12 May 1909: The Spirit of the Confederacy was erected from subscriptions from the Robert E. Lee Chapter #186 of the Daughters of the Confederacy, taking nine years to raise the necessary $7500. It was dedicated on 19 January 1908, the birthday of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) [and Stonewall Jackson (1821-1863) two days later], and it was given a very prominent position in Sam Houston Park. The sculptor was Louis Amateis, whose other works include Dignified Resignation, a similar statue in Galveston dedicated in 1912, and the Galveston Rosenberg Monument to the Heroes of the Texas Revolution. The confederate monument was put in place at a time in the history of Houston when the city was in the process of re-segregation. Separate street car compartments were mandated in 1903 marking their second-class status and a $2.50 poll tax was instituted in 1904, which disenfranchised many black Houstonians. The Daughters of the Confederacy was instrumental in the placement of monuments across the South promulgating the Lost Cause mythology (see below).
16 September 2016: Rising to a commanding height, the monument occupied a central location from its installation, but over the years was relocated more than once, always within the park boundaries. In the 1950’s it sat on the edge of the park where downtown workers leaving the city could hardly fail to see it [See postcard below]. Later the statue was relocated to a less prominent location nestled between the pond and the trees at the border of the park, its commanding pedestal removed. There it remained in near seclusion until public sentiment forced a removal from the public space on 19 June 2020, the date of which is pregnant with meaning. ”Juneteenth” had been celebrated in Texas since 1866 to commemorate the emancipation of slaves, and was made a national holiday on June 17, 2021. The monument will rest in a warehouse until it finds a permanent home at the Museum of African American History in Houston, 4807 Caroline, Houston, TX.
Postmarked: 12 May 1909; Houston, Tex.
Stamp: 1c Green Ben Franklin #374; Perfin “GH”
To: Mrs. C. L. Kerrick
Message: Houston 5/12/9
Dear Aunt Claire
Wish you could come down for my graduating recital. Hope all are well. Are you going to Seattle? Love
When the Robert E. Lee chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy in Houston began to consider erection of a confederate monument in about 1899, the president was Elizabeth “Bettie” Hutcheson (1851-1927). Born in Houston, she was the daughter of Judge Edward Albert Palmer (1825-1862), and the wife of Joseph Chappell Hutcheson (1842-1924), her second husband, founding partner of Hutcheson, Campbell & Myer [Benjamin Campbell (1858-1842) would become mayor of Houston 1913-1915; Sewell Sterling Myer (1872-1938), a Baylor Law graduate, was instrumental in the founding of Courtlandt Place and had a home there]. Bettie’s first marriage in 1872 was to Edward Milby (1846-1881), Confederate veteran of the 12th Regiment of the Young’s Texas Infantry, and brother of Charles Henry Milby (1852-1925) for whom Milby High School and Milby Street was named. Joseph Chappell Hutcheson, her second husband, was a double service Confederate veteran: 1) the 21st Virginia Infantry, and 2) 14th Virginia Infantry for which he served as an officer. Bettie was a dynamic woman, well-traveled and energetic, with considerable real estate holdings in Houston, for which she personally collected rents from her carriage. She helped her husband in his bid to become Texas Representative in 1880, Chair of the Democratic Party in 1890, and US congressman 1893-1897. As wife of two Confederate soldiers, she was the perfect choice for the president of the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Hattie was three days shy of her 25th birthday when she wrote this postcard as the wife of Joseph Thompson Qualtrough, and they lived at 3114 Smith on the northwest corner of Elgin and Smith. What conservatory she graduated from is not known from current online records, nor whether her field of study was voice or a musical instrument. Hattie was the daughter of Josiah Danes Waters and Katherine Kerrick, who was the older sister of Charles Lafayette Kerrick. Aunt Claire was Daisy Claire Earhart, wife of Doctor Charles Lafayette Kerrick and daughter of Francis Marion Earhart and Delia Smith. Daisy’s sister was Blanche Earhart, who became a teacher in Seattle, mentioned briefly in the postcard as a possibility for travel.
Hattie knew Aunt Clair from her youth in Illinois when she lived in Brocton, Edgar County, IL about 20 miles southwest of Chrisman, IL where Aunt Claire and Uncle Charles lived. Edgar County was located between Champaign, IL and Terre Haute, IN, and Clair’s father Frank Earhart was one of the founding settlers in Chrisman, coming to the area in 1873 to work as a blacksmith, and living out his years there. Brocton was where Uncle Charles practiced medicine, and another uncle, Henry Clay Kerrick, also practiced medicine in Edgar County. Just west of Chrisman in Young America was where Silas Waters and Jane Danes settled after his Civil War Service in the 78th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Infantry, and where he raised Josiah Danes Waters and his 7 brothers and sisters.
Josiah helped his father around the farm as a youth, and once married he lived in Douglas County, IL just north of where he had grown up. His daughters were born in Illinois: Gertrude in 1875 and Hattie in 1884, but by 1895 he had taken up the trade of plasterer and moved to Houston. He and his son-in-law Benjamin Franklin Secor, who married Gertrude about 1895, worked for William Edward Humphreville (1856-1930) in his company that contracted plastering services, and Secor became foreman there before 1903.
Hattie married Joseph Thompson Qualtrough September 12, 1900 just 4 days after the Galveston Hurricane scoured the Gulf Coast. Joseph was son of Walter Qualtrough and Annie Elizabeth Willen. Qualtrough was from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea between Ireland, Scotland, and England. He immigrated to Ontario, Canada where in 1875 married the daughter of Francis Willen of Fort Erie, Welland, Ontario across the Niagara River from Buffalo. His brother Richard Goddard Qualtrough immigrated about the same time, but to Fort Bend County, TX where he married Matilda Schwerin in 1878, but in due course found his way to Houston where he raised his family. Richard and Walter were the sons of John Qualtrough and Emma Thompson from Andreas in the north of the Isle of Man.
Joseph Qualtrough came to Houston in 1897 with his widowed father to join his Uncle Richard. Joseph’s father had worked for the railroad in Canada, then for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Houston, so he soon found work for his son there. By 1918 Joseph had attained the rank of secretary and manager of the Sunset Lines of the Southern Pacific Railroad with an office in the Southern Pacific Building at Travis and Franklin, one of Houston’s first office buildings with an air conditioning system. In 1925 at the age of 48, Joseph succumbed to the flu and meningitis and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. They had no children.
Before 1930 she moved to Colorado Springs, CO with her widowed sister Gertrude Secor, finding lodging at a small hotel, where she met a Scottish tailor, Archibald Alexander Mackenzie, and married him on 8 May 1934. They stayed in Colorado Springs though 1945 when her sister Gertrude Secor died in there, and as late as 1956 was there with Alex Mackenzie. Hattie eventually returned to Houston where she died in a nursing home in 1970 of kidney disease at the age of 88. She was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, joining many relations: her mother Kate Kerrick Waters (1856-1926) and her father Josiah Danes Waters (1847-1916); her brother-in-law, Benjamin Franklin Secor (1865-1921) and sister Gertrude Waters Secor (1875-1945). Hattie had no children from her two marriages. Her father-in-law Walter Qualtrough (1853-1934) was buried in Forest Park Lawndale.
Aunt Daisy Clara Earhart Kerrick (1875-1961) and Uncle Charles Lafayette Kerrick (1868-1952) are buried in Woodland Cemetery in Chrisman, Edgar County, IL . Her grandfather John William Kerrick, a Mexican War Veteran from Co F., Tennessee Infantry, (1832-1910) was buried in New South Park Cemetery, Martinsville, Morgan County, IN and her grandmother Sarah Luttrell Kerrick (1837-1880) was buried in Payne Cemetery, Brocton, Edgar County, IL.
The Gulf Freeway was constructed in stages from 1948 through 1952, and the bridge portion of that highway overlooks the park where it spans Buffalo Bayou. From the vantage point of the bridge, the statue is clearly visible adjacent to what was then called Buffalo Drive (later called Allen Parkway), visible to the thousands of motorists leaving the downtown district on their daily commute. The choice of this location may have been intended to increase its visibility to motorists at a time when confederate monuments across the country were given prominent positions within civic spaces.
1. Spirit of the Confederacy, Confederate Monument, 1908;
2. 901 Bagby: City Hall, 12 floors, 1939;
3. 901 Rusk: The Gulf Building Annex, 16 floors, 1946-49;
4. 712 Main: Gulf Building, 36 floors, 1929;
5. 808 Travis: Niels Esperson Building, 32 floors, 1927;
6. 815 Walker: Mellie Esperson Building, 19 floors, 1941;
7. 910 Travis: Bank of the Southwest (Bank One Center, 919 Milam), 24 floors, 1956;
8. 1010 Louisiana: Memorial Professional Building;
9. 1006 Main: Commercial and Industrial Life Insurance Company (C & I Life), 20 floors, 1926-1985.