We all know there’s something special about a Texas mom. She’s tough as nails and sweet as the most sugary of ice teas. She’s the one who instilled in you your love for the Lone Star State, taught you the Texas way of life and has always had a love for you as big as the state. So in honor of all the moms out there, here’s a list of Strong Texas moms who made a difference in Texas history.
Claudia Alta Taylor
Best known as “Ladybird Johnson,” she was basically Texas’s own Mother Nature. Take a look at any highway, and you can see her legacy in the form of thousands blooming wildflowers. During her time as First Lady of the United States, she was an advocate for the environment, and her impact on Texas includes the Highway Beautification Act, helping to open Enchanted Rock to the public and establishing Lady Bird Lake in Ausitn. Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin to frolic in the hundreds of wildflowers she helped plant across Texas.
Wilhelmina Ruth Delco
When it comes to her children, a mom won’t let anything get in her way — and Wilhelmina proves just that. She was a very involved mother of four children, which is what lead to her work on numerous PTA boards and eventual appointment as the first African American member of the Austin ISD school board. But her achievements didn’t stop there. After not seeing the changes in education she hoped for, in 1974 she became the first African American in Travis County elected to the Texas House of Representatives and eventually became the first woman appointed Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. You can find more about her at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in Denton.
Mary Kay Ash
Chances are, if you live in Texas, you already know about Mary Kay makeup, the Dallas-based beauty empire that’s taken over the world — and your mom probably wears it. After realizing one too many times that her ideas weren’t being heard in a male-dominated workplace, Mary Kathlyn Wagner, with the help of her son, started her own pink-hued business in 1963 based on empowering women to reach their full potential. In its 55 years of business, the company has created opportunities for millions of women and sold its products across five different continents. In 1999, Mary Kay was named “Texas Woman of the Century” for her entrepreneurial efforts. Visit the Mary Kay Museum in Dallas to learn more about this powerful mom and entrepreneur.
Angelina is most famously known as the “Savior of Austin.” She was the owner of an inn Sam Houston frequented. During the Archive War of 1842, she realized that President Houston was trying to secretly move the federal government archives from Austin to Houston, thus relocating the capital. So she fired a cannon, alerting the rest of the town and stopping the relocation. Visit her statue in Austin marking the cannon’s location between 6th & 7th Street.
Juanita Craft may not have had any children of her own, but she described herself as having “adopted the world.” She worked to desegregate many restaurants and businesses in Dallas, including the State Fair of Texas, University of North Texas and UT El Paso. She also organized 182 branches of the Texas NAACP and was the first African American woman to vote in Dallas county. Learn more about her and her many works by touring her home.
Paula Losoya Taylor
Paula’s efforts helped establish the town of Del Rio during the 1800s, when women’s rights were scarce. When she and her husband first moved to the area known as “San Felipe” in the 1870s, they helped construct irrigation canals, and opened a plantation with multiple mills, a gin and a candy factory. After her husband’s death in 1876, she continued to run their businesses, secured military support against Indian attacks, established schools and churches in town, and cared for various children on her plantation, which soon became the center of town. Stop by the historical marker at the Taylor-Rivers house in Del Rio to learn about this strong women who was a political force.
Mary Ann Goodnight
The wife of famous cattle rancher, Charles Goodnight, was called, “Mother of the Texas Panhandle” by the dozens of cowboys she took under her care on the trail. Yet, it wasn’t only cowboys Mary Ann had a soft spot for. After noticing bison calves left alone when hunters killed adult bison, she encouraged Charles to adopt them so she could care for them on their land. And thus began the Official State Bison Herd, which still roams Caprock Canyon State Park today.
This mom made huge strides in journalism and in Texas. In 1955, she was the first Texan to win a Pulitzer Prize after exposing the corrupt dealings of local politician George B. Parr and his organization. Despite the fact that another reporter researching the story was murdered and multiple warnings from Texas Rangers about her safety, Brown pressed on, finishing the story and breaking up Parr’s organization. You can learn about her and other incredible women who made history at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame.
Margaret Theresa Robertson Wright
You can’t have a blog about Texas moms without including the “Mother of Texas,” herself. Margaret was awarded this title by Sam Houston after she secretly cared for soldiers after the Goliad Massacre by hiding medicine and supplies for them. She also stole a gun from the Mexican soldiers encamped on her land for the Texans. In 1842, she was the first woman to divorce her husband in Texas after he hurt her and her son. You can find her grave in the Evergreen Cemetery.