It’s common knowledge that Texans love everything about Texas — bluebonnets, the Alamo, the Lone Star flag and Whataburger.
But did you know that one of the most Texan of all things Texan was born right here in Galveston?
Hold on, I hear you saying. There are lots of things that were born in Galveston. Which “one thing” is this?
This one thing is the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a lineage society founded on Nov. 6, 1891, in a law library by Betty Eve Ballinger and Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry.
The cousins wanted to honor the men and women who helped shape Texas’ early days, and they decided a lineage society would help preserve Texas history.
Perry was the daughter of Guy Morrison Bryan, who was the courier for at least one of William Barret Travis’ letters from the Alamo.
Ballinger’s grandfather was William Houston Jack, who, among other things, was a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto.
The law library today is not where it was located in 1891, thanks in part to the 1900 Storm, but it is still standing at 2902 Ave. O 1/2. Beloved by the members of the DRT, who call it the Cradle, the building is open by appointment for tours.
The first chapter of the DRT is the Sidney Sherman Chapter, named after the island resident and general of the Texas Revolution. It has called Galveston home since 1891. Today, chapter members participate in varied historical events across the county, from marking graves to conducting research to planting oaks at Rosenberg Library. The women of the Sidney Sherman are hard at work preserving Texas history.
Now you might be thinking, how might I become a member of the DRT? Ask yourself these three questions: Are you at least 16 years old? Do you have an ancestor who rendered loyal service to Texas before its annexation by the United States on Feb. 19, 1846? Do you have an ancestor who served as an officer or private in the colonies or Republic of Texas?
If you can answer yes to two of these questions, you are eligible but you must prove your lineage.
Stories about great-great-great-great-grandpa fighting at San Jacinto aren’t good enough. DRT membership requires documentation and legwork. You’ll need a love of history. You’ll become a researcher and a detective. You’ll learn things about your family and Texas you never could’ve dreamed were possible.
When you finally get your membership card and are sworn in, you’ll be joining a sorority of women with common interests and a love for Texas and its history. It’s just about as Texan as you can get.