next day when a group of men were sent out to look for the enemy fugitives. The following is Joel Robinson testimony of the capture of Santa Anna in his own words.
"I was one of a detachment of thirty or forty men commanded by Colonel Burleson, which left the encampment of the Texas army at sunrise of the morning after the Battle of San Jacinto, to pursue the fugitive enemy. Most of us were mounted on horses captured from the Mexicans. We picked up two or three cringing wretches before we reached Vince's bayou, eight or nine miles from our camp. Colonel Burleson gave them a few lines in pencil stating that they had been made prisoners by him, and sent them back to our camp without a guard. Colonel Burleson with the greater part of our detachment went up Vince's Bayou but six of us, to wit, Sylvester, Miles, Vermillion, Thompson, another man whose name I have forgotten, and myself, proceeded a short distance farther down the bayou, but not finding any Mexicans, turned our course toward camp. About two miles east of Vince's Bayou, the road leading from the bridge to the battleground crossed a ravine a short distance below its source. As we approached this ravine we discovered a man standing in the prairie near one of the groves. He was dressed in citizen's clothing, a blue cottonade frock coat and pantaloons. I was the only one of our party who spoke any Spanish. I asked the prisoner various questions, which he answered readily. In reply to the question whether he knew where Santa Anna and Cos were, he said he presumed they had gone to the Brazos. He said he was not aware that there were any of his countrymen concealed near him, but said there might be in the thicket along the ravine. Miles mounted the prisoner on his horse and walked as far as the road, about a mile. Here he ordered the prisoner to dismount, which he did with great reluctance. He walked slowly and apparently with pain. Miles, who was a rough, reckless fellow, was carrying a Mexican lance, which he had picked up during the morning. With this weapon he occasionally slightly pricked the prisoner to quicken his pace, which sometimes amounted to a trot. At length he stopped and begged permission to ride saying that he belonged to the cavalry and was unaccustomed to walking. We paused and deliberated as to what should be done with him. I asked him if he would go on to our army if left to travel at his leisure. He replied that he would. Miles insisted that the prisoner should be left behind, but said that if he were left, he would kill him. At length my compassion for the prisoner moved me to mount him behind me. I also took charge of his bundle. He was disposed to converse as we rode along; asked me many questions, the first of which was, 'Did General Houston command in person in the action of yesterday?' He also asked how many prisoners we had taken and what we were going to do with them. When, in answer to an inquiry, I informed him that the Texian force in the battle of the preceding day was less than eight hundred men, he said I was surely mistaken, that our force was certainly much greater. In turn, I plied the prisoner with divers questions. I remember asking him why he came to Texas to fight against us, to which he replied that he was a private soldier, and was bound to obey his officers. I asked him if he had a family. He replied in the affirmative, but when I inquired, 'Do you expect to see them again?' his only answer was a shrug of the shoulders. We rode to that part of our camp where the prisoners were kept, in order to deliver our trooper to the guard. What was our astonishment, as we approached the guard, to hear the prisoners exclaiming, 'El Presidente! El Presidente!' (The President, The President) by which we were made aware that we had unwittingly captured the 'Napoleon of the West.' The news spread almost instantaneously through our camp, and we had scarcely dismounted ere we were surrounded by an excited crowd. Some of our officers immediately took charge of the illustrious captive and conducted him to the tent of General Houston."
[From Dixon, Sam Houston and Kemp, Louis Wiltz. The Heroes of San Jacinto. The Anson Jones Press, Houston, TX, 1932]
Santa Anna was so greatful for the ride back to camp that he gave Joel Robinsons his gold braided vest. The braided vest was worn by the young men of Round Top on their wedding day. It was last seen at West Point with only one gold button remaining.
Clues: This box is hidden at Henkle Square in Round Top. Many house from the time period when Joel Robinson lived have been moved to these grounds. If you have time it is always fun to tour them and then have a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream that is available for purchase at the main building. Hwy 290 is the main hwy that connects Houston and Austin. About 20 miles west of Brenhan, head south on Hwy. 237. Drive about 8 miles to the town square. Turn left on Main St. Go one blk and the street will dead end at Henkle Square. On the right follow the split rail fence till it stops. Look inside and you will find the box.