Daughters of the Republic of Texas

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Daughters of the Republic of Texas
TheCradle -- Birthplace of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.jpg
Birthplace of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Abbreviation DRT
Motto Texas One and Indivisible
Formation November 6, 1891; 122 years ago (1891-11-06)
Headquarters Austin, Texas
Membership 6,700
President General Karen R. Thompson
Website Daughters of the Republic of Texas

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) is a sororal association dedicated to perpetuating the memory of Texas pioneer families and soldiers of the Republic of Texas. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is best known for its role as caretakers of The Alamo.[1] The DRT are also the custodians of the historic French Legation Museum owned by the State of Texas. In addition, they operate a museum in Austin on the history of Texas.

Membership is limited to descendants of ancestors who "rendered loyal service for Texas" prior to February 19, 1846,[2] the date the Republic ceased to exist and Texas handed over authority to the United States.

Beginnings[edit]

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas was formed in 1891[3] by cousins Betty Eve Ballinger (1854–1936)[4][5] and Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry[6][7] (1868–1955). The organization was originally called the Daughters of the Lone Star Republic before taking its present name.

The first president of the organization in 1891 was Mary Smith Jones, widow of the Republic's last president Anson Jones.[8]

Hally's father Guy Morrison Bryan (1821–1901)[9][10] had emigrated to Texas in 1831. In March 1836, Bryan became the courier for at least one of William Barret Travis's Alamo letters from Bell's Landing to Velasco. He was an army orderly under Alexander Somervell, and in the Brazoria volunteer company under John Coffee Hays. He served in both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas State Senate. Bryan was a veteran of the American Civil War. He was a charter member and president of the Texas Veterans Association and charter member of the Texas State Historical Association.

Betty's grandfather William Houston Jack (1806–1844)[11][12]He had served in the Alabama state legislature and emigrated to Texas in 1830. He was one of the authors of the Turtle Bayou Resolutions. Jack participated in the capture of Goliad, later joined Sam Houston's army and was a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto. He served in both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas State Senate.

Saving the Alamo[edit]

"A protest must be recorded here against the wanton mutilation of the sculpture of the Missions by thoughtless relic hunters. The shameful chipping of the beautiful carving has been going on for years."

San Antonio de Bexar-A Guide and History[13]
William Corner, 1890

By the late 1880s the historic San Antonio missions were falling into disrepair and becoming subject to vandals. Two dedicated DRT women stepped forward to restore and preserve the Alamo for future generations.

The public entrance known as the Alamo's mission chapel was already owned by the State of Texas, which had purchased the building from the Roman Catholic Church in 1883 and had given custody to the City of San Antonio. The city had made no improvements to the chapel structure, and ownership did not include the long barracks (convento).

In 1903, Adina Emilia De Zavala enlisted heiress and philanthropist Clara Driscoll to join the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and chair the De Zavala fund raising committee to negotiate the purchase of the long barracks (convento) that was owned by wholesale grocers Charles Hugo and Gustav Schmeltzer. The asking price was $75,000,[14] most of which came out of Clara Driscoll's bank account.

In early 1905, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. drafted the Alamo Purchase Bill which included a provision that The Alamo be overseen by Daughters of the Republic of Texas.[15] On January 26, 1905, the Texas State Legislature approved, and Governor S.W.T Lanham signed, the Alamo Purchase Bill[16] for state funding to preserve the Alamo property. The state reimbursed Clara Driscoll and, on October 4, 1905, the governor formally conveyed the Alamo property, including the convento and the mission church, to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

A divide between two factions erupted over how the long barracks property was to be used. Driscoll and others[17] believed it was not part of the original structure and should be turned into a park. Clara offered to raze the building at her own expense. De Zavala was adamant that the long barracks was part of the original building and where the major part of the battle had occurred. In 1908 De Zavala had a stand-off with authorities inside the structure. By 1911, Governor Oscar Branch Colquitt[18] ordered the long barracks be restored to its original condition as it was in mission days. During the 1912 restoration,[19] workers discovered foundation work that verified De Zavala's instincts that the structure had indeed been an original part of the Alamo.

In 1931, Clara again put up $70,000 of her own money to help the state legislature purchase more city property surrounding the shrine. In 1933, she backed down city engineers who wanted to purchase a portion of the Alamo property to widen Houston Street. By 1935, the persuasive Driscoll talked the San Antonio Fire Department out of putting a new fire station adjacent to the Alamo. As president of the DRT in 1936, she oversaw Centennial celebrations of the shrine.

When Clara died in 1945, her body lay in state in the Alamo chapel. Adina died in 1955 and her casket draped with the flag of Texas was carried past the Alamo[20] one last time.

Later years[edit]

The DRT opposed filming of the 1969 Peter Ustinov comedy Viva Max!,[21] asking the San Antonio city council not to allow the filming.

In 2009,[22] a division arose between current, and former members of the DRT's board of management and the Alamo Committee over the current administration's management, preservation and financial vision for the Alamo. The disagreement created factions and would eventually erupt into a civil war within the organization, leading to the expulsions of three outspoken DRT members beginning in October 2010.[23] Early in 2011, Texas State Senator Leticia R. Van de Putte, whose district includes The Alamo historic site, drafted legislation [24] for increased oversight and reporting of the DRT at the Alamo. Through a lengthy investigation by the State's Attorney General, Gregg Abbott,[25][26] an attempt blocked by Governor Rick Perry to trademark the words "The Alamo", a contract dispute to market the Alamo with William Morris Endeavor,[27] and a failed 175th Anniversary symphony concert celebration with Pop star Phil Collins,[28] the DRT maintained control of the Alamo through 2010, and most of 2011. However, Van De Putte's legislation which gained momentum throughout the 2011 Texas Legislative session, ended up as HB3726. In an extended session, House Bill 3726 was passed and signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry [29] before leaving to begin his campaign for the 2012 Presidential election,[30] effectively ending the DRT's 106 year reign as the sole caretakers of the Alamo. The new law placed the Alamo under the care and leadership of the Texas General Land Office (GLO). The DRT entered into an 18 month operating agreement with the GLO as a State contractor at the Alamo. The DRT's contract with the State will expire June 2013.[31]

Membership[edit]

Membership in DRT is open to women only, who must meet the following criteria:

  • at least sixteen years of age,
  • must be personally acceptable to the association
  • who can prove lineal descent from men and women who rendered loyal service to Texas prior to its annexation in 1846 by the United States. Acceptable loyal service can be obtained by one of the following four criteria:
    • colonization with Stephen Fuller Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” or by the authority of the Spanish, Mexican, or Texas Republican governments,
    • military service to the Spanish, Mexican, or Texas Republican governments during the appropriate era
    • loyal citizenship of the Republic of Texas prior to annexation
    • receipt of land grants authorized by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Texas.

Additional reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daughters of the Republic of Texas Fought Long, Hard to Save the Alamo". The Victoria Advocate. 20 June 1999. 
  2. ^ Neu C T: Texas Annexation from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  3. ^ Schweikart, Larry; Birzer, Bradkey (2002). The American West. Wiley. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-471-40138-4. 
  4. ^ Turner, Elizabeth Hayes: Betty Eve Ballinger from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  5. ^ "Betty Eve Ballinger final resting place". Find A Grave. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Jones, Nancy Baker: Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  7. ^ "Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry Texas State Cemetery". Texas State Cemetery. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Mary (Mrs. Anson) Jones Letters". University of Houston. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Guy Morrison Bryan from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  10. ^ "Guy Morrison Bryan Texas State Cemetery". Texas State Cemetery. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Cutrer, Thomas W: William Houston Jack from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  12. ^ "William Houston Jack Texas State Cemetery". Texas State Cemetery. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Corner, William (2010). San Antonio De Bexar: A Guide And History (1890). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-160-25094-8. 
  14. ^ Roberts, Randy; Olson (2002). James S, ed. A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory. Free Press. pp. 207–229, 277–280, 308, 310, 338, 339, 351. ISBN 978-0-7432-1233-5. 
  15. ^ Caro, Robert A. (1990). The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. Vintage Books. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-679-72945-7. 
  16. ^ Kelley, Dayton: Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 17 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  17. ^ Charles M. Reeves to the San Antonio Business Men’s Club, August 30, 1906, De Zavala Papers
  18. ^ "Adina de Zavala to Governor O.B. Colquitt, August 25, 1911". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  19. ^ San Antonio Express, January 25 and 26, 1912, February 4, 1912
  20. ^ Cassidy, Erin. "Miss Adina De Zavala, Angel of the Alamo". Newton Gresham Library at Sam Houston State University. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Texas Women Reject Alamo Movie Idea". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 29 March 1969. 
  22. ^ Weber, Paul J (24 July 2009). "Alamo Rift Divides Group Over Revered Texas Site". ABC News. 
  23. ^ Huddleston, Scott (October 6, 2010), "DRT Ousts A Third Outspoken Member", San Antonio Express News 
  24. ^ Huddleston, Scott J (13 March 2011). "New Rules for Alamo Guardians". San Antonio Express News. 
  25. ^ Huddleston, Scott (March 24, 2011), "AG's Office Draws Line In The Sand For Alamo Caretakers", San Antonio Express News 
  26. ^ Huddleston, Scott J (18 May 2012). "Haven CFO to Lead Alamo". San Antonio Express News. 
  27. ^ Huddleston, Scott (March 4, 2011), "State Is Reassessing DRT's Role at Alamo", San Antonio Express News 
  28. ^ Huddleston, Scott (January 6, 2011), "Alamo Concert Now On Hold", San Antonio Express News 
  29. ^ Huddleston, Scott (November 18, 2011), "State, DRT agree on Alamo Trademark", San Antonio Express News 
  30. ^ Bacon Jr., Perry (August 13, 2011), "Rick Perry announces he will join 2012 presidential field to challenge President Obama", The Washington Post 
  31. ^ Huddleston, Scott (April 25, 2012), "DRT member Assumes New Alamo Post", San Antonio Express News 

External links[edit]