January 29, 2010

Rudolph Kleberg

Rudolph Kleberg, politician, newspaperman, and attorney, was born on June 26, 1847, in a log cabin at Cat Spring, Texas, the son of Robert Justus and Rosalie (von Roeder) Kleberg. The family moved the next year to DeWitt County, where he received a private education. He served the Confederacy in 1864-65 in Gen. Thomas Green's Fourth Texas Cavalry. About 1868 he graduated from Concrete College in DeWitt County, after which he taught school at Yorktown and studied law in San Antonio. He was admitted to the bar in 1872 and began practice in Cuero, where, with the help of W.C. Bowen, he established the Cuero Star, a weekly newspaper that he edited for four years. He published outspoken editorials criticizing the violence that marked DeWitt County during Reconstruction, especially the Sutton-Taylor Feud.

He served as county attorney for DeWitt County from 1876 to 1880. In 1882 he formed a law partnership with William Henry Crain, and on November 7 of that year he was elected as a Democrat to the Texas Senate, where he served until 1884. As a member of the Committee on Finance he was instrumental in procuring the first general appropriation for the University of Texas and the funds to purchase the Alamo. In 1885 President Grover Cleveland appointed him United States attorney for the Western District of Texas, a position he held until 1889. In April 1896 he was elected to fill the vacancy in the United States Congress left by the death of his law partner, Crain; Kleberg was reelected to the Fifty-fifth, Fifty-sixth, and Fifty-seventh congresses and served until March 3, 1903. At the time of his death in Austin, on December 28, 1924, he was official court reporter of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, a post he had held since February 24, 1905. He was survived by his widow, the former Mathilde Elise Eckhardt, whom he had married in 1872, and five children.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.661, -097° 43.443

Block E
Oakwood Cemetery Annex
Austin

January 26, 2010

John Plunkett

John Plunkett was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1808, the son of John and Elizabeth (Keenan) Plunkett. His parents, because of financial reverses, emigrated to the United States in 1830 with their children and located near Andover, Massachusetts. His father only lived a short time after reaching America, dying at Baltimore on his return home from a visit to a brother in the South. In the year 1834, Plunkett came to Texas and settled at Matagorda where he engaged in merchandising and later in various other enterprises.

At the onset of the Texas Revolution, he enlisted on February 23, 1836 with Robert J. Calder's Company for a term of three months, during which time he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. Upon his discharge on May 24, he re-enlisted in Captain Thomas Stewart's Company, Matagorda Volunteers for an unknown period, after which he returned home to his businesses. Plunkett died some fifty years later at his home in Matagorda, October 3, 1886, unmarried and childless, leaving his estate to his two sisters.

GPS Coordinates
28° 42.008, -095° 57.327

Section D
Matagorda Cemetery
Matagorda

January 22, 2010

Simon Suhler

Simon Suhler, recipient of the Medal of Honor, enlisted in the 32nd Indiana Regiment (known unofficially as the First Indiana German Regiment) at the outset of the Civil War. The 32nd spoke German and were headed by former Prussian officer August Willich. After his capture and wounding at Shiloh and being furloughed back, he deserted from this unit and served under the name of Simon Neustadle, honorably, the remainder of the Civil War in the 11th Heavy Artillery. He also later served in the 4th New York Heavy Artillery.

After the war he joined the 8th Cavalry Regiment under the assumed name Charles Gardner, where he earned the Medal of Honor fighting the Apaches in Arizona. He was awarded the Medal of Honor at the rank of private. After 12 years in the 8th Cavalry he retired at the rank of sergeant. He was recommended to be promoted to lieutenant but this never took place. Suhler died in 1895 and was buried at San Antonio National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas. A corrected monument was placed at his gravesite on Veterans Day in 1988.

Citation
Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.

GPS Coordinates
29° 25.277, -098° 28.065

Section I
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

January 19, 2010

Jonas Chaison

Jean Baptiste (Jonas) Chaison was born on August 7, 1745 in Nova Scotia to French parents. After imprisonment by the British during the French and Indian War, he and his parents fled in 1763 to France, where he was soon orphaned. He returned to North America, and joined the Colonial Army in 1775 at Quebec, to take revenge against the British. Continuing in the Continental Army, he served with Lafayette at Brandywine, 1777; fought at Germantown, 1777; was wounded serving under Greene and Marion at Eutaw Springs, 1781; and found under Lafayette's command at Yorktown, 1781.

Coming to western Louisiana as a cattle raiser and farmer about 1785, he married Marie LeBlanc and had eight children. About 1840 he moved to Beaumont to live with his son McGuire Chaison (1809-1859). He was strong and healthy of mind and body as long as he lived, and farmed there until 1854. Dying at a few days under 109 years of age, he was buried in Jirou Cemetery. He was one of the few men of the American Revolution involved in Texas history. The Daughters of the American Revolution marked his grave site in 1944; the DAR marker was moved to Pipkin Park when a church was built in 1969 on the extinct Jirou Cemetery.
                                  
Chaison's memorial (left) in Pipkin Park
 NOTE
In 1969, Jirou Cemetery, the city's oldest burial ground, was razed in order to build the church shown below. None of the graves were exhumed and witnesses reported that the tombstones were simply thrown out into the street. Fortunately, Jean Chaison's 1940s-era grave marker was recovered and placed in nearby Pipkin Park. Jean Chaison's remains, however, as well as all of those others buried in Jirou Cemetery, still lie here. The GPS coordinates will take you to the position seen in the photo below.



GPS Coordinates
30° 05.640, -094° 06.588


Jirou Cemetery (Defunct)
Beaumont

January 15, 2010

Andrew Jackson Montgomery

Andrew Jackson Montgomery, adventurer, businessman, soldier, and surveyor, was born near Maryville, Tennessee, on April 4, 1801, to William and Mary (James) Montgomery. By 1816 the family was living in Alabama. In 1819, at the age of eighteen, Montgomery took part in the filibustering expedition of James Long into Texas. His duties included scouting the territory between the camps that Long established in East Texas. Montgomery's connections among the Bidai Indians enabled him to remain in hiding in Texas after the Spanish drove out most of the rest of the expedition. Subsequently, the Mexicans successfully rebelled against their Spanish masters, making it possible for Montgomery to establish, in 1823, a trading post on the lower Coushatta Trace, an Indian trail stretching between the Brazos and Trinity rivers. Intersecting this trace from north to south at Montgomery's post was the Indian trail known as the Loma del Toro. Montgomery advertised for and welcomed settlers to the trading post and to the budding community surrounding it, which was known at first as Montgomery Prairie.

By 1827 much of his family had joined him, including his father, his uncle James, and his aunt Margaret and her husband, Owen Shannon. These Montgomerys were all cousins of Gen. Richard Montgomery of Revolutionary War fame. Before the construction of Fort Parker in 1835, Montgomery did surveying in the area as well as near the Brazos Falls for the Nashville Colony. During the Texas Revolution he served as a private and fought in the battle of San Jacinto. On April 21, 1860, he served as vice president of the convention that nominated his friend and former commander, Sam Houston, for president of the United States. Montgomery eventually moved a few miles west to the community now known as Stoneham. The settlement that he had established near his trading post continued to use the name Montgomery, and in 1837 Montgomery County was named after the town. At the age of forty-three Montgomery married Mary Mahulda Farris, and they had nine children. He died in 1863 and was buried in Stoneham.

GPS Coordinates
30° 21.468, -095° 55.372


Stoneham Cemetery
Stoneham

January 12, 2010

Maxime Allen Faget

Maxime "Max" Faget was born at Stam Creek, British Honduras, on August 26, 1921. His father, noted physician Dr. Guy Faget was conducting research on tropical diseases there for the British government at the time (he later developed the first successful treatment for leprosy). Max attended San Francisco Junior College in San Francisco, California, before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1943. He then served as a naval officer during World War II, seeing considerable combat in the Pacific Theater as a submarine officer.

In 1946, Faget went to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's precursor. At the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia, he designed ramjets before being assigned to the propulsion-and-performance team that helped develop the X-l5, the experimental plane that flew later flew at Mach 6 speeds. When NACA was transformed into the civilian space agency NASA in 1958, Maxime Faget joined the transition team and later the Space Task Group organized to manage Project Mercury. He headed the flight systems division that designed America's first manned spacecraft, the Mercury capsule. A manned spacecraft must protect its occupant from high G (gravity) forces and atmospheric friction upon re-entry; Faget successfully argued for a blunt bodied capsule because it could slow down high in the atmosphere where the friction and heat were less.

As one of the 35 engineers originally assigned to the Mercury project, Faget devoted time to follow-on programs after Mercury would end, and led the initial design and analysis teams that studied the feasibility of a flight to the Moon. As a result of his work Faget was appointed chief engineer at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston (now the Johnson Space Center) at the start of the Apollo program in February 1962. In this role, Maxime Faget helped to design the Apollo capsule and service module for lunar landings. Due to the problems of launching the capsule as a single unit he converted the Apollo design into two parts, a command-service module that would orbit the moon and a separate lunar-landing craft. His innovation would play a key role in the success of the Apollo lunar landings.

A few months before the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969, Faget organized a team to study the feasibility of a reusable spacecraft. They produced the final design of the space shuttle that lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in April 1981. Max Faget retired from the space agency after the second shuttle flight in November 1981. In 1982 he helped to found one of the early private space companies, Space Industries Inc. As a visiting professor, Faget taught graduate level courses at the Louisiana State University, Rice University, and the University of Houston.

He wrote many technical papers on aerodynamics, rocketry, high-speed bomb ejection, reentry theory, heat transfer, and aircraft performance. He was co-author of a textbook, Engineering Design and Operations of Spacecraft, and wrote another, Manned Space Flight. Faget held joint patents on the "Aerial Capsule Emergency Separation Device" (escape tower), the "Survival Couch," the "Mercury Capsule," and a "Mach Number Indicator." Among the many awards he received was the Arthur S. Fleming Award in 1960, the Golden Plate Award in 1961 (presented by the Academy of Achievement), the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership in 1963, and in 1965 the Award of Loyola. In 1966 the University of Pittsburgh awarded him an honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering. Maxime A. Faget died at his home in Houston on October 9, 2004. He was 83.

GPS Coordinates
29° 26.370, -095° 04.586

Chapel Mausoleum
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Dickinson

January 8, 2010

Robert Benedict Russell

Robert Benedict Russell was born on April 17, 1817, either in New York or Connecticut. In 1835 he joined his mother, sister and brother-in-law when they moved to Milam, Sabine County, Texas. They later moved to San Augustine, where, on March 1836, he joined Capt. Benjamin Bryant’s company in Sidney Sherman's regiment to fight for independence. They marched overland to Groce’s Plantation on the Brazos River, where on about April 1, 1836, they joined Sam Houston’s Texians. On April 21, 1836, Russell fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. He served a second 90-day enlistment when he and Canfield enlisted in Capt. E.W. Collins’ Sabine County company on July 8, 1836.4

Russell married Lavinia Brownrigg, daughter of a San Augustine physician, on June 1, 1841, and by 1860 they were the parents of six children. In 1840, when Canfield bought the San Augustine Redlander, Russell became Canfield’s assistant, being both reporter and type setter. In 1846, when Canfield volunteered for service in the Mexican War, Russell and H.M. Kinsey brought and operated the Redlander until Oct. 1850, when Russell sold out his interest and moved to Sabine Pass. In 1854 he moved to Orange, where he operated a hotel for the next twelve years. By 1860, Russell owned $7,000 worth of real estate and personal property valued at $400. He was appointed United States postmaster at Orange on March 4, 1860, became Confederate postmaster there on Aug. 5, 1861, and remained in office until 1866, when a Reconstruction government evicted him from the postmastership.

In 1866, Russell bought out the Robert Jackson sawmill and quickly converted it into a cypress shingle mill. By 1877, Russell had already manufactured and shipped on his two company-owned lumber schooners, 50 million shingles to Galveston Island. Russell was killed at his mill on November 29, 1880 when he was trapped between the bumpers of two rail cars and crushed to death. His sons Henry and Robert continued to operate the mill, increasing its output to 125,000 shingles daily, until it burned down in 1890.

GPS Coordinates
30° 05.097, -093° 44.279


Evergreen Cemetery
Orange

January 5, 2010

Samuel Paschall

Samuel Paschall, San Jacinto veteran, was born in Tuscumbia, Franklin, Tennessee on December 8, 1815. In 1835 he emigrated to Little Rock, Arkansas. On January 28, 1836, he arrived at Velasco on the schooner Pennsylvania, having been recruited for the regular army of Texas by Captain Amasa Turner in New Orleans. He served in the army from February 13, 1836 to June 30, 1837 and was in Captain Turner's Company at San Jacinto.

He settled at Houston and engaged in his vocation of cabinet maker and carpenter. He was married to Bridget O'Reilly at Houston, September 21, 1839. On April 21, 1860, Paschall was named among the vice presidents of a convention held on the San Jacinto Battlefield, endorsing Sam Houston for President of the United States as "the peoples candidate". He died June 6, 1874 and was buried in Saint Vincent's Cemetery.

Paschall's original tombstone
      
                               Note
The marker in the photo below was erected in 1957 to replace his broken original tombstone. At the time this photo was taken (February 25, 2011), a large piece of Samuel Paschall's original stone still lay behind it. Both the spelling of his last name and place of birth on his original stone are incorrect.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.549, -095° 20.644




St. Vincent's Cemetery
Houston

January 1, 2010

Royal Dixon

Royal Dixon was an American author, animal rights activist and a member of the Americanization movement. He was born in Huntsville, Texas, to Elijah and Francis Elizabeth Dixon, and educated at the Sam Houston Normal Institute, Morgan Park Academy, Chicago and later as a special student at the University of Chicago.

His earliest career was as a child actor and dancer trained by Adele Fox, but his acting career was short, with his last performance being at the Iroquois theater in Chicago in 1903. He became a curator at the department of botany at the Field Museum of Chicago from 1905 to 1910, then subsequently became a staff writer at the Houston Chronicle. He made special contributions to the newspapers of New York, where he lectured for the Board of Education and founded a school for creative writing. His interest and attention were later directed to immigration, as a director of publicity of the Commission of Immigrants in America, and as managing editor of The Immigrants in America Review. He published a book, Americanization (1916), on how immigrants needed to be "Americanized" into a single uniform culture.

In 1921, he founded the First Church for Animal Rights in Manhattan which at its peak had a membership of about 300 people. His aim was to "awaken the realization" that animals have "the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." He and his partner, a local artist named Chester Snowden, moved to Houston in the late 1920s. Dixon's letters and works are archived at the University of Houston Library. As an author, his published works include The Human Side of Plants (1914), The Human Side of Animals (1918) and The Ape of Heaven (1936). Dixon passed away on June 4, 1932 and was interred at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.

GPS Coordinates
29° 46.008, -095° 23.197

Section C1
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston