|The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is the oldest patriotic women’s organization in Texas and one of the oldest in the nation. In 1891 Betty Ballinger and Hally Bryan (later Hally Bryan Perry) formulated plans for an association to be composed of women who were direct descendants of the men and women who established the Republic of Texas. They were encouraged in their efforts by Hally Bryan’s father, Guy M. Bryan, a member of the Texas Veterans Association. The organizational meeting was held on November 6, 1891, in the Houston home of Mary Jane Briscoe. Mary S. M. Jones, widow of the last president of the Republic of Texas, agreed to serve as president. The motto “Texas, One and Indivisible” was suggested by Colonel Bryan. The name first chosen for this group was Daughters of Female Descendants of the Heroes of ’36; the association was renamed Daughters of the Lone Star Republic, then Daughters of the Republic of Texas at the first annual meeting in April 1892. The organization was planned as a companion to the Texas Veterans Association, and the two groups held joint meetings until the veterans disbanded in 1907.
The objectives of the association are to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the people who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas and to encourage historical research into the earliest records of Texas, especially those relating to the revolutionary and republic periods. The DRT encourages the preservation of documents and relics, the publication of historical records and narratives, and the celebration of important days in the state’s history. It also encourages the teaching of Texas history in public schools and sponsors the placement of historical markers.
The Daughters hold an annual business meeting on or about May 14, the day on which the Treaties of Velasco were signed. Between the annual meetings the board of management, consisting of the president general and twenty-five officers general, oversees the association. Members are required to be women who can prove lineal descent from a man or woman who served Texas before annexation (1846). As of 1994 more than 6,500 members were organized into 108 chapters throughout the state. Local chapters also sponsor chapters of the Children of the Republic of Texas, a junior association organized in San Antonio in 1929. Members must be under the age of twenty-one and must prove the same lineal descent as DRT members.
One of the association’s early projects was to persuade the Texas legislature to purchase the land on which the battle of San Jacinto was fought.