While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Margaret Swett Henson
Matilda Jane Young
Matilda Jane (Maud Jeannie) Young. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

YOUNG, MATILDA JANE FULLER (1826–1882). Matilda Jane (Maud Jeannie) Fuller Young, writer and botanist, was born on November 1, 1826, in Beaufort, North Carolina, the oldest child of Nathan and Charlotte M. Fuller. About 1839 the family moved to Sumter County, Alabama, and by 1843 they had located in Houston. Nathan Fuller served as mayor of Houston in 1853–54 and later worked as a railroad paymaster. Maud married Dr. Samuel O. Young, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, in Houston on February 8, 1847. He died nine months later, on November 10. The young widow lived with her family for the rest of her life. A son, born on January 1, 1848, and named for his father, became a doctor and practiced in Houston from 1870 to 1880, when he became associate editor of the new Houston Post. Maud wrote poems, fiction, and essays that appeared in the Houston Telegraph between 1856 and 1867 and also in various magazines. Her poem about the Texas Rangers was published anonymously in William Gilmore Simms's War Poetry of the South (1867). Her longest fictional works were Cordova: A Legend of Lone Lake, a religious novel, and The Legend of Sour Lake, a prose poem about the Confederacy and the ancient Indian campsite northeast of Beaumont, both published before 1870. In 1880 she wrote articles for the Houston Post under the name Patsy Pry. Other work appears in Ella Hutchins Steuart's Gems from a Texas Quarry (1885).

Fifth Texas Infantry Flag
Fifth Texas Infantry Regiment Flag made by Young. Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

During the Civil War Mrs. Young, who was related to Confederate general Braxton Bragg, composed inspirational writings for Confederate soldiers, using as pen names "The Confederate Lady" and "The Soldier's Friend." In May 1862 she made a flag for her son's Company A, Fifth Regiment, Hood's Texas Brigade, which Hood designated the official flag of the brigade at the battle of Gettysburg. By the fall of 1864 the flag had become so tattered that it was no longer fit for use, and the Fifth Regiment returned it to Young, asking her to be its custodian. The flag was presented to the state during a reunion of the brigade in 1926. Young also nursed in hospitals and collected clothing and money in support of the war effort. After the surrender of Robert E. Lee, appeals by Young (who signed herself "A Confederate Woman") and generals Edmund Kirby Smith, John Bankhead Magruder, and Joseph O. Shelby were printed together in a broadside entitled "To the Soldiers and Citizens of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona," which urged continued resistance on behalf of the Confederate cause. When the Hood's Brigade Association was organized in 1872, the group's first resolution hailed Young as the "Mother of Hood's Brigade." In the 1870s she was appointed by a board in Philadelphia to serve as the Texas member of the Women's Centennial Executive Committee, and in this capacity she worked to coordinate fund-raising for the Centennial among Texas women.

Familiar Lessons in Botany
Matilda Jane Young's Book, Familiar Lessons in Botany, with Flora of Texas, 1873. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Though she was largely self-taught, Maud Young had a reading knowledge of Latin, Greek, German, and French and a deep interest in botany. She taught at the private Houston Academy from 1866 to 1869, but with the opening of the public schools in 1870 the academy fell on hard times and closed. She opened a private school in 1872 in the Old Jewish Synagogue. She may also have taught in the public schools. In addition to her poems and stories, she also wrote on natural history topics. Her article on singing mice appeared in Field and Forest (1876–77), and an article on "Forest Culture," urging conservation, research, tree planting, forest clubs, and the passage of a forest law, was published in the 1880 edition of Burke's Texas Almanac. Young also authored the first textbook on Texas botany, Familiar Lessons in Botany, with Flora of Texas (1873.) She was state botanist in 1872–73. Her herbarium of Texas ferns and flowering plants, as well as a collection of her writings, was lost in the Galveston hurricane of 1900. At that time the collection was probably in the possession of her son, a Galveston resident. Maud Young died on April 15, 1882, and was buried at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.


Elizabeth Brooks, Prominent Women of Texas (Akron, Ohio: Werner, 1896). Confederate Veteran, July 1900, March 1903. Dallas Weekly Herald, May 29, 1875. S. W. Geiser, "Men of Science in Texas, 1820–1880," Field and Laboratory 26–27 (July-October 1958-October 1959). Ida Raymond, Southland Writers: Biographical and Critical Sketches of the Living Female Writers of the South (2 vols., Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen and Haffelfinger, 1870). R. A. Studhalter, "Mrs. Young's Familiar Lessons in Botany," Texas Technological College Bulletin 7 (December 1931). Vertical Files; Maud J. Young Papers (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).

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.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Margaret Swett Henson, "YOUNG, MATILDA JANE FULLER," accessed July 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fyo10.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 5, 2018. 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...