Detail of a mural in the museum at Gonzales, Texas. Photograph by J. Williams (Jul. 6, 2003).
"The Reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence" Charles and Fanny Norman, Star of the Republic Museum, Washington, Texas
It was during this time that the term “maverick” came into use. Sam had accepted some cattle in payment for debts. He was not really a rancher but he ran these cattle on his lands. He let the cattle roam free on the open grasslands where most were unbranded until others branded them. It wasn’t long before Cowboys and others began referring to any stray, unbranded cows as mavericks. In addition, his friends used the term to refer to his independent, free-thinking stance. This mantle came to be used on others who seemed to have Sam Maverick’s traits which included reluctance to go along with the crowd, a stance of dissent from the dictates of larger group or causes, and a passionate sense of independence.
Maverick, being maverick, opposed succession but seeing that he was once again outnumbered, he relented and supported the Confederate cause. During the war he served on the Texas Succession Convention and as the Chief Justice of Bexar County. After the Civil War he was pardoned and worked against the radical Republican regime of Reconstruction. His health began to decline during these years and he passed away in 1870 after a brief illness. The term maverick has a real connection to the American West and frontier and the people who lived there. Sam Maverick stands tall as an enduring symbol of freedom, independence, and fearless belief in standing for what one believes in.
Sources used to write this blog:
Marks, Paula Mitchell. “Samuel Augustus Maverick.” The Handbook of Texas Online. August 23, 2007: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fma84.html
Andrew Gill: “Bexar County Judge Samuel Augustus Maverick.”