Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »

FONTAINE, SYDNEY THURSTON

Jennifer Eckel

FONTAINE, SYDNEY THURSTON (1838–1912). Sydney T. Fontaine, Confederate officer, was born on November 30, 1838, in Houston, Texas, to Henry W. W. Fontaine and Susan E. Bryson. By 1850 Fontaine became a resident of Galveston, and by 1860 he was a law student who enlisted in the Confederate Army in April 1861.

Fontaine enlisted as first lieutenant of Company A, Cook's Regiment of Heavy Artillery, on May 13, 1861, and was stationed at Galveston, for the first years of the war. After the battle of Galveston, in which Fontaine served, he was promoted to captain on June 25, 1861, and to major on July 19, 1864. On January 28, 1863, he was on leave as a witness during a court martial. He was named Chief of Artillery and Ordinance for the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona on December 28, 1863. Fontaine served in that capacity throughout the war and was discharged in 1865 in Houston.

Following the war, Sydney Fontaine returned to Galveston to work as a prominent attorney and later a judge. In 1869 he ran for district clerk against a black candidate. In 1871 he helped survey Galveston Island for the General Land Office in Austin. On June 19, 1873, in Harris, Texas, he married Julia Wood Washington of Columbus, Colorado County, Texas. The couple produced five children and resided in Galveston through 1895 when Julia helped to found the city's chapter of the Texas Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1898 he was a member of the Knights of Pythias at Lodge #244 in Galveston. He died on September 5, 1912, and is buried at the Episcopal Cemetery in Galveston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, January 30, 1898. Galveston Tri-Weekly News, September 3, 1869; December 1, 1869. Mamie Yeary, Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray, 1861–1865, (McGregor, Texas: 1912; rpt., Dayton, Ohio: Mornwseseazingside, 1912).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Jennifer Eckel, "FONTAINE, SYDNEY THURSTON," accessed October 21, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffo61.

Uploaded on April 1, 2011. Modified on April 6, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...