Sunday, March 28, 2010

Door-to-door Fundraising

The State of Texas was prevented by its own Reconstruction-era constitution from appropriating monies to support a Confederate veterans’ home. Confederate veterans in Austin, Texas, raised enough money to buy and equip a seven-room house on fifteen acres near the state capitol in 1886, but the money necessary to run the institution was arriving in dribs and drabs.

In 1890, a committee of women from McKinney, Texas, proposed a plan for placing the institution beyond the need for piecemeal contributions:

“The coming month the ladies of the entire state will engage in work for the Confederate soldiers’ home and will endeavor to carry out the following program in every city, village and town in the state: Solicit from each merchant one per cent on October sales; solicit from teachers one nickel for each child in school; solicit from each farmer ten cents for each bale raised.”

“We cannot wait upon amendments to the constitution and state aid,” the women wrote. “These veterans are becoming aged and infirm and are rapidly perishing from among us in absolute want. [They are] frequently unattended because they are too proud to make known their condition and become objects of individual charity.”

Corporate contributions, individual gifts and money raised from benefits kept the Texas Confederate Home for Men afloat until the Texas legislature (in contravention of its own state constitution) appropriated funds in 1891

(See The Gazette (Fort Worth, Tex.), September 22, 1890.)

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