History

The Cradle: Birthplace of Daughters of the Republic of Texas

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Galveston Island’s The Cradle is the little known, historic building where the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) was founded. While there are many historic home tours available for Galveston visitors, few people realize this unassuming one-story house, located behind a white picket fence in an older part of town, is an important Texas site.

It was here that Betty Ballinger (1854-1936) and her cousin, Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry, started DRT in 1891. The organization was dedicated to honoring the memory of the heroes of San Jacinto and the Republic of Texas.

The Cradle: Birthplace of Daughters of the Republic of Texas

Photo: Jo Ann Holt

Ballinger’s maternal grandfather, William Houston Jack, fought at the battle of San Jacinto. Her father Sam Ballinger was issued the state’s first law license. Betty was raised in “The Oaks,” the Ballinger home at Avenue O and 29th Street in Galveston.

Betty and her cousin were moved to start the organization after discovering two Texas patriots (David G. Burnet, first President of the Republic of Texas, and Sidney Sherman, a San Jacinto battle veteran) were buried in an old Galveston cemetery with little recognition of their service.

Support for DRT from Influential Texas Women

The Cradle: Birthplace of Daughters of the Republic of Texas

Photo: Jo Ann Holt

The cousins solicited support from such women as Mary Smith Jones, widow of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. Along with Mary Harris Briscoe, widow of another Texas patriot, they organized the DRT in 1891. Mrs. Jones served as President of the organization. Their first task was removing the remains of Burnet and Sherman to a new Galveston cemetery.

In 1894 a 23-foot stone obelisk was placed in memorial of the two Texas patriots. The Galveston chapter was named the Sidney Sherman Chapter, the first chapter in the fledgling society. It was headquartered in Sam Ballinger’s old law library. Once a separate building on The Oaks property, the house is located at 2902 Avenue O ½ in Galveston.

The Cradle Museum Open for Tours

The Cradle: Birthplace of Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Photo: Jo Ann Holt

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