Texas home for Confederate veterans chartered
On this day in 1884, the John B. Hood Camp of United Confederate Veterans obtained a state charter for a residence for impoverished and disabled Confederate veterans. The Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy helped raise funds that enabled the camp to purchase land at 1600 West Sixth Street in Austin from John B. and Mary Armstrong. The home opened on November 1, 1886. The UDC held a "Grand Gift Concert and Lottery," with prizes donated by the public, and raised over $10,800 to support the home. Operating funds continued to come from public contributions until 1891, when the state assumed control and support and the name officially became Texas Confederate Home. The John B. Hood Camp deeded the property to the state on March 6, 1891. The complex had several buildings, including the large administration building and living quarters, a brick hospital, and private cottages. During its first two years of operation 113 veterans were admitted to the home, and from 1887 to 1953 more than 2,000 former Confederates were housed there. In 1929 the home had 312 residents, but by 1938 the number had dropped to thirty-eight, whose average age was ninety-three. Thomas Riddle, the last veteran, died in 1954 at the age of 108. During its last decades, the home was used to house senile mental patients from other state institutions, disabled veterans of the Spanish American War and World War I, and their wives. In 1963 the remaining residents were sent to Kerrville State Hospital, and the Austin facility was transferred to the Austin State Hospital as an annex. The buildings were razed in 1970 to make room for University of Texas married students' housing.