The Black Sunday dust storm brought a massive wall of dust estimated to be over 2 miles high that engulfed entire communities in darkness and choking dust, reducing visibility to just a few feet.

Elected representatives assembled in Austin on January 28, 1861, and four days later on 1 February the convention voted 166 to 8 in favour of secession. The decision was confirmed through a state-wide referendum on 23 February.

Haden Edwards, believing that the Mexican government had unjustly annulled his an empresario contract to establish a colony in East Texas, led a group of settlers to declare the independent Republic of Fredonia.