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San Marcos Public Library
625 E. Hopkins St.
Answers to Go
Q.I just moved to San Marcos from New Hampshire. Since this is Women’s History Month, I would like to learn more about the history of women in San Marcos.
A. The library has quite a bit of information about San Marcos women, found both online at the library’s website sanmarcostx. gov/library and from files available by request from the library’s Texas History Room.
Who was the town’s first businesswoman?
In 1998, when “The Free Press” first began assembling its county sesquicentennial edition, “Celebrate San Marcos 150!” (three years before its publication in 2001) they struggled with the answer to this question. Because of the general lack of historical information regarding women, but particularly women of color, their struggle makes sense. They did come up with two possible candidates for this honor, but because of the lack of information, it may be likely that a Hispanic, indigenous or black woman should have this honor. However, the two candidates named in the article are definite contenders. The first woman named is Mrs. Phoebe Faylor. As “The Free Press” wrote in “Celebrate San Marcos 150!” she was married to a man who “ran a saloon on the east side of the square where Valentino’s Pizza Parlor is located today. Mike Faylor saw a business opportunity when Henry McCullock’s Ranger detachment was stationed along the right bank of the San Marcos River in 1846. Mike probably could not have managed without help from Phoebe…” The other woman noted in the publication is Queen Lindsey (yes, that was her legal name). Prior to 1872, Queen, one of four children by William Lindsey, a founder of San Marcos, “took a hand in the family’s real estate affairs early on and took over entirely after her brothers died. Henceforth, she was wheeling and dealing in San Marcos real estate until her demise in the early twentieth century. Buried in the San Marcos Cemetery, the years of her birth and death are illegible on her tombstone.” The article concludes with the statement that “until a more compelling case can be made for someone else, Queen Lindsey, a realtor, appears to have been San Marcos’ first businesswoman.” If you or your family have another candidate for “First businesswoman in San Marcos” that predates 1850, let us know.
Who was Tula Townsend Wyatt?
In the library’s Texas History Room are rows upon rows of filing cabinets filled with information about San Marcos, collected and donated by local historian Tula Townsend Wyatt. When searching the library’s catalog at hank.ci.san-marcos.tx.us:8080/#section=home anything you see that begins with “TTWC” is from a file that was donated by Tula. As a local historian, Tula not only collected newspaper articles, photographs and other ephemera related to San Marcos, she interviewed people and recorded their oral histories and wrote articles for the “Handbook of Texas” (found at tshaonline. org/handbook) published by the Texas State Historical Association. She created several wonderful scrapbooks that are in the library’s collection. Tula Townsend Wyatt created a legacy that is a true gift to the people of San Marcos.
Suzanne Sanders is the columnist for the library. She is the Community Services Manager for the San Marcos Public Library and came from the Austin Public Library in 2015 after having served there as a librarian for over 20 years. She gratefully accepts your questions for this column.