September 29, 2009

Henry Stevenson Brown (1793-1834)

Henry 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) Brown, 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 Austin 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

COORDINATES
29° 08.388
-095° 38.844


Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia

September 22, 2009

Samuel Hamilton Walker (1817-1847)

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

COORDINATES
29° 25.277
-098° 28.182


Odd Fellows Cemetery
San Antonio

September 15, 2009

James Edward "Pete" Runnels (1928-1991)

Born January 28, 1928 in Lufkin, Texas, the 6 ft, 170 lb Runnels batted left-handed and threw right-handed. A master at handling the bat, he was a notorious singles hitter who had one of the best eyes in the game, compiling an outstanding 1.35 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Altogether, he batted over .300 six times, once with the Senators, five with the Red Sox. Despite winning the batting title in 1960, he drove in just 35 runs, a record low for a batting title winner. Solid and versatile with the glove, Runnels started as a shortstop with the Senators, but ultimately played 644 games at first base, 642 at second, 463 at shortstop, and 49 at third. Twice he led the American League in fielding percentage, at second base in 1960, and at first base in 1961. He was not a good base stealer: in 1952 he set the record for most attempted steals with no successes, at 10. In his career he stole 37 bases and was caught 51 times.

In five seasons with Boston, Runnels never hit less than .314, winning two batting crowns in 1960 and 1962, and just missed the 1958 American League Batting Crown by six points to his teammate Ted Williams on the final day of the 1958 season. On August 30, 1960, in a double-header against the Tigers, Runnels hit 6-for-7 in the first game and 3-for-4 in the second, tying a Major League record for hits in a double-header. In 1962, Runnels played in his third All-Star Game for the American League and hit a home run off the Philadelphia Phillies' Art Mahaffey. He went on to win the American League batting title that year. After the season, however, Runnels was traded to the Houston Colt .45s (forerunners of the Astros) in exchange for outfielder Román Mejías. Runnels was released by Houston early in the 1964 season.

He coached for the Red Sox in 1965-1966, serving as an interim manager for the last 16 games of the 1966 season. Under Runnels, the Sox played .500 baseball and escaped last place by one-half game. However, he was replaced for the 1967 season. Runnels was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in November 2004. After leaving Major League Baseball, Runnels returned to his native state and opened a sporting goods store in Pasadena, Texas. He helped found and operate a co-ed camp, Camp Champions in Marble Falls, Texas, which is still in existence. After suffering a stroke while golfing on May 17, 1991, Pete Runnels died three days later at Bayshore Hospital in Pasadena, Texas.

COORDINATES
29° 30.826
-095° 07.439

Section 210
Forest Park East Cemetery
Webster

September 8, 2009

Edward Mandell House (1858-1938)

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

COORDINATES
29° 46.000
-095° 23.232

Section C-4
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

September 1, 2009

Frances Sanger Mossiker (1906-1985)

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 in Hillcrest Mausoleum. Source

COORDINATES
32° 52.093
-096° 46.815

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Dallas