August 31, 2010

Henry Noble Potter (1822-1863)

Henry N. Potter, Galveston County legislator, was born in 1822 in Connecticut and was educated in New York. In 1838 he moved to Texas, where he received a conditional certificate for land in 1839 and an unconditional certificate in 1845. He was elected Galveston city attorney in 1839 and held the position for only a month before the council abrogated the office on August 28 and ordered his accounts audited. Potter represented Galveston County in the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1842 and 1843, and in 1851 he ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress. He died soon after the Civil War. Source

29° 17.604
-094° 48.681

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

August 24, 2010

George Moffit Patrick (1801-1889)

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

30° 15.919
-097° 43.649

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

August 17, 2010

William James Bordelon (1920-1995)

Medal of Honor recipient William J. 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 machine gun 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 machine gun 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

August 10, 2010

Roy Michael Huffington (1917-2008)

Roy Michael Huffington, United States Ambassador to Austria, was born in Tomball, Texas on October 4, 1917. He graduated from Southern Methodist University where he was a brother of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and earned both Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in geology from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After serving as first ensign, and then lieutenant commander in the United States Navy from 1942-1945, he returned to Texas in 1946 and worked as a field geologist for Humble Oil (now EXXON). In 1956, he set up his own oil and natural gas exploration company known as HUFFCO, which grew to be a major independent international oil company active around the world. In 1966, HUFFCO signed production sharing contract with Pertamina to explore oil in the Kutai Basin of the Mahakam River delta in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Initially the exploration object was oil, but HUFFCO discovered a giant natural gas reserve in 1972 at Badak Field. In 1990, all properties of the company were sold to the Chinese Petroleum Corporation of Taiwan and HUFFCO became VICO.

From 1990 to 1993, Huffington served as Ambassador to Austria in the administration of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush. He joined the Board of the Salzburg Global Seminar, an international policy center based in Salzburg, Austria, with offices in Washington, D.C., while serving as U.S. Ambassador to Austria. In 1994, he was elected chairman of the Salzburg Global Seminar Board, a position which he held until 2007. Huffington also founded the Huffington Foundation charity, and with his wife Phyllis created the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Roy and Phyllis Huffington had two children, daughter Terry, and son Michael, who was a Republican U.S. representative from California from 1993-1995. Michael was married to Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, from 1986-1997. Roy Huffington died of natural causes in Venice, Italy on July 11, 2008.

29° 45.993
-095° 23.009

Section J
Glenwood Cemetery