Archer Brother Trivia
All of the Archer brothers (and more of the family) are named for heroes from the Alamo.
- Travis – for Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis, the highest ranking officer, and therefore, commander at the Alamo when Santa Anna and the Mexican army attacked.
- Crockett - for the famous frontiersman, David "Davy" Crockett. When Crockett's body was found in the Alamo barracks, he was surrounded by no less than 16 Mexican corpses with his knife buried in one of the fallen soldiers.
- Bowie (Jim)– for James Bowie (pronounced Boo-ee). Bowie served as the commander of the volunteers at the Alamo while Travis commanded the regular troops. He is well known for the large knife he carried, and Bowie "Jim" Archer got his start in carpentry by whittling a replica of this long-bladed weapon.
- Neill – for Lieutenant Colonel James C. Neill. Neill had been the commander of the Alamo Mission but turned over leadership of the garrison to William Travis in order to tend his gravely ill family. He was heading back to the Alamo with medical supplies on the day the fort fell.
- Susanna Archer – for Susanna Dickerson, one of only two survivors of the Alamo siege. Susanna was the matriarch of the Archer clan and a Texas patriot. She died due to complications from childbirth when Neill was born.
- Bexar – Travis's horse. The chestnut gelding was named after San Antonio de Bexar, the settlement that was home to the Alamo at the time of the revolution. Today we know it better as San Antonio, but the county it resides in is still known as Bexar.
If you have trouble keeping the Archer brothers and their respective ages straight, here's list of their ages when they are introduced in Short-Straw Bride.
- Travis – 29
- Crockett – 25
- Jim – 23
- Neill - 17
Years between stories – Short-Straw Bride takes place in 1882. Stealing the Preacher in 1885. And Neill's story in A Cowboy Unmatched takes place 11 years after the first novel, in 1893. Had to give the boy time to grow up, after all.
In the time period that Short-Straw Bride was set, lumber was one of the largest industries in Texas. Above both cotton and cattle. Hard to believe, isn't it? I was stunned to learn this tidbit during my research. In my area of Texas, we have hardly any trees at all. To think there were pine forests thick enough to draw lumber barons. Amazing!
Short-Straw Bride, the first in the Archer Brothers series, was loosely inspired by the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. One of my favorite musicals of all time!