Pease, Julia Maria (1853–1918)

By: Katherine Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: July 26, 2021

Julia Maria Pease, Austin clubwoman and art patron, the second of three daughters of Lucadia Christiana (Niles) and Elisha Marshall Pease, was born on March 14, 1853, in Brazoria, Texas. When her father was elected governor that same year, the family moved to Austin; in 1856 they occupied the newly completed Governor's Mansion. In 1859 Governor Pease purchased from James B. Shaw an estate northwest of Austin with a mansion, Woodlawn, built by Austin architect Abner Hugh Cook. It was there that "Miss Julia" lived most of her life. She was educated at Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut, entered Vassar in 1870, and graduated with a B.A. in music and the arts in 1875. She accompanied her parents to Galveston in 1879, when her father was collector of customs. Carrie Pease Graham, Julia's older sister, died in 1882, and Julia and her mother reared Carrie's three children. When Governor Pease died in 1883, Julia became manager of his considerable estate. For several years she lived in New York City, where the Graham children were in school.

In Austin Julia Pease was one of the first life members of the Texas State Historical Association, a member of the University Ladies Club, and a sponsor of the Boy Scouts (her nephews' scout troops often met at Woodlawn); she took part in the activities of literary, historical, cultural, and philanthropic organizations. She was interested in raising funds for a hospital and in improving the conditions in the Austin jail, which she frequently visited. Her interest in preserving the trees of Austin was well known. During the 1890s she carried on an extensive correspondence with sculptor Elisabet Ney; during this time she and her mother were Ney's patrons. In April 1911, four years after Ney's death, Julia met with Anna Pennybacker, Ella P. Dibrell, Johanna Runge, and Emma Burleson in "Formosa," Elisabet Ney's former studio, to discuss the preservation of both the studio and the collection of Ney's works. The Texas Fine Arts Association was the formal organization that resulted from that meeting, and the following June the group held a formal exhibition of the artist's works. When the Pease estate surrounding Woodlawn was subdivided into Enfield and Westenfield in the early 1900s, Julia Pease may well have suggested the Connecticut place names and Pease-Niles family names used for many of the new streets. She died on January 19, 1918, in Austin, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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Katherine Hart, comp., Pease Porridge Hot: Recipes, Household Hints and Home Remedies of the Pease Family (Austin: Encino, 1967). Pease-Graham Files and Carrie Pease Graham Registration File, Elisabet Ney Museum, Austin. Pease-Graham-Niles Family Papers, Austin Public Library. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Museums
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Women
  • Women's Clubs

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Katherine Hart, “Pease, Julia Maria,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 26, 2021

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