San Antonio undergoes a cleansing of historical markers tied to the Confederacy.
Targets of the purge include two buildings with markers, little more than plaques, commemorating a house where U.S. Army Major Robert E. Lee stayed while on deployment to the western frontier in the 1850s and another on the side of the historic county courthouse indicating that the “Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway” came through San Antonio.
County Judge Nelson Wolff and the commission voted on Tuesday to take down those markers, with Wolff calling them “symbols of hate.”
History tells us that a pair of markers were put on the side of the courthouse in 1936. One depicts a Confederate Flag, the first national flag rather than the battle flag, and the logo of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The other reads: “Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway, dedicated to the Soldiers of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the Confederacy, by the American Legion of the Central Council of Bexar County.”
The catch is, that highway only existed in the minds of the UDC and never served as a true national highway, stretching from Washington DC to San Diego but crossing through seven Confederate states before reaching Texas. Wikipedia reports a total of 19 markers in the state, along U.S. Highway 90, 290, and with some of I-35 between San Antonio and Austin.
The other marker, placed in 1956 at the Vance House on West Nueva Street at Main Street—a structure torn down to make way for the Federal Reserve Bank—reads: “Former Vance House and Federal Reserve Bank. This building stands on the site of the home of James Vance, in which from 1853 to 1860 Robert E. Lee was often an honored guest.” The Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed it there in 1956.
The text on both would indicate that they were produced and placed at no cost to the taxpayers.
A note of history: Lee ranked as the second in command of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Camp Cooper, Texas, in present-day Throckmorton County, north of Albany.
In a story in the San Antonio Express News, John Gonzalez reports that the markers will be replaced with two others – one a tribute to the nine governments of Bexar County since 1718, the other honoring Ricardo Rodriguez, plaintiff in a landmark 1897 federal court case that granted citizenship rights to Mexican immigrants.
A new interpretive marker is being considered to mark the Vance House site, paid for by descendants. The house was demolished in 1952 to make room for the former Federal Reserve Bank branch, now county-owned. No word on the fate that awaits the markers.
Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.