Hawkins Squadron Meeting, March 10: The 1816 Filibusters Map of Galveston

Friends and Colleagues:

Please join us next Thursday, March 10,in the meeting room at the TAMUG Student Center for the next Charles E. Hawkins Squadron meeting. Dining will begin at 1800, with our program at 1900. Dinner can be purchased in the Captain’s Landing dining facility adjacent for about$10, all-inclusive. Full details on location, dinner, and parking will follow soon.

Our guest speaker will be Adm. Tom Oertling, who will discuss a rare and unusual document in the history of Galveston and Texas. It’s a map of Galveston Bay in the map collection at Rosenberg Library, but originating from the Mexican National Archives, that sheds interesting light on the pre-Texas Revolution of the ‘filibuster’ period. The map, in Spanish, gives details of a military nature of the area around the Bay, that are revealed in translations by Dorothy McDonald Karilanovic and Jeff Modzelewski of the Jean Laffite Society in Galveston. Analysis of the comments on the map can lead us to answer questions about the map, such as why it was made, who made it, and who may have used it. The map may also reveal an influence on later Texas history.

Mr. Oertling recently retired, in December2019, as an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Maritime Studies Program/Liberal Studies Department at Texas A&M University at Galveston. He taught courses in Archaeology, Maritime History and Maritime Culture there since 2000. He received a B.S. from Tulane University in Anthropology in 1977and an M.A. in Anthropology from the Nautical Archaeology Program/Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University in College Station in 1984, and has been active in the field of archaeology since 1977. He has worked on projects involving 16th Century Spanish ships; the excavation of the Denbigh, a Civil War blockade-runner at the entrance to Galveston Bay; has been involved in the search for the TN Schooner Invincible since 1986, and has participated on projects in the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada, Spain, and Turkey. Mr. Oertling has published numerous articles and presented papers on Maritime Archaeology from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. He is the author of Ships’ Bilge Pumps: A History of Their Development, 1500-1900, published in 1996 by Texas A&M University Press. He became an admiral in the Texas Navy in 2009.

The Texas Navy Association is a private, 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting the historical legacy of the naval forces of the Republic of Texas, 1835-46. The mission of the Texas Navy Association is to preserve and promote an appreciation of the historic character and heroic acts of the Texas Navy; to promote travel by visitors to historical sites and areas in which the Texas Navy operated; to conduct, in the broadest sense, a public relations campaign to create a responsible and accurate image of Texas; and to encourage Texas communities, organizations, and individuals, as well as governmental entities, to participate with actions and money, in pursuit of these goals. Membership in the Texas Navy Association is open to all persons age16 and over who have an interest in Texas history and want to help support the goals of the organization.

Tom Oertling photo courtesy Adm. Gordon Blocker.