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.

GPS Coordinates
28° 42.030, -095° 57.282

Section E
Matagorda Cemetery
Matagorda

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.

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.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


San Felipe de Austin Cemetery
San Felipe

August 21, 2009

James Thompson Collinsworth

James Collinsworth, lawyer, jurist, and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1806, the son of Edmund and Alice (Thompson) Collinsworth. He attended school in Tennessee, studied law, and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1826. He was an ally of Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, and other leading Tennessee politicians. From April 30, 1829, until early 1834, Collinsworth served as United States district attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. By 1835 he had moved to Matagorda, in the Brazos Municipality, Texas, and begun the practice of law. Along with Asa Brigham, John S.D. Byrom, and Edwin Waller he represented Brazoria in the Convention of 1836.

Independence Hall, location of the Declaration signing





At the convention Collinsworth signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, introduced and guided to adoption a resolution making his fellow Tennessean Sam Houston commander in chief of the Texas army, became chairman of the military affairs committee, and served on the committee appointed to draft a constitution for the new Republic of Texas. After the convention adjourned, Houston, on April 8, 1836, appointed Collinsworth his aide-de-camp with the rank of major. After the battle of San Jacinto Gen. Thomas J. Rusk commended him for his bravery and chivalry.

From April 29 to May 23, 1836, Collinsworth served as acting secretary of state in President David G. Burnet's cabinet. On May 26, 1836, because of his intimacy with President Andrew Jackson, he was designated a commissioner to the United States to seek assistance and possible annexation. The mission failed. Later in the year Collinsworth declined Houston's offer to make him attorney general of the Republic of Texas. Instead, on November 30, 1836, he was elected to a term in the Senate of the republic.

When the judiciary of the republic was organized, Collinsworth, on December 16, 1836, was appointed the first chief justice, a post he held until his death. Also in 1836 he helped organize the Texas Railroad, Navigation, and Banking Company, and the following year he helped found the city of Richmond. He was a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, founded in 1837.

In 1838 Collinsworth was a candidate, along with Mirabeau B. Lamar and Peter W. Grayson, for the presidency of the republic. The first published report of his candidacy was on June 30, 1838. On July 11, however, after a week of drunkenness, he fell or jumped off a boat in Galveston Bay and drowned. Most assumed he committed suicide. His body was recovered and taken by boat up Buffalo Bayou to Houston, where it lay in state in the capitol. Chief Justice Collinsworth was buried in the City Cemetery, Houston, under the direction of Temple Lodge No.4; his was "the first Masonic funeral ever held in Texas." On August 21, 1876, Collingsworth County, its name misspelled in the act of the legislature establishing the county, was named in his honor. A state monument was placed at Collinsworth's grave in the old City Cemetery in Houston in 1931.

Note
This is a cenotaph. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. 

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.465, -095° 22.750


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

August 18, 2009

Colita

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.

Note
This is a cenotaph. Colita died while on a hunting trip in the immediate area and was buried in an unknown location. His name, written as Kalita on the stone, is most commonly spelled Colita but Kalita, Coleto or Colluta has also been used.

GPS Coordinates
30° 14.933, -094° 44.572


Colita Memorial
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 marshal. 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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.915, -095° 23.140

Section F1
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

August 11, 2009

James J. Nash

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 many lives 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. Nash died on June 11, 1927 and was buried in San Antonio National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.

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

GPS Coordinates
29° 25.276, -098° 28.076

Section I
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

August 7, 2009

Jimmy "T-99" Nelson

Jimmy Nelson was an American jump blues and rhythm and blues shouter and songwriter; he got his start singing in church. In 1941, he saw a performance by Big Joe Turner while he was visiting Oakland, California, and realized he wanted to sing the blues. Turner taught Nelson about singing, performance and the music business. Nelson, in turn, absorbed the shouting style of his mentor.

From 1951 through 1961, Jimmy Nelson and the Peter Rabbit Trio released eight singles with the Bihari Brothers' Modern/RPM label. The biggest of these was T-99 Blues (which referred to the old Texas Highway #99), which debuted in June 1951. It stayed on the US Billboard R&B chart for twenty-one weeks and reached number 1. In 1952, Nelson had another RPM hit with Meet Me With Your Black Dress On. He began touring, performing with bands led by Joe Liggins and Roy Milton, and playing venues including the Apollo and Howard theaters. He cut singles for a number of labels including Kent, Music City, Paradise and All Boy, and Chess. In 1955, Nelson married and adopted Houston, Texas as his hometown. For the next 20 years, he settled down and took a job working construction, though he continued to write songs and sit in with bands.

In the 1980s, Nelson came to the wider attention of blues fans when Ace issued ten of his sides on an album. Sweet Sugar Daddy, a compilation album from the Japanese P-Vine Records, which mainly consisted of unreleased studio recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, was also released in 1988. He resumed touring and in 1999, released a comeback album Rockin' and Shoutin' the Blues from the Bullseye Blues & Jazz label. This album was nominated in two categories of the W.C. Handy Awards the following year. Two more newly recorded albums followed on his own Nettie Marie label prior to his death, both featuring an all-star back-up band including Duke Robillard. In 2004, Ace released Cry Hard Luck, featuring re-issues of Nelson's Kent & RPM recordings from 1951-1961.

Nelson died of cancer at a nursing home in Houston on July 29, 2007.

Note
Jimmy Nelson's grave is presently unmarked. It is located beneath Yolanda Flanagan's and to the left of Robert Taylor's markers.

GPS Coordinates
29° 33.738, -095° 21.163

Section 19
Houston Memorial Gardens
Pearland

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) 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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 08.388, -095° 38.844


Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia