| The Man:
George Washington Brackenridge was born in Warwick County, Indiana,
in January of 1832. He attended the University of Indiana, and Harvard
University. When his parents came to Texas
in 1853, they settled at Texana
(now a ghost town) in coastal Jackson
From 1857 to 1860 Brackenridge served as a Jackson
County surveyor and when the Civil War erupted, he started trading
cotton at Matamoros while his three
brothers served on active duty with the Confederate Army.
Early in the war Brackenridge claimed Union sympathies and was banished
from Texas. He became United States Treasury
agent in July of 1863, and worked in New Orleans after that city was
occupied by Federal forces.
At war’s end, Brackenridge moved to San
Antonio where he opened the San Antonio National Bank. He became
president of the San Antonio Water Works, director of the San Antonio
Express (the Express Publishing Company), served as a regent of the
University of Texas from 1886-1911 and even found time to serve as
president of the San Antonio school board.
Brackenridge, who never married, gave the bulk of his money (while
living) to colleges and universities in Austin,
San Antonio, Seguin
He once proposed that the main campus of UT be moved to 500 acres
on the Colorado River, which he had previously donated to the university.
Another gift was the park where his statue now sits. Incarnate Word
College bought the Brackenridge home which it continues to maintain.
He died in San Antonio
in the last days of 1920 and was buried in the Brackenridge family
cemetery near Edna.
San Antonio sculptor
had only finished the plaster mold of the work at the time of his
death in 1958. Adopted daughter Waldine Tauch negotiated with the
city to bring the project to completion. The plaster was shipped to
Italy for casting and when it arrived completed back in San
Antonio, the city government wouldn’t pay the $30,000 bill, but
forwarded it to Tauch. Tauch and the previous mayor hadn’t signed
the documents, which left the statue in limbo. Citizens of San
Antonio stepped forward and paid the money, allowing the statue
to be set in place in 1970.
Information from A Comprehensive Guide to Outdoor Sculpture in
Texas by Carol Morris Little.
the forehead of Mr. Breckenridge and the book he was holding were
“tagged” on the day of the photo.
Photo courtesy Terry
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