Now, we’re hearing how she earned the nickname, “Angel of the Alamo.”
“In her mind, it wasn’t just exclusively where a battle had been fought”, said Rudi Rodriguez, the president and founder of Texastejano.com.
He said it was “more about all of the missions that had been built by the Franciscans and the Spanish.”
After realizing the missions in San Antonio were falling apart, De Zavala knew she had to preserve history for generations to come.
But she couldn’t do it alone.
“Adina then meets this wonderful, beautiful young woman by the name of Clara Driscoll from Corpus (Christi). She’s a philanthropist, an heiress to a very large ranching empire,” Rodriguez said.
Driscoll and De Zavala became good friends, frequently meeting at places like the Menger Hotel downtown.
Driscoll ended up giving De Zavala $75,000 to purchase the Convento — the Alamo’s long barracks.
However, the state assumed the purchase and refunded Driscoll her money.
Then there were some disagreements with the property.
Driscoll believed the Convento was an eyesore, and instead, a park should be placed there in memory of the fallen defenders.
De Zavala, on the other hand, felt it had historical significance.
Ultimately, the Alamo Mission Chapter won a lawsuit to remove the building.
Not long after on February 10, 1908, De Zavala entered the building, padlocked it and changed all of the other locks. That’s the moment the world began to discover what was going on at the Alamo.
“I mean, the media becomes a media frenzy, it becomes national,” Rodriguez said.
Only a few days passed before Sheriff John Tobin told De Zavala she could no longer stay in the Convento.
As she exited the building, she stated: “I did not surrender, I merely left matters in dispute to arbitration.”
Her fight continued and she eventually won. Sadly De Zavala did not live to see the victory, as she died in 1955.
For her efforts, she will always be known as the “Angel of the Alamo.”