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Huntsville celebrates Texas Independence, Sam Houston's birthday

(KBTX)
Published: Mar. 2, 2016 at 6:04 PM CST
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Happy Birthday, Texas.

Texans across the state are celebrating 180 years since declaring independence from Mexico.

News 3 was in Huntsville for a Texas-sized celebration.

General Sam Houston's birthday also marks the birth of the state that was once a nation.

On Wednesday, hundreds gathered to celebrate Texas Independence Day including Houston's Great-Great Granddaughter, Nancy Burch.

"Of all the things he'll be remembered for, the greatest thing is his stance on preserving the union. On which he turned out to be right. Unfortunately, it ended his political career but he did the right thing," Burch said.

"Sam had a moral code that was very strong. I mean he was known for his principles that were very unyielding," said Denton Florian, Sam Houston Movie Executive Director.

There was Texas music and a 21 gun salute.

People were even baptized as Texans, including Timothy McCarthy who traces his roots to Ireland.

"Oh thank you sir. My people on the Emerald Isle thank you, too," he said.

As well as JoAnn and Jerry Miller.

"We decided it was the thing to do. We've been here for probably a little over 35 years and now we've got a grandson and two great grandsons born here in Texas," said Jerry Miller.

James D. Patton with the Walker County Historical Commission says the baptisms first started a few years ago as a joke.

"Sam Houston spring water is what we use now," he said.

Descendants of Sam Houston placed wreathes here at his gravesite. And for the last four to five years somebody's been bringing his favorite foods: a cup of coffee, sugar cookies and a plate of oysters.

Up the road in Riverside, Jimmie Brummett and her son were opening up the family fireworks stand.

"This is our first season doing it now for Independence Day. It's pretty cool, been kind of slow, but that's ok nobody really knows about it yet," she said.

Not far down the road, there was birthday cake for the Texas legend that still looms larger than life.

"We want everybody to come to Huntsville enjoy this day," said Mayor Andy Brauninger of Huntsville.

This is also the first year Walker County has legalized firework sales in honor of the state's birthday.

Celebrations are also happening Saturday at Washington-On-The-Brazos State Park and in Navasota.

Sam Houston would have turned 223 years old Wednesday.