Presidio La Bahia Assistant Director
GOLIAD – For many, the world of reenacting and living history is strange and mysterious and peopled with history nerds and “weirdos.”
While that stereotype is true to a certain degree (speaking as a living historian), most of those involved in this hobby are dedicated individuals with a deep interest in the rich and colorful history of our great state. These individuals strive to recreate the days of yore and hope to learn more about their
ancestors and historic heroes by recreating as closely as possible their day-to-day activities, all while dressed in the clothing they would have worn at the time.
Texas has such a rich history that it is often difficult for hobbyists to pick one particular era to recreate and, as a result of this, individuals will often times recreate numerous periods, usually with one as their personal favorite.
For many hobbyists in Texas, the Texas Revolution, or as it is more commonly known as today, the Texian War for Independence, is the period to reenact.
It is easy to understand why Texans would choose this particular period to recreate. We are indoctrinated in the mythos of the revolution at an early age, and any good Texan boy worth his salt knows who Crockett, Bowie and Travis are, and most can tell you that Ruiz and Navarro signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and that Juan Seguin fought at San Jacinto. This is part of our genetic makeup as Texans.
It is only natural then that we want to try and recreate and relive those exciting moments in such a formative period of our state’s far reaching history.
David Vickers is one of those hobbyists who chose to reenact the Texian War of Independence. Vickers is currently teaching seventh-grade Texas history at Moreno Middle School in Beeville. His love for history and teaching history has won him the coveted Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 2011 History Teacher of the Year award.
Over the years, Vickers has worked on various History Channel productions related to the Texas’ independence and has helped create a teacher’s guide for schools visiting the Presidio La Bahia.
Driven by an interest in experiencing the daily life of 19th century Texians, Vickers, like many others, entered the world of reenacting. Some hobbyists like to participate in strictly educational programs held primarily for school-aged children while others, like Vickers, are also interested in going out and experiencing a little of the day-to-day hardships that the Texians and Tejanos of the early to mid-19th century would have been familiar with.
A good weekend for reenactors with this mindset might be saddling up a trusty horse, gearing up to live out of the saddle for a few days and riding out into the brush country of South Texas portraying a ranger or Texian scout.
While Vickers has portrayed different time periods over the last 25 years, ranging from Spanish Colonial to the 1930s Depression Era, he has always come back to revolutionary Texas. After attending the Goliad Massacre reenactment for about five years as a participant, Vickers was asked to help organize and run the event and, for the last 18 years, he has served in that capacity. During that time, he has also been an active member of Crossroads of Texas Living History Association, an organization founded in Victoria in the early 1980s with membership from all across the state.
Vickers and COTLHA have actively worked to make the Goliad Massacre a fair balance between an educational and entertaining event for both visitors and participants alike. The work that individuals like Vickers and others have put into the event was recently awarded by another history driven organization, the Texas Living History Association. The TLHA presented COTLHA with their 2013 Exemplary Event Award for establishing an outstanding living history event in Texas.
While Vickers isn’t looking to retire from the hobby anytime soon, he has taken time off from the 1830s to pursue a renewed interest in the 1860s and the American Civil War. Like many other reenactors, Vickers and his wife and daughters pack down the truck and at least once a year make the long trip cross country to a major Civil War event back east. With the cycle of 150th anniversary events winding down, there is no telling what period will catch Vickers’ interest next, but it’s a safe bet he will be seen at the Presidio La Bahia for the annual Goliad Massacre for many years to come.
Reenactors and living historians on the surface may seem different than your average Texan, but when you get to know them, you’ll find that they are everyday folks who have an intense interest in the history of Texas and look forward to sharing it with anyone who will stand still long enough to get a conversation started.