Along with everything else, Hurricane Harvey took with it decades worth of files, maps, notes, coordinates, names and research I had on my external hard drive; so for the time being, this site will be on hiatus until I finish republishing. I will upload as I go, so each post will reappear on its original date and can be found in the Archive section in the right sidebar. If you need to contact me for any reason in the duration, my contact info is found in my profile. Wish me luck, guys. - JES

November 21, 2017

James Morgan

   James Morgan, pioneer Texas settler, merchant, land speculator, and commander at Galveston during the Texas Revolution, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 13, 1787, the son of James and Martha (Prudun) Morgan. As a child he was taken to North Carolina, where he grew to manhood and married Celia Harrell. In 1830 he visited Brazoria and decided to open a mercantile business in Texas. After returning to the United States, he bound his sixteen slaves as indentured servants for ninety-nine years in order to get around the Mexican prohibition on slavery, and set out for Texas with his wife, two daughters, and a son. In New Orleans Morgan formed a partnership with John Reed, and the two of them purchased a schooner, Exert. Morgan went by land to Anahuac, where he opened a store. Reed soon arrived with a cargo of merchandise, upon which George Fisher, collector of customs, levied a tariff. Morgan's defiance of Fisher's evaluation established him as a leader and was possibly the reason for his being chosen to represent the Liberty Municipality in the Convention of 1832. In 1835 Morgan was appointed agent for a company called the New Washington Association, organized in 1834 by Lorenzo de Zavala and a number of New York financiers to develop Texas real estate. He immediately purchased for the company an enormous quantity of real estate in Harrisburg and Liberty municipalities, including the point at the mouth of the San Jacinto River variously called Rightor's, Hunter's, Clopper's, and later Morgan's Point. Here he laid out the town of New Washington. The company brought to Texas a number of Scottish highlanders and free blacks from New York, including Emily D. West, the so-called Yellow Rose of Texas, and planned a colony of free blacks from Bermuda. As agent, Morgan also operated one of two ships belonging to the company.

   During the Texas Revolution these ships were often used by the Texas government. Morgan also supplied the civil and military branches with merchandise from his store. From March 20, 1836, to April 1, 1837, with the rank of colonel, he was commandant of Galveston Island and, as such, planned and effected the fortification of the island during the spring campaign of 1836. President Sam Houston later charged him with mismanagement in this work. After the revolution Morgan returned to the site of New Washington, which had been destroyed by the Mexicans, and erected for himself a dwelling named Orange Grove. For some time he continued to act as agent for the New York company and as such projected the town of Swartwout (named for Samuel Swartwout, one of the prime movers of the company) on the Trinity River. Morgan sought election to one of the congresses of the republic, but he lost because his neighbors were suspicious of his wealth. In 1843 he and William Bryan were the commissioners charged with the secret sale of the Texas Navy. During the 1850s Morgan was active in promoting the improvement of what later became the Houston Ship Channel. He owned extensive herds of cattle and reputedly imported the first Durham shorthorns into Texas. He also experimented with the cultivation of oranges, cotton, and sugarcane. At his home he entertained such notable guests as John James Audubon and Ferdinand von Roemer. Though he was completely blind during his last years, he twice saved himself from drowning when squalls overturned the boats in which he was crossing Trinity Bay. He died at his home on March 1, 1866, and was buried on his plantation. The family cemetery is now a public one, and the stones marking the graves of the Morgans have disappeared. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Morgan's family plot was at one time marked by a large tombstone bearing the names of family members. The stone disappeared and was found by fishermen years later submerged in the bay. Stolen again after its replacement, it was never recovered.

COORDINATES
29° 40.736, -094° 59.568


Morgan's Point Cemetery
Morgan's Point

October 10, 2017

Xavier DeBray

   Xavier Blanchard Debray, soldier, was born in Selestat (Schlettstadt), near Epinal, France, on January 25, 1818, the son of Nicholas Blanchard, a government official, and his wife Catherine Benezech. He is often said to have attended the French Military Academy at St. Cyr and then served in the French diplomatic service until he immigrated to the United States via New York on September 25, 1848. St. Cyr, however, has no record of his attending. He moved to Texas in 1852, settled in San Antonio, and was naturalized there on April 5, 1855. That same year he established a Spanish newspaper with A. A. Lewis called El Bejareño. Later he worked in the General Land Office as a translator. He also established an academy that prospered until the Civil War began. In 1859 Debray ran a strong but losing race for mayor of Austin.

   After brief service with Company B, Fourth Texas Infantry, Debray served as aide-de-camp to Governor Edward Clark during the summer of 1861. In September, 1961, he was commissioned major of the Second Texas Infantry. On December 7, 1861 he was elected lieutenant colonel and commander of Debray's Texas Cavalry battalion and on March 17, 1862, colonel of the Twenty-sixth Texas Cavalry. From January to June of 1862 he commanded on Galveston Island. In July he assumed command of the military subdistrict of Houston in the Department of Texas. He commanded some of the Confederate troops in the recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863. On February 13, 1863, he was relieved of command of the eastern subdivision of Texas in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and on May 30 he took command of the troops on Galveston Island in the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. British observer Arthur Fremantle found Debray “a broad shouldered Frenchman, and a very good fellow,” who’d left France because of political differences with Emperor Napoleon. Although he was assigned temporary command of the eastern subdistrict of Texas in June 1863, by July 1 he had resumed his position on Galveston Island. Debray led his regiment in the Red River campaign in Louisiana during the spring of 1864. For his participation in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, he was appointed brigadier general by General Edmund Kirby Smith on April 13, 1864, but this was never confirmed by President Jefferson Davis. Nevertheless, he commanded a brigade consisting of the Twenty-third, Twenty-sixth, and Thirty-second Texas Cavalry regiments. Debray discharged his men on March 24, 1865.

   After the war he moved to Houston and then to Galveston, working as a teacher and a bookkeeper before eventually returning to his position as translator in the General Land Office. He died in Austin on January 6, 1895, and was buried in the State Cemetery. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.905, -097° 43.643

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

October 3, 2017

James "Red" Duke

   James Henry “Red” Duke, Jr., surgeon, teacher, television host, and conservationist, son of James Henry Duke, Sr., and Helen Marion (Donegan) Duke, was born in Ennis, Texas, on November 16, 1928. He grew up in Hillsboro and was given the nickname “Red” for his curly red hair. As a youth, he delivered newspapers, picked cotton, and dug ditches, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. Duke graduated from Hillsboro High School and attended Texas A&M University in College Station, where he became head yell leader; he received a bachelor of science degree in 1950. Following his graduation, Duke served in the United States Army for two years as a tank commander in Germany during the Korean War.

   After his military service, Duke attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. During this time he married Betty Cowden, a fellow student, and they eventually had four children - Hank, Rebecca, Sara, and Hallie. The couple later divorced. After Duke received a divinity degree in 1955, he was inspired to go into medical school by learning about humanitarian and physician Albert Schweitzer. He received his M. D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1960. During his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Duke was the emergency surgeon on hand to attend to President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally following their shooting. He has been credited with saving Connally’s life.

   Duke briefly served on the faculty of UT Southwestern and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, where he also took graduate classes at Columbia University. In 1970 he was a visiting professor at Nangarhar University School of Medicine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In 1972 Duke became one of the first faculty members at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and eventually became the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences. He practiced in the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston for four decades and established his reputation as an outstanding trauma surgeon. Duke established the trauma service at Memorial Hermann and in 1976 founded the Life Flight service - a model in the nation - in Houston. He was a founding member of the American Trauma Society and was influential in the development of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Texas. 

   Duke wore many hats during his lifetime; he was a surgeon, a teacher, and a colorful television personality. Duke appeared on nationally-syndicated television broadcasts called Dr. Red Duke’s Health Reports for fifteen years. He also hosted the PBS series Bodywatch in 1986. Known for his cowboy dress and country twang, Duke was called “John Wayne in scrubs” by U. S. Congressman Ted Poe and was the inspiration for the television series Buck James starring Dennis Weaver in 1987.

During his lifetime, Duke, a conservationist who had grown up hunting and fishing, served as president of the Wild Sheep Foundation, an organization dedicated to restoring wild sheep populations in North America, and the Boone and Crockett Club. He was also the founder of the Texas Bighorn Society, which tasks itself with restoring desert bighorn sheep to their native ranges in Texas.

   Duke authored numerous chapters and gave many presentations during his career. He also devoted much time to support the United States military both through enhanced medical technology in combat and the promotion of employment of veterans at home through his Texas Medical Center’s Hiring Red, White & You! program. He received many honors during his lifetime, including the Texas Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council's Journey of Excellence Award and knighthood in the Order of Saint George of the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association. He was named Surgeon of the Year by the James F. Mitchell Foundation in 1988. The Boy Scouts honored him with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1993. The James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M. D. Endowed Scholarship for students at UT Health Medical School was established in 2014. That same year the Dr. James “Red” Duke Elementary School opened in Alvin, Texas. Life Flight established a worldwide call sign - “Red Duke” - in his honor.

   James Henry “Red” Duke, Jr., died of natural causes at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on August 25, 2015. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. In a memoriam to Duke, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston described his “trademark bottle-brush mustache, military issued wire-rimmed glasses,” and “folksy humor” as characteristics that “made Duke a one-of-a-kind folk hero with the personality of an old-fashioned country doctor and the extraordinary talent of [a] modern-day surgeon.” In May 2016 the Memorial Hermann Health System renamed its Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in his honor. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.955, -097° 43.532

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

September 26, 2017

Francis Richard Lubbock

   Francis R. Lubbock, governor of Texas, was born on October 16, 1815, in Beaufort, South Carolina, the oldest son of Dr. Henry Thomas Willis and Susan Ann (Saltus) Lubbock and brother of Thomas S. Lubbock. At age fourteen, after his father's death, he quit school and took a job as a clerk in a hardware store. He later pursued a business career in South Carolina and then in New Orleans, and continued his business activities when he moved to Texas in 1836. He was married three times-first to Adele Baron of New Orleans in 1835; then to Mrs. Sarah E. Black Porter, the widow of a Presbyterian minister, in 1883; and then, after his second wife's death, to Lou Scott in 1903. In 1837 Lubbock moved to Houston, Texas, where he opened a general store. During the 1840s he began his ranching operations. Lubbock was a lifelong Democrat. He began his association with the Democratic party during the nullification crisis in South Carolina in 1832. In Texas he continued his political involvement and was appointed comptroller of the Republic of Texas by President Sam Houston. He was also elected clerk of the Harris County district court and served from 1841 to 1857.

   In the 1850s Lubbock was active in state Democratic politics. In the party convention of 1856 he fought against the American (or Know-Nothing) party. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1857 but lost his race for reelection in 1859, when Sam Houston and Edward Clark were elected. In 1860 Lubbock served as a Texas delegate to the national Democratic convention at Charleston, where the southern delegation walked out in opposition to the Democratic platform and Stephen A. Douglas, the party's nominee. After the southerners' second walkout on the Democrats at Baltimore, the southern Democratic party nominated John C. Breckinridge at their convention in Richmond, Virginia, a convention chaired by Lubbock.

   In 1861 Lubbock won the governorship of Texas by only 124 votes. As governor he staunchly supported the Confederacy and worked to improve the military capabilities of Texas. He chaired the state military board, which attempted to trade cotton and United States Indemnity Bonds for military goods through Mexico. He also worked with the board to establish a state foundry and percussion-cap factory. Lubbock vigorously supported Confederate conscription, opposing draft exemptions for able-bodied men as unfair and the substitution system as advantageous to the wealthy. Viewing the use of whites in government contracting and cattle driving as wasteful, he encouraged their replacement with slaves to increase enlistment. Aliens residing in Texas were also made subject to the draft. Lubbock exempted frontier counties from the Confederate draft and enlisted their residents for local defense against Indian attack.

   When his term of office ended, Lubbock chose to enter the military service. He was appointed lieutenant colonel and served as assistant adjutant general on the staff of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder. He organized troop-transport and supply trains for the Red River campaign against Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. Lubbock was later transferred to the staff of Brig. Gen. Thomas Green. After Green's death, Lubbock's commander was Maj. Gen. John A. Wharton, whom Lubbock assisted in raising additional Texas troops for the Red River operations. In August 1864 Lubbock was appointed aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis and traveled to Richmond. As an expert on the Trans-Mississippi Department, he provided Davis with firsthand information on the war west of the Mississippi River. At the end of the war Lubbock fled Richmond with Davis and was captured by federal authorities in Georgia. He was imprisoned in Fort Delaware and kept in solitary confinement for eight months before being paroled. After his release he returned to Texas. He soon tired of ranching and went into business in Houston and Galveston, where he served as tax collector. From 1878 to 1891 he was treasurer of the state of Texas. From 1891 until his death he continued to live in Austin, where he died on June 22, 1905. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.913, -097° 43.618

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

September 19, 2017

William Gordon Cooke

   William Gordon Cooke, soldier and statesman, son of Adam and Martha (Riddell) Cooke, was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on March 26, 1808. He was trained in the family drug business. He moved to New Orleans to continue his career and on October 13, 1835, volunteered for the New Orleans Greys. He arrived with the second company at Velasco, Texas, on October 25, 1835, and was elected first lieutenant the next day at Quintana. After arrival at Bexar on November 8, 1835, Cooke was elected captain of his company and raised volunteers to storm the town. Cooke led the party that captured the priest's house on the main plaza, thus forcing the Mexican capitulation, and received the flag of surrender, which he sent to Col. Francis W. Johnson, commanding officer.

   Cooke then volunteered for the Matamoros expedition of 1835-36. As captain he led the reformed San Antonio Greys to Goliad. Shortly after Sam Houston's arrival and impassioned speech there, Cooke offered his services to the Texas army and was sent with his company to Refugio, where they were joined by Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr., and the Georgia Battalion. Fannin ordered Cooke to San Patricio to reinforce Maj. Robert C. Morris. Cooke was subsequently left in command there when Morris, Johnson, and Col. William Grant proceeded to the Rio Grande.

   Cooke received Grant's letter stating his intentions to join the Mexican Federalists and, after relaying this news to Fannin, was ordered to fall back to Goliad, where he arrived on February 12, 1836. He was then sent with two Mexican prisoners to Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he joined Houston's staff as assistant inspector general. Cooke went with Houston to Gonzales and there assisted in organizing the troops. At the battle of San Jacinto he served on Houston's staff with the rank of major. Cooke was in charge of the guard on the prisoners when Antonio López de Santa Anna was captured. He prevented the angry Texans from executing Santa Anna so that he could be brought before General Houston.

   When Houston went to New Orleans to recover from wounds received in the battle, Cooke accompanied him, but soon returned to Texas to serve as chief clerk of the War Department. In October 1836 he was appointed stock commissioner in Houston's first administration and was responsible for issuing stock certificates and certificates to fund the public debt. He served in this office until the spring of 1839. In November 1836 Houston appointed Cooke acting secretary of war and on January 31, 1837, inspector general, an office he held until July 31, 1837. Cooke then retired from the army because of ill health and opened two drugstores in Houston. On June 9, 1837, he was made official signer of the president's name to promissory notes of the Republic of Texas, a job necessitated by injuries to Houston's arm that were aggravated by illness. The position lasted until November 11, 1839.

  Cooke reenlisted in the army around October 1838 and received a commission as quartermaster general of the republic. In March 1840 Mirabeau B. Lamar named him commissioner to sign treaties with the Comanches, and in this role he took part in the Council House Fight in San Antonio on March 19, 1840.

   On August 18, 1840, Cooke was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, the unit that laid out the Military Road from the Little River to the Red River. Fighting Indians and starvation along the way, Cooke explored and mapped much of north central Texas. He established Fort Johnson and Fort Preston on the Red River and Cedar Springs Post on the Trinity River; at this post were the first structures built by white men at the future site of Dallas. Cooke's success in this venture prompted a grand military ball in his honor, held in the Senate chamber at Austin on February 27, 1841, and a nomination for vice president of the republic. He declined the latter and accepted instead an appointment from Lamar in April 1841 as senior commissioner on the Texan Santa Fe expedition.

  Cooke assisted Lamar in promoting and organizing the expedition and was to have been the chief civil authority in Santa Fe. On September 17, 1841, he was deceived by the traitor Capt. William G. Lewis and surrendered the Texans' arms. Cooke and his men were marched to Mexico City and imprisoned in Santiago Prison on December 26, 1841. They were released on June 14, 1842, and stayed at Waddy Thompson's house in Mexico City and then in Jalapa, Vera Cruz, until passage could be arranged. Cooke arrived at Galveston aboard the United States brig Boxer on August 10, 1842.

   Ignoring his pledge not to take arms against Mexico under pain of death, he immediately joined with Gen. Edward Burleson to expel the Mexican general Adrián Woll from San Antonio. On September 22, 1842, Cooke was wounded in Capt. John C. Hays's charge on the cannon at Arroyo Hondo. On October 25, 1842, Houston appointed him quartermaster general and chief of the subsistence department, in which capacity Cooke helped organize the infamous Snively expedition and the Somervell expedition, of which he was a member until February 1, 1843.

   Seeking further revenge, Cooke went to New Orleans to join Edwin Ward Moore on his expedition to the Yucatán. They sailed on April 15, 1843, in the sloop-of-war Austin. Cooke participated in engagements with the Mexican steamships Montezuma and Guadaloupe, and after the Independencia joined the Texan fleet, he twice accompanied her on raiding expeditions, hoping to capture prisoners to exchange for those held in Mexican prisons. The first expedition resulted in the capture of the Mexican ship Glide, and the second brought back news to Moore that Houston had declared him a pirate, charges against which Cooke later defended himself. They returned to Galveston on July 14, 1843, and Cooke received an appointment from Gen. Sidney Sherman as adjutant general of the Texas militia.

   Cooke was elected representative from Bexar County to the House of the Ninth Congress on September 2, 1844, and served his term as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Partly as a result of his efforts on Commodore Moore's behalf, Cooke was appointed by President Anson Jones in December 1844 to replace Morgan Calvin Hamilton as secretary of war. Cooke, who had become the last commander of the regular Texas army when the troops were disbanded in 1841, was now responsible for raising troops and supplies for the United States army of occupation under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He served in this office until the spring of 1846, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Congress of the United States. He lost to Timothy Pillsbury by a narrow margin. On April 27, 1846, Cooke was appointed the first adjutant general of the state of Texas by Governor James Pinckney Henderson. He served in this office until his death.

   Cooke was a Protestant and a grand royal arch captain of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 36 in Houston. On August 16, 1844, he married Ángela María de Jesús Blasa Navarro, daughter of Luciano Navarro and niece of José Antonio Navarro. They had one son. Cooke died of tuberculosis on December 24, 1847, at his father-in-law's ranch in Seguin. He was buried in nearby Geronimo and, on March 2, 1937, reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. Cooke's Camp, near San Antonio, Cooke County, and Cooke Avenue in San Antonio were named for him. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.920, -097° 43.641

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin