Our Chapter History
The Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter #105, Austin, Texas was formed by a dedicated group of Southern ladies who first met at the home of Mrs. Tobin in April, 1897 and received their charter in May of that same year - just one year after the founding of the Texas Division of the UDC on May 25, 1896, and two years and four months after the founding of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on September 11, 1894. From 1897 until 1950 ASJ #105 was the only chapter of the UDC in Austin.
The first chapter report at the 2nd Texas Division Convention in Galveston on December 18, 1897 read as follows:
“The grand objectives of this chapter are to erect a monument over the grave of Albert Sidney Johnston, that gallant commander who, when dying, begged that his body might be laid to rest in Texas soil. This chapter bearing his name hopes that the entire Texas Division will assist in this work of love. In addition to this, we have taken charge of beautifying the State Cemetery, and committees are formed to visit the Men’s Confederate Home in Austin and do all in their power to cheer and alleviate the sufferings of the veterans there domiciled.”
The body of General Johnston was removed from the Shiloh battlefield to New Orleans and laid in a tomb belonging to Mayor John T. Monroe in the St. Louis Cemetery. It remained there until the committee from Texas arrived. On January 24, 1867 the Texans carried the body to Galveston by steamer and came to Austin on February 1st. The body was laid to rest in the Texas State Cemetery as set up by the State Legislature in 1854. A simple shaft was erected over the grave. The remains of this broken stone are today a treasured relic in the Texas Confederate Museum. This monument will stand as a mark of credit to the Daughters of the Confederacy and Texas for all time. As a work of art, it bears a national testimonial; the artist’s conception means more to us than the work of art. Elizabeth Ney’s creation is the hour of victory; as he fell on the battlefield, resting upon a crude litter with his head pillow-draped in the battle flag of the Confederacy. We behold his image so life like that this vision mirrors the scene beside the waters of Tennessee, back to the field of Shiloh. People of all nations will look upon his face, one of God‘s noblemen, and read the inscription on the tomb, which tells of a life courageous in peril, unostentatious in victory, cut down in the effulgence and glory of his military achievement.
In 1899 our chapter hosted the 4th annual Texas Division Convention in Austin, Texas. That same year the chapter was also engaged in gathering hospital supplies for two Austin companies of soldiers marching off to the Cuban war. By 1900 the chapter was urging the Texas Division
“...to take immediate steps to secure a fireproof room in the State capitol for safekeeping of all relics donated to this organization and that a committee be appointed to take care of the matter.”Mrs. Z.T. Fulmore of our chapter was appointed chairman. The chapter donated to Hood‘s Brigade Memorial Window for the Texas Room at the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia. The window was placed on June 27, 1902. We also started collecting funds for a monument in Oakwood Cemetery for General Thomas Greene. Efforts to secure a museum room were realized when the 21st Texas Legislature Concurrent Resolution No. 4 (1903) provided the Room (Sec. 1)
“That the northwest room on the first floor of capitol...be set aside for the Daughters of the Confederacy of the State of Texas to house their collected relics...to protect an exhibit and care for same.”Col. N.L. Norton, the benefactor responsible for securing this room, died in 1903. A fund drive for establishing a Confederate Womens‘ Home in Austin began in 1903. By 1906 land was bought in Hyde Park north of town. A cornerstone was laid on March 15, 1907. The home was dedicated on Jefferson Davis‘ birthday June 3, 1908. This Home was later deeded to the State of Texas in 1911. The State financed the operation of the Confederate Womens‘ Home until it closed in 1963. Gov. James E. Ferguson added the hospital wing. The last three residents were removed to a nursing home. Our chapter faithfully provided loving care for the ladies throughout the years.
The chapter also hosted the 12th annual Texas State Convention in 1907.
The fund drive for the monument to General Tom Greene was completed and the 24 foot gray granite shaft was dedicated in Oakwood Cemetery on February 22, 1909. In 1912 the chapter collected funds for scholarships. This scholarship became the Sallie Carruth Farley Scholarship Fund for Travis County students. The fund was placed at the University of Texas and was first awarded in 1924.
The World War I years were busy ones for the chapter. Bond drives, patriotic parades, and benefit assemblies were arranged. The State of Texas passed legislation in 1918 giving the use of the Old Land Office building (erected in 1856-57) to the Texas Division Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for use as a museum.
In 1923 our chapter organized the Calvin Crozier Chapter No. 13, Children of the Confederacy, with a membership of 50 children.
During World War II our chapter hosted the Texas Division convention three consecutive years because of wartime restrictions on travel. Division conventions are the highlight of our year‘s activities, and many chapter members faithfully attended both Division and General conventions over the years. The war years 1941-1945 were busy ones for our chapter. Many members were involved in Red Cross, U.S.O. volunteer work, and with the sale of war bonds.
By the 1950s our museum needed refurbishing. The legislature came to our aid and the beautiful black and white marble floor was installed, completed in 1965. Cases were cleaned and rearranged, and a kitchen was installed. Our chapter held meetings, hosted memorial services and Confederate Heroes Day celebrations in the handsome meeting room. Our chapter members served as custodians until 1986 when Margaret Howell Davis #2418 provided a custodian.
In 1973 Mrs. Retta Riefkohl, President of ASJ #105, was instrumental in getting the House State Affairs Committee to provide funds to repair the iron work surrounding the sculpture of General Albert Sidney Johnston and clean the sculpture. Our chapter lovingly watches over the tomb of General Johnston to this day.
Albert Sidney Johnston #105 celebrated its 100th birthday on May 12, 1997 and continues its good work to meet the objectives of the United Daughters of the Confederacy® which are historical, educational, benevolent, memorial, and patriotic.