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.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.514, -097° 43.502

Section 2
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

November 24, 2009

Robert James Calder

Robert James Calder, soldier and public official, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 17, 1810, the son of James H. and Jane E. (Caldwell) Calder. He was raised by his mother's brother, James Peckham Caldwell, after his father's death and moved to Texas from Kentucky in 1832. He joined Stephen F. Austin's army in 1835, took part as a second lieutenant in the battle of ConcepciĆ³n, was made third lieutenant of artillery in December, and accompanied James W. Fannin, Jr., on a recruiting expedition. In 1836 Calder joined the army at Gonzales and was elected captain of K Company, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, which he commanded at the battle of San Jacinto. He was among those who delivered news of the battle to President David G. Burnet on Galveston Island. Calder received 640 acres of land for his service and was appointed marshal of Texas by Burnet in 1836.

In 1837 he was elected sheriff of Brazoria County, a position he held for six years. One source states that "he was Brazoria sheriff during the famous Monroe Edwards contests with Dart and was swindled by Edwards out of about five thousand dollars, fees and responsibilities undertaken, while in charge of imported Africans." He was elected mayor of Brazoria in 1838 and chief justice of Brazoria County in 1844 and 1846. After moving to Fort Bend County, Calder became mayor of Richmond in 1859 and from 1866 to 1869 served as county chief justice. He later practiced law with the firm of Mitchell, Nolan, and Calder. In 1881 he officially unveiled the monument to the memory of those killed at San Jacinto. Calder married Mary Walker Douglass of Brazoria on January 3, 1837; they had six children. He died at Richmond on August 28, 1885. In 1929 the state of Texas erected a joint monument over the graves of Calder and his wife in the Richmond Masonic Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 35.140, -095° 45.807

Masonic West Section
Morton Cemetery
Richmond

November 20, 2009

William Sparks

William Sparks was born on April 3, 1761 in Rowan County, North Carolina. During the American Revolution, he served in the North Carolina Militia under Capt. John Cleveland and later under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, fighting Cherokee Indians and Tories when he was just 17 years old. At the close of the war, he moved to Franklin County, then Jackson and later Clark County in the state of Georgia, where Sparks married Mary Polly Fielder. The two had five children, Richard, John, James, Sarah and Edith, before moving to Lawrence County, Mississippi, in 1811 and then to Holmes County, Mississippi, where they lived until March 1834. There they had three more children, Levi, Nathan and William Matthew.

Old North Church
Sometime in 1834-36, the Sparks family migrated to the Old North Church Community in Nacogdoches County, Texas where he obtained 2,200 acres of land. William served as a deacon in the church for about four years before asking to be relieved of his duties due to the infirmities of old age. He died in 1848 and was buried in the Old North Church Cemetery.


GPS Coordinates
31° 40.053, -094° 39.468


Old North Church Cemetery
Nacogdoches

November 17, 2009

Lera Thomas

Born Lera Millard on August 3, 1900 in Nacogdoches, Texas, she attended Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, and the University of Alabama. She married Albert Thomas in 1922 and would have two daughters, Ann and Lera. When Albert Thomas was elected to Congress in 1936, they moved to Washington, DC where they stayed for the rest of his life.

On February 15, 1966, her husband died and a special election was called on March 26, 1966 to elect another Representative. Lera Millard Thomas was the first woman elected to Congress from the State of Texas, when she was elected as a Democrat in the special election to succeed her deceased husband. She received over 74% of the vote against Republican Louis Leman who urged voters to vote for the widow Thomas. She served on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where she supported funds to expand the Houston Ship Channel. Because he died after filing for office in 1966, Albert Thomas's name remained on the Democratic Primary ballot for the 8th District and his widow determined that she would not seek a full term for 1967. State Representative Bob Eckhardt won the primary for a full term.

After serving the remainder of her husband's term, Thomas left Congress on January 3, 1967 and served as special liaison for the Houston Chronicle to members of the armed services in Vietnam. When she returned from Vietnam, Thomas founded Millard's Crossing Historic Village in Nacogdoches. She resided in Nacogdoches until her death there on July 23, 1993 and was interred in Oak Grove Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
31° 36.265, -094° 38.909


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

November 13, 2009

Wilson Carl Whitley

Wilson Whitley was a consensus All-American defensive tackle at the University of Houston from 1972-1976 under defensive coordinator Don Todd. He led the Cougars to the Southwest Conference championship in football during Houston's first season as a conference member and won the 1976 Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman. Former President Gerald Ford presented him the award at a ceremony in Houston.

He was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals and started alongside another Lombardi Award winner, Ross Browner, for six seasons (1977-1982) before being traded to the Houston Oilers for one season (1982). He was later named to the Southwest Conference "All Decade Team" for the 70's. Whitley died on October 27, 1992 in Marietta, Georgia, at the age of thirty-seven due to a heart condition. In 1988, he was inducted into University of Houston's Hall of Honor and was a perennial candidate for the National College Football Hall of Fame until his selection in 2007.

Note
The year of death on his stone is incorrect.

GPS Coordinates
30° 19.594, -096° 10.058


Washington Cemetery
Washington

November 10, 2009

Cecil Hamilton Bolton

Cecil Hamilton Bolton, WWII Medal of Honor recipient, was born on October 7, 1908 in Crawfordville, Florida. He joined the Army from Huntsville, Alabama in July 1942, and by November 2, 1944 was serving as a first lieutenant in Company E, 413th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry Division. On that day, near the Mark river in North Brabant, the Netherlands, he was seriously wounded in the legs by a German artillery shell. Despite these wounds, he took two men and led them in a successful assault against three German positions which were firing on his company. Wounded a second time, he ordered his two companions to leave him behind and head for the safety of the American lines. He then crawled the rest of the way back to his company. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor ten months later, on September 1, 1945. Bolton reached the rank of colonel before leaving the Army. He died at age 56 and was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio.

Citation
As leader of the weapons platoon of Company E, 413th Infantry, on the night of 2 November 1944, he fought gallantly in a pitched battle which followed the crossing of the Mark River in Holland. When 2 machineguns pinned down his company, he tried to eliminate, with mortar fire, their grazing fire which was inflicting serious casualties and preventing the company's advance from an area rocked by artillery shelling. In the moonlight it was impossible for him to locate accurately the enemy's camouflaged positions; but he continued to direct fire until wounded severely in the legs and rendered unconscious by a German shell. When he recovered consciousness he instructed his unit and then crawled to the forward rifle platoon positions. Taking a two-man bazooka team on his voluntary mission, he advanced chest deep in chilling water along a canal toward 1 enemy machinegun. While the bazooka team covered him, he approached alone to within 15 yards of the hostile emplacement in a house. He charged the remaining distance and killed the 2 gunners with hand grenades. Returning to his men he led them through intense fire over open ground to assault the second German machinegun. An enemy sniper who tried to block the way was dispatched, and the trio pressed on. When discovered by the machinegun crew and subjected to direct fire, 1st Lt. Bolton killed 1 of the 3 gunners with carbine fire, and his 2 comrades shot the others. Continuing to disregard his wounds, he led the bazooka team toward an 88-mm. artillery piece which was having telling effect on the American ranks, and approached once more through icy canal water until he could dimly make out the gun's silhouette. Under his fire direction, the two soldiers knocked out the enemy weapon with rockets. On the way back to his own lines he was again wounded. To prevent his men being longer subjected to deadly fire, he refused aid and ordered them back to safety, painfully crawling after them until he reached his lines, where he collapsed. 1st Lt. Bolton's heroic assaults in the face of vicious fire, his inspiring leadership, and continued aggressiveness even through suffering from serious wounds, contributed in large measure to overcoming strong enemy resistance and made it possible for his battalion to reach its objective.

GPS Coordinates
29° 28.697, -098° 25.960

Section PC
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

November 6, 2009

Christopher Columbus Slaughter

Christopher Columbus (Lum) 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 ranch land. 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.

GPS Coordinates
32° 48.038, -096° 47.834

Block 22
Greenwood Cemetery
Dallas

November 3, 2009

Abner Smith Lipscomb

Abner Smith Lipscomb, lawyer, justice, and secretary of state during the Mirabeau B. Lamar administration, the son of Joel and Elizabeth (Chiles) Lipscomb, was born on February 10, 1789, in Abbeville District, South Carolina. He studied law in the office of John C. Calhoun, was admitted to the bar in 1810, and began practice at St. Stephens, Alabama. In 1819 he was appointed a circuit judge of Alabama and from 1823 to 1835 was chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was a member of the Alabama legislature in 1838.

In 1839 he moved to Texas and established a law practice. He was secretary of state under Lamar from January 31 to December 13, 1840. Lipscomb was a member of the Convention of 1845 and served that year on the select committee that drew up a report on the General Land Office. He was appointed an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 1846 by Governor James Pinckney Henderson and was elected to the same position in 1851 and 1856. Lipscomb married Elizabeth Gains in 1813. She died in 1841, and he married Mary P. Bullock of Austin in 1843. Lipscomb died in Austin on December 8, 1856, and was buried in the State Cemetery. Lipscomb County, established in 1876, was named in his honor.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.926, -097° 43.639

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin