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

December 25, 2009

Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter

   Tex Ritter, country singer and movie star, son of James Everett and Elizabeth (Matthews) Ritter, was born Woodward Maurice Ritter on January 12, 1905, in Murvaul, Panola County. Ritter's signature as a student at the University of Texas shows that he spelled his first name Woodard (not Woodward), and a delayed birth certificate filed in Panola County in 1942 also shows the spelling Woodard; however, all printed sources use the spelling Woodward. He moved to Nederland in Jefferson County, to live with a sister, and graduated from South Park High School in nearby Beaumont. He attended the University of Texas from 1922 to 1927, spending one year in the law school there, 1925-26. As a student he was influenced by J. Frank Dobie, Oscar J. Fox, and John A. Lomax - who encouraged his study of authentic cowboy songs. Ritter, more interested in music, did not take a degree; for a time he was president of the Men's Glee Club at the university. He also attended Northwestern University for one year in 1929 before he began singing western and mountain songs on radio station KPRC in Houston in 1929.

   The following year he was with a musical troupe touring the South and the Midwest; by 1931 he was in New York and had joined the Theatre Guild. His role in Green Grow the Lilacs (predecessor to the musical Oklahoma) drew attention to the young "cowboy," and he became the featured singer with the Madison Square Garden Rodeo in 1932. Further recognition led to his starring in one of the first western radio programs to be featured in New York, The Lone Star Rangers. His early appeal to New Yorkers as the embodiment of a Texas cowboy, in spite of his roots in the rural southern music tradition, undoubtedly led to his first movie contract in 1936.

   Tex appeared in eighty-five movies, including seventy-eight Westerns, and was ranked among the top ten money-making stars in Hollywood for six years. Although his movies owed much to the genre begun by other singing cowboys such as Gene Autry, Ritter used traditional folk songs in his movies rather than the modern "western" ditties. Films such as Arizona Frontier (1940), The Utah Trail (1938), and Roll Wagons Roll (1939) earned him a reputation for ambitious plots and vigorous action not always found in low-budget Westerns. Tex Ritter's successful recordings, which began with Rye Whiskey in 1931, included over the years High Noon (1952), Boll Weevil (1945), Wayward Wind, Hillbilly Heaven, and You Are My Sunshine (1946). Ranch Party, a television series featuring Ritter, ran from 1959 to 1962. His version of High Noon from the highly-acclaimed movie High Noon won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1953.

   He was married to Dorothy Fay Southworth on June 14, 1941; they were the parents of two sons. His younger son, John, became well-known through his television shows, Three's Company and Hearts Afire. In 1964 Tex Ritter was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, only the fifth person to be so honored; he also served as president of the Country Music Association from 1963 to 1965 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. In 1970 he made an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate seat from Tennessee. He died in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 2, 1974; funeral services were held in Nederland, Texas, near Port Neches, and he was buried at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in nearby Port Neches.

   In 1980 he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Texas Ritter Museum opened on October 18, 1992, in Carthage, Texas, (in Panola County) and contained memorabilia from his career. In 1998 he was an inaugural inductee into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, also located in Carthage, and in 2003 both the Texas Ritter Museum and Texas Country Music Hall of Fame were housed together. Ritter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also honored in the Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame in Port Arthur. Source

30° 00.096, -093° 57.759

Section 8
Oak Bluff Memorial Park
Port Neches

November 27, 2009

John Avery Lomax

   John Avery Lomax, folklorist, the son of James Avery and Susan Frances (Cooper) Lomax, was born on September 23, 1867, in Goodman, Mississippi. In August 1869 the Lomaxes set out for Texas in two covered wagons. They arrived in Bosque County before Christmas and settled on a farm north of Meridian. Young Lomax learned to do farm work and attended short terms of school between crops. As his home was located on a branch of the Chisholm Trail, he heard many cowboy ballads and other folk songs; before he was twenty, he began to write some of them down. In 1887 he had a year at Granbury College. With that training he taught for a year at Clifton and for six years at Weatherford College; he spent a summer in study at Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, and three summers at Chautauqua. In 1895 he enrolled at the University of Texas, from which he graduated in 1897. He remained at the university as secretary to the president, as registrar, and as steward of the men's dormitory. In 1903-04 he taught English at Texas A&M. On June 9, 1904, he married Bess B. Brown; they had two sons and two daughters.

   In 1906 Lomax received a scholarship at Harvard University, where Barrett Wendell and George Lyman Kittredge encouraged him to take up seriously the collection of western ballads he had begun as a youth. He collected by means of an appeal published in western newspapers and through his own vacation travel, supported by private funds from the two Harvard professors. In the back room of the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth he found cowhands who knew many stanzas of The Old Chisholm Trail. A Gypsy woman living in a truck near Fort Worth sang Git Along, Little Dogies. At Abilene an old buffalo hunter gave him the words and tune of Buffalo Skinners. In San Antonio in 1908 a black saloonkeeper who had been a trail cook sang Home on the Range. Lomax's first collection, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, was published in 1910.

   From 1910 to 1925 Lomax was secretary of the Alumni Association, which became the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas, except for two years, 1917-19, when he was a bond salesman in Chicago. He was active in the fight to save the university from political domination by James E. Ferguson. From 1925 until 1931 he was vice president of Republic National Company in Dallas. His first wife died on May 8, 1931, and on July 21, 1934, he married Ruby R. Terrill. Lomax was one of the founders of the Texas Folklore Society and was president of the American Folklore Society.

   In his collecting of folk songs, he traveled 200,000 miles and visited all but one of the forty-eight states. Often accompanied by his son, Alan, he visited prisons to record on phonograph disks the work songs and spirituals of black inmates. At the Angola prison farm in Louisiana, he encountered a talented black minstrel, Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Upon Lead Belly's release from prison, Lomax took him on a tour in the north and recorded many of his songs. In 1919 he published Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp; it was republished in 1927 and in 1931. With his son, Lomax edited other collections: American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), Negro Songs as Sung by Lead Belly (1936), Our Singing Country (1941), and Folk Song: U.S.A. (1947). In 1947 his autobiographical Adventures of a Ballad Hunter (1947) was awarded the Carr P. Collins prize as the best Texas book of the year by the Texas Institute of Letters. Beginning in 1933 Lomax was honorary curator of the Archive of Folksong at the Library of Congress, which he helped establish as the primary agency for preservation of American folksongs and culture. He died at Greenville, Mississippi, on January 26, 1948. He was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Source

30° 16.514, -097° 43.502

Section 2
Oakwood Cemetery

October 20, 2009

Benjamin Cromwell Franklin

   Benjamin Cromwell Franklin, judge and legislator, the eldest son of Abednego (?) and Mary Graves (Cleveland) Franklin, was born in Georgia on April 25, 1805. He was educated at Franklin College in Athens, Georgia, and admitted to the bar in 1827. In 1835 he traveled to Velasco, Texas, and shortly afterward joined an expedition against Indians. In December 1835 at a public meeting at Columbia he was among those who favored immediate declaration of war against Mexico. On April 7, 1836, he was commissioned a captain in the Texas army by President David G. Burnet, but since he was not assigned to the command of a company at San Jacinto, he fought there as a private in Capt. Robert J. Calder's company. On April 23, 1836, Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk directed Franklin to proceed to Galveston Island and inform President Burnet and his cabinet of the victory at San Jacinto. Franklin later received a bounty warrant for 320 acres for his service and was among the first to purchase land at the future site of Houston.

   He was the first man to hold a judicial position in the Republic of Texas. The Pocket, a brig owned by a citizen of the United States, was captured in March 1836 by the Invincible, a Texas armed schooner. Realizing that the affair might alienate the United States, the government of Texas took immediate steps to have the matter thoroughly investigated. The judiciary not having been organized, the government established the judicial district of Brazoria in which to try the case, and Burnet appointed Franklin district judge. The exact date of his appointment has not been ascertained, but it was before June 15, 1836. The position had been tendered to James Collinsworth on April 12, but he declined.

   On December 20, 1836, Franklin was appointed judge of the Second or Brazoria Judicial District by President Sam Houston. The appointment automatically made Franklin a member of the Supreme Court of the republic, of which James Collinsworth was chief justice. Franklin held his first court at Brazoria on March 27, 1837. He resigned from his judgeship on November 29, 1839, and moved to Galveston to practice law. He was elected to represent Galveston County in the House of Representatives of the Third, Fifth, and Eighth state legislatures. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was too old for military service and was suffering from rheumatism. He retired to a small farm near Livingston, Polk County, and remained until 1870, when he returned to Galveston. Governor E. J. Davis appointed him commissioner to revise the laws of Texas, but he declined the appointment.

   Franklin's first wife was Eliza Carter Brantly, whom he married on October 31, 1837; they had two children. After her death on September 24, 1844, Judge Franklin married Estelle B. Maxwell of Illinois, on November 3, 1847. He died unexpectedly on December 25, 1873, after several weeks of illness and was buried in Galveston. The act establishing Franklin County does not state for whom the county was named, but it is generally accepted as having been named for Judge Benjamin C. Franklin. Source

29° 17.550, -094° 48.819

New City Cemetery

October 16, 2009

Benjamin Watson Hardin

   Benjamin Watson Hardin, early settler and political figure, the first son of Swan and Jerusha (Blackburn) Hardin, was born in Franklin County, Georgia, on March 25, 1796. By 1807 he was living in Maury County, Tennessee, with other family members and managing the family farm. Because of an affair between his brother's wife, Mrs. A. B. Hardin, and Isaac Newton Porter, of which Porter bragged about publicly, Benjamin accompanied his brothers to a meeting with Porter and William Williamson in Columbia, Tennessee, on October 1, 1825. During the ensuing confrontation Hardin's brothers Augustine and Benjamin Franklin Hardin fatally shot Porter and Williamson. After being indicted with his brothers, including William Hardin, in December 1825, Hardin fled to what is now Liberty County, Texas, in 1827 in order to avoid a possible conviction for murder and to join other family members who had similarly made themselves scarce in Tennessee.

   On January 8, 1828, Hardin married Adelia Coleman in Liberty County; they had four children, two of whom lived beyond childhood. Hardin received a league of land in 1831 and served as sheriff of the Liberty District. He was elected Liberty county sheriff in 1839 and served until 1845. On December 2, 1844, he began his term as Liberty County representative in the Ninth Congress (1844-45) of the Republic of Texas. He was a prominent rancher and farmer in Liberty County and a founding member of the Liberty Masonic Lodge in 1849. He died on January 2, 1850, at his homestead and was buried in the Hardin family cemetery, on his original land grant north of Liberty. Hardin County and Hardin, Texas (Liberty County), were named in honor of the Hardin family. The Texas Centennial Commission erected a monument at Benjamin W. Hardin's grave in 1936. Source

Note: The family cemetery is private and kept locked, but it lies on the shoulder of FM 1011 and can be viewed in its entirety from outside the gate.

30° 06.076, -094° 45.971

Hardin Family Cemetery

October 9, 2009

Frances Sanger Mossiker

   Frances Mossiker, writer, was born on April 9, 1906, in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Elihu and Evelyn (Beekman) Sanger. She was raised in wealth derived from the family business, the prosperous manufacturing and retail establishment Sanger Brothers. She frequently visited her mother's family in France and became fluent in French and German. She attended the Hockaday School and Forest Avenue High School and attempted to join the circus at fifteen but was stopped by her grandfather, Alexander Sanger. She enrolled at Smith College but was prevented by college policy from remaining a student after she eloped with Frank Beaston, an actor, about 1922. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard in 1927, did graduate work at the Sorbonne in Paris, then moved to Detroit and to Hollywood with her husband; the marriage ended in divorce about 1929, and she returned to Dallas.

   Frances Beaston worked as a radio commentator in Dallas and Fort Worth. She married businessman Jacob Mossiker on October 15, 1935. The couple traveled widely and lived comfortably. They had no children. When she was in her early fifties, while recovering from a radical mastectomy, Frances Mossiker began to research the disappearance of a diamond necklace in eighteenth-century France. Through family and friends she gained access to primary documents in France, and the result was the nonfiction mystery The Queen's Necklace, published in 1961. The book won the Carr P. Collins award from the Texas Institute of Letters. Mossiker was the first woman to win the prize. She followed this book with the Literary Guild selection Napoleon and Josephine: The Biography of a Marriage (1964), The Affair of the Poisons (1969), More Than a Queen: The Story of Josephine Bonaparte (1971), Pocahontas: The Life and Legend (1976), and Madame de Sevigne: A Life and Letters (1983). She donated her papers to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, to Boston University, and to Smith College. She died on May 12, 1985, in Dallas and was entombed at Hillcrest Mausoleum. Source

32° 52.093, -096° 46.815

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

October 6, 2009

Joseph Henry Barnard

   Joseph Henry Barnard, military surgeon and diarist, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on April 21, 1804. He was a sailor for three years before graduating from Williams College in 1829. He practiced medicine in Canada until 1835, when he moved to Chicago. He left for Texas on December 14, 1835, and enlisted in the revolutionary army as a private with the Red Rovers. While surgeon to James W. Fannin, Jr.'s command, he was captured at Goliad, but his life was spared so that he might treat the wounded Mexicans at Goliad and San Antonio. In San Antonio he lived with José Ángel Navarro. Barnard's diary is one of the best sources of information covering this period. He served in the army in Galveston from June 10 to October 28, 1836. He moved to Fort Bend County in 1837, was county clerk in 1838-39, and represented the county in the House of the Eighth Congress, 1843-1844. He married Mrs. Nancy M. Danforth on July 30, 1841. Dr. Barnard moved to Goliad and lived there until 1860, when he went on a visit to Canada, where he died in 1861. Source

30° 15.935, -097° 43.644

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

September 25, 2009

David Young Portis

   David Portis, attorney and public official, was born around 1813 in North Carolina and probably moved to Texas after the Texas Revolution. He practiced law with John W. Portis in Houston in 1839 and in 1840 or 1841 moved to Austin County. He replaced James H. Kuykendall, who had resigned, as representative from Austin County in the House of the called session of the Sixth Congress in 1842 and was reelected to the Seventh Congress. On December 28, 1843, he married Rebecca Cumings, daughter of the Rebekah Cumings who was one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. In January 1845 Portis was chairman of an annexation meeting at San Felipe. He represented the Seventeenth District, comprising Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Lavaca, and Wharton counties, in the Senate of the Third Legislature, 1849-50, and in 1853 served as a delegate to the state Democratic party convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The United States Census of 1860 listed Portis as owning seventeen slaves and over 35,000 acres with real property valued at $100,000 and personal property valued at $20,000. He represented Austin County in the Secession Convention of 1861. Portis seems to have lived the remainder of his life in Austin County and to have died there in February 1883. Source

29° 25.284, -098° 28.208

Section E
Odd Fellows Cemetery
San Antonio

September 18, 2009

Frank Everson Vandiver

   Frank Everson Vandiver, noted military historian, professor, and university president, was born on December 9, 1925, in Austin, Texas. He was the son of Harry S. Vandiver, a mathematics professor who taught at the University of Texas, Princeton, and Cornell. Initially Frank Vandiver attended public schools but was eventually pulled out of the school system for private tutorship. At an early age he displayed a great interest in Confederate history, and while still a teenager, he published an article on the subject in a scholarly journal. Vandiver did not receive a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree, but through examinations he was admitted to graduate school at the University of Texas and received a Master of Arts in 1949. He received his Ph. D. from Tulane University in 1951 and an M.A. by decree from Oxford University.

   Vandiver received recognition as a prominent young scholar when, at the age of twenty-four, his biography was included in Who’s Who in America. His early accolades included two Rockefeller Fellowships in 1946 and 1948 and a Fulbright Fellowship in 1951. His first book, Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and Confederate Ordnance, was published in 1952. Vandiver taught at Louisiana State University and Washington University before joining the history faculty at Rice University in 1955. He filled many positions at Rice University including chairman of the history and political science department, provost and vice president, and acting president from 1969 to 1970. From 1979 to 1981 Vandiver served as president of North Texas State University (now University of North Texas), and he was president of Texas A&M University from 1981 to 1988. After stepping down as president, he became founder and director of the Mosher Institute for International Policy Studies, a defense think tank at Texas A&M.

   Vandiver was active in numerous organizations and served as president of the Southern Historical Association, the Texas Institute of Letters, the Philosophical Society of Texas, Association of American Colleges, White House Historical Society, and the American Council on Education. He taught at Oxford as the Harmsworth Professor of American History from 1963 to 1964. One of his main focuses was on the papers of Jefferson Davis for which he was chief advisory editor from 1963 until his death.

   His many works include Mighty Stonewall (1957), Their Tattered Flags: The Epic of the Confederacy (1970), Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing (1977), Blood Brothers: A Short History of the Civil War (1992), Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars (1997), 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the Civil War (2000), and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About World War II (2002). He contributed to numerous other books about American military history.

   Frank Vandiver married Susie Smith on April 19, 1952. They had three children. After her death in 1979, he married Renee Carmody in 1980. He died on January 7, 2005, in College Station, Texas. He was buried at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston. Source

29° 46.856, -095° 36.898

Section 12
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

September 15, 2009

Junius William Mottley

   Junius William Mottley, physician and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Virginia about 1812. In 1833 he matriculated in the medical college of Transylvania University, giving his home as Greensburg, Kentucky. Since the college has no record of his receiving a degree, he probably left for Texas before March 18, 1835, the date it would have been conferred. On January 24, 1836, Dr. Mottley was appointed surgeon for the post of Goliad, which he furnished with surgical instruments worth at least $125. He was a delegate from Goliad to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. When the convention was dissolved he hastened to rejoin the military forces. While serving as aide-de-camp to Thomas J. Rusk, Mottley was mortally wounded in the battle of San Jacinto; he died on the night of April 21, 1836, and was buried on the battlefield. His heirs could not be located, and his donation certificate for military service was sold at auction. Motley County was named in his honor. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. His name is incorrectly inscribed on the monument as William Junius Mottley. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph at Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232, -095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

September 11, 2009

Samuel Hamilton Walker

   Samuel H. Walker, Texas Ranger and Mexican War veteran, son of Nathan and Elizabeth (Thomas) Walker, was born at Toaping Castle, Prince George County, Maryland, on February 24, 1817, the fifth of seven children. He attended the common country school and afterward worked as a carpenter's apprentice. In May 1836 Walker enlisted in the Washington City Volunteers for the Creek Indian campaign in Alabama. He was stationed in Florida and apparently saw no combat. After his enlistment ended in 1837, Walker remained in Florida as a scout until 1841. He may also have been a railroad superintendent. He traveled to Galveston in January 1842, where he served in Capt. Jesse Billingsley's company during the Adrián Woll invasion. He then enlisted in the Somervell expedition and took part in the actions around Laredo and Guerrero. He also joined William S. Fisher's Mier expedition. Walker escaped at Salado, was recaptured, and survived the Black Bean Episode. In 1844 Walker joined John C. Hays's company of Texas Rangers and participated in the battle of Walker's Creek near the junction of Walker's Creek and West Sister Creek northwest of present-day Sisterdale in Kendall County. During the engagement the rangers, using new Colt revolvers, successfully defeated about eighty Comanches. When Gen. Zachary Taylor requested volunteers to act as scouts and spies for his regular army, Walker enlisted as a private and was mustered into federal service in September 1845. In April 1846 he formed his own company for duty under Taylor. On April 28 Walker was ambushed with his company en route to join Taylor at Port Isabel. He reached Taylor's camp on April 29; his reports caused Taylor to move his encampment. Walker performed exemplary duty as a scout and courier on numerous other occasions. His company was the only Texas unit at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was presented a horse by the grateful citizens of New Orleans in the spring of 1846 for his numerous exploits with Taylor's army.

   Walker served as captain of the inactive Company C of the United States Mounted Rifles until the outbreak of the Mexican War. When the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, was organized in June 1846, Walker was elected lieutenant colonel. He fought in the battle of Monterrey in September and on October 2, 1846, mustered out of federal service, activated his commission as captain of the mounted rifles, and proceeded to Washington, D.C., to begin recruiting for his company. During his recruitment excursion Walker visited Samuel Colt. Colt credited Walker with proposed improvements, including a stationary trigger and guard, to the existing revolver. The new six-shooter was named the Walker Colt. After arriving with his new company at Vera Cruz, Mexico, Walker was detailed on May 27, 1847, to the First Pennsylvania Volunteers, stationed at Castle San Carlos de Perote to counter Mexican guerrilla activities between Perote and Jalapa. On October 5, 1847, Walker left Perote with Gen. Joseph P. Lane to escort a supply train to Mexico City. According to J. J. Oswandel, author of Notes on the Mexican War, who wrote about the incident, Walker grew increasingly embittered against the enemy: "Should Captain Walker come across guerillas, God help them, for he seldom brings in prisoners. The captain and most all of his men are very prejudiced and embittered against every guerilla in the country." En route Lane was informed of a sizable enemy force at Huamantla and ordered an attack. With Walker's mounted rifles in the lead, the assault force reached Huamantla on October 9. During the spirited contest that followed Walker was either shot in the back or killed by a man on foot carrying a lance. Following his death his unit took revenge on the community of Huamantla. Walker was buried at Hacienda Tamaris. In 1848 his remains were moved to San Antonio. On April 21, 1856, as part of a battle of San Jacinto celebration, he was reburied in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery in San Antonio. Source

29° 25.277, -098° 28.182

Odd Fellows Cemetery
San Antonio

September 8, 2009

Edward Mandell House

   Edward Mandell House was born in Houston on July 26, 1858, the last of seven children of Mary Elizabeth (Shearn) and Thomas William House. His father was one of the leading citizens of Texas, a wealthy merchant, banker, and landowner. Edward had a privileged youth: he spent six months in England in 1866, met many prominent people who visited the large family homes in Galveston and Houston, and enjoyed the colorful life of his father's sugar plantation near Arcola Junction. As a boy he rode and hunted, admired the gunfighters of the era, and roamed the flat, vast coastal plain near Houston. Initially House attended Houston Academy, but after the death of his mother on January 28, 1870, his father sent him to boarding school, first in Virginia and then in New Haven, Connecticut. House was not a serious student, and he and his closest friend, Oliver T. Morton (the son of Senator Oliver Perry Morton of Indiana), became absorbed in the Hayes-Tilden election of 1876 and the long crisis following it; they frequently traveled to New York and Washington.

   In the autumn of 1877 House entered Cornell University, where he remained until the beginning of his third year, when his father became ill and the younger House left school to care for him. When T. W. House died, on January 17, 1880, his son decided to stay in Texas and help manage the estate, which was to be divided among the five surviving children. On August 4, 1881, House married Loulie Hunter of Hunter, Texas. After a year in Europe the couple returned to Houston, and House supervised the family's extensive landholdings scattered throughout Texas. In the autumn of 1885 he moved to Austin in order to escape the heat of Houston and to be closer to his cotton plantations. He became a prominent member of Austin society and, in the late 1880s and early 1890s, pursued a variety of business activities, including farming and land speculation. In June 1892 he completed a great mansion at 1704 West Avenue, designed by the New York architect Frank Freeman. The house was one of the finest examples in Texas of the Shingle style of residential architecture. With a minimum of decorative detail, it made innovative use of red sandstone, sweeping shingled roofs, and an open-plan interior in a style that suggested future architectural trends. It was razed in 1967.

   House was drawn into state politics through his friendship with James Stephen Hogg, who in 1892 faced a formidable challenge for renomination and reelection from conservative Democrats and Populists. House directed Hogg's campaign, established a network of contacts with influential local Democratic leaders, manipulated the electoral machinery, and bargained for the votes of African and Mexican Americans. Hogg triumphed in a bitter, three-way race and rewarded House on July 20, 1893, with the honorary title of lieutenant colonel. The press soon shortened the title to colonel.

   Fascinated more with the process of politics than with the substance, House proceeded to build his own faction - "our crowd," as he called it - which became a powerful force in Texas politics. He was an ambitious political operator, skilled in organizing and inspiring others. He worked largely behind the scenes, developing ties of loyalty and affection with his close associates and using patronage to rally party workers behind his candidates. From 1894 to 1906 House's protégés served as governors of Texas. He and his associates managed the gubernatorial campaigns of Charles Allen Culberson, Joseph D. Sayers, and Samuel W. T. Lanham. House was especially close to Culberson, whose elevation to the United States Senate in 1898 the colonel directed. House served as a political counselor, often dispensing advice and controlling patronage for all three governors.

   By the turn of the century he was bored with his role in Texas politics and was restlessly searching for broader horizons. He sought further wealth, first by attempting to profit from the discovery of oil at the Spindletop oilfield in 1901 and 1902. With the backing of eastern financiers, he formed the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway Company. He also felt the pull of the East. For years he had spent the summers on Boston's North Shore, and gradually he began to winter in New York, severing most of his ties with Texas and only occasionally visiting the state. After 1904 he was never again involved in a gubernatorial campaign.

   As a youth House had dreamed great dreams, yearning for a place on the national political stage. A conservative, sound-money Democrat, he disliked William Jennings Bryan and in 1904 supported Alton B. Parker. Discouraged by the prospects of the Democratic party after Parker's defeat in 1904 and Bryan's in 1908, House found solace in leisurely tours of Europe and in spiritualism. He continued his search for a Democratic presidential candidate, and on November 25, 1911, met Woodrow Wilson; the two formed a close friendship that lasted for years. House participated in Wilson's campaign for the presidential nomination by using his influence to secure the forty votes of the Texas delegation and the approval of William Jennings Bryan for Wilson's candidacy. After Wilson's victory House refused any official appointment, but was responsible for the appointment of several Texans to cabinet positions. He quickly established himself as the president's trusted adviser and confidant, especially on foreign affairs.

   After the outbreak of World War I, House undertook several important European missions for the president. When the United States became involved in the war, he won British and French acceptance of Wilson's Fourteen Points as the basis for the peace. House was appointed one of the five American commissioners at the peace conference and served as Wilson's second in command. When the president temporarily returned to the United States during the negotiations, House took his place at the head of the American delegation. After signing the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, Wilson appointed House to represent him at London in the drafting of provisions for operation of the mandate system set up by the treaty.

   The relationship between the two men deteriorated after Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke in the fall of 1919, and during the Republican party's ascendancy in the 1920s House ceased to exercise direct influence on public affairs. Until his death, however, he maintained close contact with important national and international figures. He took an interest in Franklin D. Roosevelt's nomination in 1932, but made no effort to resume the political influence he enjoyed under Wilson. House died on March 28, 1938, in New York City and was buried at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. Source

29° 46.000, -095° 23.232

Section C-4
Glenwood Cemetery

September 4, 2009

Rienzi Melville Johnston

   Rienzi Melville Johnston, newspaper editor, son of Freeman W. and Mary J. (Russell) Johnston, was born at Sandersville, Georgia, on September 9, 1849 (some sources say 1850). Early in his life he began work in a print shop, and at the age of twelve he became a drummer in the Confederate Army (1862-63). After discharge he reenlisted in 1864 and served until the end of the war, when he returned to newspaper work. In the early 1870s he was city editor of the Savannah Morning News. He traveled to Texas in 1878 to edit the Crockett Patron. After a year he edited the Corsicana Observer and established the Independent there. In 1880 he moved to Austin, where he was associated with the Austin Statesman. The Houston Post secured his service as correspondent to cover the state capital. Johnston was chosen editor-in-chief of the reorganized Houston paper in 1885, and later he became president of the Houston Printing Company. As an editorial writer he was quoted by the press throughout many states. For two years he was first vice president of the Associated Press. Johnston was one of the leaders of the Democratic party in the South. He declined the nomination for lieutenant governor of Texas in 1898. From 1900 to 1912 he was a member of the Democratic National Committee. Early in 1913 Governor Oscar B. Colquitt appointed him United States senator to fill the unexpired term of Joseph W. Bailey. Johnston served from January 4 to February 2, 1913, when he returned to Houston and resumed his duties as active head of the Post. He retired in 1919 and served as state senator from the Houston district; he resigned when he was appointed chairman of the state prison commission by Governor William P. Hobby on January 12, 1920. Johnston married Mary E. Parsons in 1875, and they had three children. He died on February 28, 1926, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Source

29° 45.835, -095° 23.198

Section H2
Glenwood Cemetery

September 1, 2009

Joseph Lindley

   Joseph Lindley, son of Simon and Anna (Stanley) Lindley, was born on January 7, 1793, in Orange County, North Carolina. Early in 1808 he moved with his family to Christian County, Kentucky, and afterward to what is now Bond County, Illinois. Late in 1811, when Lindley was eighteen years old, conflicts with Indians motivated settlers to build a fort near Greenville. During the War of 1812 the family lived in the fort, but after four years of Indian attacks and military protection, they moved to Edwardsville, Illinois. Lindley fought in the War of 1812 as a United States Ranger. He married Nancy Ann Hicks on June 17, 1817, in Bond County, Illinois, and they moved to Humphreys County, Tennessee. Ten years later they arrived in Texas with four children. Lindley was unable to get clear title to his 2,592 acres of land because he was involved in the Fredonian Rebellion at Nacogdoches. He received title to 4,428 acres in Montgomery County on April 6, 1835. He participated in the siege of Bexar in 1835, signed the letter of endorsement required by the Mexicans for the entry into Texas of Alamo defender Jonathan Lindley, and fought at the battle of San Jacinto. Mirabeau B. Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, appointed Lindley an Indian agent with a charge to keep the peace. He was an elected civil officer for Montgomery County in 1839 and laid out the first road from Austin to the "springs at the headwaters of the San Marcos" (Aquarena Springs), so that a military post could be established there in 1840. He was appointed by the Congress of the Republic of Texas to survey a road from Washington to the Sabine in 1844. About 1846 the Lindleys moved to Limestone County, where they settled four miles north of the site of present-day Mexia. Lindley was elected county commissioner in 1854 and served one term. On January 20, 1874, he died. He was buried in Limestone County and later reinterred at the State Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 26, 1986, during the Texas Sesquicentennial. Source

Note: The spelling of his name on his stone is incorrect. Although some early records exist where his surname was spelled Lindly, even by Joseph himself on one occasion, it is actually Lindley.

30° 15.933, -097° 43.645

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

August 28, 2009

Ira Ingram

   Ira Ingram, soldier, legislator, and member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born in Brookfield, Vermont, on August 19, 1788, the son of Phillip and Rachael (Burton) Ingram. After sojourning for a time in Tennessee he seems to have moved to New Orleans, where he married Emily B. Holt of Tennessee on March 13, 1823; she died in October 1824. They had one daughter. At the instigation of his brother Seth Ingram, Ira moved to Texas in January 1826 and settled in the Austin colony in the area that became Waller County. In 1828 he and his brother were partners in a merchandising establishment in San Felipe de Austin. Although defeated by Thomas M. Duke in the election for alcalde in 1832, Ingram represented the Mina District at the Convention of 1832 and San Felipe in the Convention of 1833. He also served as secretary of the local committee of public safety, organized to resist Mexican Centralist authority. In 1834 he was elected the first alcalde of Matagorda and wrote the Goliad Declaration of Independence, signed on December 22, 1835. During the Texas Revolution Ingram participated in the capture of Goliad as commissary and secretary to commandant Philip Dimmitt. In November 1835 he requested a transfer from Stephen F. Austin. He served in Capt. Thomas Stewart's company of Matagorda Volunteers in 1836. On April 5, 1836, Gen. Sam Houston ordered Ingram, then commissioned as a major, to return to East Texas and the United States to recruit volunteers for the Texas army. Ingram was Matagorda representative in the First Congress of the Republic of Texas and was elected speaker of the House. He resigned from the legislature on May 1, 1837, possibly because of the disclosure that he had once been convicted of forgery and imprisoned in New York. He was again elected mayor of Matagorda, but died on September 22, 1837, before his inauguration. Ingram was present at the first meeting of the Masonic fraternity in Texas on January 11, 1828. In his will he left $70,000 to the Matagorda schools. Source

28° 42.030, -095° 57.282

Section E
Matagorda Cemetery

August 25, 2009

Jonathan C. Peyton

   Jonathan C. Peyton, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was probably the son of John E. Peyton of Tennessee. He was living in Nashville when he married Angelina Belle, later known as Angelina Belle Eberly. The Peytons lived for a time in New Orleans, then on June 2, 1822, left there on the ship Good Intent and on June 18 landed at Matagorda, Texas. They lived for brief periods at Hawkins Landing and at McCluskey's Tanyard and made a crop in 1823 on land near Jesse Burnam's In late 1823 and in 1824 Peyton was at Nacogdoches and at Natchitoches, Louisiana. He finally settled at San Felipe de Austin in October 1825. The census of March 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser, aged between twenty-five and forty. His household included his wife, a young son, and two servants. Peyton was not altogether satisfied with his treatment by Stephen F. Austin but applied for land in the Austin colony; in 1827, as one of the Old Three Hundred settlers, he received title to a league on the east bank of the Colorado River, about three miles northwest of what would become Lake Austin, in an area that became Matagorda County. Peyton operated a ferry and freighting service and had a tavern at San Felipe. He died in San Felipe in May 1834, leaving his widow and two children, Alexander and Margaret. An inventory of his property at the time of his death included eight slaves and four town lots in San Felipe. Mrs. Peyton operated the tavern until San Felipe was burned in 1836. Subsequently she moved to Columbia, where she married Jacob Eberly. Source

Note: Unmarked. During the Texas Revolution, the town of San Felipe was largely destroyed by Mexican troops chasing after the Texan army. Nothing was spared, not even the town graveyard. The majority of those buried here prior to 1836 are no longer marked, so although Jonathan Peyton is known to be buried here, the exact location has been lost. The photo below shows the oldest section of the cemetery where it is possible he still rests.


San Felipe de Austin Cemetery
San Felipe

August 18, 2009


   Colita (Kalita, Coleto, Colluta), Coushatta Indian leader, was born during the mid-1700s, possibly in the village of Coosawda, on the Alabama River near the site of present Montgomery, Alabama. He served first as chief of the Lower Coushatta Village (also known as Colita's Village) on the Trinity River and succeeded Long King as principal chief of all the Texas Coushattas after Long King's death around 1838. Among Republic of Texas officials Colita was well known for tribal leadership and for his role in helping to maintain peaceful relations between Indians and white settlers in the lower Trinity River region. When white settlers fleeing eastward along the Coushatta Trace in the Runaway Scrape (1836) reached the Coushatta villages on the Trinity River, Colita directed the Coushattas' efforts to help the settlers cross the river and then to feed them.

   In a letter to Gen. Sam Houston of August 17, 1838, Samuel C. Hiroms, who lived near Colita's Village and acted as interpreter for him, reported that Colita talked with the Coushattas at Long King's Village to persuade them to remain peaceful. A German traveler, Friedrich W. von Wrede, wrote that while visiting Texas in October 1838, he contacted Colita, who informed him through Hiroms that Houston had directed the Coushatta chief to go to a distant Indian village to warn its inhabitants against participating in the revolt at Nacogdoches.

   Colita reported to President Mirabeau B. Lamar, in a letter written for him by Hiroms on June 10, 1839, that difficulties had arisen between Coushattas and their white neighbors. In a letter to Colita on July 9, 1839, Lamar expressed regret that there had been disturbances between Indians and white settlers, and he announced the appointment of Joseph Lindley as agent for the Coushattas to serve as mediator in all future difficulties that might arise between these groups. On April 4, 1842, President Houston directed Gen. James Davis to visit the Alabamas and Coushattas and assure them of the protection of the Republic of Texas. He specifically asked Davis to send Colita to him for additional discussions of conflicts.

   Colita continued to serve as leader of the Coushattas until his death on July 7, 1852, while on a hunting trip in the area of present Liberty County. He was thought to be 100 or older. A brief account of the life and death of this prominent Coushatta chief was included in the Texas State Gazette for July 17, 1852. A monument in honor of Colita was placed on Texas Highway 146 twelve miles north of Liberty by the Sophia Lee Harrison Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Colita died while on a hunting trip and was buried somewhere in the immediate area where he fell

30° 14.933, -094° 44.572

Colita Monument
Moss Hill

August 14, 2009

Martin Dies

   Martin Dies, congressman, son of David Warren and Sarah Jane (Pyburn) Dies, was born in Jackson Parish, Louisiana, on March 13, 1870. The family moved to Freestone County, Texas, in 1876. Dies attended public school in Texas, and some sources indicate that he graduated from law school at the University of Texas, although others claim that at the time in question he was working at various occupations in East Texas, including blacksmithing, railroading, teaching, and sawmilling. He was admitted to the of Texas bar about 1892 and practiced law at Woodville, Beaumont, Colorado City, and Kountze. He edited a newspaper in Freestone County and served as county marshall. He was elected county judge of Tyler County in 1894. Dies used his legal offices to secure land titles in the East Texas timber region until he moved south to Beaumont in 1897. During the Spanish-American War he joined the Beaumont Light Guards, which became Company D, Third Regiment, of the Texas Volunteers. After his return he was elected district attorney of the First Judicial District in 1898. Dies suffered a financial setback when he could not repay a debt to his friend John Henry Kirby. As a result he moved his family to the West Texas town of Colorado City in 1899. In 1908 he defeated the incumbent, Samuel Bronson Cooper, in his campaign for Congress. He represented the Second Texas Congressional District in the Sixty-first through Sixty-fifth United States Congresses (1909-19). During his tenure he opposed large military expenditures, American "imperialism," and high tariffs and supported an income tax. He was an outspoken nativist. Dies was opposed to woman suffrage and in 1916 opposed Woodrow Wilson's preparedness program. He chose not to run for reelection in 1918. He married Mrs. Olive Cline Blackshear on May 15, 1892, and they had two daughters and one son, Martin Dies. The marriage ended in divorce. Dies was a Democrat and a Methodist. He died in Kerrville on July 13, 1922, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Source

29° 45.919, -095° 23.196

Section F1
Glenwood Cemetery

August 4, 2009

Henry Stevenson Brown

   Henry Stevenson Brown, early settler, trader, and Indian fighter, was born in Madison County, Kentucky, on March 8, 1793, the son of Caleb and Jemima (Stevenson) Brown. In 1810 he moved to St. Charles County, Missouri, where he was later sheriff. He volunteered for the War of 1812 and participated in the battle at Fort Clark, Illinois, in 1813. He married Mrs. Margaret Kerr Jones about 1814, moved to Pike County, Missouri, in 1819, and carried on trading via flatboat between Missouri and New Orleans. In December 1824, accompanied by his brother John (Waco) Brownqv, he landed at the mouth of the Brazos River equipped to trade with the Mexicans and Indians. In 1825 he was in command of a party of settlers that attacked and destroyed a band of Waco Indians at the site of present Waco. Brown was in Green DeWitt's colony in 1825 and in 1829 was in command of a company from Gonzales on a thirty-two-day campaign against the Indians. From 1826 to 1832 he engaged in the Mexican trade from headquarters in Brazoria, Gonzales, and San Antonio. At the time of the Anahuac Disturbances of 1832, Brown carried the information on the Turtle Bayou Resolutions from Gonzales to the Neches and Sabine River settlements and under John Austinqv commanded a company of eighty men in the battle of Velasco. He was a delegate from Gonzales to the Convention of 1832 at San Felipe de Austin and in 1833 was a member of the ayuntamiento of Brazoria. He died in Columbia on July 26, 1834. Brown County was named for him. Source

29° 08.388, -095° 38.844

Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia

July 31, 2009

Wyly Martin

   Wyly (Wiley) Martin, soldier, judge, and legislator, was born in Georgia in 1776. As a young man he worked as a clerk, as a teacher, and at a variety of other occupations. During the War of 1812 he was commissioned a third lieutenant in the Ninth United States Infantry on August 9, 1813. He served as a scout for Gen. William Henry Harrison and fought under Gen. Andrew Jackson at the battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama. He was promoted to first lieutenant in the Thirty-ninth Infantry on July 29, 1813, and to captain of the Third Rifle Regiment on March 17, 1814. He was honorably discharged on June 15, 1815, and reinstated on December 2. On June 1, 1821, he transferred to the Sixth Infantry. He resigned his commission on July 21, 1823, reputedly because he killed a man in a duel. In 1825 he immigrated to Texas, where he was appointed alcalde of Stephen F. Austin's colony. In 1835 he was acting jefe político of the Department of the Brazos. He was a delegate from San Felipe de Austin to the conventions of 1832, 1833, and 1835. As a member of the so-called "Peace party," Martin disavowed the actions of William B. Travis and others of the "War party" at Anahuac and was opposed to Texas independence from Mexico; but with the coming of the Texas Revolution he signed the declaration of war against Antonio López de Santa Anna's Centralist regime, on November 7, 1835. At Bexar in December he drew a pen-and-ink sketch of Travis, the only known portrait of the man done from life. Martin raised a company that joined Sam Houston's army at Columbus. He was promoted to major and detached to guard the crossings of the lower Brazos River, then flanked out of his position at Fort Bend when the Mexican army crossed at the site of present Richmond. Although both Houston and secretary of war Thomas J. Rusk approved his action in falling back before superior numbers of the enemy, Martin was irate because he had been given an inadequate command-forty-six men-to observe the four fords and ferries he was responsible for holding. When he was ordered on April 13 to rejoin the main army at the Donaho plantation, he marched his force back to Houston's headquarters and relinquished his command. Subsequently, he was an outspoken opponent of Houston and his political policies. Martin saw little service for the remainder of the war, and on May 15 Rusk regretfully accepted his resignation.

   After independence Martin made his home in Fort Bend County, where he was appointed chief justice of the county on December 29, 1837, and was elected to the post on September 6, 1841. He was admitted to the bar in 1838. He was elected to represent Austin, Colorado, and Fort Bend counties in Congress. At age sixty-five, he was the oldest senator in the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas. He died at the home of Randal Jones in the Fort Bend settlement on April 26, 1842, in the interval between sessions. Martin County is named for him. Source

29° 34.659, -095° 45.420

Dyer Cemetery

July 21, 2009

Johnny "Clyde" Copeland

   Songwriter and blues guitarist Johnny Copeland was born in Haynesville, Louisiana, on March 27, 1937, the son of sharecroppers. Copeland developed an interest in the blues at an early age. His parents separated when he was six months old, and his mother took him to Magnolia, Arkansas. When his father died a few years later Copeland inherited a guitar and began learning to play it.

   When Johnny was thirteen years old, the Copelands moved to Houston, where the boy first saw a performance by guitarist T-Bone Walker. In 1954, influenced by Walker, Copeland and his friend Joe "Guitar" Hughes formed a band, the Dukes of Rhythm. While his musical interest grew, Copeland engaged in boxing and acquired the nickname Clyde. The band played regularly in several leading Houston blues clubs, including Shady's Playhouse and the Eldorado Ballroom. While with the Dukes of Rhythm, Copeland also played back-up for such blues figures as Big Mama Thornton, Freddie King, and Sonny Boy Williamson II.

   In 1958 he recorded his first single with Mercury Records, Rock 'n' Roll Lily, which became a regional hit. In the 1960s he achieved only limited regional success as he recorded with various small and independent labels. His hits included Please Let Me Know and Down on Bending Knees, recorded with the All Boy and the Golden Eagle labels, both based in Houston.

   During the early 1970s Copeland toured the "Texas Triangle" - Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas - and developed a reputation as one of the most frenetic live performers in Texas-style blues. In 1974 he moved to New York City, where he worked at a Brew 'n' Burger during the day and performed in clubs at night. In a few years Copeland became a major draw, attracting receptive audiences at clubs in Harlem and Greenwich Village, and leaving his mark by "brandishing his sizzling guitar, like a slick, sharp weapon."

   In 1981 he signed with Rounder Records, which released the album Copeland Special, recorded in 1979 with saxophonists Arthur Blythe and Byard Lancaster. This album inspired Copeland to cut a series of albums with the label in the 1980s, including Make My Home Where I Hang My Hat (1982) and Texas Twister (1983), which also featured guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. With this recording success, Copeland toured the United States and Europe. In 1986, while on a ten-city tour in West Africa, he recorded Bringing It All Back Home, using local musicians. The album included imaginative hybrids of blues mixed with African idioms. Copeland thus became the first American blues musician to record an album in Africa.

   That same year he won a Grammy for the best traditional blues recording for Showdown! (1985), an album he recorded with fellow blues musicians Robert Cray and Albert Collins. His follow-up album, Ain't Nothing But a Party [Live], earned him a Grammy nomination in 1988. Throughout the decade he played and recorded with a furious Texas-style blues guitar, performing burning guitar licks that became his trademark and earned him another nickname, the "Fire Maker."

   Despite adversity, Copeland continued to perform throughout the 1990s. He showed off his songwriting talents when he released his albums Flying High for Verve Records in 1992 and Catch Up With the Blues for Polygram in 1994. The albums included the hits Life's Rainbow and Circumstances. In 1994 he was diagnosed with heart disease, and he spent the next few years checking in and out of hospitals and undergoing a series of open-heart operations. He had been placed on an L-VAD (left ventricular assist device), a battery-powered pump designed for patients suffering from congenital heart defects. He appeared on CNN and ABC-TV's Good Morning America wearing the L-VAD, an event that gave both Copeland and the medical device greater national exposure. He lived a remarkable length of time, twenty months, on the L-VAD.

   On January 1, 1997, he received a successful heart transplant, and in a few months he resumed touring. During the summer his heart developed a defective valve, and he was admitted to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York for heart surgery. He died on July 3, 1997, of complications during surgery, and was buried in Paradise South Cemetery in Pearland, Brazoria County, Texas. He was survived by his wife, Sandra, and seven children.

   Copeland had a lasting impact on Texas-style blues and played a major part in the blues boom of the 1980s. In his career he earned a Grammy, four W.C. Handy awards, and the album of the year award from the French National Academy of Jazz (1995). In 1984 he also became one of the few blues musicians to perform behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Source

29° 34.076, -095° 20.912

Block 3
Paradise South Cemetery

July 17, 2009

John William Smith

   John William Smith, christened William John Smith and also known as El Colorado, the last messenger from the Alamo and the first mayor of San Antonio, was born in Virginia on March 4, 1792, the son of John and Isabel Smith. As a youth he moved to Ralls County, Missouri, where he served as tax collector and sheriff and married Harriet Stone in 1821. They had three children. In 1826 Smith followed the empresario Green DeWitt to Texas. When his wife refused to join him, he parted from his family, after extracting a promise for a divorce. He lived in Gonzales, then in La Bahía, and by 1827 had moved to San Antonio, where he changed his name to John William Smith because it was easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce. In 1828 he became Catholic. In 1830 he married María de Jesús Delgado Curbelo, a descendant of Canary Islanders, and they had six children, whose descendants remained prominent citizens of San Antonio. Between 1827 and 1836 Smith served as military storekeeper, developed mercantile interests, and received a sizable Mexican land grant. He also worked as a civil engineer and surveyor. In December 1835 he escaped the occupying Mexican army of Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and joined Gen. Edward Burleson and the Texas army in besieging San Antonio. Smith used his familiarity with the town and his surveying skills to draw the detailed plat that made possible the successful house-to-house attack; he also acted as a guide for one of the assaulting parties. In early 1836 he joined William B. Travis in defense of the Alamo; he was sent by Travis as the final messenger to the Convention of 1836. Subsequently Smith continued as an army scout and participated in the battle of San Jacinto.

   After Texas independence was gained, he and his family returned to San Antonio, where Smith became an influential citizen and held a number of offices. He was mayor of San Antonio for three one-year terms during the 1830s and 1840s. He was also alderman, Bexar County tax assessor, clerk of the Bexar County Court, clerk of the Board of Land Commissioners of Bexar County, clerk of the Bexar County Probate Court, treasurer of Bexar County, postmaster of San Antonio, Indian commissioner of the Republic of Texas, and senator from 1842 to January 12, 1845. At one time he held as many as eleven different commissions under presidents Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar. The bilingual Smith also began a law practice and formed a real estate company that acted as a middleman between Spanish-speaking owners of land headrights and English-speaking land speculators. He also speculated in land. The combined tax lists of Bexar County for 1842, 1843, and 1844 indicate that he owned eleven town lots and 51,113 acres of undeveloped land, of which 4,428 acres was from his Mexican grant, 320 acres from his bounty grant, and 640 acres from his donation grant. During these years he participated in a real estate partnership with Enoch Jones, which held an additional 41,129 acres. Much of this property was sold to pay Smith's debts and support his family after his death. He died on January 12, 1845, after a brief illness, possibly pneumonia, at Washington-on-the-Brazos and was buried at the site of the current Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. His remains were later relocated to the Washington City Cemetery, where they are marked by a stone monument. Source

30° 19.565, -096° 10.167

Washington Cemetery

July 14, 2009

Mary Smith Jones

   Mary Smith Jones, wife of Republic of Texas president Anson Jones and first president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, was born in Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory, on July 24, 1819, to John McCutcheon and Sarah (Pevehouse) Smith. After Smith died in 1833, his wife and her five children moved to Texas and settled in January 1834 in Brazoria. There Sarah Smith married John Woodruff, a widower with six children. In April 1836 the Woodruff family and other Brazorians lost their homes when a division of Santa Anna's army forced them to flee toward the Sabine River. The Woodruffs found shelter in the timber of Clear Creek, eight miles from the battlefield of San Jacinto. After December 1836 the family resided in Houston.

   On July 23, 1837, Mary Smith was married in Houston to Hugh McCrory, a soldier in the Army of the Republic of Texas. McCrory died suddenly seven weeks later. In Austin on May 17, 1840, Mary married Anson Jones, a prominent doctor and politician from Brazoria. Jones's political career eventually included a two-year term as senator from Brazoria, service as secretary of state under President Sam Houston, and election as president of the Republic of Texas in 1844. That year the Joneses built their plantation house at their estate, Barrington, four miles from Washington-on-the-Brazos. The estate was later sold at a loss, and after Jones's suicide in January 1858 Mary and the children were destitute. They moved to Galveston, where Ashbel Smith helped Mrs. Jones to buy his brother's 460-acre farm on Goose Creek, near the site of present Baytown. She moved to San Jacinto in 1871 and to Willis in 1874. In 1879 she returned to Houston, home of her son Cromwell, chief justice of Harris County. After his death, she lived with her daughter.

   One of her driving ambitions in later years was to rectify what she considered gross misrepresentations of her husband's role during the annexation controversy. To that end she repeatedly contacted authors and publishers in an unsuccessful attempt to produce a favorable biography of Anson Jones and to publish his book, Republic of Texas. Her major means of support during these years was the sale of family land in Matagorda, Bastrop, Bexar, and Goliad counties. Mrs. Jones served, largely in a symbolic role, as the first president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas from 1891 through 1907. She was a Democrat and Episcopalian and was influential in establishing a church in Washington and St. Paul's College in Anderson. The Joneses had four children. Mary Jones died on December 31, 1907, at the residence of her daughter in Houston. She was buried at Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Source

29° 45.940, -095° 23.123

Section F1
Glenwood Cemetery

July 10, 2009

Jesse Martin Combs

   Jesse Martin Combs, jurist and congressman, son of Frank and Mary (Beck) Combs, was born in Shelby County, Texas, on July 7, 1889. He was orphaned as a small child and raised by his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beck. After graduating from Center High School, Combs attended San Marcos State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State University) and received his degree in 1912. He taught at several rural schools before becoming the Hardin county agent in 1914. Four years later he was admitted to the bar and elected county judge. He subsequently served as judge for the Seventy-fifth District Court, which served Tyler, Hardin, Liberty, Chambers, and Montgomery counties. He moved to Beaumont and sat on the Ninth Court of Civil Appeals from 1933 to 1943. He was also influential in developing Beaumont's South Park school district, and was president of the Board of Trustees of Lamar Junior College (now Lamar University) from 1940 to 1944.

   In May 1944 Combs announced that he would challenge incumbent Martin Dies for the Second Congressional District seat. Faced with a difficult battle, the controversial Dies decided not to seek reelection. Combs served four terms in Congress as a key associate of fellow Democrat Samuel T. (Sam) Rayburn. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Combs was influential in securing federal appropriations for housing, industrial, and water projects, such as those at Dam B and McGee Bend. He opposed a large reduction in the capital-gains tax and supported President Harry Truman's 1947 loyalty order for government employees. Combs generally backed Truman in Congress, although he broke with the president over the Tidelands Controversy. Poor health led him not to seek reelection in 1952. He died of lung cancer on August 21, 1953, at Beaumont and was buried there in Magnolia Cemetery. He was a Baptist. Two sons and his wife of forty-two years, Katherine (Alford), survived the former congressman. Source

30° 06.117, -094° 06.205

Magnolia Cemetery

July 7, 2009

Lloyd Millard Bentsen

   Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr., businessman, United States representative and senator, and secretary of the treasury, was born on February 11, 1921, in Mission, Texas. He was the son of Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Sr. (informally known as Big Lloyd), and Edna Ruth Colbath (informally known as Dolly). Bentsen grew up on the Arrowhead Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the Rio Grande Valley, where his father was in the ranching, oil, and banking businesses.

   The younger Bentsen graduated from Sharyland High School and later earned a law degree in 1942 at the University of Texas at Austin. He married Beryl Ann Longino (informally known as B. A.) of Lufkin in 1943. Bentsen served as a B-24 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces and flew combat missions over Europe during World War II. He earned the rank of colonel and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

   A Democrat, Bentsen was elected Hildago county judge and served in that role from 1946 to 1948. In 1948 Bentsen was elected to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives, where he was a protégé of Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. (Rayburn would autograph a photo of himself to Bentsen with the inscription, "For Lloyd Bentsen, who likes ugly things." The keepsake photo was eventually given to the Sam Rayburn Library in Rayburn's hometown of Bonham.) In 1955 Bentsen stood down from elective politics and moved his family to Houston, where he worked in the financial industry and solidified his financial position. During this time he founded Consolidated American Life Insurance Company. By the late 1960s he was chairman of Lincoln Consolidated Inc., a financial holdings company. While Bentsen was not seeking office during these years, he remained in touch with Democratic Party politics.

   In 1970 Bentsen decided to reenter politics, this time as a candidate for the United States Senate. He won an upset victory over incumbent U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough in the Democratic primary and then went on to win the general election over the Republican nominee, U. S. Rep. George H.W. Bush. Bentsen was reelected to the Senate in 1976, 1982, and 1988, eventually serving as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976 but lost. In the Senate, he was known for his pro-business stance and was a supporter of the oil and gas industry, free trade, and the real estate industry.

   In 1988 Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis won the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. Dukakis chose Bentsen to be his vice presidential running mate in the general election. Thanks to Texas election law, Bentsen was able to seek both the vice presidency and his Senate seat, which was up for reelection, that year. Bentsen was easily reelected to his Senate seat. However, the Republican ticket of Vice President George H.W. Bush and U.S. Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana won the presidential election.

   Despite the loss of the Dukakis–Bentsen ticket, Bentsen received notoriety for his performance in the nationally-broadcast vice presidential debate. When Quayle compared his political experience to that of President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, Bentsen replied, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy."

   In 1992 Bentsen was urged to seek the presidency but chose not to make the race. The Democratic nominee, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, won the election. Clinton asked Bentsen to serve as secretary of the treasury. The Senate confirmed Bentsen to that post, and he resigned his Senate seat. As secretary, Bentsen played an important role in the formation of the Clinton Administration's early fiscal policies.

   Bentsen served as secretary from 1993 to 1994, and left, he said, because he had planned to retire from politics in 1994, upon the conclusion of what would have been his fourth Senate term. Clinton recalled Bentsen as a "conservative Democrat, a fiscal conservative who thought more prosperous people like him should pay taxes so that those who were less fortunate should be able to get a good education and have some opportunities in life." In 1999 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

   Bentsen, who had suffered a stroke in 1998, died in Houston on May 23, 2006, at the age of eighty-five. He was survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter, two brothers, a sister, and seven grandchildren. He was a Presbyterian. Bentsen was buried at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston. Source

29° 42.946, -095° 18.261

Section 30
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

July 3, 2009

Walter Prescott Webb

   Walter Prescott Webb, historian and author, was born on a farm in Panola County, Texas, on April 3, 1888, the son of Casner P. and Mary Elizabeth (Kyle) Webb. His father was a schoolteacher and part time farmer. The Webb family had moved from Aberdeen, Mississippi, to Caledonia in Rusk County, Texas, then to Panola and westward past the 100th meridian to the Stephens-Eastland counties area. These moves from the woodlands to a new and arid environment made a distinct impression on the young boy, and the geographic dichotomy formed the basis for his later writing about the Great Plains. Webb found farm life on the family homestead in the Cross Timbers area near Ranger harsh and unappealing. In desperation he wrote a letter to the editor of a literary magazine, the Sunny South, asking how a farm boy could get an education and become a writer. William E. Hinds, a toy manufacturer from New York, responded to the boy's query and encouraged him to "keep his sights on lofty goals." Webb finished at Ranger High School in Eastland County and earned a teaching certificate. He taught at various small Texas schools and, with the assistance of his benefactor, William Hinds, eventually attended the University of Texas, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1915 at the age of twenty-seven. Webb interrupted his teaching career to work as a bookkeeper for Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos and to serve as an optometrist's assistant in San Antonio. He was teaching at Main High School in 1918, when he was invited to join the history faculty of the University of Texas. Webb wrote his master's thesis on the Texas Rangers in 1920 and was encouraged to pursue the Ph.D. His year of "educational outbreeding" (as he referred to it) at the University of Chicago was unsuccessful, and he returned to Texas determined to write history as he saw it. The result was the publication in 1931 of The Great Plains, acclaimed as "a new interpretation of the American West," acknowledged by the Social Science Research Council in 1939 as the outstanding contribution to American history since World War I, and winner of Columbia University's Loubat prize. On the basis of this book Webb received the Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1932. In 1939, after a year as Harkness Lecturer at the University of London, Webb became director of the Texas State Historical Association. During his tenure (to 1946), he expanded the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and launched a project to compile an encyclopedia of Texas, published in 1952 as the Handbook of Texas. With the assistance of H. Bailey Carroll, he established a student branch of the association, the Junior Historians of Texas, in 1940 to encourage secondary school teachers and students to investigate local and regional history. Respected as a teacher both at home and abroad, Webb returned to Europe in 1942 as Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford. At the University of Texas he became famous for his books and seminars, especially those on the Great Plains and the Great Frontier, in which he developed two major historical concepts. He proposed in the Great Plains thesis that the westward settlement of the United States had been momentarily stalled at the ninety-eighth meridian, an institutional fault line separating the wooded environment to the east from the arid environment of the west. The pioneers were forced to pause in their westward trek while technological innovation in the form of the six-shooter, barbed wire, and the windmill allowed them to proceed. The Great Frontier thesis became the crux of a book of the same title, published in 1952, that Webb declared to be his most intellectual and thought-provoking. The Great Frontier proposed a "boom hypothesis": the new lands discovered by Columbus and other explorers in the late fifteenth century precipitated the rise of great wealth and new institutions such as democracy and capitalism. By 1900, however, the new lands disappeared, the frontier closed, and institutions were under stress, resulting in the ecological and economic problems that have plagued the twentieth century. Although not universally well-received at the time, the Second International Congress of Historians of the United States and Mexico examined the Great Frontier thesis as its sole topic during its 1958 meeting, and the concept was again an object of discussion at an international symposium in 1972.

   In all, Webb wrote or edited more than twenty books. In 1935 he published The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense, the definitive study of this frontier law enforcement agency, but regarded by Webb as being filled with "deadening facts. Divided We Stand: The Crisis of a Frontierless Democracy (1937) analyzed the practices of modern corporations, which Webb contended promoted economic sectionalism to the disadvantage of the South. More Water for Texas: The Problem and the Plan (1954) reflected Webb's interest in the conservation of natural resources. A collection of his essays, An Honest Preface and Other Essays, appeared in 1959, and at the time of his death he was working on a television series on American civilization under a grant from the Ford Foundation. Webb was one of the charter members and later a fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters. He was also a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and president of both the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (1954-55) and the American Historical Association (1958). He received honorary degrees from the University of Chicago, Southern Methodist University, and Oxford University in England. He held two Guggenheim fellowships, acted as special advisor to Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson on water needs of the South and West, and received a $10,000 award from the American Council of Learned Societies for distinguished service to scholarship. The United States Bureau of Reclamation also gave him an award for distinguished service to conservation. Webb was married on September 16, 1916, to Jane Elizabeth Oliphant, who died on June 28, 1960. They had one daughter. On December 14, 1961, he married Terrell (Dobbs) Maverick, the widow of F. Maury Maverick of San Antonio. Webb was killed in an automobile accident near Austin on March 8, 1963, and was buried in the State Cemetery by proclamation of Governor John B. Connally. A statue of Webb and his old friends J. Frank Dobie and Roy Bedichek stands in Zilker Park in Austin. Source

30° 15.920, -097° 43.613

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery