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

November 23, 2010

Mary Carson Kidd

   Mary Carson, soprano, was born Mary Carson Kidd probably in the late 1800s in Millican, Texas. She was the daughter of George Kidd and Katherine Bledsoe Aldridge. She grew up in Houston, and both of her parents were trained musicians and singers. Mary exhibited promising vocal skills at a very early age and performed excerpts from operas with her brothers for neighborhood children. She received formal training in New York and the New England Conservatory before traveling abroad to study voice in Milan and Florence. Her teachers included Isadore Vraggiotti, Rafaele del Ponte, and Adolgesa Moffi.

   She made her debut in Italy in 1912 as Amina in La Sonnambula. She would go on to sing in some thirty operas in Italian, German, French, and English. These included the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Norina in Don Pasquale. She was highly praised for her pure soaring soprano and vocal stamina, even performing Il barbiere de Siviglia twice in one day. In Berlin, composer Richard Strauss often played as her accompanist. At some point during her European performances she dropped her surname, Kidd, the subject of various puns, and adopted the stage name of Mary Carson. She also performed in many cities across the United States and was a member of the Century Opera Company.

   In the 1910s she became a featured recording artist of popular songs and ballads for Thomas Edison’s Blue Amberol and Diamond Disc labels. Her rendition of Oh Dry Those Tears in 1912 was an early favorite, along with Kiss Waltz, released in 1913. Kiss Waltz remained a popular choice in the Edison catalog throughout the 1920s. She also recorded under the name of Kathleen Kingston. In 1917 Carson sued Edison over the company’s refusal to pay her when she was not booked with its phonograph dealers on its Tone Test circuit. The company had also forbidden her to work for any other employer, thereby depriving her of making a living. Carson won her suit.

   By the late 1920s and early 1930s Mary Carson worked as a music teacher in Houston. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She lived in Houston until her death on August 21, 1951. She was buried in Glenwood Cemetery. Throughout her life she received many accolades for her beautiful singing voice, but Carson commented that perhaps the best compliment came from a small boy in Devonshire, England, who likened her singing to “a thrush on the ground” and “a lark in the sky.”  Source

COORDINATES
29° 46.008, -095° 23.258

West Avenue Section
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

October 22, 2010

Angelina Elizabeth Dickinson

   Angelina Dickinson, called the Babe of the Alamo, daughter of Almeron and Susanna (Wilkerson) Dickinson (also spelled Dickerson), was born on December 14, 1834, in Gonzales, Texas. By early 1836 her family had moved to San Antonio. On February 23, as the forces of Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna entered the city, Dickinson reportedly caught up his wife and daughter behind his saddle and galloped to the Alamo, just before the enemy started firing. In the Alamo, legend says William B. Travis tied his cat's-eye ring around Angelina's neck. Angelina and Susanna survived the final Mexican assault on March 6, 1836. Though Santa Anna wanted to adopt Angelina, her mother refused. A few days after the battle, mother and child were released as messengers to Gen. Sam Houston.

   At the end of the revolution, Angelina and her mother moved to Houston. Between 1837 and 1847 Susanna Dickinson married three times. Angelina and her mother were not, however, left without resources. For their participation in the defense of the Alamo, they received a donation certificate for 640 acres of land in 1839 and a bounty warrant for 1,920 acres of land in Clay County in 1855. In 1849 a resolution by Representative Guy M. Bryan for the relief of "the orphan child of the Alamo" to provide funds for Angelina's support and education failed. At the age of seventeen, with her mother's encouragement, Angelina married John Maynard Griffith, a farmer from Montgomery County. Over the next six years, the Griffiths had three children, but the marriage ended in divorce. Leaving two of her children with her mother and one with an uncle, Angelina drifted to New Orleans. Rumors spread of her promiscuity.

   Before the Civil War she became associated in Galveston with Jim Britton, a railroad man from Tennessee who became a Confederate officer, and to whom she gave Travis's ring. She is believed to have married Oscar Holmes in 1864 and had a fourth child in 1865. Whether she ever married Britton is uncertain, but according to Flake's Daily Bulletin, Angelina died as "Em Britton" in 1869 of a uterine hemorrhage in Galveston, where she was a known courtesan. Source

Note: Angelina Dickinson's grave is unmarked and likely lost. She originally had a small grave marker, purchased with contributions from the general public, inscribed only with the word "Britton", the last name of the man she was living with at the time of her death. She claimed to be married to him but there are no marriage records to confirm it, and considering that she had a history working as a courtesan, it was probably a respectful attempt by the community to give her grave a semblance of dignity due to her legacy as the "Babe of the Alamo". The stone was swept away during the 1900 hurricane and her exact burial location lost, but according to family lore her grave was located in the far back corner of Evergreen Cemetery, in a section known as Cahill Ground. I searched the four corners of Evergreen and the only corner area that wasn't marked with grave stones predating the hurricane is in the photo below. Whether it is her final resting place or not is uncertain, but it seems to me to be the most likely.

COORDINATES
N/A

Cahill Ground (Defunct)
Evergreen Cemetery
Galveston

October 8, 2010

Joseph Eugene Pillot

   Joseph Eugene Pillot, playwright and song composer, the son of Teolin and Anna C. (Drescher) Pillot, was born on February 25, 1886, in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Texas and Cornell University with the intention of studying law, but gave up that pursuit to enroll in the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. He worked for a while as an interior decorator in New York, then entered the workshop course in play-writing at Harvard. He continued there for several years, writing and working with the Boston Community Players. He also took a drama course at Columbia. Pillot became a successful writer of one-act plays, many of which were widely produced on stage, radio, and television. His best-known play, Two Crooks and a Lady (1918), was first produced at Harvard and has been called a model of construction; it has been republished and produced many times. His other plays include My Lady Dreams (1922), Hunger, and The Sundial (probably 1920s). His works have been included in many anthologies and handbooks on the technique of play-writing.

   Pillot was also a writer of songs, the most popular of which were As a Snow White Swan and Let Not Your Song End. Most of Pillot's later writing was sacred music. He also wrote poetry. In 1955 he and artist Grace Spaulding John, in cooperation with the River Oaks Garden Club, produced a prose book, Azalea, the story of a real dog and two iron dogs that had guarded the Pillot residence in Houston for more than 100 years. In 1965 the family home was given to the Harris County Heritage and Conservation Society and moved to Sam Houston Park, where it was restored, furnished, given a historical marker, and opened to the public. Pillot was a member of the Poetry Society of Texas and the 1953 president of its Houston chapter. He never married. He died on June 4, 1966, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Source

COORDINATES
29° 46.012, -095° 23.176

Section C2
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

October 5, 2010

Clara Driscoll

   Clara Driscoll, businesswoman, philanthropist, and historic preservationist, was born on April 2, 1881, to Robert and Julia (Fox) Driscoll in St. Mary's, Texas, near the site of present Bayside. Her ancestors were among the Irish Catholic pioneers who had settled the area between the Nueces and Guadalupe rivers, and both of her grandfathers had fought in the Texas Revolution. By 1890 her father had amassed a multimillion-dollar empire in ranching, banking, and commercial developments centered in the Corpus Christi area. For her education he sent his only daughter to private schools in Texas, New York City, and France.

   After almost a decade of study and travel abroad, Clara Driscoll returned to Texas at the age of eighteen, imbued with an appreciation of the importance of preserving historic sites in Texas for the benefit of future generations. She was shocked to discover the disrepair of the three-acre plaza and the old convent (also known as the Long Barrack) adjoining San Antonio de Valero Mission, familiarly called the Alamo, and to learn that the property might soon be converted into a hotel. Although the state of Texas owned the iconic Alamo church, the Long Barrack was owned by local merchants and plastered with signs and billboards. From 1903 to 1905 Driscoll worked with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) to draw attention to their efforts to acquire and preserve the structure, and in 1905 she personally paid most of the purchase price. The state of Texas later reimbursed her and granted custodianship of both the Alamo church and the Long Barrack to the DRT. The attractive young philanthropist received extensive national publicity as the "Savior of the Alamo."

   She then pursued a writing career. She wrote a novel, The Girl of La Gloria (1905), a collection of short stories, In the Shadow of the Alamo (1906), and a comic opera, Mexicana, the production of which she financed on Broadway in 1906. That same year she married Henry Hulme (Hal) Sevier at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The Seviers, who had met several years earlier in Austin, when Sevier was serving in the Texas legislature, remained in New York. Hal served as financial editor of the New York Sun, and Clara served as the president of the Texas Club and entertained extensively at their opulent villa on Long Island.

   After Clara Sevier's father died in 1914, the Seviers returned to Austin to be near her family's financial interests. Sevier established a daily newspaper, the Austin American, and his wife became active in the Austin Garden Club and Pan American Round Table and served as president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She also directed construction of Laguna Gloria, a fine Italianate mansion located on the Colorado River near the city.

   At the death of her brother, Robert Driscoll, Jr., in 1929, Mrs. Sevier closed Laguna Gloria and moved with her husband to her family's Palo Alto ranch headquarters to manage extensive land and petroleum properties and to serve as president of the Corpus Christi Bank and Trust Company. Under her astute leadership the financial dominion almost doubled in value. After a two-year residence in Santiago, Chile, while her husband served as the United States ambassador there, the Seviers returned to Texas in 1935 and shortly thereafter legally separated. When the childless, thirty-one-year marriage was dissolved, Clara legally resumed her maiden name and was thereafter officially known as Mrs. Clara Driscoll.

   During the next decade much of her time, energy, and money were devoted to historic preservation, civic betterment, and club activity. She assisted the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs in liquidating the mortgage on its Austin clubhouse, served as vice chairman of the Texas Centennial Exposition executive board, and presented Laguna Gloria to the Texas Fine Arts Association to be used as a museum. To memorialize her brother and to improve the economic life of Corpus Christi, she constructed the lavish twenty-story Hotel Robert Driscoll, where she occupied the large penthouse apartment. Colorful, outspoken, and independent-minded, Driscoll relished participation in the political arena. She was elected the Democratic party's national committeewoman from Texas in 1922 and served in that position for an unprecedented sixteen years. In 1939 she promoted the candidacy of her friend John Nance Garner for president. After Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected for a third term, however, she remained loyal to what she considered the best interests of her party and supported Roosevelt's fourth-term efforts during a bitter battle at the 1944 state convention. Her political acumen and activity were acknowledged to be of national importance, and it was said that "political potentates and Texas voters knew her equally well."

   Clara Driscoll was a Catholic. She died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 17, 1945, in Corpus Christi. After her body had lain in state at the Alamo chapel, she was interred at the Masonic Cemetery in San Antonio. She bequeathed the bulk of her family fortune to establish the Driscoll Foundation Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi. Source

COORDINATES
29° 25.191, -098° 28.155

Driscoll Family Mausoleum
Alamo Masonic Cemetery
San Antonio

October 1, 2010

Leander Harvey McNelly

   Leander H. McNelly, Confederate Army officer and Texas Ranger captain, was born in Virginia in 1844, the son of P. J. and Mary (Downey) McNelly. His family seems to have sojourned briefly in Missouri about 1855 before moving from Virginia to Texas in the fall of 1860. P. J. drove a herd of sheep overland to western Washington County while the rest of his family sailed to Texas. For the next five years Leander herded sheep for a neighbor, T. J. Burton. During Gen. Henry H. Sibley's New Mexico campaign, McNelly served as a private in Capt. George Washington Campbell's Company F of Col. Thomas Green's Fifth Texas Cavalry until he was detached to Sibley's escort company. In 1863, after taking part in the battle of Galveston, he served as a volunteer aide-de-camp on the staff of General Green, who was then commanding the Texas cavalry brigade of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department. For what Theophilous Noel characterized as "his daring gallantry," Green promoted McNelly to captain of scouts and on November 25, 1863, recommended him for a captain's commission. In Green's southern Louisiana campaign of 1864 McNelly played major roles in the battles of Brashear City and Lafourche Crossing. He was seriously wounded at the battle of Mansfield in April 1864, and command of his company devolved upon his lieutenants, William D. Stone and Thomas T. Pitts, who led the unit with distinction at Pleasant Hill, Blair's Landing, and Grande Écore. After recovering from his wound, McNelly returned to his command in May in time to participate in the battle of Yellow Bayou. He was then ordered into the Bayou Lafourche country of southern Louisiana to scout and harass the enemy. On July 1, 1864, after Green's death at the battle of Blair's Landing, Louisiana, McNelly was transferred to Gen. John A. Wharton's cavalry corps and on July 6 was ordered with his company east of the Atchafalaya River "to procure and transmit to these Headquarters the latest and definite information of the enemy's movements in that section." In 1864 McNelly commanded a scout company on Bayou Grosse Tete west of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Noel's words, his company "betook themselves to the swamps and canebrakes where they confined their operations until the enemy commenced their retreat." Typical of McNelly's exploits was the capture of 380 men in the Union garrison at Brashear City, Louisiana, by his party of fifteen or twenty scouts. After a period of "hunting up Jayhawkers on the Calcasieu," McNelly was transferred to Gen. George G. Walker's cavalry corps and ordered to Washington County, Texas, to arrest deserters.

   After the war he turned to farming near Brenham and there married Carey Cheek. They had two children. He later worked for a time in the General Land Office. During the Edmund J. Davis administration, McNelly served as one of the four captains of the State Police from July 1, 1870, until the force was disbanded on April 22, 1873. In February 1871, after arresting four white men for the murder of a freedman in Walker County, McNelly was wounded by friends of the accused. In July 1874 a thirty-man company of volunteer militia from Washington County was mustered into the Texas Rangers as the seventh company of the Frontier Battalion. McNelly was appointed its captain and assigned to duty in DeWitt County, where the Sutton-Taylor feud was then raging. After four months of attempting to suppress civil violence there, McNelly reported that the presence of his men had been beneficial but that he was sure fighting would flare again as soon as the troops were withdrawn.

   In the spring of 1875 he was commissioned to raise a new company for service in the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande known as the Nueces Strip. This area, wrote historian Walter Prescott Webb, "stood out as something special in the way of brigandage, murder, and theft. It had more than its share" of such outlaws as John King Fisher and Juan N. Cortina. Thomas C. Robinson served as McNelly's first lieutenant, J. W. Guyon as his second lieutenant, and John B. Armstrong as his sergeant. The forty-man company saw two years of active duty, 1875-76. Nineteenth-century ranger historian Wilburn Hill King wrote that the company was "active, vigilant, daring, and successful in dealing with lawless characters" in the border region. But McNelly's methods were questionable. His men were known to have made a number of extralegal border crossings in violation of Mexican territorial sovereignty, for which he was removed from command of the company and replaced by Jesse Lee Hall. After his removal, at the request of DeWitt county judge H. Clay Pleasants, McNelly served as an unofficial ranger during the trials of several leading defendants of the Sutton-Taylor feud in October 1876. Thereafter he retired to his farm at Burton, where he died of tuberculosis on September 4, 1877. He was buried at Burton. Remembered as "a tallish thin man of quiet manner, and with the soft voice of a timid Methodist minister," McNelly nevertheless was party to many illegal executions and to confessions forced from prisoners by extreme means. To the present day his tactics remain a subject of controversy on the border, where many remember him best for his torture and hanging of prisoners. Nevertheless, citizens of South Texas erected a monument, paid for by public subscription, to his memory. Source

COORDINATES
30° 12.843, -096° 34.585


Mount Zion Cemetery
Burton

September 28, 2010

Harry Henry Choates

   Harry H. Choates, Cajun musician, was born in either Rayne or New Iberia, Louisiana, on December 26, 1922. He moved with his mother, Tave Manard, to Port Arthur, Texas, during the 1930s. Choates apparently received little formal education and spent much of his childhood in local bars, where he listened to jukebox music.

   By the time he reached the age of twelve he had learned to play a fiddle and performed for tips in Port Arthur barbershops. As early as 1940 he was playing in Cajun music bands for such entertainers as Leo Soileau and Leroy "Happy Fats" LeBlanc. Choates, who also played accordion, standard guitar, and steel guitar, preferred to play on borrowed instruments and may never have owned a musical instrument of his own.

   Around 1946 he organized a band that he called the Melody Boys. Perhaps in honor of his daughter, Linda, he rewrote an old Cajun waltz, Jolie Blonde (Pretty Blonde). He recorded the song in Houston in 1946 for the Gold Star label, owned by Bill Quinn, who mistakenly spelled the title Jole Blon. Jole Blon became a favorite in the field of country music and a standard number in Texas and Louisiana clubs and dance halls. It marked Gold Star's first national success and the only Cajun song to reach Billboard's Top 5 in any category. A year after Choates's recording, Moon Mullican, a Texas-born singer and piano player, made an even bigger hit with the song. Jole Blon, which Choates performed in the key of A instead of the traditional G, featured slurred fiddle notes and has been sung with both Cajun French and English romantic lyrics as well as nonsense lyrics with references to the "dirty rice" and "filé gumbo" of Cajun cuisine. Choates, who suffered from chronic alcoholism, sold Jole Blon for $100 and a bottle of whiskey.

   He and his Melody Boys recorded more than forty songs for Gold Star in 1946 and 1947, including Basile Waltz, Allans a Lafayette, Lawtell Waltz, Bayou Pon Pon, and Poor Hobo, but none of those records earned Choates the success he achieved with Jole Blon. He also recorded for the Mary, DeLuxe, D, O.T., Allied, Cajun Classics, and Humming Bird labels during his brief career. His recordings have been preserved on Jole Blon, an album by D Records of Houston that contains the Gold Star issues, and The Fiddle King of Cajun Swing, a compilation of Choates's works released by Arhoolie Records of El Cerrito, California, in 1982. Rufus Thibodeaux, a well-known Cajun fiddler, recorded an album entitled A Tribute to Harry Choates in the mid-1960s on the Tribute label. Choates remained popular fare on Cajun French radio stations in Jennings, Crowley, and Ville Platte, Louisiana.

   Choates, who could sing in French or English, became famous for his "Eh...ha, ha!" and "aaiee" vocal cries. A real crowd pleaser, he frequently played his amplified fiddle while dancing on the floor with his audience and stood on tiptoe while reaching for high notes. He merged traditional French Cajun music with the western swing music pioneered by such musicians as Bob Wills. He played jazz and blues as well as country music, including instrumental tunes like Rubber Dolly, Louisiana Boogie, Draggin the Bow, and Harry Choates Blues. As songwriter, instrumentalist, singer, and bandleader he raised Cajun music to national prominence.

   One observer has characterized Choates as "a Cajun Janis Joplin." Like her, he achieved a great deal of notoriety for his raucous lifestyle. Often performing while intoxicated and oblivious of his personal appearance, he wore a formerly white hat which, according to one of his band members, "looked like a hundred horses had stomped on it and then it had been stuck in a grease barrel." Choates was virtually illiterate and incurred the ire of musicians' union locals for ignoring contracts. Consequently, after the union in San Antonio blacklisted him and forced a cancellation of his bookings, his band broke up.

   By 1951 Choates had moved to Austin where he appeared with Jessie James and His Gang, a band at radio station KTBC. His estranged wife, Helen (Daenen), whom he had married in 1945, filed charges against Choates for failing to make support payments of twenty dollars a week for his son and daughter. Authorities in Austin jailed him pursuant to an order from a Jefferson County judge who found Choates in contempt of court. After three days in jail, Choates, unable to obtain liquor and completely delirious, beat his head against the cell bars, fell into a coma, and died, on July 17, 1951, at the age of twenty-eight. Although some of his fans believe his jailers may have killed him while attempting to calm him, Travis County health officer Dr. H. M. Williams determined that liver and kidney ailments caused his death. The James band played a benefit to raise money for Choates's casket, and Beaumont disk jockey Gordon Baxter secured funds to bury him in Calvary Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Port Arthur. Baxter and music historian Tim Knight of Groves raised money in 1979 and 1980 to purchase a granite grave marker with the inscription in Cajun French and English: "Parrain de la Musique Cajun"-"The Godfather of Cajun Music." In 1997 Choates was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame. He is also honored as a music legend in the Museum of the Gulf Coast's Music Hall of Fame in Port Arthur. A Texas Historical Marker was dedicated in his honor at Calvary Cemetery in 2007. Source

COORDINATES
29° 54.817, -093° 55.650


Calvary Cemetery
Port Arthur

September 24, 2010

Frost Thorn

   Frost Thorn, empresario and merchant said to have been the first Texas millionaire, was born in Glen Cove, New York, in 1793. He first came to Texas with the trading company of William Barr and Peter Samuel Davenport. On April 15, 1825, he and Haden Edwards obtained empresario contracts from the Mexican government. During the same year Thorn was married to Susan Wroe Edwards, daughter of Haden Edwards. The couple had three children. Thorn donated land for church sites, served on the board of health of Nacogdoches, aided Stephen F. Austin in getting colonists into Texas, attempted to persuade José de las Piedras to join in the revolution against Anastasio Bustamante, was elected to the state legislature of Coahuila and Texas, and was chairman of the Nacogdoches committee of vigilance and safety during the Texas Revolution. He also aided in the establishment of the University of Nacogdoches and served on the board of trustees. Thorn's chief interest was in the acquisition of land. Besides his own empresario contracts with Benjamin R. Milam and Green DeWitt, whereby he obtained a share in each of their grants from the Mexican government, he acquired additional titles to land grants until his holdings amounted to hundreds of thousands of acres. His other business activities included trade with the Indians in the areas of his landholdings, a general store in Nacogdoches operated in partnership with Haden Edwards, a bank, a salt mine, and a lumber business. Thorn also operated large farms both in Texas and in Louisiana and attempted the establishment of towns in East Texas, one of which, called Thornville, was located north of Nacogdoches. His business activities resulted in the accumulation of a fortune estimated at well over a million dollars. He died in Nacogdoches on December 3, 1854, and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. Source

COORDINATES
31° 36.178, -094° 38.964


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

September 21, 2010

Frank Mariano Tejeda

   Frank Mariano Tejeda, Jr., congressman, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on October 2, 1945. He was the son of Frank Tejeda and Lillie (Cisneros) Tejeda. Growing up in the slums of the South Side of San Antonio, young Frank experienced the difficulties of being poor. Still, he served as an altar boy at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church and attended St. Leo the Great Catholic School, played Little League athletics, participated in the Boy Scouts, and worked with his parents to earn money. As a teenager, Tejeda appeared difficult and often found himself in trouble with authorities. An indifferent student, he skipped classes, fought with school authorities, and associated himself with a tough gang. At the age of seventeen in 1963, Tejeda quit Harlandale High School and joined the United States Marine Corps.

   Frank Tejeda served on active duty in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967, and the experience changed his life. While serving in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966, Tejeda excelled in combat and demonstrated leadership abilities. In one incident that occurred on January 17, 1966, Sergeant Tejeda was recognized for his efforts near Da Nang when his troops managed to take an enemy position. For his performance in this action, Tejeda was awarded the Bronze Star. He also received a Purple Heart for a wound he suffered in combat a month before his tour of duty ended in 1966. In 1996 Secretary of the Navy John Dalton ordered the Navy Secretary Awards Board to review Tejeda’s record in Vietnam. The board concluded that Tejeda’s effort at the risk of his own life to save a fallen Marine in a rice paddy under fire merited awarding the Silver Star. Backed by President Bill Clinton, the Silver Star was posthumously awarded to Tejeda’s family in 1997. Before his enlistment ended in 1967, Tejeda also earned a high school equivalency diploma. After leaving active duty, he continued his military career and later attained the rank of major in the Marine Reserves. In 1972 he attended Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Camp Quantico, Virginia, where he established records in academic and athletic activities and received the Commandant’s Trophy for achieving a superior academic average. For the rest of his life, Tejeda credited the Marine Corps for providing him discipline and a purpose.

   After receiving his discharge in 1967, Tejeda returned to Texas. He enrolled in St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and received his B.A. degree in 1970. From Texas, Tejeda went to California where he earned a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1974. After launching his political career, he earned a master’s in public administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1980 and a master of law from Yale University in 1989.

   Having an interest in politics going back to Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty programs of the Great Society in the 1960s, Tejeda sought a career in public office. Running as a Democrat in San Antonio, Tejeda was elected to a seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 1976. Later described as a “conservative, pro-business Democrat with a ‘streak of social activism’,” Tejeda, with his quiet but strong manner, would be known for garnering bipartisan support throughout his political career. Serving five sessions in the House from 1977 to 1987, he emerged as a vocal opponent of pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and the establishment of a state lottery. In Austin, he found success in sponsoring a crime victim’s bill of rights and bills creating the Texas Veteran Housing Assistance program and the Texas Research Park. In 1986 Tejeda used his position as chairman of the House Judicial Affairs Committee to launch a series of hearings on the questionable behavior of some justices of the Texas Supreme Court.

   Elected to the Texas Senate in 1986, he served there from 1987 through 1992. In the early 1990s the Texas legislature redrew the state’s congressional districts. In the aftermath of their efforts, a new Twenty-eighth District was created that took most of its votes from Hispanic sections in South San Antonio and Bexar County. Senator Tejeda fought to determine the boundaries and constituents of the new district. In September 1991 he announced he would run as a candidate in the new district. Facing no opposition in the primary and the Republicans’ refusal to field a candidate, the popular Tejeda easily defeated Libertarian David Slatter in the general election in November 1992.

   As a member of the new Congress in 1993, Frank Tejeda was assigned to the House Armed Services and the Veterans Affairs committees. In Washington, he devoted much of his efforts to veterans issues and the hardships that came with cuts in defense spending that affected the military bases in the San Antonio area. Tejeda joined Republicans against efforts to close Brooks and Kelly Air Force bases in Texas. He also endorsed the North American Free Trade Agreement but supported government aid to displaced workers.

   During his second term in Congress, Tejeda learned he had cancer. On October 3, 1995, he underwent brain surgery in an effort to have the tumor removed. Although most of the tumor was removed, doctors failed to remove all of it. In 1996 Tejeda was reelected, but his health continued to decline. In December he quit granting interviews after his speech impairment grew worse and doctors determined the tumor’s growth. Unable to return to Washington for the beginning of his third term, Frank Tejeda died at the age of fifty-one in San Antonio on January 30, 1997. Former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros praised Tejeda as a “warrior for our country and.…He was a warrior for his neighborhood, a warrior for San Antonio and a warrior in Congress….”

   At the time of his death, Congressman Tejeda was survived by his three children, Marisa, Sonya, and Frank Tejeda III; and his mother; three brothers, Juan, Richard, and Ernest; and sister Mary Alice Lara. His marriage to Celia Tejeda had ended in divorce. His funeral Mass at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church on San Antonio’s Southwest Side was attended by 2,500 mourners. The Vietnam War hero was buried with full military honors, including a Texas National Guard “missing man” formation flyover, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. The Marine Corps Reserve Association established the Frank M. Tejeda Leadership Award to be presented to congressional members who demonstrate strong commitment to national defense, leadership, and service to country. The Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic, the Frank Tejeda Academy, the Frank Tejeda Post Office Building, and the Frank Tejeda Park, all in San Antonio, as well as the Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home in Floresville were named in honor of the former Marine hero and Texas congressman. Source

COORDINATES
29° 28.586, -098° 25.976

Section AI
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

September 17, 2010

James Wales Jones

   James W. Jones was born in Columbia County, Georgia, on January 13, 1797, the son of Thomas and Sarah Jones. He and his brother, Randal Jones, were among the first of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. By January 1822 they were in what is now Washington County. In July 1822 the brothers found Jane Long on the San Jacinto River and took her to San Antonio. On August 10, 1824, James Jones received title to a league and a labor of land in what are now Fort Bend and Wharton counties; he settled in Fort Bend County near Henry Jones. James Jones's wife, Hetty (Styles), was a sister of Mrs. Henry Jones. In 1826 James Jones was aged between twenty-five and forty. Ammon Underwood visited the James Jones plantation in January 1835. Jones served in the Texas Army under Capt. Wyly Martin from March 7 to June 7, 1836. In 1840 Jones was on a committee to check fraudulent land claims in Fort Bend County. He was living at Richmond in December 1845; he died at Prairie Lea on September 29, 1847. He and his wife were reburied in the State Cemetery in 1953. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.940, -097° 43.642

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

September 14, 2010

Isaac Payton Sweat

   Isaac Payton Sweat, singer and instrumentalist, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on July 19, 1945. Ike was born into a musical family. His father, Dawdie Sweat, had played with his three brothers for many dances and events in Pineville, Louisiana, in the 1920s and 1930s. Dawdie's brother, Charly Sweat, had moved to Jefferson County, Texas, to work in the refineries. Dawdie's family joined him there. Ike grew up hearing his father and uncle playing either together or with their friends.

   Sweat began playing instruments at an early age, beginning with the banjo and then learning guitar and bass. He played in rock bands while attending Nederland High School and, after graduation, enrolled as a pre-med student at Lamar University, where he planned to minor in music. The conflict of musical nights with educational days led him to drop out of school in order to concentrate on music. In the 1960s he became the bass player for the nationally-renowned blues musician Johnny Winter. Sweat continued to play for Winter's bands (first the Crystaliers, later renamed the Coastaleers) occasionally in the 1970s and 1980s. A product of the times, Sweat dabbled with psychedelic rock before returning to country music, a genre he found nearest to his heart. Although he played ably in other genres, whenever he sang, he sang country music.

   He had his first major success in the early 1980s with a vocal cover of Al Dean's instrumental standard, Cotton-Eyed Joe. The song was popular, especially where people performed the eponymous dance. It was so popular, in fact, that Sweat became known as "Mr. Cotton-Eyed Joe." He performed regularly until his death. After returning from a show in Houston, Sweat was found shot dead in his garage in Richmond, Texas, on June 23, 1990. The case is still unsolved. Sweat is honored in the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur. Source

COORDINATES
29° 44.383, -095° 36.524

Section 407
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Houston


September 3, 2010

John Matthew Moore

   John Matthew Moore, "Jaybird," United States congressman, and cattleman, the son of Dr. Matthew A. and Henrietta (Huddlestone) Moore, was born on November 18, 1862, in Richmond, Texas. After attending the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), he became bookkeeper and salesman for a Richmond business in 1879 and managed the family farm. In 1883 he married Lottie Dyer and became manager of her land and cattle interests; they had three sons and two daughters. From 1888 to 1892 Moore was the president of the Fort Bend County Jaybird Democratic Association. He served one term in the Texas Legislature in 1896 and in 1905 was elected to the United States Congress from the Eighth District. He served on the immigration and naturalization committee and worked to secure federal aid for Texas waterways, including the first appropriation for the Houston Ship Channel. He was a delegate to the Democratic national convention in 1900 and in 1916. After four terms in Congress, Moore did not seek reelection but retired in March 1913 and engaged in cattle raising on his Fort Bend County ranch until his death, on February 3, 1940. He was buried in Richmond. Source

COORDINATES
25° 35.143, -095° 45.819

Masonic West Section
Morton Cemetery
Richmond

August 31, 2010

Charles Stewart

   Charles Stewart, legislator and congressman, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 30, 1836, the son of Charles and Martha (Moore) Stewart. In 1845 the family moved to Galveston, where Stewart began the study of law in 1852 with James W. Henderson of Houston and later pursued his studies with the Galveston firm of which William Pitt Ballinger was a member. Stewart was admitted to the bar in 1854, before his eighteenth birthday, and began the practice of law in Marlin. In 1856 and again in 1858 he was elected prosecuting attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial District. In Marlin he also practiced law in partnership with Thomas P. Aycock from 1857 to 1866. In 1860 Stewart married Rachel Barry of Marlin. That year he reported owning $15,000 in real property and $4,425 in personal property, including four slaves. In 1861 he was a delegate to the Secession Convention, where he and Alfred Marmaduke Hobby were the two youngest delegates. Stewart enlisted in the Confederate Army and served throughout the Civil War, first in the Tenth Regiment of Texas Infantry and later in George Wythe Baylor's cavalry.

   In 1866 Stewart moved to Houston, where he practiced law with D. U. Barziza (1866?-74), J. B. Likens (1874-78), and G. H. Breaker (1878-?). Stewart gained recognition as both a civil and a criminal attorney. An important part of his civil practice involved land litigation and suits against railroads. He served as Houston city attorney from 1874 to 1876. In 1878 he was elected to the Texas Senate, where he was an advocate of tax-supported public education. After one term in the Senate (1879-72), Stewart was elected as a Democrat to the United States Congress, where he served five terms (1883-93). In Washington, Stewart was a member of the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and worked for increased appropriations for harbor improvements on the Texas coast. He also advocated securing a railroad link between the United States and Argentina in order to increase United States exports to Central and South America. Stewart belonged to various Masonic bodies and in 1883 served as grand master of Masons in Texas. In 1892 he declined to run for office again. He returned to Houston, where he practiced law with his son, John S. Stewart. After several years of failing health, Stewart died of phthisis and diabetes in Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio on September 21, 1895, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. His son, who was city attorney at the time of Stewart's death, was his only surviving child. Source

COORDINATES
29° 45.918, -095° 23.193

Section C-3
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

August 24, 2010

Karle Wilson Baker

   Karle Wilson Baker, writer, daughter of William Thomas Murphey and Kate Florence (Montgomery) Wilson, was born on October 13, 1878, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her first name was originally spelled Karl; the e was added later, first appearing in Kate Wilson's diary in 1893. She attended public schools, Little Rock Academy, and Ouachita Baptist College and returned to graduate from Little Rock Academy, a high school, in 1898. She attended the University of Chicago periodically from 1898 to 1901 and later attended Columbia University (1919) and the University of California at Berkeley (1926-27). The only university degree that she held, however, was an honorary doctorate of letters conferred in 1924 by Southern Methodist University.

   From 1897 to 1901 Karle Wilson alternately studied at the University of Chicago and taught at Southwest Virginia Institute in Bristol, Virginia. In 1901 she joined her family, which had moved to Nacogdoches, Texas. She went back to Little Rock to teach school for two years but returned to Nacogdoches, and there, on August 8, 1907, she married Thomas E. Baker, a banker. They had a son and daughter. Karle Baker devoted the remainder of her life to maintaining her household, to writing, and to teaching (from 1925 to 1934) at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College (now Stephen F. Austin State University). She wrote personal and historical essays, novels, nature poetry, and short stories. Her early writing appeared in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Century, Harper's, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner's, Putnam's, and the Yale Review, under the pen name of Charlotte Wilson. Yale University Press published her first volume of poetry, ninety-two lyrics collected under the name of the title poem, Blue Smoke (1919), which received favorable reviews in the United States and England. Yale also published a second collection of her poems, Burning Bush (1922), as well as two prose volumes, The Garden of Plynck (1920), a children's fantasy novel, and Old Coins (1923), twenty-seven short allegorical sketches. Baker was anthologized in The Best Poems of 1923, English and American, published in London, and in 1925 she won the Southern Prize of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, a competition open to poets living in the states of the former Confederacy.

   In 1931 a third volume of her poems, Dreamers on Horseback, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. By that time, however, she had begun to concentrate mainly on prose writing. As early as 1925 she had written The Texas Flag Primer, a Texas history for children that was adopted for use in the public schools. In 1930 The Birds of Tanglewood, a collection of essays based on her birdwatching, appeared. Tanglewood was the name that she gave to an area around her parents' second home in Nacogdoches. A second reader for children, Two Little Texans, was published in 1932. Her most notable prose works were two novels published when she was in her late fifties and early sixties. Family Style (1937), a study of human motivation and reaction to sudden wealth, is set against the background of the East Texas oil boom. Star of the Wilderness (1942) is a historical novel in which Dr. James Grant, a Texas revolutionary, figures. It later became a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

   In 1958 Baker was designated an honorary vice president of the Poetry Society of Texas, of which she was a charter member. She had served in 1938-39 as president of the Texas Institute of Letters, of which she was a charter member and the first woman fellow. Still other recognition was given her by the Authors League of America, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Poetry Society of America. She died on November 9, 1960, and is buried in Nacogdoches. Source

COORDINATES
31° 36.206, -094° 38.904


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

August 10, 2010

Cleto Luna Rodriguez

   Cleto L. Rodríguez, Medal of Honor recipient, was born on April 26, 1923, and raised in San Marcos and San Antonio. After his parents died when he was nine, he moved to San Antonio with relatives. He worked at the Gunter Hotel and as a newsboy. He attended Washington, Irving, and Ivanhoe schools. He was one of an estimated 375,000 to 500,000 Mexican-American soldiers in World War II. The percentage of persons of Mexican descent who served in the armed forces was higher than that of Mexican Americans in the general public, and they constituted the most decorated ethnic group. Rodríguez married Flora Muñiz on November 11, 1945, and they had four children. Rodríguez entered the United States Army in early 1944 and served as a technical sergeant. He was an automatic rifleman with Company B, 148th Infantry, when his unit attacked the strongly defended Paco Railroad Station during the battle for Manila in the Philippine Islands. He and his partner, John N. Reese, Jr., of Pryor, Oklahoma, killed eighty-two enemy soldiers and disorganized their defense, thus facilitating the defeat of the Japanese at their strong point. Two days later, Rodríguez singlehandedly killed six enemy soldiers and destroyed a twenty-millimeter gun. Thus on two occasions he "materially aided the advance of U.S. troops in Manila." Later, he was promoted to staff sergeant. Rodríguez was the fifth person of Mexican descent to win the Medal of Honor. Fourteen Texans received the award for service in World War II, six of whom were of Mexican descent. Rodríguez was also the first Mexican American GI to win the highest award in the South Pacific. Upon his return to San Antonio, city officials and the public greeted him and gave him a key to the city. Rodríguez joined the League of United Latin American Citizens, Council 2, in 1946. In 1947 he began work as a representative of the Veterans Administration. He served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1954 and again in the army from 1955 to 1970. Ivanhoe Elementary School was renamed Cleto Rodríguez School in 1975. Rodríguez died on December 7, 1990, and is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Source

Citation: He was an automatic rifleman when his unit attacked the strongly defended Paco Railroad Station during the battle for Manila, Philippine Islands. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative, he left the platoon, accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation, the 2 men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 hostile soldiers and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40 and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. Then, covered by his companion, Pvt. Rodriguez boldly moved up to the building and threw 5 grenades through a doorway killing 7 Japanese, destroying a 20-mm. gun and wrecking a heavy machinegun. With their ammunition running low, the 2 men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other's withdrawal. During this movement, Pvt. Rodriguez' companion was killed. In 2 l/2 hours of fierce fighting the intrepid team killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense, and paved the way for the subsequent overwhelming defeat of the enemy at this strongpoint. Two days later, Pvt. Rodriguez again enabled his comrades to advance when he single-handedly killed 6 Japanese and destroyed a well-placed 20-mm. gun by his outstanding skill with his weapons, gallant determination to destroy the enemy, and heroic courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. Rodriguez, on 2 occasions, materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila.

COORDINATES
29° 28.587, -098° 25.981

Section AI
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

July 27, 2010

Lightnin' Hopkins

   Sam (Lightnin’) Hopkins, blues singer and guitarist, was born in Centerville, Texas, on March 15, probably in 1911. Though some sources give his year of birth as 1912, his Social Security application listed the year as 1911. He was the son of Abe and Frances (Sims) Hopkins. After his father died in 1915, the family (Sam, his mother and five brothers and sisters) moved to Leona. At age eight he made his first instrument, a cigar-box guitar with chicken-wire strings. By ten he was playing music with his cousin, Texas Alexander, and Blind Lemon Jefferson, who encouraged him to continue. Hopkins also played with his brothers, blues musicians John Henry and Joel.

   By the mid-1920s Sam had started jumping trains, shooting dice, and playing the blues anywhere he could. Apparently he married Elamer Lacey sometime in the 1920s, and they had several children, but by the mid-1930s Lacey, frustrated by his wandering lifestyle, took the children and left Hopkins. He served time at the Houston County Prison Farm in the mid-1930s, and after his release he returned to the blues-club circuit. In 1946 he had his big break and first studio session - in Los Angeles for Aladdin Recordings. On the record was a piano player named Wilson (Thunder) Smith; by chance he combined well with Sam to give him his nickname, Lightnin’. The album has been described as “downbeat solo blues” characteristic of Hopkins’s style. Aladdin was so impressed with Hopkins that the company invited him back for a second session in 1947. He eventually made forty-three recordings for the label.

   Over his career Hopkins recorded for nearly twenty different labels, including Gold Star Records in Houston. On occasion he would record for one label while under contract to another. In 1950 he settled in Houston, but he continued to tour the country periodically. Though he recorded prolifically between 1946 and 1954, his records for the most part were not big outside the black community. It was not until 1959, when Hopkins began working with legendary producer Sam Charters, that his music began to reach a mainstream white audience. Hopkins switched to an acoustic guitar and became a hit in the folk-blues revival of the 1960s.

During the early 1960s he played at Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger and Joan Baez and in 1964 toured with the American Folk Blues Festival. By the end of the decade he was opening for such rock bands as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. During a tour of Europe in the 1970s, he played for Queen Elizabeth II at a command performance. Hopkins also performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In 1972 he worked on the soundtrack to the film Sounder. He was also the subject of a documentary, The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins, which won the prize at the Chicago Film Festival for outstanding documentary in 1970.

   Some of his biggest hits included Short Haired Women/Big Mama Jump! (1947); Shotgun Blues, which went to Number 5 on the Billboard charts in 1950; and Penitentiary Blues (1959). His albums included The Complete Prestige /Bluesville Recordings, The Complete Aladdin Recordings, and the Gold Star Sessions (two volumes). Hopkins recorded a total of more than eighty-five albums and toured around the world. But after a 1970 car crash, many of the concerts he performed were on his front porch or at a bar near his house. He had a knack for writing songs impromptu, and frequently wove legends around a core of truth. His often autobiographical songs made him a spokesman for the southern black community that had no voice in the white mainstream until blues attained a broader popularity through white singers like Elvis Presley. In 1980 Lightnin’ Hopkins was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.

   Hopkins died of cancer of the esophagus on January 30, 1982, in Houston. He was survived by his caretaker, Antoinette Charles, and four children. His funeral was attended by more than 4,000, including fans and musicians. He was buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston. In 2002 the town of Crockett in Houston County, east of the birthplace of Hopkins, erected a memorial statue honoring the bluesman in Lightnin’ Hopkins Park. He is also honored in the Houston Institute for Culture's Texas Music Hall of Fame. In the 2010s a documentary, Where Lightnin’ Strikes, was in production. Source

COORDINATES
29° 43.184, -095° 18.159

Section 23
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery
Houston

June 25, 2010

Abner Kuykendall

   Abner Kuykendall, Austin Colony pioneer, son of Adam and Margaret (Hardin) Kuykendall, was probably born in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1777. The family was in Logan County, Kentucky, by 1792 and moved on to the Arkansas territory about 1808. Abner married Sarah (Sally) Gates. The number of their children has been reported variously as nine and twelve. With his brothers, Abner left Arkansas Territory for Texas in October 1821, probably in company with his father-in-law, William Gates. At Nacogdoches they were joined by another brother, Robert H. Kuykendall, Sr., and the three brothers were among the first of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Abner commanded the militia of Austin's colony. Robert and a brother, Joseph, settled near the later site of Columbus on the Colorado River, but Abner and Thomas Boatwright moved ten miles west of the Brazos and on January 1, 1822, established a settlement on New Year Creek. Sarah Gates died about 1823. Abner never remarried. In November 1823 Abner Kuykendall moved back to the Brazos and settled about eight miles above San Felipe. He received title to 1½ leagues and two labors of land now in Fort Bend, Washington, and Austin counties on July 4, 1824. The census of March 1826 classified him as a stock raiser and farmer, a widower aged over fifty. A grown son, Barzillai Kuykendall, was another of the Old Three Hundred.

   In July 1824 and May 1826 Kuykendall went on campaigns against the Karankawa, Waco, and Tawakoni Indians. In 1827 he was sent by Austin as a member of a delegation to try to persuade leaders of the Fredonian Rebellion to give up their plans. During the rebellion he was detailed by Austin to patrol the Old San Antonio Road to watch for possible Indian invasions. In 1829 he led a scouting expedition from the Brazos to the mouth of the San Saba River. In 1830 he went to Tenoxtitlán to confer with Mexican authorities about Waco depredations and in the same year served on a committee at San Felipe to superintend the building of a jail. He was a public official at San Felipe in February 1832 and at the time of the Anahuac Disturbances led a party of from forty to sixty men to assist the Anahuac citizens. Kuykendall was stabbed at San Felipe in June 1834 by Joseph Clayton and died in late July. Clayton was convicted and hanged in what was probably the first legal execution in Texas. Abner Kuykendall's grave has never been found. Source

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 Abner Kuykendall 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.

COORDINATES
N/A


San Felipe de Austin Cemetery
San Felipe

June 18, 2010

George Moffit Patrick

   George Moffitt Patrick, physician and soldier, was born on September 30, 1801, in Albemarle County, Virginia. In 1803 he accompanied his parents to Fayette County, Kentucky, where he received his primary education. He subsequently earned a medical degree at Transylvania University at Lexington, Kentucky. He immigrated to the Harrisburg district of the Austin colony, Texas, in January 1828 and established himself as a farmer. In 1831 he was elected second alcalde of Anahuac and in 1832 was chosen regidor. Patrick was among the volunteers under the command of Capt. William B. Travis who captured the Mexican fort and garrison at Anahuac in July 1835. He represented Liberty Municipality in the Consultation of 1835 and on November 13 signed the articles that established the provisional government of Texas. He withdrew from the Consultation due to illness in his family but served as a liaison officer between the provisional government at San Felipe and the army then besieging Bexar. On November 30, with William A. Pettus, he reported "much dissatisfaction and inquietude pervading the army" but assured the council that "if their wants are supplied - no fears can be entertained of their abandoning the siege of Bexar." On March 25, 1836, the council appointed Patrick to organize the Harrisburg County militia and instructed him to order two-thirds of the troops immediately into active duty. "At great personal expense and labor" he mustered twenty recruits into what became Capt. Moseley Baker's company of Gen. Sam Houston's army. During the Runaway Scrape Patrick's farm, Deepwater, was for a time the seat of the Texas government, and as the Mexican army approached, he accompanied President David G. Burnet and his cabinet first to Morgan's Point and then to Galveston where, for a time, he served as captain of the schooner Flash. Following the battle of San Jacinto, Houston moved his army from the battlefield onto Patrick's farm on Buffalo Bayou because, according to Robert Hancock Hunter, "the de[a]d Mexicans began [to] smell." A Texas Centennial marker was erected in 1936 at the site of the former home of Patrick in the present community of Deer Park.

   In 1837 Patrick was named surveyor of Harris County. In 1840 he owned 6,166 acres in Grimes County, fifteen town lots in the Jefferson County speculative community of Sabine, and 350 acres in Montgomery County. On February 13 of that year he married Martha Scaife, a native of Maryport, England. The couple had five children. Martha died at Anderson on September 26, 1855. The Patricks' youngest child and only son, George Moffitt, Jr., was killed on June 1, 1865, at age eleven by the accidental explosion of a gunpowder magazine. Before 1860 Patrick married a woman named Augusta. Patrick had moved to Grimes County, where he owned $9,200 in real estate. By 1860 he owned $19,367 worth of real estate and $8,620 in personal property and was serving as the county's chief justice. He died at his home at Anderson on June 28, 1889. His remains and those of his wife were later removed to the State Cemetery in Austin. Patrick was an active Mason and served two terms as most worshipful grand master of the Grand Lodge of Texas. He was the first Texas Mason to serve as presiding officer of all four bodies of the York Rite of Freemasonry. He was a member of the Church of Christ and of the Sons of Temperance. Although a practicing physician, he is said never to have charged a fee for his medical services. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.919, -097° 43.649

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

June 4, 2010

Nathaniel Lynch

   Nathaniel Lynch moved to Texas from Missouri in 1822. As one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists he received title on August 10, 1824, to a league of land in the area that became Harris County. In 1825 Lynch was in a dispute over land boundaries with James Strange. The census of March 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser aged between twenty-five and forty. His household included his wife, Fanny, three sons, a daughter, and two servants. The settlement that grew up around his headright and steam sawmill at the juncture of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River was called Lynchburg. On February 1, 1830, Lynch presented to the ayuntamiento of San Felipe his application for permission to operate a public ferry. On September 5, 1831, the ayuntamiento fined Lynch for selling merchandise and liquor without a license and ordered the fine collected on November 7, 1831. The General Council in November 1835 appointed Lynch second judge of the municipality of Harrisburg. He petitioned the ad interim government for permission to transact business at Lynchburg in May 1836 and was listed as postmaster there in October of that year. During the Runaway Scrape fleeing Texans congregated at Lynch's Ferry, which lay on the principal land route between south Texas and the Mexican border, in an effort to escape the approaching Mexican army. When Lynch began charging a higher toll, President David G. Burnet threatened to seize the ferry for government service. Lynch died on February 17, 1837. His widow later married Martin Hardin. Source

Note: Unmarked. Nathaniel Lynch's grave location has been lost, but is known to be in this cemetery.
 
COORDINATES
N/A

Lynchburg Cemetery
Lynchburg

April 30, 2010

Paul Neal "Red" Adair

   Paul Neal "Red" Adair, the Texas oil well firefighter, was born on June 18, 1915, in Houston, Texas, to Charles and Mary Adair. He had four brothers and three sisters. Red grew up in the Houston Heights and went to school at Harvard Elementary, Hogg Junior High, and Reagan High School, where he was an all-city halfback for the football team when he was in the ninth grade. Though Red hoped to go to college, he had to drop out of high school to help support his family in 1930 as the Great Depression caused his father to close down his blacksmith shop. Red held many types of jobs after dropping out of high school, including a short showing as a semi-professional boxer. In 1936 he went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

   In 1938 Red obtained his first job working with oil when he joined the Otis Pressure Control Company. He worked in the oil fields of Texas and neighboring states until he was drafted into the US Army in 1945, where he served with the 139th Bomb Disposal Squadron and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. While in the Army, Red learned about controlling explosions and fires. He was with the 139th disposing bombs in Japan until the spring of 1946.

   When Red returned to Houston after serving his time in the Army, he was hired by Myron Kinley of the M. M. Kinley Company, one of the innovators for oil well blowouts and fire control. Red worked for Kinley for fourteen years helping put out oil well fires and capping oil blowouts. In 1959 he resigned from M. M. Kinley and formed his own company, The Red Adair Company, Inc. Through the techniques he learned from Kinley and disposing bombs for the army, Red was able to develop many tools and strategies to control oil well and natural gas well blowouts and fires. The Red Adair Company became a world-renowned name for fighting oil well fires. Red put out fires both inland and offshore all around the world. On average, the company put out forty-two fires every year.

   By 1961 Red became famous in oil fields around the world. He had put out the offshore CATCO oil fire in 1959 and many other fires both inland and offshore. In November 1961 a Phillip's Petroleum gas well in Algeria had a blowout. The flames from the blowout fire reached heights of over 700 feet and burned 550 million cubic feet of gas per day. The flames were so high, astronaut John Glenn reported seeing the fire from space. The fire came to be known as the Devil's Cigarette Lighter.

   Red made it to the fire in late November of 1961. He spent months preparing to put out the flame and cap the well. Red had enormous equipment built on-site to handle the pillar of fire. Since the fire was in the Sahara Desert, water had to be pumped from wells and stored in three reservoirs, each ten feet deep and the size of a football field. Red had several bulldozers customized with special housing units and fitted with hooks to pull away debris. After all preparations had been made, men and equipment were soaked with water constantly as they carefully approached the fire in their famous red coveralls and helmets. Nitroglycerin was then placed near the base of the fire. When the nitroglycerin was ignited, the explosion sucked the oxygen from the air and drowned out the fire. Red had been using this technique for years, and had learned a great deal about it from Myron Kinley. Once the fire was blown out, Red's team removed the wellhead and capped the well on May 28, 1962, six months after it had ignited.

   Red Adair was already known in oil and gas fields around the world, but blowing out the Devil's Cigarette Lighter made him an icon. He put out several more notable fires in his career including an offshore rig in Louisiana in 1970 and a 1977 blowout in the North Sea. In 1988 a huge explosion at the Piper Alpha Rig off the coast of Scotland brought Red even more renown. Using the ship he helped design, the Tharos, Red approached what was left of the offshore rig and used the ship's unique equipment to put out fires and cap the wells. At seventy-three, Red was no longer able to jump from a ship to an oil rig, so he had two of his men climb onto what was left of Piper Alpha to clear debris. Once most of the debris was cleared, the men began to put out the fires using nitroglycerin and the ocean water. On some days the wind would blow in just the right direction and help put the water right where it needed to be. On other days the seventy mile-per-hour wind worked against them. Eventually Red and his team were able to put out the fires and cap the wells.

   The Piper Alpha blaze brought Red in the public eye once again. Red continued to put out fires around the world, and in 1991, he helped put out many oil fires in Kuwait. At the closing of the Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein's armies retreated from Kuwait igniting many oil wells in order to keep them out of the hands of the Kuwaitis and Americans. Red was hired to put out the flames. More than one hundred wells were ignited, and putting them out was estimated to take three to five years. Red extinguished 117 burning wells in nine months.

   On top of working in the field as much as he could, Red also designed and developed many different types of firefighting equipment. At the age of nineteen he had designed a lever that could haul coal from railroad cars. His equipment was so innovative, that he formed a separate company, The Red Adair Service and Marine Company, in 1972 to sell firefighting equipment to others in the industry. Red liked to rig bulldozers with special fittings to keep heat out. He would also fix long beams on the bulldozers and use those beams to put nitroglycerin into a blaze or even use those beams like a fixed crane to bring in heavy materials. One of Red's most famous designs was the semi-submersible firefighting vessel, used to fight offshore oil well fires. Red designed several ships for oil companies around the world, many of which are still in use today.

   Red's work brought him many awards. He received the Walton Clark Medal Citation from the Franklin Institute. The city of Houston presented Red with both the Outstanding Houstonian Award and the Houston Distinguished Sales and Citizenship Award. After his popularity skyrocketed when he put out the Devil's Cigarette Lighter, a film was loosely based on Red's life. The movie Hellfighters, starring John Wayne, was released in 1968. Red served as a technical advisor. Although much of his fame came from his reputation as a daredevil, Red was also known to be a stickler when it came to safety. Red always boasted that none of his men had ever been killed or seriously injured while working for him.

   In 1993 Red Adair finally retired and sold the Red Adair Company. He then started Adair Enterprises as a consulting company that helped other firefighters. Many of Red's firefighters went on to form their own companies after working for him. Boots Hansen and Coots Matthews broke away from The Red Adair Company in 1978 to form their own firefighting company. They eventually merged with another group of firefighters that had once worked for Red. Although he retired from actual firefighting and fieldwork in 1993, Red stayed active in the firefighting business until he died at the age of eighty-nine on August 7, 2004, in the city of Houston. He was survived by his wife Kemmie and a son and daughter. Source

COORDINATES
29° 43.358, -095° 18.226

Abbey Mausoleum
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery
Houston

April 23, 2010

Carlos Bee

   Carlos Bee, lawyer, politician, and legislator, the son of Mildred (Tarver) and Hamilton P. Bee, was born on July 8, 1867, at either Saltillo, Coahuila, or Monterrey, Nuevo León. His parents were temporarily residing in Mexico after the collapse of the Confederacy, but they returned to San Antonio, Texas, in 1874. Bee attended San Antonio schools and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). He studied law while working as a railway mail clerk in the judge advocate's office at Fort Sam Houston, was admitted to the bar in 1893, and began to practice law in San Antonio. For two years he served as United States commissioner for the Western District of Texas, and he was district attorney of the Thirty-seventh District for six years, 1898-1905. He was a member of the Bexar County school board for two years, 1906-08. In 1904 Bee was chairman of the state Democratic convention and a delegate to the national Democratic convention at St. Louis. As a member of the Texas Senate for two terms, 1915-19, he introduced a compulsory school bill and a fifty-four-hour work week for women. He was elected to the Sixty-sixth Congress (1919-21) and subsequently resumed his law practice in San Antonio. Bee married Mary Kyle Burleson of Austin. He died in San Antonio on April 20, 1932, and was buried in the City Cemetery. He was survived by his second wife, Mary Elizabeth. Source

COORDINATES
29° 25.193, -098° 27.806

Section 4
Confederate Cemetery
San Antonio

April 20, 2010

Therman B. "Sonny" Fisher

   Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Therman Fisher, better known as “Sonny,” was born on November 13, 1931, in Chandler, Texas. He was known for being a pioneering rockabilly artist in the 1950s. Combining together the blues and country genres, the “Wild Man from Texas” was one of the many American rockabilly artists of the 1950s who was unable to make it big in his regional markets but became popular in Europe as a result of a growing interest in the genre in the late 1970s.

   Sonny Fisher was born on a farm in the small town of Chandler. Shortly after he was born, the family relocated to Tacoma, Washington, where Fisher grew up listening to his father sing and play the guitar. Ultimately settling in Houston, Fisher formed the Rocking Boys in the early 1950s after seeing Elvis Presley perform in 1954 at the Paladium. Teaming up with bassist Leonard Curry, drummer Darrell Newsome, and guitarist Joey Long, the group appeared alongside artists such as Elvis, George Jones, and Tommy Sands at shows in Houston and Beaumont. Fisher paid for his own recording session with engineer Bill Quinn at his Gold Star Studios in Houston, and his “Elvis-like” performance caught the attention of Quinn who alerted Jack Starnes of Starday Records. In early 1955 Fisher signed a one-year contract with H. W. “Pappy” Daily of Starday. Daily later recorded J. P. “Big Bopper” Richardson, George Jones, and others. Starnes served as Fisher’s manager.

   Fisher’s next recording session took place in January 1955 at Quinn’s studio. His records released under the Starday label included Rockin’ Daddy/Hold Me Baby, Hey Mama/Sneaky Pete, and I Can’t Lose/Rockin’ and Rollin’; Rockin’ Daddy became a regional hit. After receiving a royalty check from Starday for only $126, however, Fisher refused to sign with the label again. Fisher attempted to start his own record label, Columbus Records. With little success, he left the music scene in 1965 to dedicate his time to his floor-laying business. The singer’s entire 1950s output was composed of a mere eight songs, all recorded in the years 1955 and 1956.

   In 1980 Ted Carroll and Roger Armstrong of Ace Records in London gathered the eight songs Fisher had recorded between 1955 and 1956 and combined them on a 10” LP, entitling it Texas Rockabilly. The album launched the record label and caused a popular rockabilly revival throughout Europe. Following the release of Texas Rockabilly, Fisher recorded an EP of new material for the label in May 1980. From 1981 to 1983, he played shows throughout Europe with artists such as Eddie Fontaine, Gene Summers, Billy Hancock, and Jack Scott. After moving back to Texas, Fisher visited Spain in 1993 to record with veteran rockabilly artist Sleepy LaBeef and the Spanish band Los Solitarios. Fisher disappeared from the public eye shortly thereafter. Despite his disappearance, the singer left a lasting impression on Europe, embodying the essence of early Texas rockabilly to his fans.

   Fisher died on October 8, 2005 in Houston. Funeral services were held at Brookside Funeral Home, and the musician was buried at Brookside Memorial Park. Fisher was survived by daughters Vicky Daigle, Kimberly Eason, and Felisha Evans; sons Gary Bennett Fisher, Tony Wayne Fisher, Gordon B. Fisher, and Wendell C Fisher; sister Judy Weber; and brothers Charles and Carl Frieley; as well as nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Source

COORDINATES
29° 54.940, -095° 18.860

Section 47
Brookside Memorial Park
Houston

February 16, 2010

May Esther Peterson

   May Esther Peterson Thompson, opera star, was born on October 7, 1880, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She was one of nine children of a Methodist minister. She began singing at the age of four in church meetings and later joined her sister Clara, an accomplished organist, to give recitals and concerts. She began her formal training at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and then traveled to Europe, where she raised money for her voice studies by teaching English and singing concerts. After spending two years in Florence, she went to Germany, where she was reduced to eating bread and water and was near starvation after a companion absconded with her funds. Nevertheless, she managed to secure the tutelage of a singing master in Berlin and gave a command performance before Kaiser Wilhelm II. Weakened by a severe illness, she was advised to seek a milder climate, and thus set her sights on the Opéra Comique in Paris. After her arrival there in 1913, she studied under tenor Jean de Reszke, for whom she worked as an accompanist.

   When World War I broke out, she returned to the United States to pursue a career in opera. After a six-week tour through her home state, in which she gave twenty-six concerts, she went back to Paris and was offered the lead in Manon at the Opéra Comique. She performed the role in rented costumes and makeup borrowed from Mary Garden. When the United States entered the war in 1917, Peterson visited and performed at various army camps. In 1918 she signed a six-year contract with the Metropolitan Opera of New York, where she sang with Enrico Caruso and John McCormack. Among her favorite roles were Micaela in Carmen and Mimi in La Bohème. Her golden voice and personality soon won her international fame as the "Golden Girl" of opera. Even then, she continued giving benefit concerts for the Methodist Church during the off-season. She made several records under the Vocalion label and was one of the first American artists to sing on radio.

   In 1921 Emil Myers arranged to have May Peterson appear in concert at the First Methodist Church in Amarillo. The local civic committee selected attorney Ernest O. Thompson to be her escort. A romance ensued, and the two were married on June 9, 1924, in Bronxville, New York. Afterward they returned to Amarillo to a glittering reception held in the ballroom of the Amarillo Hotel, which Thompson had built and owned. May Thompson retired from the opera after her marriage, but she continued doing concert tours for several years. In 1925 she sang in the first musical festival to be staged at the Amarillo Municipal Auditorium, and she regularly assisted with local musical programs. In 1932, after Thompson was appointed to the Railroad Commission, the couple moved to Austin, where Mrs. Thompson became a leading figure in musical circles. The Thompsons had no children. On October 1, 1952, May Thompson suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at their summerhouse in Estes Park, Colorado, and lapsed into a coma. She was flown back to Austin, where she died in Seton Infirmary on October 8 without regaining consciousness. She was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.908, -097° 43.624

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin