Heritage, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1986 Page: 13
rip-roaring gun-toting, devil-may-care cowboys.
Cattlemen, trail-drivers and settlers
(men!) were not overlooked; and riding herd
on the bunch was that valorous body of gallant
peace officers, the famous Texas
Rangers. I laughed, wept, applauded, grew
nostalgic, and sometimes critical over it all.
But now, after fourteen years or more in
the limelight, the dust from the old cattle
trails seems to be settling down; the clatter of
hooves and whoops and guns, the jangle of
spurs and traces, the yip-i-yees of cowboys
are growing dim. Can it be that "beddingdown"
time is approaching for this all-male
cast? That a few curious souls are wondering
where the numerous progeny of those early
day "he-men" came from? If they sprang miraculously
into being without benefit of
mothers, or just popped up like rain lilies, or
like little toads that often appear after a
down-pour and go hopping about? Who fed
'em and clothed 'em, protected 'em from the
Indians while dads were away, trained and
educated 'erm? Who refereed their fights,
dried their tears, wiped their noses, heard
their prayers, and tucked them into their
The teasing thought keeps occurring that
this may be the opportune time for a small
but firm voice to be heard proclaiming: "All
Texians Were Not Males": for an audience
to become interested in evidence that a
most essential ingredient of the Texas
'melting pot" has long been overlooked
bv writers; evidence as varied and colorful
as Texas weather or woman herself."
Jane Y. McCallum
by Bobby Duncan
Jane Yelvington McCallum's hope that
women in Texas history would at last be
properly recognized may have been, if not
overly optimistic, a bit premature. Even
now, more than 30 years after she expressed
in her unpublished manuscript,
All Texians Were Not Males, that beddingdown
time for Texas' all-male cast may
have come at last, the state's founding
mothers seem to still be getting short
Even as the centennial celebrations of
1936 and 1946 singled out the male heroes,
so, too, does the Sesquicentennial
seem to exhalt only the men of Texas' legendary
past. This exclusionary treatment
was personified by the Sesquicentennial
reenactment of the Archive War of 1842
staged in downtown Austin last January.
Two chapters of the Sons of the Republic
of Texas portrayed the famous wrangling
that occurred when Sam Houston dispatched
a group of men to retrieve the
fledgling Republic's archives from Austin
and move them to his namesake city,
Houston. Their efforts were halted primarily
by the quick action of Mrs.
Angelina Eberly, who altered the townspeople
by firing a cannon. Yet the men
restaging that event left the role of Mrs.
Eberly, the pivotal figure in saving the archives
and keeping Austin as the capitol
city, entirely out of the reenactment.
No doubt McCallum would have
winced if she could have foreseen this
portrayal, because Angelina Eberly was
among the female Texians she had profiled
in her unpublished manuscript. She
might have also cringed at a three-hour
parade on March 2, 1986 in Austin that
confined the role of women to beauty
queens, wives of state dignitaries, and inexplicably,
the only female historical figure
portrayed to Martha Washington.
Yet throughout the long period of omission,
the "small but firm voice" has steadily
proclaimed that all Texians, and Texans,
were not males. And during the
Sesquicentennial a few universities, historical
associations, and institutions,
most notably the Star of the Republic
Museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos,
have presented exhibits and conferences
about Texas women. Recently, McCallum
herself, who was a suffragist leader and
Texas' longest-serving Secretary of State,
has also been profiled by those seeking to
reconstruct the missing portion of our
state's history. And, as McCallum also intimated
in the introduction to All Texians
Were Not Males, evidence continues to
mount that Texas women are indeed as
colorful as any other essential ingredient
in the state's history.
As a consequence of this ongoing
movement to pay tribute to Texas
women, writer Frances Tarlton McCallum,
who was married to Jane's youngest
son, Henry, asked family members to
look for the unpublished manuscript last
year. Janet Poage, who was Jane's niece,
rummaged through the storage room of
her West Austin home and finally un
covered in a cardboard packing box a carbon
copy of the manuscript that had been
missing for almost 30 years. Poage, married
to a military career man, Col. Oren
Poage, had unknowingly carted the
manuscript with her from Washington
D.C. to Alabama, to Germany, back to
Washington, and then to Delaware and
Bermuda before returning home to
The strange odyssey of the forgotten
manuscript is not too unlike that of
the Texas Declaration of Independence,
which McCallum had discovered shortly
after becoming Secretary of State in
1927. While investigating the contents of
a vault in her Capitol office, she found a
rusty tin box. The box contained a scroll
of rapidly decaying paper with a message
inscribed on the outside of the document:
"Left at the Department of State May 28,
1836, by Mr. Wharton. The original."
After its signing on March 2, 1836, all
copies of the Texas declaration had disappeared.
The document McCallum
stumbled across had been missing for
more than 90 years and was generally believed
to have been destroyed in one of
the Capitol fires. It had first lain unnoticed
in the U.S. State Department in
Washington D.C. for 60 years. Returned
to Texas in 1896, the document was again
stored away and forgotten until McCallum
discovered it unexpectedly more than
30 years later. After finding the scroll,
McCallum undertook a two-year study to
determine the best methods for the document's
restoration and display in the State
Although she would always claim that
saving the Texas Declaration of Independence
was her biggest contribution to the
state, McCallum was to leave a legacy of
several outstanding accomplishments.
Her active participation in the suffrage
movement helped Texas women gain the
right to vote in primary elections two
years before the federal amendment for
woman sufferage became part of the U.S.
Constitution in 1920. She also headed a
social reform movement, dubbed the
"Petticoat Lobby," that became one of the
most powerful lobbying groups in the history
of the Texas legislature.
Yet when she came to Austin with her
husband in 1903, no one would have
guessed the mark this young, softspoken,
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1986, periodical, 1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45442/m1/13/ocr/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.