Carved coconut of the Brutus
Representing the Texas Navy
This carved coconut was made by a Republic of Texas sailor aboard the Brutus, one of four ships in the Republic of Texas Navy in 1836. The coconut has three carvings: a depiction of the Brutus, a commemoration of the Battle of San Jacinto, and an allegory of the Texas lone star with crossed flags and a drum.
The Texas Navy was established in November 1835 amid calls for independence. Its first four ships — the Liberty, Invincible, Independence, and Brutus — helped Texas win independence from Mexico by preventing a blockade of the Texas coast and by seizing Mexican supply ships.
The Brutus was a schooner that joined the Texas fleet in February 1836. The ship and its crew captured nearly a dozen Mexican ships of war during and after the Texas Revolution. The Brutus patrolled the Mexican Atlantic coast from Texas to Yucatan. In October 1837, the ship sank in a storm while stuck on a sandbar near Galveston. Elements of the Brutus were recovered in 1884, only to be lost and found several more times in the 20th century.
By late 1837, all of the original four Texas Navy ships had been sunk, captured, or sold. A second set of ships — the Zavala, San Jacinto, San Antonio, San Bernard, Wharton, Austin, and Archer — arrived in 1839 and 1840. This fleet defended the Texas coast until the summer of 1843 when a truce was signed with Mexico. Texas transferred its ships to the U.S. Navy in 1846.
Rosenberg Library, Galveston
Time Period: 1835 - 1844
This artifact is currently on view.