December 29, 2009

Christopher Columbus "Lum" Slaughter (1837-1919)

C. C. Slaughter, ranching pioneer, banker, and philanthropist, was born on February 9, 1837, in Sabine County, Texas, one of five children of George Webb and Sarah (Mason) Slaughter; he claimed to be the first male child born of a marriage contracted under the Republic of Texas. He was educated at home and at Larissa College in Cherokee County. As a boy he worked cattle with his father and at age twelve helped drive the family's ninety-two-head herd to a ranch on the Trinity River in Freestone County, where the family moved in 1852. There, because of his expertise in herding cattle across the often swollen river, he was regularly employed by drovers bound for Shreveport with Brazos-country livestock. At age seventeen he made a trading expedition hauling timber from Anderson County to Dallas County for sale and processing Collin County wheat into flour for sale in Magnolia, Anderson County, a trip that yielded him a $520 profit. With this money he bought his uncle's interest in the Slaughter herd. Having observed the better quality of the Brazos stock, he persuaded his father to move farther west. They selected a site in Palo Pinto County, well positioned to provide beef to Fort Belknap and the nearby Indian reservations, and in 1856 the younger Slaughter drove 1,500 cattle to the new ranch.

In 1859, with the outbreak of open war with Indians, he volunteered his service and was in the expedition that unexpectedly liberated Cynthia Ann Parker from a Comanche camp. With the withdrawal of federal protection during the Civil War, Slaughter continued to fight Indians as a lieutenant in the Texas Rangers; he also served under Capt. William Peveler in Young County in the Frontier Regiment, part of the effort to maintain frontier protection during the war. With the loss of the war and continued Indian harassment, Slaughter and other ranchers started for Mexico in search of new ranchland. During the expedition Slaughter suffered an accidental gunshot wound that incapacitated him for a year, causing a nearly ruinous decline in his cattle business. After his recovery he started a cattle drive to New Orleans in late 1867, but en route contracted with a buyer for a Jefferson packery to sell his 300 steers there for thirty-five dollars a head in gold, a large sum. With his new stake he began regular drives to Kansas City in 1868, selling his herds for as much as forty-two dollars a head. He sold his Texas ranching interests in 1871 and in 1873 organized C. C. Slaughter and Company, a cattle-breeding venture, which later pioneered the replacement of the poor-bred longhorn with Kentucky-bred blooded shorthorn stock. By 1882 a herd shipped to St. Louis received seven dollars per hundred pounds.

In 1873 Slaughter moved his family to Dallas and a few years later dissolved his partnership with his father. About 1877 he established one of the largest ranches in West Texas, the Long S, on the headwaters of the Colorado River and there grazed his cattle on the public domain. Desirous of becoming a "gentleman breeder," he purchased in 1897 the Goodnight Hereford herd and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair grand champion bull, Ancient Briton. In 1899 he acquired the famous Hereford bull Sir Bredwell for a record $5,000. Through these purchases Slaughter's purebred Hereford herd became one of the finest in the business. Around 1898 Slaughter undertook a major land purchase in Cochran and Hockley counties. He bought 246,699 acres, leased more, and established the Lazy S Ranch, which he stocked with his Hereford herd and mixed breed cattle from the Long S and consigned to the management of his eldest son. In 1877 Slaughter helped organize the Northwest Texas Cattle Raisers' Association (later the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association), for which he also served a term as president (1885). He was the first president of the National Beef Producers and Butchers Association (1888), an organization formed to combat market domination by the meat-packing industry. Frequently titled the "Cattle King of Texas," Slaughter became one of the country's largest individual owners of cattle and land (over a million acres and 40,000 cattle by 1906) and was the largest individual taxpayer in Texas for years. For a time "Slaughter Country" extended from a few miles north of Big Spring 200 miles to the New Mexico border west of Lubbock. By 1908-09, however, he opened his Running Water and Long S Ranches to colonization and sale. Yet by 1911, much of the land reverted to his ownership upon the failure of the land company promoting colonization there, and under the management of Jack Alley, it was restored to profitability by 1915.

Slaughter maintained strict control over his operations until 1910, when he suffered a broken hip that crippled him for the remainder of his life, compounding problems caused by his failing eyesight. He consequently turned the business over to his eldest son, George. In addition to ranching, Slaughter participated in banking in Dallas where he helped organize City Bank in 1873 and invested in the bank's reorganization as City National Bank in 1881; at that time he became its vice president. In 1884 he helped establish the American National Bank, which evolved by 1905 into the American Exchange National Bank (later First National Bank). He was vice president from its organization until his death. On December 5, 1861 (possibly 1860), Slaughter married Cynthia Jowell of Palo Pinto, Texas; they had five children. After being widowed in 1876, he married Carrie A. Averill (Aberill) in Emporia, Kansas, on January 17, 1877; they had four children. Slaughter was a Democrat and Baptist; he contributed two-thirds of the cost for the construction of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and served as vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as president of the state Mission Board (1897-1903), and as an executive board member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (1898-1911). His support of a plan to retire the consolidated debt of seven Texas Baptist schools and coordinate their activities into a system capped by Baylor University assured its acceptance by the general convention in 1897. Slaughter also contributed generously to the establishment of the Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium (later Baylor Hospital) in Dallas. He died at his home in Dallas on January 25, 1919. Source

COORDINATES
32° 48.038
-096° 47.834

Block 22
Greenwood Cemetery
Dallas

December 22, 2009

James J. Nash (1875-1927)

Born in 1875 in Louisville, Kentucky, Nash entered the army in his early twenties and fought in the Spanish-American War with Company F, 10th U.S. Infantry as a private. While in Santiago, Cuba on July 1, 1898, he rescued several wounded soldiers while under fire, saving the lives of many that would have bled out on the battlefield. He was issued the Medal of Honor for his actions on June 22, 1899, and afterward moved to Bexar County in Texas.

CITATION
Gallantly assisted in the rescue of the wounded from in front of the lines and under heavy fire from the enemy.

COORDINATES
29° 25.276
-098° 28.076


Section I
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

December 15, 2009

Rienzi Melville Johnston (1849-1926)

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

COORDINATES
29° 45.835
-095° 23.198

Section H2
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

December 8, 2009

Augustine Blackburn Hardin (1797-1871)

Augustine Blackburn Hardin, early settler and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, second son of Swan and Jerusha (Blackburn) Hardin, was born in Franklin County, Georgia, on July 18, 1797. By 1807 the family moved to Maury County, Tennessee, where Augustine married Mary Elizabeth Garner in 1819; they had a son. Hardin was deputy sheriff and constable while his father served as justice of the peace in 1825. Augustine Hardin's wife had an affair with Isaac Newton Porter, of which Porter bragged publicly. Augustine and his brothers met Porter and William Williamson in Columbia on October 1, 1825; during the confrontation that followed, Augustine fatally shot Porter, and his brother Benjamin Franklin Hardin killed Williamson. In order to avoid arrest and possible conviction, Augustine, after returning his unfaithful wife and son to her family, left for Texas.

He arrived at Nacogdoches in the fall of 1825 and settled on the Trinity River in what is now Liberty County before being indicted for murder on December 21, 1825. Other Hardin family members arrived in Texas by the end of 1828, and no extradition occurred, despite requests from the United States. Augustine Hardin received his land grant in 1831. On January 16, 1827, he enlisted in a volunteer company organized by Hugh Blair Johnston. The unit marched to Nacogdoches to help quell the Fredonian Rebellion. Hardin represented the Liberty District at the Consultation in 1835 at Columbia and San Felipe de Austin, and again at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. After the convention, Augustine was in charge of escorting the Hardin family members to Louisiana during the Runaway Scrape. After returning to Texas, he served in the Army of the Republic of Texas from July 7 to October 7, 1836.

Hardin married Maria Dever, on February 9, 1828, in Liberty. They had seven children, five of whom survived childhood. Maria died in Liberty County in 1844, and Augustine did not remarry. His son by his first marriage, Augustine B. Hardin, Jr., moved to Texas in 1839 and lived with his father before moving to Leon County, Texas. The elder Augustine was a Catholic, the only Hardin to practice the faith after the Texas Revolution. From 1836 until 1871 he spent the majority of his time in Liberty County with his ranching and agricultural operations. In 1849 he was one of the founders of the Liberty Masonic Lodge. He died in Liberty County at his daughter's house on July 22, 1871, and was buried in the Hardin family cemetery north of Liberty. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed monuments in his honor at his grave and on the Liberty County Courthouse square. 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.

COORDINATES
30° 06.076
-094° 45.971


Hardin Family Cemetery
Liberty

December 1, 2009

Johnny "Clyde" Copeland (1937-1997)

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 backup 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