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The Texas Confederate Home for Men, 1884-1970

Description: Founded in 1886 by a local veteran’s organization, the Texas Confederate Home for Men served thousands of veterans throughout its tenure. State-run beginning in 1891, the facility became the center of controversy multiple times, with allegations of mistreatment of residents, misappropriation of funds, and unsanitary conditions in the home. Despite these problems, for several decades the home effectively provided large numbers of needy veterans with a place where they could live out their remaining years. The home was finally closed by the state in 1965, and the buildings were demolished in 1970. The facility’s success helped to inspire Texas to introduce a veteran pension system, and brought forth a new era in the state’s willingness to take care of veterans once their wars were over.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Kirchenbauer, Amy Sue
Partner: UNT Libraries

Continuity of Caste: Free People of Color in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans, 1804-1820

Description: Because of its trademark racial diversity, historians have often presented New Orleans as a place transformed by incorporation into the American South following 1804. Assertions that a comparatively relaxed, racially ambiguous Spanish slaveholding regime was converted into a two-caste system of dedicated racial segregation by the advent of American assumption have been posited by scholars like Frank Tannenbaum, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, and a host of others. Citing dependence on patronage, concubinage, and the decline in slave manumissions during the antebellum period, such studies have employed descriptions of the city’s prominent free people of color to suggest that the daily lives of non-whites in New Orleans experienced uniform restriction following 1804, and that the Crescent City’s transformation from Atlantic society with slaves to rigid slave society forced free people of color out of the heart of the city, known as the Vieux Carré, and into “black neighborhoods” on the margins of town. Despite the popularity of such generalized themes in the historiography, however, the extant sources housed in New Orleans’s valuable archival repositories can be used to support a vastly divergent narrative. By focusing on individual free people of color, or libres, rather than the non-white community as a whole, this paper seeks to show that free people of color were self determined in both public and private aspects of daily life, irrespective of governmental regime, and that their physical presence and political agency were not entirely eroded by the change in administration. Through evaluation of the geography of free black-owned properties listed in the city’s notarial archives, as well as baptisms, births, deaths, and marriages listed in archdiocese ledgers, I show that the family and community lives of free people of color in New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood appeared alive and well throughout the territorial period.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Foreman, Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Walling Family of Nineteenth-Century Texas: An Examination of Movement and Opportunity on the Texas Frontier

Description: The Walling Family of Nineteenth-Century Texas recounts the actions of the first four generations of the John Walling family. Through a heavily quantitative study, the study focuses on the patterns of movement, service, and seizing opportunity demonstrated by the family as they took full advantage of the benefits of frontier expansion in the Old South and particularly Texas. In doing so, it chronicles the role of a relatively unknown family in many of the most defining events of the nineteenth-century Texas experience such as the Texas Revolution, Mexican War, Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Close of the Frontier. Based on extensive research in census, tax, election, land, military, family paper, newspaper, and existing genealogical records; the study documents the contributions of family members to the settlement of more than forty counties while, at the same time, noting its less positive behaviors such as its open hostility to American Indians, and significant slave ownership. This study seeks to extend the work of other quantitative studies that looked at movement and political influence in the Old South, Texas, and specific communities to the microcosm of a single extended family. As a result, it should be of use to those wanting a greater understanding of how events in nineteenth-century Texas shaped, and were shaped by, families outside the political and social elite.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Cure, Stephen Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries

A General Diffusion of Knowledge: Republican Efforts to Build a Public School System in Reconstruction Texas

Description: From the early days as a Spanish colony Texas attracted settlers with the promise of cheap fertile land. During the period of Mexican control the population of Texas increased and a desire for public education manifested among the people. Through the end of the Civil War government in Texas never provided an adequate means for educating the children of the region. Even when funds became available with the Compromise of 1850 the state only established a school fund to help offset the costs of education, but did not provide a public school system. The first truly successful attempt at mass education in Texas came after the Civil War with the work of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The bureau helped the former slaves adjust to the emerging post war society through a variety of means such as education. In spite of its short existence the bureau managed to educate thousands of African Americans. By 1870 the former slaves wanted more education for their children, and Texans of all races began to see the need for a public school system. This study focuses on Republican efforts during Reconstruction to establish a public school system in Texas to meet the educational needs of its children. An analysis of data from county, state, and federal records forms the basis of this study. The data suggests that Republican efforts were hampered by the opposition of Texans to high taxes, compulsory education, racism, and animosity toward that party for emancipation and Civil War.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Hathcock, James A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Economic Mobility into the Planter Class in Texas, 1846-1860

Description: This study examines upward economic mobility into the planter class in Texas during the antebellum statehood period, 1846-1860. Using quantitative methods to analyze data from census and tax records, this study addresses several questions regarding the property owning experience of Texas planters. Did any of the 1860 planters, men or women, rise to that status from another class? If so, how many rose from small slaveholder or small planter origins, and how many advanced from plain folk origins? In what ways did the amount and nature of wealth of these individuals change in the period studied? In what ways do these findings provide insights into the debate over planter dominance versus ‘plain folk’ inclusive herrenvolk democracy and the relationship between the planters and the other classes? Did the experiences of female planters differ from that of male planters? Did female planter experiences in Texas differ from female planters in other parts of the Old South? The results of these questions demonstrate that economic class mobility into the richest class was significant but limited and that women’s experiences were closely tied to those of male kin.
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Date: December 2011
Creator: Nelson, Robert Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Child Rescue As Survival Resistance: Hidden Children in Nazi-occupied Western Europe

Description: The phenomenon of rescue organizations that devoted themselves specifically to hiding and saving Jewish children appeared throughout Nazi-occupied Western Europe (France, Belgium, and the Netherlands). Jewish and non-Jewish rescuers risked their lives to save thousands of children from extermination. This dissertation adds to the historiographical understanding of Holocaust resistance by analyzing the efforts of these child rescue organizations as a form of “survival resistance.” Researching the key aspects of traditional resistance (conscious intent, extensive organization, and effective turn-out) demonstrates that, while child rescue did not present armed resistance, it still was a form of active resistance against the Nazi Final Solution. By looking at rescuers’ testimonies and archival sources (from Yad Vashem, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, and Kazerne Dossin), this dissertation first outlines the extensive organization and intent of Jewish rescue groups, such as the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE) and Comité de défense des Juifs (CDJ), in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The second part looks at rescue organization and intent by Catholic, Protestant, and humanitarian groups. The dissertation concludes by discussing the effectiveness of organized child rescue. In the end, the rescue groups saved thousands of children and proofs that Child rescue in Nazi-occupied Western Europe was a valid--not to mention heroic--form of survival resistance.
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Date: August 2012
Creator: Decoster, Charlotte Marie-Cecile Marguerite
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment: the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment in the Civil War

Description: Of the roughly 3,500 volunteer regiments and batteries organized by the Union army during the American Civil War, only a small fraction has been studied in any scholarly depth. Among those not yet examined by historians was one that typified the western armies commanded by the two greatest Federal generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was at Fort Donelson and Shiloh with Grant in 1862, with Grant and Sherman during the long Vicksburg campaign of 1862 and 1863, and with Sherman in the Meridian, Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolinas campaigns in the second half of the war. These Illinois men fought in several of the most important engagements in the western theater of the war and, in the spring of 1865, were present when the last important Confederate army in the east surrendered. The Forty-fifth was also well connected in western politics. Its unofficial name was the “Washburne Lead Mine Regiment,” in honor of U.S Representative Elihu B. Washburne, who used his contacts and influences to arm the regiment with the best weapons and equipment available early in the war. (The Lead Mine designation referred to the mining industry in northern Illinois.) In addition, several officers and enlisted men were personal friends and acquaintances of Ulysses Grant of Galena, Illinois, who honored the regiment for their bravery in the final attempt to break through the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg. The study of the Forty-fifth Illinois is important to the overall study of the Civil War because of the campaigns and battles the unit participated and fought in. The regiment was also one of the many Union regiments at the forefront of the Union leadership’s changing policy toward the Confederate populace and war making industry. In this role the regiment witnessed the impact of President ...
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Mack, Thomas B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Old Alcalde: Oran Milo Roberts, Texas's Forgotten Fire-Eater

Description: Oran Milo Roberts was at the center of every important event in Texas between 1857 and 1883. He served on the state supreme court on three separate occasions, twice as chief justice. As president of the 1861 Secession Convention he was instrumental in leading Texas out of the Union. He then raised and commanded an infantry regiment in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, Roberts was a delegate to the 1866 Constitutional Convention and was elected by the state legislature to the United States Senate, though Republicans in Congress refused to seat him. He served two terms as governor from 1879 to 1883. Despite being a major figure in Texas history, there are no published biographies of Roberts. This dissertation seeks to examine Roberts's place in Texas history and analyze the factors that drove him to seek power. It will also explore the major events in which he participated and determine his historical legacy to the state.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Yancey, William C.
Partner: UNT Libraries