Ruth Curry Lawler, schoolteacher and historical preservationist, was born on February 13, 1900, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Carrie Mary (Aycock) (who was related to Lawrence S. "Sul" Ross) and Henry Thomas Lawler (a native of Kilkenny, Ireland). Ruth had two brothers. She was educated in private schools: first in New Orleans, where she earned a bachelor's degree in music, then at Ursuline Academy in Bryan, Texas, and later in San Antonio at Our Lady of the Lake University, where she received a degree that qualified her to teach all school grades. She moved to Castroville in 1927 and from that year until her retirement in 1960 was a teacher in the Castroville school system. In Castroville Ruth and her brother Jordan T. bought what was then known as the Vance House, after John Vance, a former owner. The structure, located on the Medina River, was originally built as a store, and over the years it also served as a private home, a stagecoach stop, a post office, a telegraph office, a hotel, and the scene of a movie (a Western). Meanwhile her brother Jordan began generating electricity on the millrace on the river. Ruth was determined to preserve the property for the future, and so in 1974 she gave it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, retaining only the right to live in the home behind the inn. She was an accomplished musician, serving as the organist at St. Louis Church for many years and also teaching piano lessons. In addition, she formed a dramatic club and directed several plays. During World War II Ruth and Jordan Lawler rented rooms to the families of servicemen. They called their hotel the Landmark Inn (see LANDMARK INN STATE HISTORIC SITE). In 1942 she started historical and pilgrimage tours of the original (and restored) private homes and other structures in Castroville. She served on the board of directors of the Castroville Historical Committee, organized and formed the Castro Garden Club, and was a charter member (1975) of the Castro Colonies Heritage Association and later was made an honorary life member. Lawler wrote The Story of Castroville (1952), which by the early 1990s had gone through five printings. Around 1946 she became a correspondent for the Hondo Anvil Herald, a position which she held for many years; she was also a longtime columnist for the Castroville News Bulletin. Lawler was a member of the Democratic party. After retiring from teaching in 1960, she served on the local school board for three terms, then on the city council for three terms; later she was municipal judge for ten years. Ruth Curry Lawler died in her home at the Landmark Inn in Castroville on December 30, 1990, and was buried in San Fernando Cemetery No. 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
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Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). Hondo Anvil Herald, February 28, 1941, January 3, 10, February 28, 1991. San Antonio Express-News, January 2, March 17, 1991. Texas Parks and Wildlife, February 1976.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Maury Maverick, Jr. and Martin O. Noonan,
“Lawler, Ruth Curry,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 6, 2019
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: