The History of the ADDA
Lee Spencer-White still remembers her first visit to the Alamo at the age of 8. She remembers how her eyes filled with tears as she heard of the fate of those heroic defenders. She remembers going outside a few moments later and gazing up at the names on the cenotaph. While scanning the names on the memorial, the name Gordon C. Jennings, caught her attention. The name Jennings was a familiar family name. For a brief moment, she wondered if there was any relationship. She never dreamed that years later she would discover that she was a direct descendant of this same Gordon C. Jennings.
Mrs. Jack Mitchell, a family member and genealogist, approached Lee in 1985 with documents she had collected through many years of research. These documents proved Lee's direct link to Gordon C. Jennings. Moved by emotion and desiring to contribute to the Alamo and its history, Lee inquired as to how to join the Alamo family group. She was informed there was no Alamo family group. The only Alamo organizations known at the time were the "Old Three Hundred" and the "Daughters of the Republic of Texas." She joined the DRT and became the Third-Vice President on the Board of Management in 1993.
It was a turbulent year in 1993 for the Alamo Plaza. Some critics were threatening to remove the cenotaph. Lee attended many meetings where local businessmen and politicians were attempting to decide the fate of the hallowed ground. At that moment she felt that true defender descendants should have a voice. She believed they should be included in all the decision-making where the Alamo and its battleground were concerned.
Lee contacted Linda Tart, Pat Jackson and Amy Edison. With their help, Lee founded the ADDA in 1994.
Significant Dates for the ADDA
- ADDA was represented on the History Channel presentation, "THE ALAMO,"
which has appeared across the country and around the world.
- Began the arduous task of making corrections to the Alamo Defender's
list which is an ongoing task. (If you have probate or other documents
pertaining to your ancestor, please mail copies to Lee Spencer-White.)
- Lee Spencer-White was appointed by the Walker family to chair the Walker
gravesite committee. Pat and Linda were also members of this committee.
- Save Texas Cemeteries appointed Lee Spencer-White to chair a special committee
concerning San Fernando Cathedral.
- The ADDA was represented at the unveiling of the Adina de Zavala
marker on Alamo Plaza. (Adina de Zavala was one of the early Alamo
- Lee represented the ADDA on Texas Independence Day in New Braunfels.
She read the Travis letter to the gathering.
- ADDA was represented by Lee, her husband, and their infant daughter at
Brackettville "Alamo Village." They gave a one-hour Alamo history lesson
to a private school. The children were very enthusiastic.
- Linda Halliburton and Pat Jackson joined Lee in the awesome task of
restoring the Walker gravesite and saving the 101-acre historic cemetery
district which contains the graves of such notables as Sam Maverick, Texas
Ranger Rip Ford, as well as Buffalo soldiers.
- Began work on a project started in 1995 to mark the second Alamo Defender funeral pyre site.
- City of San Antonio declared March 8, 1999 as Alamo Defender's Descendants Day.
(Suggested Reading: For further info on Captain Samuel H. Walker, Texas Ranger Tales, by Mike Cox; other books mentioning descendants are: Alamo Legacy by Ron Jackson, Alamo Almanac by Bill Chemercka, and The Search for an Alamo Soldier by Bob and Doris Bowman. Another excellent source is Three Roads to the Alamo by William Davis and for viewing, "The Alamo" by the History Channel.)
- ADDA B.O.M. chairwoman traveled Texas speaking to school children on Alamo history.
- City of San Antonio declared March 7, 1999 to be Alamo Defenders Descendants Day.
- Over $5,000 was raised to restore Captain Sam Walker's gravesite.
- City of San Antonio proclaimed March 4, 2000 to be Alamo Defenders Descendants Day.
- ADDA B.O.M. "History Team" researched 13 Texas counties for new defenders.
- ADDA added new defender names to the Alamo Defender list.
- City of San Antonio proclaimed March 3, 2001 to be Alamo Defenders Descendants Day.