Style & Design

Life on the San Antonio River

Adele reads after school under a portrait of her mother, painted by Cruz Ortiz, who started doing portraits a few years ago. He named it "La Josie con los Green Chucks." "I wanted to wear something that would stand the test of time but still feel like me. The ball skirt was a copy of an Oscar de La Renta I had made for my sister's rehearsal dinner twenty years ago and the Zara jacket is my favorite article of clothing. The green Chucks are on their last leg, but I love them and I love pairing unexpected things that way. The portrait is my phoenix from the ashes moment, and I love the thought of a grandchild wanting it for his or her home one day like I wanted my grandmother's."

Photo by Minta Maria

Nine-year-old Tres Davidson and his seven-year-old brother, Wells, fling open the screen door of their family home in San Antonio’s historic King William neighborhood. The boys take off running; about fifty yards away, they reach the edge of the San Antonio River, which flows past the back of their house. The two brothers, along with their older sister, Adele, who is eleven, can often be found outdoors, playing under a centuries-old Montezuma Cypress tree in their backyard, collecting massive bur oak acorns that fall from their neighbor’s tree, or riding their bikes with their mother, San Antonio native Josie Negley Gill.

Gill grew up in the Olmos Park neighborhood but wanted a different experience for her three children. “I wanted to be somewhere that felt totally new and unexplored to me. It was so important that I be in a neighborhood that was also truly walkable and urban, and the fact is, this neighborhood was built before cars, so everything about it is walkable,” she says. “When I first saw the inside of the house, in 2010, it was dark and covered in layers and layers of window treatments. Buying the place was a leap of faith, but I did, and moving into this house and into this neighborhood changed my life.” 

Tags: Style, Adele Davidson, Cruz Ortiz, Fiesta San Antonio, Josie Davidson, Josie Negley Gill, King William, King William San Antonio, San Antonio River, San Antonio Riverwalk


  • Mrs. Lansdowne

    No husband in the picture? Hmmm…..

    • Mrs. Optimism

      What the hell? Is this 1917, not 2017? I’m glad you put “Mrs.” next to your name to clarify who “misses” the point. I don’t know this person in the article, but I love her unique and personal style. Lansdowne can be the one at the party that you run away from as she points out how great life used to be.

      • Mrs. Lansdowne

        Well Bless Your Heart…..

        • Suzanne Clementine Negley

          hahaha! You got schooled, Lansdowne. Schooled is a term younger people use, meaning you’ve been beat. Bless your heart! xo

          • Mrs. Lansdowne

            Beat? At what my dear?

    • Suzanne Clementine Negley

      I thought internet trolls were solely pedophiles or bored children without drivers licenses, not sad, older women…learn something new every day! Sounds like someone has a case of the green monster…it’s okay to feel jealous Mrs. Lansdowne, but it’s not very attractive! xo

      • Mrs. Lansdowne

        Jealous? Of you? Why would anyone be jealous of you? How tedious.

        • Mrs. Optimism

          Ah, the tired “bless your heart” and “my dear.” And here we were thinking you were witty. I took a brief moment to look back at comments you have made on other sites. Yours is a snark that only comes from a sad and lonely place. You’ll undoubtedly have some retort, but deep down you know it’s true. I’m sorry you find your self-worth from trolling TMZ and the remainder of the Internet. I hope some day you find the freedom of happiness. In the meantime, try to take a break from your computer and get out into the world.

          • Mrs. Lansdowne

            As I said, tedious.

  • Lawnie Farana

    Wow! Thank you for the tour of your beautiful home. I really appreciated the advise the teacher gave you about buying or collecting today’s artist work. I like that you use the art that touches you and place it in your home. We must never forget the people and history from yesterday but we can start history stories from today’s artist as well for future kids, grandkids. Thank you from California. Love your state!

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  • Jeronimo Dan

    The home just kind of soaks one up…beautiful.

  • Israel Rico

    This was awesome! Thank You Josie Negley Gill for having my work in your beautiful home. So proud and honored!!!!