Local historians bring to life and honor historic heroines

The role of women in the Mexican-American War has been neglected by professional historians, but why continue the neglect? Two Texans living in the Rio Grande Valley, Donald Drefke and Joe Chance, intend to return the fair sex to their rightful place as heroic participants in the struggle. The Museum of South Texas History presents “Women of the Mexican-American War: 1846-1847,” part of the Sunday Speaker Series, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.

Donald Drefke answers the challenge to resurrect the legendary deeds of such American women as the Great Western and the collection of camp followers that shadowed the American Army on its advance into northern Mexico. To balance the presentation, Joe Chance presents diaries and letters of American fighting men who expressed in rapture the beauty and character of Mexican women. The senora's heroism on the battlefield caring for the wounded and dying of both armies was paraded in American newspapers and became the subject of such famous American poets as John Greenleaf Whittier, who immortalized the fair ladies in poetry and song. The presentation by Drefke and Chance is tailored to both amuse and educate.

Joseph E. Chance is a fifth generation Texan whose great-great-grandfather fought for Texas Independence in 1836 at San Jacinto and whose great-grandfather fought in the Civil War in 1862 at Shiloh. Chance is a retired professor of mathematics and the author of several books about Valley history.

Donald A. Drefke, CPA, is a Valley native who went to the new Edinburg High School on Country Club Drive in 1968-1972, graduated from Pan American University with an accounting degree and has practiced accounting for 40 years. Drefke also works as a historic re-enactor at several events and locations throughout the Valley. As a re-enactor he has volunteered for the last nine years at Palo Alto National Battlefield NHP at Brownsville.

Sunday Speakers Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of the Museum are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship.