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Mary Jane Briscoe

Mary Jane Briscoe, previously Mary Jane Harris, was the daughter of John Richard Harris, the founder of Harrisburg, Texas. At the age of eighteen, she married Andrew Briscoe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a solider in the Battle of San Jacinto. The couple had five children, four of whom survived into childhood. Briscoe held several different jobs and was a part of several failed business ventures before he died in New Orleans in 1849 leaving Mary Jane with four small children and no means of support. Mary relied on the support of family members until she returned to Texas and “converted her husband’s fallow real estate and land certificates into revenue producing property.” In 1884, she became an honorary member of the Texas Veterans Association which she cared deeply about. While in her parlor in 1891, Mary and several friends established the Daughters of the Republic. Mary and the Daughters involvement with the Texas Veterans Association in effecting the purchase and designation of the San Jacinto Battle site was instrumental. A letter from Dr. L. D. Hill, state representative in 1897 credits the women for the success of “the first appropriation bill to purchase the ground where Texas liberty was won by the grandest set of Patriots in human history.”

This information is taken from “Women and the Texas Revolution,” edited by Mary L. Scheer and chapter by Laura Lyons McLemore.