January 20, 2017

Edward Burleson

Edward Burleson, soldier and statesman, son of Capt. James and Elizabeth (Shipman) Burleson, was born at Buncombe County, North Carolina, on December 15, 1798. He served as a private in the War of 1812 in his father's company, part of Perkin's Regiment, Alabama. He married Sarah Griffin Owen on April 25, 1816, in Madison County, Missouri Territory; they had nine children. On October 20, 1817, Burleson was appointed a captain of militia in Howard County, Missouri; he was commissioned colonel on June 13, 1821, in Saline County, and was colonel of militia from 1823 to 1830 in Hardeman County, Tennessee.

He arrived in Texas on May 1, 1830, and applied for land in March 1831; title was issued on April 4, 1831. On August 11, 1832, he was a member of the ayuntamiento at San Felipe de Austin. On December 7, 1832, he was elected lieutenant colonel of the militia of Austin Municipality. In 1833 he was elected a delegate to the Second Convention in Mina. From 1830 to 1842 he defended settlers in numerous engagements with hostile Indians. On May 17, 1835, in Bastrop he was elected to the committee of safety and was therefore unable to attend the Consultation of 1835, although he had been elected a delegate. On October 10, 1835, in Gonzales he was elected lieutenant colonel of the infantry in Gen. Stephen F. Austin's army. On November 24, 1835, Burleson became general of the volunteer army and replaced Austin. On November 26, 1835, he fought in the Grass Fight during the siege of Bexar. His father was active in this battle, which was won by the Texans.

On December 1, 1835, Burleson was commissioned commander in chief of the volunteer army by the provisional government. On December 6 he entered Bexar and, with Benjamin R. Milam, wrote a report to the provisional government. On December 14, 1835, he reported on the success at Bexar to the provisional governor, Henry Smith. The volunteer army disbanded on December 20, 1835, and Burleson raised a company and rode to Gonzales in February 1836. By March 10, in Gonzales, he was officially elected colonel of the infantry, First Regiment. On April 21, 1836, at the battle of San Jacinto, he commanded the First Regiment, which was placed opposite Mexican breastworks and was the first to charge them. Burleson accepted the sword and surrender of Gen. Juan N. Almonte.

From July 12 to December 1836 he was colonel of the frontier rangers. In 1837 he surveyed and laid out roads to Bastrop, La Grange, and other Central Texas places. On June 12, 1837, he became brigadier general of the militia established by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. As a representative of the Second Congress from September 26, 1837, to May 1838, Burleson served on the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, the Committee on Military Affairs, and the Committee of Indian Affairs, of which he was chairman. In 1838 he was colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry in the new regular army and on April 4, 1838, defeated Mexican insurrectionists under Vicente Córdova. In the spring of that year Burleson laid out the town of Waterloo, the original settlement of the city of Austin. He was elected to the Senate of the Third Congress but resigned on January 19, 1839, at President Mirabeau B. Lamar's request, to take command of the Frontier Regiment. On May 22, 1839, Burleson intercepted a Córdova agent with proof that Mexico had made allies of Cherokees and other Indians. He defeated the Cherokees under Chief Bowl in July 1839.

On October 17, 1839, Burleson was in command of the ceremonies establishing Austin as the capital of the Republic of Texas. He defeated the Cherokees, three miles below the mouth of the San Saba River, on Christmas Day, 1839, killing Chief Bowl's son John and another chief known as the Egg. Burleson sent Chief Bowl's "hat" to Sam Houston, who was enraged. On August 12, 1840, Burleson defeated the Comanches in the battle of Plum Creek.

In 1841 he was elected vice president of the republic. In the spring of 1842, when the Mexican army under Rafael Vásquez invaded Texas, Burleson met with volunteers at San Antonio, where they elected him to command. Houston sent Alexander Somervell to take over, and Burleson handed the command to him. Burleson then made his famous speech before the Alamo: "though Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, the Alamo had none." In the fall of 1842 Mexican general Adrián Woll invaded Texas. Burleson raised troops for defense and again yielded the command to General Somervell, sent by Houston. In 1844 Burleson made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Anson Jones. In December 1845 he was elected senator from the Fifteenth District to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He was unanimously elected president pro tem.

During the Mexican War Burleson and Governor James P. Henderson went to Monterrey, Nuevo León; Burleson was appointed senior aide-de-camp, held the rank of major, and served as a spy during the siege of Monterrey and at Buena Vista. In March 1851 Burleson, Eli T. Merriman, and William Lindsey surveyed and laid out the town of San Marcos. In 1848 Burleson introduced a resolution to establish Hays County and donated the land for the courthouse. He chaired the Committee on Military Affairs, which awarded a $1,250,000 grant to Texas for Indian depredations.

Burleson died of pneumonia on December 26, 1851, in Austin, while serving as senator from the Twenty-first District. He was still president pro tem. He was given a Masonic burial at the site of the future State Cemetery, the land for which was purchased by the state of Texas in his honor in 1854.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.924, -097° 43.639

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

January 17, 2017

Joe Madison Kilgore

Born December 10, 1918, in Brown County near Brownwood, Kilgore attended the public schools of Rising Star in Eastland County in north central Texas. In 1929, he moved with his family to Mission in south Texas, where he attended public schools. From 1935 to 1936, Kilgore attended Trinity University, then known as Westmoreland College, in San Antonio. His legal studies at the University of Texas School of Law were put on hold when, in July 1941, Kilgore enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He served as a combat pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with two Oak leaf clusters. When he was discharged from the Army in 1945, he was ranked as a lieutenant colonel. He returned to law school, admitted to the bar in 1946, and began his law practice in Edinburg, Hidalgo County.

Kilgore entered politics at this time, and served as a member of the Texas House from 1947 to 1955, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1956, 1960, and 1968. The national exposure helped him get elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1955 to January 3, 1965). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1964 to the Eighty-ninth Congress. Instead, he resumed the practice of law, residing in Austin until his death there on February 10, 1999. He is interred in Austin at the Texas State Cemetery alongside his wife, Jane.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.939, -097° 43.636

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

January 13, 2017

John Frelan Winters

Born in Giles County, Tennessee, July 13, 1814, the second son of James and Rhoda (Beal) Winters, John came to Texas in 1834 with his wife Margaret, and settled in what is now Walker County. He served in the army from March 12, to June 12, 1836 as a private in Captain William Ware's Company and fought with them at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21. He reenlisted September 18, 1836 and was assigned to James T. Sprowl's Company, spending most of his duty time in Velasco on the coast. Winters died on January 16, 1864 and buried in the family cemetery.

Note
This is a cenotaph. The Winters family cemetery was originally located 300 feet northwest of the park, but in 1968 all of the existing stones were moved to their present location to allow for development. None of the graves were disinterred and remain in their original place.

GPS Coordinates
30° 34.108, -095° 21.411


Winters Memorial Park
New Waverly

January 10, 2017

Charles Atherton Hartwell

Charles Hartwell was born on May 6, 1841 in Natick, Massachusetts to Stedman and Rebecca Dana (Perry) Hartwell. He entered the Civil War as a private in the 7th New York State Militia, but shortly afterward received a commission as a 1st Lieutenant in the 11th U.S. Regular Infantry, where he served as an Aide-de-Camp to Major General Nathaniel P. Banks. When Congress authorized the enlistment of black soldiers, Hartwell was promoted to Colonel and became the commander of the 77th U.S. Colored Troops. During the War, he fought in several key battles, including Bristoe Station, Rapahannock Station, Yorktown, Hanover Courthouse, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills, Savage Station and Port Hudson. On December 2, 1865, Hartwell was brevetted a brigadier general for excellence in service. He remained in the Army after the War, and died on active duty in Castroville on October 3, 1876.


GPS Coordinates
29° 25.300, -098° 28.008

Section A
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

January 6, 2017

David Grieves

Outside of military records, there is no biographical information about David Grieves. He was born in Scotland, enlisted in Company I, Regiment of Regular Infantry, on February 20, 1836 and was a member of Captain Henry Teal's Company at San Jacinto. He rose through the ranks quickly; appointed Quartermaster Sergeant May 9, 1836, and when discharged on May 31, 1837, he was a 2nd Lieutenant. Grieves died shortly after, on June 15, 1837 while living in Houston and buried in the city cemetery.

Note
This is a cenotaph.  Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.446, -095° 22.769


Founders Memorial Park
Houston