The Texas Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, a branch of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, is a patriotic and historical society of women older than eighteen years. Members are lineal descendents of persons who lived in one of the British colonies within the present boundaries of the United States before 1701 as colonists or descendents of one, and who rendered civil or military service. Membership is by invitation. The national society was incorporated in Washington, D.C., on July 15, 1915. In 1931 Alice L. K. Price of San Antonio was appointed organizer of the Texas Society, and the first Texas members were enrolled that year. The organizational meeting was not held until April 22, 1939, however, when there were fifty members. Price was first president of the Texas Society. In 1941 the group divided itself into chapters; Amarillo organized first, then Austin, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. The Texas Society received its charter at the national conference held in San Antonio in May 1942. There were then six Texas chapters with 163 charter members.
Early projects centered on war work, including volunteer nursing and providing reading materials to servicemen, food and clothing to refugees, student loans, and citizenship classes. Later the Texas Society donated books (especially historical and genealogical materials) to schools and libraries, maintained scholarship funds, provided volunteer services and materials to veterans' hospitals, conducted genealogical and historical research, preserved old documents, provided disaster relief, and restored old buildings and cemeteries. The National Society funds the General Scholarship and the Pocahontas Scholarship. Through the Pocahontas Scholarship and Project, the society supports scholarships for Native American students, both male and female, in all levels of medical, dental, and nursing training, and provides upkeep of the Pocahontas Memorial Gardens in Gravesend, Kent, England, near St. George's Chapel, where Pocahontas is buried. The Texas Society awards the Massingill-Harding Scholarship, which was established in 1985 and is awarded to a student at Stephen F. Austin State University each spring. The Texas Society has marked sixteen historic sites in Texas, including Nuestra Señora del Carmen at Ysleta (see CORPUS CHRISTI DE LA ISLETA MISSION) and Toluca Ranch in the Rio Grande valley. It holds state conventions annually in February in various major Texas cities. The board of management meets annually in Salado. In 1995 there were forty-two chapters and a total membership of 1,605 in Texas. In the history of the National Society only one Texan has held the highest office of president general-Mrs. Earl Middleton of Austin (1949).