Yesterday evening, GoGamecocks.com reported that Texas A&M and South Carolina will begin exchanging a trophy after their new cross-division SEC conference football game beginning on August 28th.
The trophy will be named after James Butler Bonham, a native of Saluda County, South Carolina, who rode back into the Alamo to inform commander William Travis that no assistance would be coming for the Texan independence fighters. William Travis is also a Saluda County native.
The trophy's conception may have originated from Rick Perry, an A&M graduate and former yell leader, and Katon Dawson, former South Carolina Republican party boss who chaired Rick Perry's 2012 presidential run in South Carolina. The trophy is said to be a collaboration between Perry and current South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. Haley is a graduate of Clemson.
William Travis was also considered for the trophy, but carried too much "baggage" according to the GoGamecock.com article, after capturing runaway slaves and abandoning his wife. Bonham, on the other hand, was a less controversial figure as he was only a lawyer who "allegedly struck an opposing attorney who had insulted his client with a cane. Then he threatened to strike the judge who demanded he apologize." Totally less controversial and a total badass.
In general, I'm not in favor of any type of gimmick trophy exchange between a forced cross-divisional rivalry, especially if it is being contrived by politicians. However, when you model the trophy after a hero at the Alamo, I can't help but like it. It's Good Bull to recognize an often forgotten figure like Bonham.
Other James Bonham facts:
- Attended South Carolina College in 1824, which would later become the University of South Carolina. During his senior year he would lead a student protest against attendance regulations and the serving of poor food. He would later be expelled for this protest along with his entire senior class.
- Bonham was sentenced to ninety days for contempt of court for the caning of an attorney and threatening of a judge described above.
- Bonham brandished a sword and pistol during the Nullification Crisis of 1832, condemning Andrew Jackson and the Washington politicians, proving he was always Texan at heart.
- Bonham helped organize a company of militia cavalry called the Mobile Greys in Mobile, Alabama, to serve in Texas. The company reached San Felipe, Texas, in November 1835 and Bonham was commissioned a lieutenant.
- Bonham may have traveled to the Alamo with James Bowie, who arrived January 19th, 1836.
- Bonham was sent by William Travis to obtain aid for the Alamo on February 16th. He would visit James Fannin's forces at Goliad, Texas, who was unable to provide assistance.
- Bonham returned to the Alamo on March 3rd with a letter from Robert McAlpin Williamson, which assured William Travis help was on the way and to hold out against the Mexican forces.
- Bonham died in the Battle of the Alamo on March 6th. He is believed to have died manning a cannon in the interior of the Alamo chapel.