Reluctant Confederates: The Civil War in North Texas explores Texans’ attitudes toward secession

By North Texas History Center
Feb 19, 2009

The Reluctant Confederates: The Civil War in North Texas on exhibit at the North Texas History Center, 300 E. Virginia just off the historic McKinney downtown square.  

The exhibit explores the discrepancy of Texans’ attitudes toward secession.  A variety of letters from founding North Texas families such as the Wilmeths and the Coits help illustrate the philosophical, emotional, spiritual and physical challenges faced by both the men who left for the battlefield and the women who stayed behind to tend to the day-to-day business of the farm or homestead.  Photographs, maps and artifacts bring these stories to life and provide a glimpse of those difficult war years.

An addition to this year’s exhibit is a replica of the plaster death mask made of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The mask, which is on loan to NTHC from a private collection, is a copy of the one done by Clark Mills immediately upon General Lee’s death.  In 1925, a copy of the mask was given to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.  Another fascinating artifact in the exhibit is a violin hand-painted with the Confederate flag.  Some soldiers brought their musical instruments with them to help pass the time.

Secession across the South was by no means a unanimous decision.  Contrary to popular belief, throughout the South there were those who felt favorably toward secession and those who believed in staying with the United States.  In Texas, 46,153 citizens voted for secession, while 14,747, or roughly 24% voted to stay with the Union.  In Collin County the vote looked much different.  Of the 1,353 votes cast, 405 were pro-secession and 948, or nearly 70%, were against secession.

Come discover how the Civil War impacted North Texas and how we remember it by visiting The Reluctant Confederates  exhibit at the North Texas History Center.  The center is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.; the exhibit continues through June 12, 2009.  Admission is Family $8, Adult $4, Children $2.

About North Texas History Center — Since 1957 the Collin County Historical Society has been dedicated to preserving and collecting items related to North Texas history.  In 1982 CCHS was able to expand its scope and began exhibiting North Texas history in its newly acquired museum. Today the North Texas History Center shares local history with students from across North Texas, and with visitors from around  the world. Through its thoughtfully created interpretive exhibits NTHC is fulfilling its goal to share history and help visitors of all ages make meaningful connections between the past and present.  NTHC is located at 300 E. Virginia just east of the square in downtown McKinney.  For additional information contact North Texas History Center at 972.542.9457 or visit our website


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