Hays resident receives Yellow Rose of Texas Award

Jo Ann Elam Hearn stands with her family holding the plaque that designates her as a Governor’s Yellow Rose of Texas Award recipient. PHOTO COURTESY OF MOON-MCGEHEE CHAPTER DAUGHTERS OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS

Jo Ann Elam Hearn, long-time resident of Hays County, receives the Governor’s Yellow Rose of Texas Award during the October meeting of the Moon-McGehee Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas. This award is given only through the Office of the Governor to recognize women for their significant contributions to their communities and to Texas in the preservation of Texas history, the accomplishments of our present and the building of the future.

Hearn was born in Luling and lived in Staples on the family farm until she graduated from Prairie Lea High School. As a teenager, she started her volunteer work in her local church. As a young mother she volunteered as a Sub Scout leader, room mother and Sunday School teacher at her church and working at the annual Hays County Youth Show.

As a member of the local Daughters of the American Revolution, Hearn purchased trees and shrubs to give to the city of San Marcos for parks and street medians. She was instrumental in getting a new city library built in San Marcos. She has served on the San Marcos Library board. One accomplishment was starting the first children’s reading program. Later a large display case was added to the library and she was responsible for displays.

Hearn was a charter member of Hays County Historical and Genealogical Society which was active from 1967 until 1979. In 1975, she became involved with the Heritage Association of San Marcos who at the time was preparing for the United States Bicentennial celebration. She became a “Bicentennial Belle” and helped to raise funds for a Bicentennial celebration for the city of San Marcos. She also served on the Heritage Association which helped restore The Charles S. Cock Home and participated in the annual Tour of Historic Homes in San Marcos as a docent.

In the late 1980s, Hearn was appointed to the Hays County Historical Commission where she served on the Cemetery Committee. Her project was to locate all the cemeteries in Hays County, copy all the inscriptions, type them into a computer and publish the records that had been found. Instead of finding 20 to 30 cemeteries they found 80. Two volumes were published from this project. Soon afterwards the committee decided to copy inscriptions from some cemeteries in Blanco, Travis, Comal, Guadalupe and Caldwell counties. Five booklets were published from this research. As a result of her work on the committee, she was asked to testify before the Texas Legislature in regards to protecting cemeteries on private land, making it illegal to destroy the small burial sites. While on the Historical Commission, she served as the Committee Chairman of the “Save Carroll Hall” committee. She worked diligently to try and stop Texas State University from tearing down the historical San Marcos Academy building. For her work, she was presented the Committee Chairman of the Year Award by the Texas Historical State Commission.

In the 1990s, Hearn became a member of the Moon-Mc-Gehee Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Her project for the DRT chapter is the Medallion Committee doing research to find descendants of citizens, patriots and veterans who lived during the time of the Republic. Once found, she and the chapter place medallions at these

San Marcos Daily Record

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