Daughters of the Republic of Texas sue the Texas General Land Office

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas sued the state General Land Office, accusing the state agency of “an unlawful attempt” to take some 30,000 books and artifacts at the Alamo that the group says belong to the DRT.

The suit comes shortly after Land Commissioner George P. Bush decided to remove the Daughters as overseers of the Alamo, ending the nonprofit’s 110-year role there.

“In alarming fashion, the defendants have now unilaterally declared that Texas is the rightful owner of the DRT’s Library Collection,” the Daughters stated in a lawsuit filed Monday in Bexar County. “This attempt by the defendants to illegally claim ownership of the DRT’s Library Collection is an unconstitutional taking by the State of private property.”

You can read the details in an article by Scott Huddleston in the My San Antonio web site at http://goo.gl/9hRQrs.

16 Comments

Hmmm. This unpleasant situation seems to have been brewing for several years. As the article points out, the state legislature put the Alamo under the control of the State Land Office in 2011, and things seem to have been downhill since. This line http://www.mysanantonio.com/search/?action=search&channel=news%2Flocal&inlineLink=1&searchindex=gsa&query=%22DRT+Library%22 gives an overview of many articles about this broo-ha-ha in the My Antonio Express. I hope some of your DT subscribers, or others in Texas with more detailed knowledge, will chime in.

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Reblogged this on familytreegirldotcom and commented:
Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter is a good one to read. Weekly postings are very informative. Check out this newsletter about the DAR in Texas suing the Texas General Land office.

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I visited the Alamo several years ago to visit that piece of our history and was impressed with the many historical items and how the story was played out there. I was surprised how it was in the center of the city, surrounded by modern commercial district, but when inside, you were immediately taken back in time to the west when Texas was still “wild”. If the DAR in Texas was mismanaging this historic site, I could understand the takeover, but I did not see anything then that suggested a problem.

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All the money which will be spent in court could better have been spent on preservation and maintainance of this important collection. Typical of polititions.

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Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) is a completely different organization than the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). People posting here should be able to discern the difference and not make mistakes in nomenclature.

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Folks, I believe it is the organization Daughters of the Texas Republic (DTR) that is suing, not the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as some noted in their comments

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Who on earth ever said anything about the DAR in this story? I don’t see that in Dick’s article or on any of the replies. Yes–DT = Daughters of Texas. Not affiliated with the DAR. This is how rumors get started.

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I have a query into a shirt-sleeve relation and fairly in-the-know member of DT to get her take on this. I’ll report back if I learn anything new. Dick’s original article made it sound like the Texas Land Office just out of the blue swooped down and took everything from the DT Alamo Library like the Gestapo. Like everything in life, there are always two sides to a story. George P. Bush is the son of Jeb Bush, and was elected to the position of Texas Land Office Commissioner. It goes without saying that the Bush family has a long tradition of knowing how to build coalitions and get elected to office. It doesn’t make any political sense to go pick a fight with the Daughters of Texas for no good reason. There is more to this story, I am sure. I’d like to know why the Texas state legislature transferred management of the Alamo to the Land Office in 2011. What problem was this move supposed to fix? Does anyone know?

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I read several other articles. It seems Bush created a “newly organized Alamo Endowment Board. Its members include several prominent philanthropists and well-known political donors.” Sounds like political payoff to me. And what good would be site be without all those books & artifacts? So take ’em. How long before he proposes to turn the Alamo over to a private for-profit organization. Anyone want to take bets?

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    The Texas Legislature transferred the management of the Alamo to the Land Commissioner’s office in 2011. James P. Bush was elected as Land Commissioner in 2014. As genealogists, we examine time lines and facts, and don’t make assumptions not grounded in reality. We learn all the background and full story before making unfounded accusations.

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This is from wikipedia re: Tax General Land Office: “General Land Office, since 2011, manages the The Alamo in San Antonio.The management of The Alamo was transferred by the General Land Office after mismanagement issues were revealed by the prior manager, Daughters of the Republic of Texas.”

Please note again that James P. Bush was elected as Commissioner last year–in 2014–three years AFTER this transfer took place.

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The organization is called the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, abbreviated as DRT. The controversy began with infighting in the DRT. Some of the members were expelled and they revealed problems within the organization. The Alamo is almost 300 years old and is deteriorating. The Daughters weren’t properly maintaining the structure, it was alleged. There was water damage from a leaky roof and other problems with the building. There were other issues but the condition of the Alamo was the main one. One of the people most instrumental in removing the custodianship of the Alamo from the DRT was Leticia Van De Putte, a Democrat who is running for San Antonio mayor.

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The custodianship of the Alamo was give to the Texas Land Office in 2011 but the Daughters of the Republic of Texas still were allowed to help with the daily management. George P Bush removed them from any part at the Alamo because he felt that they were deficient in their job there. The DRT is a volunteer organization so they probably didn’t have the professional management skills that he wanted.

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The current controversy is over the ownership of the books and artifacts at the Alamo. Many items were donated to the Alamo over the years. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas say that the items were donated to them but the Texas Land Office claims that the State of Texas owns them. The State of Texas is the owner of the Alamo.

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Richard L. Hooverson, Belton, Texas March 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

As a Texan I believe that putting the Alamo under state control is long overdue! I was there last year at a peak time in the summer and was appalled by the whole scene. I was escorting foreign visitors who had a superficial knowledge of Texas history and we had to go to the nearby IMAX theater to see the Alamo film. There is no comfortable orientation at the Alamo, similar to presentations offered at many sites operated by the National Park Service. After winding our way through the clog of vendors in the run-down city park outside my hot and frustrated visitors took their place in the long lines. Inside the actual Alamo the docents tried to maintain an atmosphere of respect for the fallen.Inside the compound there was a cramped and second-rate display in the barracks building, and a talk being presented near a group of outdoor monuments. The restrooms were small and dirty, with a line at the Ladies, of course, and unsightly and over-priced soft drink machines. The worst was yet to come. The central building contained a large mock-up, under glass, of the Alamo as it was during the siege, complete with miniature soldiers swarming the barricades, which, apparently, was the “educational” part. However, it was surrounded by a garish gift shop hawking tourist trinkets (no doubt a good money-maker), and a small and poor selection of books on Texas history. The experience, taken as a whole, was a downer. It did not reflect well on the state of Texas, and did not honor the men who died there. The DRT is simply in over its head. Let us hope that the General Land Office is up to the task. As to the research collection, the DRT has a point–much of the material, I think, was given to the DRT, not the state, and some accommodation should be made. (PS: this struggle between the State and the DRT goes back the turn of the last century).

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I promised to get back to ya’ll once I heard from DT friend on her thoughts. Well…heard way may than I bargained for. She had never heard of Dick Eastman or this newsletter, but she has now All I can say from her many messages is that, yes, this mess has been brewing Texas Style for seven years. There are a lot of players, reasons and agendas going on. Nobody has clean skirts on this. I think Dick was a bit premature to say George P. Bush just kicked the DT out of the Alamo after two months in office for no reason. It’s way, way deeper than that.

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