The Clara Driscoll Chapter, DRT, members met at Driscoll Children’s Hospital Saturday, April 12, 2014 to find on the agenda four outstanding speakers –the first speaker was Clara Driscoll Chapter member, Ellen Goodenough Royce, who spoke about her long line of ancestors, some of the men in her family serving in the American Revolution and Indian War. In particular she spoke about her Great Grandmother, Francis Collins and two of her maternal great grandfathers, John East and James Potter Collins.
The East and Collins families traveled among other states to arrive in Louisiana and Texas in those early frontier days where living was incredibly hard for a young woman, Frances Collins, with children left alone, except for three slaves who belonged to the Collins family. One of the slaves, Gilbert, was loyal and worked hard to raise cotton and protect his owners when James was away fighting in the Indian war. Gilbert, understandably much loved and cherished by the family, did what he could to protect his owner’s bride and children until her husband returned from the war. Frances was very frightened of the Indians and the many wild animals who menaced the small family group residing in this wild, new frontier.
Finally James Potter Collins returned to his family and homestead after the war, raising cotton for a crop which was a means of sustenance and a huge undertaking. There was no equipment in those days. The family traveled a large part of the country between the Red River area in Texas and Louisiana, eventually making Texas their home.
Before she died, Ellen’s Grandmother Frances wanted to leave a lasting memoir for her children and their descendants. Ellen remarked that what impressed her great grandmother Frances Collins most about her experiences was the fact that life on the frontier was a huge undertaking with so very little in return. Still, in retrospect, it seems to this author that Frances Collins left a host of outstanding descendants with whom to pattern their own lives.
Three other outstanding scholarships were awarded during the meeting. The “Teacher of the Year Award” from all the many DRT Districts and Chapters of the Texas statewide organization, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, was awarded to our own Corpus Christ 4th grade teacher at William Travis Elementary School, Laura E. Bunch. Although the Clara Driscoll Chapter submitted her name for selection to the State, the Daughters did not know at that time of this meeting she was to be the state-wide selection for the best Texas teacher award. The Chapter is deeply honored by her selection.
Another local Corpus Christi student, Jonathan Colonga, was awarded a Clara Driscoll Chapter DRT scholarship for his essay regarding William Travis, defender of the Alamo. Jonathan is the son of John and Laura Colonga, teachers themselves, at Travis Elementary School where Jonathan is a fourth grade student. He spoke enthusiastically about his subject. Laura E. Bunch, statewide DRT Teacher of the year, is his 4th grade teacher.
Madison Singh, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Singh and a student at Baker Secondary School, was awarded a scholarship from the Clara Driscoll Chapter DRT for her essay regarding William Travis, as well. She is a seventh grade student whose teacher is Tracy Barbierio.