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

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

COORDINATES
29° 34.659, -095° 45.420


Dyer Cemetery
Richmond


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

COORDINATES
29° 34.076, -095° 20.912

Block 3
Paradise South Cemetery
Pearland

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

COORDINATES
30° 19.565, -096° 10.167


Washington Cemetery
Washington

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

COORDINATES
29° 45.940, -095° 23.123

Section F1
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

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

COORDINATES
30° 06.117, -094° 06.205


Magnolia Cemetery
Beaumont

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

COORDINATES
29° 42.946, -095° 18.261

Section 30
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery
Houston

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

COORDINATES
30° 15.920, -097° 43.613

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin