GOD & TEXAS: Is Egypt in Texas?
There was an unusual “burial” in Egypt, Texas, in the Spring of 1836. After the Alamo fell to Santa Anna, the Mexican army continued east on a mission to eradicate Sam Houston and the remnants of the Texan government. In panic, the settlers grabbed whatever they could carry and escaped toward the Louisiana border.
During what became known as the Runaway Scrape, the towns of Gonzales and San Felipe were burned to the ground so they would not fall into the hands of the enemy. Likewise, and with great sorrow, many of the settlers demolished their own homes as they fled.
Previously in 1830, William Jones Elliot Heard purchased 2,000 acres on the Colorado River from pioneer John C. Clark. The area was first called Mercer’s Crossing but was later named Egypt. Clark had found that the ground was fertile, and planted bountiful crops of grain.
In the Runaway Scrape, Heard placed his valuable items in an old trunk and buried it in a grave in the Heard-Northington Cemetery. On top of the freshly dug grave, Heard placed a sign that read, “Died from Yellow Fever.” Apparently, the Mexican army wanted nothing to do with that dreaded disease and left the grave untouched. To this day, descendants of Heard continue to cherish that old trunk as proof of the cunning of their revered ancestor.
Following the Texas Revolution, the town of Egypt revived and remains a small, but historical treasure in South Texas. But why did they change the name of the town from Mercer’s Crossing to Egypt? The name Egypt, reminds us of the Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and the Nile River. But other than the name Egypt, there is only one plausible comparison to the Middle Eastern Arab Republic of Egypt.
In 1827, the settlers known as the Old 300, experienced a severe drought. Crops failed and people were frantic for food. Word came that there was an abundance of grain near Mercer’s Crossing. Because many of the settlers were students of the Bible, they began to compare their trips to Mercer’s Crossing to the story in Genesis 42:1 (NKJV), “When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt he said ‘go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.’” Eventually, Mercer’s Crossing was called Egypt, and the name remains.
Throughout, Texas, you will find dozens of towns with Biblical names including Bethel, Bethlehem, Goshen, Jonah, Joppa, Nineveh, Salem, and Eden. This is proof again that God and the Bible served as a basis for the faith of many early Texans. They knew that the Word was powerful, and they desired the favor of God on their endeavors. May we not forget that these truths remain true today. Respect for God and His Word will bring His Divine favor.
May we remember the words of Republic of Texas President Sam Houston who said, “I humble myself before God, and there the list ends."
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