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More important than the Alamo? (Video)

By JR Ortega
March 12, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2013 at 10:12 p.m.

Jesus Ramon IV, 22, mounts his horse for a scene during the filming of "Texas Before the Alamo" at Garcitas Creek off Farm-to-Market Road 616. He was playing the part of  Diego Ramon, son of Domingo Ramon.

IF YOU GO

The "Texas Before the Alamo" was set to premiere at the Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival on April 6, but had to postpone for additional scenes.

The premiere is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. May 4 at the Austin Mexican-American Cultural Center, 600 River St., Austin.

It is free, but to reserve a seat, call 512-974-3772.

A Victoria showing is in the planning stages.

PLACEDO - Jesus Ramon IV stands framed between lush, riparian trees, gawking at the picturesque scene below.

This private land off Farm-to-Market Road 616 looks untouched and undiscovered, and Ramon, 22, likes the idea of that.

He squints in reaction to the sun and wind, his eyes following the winding Garcitas Creek that holds back hundreds of acres of grassland.

This is what one of his ancestors saw about 300 years ago. On Tuesday, Ramon was able to see it through his own eyes.

"Not many people get to know what their ancestors did," Ramon said, as he rode in the back of a truck heading toward the historic spot.

The site is one of the final scenes for Bill Millet's PBS documentary "Texas Before the Alamo," a film chronicling the journey of Diego and Domingo Ramon, the father and son who helped shape Texas into what is today.

"We're in the most important historical site in the state of Texas," Millet said between shots. "Most people think it's the Alamo because it's the most popular and well known."

Also Tuesday, the crew filmed extra scenes in Goliad.

The Placedo area site, which is on land owned by Betty Keeran, with First Victoria as its trustee, was where Robert La Salle built the first French and European settlement in what became Texas in the late 1600s. When the Spanish learned of the settlement, they headed toward the settlement, which was called Fort St. Louis.

The Spanish came face-to-face with a desolate land and found three people dead near a tree, which is where Millet shot most of his scenes Tuesday.

The other settlers were killed by Karankawa Indians and thrown into the creek, except those three.

Years later, in the early 1700s, word spread that the French planned to head back to the site, and that's when Domingo Ramon was sent from San Antonio to build the La Presidio La Bahia Del Espiritu Santo mission. Domingo Ramon was the son of Diego Ramon, who helped establish Mission San Francisco Solano near the Rio Grande, which was later moved to San Antonio and renamed the Alamo.

The presidio at Garcitas Creek was moved to Victoria, Mission Valley and eventually Goliad, after Domingo Ramon died during a Karankawa Indian attack.

The history is lengthy and at times confusing, but it is one that's powerful, said Jesus Ramon IV.

"I didn't know about my own history until several years ago," he said. "I knew we were Spanish descendants, but I didn't know all of this."

Jesus Ramon IV, played the part of Diego Ramon, Domingo's son, not Domingo's father.

The actor's father, Jesus Ramon III, played the part of Domingo.

The two acted out the scene where they arrived at the land to talk with Franciscan friars about establishing the presidio.

Jesus Ramon III took some alone time before going on camera to enjoy the silence with his father, former Mexican Senator Jesus Ramon Jr.

The three generations of Ramons are from the Mexican state of Coahuila.

"It's an honor to be representing one of your ancestors," Ramon III said. "It makes you feel like they were kind of tough guys."

His father, though not in the film, felt the same way.

"We're very emotional about putting this documentary together," he said. "I'm trying to transport myself to what they saw, right here, at the same place."

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