March 30, 2010

William James Bordelon

   Medal of Honor recipient, William James Bordelon, was born on December 25, 1920, in San Antonio, Texas. He was the son of William Jennings and Carmen Josephine (Pereira) Bordelon. As a youngster, Bordelon attended the local schools and served as an altar boy at Mission San José. In 1938 he graduated from Central Catholic High School where he had served as the top-ranking cadet in the Reserve Officers Training Corps. On December 10, 1941, three days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bordelon enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

   Bordelon excelled in his military training in 1942 and 1943. During recruit training in San Diego, he recorded a score of 214 in rifle fire to qualify as a Marine “marksman.” Following recruit training, Bordelon was assigned to the Second Engineer Battalion, Second Marine Division, in San Diego where he underwent additional training, achieved rapid promotions, and attained the rank of sergeant on July 10. On October 20 his unit departed San Diego for New Zealand for six weeks of additional training in late 1942. Sergeant Bordelon witnessed his first combat on Guadalcanal during the period from January 4 to February 19, 1943. After the brutal Guadalcanal campaign, Bordelon returned to New Zealand for additional training and was promoted to staff sergeant (SSgt) on May 13, 1943.

   With members of his Assault Engineer Platoon, First Battalion, Eighteenth Marines (attached to the Second Marines during the invasion of Tarawa), Staff Sergeant Bordelon landed on the beaches of the Japanese-held atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands on November 20, 1943. Taking intense enemy fire, Bordelon was among only four Marines from his LVT to survive the landing. Along with a comrade, Bordelon moved out of the vehicle and immediately found himself caught in barbed wire while under heavy fire. After extracting themselves, the four men found some safety behind a four-foot-high seawall.

   Having lost most of their equipment, Staff Sergeant Bordelon took charge of the desperate situation. He secured two packages of dynamite, made demolition charges, and then eliminated two pillboxes. Bordelon threw a charge at a third pillbox but was hit by machine gun fire in the process. Wounded by enemy fire and from the backlash of the charge, he secured a rifle and provided cover for a number of men attempting to climb the seawall. Hearing two wounded Marines in the water calling for help, Bordelon proceeded to rescue them in spite of his own serious injuries. Though injured from multiple wounds, the Texan assaulted a fourth Japanese position that he managed to destroy with a rifle grenade just before he was killed by a burst of hostile fire. Against enormous odds, the wounded Marine had destroyed four Japanese machine gun positions and rescued two Marines.

   Bordelon’s actions at Tarawa were described as “valorous and gallant.” His heroic effort came “during a critical phase of securing the limited beachhead [and] was a contributing factor in the ultimate occupation of the island.” In a ceremony at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, William and Carmen Bordelon were presented their son’s posthumous Medal of Honor by Marine Maj. Donald Taft on June 17, 1944. June 17 was proclaimed “Bordelon Memorial Day” in San Antonio, and Governor Coke Stevenson designated the week “Statewide Bordelon Week” in Texas. A destroyer, the USS Bordelon (commissioned in 1945), Veterans of Foreign Wars William J. Bordelon Post 4700, and American Legion Post 300 were named in honor of the Texan. The San Antonio native was the first Texas Marine to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II and the first man and only enlisted man to earn the Medal of Honor at Tarawa. He was also the first native-born San Antonian ever to receive the Medal of Honor. His other posthumous awards included the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal. In 1994 the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve building in San Antonio was named in Bordelon’s honor.

   Bordelon was first buried at Tarawa in the Lone Palm Cemetery. After the war, his body was reburied in Hawaii in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Honolulu in 1947. In early 1995 Bordelon’s surviving siblings Robert Bordelon and Carmen Bordelon Imhoff, assisted by San Antonio Express-News staff writer J. Michael Parker and others, sought and were granted permission to return Bordelon to San Antonio. On November 19, 1995, the Texas hero’s flag-draped casket flanked by two Marine honor guards lay in state for public viewing at the Alamo - the shrine of Texas liberty. He was only the fifth person to lie in state in the Alamo up to that time. An estimated 2,500 people or more came to view the casket. On November 20, Rev. George Montague of St. Mary’s University concelebrated with Auxiliary Bishop John Yanta and nine other priests a funeral Mass in Mission San José. SSgt. William James Bordelon was reburied with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery exactly fifty-two years after his death at Tarawa. In 2007, Central Catholic High School in San Antonio dedicated a new memorial in the lobby, and in 2009 a section of Interstate 37 that ran between IH 35 and IH 10 in San Antonio was named to commemorate Bordelon. Source

For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as a member of an assault engineer platoon of the 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, tactically attached to the 2d Marine Division, in action against the Japanese-held atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands on 20 November 1943. Landing in the assault waves under withering enemy fire which killed all but 4 of the men in his tractor, S/Sgt. Bordelon hurriedly made demolition charges and personally put 2 pillboxes out of action. Hit by enemy machinegun fire just as a charge exploded in his hand while assaulting a third position, he courageously remained in action and, although out of demolition, provided himself with a rifle and furnished fire coverage for a group of men scaling the seawall. Disregarding his own serious condition, he unhesitatingly went to the aid of one of his demolition men, wounded and calling for help in the water, rescuing this man and another who had been hit by enemy fire while attempting to make the rescue. Still refusing first aid for himself, he again made up demolition charges and single-handedly assaulted a fourth Japanese machinegun position but was instantly killed when caught in a final burst of fire from the enemy. S/Sgt. Bordelon's great personal valor during a critical phase of securing the limited beachhead was a contributing factor in the ultimate occupation of the island, and his heroic determination throughout 3 days of violent battle reflects the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

29° 28.588, -098° 25.976

Section AI
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

March 26, 2010

Preston Earnest Smith

   Preston Earnest Smith, businessman, legislator, and the fortieth governor of Texas, was born on March 8, 1912, in Williamson County. He was the son of Charles Kirby Smith and Effie Smith. One of thirteen children, he grew up in Williamson County until he was twelve, when his family moved to Lamesa in Dawson County, where he graduated from Lamesa High School in 1930.

   Smith attended and was graduated from Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) with a bachelor of business arts degree in 1934. While in one of his college classes, he was seated alphabetically next to Ima Smith (no relation). Preston Smith and Ima Smith married in 1935. They had two children.

   Smith became active in the movie theater business in Lubbock as well as real estate enterprises and developed the political name recognition he needed to win election in 1944 to the Texas House of Representatives. A conservative Democrat, Smith served three terms in the House and in 1956 was elected to the Texas Senate. In 1962, the same year that John B. Connally was elected governor, Smith was elected lieutenant governor.

   In 1968, when Connally chose not to seek reelection, Smith sought and won the Democratic nomination for the governorship amongst a crowded field of candidates. Smith was known for his polka dot neckties, which he claimed he began wearing in 1962 after Gov. Price Daniel urged Smith to do something to help make himself stand out. During the 1968 gubernatorial campaign, Smith's campaign sent letters to approximately 47,000 Texas families named Smith and asked, "Don't you think it is about time one of us was governor?"

   Known for his relentless work ethic and corny sense of humor, Smith was the first lieutenant governor to be directly elected to the governorship and the first West Texan to be elected. He was inaugurated as governor on January 16, 1969, and was re-elected to a second term in 1970.

   During his first term, Smith focused on education issues, including a ten-year pay raise program for teachers. His administration also submitted a state water plan, which failed to pass.

   Smith's governorship in his second term was tainted by the Sharpstown stock-fraud scandal, which initially focused on charges that state officials profited from certain business deals in exchange for the passage of legislation favored by Houston developer Frank Sharp. Though Smith was never charged with a crime, he was "labeled an unindicted co-conspirator," and the scandal grew to such proportions that Texas voters were in an anti-incumbent mood. Smith ran and lost in the 1972 Democratic primary to Dolph Briscoe, Jr. of Uvalde, who would go on to win the general election and be sworn in as Smith's successor in January, 1973. Smith unsuccessfully attempted a comeback in 1978 and retired from politics.

   After his political career ended, Smith retired to Lubbock. He remained active in local business and civic affairs and worked as a fundraiser for Texas Tech University. His papers are in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at the university library. (As governor he had signed into law the legislation that established the Texas Tech University School of Medicine.) In 1981 Gov. William Clements appointed him to the Texas College and University Coordinating Board, where he served as chairman until 1985. Texas Tech University honored Smith by erecting a statue of him in the Administration Building courtyard on the campus.

   Smith died from pneumonia at Texas Tech University Medical Center in Lubbock on October 18, 2003, at the age of ninety-one. His wife Ima had died in 1998. He was survived by a son, a daughter, and their respective families. Smith was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. The city of Lubbock honored Smith by renaming its airport the Preston Smith International Airport in 2004. Source

30° 15.932, -097° 43.635

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

March 23, 2010

Robert Rudolph "Bob" Casey

   Robert Randolph "Bob" Casey, United States Congressman, was born in Joplin, Missouri on July 27, 1915. His family moved to Houston, Texas while he was a teenager. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and doctorate from the South Texas College of Law. In 1940, he was admitted to the bar and set up a private practice in Alvin, Texas. Two years later, he became the city attorney. In 1943, Casey returned to Houston to become Harris County's assistant district attorney.

   He first ran for office in 1948 when he was able to earn a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, but he chose not to run for reelection and spent the next eight years as a Harris County Judge. Casey was elected to the United States House in 1958 in the newly created 22nd district, serving as a member of the House Committee on Government Reform and the Committee on the Post Office and the Civil Service. In 1976, he left the House after his appointment to the Federal Maritime Commission by President Gerald R. Ford. He later returned to the practice of law for several years prior to his death in Houston on April 17, 1986. He was buried at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston.

29° 46.765, -095° 36.919

Section 8
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

March 19, 2010

Haden Edwards

   Haden (or Hayden) Edwards, pioneer settler and land speculator, was born in Stafford County, Virginia, on August 12, 1771, the son of John Edwards. In 1780 the family moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky (at that time part of Virginia), where John Edwards acquired 23,000 acres of land, worked for statehood, and was elected to the United States Senate. Haden was educated for the law but like his father was more interested in land speculation. In 1820 he married Susanna Beall of Maryland, and they moved to the area of Jackson, Mississippi, where he and his brother Benjamin W. Edwards acquired a plantation. He and Susanna eventually had thirteen children. In Mississippi the Edwards first heard the news of Moses Austin's plans for colonization in Texas. In 1823 Edwards traveled to Mexico City, where he joined Stephen F. Austin, Robert Leftwich, and others in a three-year attempt to persuade various Mexican governments to authorize American settlement in Texas. Because of his wealth Edwards was often called upon to finance Austin. Their efforts resulted in the colonization law of 1824 in Mexico City and of 1825 in Saltillo, which allowed empresarios to introduce settlers to Texas. Edwards suffered more than he profited from his relationship with Austin, at least in his own mind, since he believed that Austin claimed the best lands and tried to push his boundaries in every direction at the expense of other empresarios.

   Edwards received a grant in the vicinity of Nacogdoches where he could locate 800 families. Like other empresarios he agreed to honor preexisting grants and claims made by Spanish or Mexican officials. Of all empresarios, Edwards probably had the most such claims, some over a century old. In 1825 he posted notices to inform all potential claimants that they must come forward with proof of their claims or he would consider the land his, subject to sale to new settlers. This angered the older settlers, who opposed Edwards until he was expelled two years later. He also became involved in an election dispute between the representative of the older settlers, Samuel Norris, and Chichester Chaplin, Edwards's son-in-law. As empresario, Edwards certified the election of Chaplin. Norris then protested to Governor José Antonio Saucedo in San Antonio, and Saucedo upheld Norris's claim to office. However, Chaplin continued to hold the position until Norris requested aid from the local militia. Continued complaints from the area caused Edwards to come under suspicion, and his brother Benjamin, who handled business affairs while Haden was absent from Texas in 1826, addressed such strident correspondence to government officials that it resulted in the revocation of the Edwards grant in October of that year.

   Edwards was shocked by this turn of events. He had invested more than $50,000 to secure and launch the grant, and he did not willingly surrender it. Additionally, the cancellation of his grant resulted in the forfeiture of the claims of all settlers who had moved onto his lands. Thus, when the events known as the Fredonian Rebellion, which the Edwards brothers eventually headed, began the following month, the Edwards grantees were most supportive. In November 1826 Edwards was arrested as a ruse. When no one appeared at his trial as an accuser he was freed, but Norris and militia chief José Antonio Sepúlveda were found guilty and judged deserving of the death sentence, which was commuted to banishment from office by this extralegal tribunal. News of the uprising reached the Mexican authorities, who dispatched Lt. Col. Mateo Ahumada to Nacogdoches. Learning that troops were on their way, Martin Parmer and Benjamin Edwards recruited the Ayish Bayou militia to come to town as well. They signed articles establishing the Fredonian Republic, with Haden Edwards as its leader. An alliance was also made with Cherokee Indians led by Richard Fields and John Dunn Hunter, who also had grievances against the government. Before an armed clash occurred the Fredonians dispersed, in early February 1827, and Edwards fled to Louisiana for safety. He returned to Texas during the Texas Revolution and made his home in Nacogdoches until his death, on August 14, 1849. Edwards was the first worshipful master of Milam Lodge No. 2 when it was organized in 1837, a fact that indicates his status in the Anglo leadership. Until his death he was engaged in the land business. Source

31° 36.173, -094° 38.965

Oak Grove Cemetery

March 16, 2010

Eugene McDermott

   Eugene McDermott, scientist, industrialist, and philanthropist, was born on February 12, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York, to Owen and Emma (Cahill) McDermott. After receiving a master's degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919, he worked at the Goodyear Rubber Company as an engineer (1919-21) and at the Western Electric Company (1921-23). After completing an M.A. degree at Columbia in 1925, McDermott joined Everette Lee DeGolyer's Geophysical Research Corporation in Houston as a field supervisor. He was soon placed in charge of GRC's instrument laboratory in Bloomfield, New Jersey. In 1930 DeGolyer secretly financed McDermott and John C. Karcher in their organization of Geophysical Service, Incorporated, to exploit Karcher's development of the reflection seismograph. By means of underground explosions, this instrument determined formations of the earth's layers. The company contracted to conduct geophysical exploration for the oil industry and soon became one of the world's foremost geophysical service firms. McDermott moved to Dallas to serve as vice president of GSI (1930-39); he became president in 1939 and chairman of the board in 1949. In 1951 he formed Texas Instruments, and GSI became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new electronics firm. McDermott continued as TI board chairman until 1958, then chaired the executive committee until 1964 and remained a company director until his death.

   During World War I he served in the United States Navy, and from 1941 to 1946 he was a civilian consultant to the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He contributed to various technical journals. His inventions, numbering around ten, ranged from geochemical applications to antisubmarine warfare. Nevertheless, he was concerned with what he saw as a tendency of science to neglect individual and economic growth. His service on a national committee to alert American businessmen to their stake in perceived population problems in the nation and the world reflected this concern, as did his commitment to education. Believing that education should be consistently excellent from the start, that "learning begins when a child starts looking at the world," McDermott and his wife, Margaret (Milam), whom he married on December 1, 1954, worked diligently to promote quality education with the goal of "maximizing everyone's capacities for thinking and doing." They gave stock valued at $1.25 million toward building the Stevens Institute of Technology Center in 1954 and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for scholarships in 1960. Other schools receiving McDermott's financial support included the Lamplighter School, the Dallas junior college system, Southern Methodist University, the University of Dallas, Hockaday School, and the University of Texas System. McDermott also helped found St. Mark's School of Texas and establish the University of Texas at Dallas.

   He was a member of the MIT Corporation from 1960 to 1973, a trustee of the board of governors of SMU, trustee and chairman of the executive committee of the Excellence in Education Foundation, a trustee of St. Mark's and the Area Educational TV Foundation, and a member of the Coordinating Board of Texas Colleges and Universities (now the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) from 1965 to 1971. He also was chairman of a visiting committee in the Harvard University psychology department and a member of a similar committee at MIT. In 1949 McDermott collaborated with William Sheldon on four books, including Varieties of Delinquent Youth. He was also involved in scientific medical projects at various universities, including Columbia, the University of California, and Southwestern Medical School (now the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas), where he supported a visiting professorship in anesthesiology and a research laboratory and in 1973 established the Eugene McDermott Center for the Study of Human Growth and Development. He was a trustee of Stevens Institute, the Presbyterian Hospital-Children's Medical Center, the SMU Foundation for Science and Engineering, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, the Biological Humanics Foundation (which he founded in 1954), the Texas Research Foundation, and the Southwestern Medical Foundation. The McDermotts contributed $200,000 towards establishing the Margo Jones Memorial Theater at SMU in 1965 and served as directors of the SMU Fine Arts Association. McDermott served as director of the Dallas Theater Center. The McDermotts established a trust fund for the Dallas Art Association, and their financing renovated the Gillespie County Courthouse in Fredericksburg.

   McDermott was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, of which he was president (1933-34), the Seismological Society of America, the American Physicians Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Mathematical Society, the American Geographical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to honorary degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology (1960), the University of Dallas (1973), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1972), he received papal honors for his outstanding work for Christianity (1966), an award from the Texas State Historical Survey Committee for the courthouse renovation (with his wife, 1967), the Bene Merenti medal (1966), the Santa Rita Gold Medal from the University of Texas for his work in higher education (1972), and the Linz Award for service to Dallas (1972). McDermott was the father of one daughter. He died at his home in Dallas on August 23, 1973, after an illness of several months. Source 

32° 52.107, -096° 46.701

Monument Garden
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery       

March 12, 2010

Ralph Webster Yarborough

   Ralph Webster "Smilin' Ralph" Yarborough, United States senator and leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic party in Texas, was born at Chandler, Texas, on June 8, 1903, the seventh of nine children of Charles Richard and Nannie Jane (Spear) Yarborough. He attended local schools and developed a youthful fascination for military history. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1919 but dropped out the following year. He taught school for a time while attending classes at Sam Houston State Teachers College, paid his way through the University of Texas by working at various jobs, and graduated from the law school in 1927. Yarborough married Opal Warren in 1928; they had one son. After several years with an El Paso law firm that included William Henry Burges and William Ward Turney among its partners, Yarborough was hired as an assistant attorney general in 1931 and was given special responsibility for the interests of the Permanent School Fund. Over the next four years he gained recognition by winning several cases against the Magnolia Petroleum Company and other major oil companies and successfully establishing the right of public schools and universities to oil-fund revenues. The million-dollar settlement he won in the Mid-Kansas case was the second-largest in Texas history at that time, and his work ultimately secured billions of dollars for public education. In 1936 Governor James Allred appointed Yarborough to a state district judgeship in Austin; Yarborough was elected to that office later the same year. He made his first bid for statewide elective office in 1938, when he came in third in the race for attorney general. He served in the Texas National Guard in the 1930s and joined the United States Army in World War II; he served in Europe and the Pacific in the Ninety-seventh Division and ended the war as a lieutenant colonel with a Bronze Star and a Combat Medal. After the surrender he spent eight months with the military government of occupation in Japan. In 1946 he returned to Austin and resumed law practice. In the Democratic primary of 1952 Yarborough challenged incumbent governor R. Allan Shivers and lost. The campaign was the first of many in one-party Texas in which Yarborough was aligned with the progressive or liberal wing of the Democratic party against conservatives like Shivers. A second primary loss to Shivers in 1954 was characterized by harsh campaign attacks on both sides, as Yarborough accused Shivers of wrongdoing in the Veteran's Land Board Scandal and Shivers countered by claiming that Yarborough supported integration and was backed by Communist labor unions. He lost another bid for the governorship to senator Marion Price Daniel, Sr., in 1956 in a close run-off campaign. When Daniel vacated his senatorial seat in 1957, Yarborough joined the field for the office with twenty-one other candidates and squeaked through the primary with 38 percent of the vote to join Lyndon B. Johnson in the Senate. Yarborough received the support of organized labor, the newly organized Democrats of Texas, and the recently founded Texas Observer.

   In the Senate, Yarborough established himself as a very different Democrat than the majority of his southern colleagues. After refusing to support a resolution opposing desegregation, he became one of only five southern senators to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He defeated wealthy conservative Democrat William A. "Dollar Bill" Blakley in the primary and Republican Ray Wittenburg in the election to win a full term in 1958. In 1960 Yarborough sponsored the Senate resolution leading to the Kennedy-Nixon television debate, a crucial event in the election and a model for subsequent presidential campaigns. In 1963 Yarborough was present at the Kennedy assassination; many believe his feud with conservative governor John B. Connally led to his sitting in the second car in the motorcade rather than with the president. Yarborough defeated George H. W. Bush, future president of the United States, in the senatorial race of 1964. In his years in the senate Yarborough supported many of the key bills of LBJ's Great Society and pressed for legislative action in the fields of civil rights, education, public health, and environmental protection. He voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was one of only three southerners to support the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Yarborough served for years on the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, of which he became chairman in 1969. He sponsored or cosponsored the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), the Higher Education Act (1965) the Bilingual Education Act (1967), and the updated GI Bill of 1966. He was also an advocate for such public-health measures as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Community Mental Health Center Act, and the National Cancer Act of 1970. A strong supporter of preserving the environment, he co-wrote the Endangered Species Act of 1969 and sponsored the legislation establishing three national wildlife sanctuaries in Texas-Padre Island National Seashore (1962), Guadalupe Mountains National Park (1966), and Big Thicket National Preserve (1971). His interest in the preservation of Texas historical sites led him to sponsor bills to make Fort Davis, Jeff Davis County and the Alibates Flint Quarries national monuments.

   Through his support of the social welfare legislation of the 1960s Yarborough further identified himself with the goals of the national Democratic party and further distanced himself from the moderate-conservative state Democratic party. In 1970 Lloyd Bentsen, Jr., upset him in the senatorial primary and went on to gain the Senate seat. Yarborough's last attempt at political office, a run at John G. Tower's Senate seat in 1972, did not make it past the primary, where he was defeated by Barefoot Sanders. Yarborough returned to the practice of law in Austin. As an avid bibliophile and collector of Western Americana and Texana, he amassed a substantial library and numbered J. Frank Dobie among his friends and supporters. Dobie called Yarborough "perhaps the best-read man that Texas has ever sent to Washington." Yarborough wrote an introduction to Three Men in Texas: Bedichek, Webb and Dobie (1967) and contributed to Lincoln for the Ages (1964). He died in Austin on January 27, 1996. and was buried in the State Cemetery. He is regarded by many as one of the great figures in the Texas progressive tradition, a gregarious politician who campaigned in the old energetic, back-slapping style and who cared deeply about the social welfare of the people and believed that it could be significantly improved through government action. Source

30° 15.928, -097° 43.617

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

March 9, 2010

John Smith Davenport Byrom

   John Byrom, early settler, son of Henry and Catherine Smith (Davenport) Byrom, was born in Hancock, Georgia, on September 24, 1798. In 1806 he moved with his uncle and guardian, John Byrom, to Jasper County, Georgia. There on March 17, 1818, he married Nancy Fitzpatrick; they had three children. Byrom later moved to Heard County, Georgia, and later still to Florida. After his divorce from his first wife, he married Mary Anne Knott; they had a son and a daughter. In 1830 Byrom came to Texas and settled in what is now Brazoria County. He participated in the battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832. In 1835 he represented Brazoria at the Consultation, and the General Council appointed him one of three commissioners to organize the militia in the Municipality of Brazoria. Byrom was one of the four representatives from the municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He died on July 10, 1837. Source

29° 08.394, -095° 38.853

Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia

March 5, 2010

James Edward "Jim" Pendleton

   Jim Pendleton was born in 1924 in St. Charles, Missouri. He joined a Negro minor league team in Asheville before he was promoted to the Negro American League in 1948. Playing shortstop for the Chicago American Giants, he hit .301. The following year, he was in the American Association as an outfielder with the St. Paul Saints, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Upon signing with the Dodgers organization, he took two years off his age. He was the only black player in the American Association at the time of his signing. In 1951, St. Paul moved him back to shortstop. The next year, he played for the Dodgers' minor league team in Montreal.

   Between 1950 and 1952, Pendleton hit between .291 and .301 each season, averaging 14 home runs and more than 15 triples per year during that period. Despite his minor league success, two factors worked against the possibility of a promotion to the Dodgers. Brooklyn already had a star major league shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, and the franchise was worried about backlash from the rest of baseball if it promoted more than one black player to the major leagues each year. The Dodgers also rejected trade offers from other teams during that time. With Reese holding strong as the Dodgers shortstop, Brooklyn agreed to a trade that sent Pendleton to the Milwaukee Braves in early 1953. At the age of 29, on April 17, 1953, Pendleton made his MLB debut with the Braves.

   In 1953, he was traded to the Braves as part of a four-team transaction (involving the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as the Braves and Dodgers). He played more than 100 games in the outfield for Milwaukee, and batted .299 in a part-time role, which increased his popularity. In 1957, he hit .305 in 46 games for the Pirates, but after three at bats in 1958, he was sent back to the minors for the rest of 1958 campaign. He was a member of the first Houston Colt .45s team in 1962 and played in 117 games at the age of 38. In his MLB career, Pendleton appeared in 444 games over eight seasons, hitting 19 home runs. He died in Houston, Texas, at age 72.

29° 55.786, -095° 26.957

Section K
Houston National Cemetery

March 2, 2010

Samuel Augustus Maverick

   Samuel Augustus Maverick, land baron and legislator, was born at Pendleton, South Carolina, on July 23, 1803, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Anderson) Maverick. He spent his earliest years primarily in Charleston, but in 1810 the family moved to Pendleton, where Maverick's father established a plantation and devoted much of his energy to buying land in South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. Maverick was educated at home until age eighteen, when he left South Carolina and spent a summer studying under a tutor at Ripton, Connecticut, in preparation for entry to Yale University. He entered the sophomore class at Yale in September 1822 and graduated in 1825. He returned to Pendleton, started handling some of his father's business affairs, and developed an eye for land and a careful business sense. In 1828 he traveled to Winchester, Virginia, and studied law under noted jurist Henry St. George Tucker. Maverick received his Virginia law license on March 26, 1829. He returned to Pendleton in 1829 and opened a law office. He ran for the South Carolina legislature in 1830, but his anti-secession and anti-nullification views contributed to his defeat and led him to leave the state in 1833. He settled temporarily in Georgia, then on a plantation in Lauderdale County, Alabama, before moving to Texas in March 1835.

   Maverick arrived in Texas eager to start building his own land empire, but the Texas Revolution was rapidly developing. He reached San Antonio shortly before the siege of Bexar began and was soon put under house arrest with John W. Smith and A. C. Holmes on the orders of Mexican general Martín Perfecto de Cos. Forbidden to leave the city, Maverick kept a diary that provides a vivid record of the siege. He and Smith were released on December 1 and quickly made their way to the besiegers' camp, where they urged an immediate attack. When an attack was finally made on December 5, Maverick guided Benjamin R. Milam's division. He remained in San Antonio after the siege and in February was elected one of two delegates from the Alamo garrison to the independence convention scheduled for March 1, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos. He left the embattled garrison on March 2 and arrived at the convention on March 5. While serving there, Maverick contracted a severe attack of chills and fever. After the delegates dispersed, he made his way to Nacogdoches; then, ill and aware that he was needed on family business, he departed for Alabama about the time of Sam Houston's victory at San Jacinto.

   In Alabama, Maverick met Mary Ann Adams, and married her on August 4, 1836, at her widowed mother's plantation near Tuscaloosa. The couple divided their time between Alabama and Pendleton until late 1837, when with their first-born, Samuel Maverick, Jr., and a small retinue of slaves, they started for Texas. In June 1838 they established a home in San Antonio. Maverick obtained his Texas law license, engaged in West Texas land speculation, and served as the city's mayor in 1839. He followed his term as mayor with a term as treasurer and continued to serve on the city council until the Mavericks joined the "Runaway of '42," a move based on rumors of pending Mexican invasion of San Antonio. They settled temporarily near Gonzales, but Maverick returned to San Antonio for the fall term of district court and was one of the prisoners taken by Mexican general Adrián Woll. He was released from Perote Prison in April 1843 through the intervention of United States minister to Mexico Waddy Thompson. Upon his return, Maverick, who had been elected to the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas, served in the Eighth Congress and was a strong advocate of annexation to the United States. In late 1844 he moved his growing family to Decrows (Decros) Point on Matagorda Bay, where they lived until October 1847.

   When he returned permanently to San Antonio with his family, Maverick left a small herd of cattle originally purchased in 1847 on Matagorda Peninsula with slave caretakers. It was this herd that was allowed to wander and gave rise to the term maverick, which denotes an unbranded calf. In 1854 Maverick and his two eldest sons rounded up the cattle and drove them to their Conquista Ranch near the site of present Floresville before selling them in 1856. During the years between Maverick's return to San Antonio and his death, he expanded his West Texas landholdings, which in 1851 totaled almost 140,000 acres. By 1864 they had burgeoned to more than 278,000 acres, and at his death they topped 300,000 acres. Maverick gained land primarily by buying such land certificates as headright certificates and bounty and donation certificates. In the 1850s and 1860s he was one of the two biggest investors in West Texas acreage, and Maverick County was named in his honor.

   He served as a Democrat in the Fourth through Ninth state legislatures (1851-63). There he worked to ensure equal opportunity for his Mexican and German constituents, to foster fair and liberal laws for land acquisition and ownership, to develop transportation and other internal state improvements, to provide protection for the frontier, and to ensure a fair and efficient judicial system. He also worked until the outbreak of the Civil War to stem the tide of secessionism, but, seeing that a conflict was inevitable, threw his support to the Confederacy. He was one of three secession commissioners appointed by the Texas Secession Convention, and the three successfully effected the removal of federal troops and the transfer of federal stores in Texas to the state government. During the war he was elected chief justice of Bexar County and served a second term as San Antonio mayor. After the war he received a presidential pardon and was active in attempts to combat the radical Republican regime in Reconstruction Texas. He died on September 2, 1870, after a brief illness. Surviving him were his wife and five of his ten children. Maverick, an Episcopalian, was buried in San Antonio's City Cemetery Number 1. Source

29° 25.222, -098° 28.034

City Cemetery #1
San Antonio