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DRT Library set to open Oct. 27


The grand opening of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection (Presidio Gallery) will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 27, in its new location on 126 E. Nueva St., in San Antonio. The event is co-sponsored by Texas A&M University-San Antonio and DRT, and is open to the public.
The October opening is just a few days ahead of the November Honor Day celebrating Stephen F. Austin’s Nov. 3 birthday. Austin is best remembered as “The Father of Texas,” whose colonization venture (begun by his father) was realized with the contract with Mexico to settle 300 families, known as “The Old Three Hundred” in an area between the San Antonio and Brazos Rivers. He subsequently received contracts to settle an additional 900 families, making him the most successful empresario in Texas history.
Because its goal is to preserve the rich history of the Republic, the DRT has received donations of Republic era artifacts from personal and legal sources. Some items, like a chair belonging to Mexican General Santa Anna, can be found in the Republic of Texas Museum in Austin, while a vast collection of diaries, letters, legal documents, books and maps make up the DRT Library Collection.
Among the historical documents in the collection are the handwritten and typed drafts of Andrew Jackson Sowell. Sowell (1848-1921) was a Texas Ranger and the author of “Rangers and Pioneers of Texas” (1884), “Life of Big Foot Wallace” (1899), “Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas” (1900), “History of Fort Bend County” (1904), and “Incidents Connected with the Early History of Guadalupe County, Texas,” (undated).
Sowell’s paternal grandfather, John Newton Sowell (1780-1838), moved his family from Tennessee to Missouri and then to Texas, settling in Green DeWitt’s colony near Gonzales in 1830. During the Texas Revolution, he was one of the “Old Eighteen” in Gonzales and aided the Texan cause by making and repairing guns.

Sowell’s records are just some of the valuable documents donated to the Daughters for preservation. More information on the library collection grand opening can be found at www.facebook.com/drtinfo and by selecting “Events” from the menu.
The next Caddel-Smith Chapter meeting will be at 10:30 a.m. in the McNelly Room at First State Bank of Uvalde on Thursday, Nov. 9. A program titled “Strong Texas Woman” will be presented by Chapter First Vice President Virginia Davis.

An excerpt from “Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas” by Sowell reads ... son of the captain, and Joe Riff, both rangers, were killed on the Blanco by Indians. When the bodies were found, the signs of battle showed with what desperate valor the young rangers had sold their lives. This was about the last of Indian raids on this part of the frontier. After Captain Richarz left the frontier service he served as justice and attended to his stock and farm. Served one term as representative of the Fifty-second district in the Legislature. His hearing becoming defective, he was incapacitated from further public service, and he spends a quiet life on the west bank of the Seco, in a romantic spot near the foot of the hills, where he attends to his irrigated garden and orchard. He reads the finest print without glasses, and never misses a rabbit or turkey at the distance of eighty yards with a rifle. He has a kind and friendly disposition, and has many friends. His judgment of men and things is astute, and he has a blunt way of talking and expressing himself, but his judgment is seldom at fault. He is a devoted Texan, and liberal in his views.