CHARTER MEMBERS

Mrs. Susan F. Roach, Mrs. Charles F. Smith, Miss Margaret Smith, Mrs. Mary Fisk Ross, Mrs. J.M. Olivarri, Mrs. Sarah R. Farnsworth, Mrs. John Fraser, Mrs. Josephine Smith Tobin, Miss Ella Carr.

 

CHARTERING STORY

The chartering took place in the home of Mrs. W.F. Roach, founding President. Her home was located on the site of the home of Deaf Smith, famous Alamo scout. The chapter was recognized on April 20-21, 1906; in Goliad at the state DRT convention. The other first officers were Mrs. Smith as Treasurer and Margaret Smith as Secretary. As the only San Antonio chapter at the time, its members were committed to the preservation of the Alamo and its property and honoring the men who fell at the Alamo and the members of the Texas Veterans Association. Dues were $1.

 

HISTORIC HIGHLIGHTS

Alamo commitment -- Since inception, the chapter has been committed to conservation and preservation of the Alamo, free public access to the Shrine, creation of a research library, museum and commemoration of Honor Days. It was caretaker of the Alamo property and innovative in fund-raising projects to accomplish just that. By 1913, membership had grown to 70. That same year, the Alamo Auxiliary Committee (Alamo Committee today) officially was formed after purchase of property surrounding the Alamo Chapel. Member Clara Driscoll Sevier was appointed chair and the entire chapter membership was appointed to this committee. The first three ladies to serve as Chairman of the Alamo Committee were: Mrs. Sarah Biddle Eager (1913), Mrs. Fannie Applewhite (1915) and Mrs. Leita Small.


Real Daughters – Twenty-two Real Daughters have belonged to the chapter. Two of them, Clara Driscoll and Antoinette Power Houston Bringhurst, lay in state in the Alamo. The others are Georgina Kendall Fellowes, Mary Ruthledge Chambliss Fly, Vernie Alston Gouger, Charlotte Louise Bitter Holmgreen, Kate Carolan Jones, Eleanor Obiah Russell Spencer, Theodosia E. Roberts, Kate Graves Dewees, Eliza A. Ware Fenley, Sarah S. King, Ella Mitchell Mauermann, Mattie Martin Miller, Georgie C. Smith Olivarri, Margaret Laura White Owen, Mattie Owens Randall, Eleanor Jones Ryan, Susan Kroeger Sanderson, Alice Devine Smith, Ellen Ann Norton Starr and Josephine A. Smith Tobin.


Motto: The Alamo Made History and Alamo Mission Chapter Preserved It.

Milestones – Through its 106-year history, the chapter has accomplished many milestones, including these:

1908 – Motion passed to ask Governor Campbell to restore the original dirt roof on Shrine with us to bear the expense. Welcomed the Veterans of 1836 and made their badges with a white satin ribbon with gold lettering.

1909 – The first regular meeting in the Hugo Schmeltzer Building (Long Barrack) Adopted “Robert’s Rules of Order” for our meetings. The first carriage decorated for the Battle of Flowers parade. The first celebration was held for March 2nd. The members made ribbon badges showing our chapter, DRT.

1910 – First Book received for the AMC Library in the Alamo Chapel (Nov. 23, 1910). “History of Canecuh Co., AL” which belonged to Col. Wm. B. Travis presented to AMC by Col. Travis’ nephew, Col. Travis, Retired. First scrapbook was created. The chapter held the first Memorial Day, Oct. 22nd to honor past Presidents.

1911 – First Savings Account - $25.00 – at 4% interest. First set of By-laws adopted.

1921 – Alamo Auxiliary Committee formed, Relics & Books placed in Shrine

1914 – First few years were trying to retrieve relics that Adina DeZavla had taken out of the Shrine. Minutes state that our chapter tried to urge the BOM to take action and retrieve these relics. The Chapter accepted the Japanese Memorial in Convent Garden on the Alamo Grounds.

1915 – First meeting in Shrine. Placed a pair of doors said to be 200 years old from a building being torn down in the Alamo. This property was originally owned by the Trevinos, the motive being a Soto connection of the Cassianos, some of the Canary Islanders. The doors are very ancient looking and are still in the original frame. They were sent by Mr. Frost and Mr. Woodhul.

1916 – Started Alamo Fund with $25.00

1917 – Added $25.00 to Alamo Fund

1918 – First Patriotic Exercises held in Shrine (March 2, March 6, and April 21) Purchased a $50.00 Liberty Bond.

1919 – Gave $15.00 to purchase Alamo Bell. Fund started for replacing the old wooden roof on Shrine (replace roof from 1849). The chapter devised a unique plan of selling each individual $3.50 sq. ft. for new roof. Shrine roof was leaking and we were scared our relics would be damaged. The chapter members cleaned the windows, swept the dirt floor, maintained the area surrounding the Shrine and funded all items needed for the Shrine. Formed an auxiliary member’s life to our chapter designate the ladies so elected as Associate Members.

1920 – 30 Active members raised ($7,000) for a new roof on the Alamo (roof to cost approximately $20,000). Fund started for Flagstone floor in the Shrine, costing $2,460. A report was written on the work and history of our chapter.

1921 – Started meeting in the Long Barracks. Board room furnished with table, chairs, and portrait of Clara Driscoll. Letter from Senator Harry Hertzburg resolutions concerning Alamo roof had been passed. Senator Hertzburg passed a resolution about the Driscoll portrait.

1922 – Concrete roof completed. 10 bronze plaques with names of each man who died at the Alamo was memorialized and attached to the Shrine’s walls at the cost of $650. $142.90 was placed in Alamo Fund.

1924 – First Gavel for our meetings- given by Mrs. J. M. Kincaid –made from an Olive Grove near Jerusalem.

1925 – Motion made to study purchasing property south of Alamo. Mr. Harris Bell of Austin presented the original Bowie knife at a ceremony inside the Shrine.

1926 – Mr. Ernst Steve gave us a special price for the property south of the Alamo. First memorial service was held for deceased members. Each member passing away has a 5-pointed star, covered with ivy from the walls of the Alamo with 2 small Texas flags crossed.

1927 – Two additional bronze plaques were installed honoring AMC Chapter’s loyalty to the Alamo and Clara Driscoll, Savior of the Alamo, by the Alamo Committee. Mrs. Ellis gave a report that Mayor John W. Tobin has set aside $75,000 of a recent bond issue for purchasing the property south of the Alamo.

1928 – A memorial granite stone was made possible through the generosity and patriotism of an honorary chapter member, Mrs. Henry Drought. The stone placed on Mrs. Drought’s property on North St. Mary’s Street. This being the site were the Texas Army in the autumn of 1835 encamped. Earlier escavations on this site discovered foundation stones of the Old White Mill and located as accurately as possible the very spot on which Ben Milam may have stood and made his immortal call, “Who Will Go with Old Ben Milam into San Antonio?” The granite boulder and bronze tablet carries a picture of the Old White Mill and Milam’s appeal for volunteers.

1931 – Mrs. Olivarri presented a valuable bust of General Sam Houston. This bust, work of the noted sculptor, Dexter, from a life cast, and made before the Civil War, had been given to Mrs. Olvarri’s father, Samuel S. Smith, by Gov. Lubbock. Called on Rep. Anderson from Bexar County and thanked him for securing an order from the Post Master General for an issue of postage stamps in 1936 in honor of the Texas Centennial. Outstanding event of the year was the coming true of a long cherished dream of the chapter by the purchase of land around the Alamo, to be beautified and made into a park. The completion of the purchase of this by the State was made possible by an additional $71,000 check donated by Mrs. Clara Driscoll Sevier. At a dinner given by the citizens of San Antonio, at the Menger Hotel, on January 28, the Mayor and City Commissioners expressed appreciation of Mrs. Sevier’s diligent, fruitful enterprise, generosity and devotion to the Alamo.

1933 – Members placed a marker at Fort Sam Houston noting the Dawson Massacre.
First yearbook printed.

1934 – Mrs. Farnsworth presented a resolution to the effect: “The AMC of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas recommends to the Convention assembled in Austin, March 15-17, which Mrs. Clara Driscoll Sevier be elected to Honorary Life Membership on the Executive Board”.
Adopted

1936 – The chapter raised monies for a maintenance fund for the Alamo and assumed the role of receiving federal money for Centennial funds to purchase property surrounding the Alamo, place the Cenotaph in Alamo Plaza and construct the Alamo Gift Shop/Museum. It placed a memorial bench on Fredericksburg Road to honor the Alamo heroes and mark the historic El Camino Real Trail.

1938 – Old Fire station (Alamo Hall) Mrs. Sarah Farnsworth was walking passed the old firehouse that workmen had begun to demolish. Mr. Ernest Altgelt (member of the Centennial Advisory Committee) has spoken to Mrs. Farnsworth a few days earlier and made the statement “suggesting that the old fire house could be made into a meeting place for us. A few steps ahead of Mrs. Farnsworth walking was Mayor Quin. She asked the Mayor if Alamo Mission Chapter could retain this building for an Assembly Hall. The Mayor stated that this came under the supervision of the Fire and Police Commission and she had to ask Mr. Phil Wright. Mrs. Farnsworth contacted Mrs. J. M. Kincaid (member of the Alamo Committee) and they went to see Mr. Wright. Mr. Wright was willing to let us have the building, but it was on property now owned by the State of Texas and we would have to speak to Mr. Claude Teer (State Board of Control). Mrs. Farnsworth and Mrs. Kincaid went to Austin that afternoon and met with Mr. Teer. He agreed to preserve the old fire house, and to get in touch with Mr. Henry Phelps, official architect. They returned to San Antonio and stopped the demolition. Mr. Teer came to San Antonio many times, meeting with the architect and with our members supervising this restoration. The restoration and improvements were made possible by State funds, secured by Mr. Teer. Our chapter was to furnish the building with our own funds. The firehouse was given to us and then transferred to the State of Texas for historical, educational, and patriotic activities. The chapter placed markers for the original boundary lines of the Alamo, as this was reported in the minutes. Fund started for a bronze tablet of Col. Travis’ Immortal Letter. 1939 – This year the chapter held its first meeting in Alamo Hall, and has met there ever since. The chapter received gifts of furniture, kitchen appliances, pictures, maps, books, etc., to be placed in the hall. A bronze plaque recognizing Sarah Farnsworth and her design of the reverse side of the State Seal of Texas was placed in Alamo Hall.

1940 – Fund started for upkeep of Alamo Hall.The chapter acquired artifacts to furnish Alamo Hall, Alamo Museum and the Alamo.

1941 – Fund for tile floor (WPA project) started. Gift to our chapter, a Portrait of Clara Driscoll painted by Miss Caldwell was hung in Alamo Hall.

1943 –Tile floor was linstalled in Alamo Hall ($375.00)

1944 – Purchased equipment for kitchen

1945 – Fund started for building library wing - $300.00 Doll Project. Ladies made dolls with period 1836 clothing to be sold and monies received went into this fund. Mrs. Holden gave a gift of a lectern. Significance: “The American Eagle perched upon the world symbolizes the eagle carrying the gospel to the entire world.” A bible went with this lectern. This lectern is used in the Shrine for Holy Days.

1947 – 600 seats were sold for the Battle of Flowers Parade - $766.00 placed in the library wing fund

1948 – Cenotaph Monument was dedicated on Alamo Plaza

1949 – Mrs. J. K. Beretta gave $30,000 to complete the library wing fund. This amount was what was needed after raising funds.

1959 – Mr. Al Becker and Mr. Charles Becker donated furniture for our chapter office in Alamo Hall.

1975 – An update to Alamo Hall included new draperies, kitchen appliances and painting.

1976 – Becker Room furnished for chapter board meetings. Mr. & Mrs. Charles Becker gave gift of Adele Becker’s portrait.


2010 – Members raised significant funds to update and preserve Alamo Hall to include kitchen cabinets, countertops, flooring, furniture and fixtures, artwork and drapery. Our member’s family, The Cheever family again was a significant donor.


 

GIFTS

– Through the decades, the chapter has been instrumental in acquiring many gifts (both real property and funding) for the Alamo and the DRT Library. Early gifts were given to and through the chapter because of its presence as caretakers of the Shrine. Wonderful gifts including Cristallerie de Baccarat of France Chandelier and two matching sconces, marble table, elaborate scroll urn which all belonged to Clara Driscoll. These items were a gift by Althea Kirkwood and items hung in Clara’s home in San Antonio. Another cherish gift is the Christening Dress of Judge Hal Greer made by his grandmother who is the widow of Major Micajah Autry, who fought at the Alamo. The christening dress was made in the mid 1800’s. In following years, many gifts were given to the chapter because donors recognized its longstanding, proven history of preservation, conservation and protection and promotion of Republic of Texas artifacts to include the Shrine itself.

 

STUDENTS

– The Melba Baird Fund awards four-year scholarships to qualified college students attending universities in Texas. The chapter sponsors the Texas History Essay Contest for fourth- and seventh-grade students, as well as the Texas History Teacher.

Kay Day, Alamo Mission Chapter

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Copyright 2017. Alamo Mission Chapter of DRT.