Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 1, Number 2, Fall, 1989 Page: 31
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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Honoring the Past
Confederate Monuments in Dallas
By Steve Butler
O THE PEOPLE OF DALLAS even seventyfive
years ago, the Civil War was a relatively
recent event. Their fathers and grandfathers
had actually participated in that great national
conflict, and well into this century the veterans
themselves could still be seen on the streets of the
city. A desire to honor those who fought in the
War inspired several monuments which,
although often overlooked, are still part of the
In post-bellum Dallas, more typically
Southern then than now, those who had "worn
the gray" outnumbered Union veterans. During
the 1890s, the two Dallas posts of the Grand
Army of the Republic jointly numbered fewer
than 200 members, many of whom actually
resided outside the city. In contrast, the Dallas
camp of the United Confederate Veterans
counted between 350 and 400 members during
this period.1 The ex-Confederates also constituted
most of the civic leadership in Dallas in the
late nineteenth century. Thus, not surprisingly, it
was the Confederate veterans who tended to be
The veterans themselves planned to erect a
monument "in the city of Dallas to the Confederate
dead of all armies, commemorative of their
heroic deeds." This was one of the objects outlined
at the organizational meeting of Camp Sterling
Price, No. 11, U. C. V. in October, 1889.2 As
it happened, however, the principal monument
was commissioned by the Dallas chapter of the
Daughters of the Confederacy, who began raising
funds shortly after their organization in 1894. By
sponsoring concerts, providing dinners, and
benefiting from special days at the State Fair, the
Daughters raised $4500 by January 1, 1896.
Sculptor Frank Teich of San Antonio entered the
winning design, and a Nashville, Tennessee, firm
submitted the low construction bid at $17,000.
The Daughters continued their fund raising
efforts, and by the time of the unveiling in City
Park in April, 1897, they were within $500 of their
Unlike most Confederate monuments found
in Texas, usually a lone soldier atop a short pedestal
on the court house lawn, the Dallas monument
is quite elaborate. Located atop the 25 ft. shaft
stands an 8/2 ft. tall statue of a Confederate soldier,
facing south, said to be the likeness of Lt.
Robert Hickman Gaston. The brother of Dallas
banker and civic leader Capt. William Henry
Gaston, the lieutenant was killed in action at the
Battle of Sharpsburg, carrying a Lone Star flag
supposedly made in part of silk from the wedding
gown of Mrs. Jefferson Davis.4 At the monument's
base are four more statues, one at each
corner; they are life-sized representations of Confederate
President Jefferson Davis and Generals
Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Albert
Sidney Johnston. Inscriptions on the four sides of
the plinth pay tribute to the Confederate infantry,
cavalry, and navy, as well as the Daughters who
commissioned the monument. The monument
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 1, Number 2, Fall, 1989, periodical, 1989; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35123/m1/33/?rotate=90: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.