AUSTIN (KXAN) - One of the tallest peaks in Travis County might have fallen victim to an error in history. The namesake of Mount Bonnell now hinges on a court battle, pitting the state against some retired members of the military.
"All military men love high ground," said Sel Graham, as he and Stan Bacon admired the metal marker at the mountain's base.
The men are both members of the West Point Society. They recently brushed up on the landmark's past and did not like what they discovered.
"The marker here is wrong," Bacon said.
In the last week, their group filed a brief in the 3rd Court of Appeals, after a district judge dismissed a complaint earlier this year against the Texas Historical Commission. They argue that Mount Bonnell bears the wrong man's name.
The group is now requesting a public hearing to present their evidence in hopes of having the marker changed.
Posted in 1969, it lists the name of Texas revolutionary George W. Bonnell. But the military group's research suggests Bonnell was not in Texas at the time of the revolution.
"He missed the war for Texas independence by four months," said Bacon.
Their research also indicates First Lt. Joseph Bonnell – a fellow West Point graduate who served in both the U.S. and Texas armies – is the actual namesake.
"Joseph Bonnell is a hero of the Texas Revolution," Bacon said of the man who became Sam Houston's aid de camp. "If it weren't for him, the Battle of San Jacinto might not have taken place."
A THC spokeswoman said the commission does not comment on pending legal matters.
Until they see a change, Bacon and Graham plan to continue educating visitors about what they see as a clear case of mistaken identity. So far, they have worn hats saying "Mount Joseph Bonnell" and pins on their shirts saying "Joseph Bonnell would thank you if he were alive."
"(It is a) sad day that they would deceive the good people of Texas," said Graham.
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