Texas Historical and Landmarks Association

By: Adina de Zavala and Frances Donecker

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 13, 2020

In 1887 a group of patriotic women of San Antonio, led by Miss Adina De Zavala, met regularly for the purpose of recording the unique history and legends of San Antonio and vicinity and of preserving and marking historic places in the city . They were especially interested in the ruins of the five Spanish missions in and around San Antonio. A few years later a group of women in Houston led by Mary Jane Harris Briscoe had the same thought. These women invited the San Antonio women to join forces in order to make the movement state wide. The San Antonians accepted, and the result was the De Zavala Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In 1900 in order to satisfy a number of men and women who were interested in helping in the work but were not eligible to join the De Zavala Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, an auxiliary association, was formed. This was called Auxiliary, De Zavala Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The chief project was securing that part of the Alamo fortress adjoining the Alamo church, which the state had bought from the Catholic church in 1883. It was hoped that what was left of the two-story stone fort could be added to the shrine (Alamo Chapel) because the greatest bloodshed had taken place in front of and in these rooms. The hope was to restore the Alamo fort for a museum of history. Differences arose in the ranks of the Daughters of the Republic, and a division occurred. In the meantime the Texas Historical and Landmarks Association was growing in membership. In 1912 the auxiliary became an independent organization, and the original De Zavala Chapter became a part of the association. The first officers were Hal C. King, president; Ann Sullivan, treasurer; Charles Boelhauwe, secretary. One of the first markers placed in 1897 was over the grave of Ben Milam. Since that year a Texas flag has flown over the monument, and annually on the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, "Texas Heroes' Day," a commemorative ceremony, a unique program honoring all Texas heroes, is held . Other monuments include twenty-eight in the city of San Antonio and ten outside of the city to mark historic sites or buildings. The organization submitted names of Texas heroes for all San Antonio public schools, suggesting a certain hero for each school; all suggestions were adopted. Also the organization has protested the changing of street names of historic interest and has worked for the preservation of historic edifices and all items of Texas interest. Group chapters have organized in Crockett, Refugio, New Braunfels, San Patricio, and Goliad to work with the De Zavala Chapter in San Antonio.

The De Zavala Chapter has eight meetings every year. Besides the business of the meeting, programs of history are given. The official prayer and pledge are recited at the beginning of each meeting. The prayer asks for blessings and guidance from God, the Father, and the pledge promises to keep alive the memory of the heroes, fathers, and pioneers of Texas and to inculcate a love of true liberty and righteousness.

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Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Architecture
  • Missions
  • Monuments
  • Organizations
  • Patriotic-Hereditary Organizations
  • Women
  • Preservationists
  • Peoples
  • Tejanos
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio
  • South Texas

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

Adina de Zavala and Frances Donecker, “Texas Historical and Landmarks Association,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-historical-and-landmarks-association.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 13, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: