Alamo Treasure and Joe the Slave

Joe the Slave

The pivotal actor in Come and Take ItJoe the slave—is not a fictional character. With few exceptions, most historians agree that Joe was the sole male survivor of the Alamo. Joe’s story has been largely untold for the last 170 years but this past March a remarkably thorough accounting of his life was published in the book Joe, the Slave Who Became an Alamo Legend. This incredibly detailed work by Ron J. Jackson and Lee Spencer White pieces Joe’s story together through plantation ledgers, journals, memoirs, slave narratives, ship logs, newspapers, letters, and court documents. But even then, the mystery surrounding Joe’s life leaves much to the imagination.

Treasure of the Alamo

The intersection of Joe’s life with those of the heroes of the Alamo created the seed for Come and Take It. Questions flow from this epic period of Texas history. What if Joe had escaped the massacre at the Alamo with a secret? One that was known to only one other man in the besieged Spanish mission – the renowned adventurer Jim Bowie. Coupling Joe’s escape from the Alamo with the many tales of Bowie’s treasure hunting in the Red Hills near San Antonio created a delicious backdrop for this novel. One that created a unique way to tell the well-known story of the famous battle, but with a distinct twist. A twist that hinges on a secret that’s remained bottled up and hidden for the over 170 years since Santa Anna’s attack.

Where biographers see roadblocks and dead-ends with historical characters, novelists see opportunity. If Jim Bowie really did find a treasure in the Indian lands of Texas, what did he do with it? If Joe the slave was spotted in Brewton, AL late in his life, what was he doing there? Did a pirate at the port of New Orleans actually procure a treasure map pointing to the Alamo? Come and Take It answers these and many more questions about these wonderful characters from history. And each revelation, while admittedly speculative in nature, is built on a foundation of evidence left behind from the period. Who’s to say Come and Take It doesn’t tell the story exactly how it happened?