Regarding “Rename Dowling” (Page B8, Wednesday), renaming Dowling Street is a good idea: Instead of commemorating an Irish immigrant’s personal bravery for a dubious cause, why not commemorate a German political refugee’s personal bravery in an admirable cause? Edward Degener came to Texas after the failed democratic Revolution of 1848, which he had supported as a delegate to the National Assembly in Frankfort on the Main. Settling on a Hill Country farm near Sisterdale, he was elected as a national delegate by a convention of antislavery Germans at San Antonio in 1854.
Degener lost two sons at the Battle of the Nueces/Nueces Massacre (it was both), in 1862 when a band of Unionists attempted to reach the North via Mexico. Degener himself was tried for disloyalty before the Confederate Military Commission and required to post $5,000 bond to obtain his release from imprisonment. He was the featured speaker when the bones of the Nueces martyrs were brought back to Comfort for burial after the war. Degener served in both the 1866 and 1868-69 Texas Constitutional conventions, after which he was elected to one term in the U.S. Congress; thereafter he served on the San Antonio city council from 1872 until 1878. Edward Degener was one of the first three Republicans elected to Congress from Texas, but to this day there is no school or street or road named for him in the entire Lone Star State. It’s about time.