February 26, 2010

John Joseph Linn

John Joseph Linn, merchant, statesman, soldier, and historian, was born on June 19, 1798, in County Antrim, Ireland. His father, John Linn, a college professor, was branded a traitor by British authorities for his participation in the Irish rebellion of 1798 but escaped to New York, where he resumed his teaching. Most sources indicate that he brought his family to Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1800 and apprenticed his oldest son in 1816 to a merchant in New York City, where the young man eventually became a bookkeeper. John J. Linn established his own merchant business in New Orleans in 1822 and became interested in Texas during business trips to Mexico. He was attracted to De León's colony and settled in Guadalupe Victoria in 1829. Although he received land grants in both the De León and James Power settlements, Linn maintained his residence and business in Victoria. He also established a wharf and warehouse at Linnville on Lavaca Bay about 1831 as a port of entry for merchandise shipped from New Orleans. Linn was fluent in Spanish and became a liaison between Mexican and Irish colonists; he was called Juan Linn by the Mexicans, among whom he was popular.

Linn was intensely loyal to Texas and the De León colony and was among the first to oppose Antonio López de Santa Anna. He helped unite sentiment against the dictator by writing letters to Stephen F. Austin's colonists. With Plácido Benavides he served in Victoria's Committee of Safety and Correspondence and upon advice from friends in Mexico warned that Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos would land at Copano as early as July 1835. Benavides, captain of the Victoria militia, and Linn, who had been a captain in the New Orleans militia, helped train the Texan forces amassing at Gonzales after the skirmish there of October 2, 1835. Upon Cos's landing at Copano, Linn and others proposed intercepting the Mexican general on his way to Goliad and San Antonio. Finding small support at Gonzales, however, Linn and Benavides joined a contingent of about fifty men under Benjamin Fort Smith and William H. Jack, who set out to liberate Goliad from Cos's occupation; another Texan force under George M. Collinsworth gained this victory, however, on October 10. On October 8, 1835, Linn became quartermaster of the Texas army, and with James Kerr joined the Goliad garrison, bringing carts, oxen, supplies, and munitions. Linn and Kerr, together with Thomas G. Western, successfully negotiated a treaty of neutrality with local Karankawa Indians on October 29. Two days later Linn served as adviser in Ira Westover's victorious campaign against Fort Lipantitlán on the Nueces River north of San Patricio, a campaign that removed the only remaining link in the Mexican line between Matamoros and San Antonio.

Linn then traveled to San Felipe to represent Victoria in the Consultation of 1835, already in session, which protested Santa Anna's measures and supported the Mexican Constitution of 1824. He also served in the General Council, the provisional government of Texas as a separate Mexican state. In 1836 Linn was elected alcalde of Guadalupe Victoria and in that capacity entertained the Red Rovers and New Orleans Greysqqv on their way to join James W. Fannin's command at Goliad. Linn's wife used their home as a meeting place for the women of Victoria, who molded bullets there for the cause. With José M.J. Carbajal Linn was elected to the Convention of 1836, which declared the independence of Texas from Mexico. The two men did not reach Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the document, however, because the approach of the Mexican army to Victoria necessitated their return. As army quartermaster, Linn supplied Fannin with twenty yokes of oxen to hasten the commander's retreat from Goliad, but in so doing deprived his family and fellow Victorians of a means of escape. Nevertheless, as alcalde he directed his citizens to retreat to Cox's Point, east of Lavaca Bay, and secured his family in the protection of Fernando De León. During the ensuing occupation of Victoria by José de Urrea's forces, Linn's house was plundered.

Eventually Linn joined Sam Houston near Groce's Retreat. Because Linn's merchant ship had not been captured, Houston sent him to supervise the evacuation of Harrisburg. Under orders from Houston and ad interim president David G. Burnet, Linn then sailed to Galveston Island at his own expense to pick up $3,600 worth of supplies; then, with about fifty men and two cannons, the quartermaster sought Houston and the Texas army. He found them celebrating victory at San Jacinto, where his supplies were the first to reach the Texans after the battle. At the request of President Burnet, Linn interviewed the captured Santa Anna, who knew the alcalde from Victoria. Linn also supplied the first reports of the San Jacinto victory, which were published in the New Orleans Bee and Bulletin. As part of the surrender settlement he provisioned the retreating Mexican army to prevent plundering. Ironically, Linn was arrested as a spy in June 1836 in Harrisburg and upon returning to Victoria was arrested with some members of the De León family as a potential enemy of the Republic of Texas because of supposed sympathies with Mexico. He was soon released.

During the Republic of Texas era, Linn, the last alcalde of Victoria, was elected the town's first mayor, on April 16, 1839. He served in the House of the Second and Third congresses of the Republic of Texas, 1837-39, where he ardently supported the policies of President Houston. After 1836 the port of entry he established at Linnville attracted settlers and promised growth, but it was sacked and burned in the Comanche raid of August 1840 and never rebuilt. In 1842 Linn joined a reconnaissance force to discover the location of the invaders led by Rafael Vásquez and supplied the Texas army with beef. By 1850, at age fifty-two, Linn had $20,000 in property, and the 1860 census listed him as owning seven slaves. He served Victoria again as mayor in 1865 and was a leader in the establishment in 1850 of the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railway. He was also a charter member of the Powderhorn, Victoria and Gonzales Railroad Company, which planned a road to bypass Port Lavaca and connect Indianola with Victoria and Gonzales, but was never built. In 1883 he published his memoirs, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, significant for its account of the revolutionary period. Although these memoirs are Linn's own retrospection, the book was actually ghostwritten by his close friend, the historian Victor Marion Rose. On October 27, 1885, Linn died in the home he had built fifty-six years earlier as a De León colonist.

Among his brothers were Edward, a civil engineer, county surveyor, and Spanish translator in the General Land Office; Henry, a lawyer in New Orleans; and Charles, a doctor who died administering aid in Candela, Coahuila, during a cholera epidemic in 1833. John J. Linn married Margaret C. Daniels of New Orleans in 1833, and among their fourteen children were Charles Carroll, an inspector of hides and animals and a captain in the Fourth Texas Mounted Volunteers; John, Jr., who fought for the Confederacy and died at Brownsville; William F., a druggist and the editor and publisher of the Wharton Spectator; and Edward Daniel, a four-term congressman and three-term senator in the Texas state legislature, editor and publisher of the Victoria Advocate in the 1870s and 1880s, author of his father's lengthy Advocate obituary of October 31, 1885, and a director of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway Company; in the Advocate building Edward Linn also maintained a small collection of animal fossils now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

GPS Coordinates
28° 48.660, -097° 00.558


Evergreen Cemetery
Victoria

February 23, 2010

Lewis Warrington

Lewis Warrington III, Medal of Honor recipient and grandson of War of 1812 naval hero Commodore Lewis Warrington, was born in Washington, D.C. and later entered the United States Army there. He was assigned to the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment as a second lieutenant on June 18, 1867, and then made a first lieutenant on July 31, 1869. Warrington spent most of his career on the Texas frontier and served under Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie during the Texas-Indian Wars of the 1870s.

On December 8, 1874, he and ten cavalrymen pursued a group of hostile Comanche Indians through the Muchague Valley. Both groups were riding at a full gallop and several riders of Warrington's unit were left behind. Warrington personally captured one Indian, turning him over to a trooper whose horse could not continue, and resumed the pursuit with Privates Frederick Bergendahl and John O'Sullivan. After five miles, their horses exhausted, the Comanches dismounted and decided to shoot it out with the troopers. Climbing out of the valley onto the plain, they opened fire on Warrington and his men as they climbed up after them. Warrington eventually became separated from the others and found himself at the mercy of five Comanche warriors. He was forced to fight them off single-handed and, after exhausting his ammunition, used his rifle as a club in hand-to-hand combat. Bergendahl and O'Sullivan found themselves in a similar situation and killed all but one of their attackers. O'Sullivan pursued the lone survivor but was unable to catch him. All three men received the Medal of Honor four months later, Warrington being the only officer of the Indian Wars to receive the award following the battle rather than years afterwards like other officers. Warrington died on January 5, 1879, and was buried in San Antonio National Cemetery.

Citation
Gallantry in a combat with 5 Indians.


GPS Coordinates
29° 25.300, -098° 28.009

Section A
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

February 19, 2010

Antonio Gil Y'Barbo

Antonio Gil Ibarvo, Spanish lieutenant governor and commander of the militia in Nacogdoches in the late eighteenth century, the son of Mathieu Antonio and Juana (Hernández) Ibarvo, was born at Los Adaes, Louisiana (then the province of Texas), in 1729. His parents were colonists sent by the Spanish government from the province of Andalusia, Spain, to the province of Texas in 1725. The family name, variously given as Ybarvo, y'Barbo, and y Barvo, is now commonly spelled Ybarbo, even by members of the family. Antonio Ibarvo married Maria Padilla; the couple settled on Lobanillo Creek in an area that is now in Sabine County and called their place Rancho Lobanillo.

After the Marqués de Rubí recommended the abandonment of the presidios and missions of East Texas, Ibarvo became the leader of the "displaced persons" of that area who were given their choice of settling at San Antonio or on the Rio Grande. In 1773 Ibarvo began presenting petitions to the Spanish authorities praying for the return of the settlers to their former homes. In 1774 they were permitted to return as far east as the Trinity River, where they founded the town of Bucareli at the Santo Tomás Crossing just below the mouth of Bedias Creek in the area of present Madison County. In 1779 the settlement of Bucareli was abandoned, and Ibarvo rebuilt the town of Nacogdoches.

The Spanish government bestowed the titles of lieutenant governor and civil and military captain of militia upon Ibarvo and appointed him judge of contraband. Persons who were tried for smuggling contraband made repeated complaints against Ibarvo until he tendered his resignation as civil governor in 1790. In 1791 he was accused of smuggling contraband goods into Nacogdoches and of trading with the Indians for horses stolen from the Spanish; he was cleared of the charges against him but was forbidden to return to Nacogdoches. He pleaded that he was a native of Louisiana, and an order of January 19, 1802, allowed him to live in that territory.

After the death of his first wife on September 24, 1794, Ibarvo married Marie Guadalupe de Herrera in San Antonio de Béxar on January 25, 1796. As a result of lawsuits between children of the two marriages and the default of an official for whom he was surety, Ibarvo lost most of his property. With the tacit consent of the Spanish authorities, he returned to Nacogdoches after a few years' residence in Louisiana. In 1809 he died at his home, Rancho La Lucana, on the west bank of the Attoyac River. His descendants still lived in the area in the 1990s.

Note
The Old Spanish Cemetery was razed in the early 1900s in order to build the second Nacogdoches County courthouse in 1911. It is not recorded that any of those at rest here were exhumed and moved. In fact, it is specifically stated on the historical marker located on site that Antonio Gil Y'Barbo is still buried here, as are others. The Spanish Cemetery grounds are pictured below.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Old Spanish Cemetery (Defunct)
Nacogdoches

February 16, 2010

May Esther Peterson Thompson

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.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.908, -097° 43.624

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 12, 2010

George Frank Robie

A native of Candia, New Hampshire, George Frank Robie was a sergeant in Company D, 7th New Hampshire Infantry, during the Civil War. As part of the Union army, he was commended for his performance during a reconnaissance mission (September, 1864) near Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor (June 12, 1883). Unfortunately, during his time in Virginia, he contracted “rheumatism” - probably polymyalgia rheumatic, a particularly virulent form of arthritis, which could have resulted from sleeping on cold, wet ground, and he was mustered out of the army with the rank of first lieutenant. In 1869, Robie went to Galveston where he worked as a bookkeeper in a railroad office, but eventually his condition forced him to stop working entirely. He managed to visit friends and relatives in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1883, but his return trip to Galveston exhausted him completely and he never left the city again. He died June 5, 1891 (some records say June 10) as a result of his illness and was buried in the New City Cemetery.

Robie's original 1891 marker
Citation
Gallantry on the skirmish line.

Note
His original stone lies only inches behind a prominent headstone and is easily overlooked; in fact, it was considered lost after the hurricane of 1900. A Civil War scholar rediscovered it while researching Union soldiers in the Houston-Galveston area and a new, more prominent military marker for Robie (shown below) was dedicated on November 11, 1997.


GPS Coordinates
29° 17.588, -094° 48.822


New City Cemetery
Galveston

February 9, 2010

Sidney Sherman

Sidney Sherman, soldier and entrepreneur, one of ten children of Micah and Susanna (Frost) Sherman, was born at Marlboro, Massachusetts, on July 23, 1805. Sherman was orphaned at twelve and at sixteen was clerking in a Boston mercantile house. The next year he was in business for himself but failed for lack of capital. He spent five years in New York City; in 1831 he went to Cincinnati. In Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio from Cincinnati, Sherman formed a company, the first to make cotton bagging by machinery. He was also the first maker of sheet lead west of the Alleghenies. Sherman became a captain of a volunteer company of state militia in Kentucky and in 1835 sold his cotton bagging plant and used the money to equip a company of fifty-two volunteers for the Texas Revolution.

The volunteers left for Texas by steamer on the last day of 1835. That they were already regarded as soldiers in the Texas army is shown by a land certificate for 1,280 acres awarded Sherman for services from December 18, 1835, to December 16, 1836. They carried with them the only flag that the Texans had for the battle of San Jacinto. Sherman's volunteers went down the Ohio and the Mississippi and up Red River to Natchitoches, where Sherman was detained by illness. They reached Texas the day before the election for delegates to the Convention of 1836. Sherman's company demanded and received the right to vote. They proceeded to San Felipe, where they were received by Governor Henry Smith and Sherman received his command. When Sam Houston organized his first regiment at Gonzales in March 1836, Edward Burleson was made colonel and Sherman lieutenant colonel. The army was reorganized at Groce's Ferry and Sherman, recently promoted to colonel, was given command of the Second Regiment of the Texas Volunteers. On the retreat across Texas, Sherman was eager to fight. At the Colorado he asked permission to re-cross the river and engage Joaquín Ramirez y Sesma, but his request was refused. On the afternoon of April 20, 1836, the opposing armies faced each other at San Jacinto. Sherman called for volunteers to seize the Mexican cannon, but the weapon was withdrawn. On the following day Sherman commanded the left wing of the Texas army, opened the attack, and has been credited with the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo". After the battle he acted as president of the board of officers that distributed captured property among the soldiers.

President David G. Burnet refused to accept Sherman's resignation when the fighting was over and instead commissioned him as colonel in the regular army and sent him to the United States to raise more troops. After weeks of illness Sherman made his way back to Kentucky and sent troops and clothing back to Texas. His wife, the former Catherine Isabel Cox, returned to Texas with him. They established their home, Mount Vernon, a one-room log house, on a bluff below the San Jacinto battleground. In 1839 the family moved to Cresent Place on San Jacinto Bay. Sherman was Harris County's representative in the Seventh Congress of the republic, serving as chairman of the committee on military affairs. During his term in office he introduced a bill to establish the position of Major General of the Militia and increase protection along the western and southwestern frontiers. In 1843 he was elected major general of militia, a position he held until annexation. It was in his capacity as head of the militia that he presided over the trial of Capt. Edwin W. Moore.

After annexation, Sherman moved to Harrisburg and with the financial support of investors bought the town and the local railroad company. The town was laid out anew, and he organized the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway Company, which constructed the first rail line in the state. In 1852 Sherman was among the passengers when the steamer Farmer burst its boilers; he was saved by clinging to a piece of wreckage. In 1853 the Harrisburg sawmill, owned by Sherman and DeWitt Clinton Harris, was burned. After his residence also burned, Sherman sent his family to Kentucky, and he moved into the railroad office at Harrisburg. Then that office burned. Sherman was keeping the Island City Hotel in Galveston when the Civil War came. Appointed commandant of Galveston by the Secession Convention, he performed his duties ably until he became ill and retired to his home on San Jacinto Bay. A son, Lt. Sidney Sherman, was killed in the battle of Galveston. David Burnet Sherman, the remaining son, died after the family moved to Richmond, and Mrs. Sherman died in 1865. Sherman spent his last years in Galveston. He died there at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J.M.O. Menard, on August 1, 1873. Sherman County and the city of Sherman in Grayson County are named in his honor.

NOTE
Sidney Sherman shares a memorial obelisk with David G. Burnet. In the photo below, Sherman is on the right.

GPS Coordinates
29° 16.392, -094° 49.566

Section C
Lakeview Cemetery
Galveston

February 5, 2010

Abner Pickens Blocker

Abner (Ab) Pickens Blocker, trail driver, youngest of the three sons of Abner Pickens and Cornelia Randolph (Murphy) Blocker, was born on January 30, 1856, on the family ranch near Austin, Texas. He spent his youth in farm and ranch work and in 1876 joined his older brothers, William B. and John R. Blocker, on their range in Blanco County. In 1877 he helped deliver 3,000 steers to John Sparks in Wyoming.

Over the next seventeen years he drove longhorn cattle up the trails from Texas to various buyers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, and as far north as the Canadian border. In the summer of 1885 he delivered 2,500 head from Tom Green County to B.H. (Barbecue) Campbell, manager of the Capitol Syndicate's Buffalo Springs division in Dallam County. Campbell had contracted to buy cattle for the newly established XIT Ranch, and this was the first herd from South and West Texas to arrive. Blocker devised the XIT brand, for which the syndicate's ranch was named. Afterward he was involved in the dispute at Fort Supply, Oklahoma, resulting from the attempts of Kansas ranchers to quarantine the herds of his brother and other South Texas cattlemen and keep the Texans from crossing their land.

Beginning in 1887 Blocker tried cotton farming for two years, but a period of drought soon put him back in the saddle. In 1890 he was made range boss of his brother's Chupadero Ranch, near Eagle Pass. His last overland trail drive was to Deadwood, South Dakota, with Harris Franklin's herd in 1893. In 1896 he married Florence Baldwin; they had a daughter. The family resided on a ranch in La Salle County, fifteen miles southeast of Cotulla, until a prolonged drought ruined them financially. In 1903, after living in Oklahoma for a year, the Blockers returned to Eagle Pass and subsequently took up residence again at the Chupadero Ranch. There they remained until 1912, when Blocker began working for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association (later the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association). He died in San Antonio on August 9, 1943, and was buried in Dignowity Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 25.408, -098° 28.020

Section B
Dignowity Cemetery
San Antonio

February 2, 2010

Jesse Holman Jones

Jesse H. Jones, businessman and New Deal official, son of William Hasque and Laura Anna (Holman) Jones, was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, on April 5, 1874. Jesse's mother died when he was six years old, and his father's widowed sister, Nancy Hurt, became the Jones children's surrogate mother. When Jesse was nine, the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where William Jones managed his brother's lumberyard in Terrell. Two years later they moved back to a farm on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. After completing the ninth grade, young Jesse was placed in charge of one of his father's tobacco factories. In 1891 the family returned to Dallas where Jesse entered Hill's Business College.

In 1895 he went to work in his uncle's firm, the M.T. Jones Lumber Company, in Hillsboro, Texas, and later became manager of the company's Dallas lumberyard, then the largest in town. In 1898, after his uncle's death, Jones went to Houston as general manager where he remained with the company for another seven years. During this period he established his own business, the South Texas Lumber Company. He then began to expand into real estate, commercial buildings, and banking. In a few years he was the largest developer in the area and was responsible for most of Houston's major prewar construction. Besides owning nearly 100 buildings in Houston, Jones also built structures in Fort Worth, Dallas, and New York City. Gradually he sold his lumber interest, except for one yard in Houston, and began to concentrate on real estate and banking. In 1908 he bought part of the Houston Chronicle. Between 1908 and 1918 he organized and became chairman of the Texas Trust Company and was active in most of the banking and real estate activities of the city. In 1909 he switched his religious affiliation from Baptist to Methodist. By 1912 he was president of the National Bank of Commerce (later Texas Commerce Bank, and by 2008, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.) During this period he made one of his few ventures into oil as an original stockholder in Humble Oil and Refining Company (now Exxon). As chairman of the Houston harbor board he raised money for the Houston Ship Channel.

During World War I President Woodrow Wilson asked Jones to become the director general of military relief for the American Red Cross. He remained in this position until he returned to Houston in 1919. In December 1920 he married Mary Gibbs of Mexia. He became the sole owner of the Houston Chronicle in 1926. Jones served as director of finance for the Democratic National Committee, made a $200,000 donation, and promised to build a hall. These actions were instrumental in bringing the 1928 Democratic national convention to Houston. At the convention Jones was nominated as a "favorite son." On the recommendation of John Nance Garner, President Herbert Hoover appointed Jones to the board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a new government entity established to combat the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Jones chairman of the RFC, a position he held from 1933 until 1939. In this capacity, Jones became one of the most powerful men in America. He helped prevent the nationwide failure of farms, banks, railroads, and many other businesses. The RFC became the leading financial institution in America and the primary investor in the economy. The agency also facilitated a broadening of Texas industry from agriculture and oil into steel and chemicals.

Jones's success in Washington was closely associated with Roosevelt and Garner. Roosevelt realized that his outstanding weakness was his lack of rapport with business. Jones provided a connection as businessmen respected him. Garner and Jones were conservatives, however, and did not always approve of the politics of the New Deal. During Roosevelt's regime, these two were undoubtedly the second and third most influential men in Washington. Jones's control extended to such RFC subsidiaries as the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Electric Home and Farm Authority, the RFC Mortgage Company, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Export-Import Bank. Moreover, the RFC helped to finance many public works programs. Jones's tough business acumen made the RFC the most powerful and successful agency in the Roosevelt administration. In 1939 Roosevelt appointed Jones to head the Federal Loan Agency. Jones resigned as head of the RFC, but as Federal Loan Administrator continued overall control of the RFC. He also had general supervision over the Federal Housing Authority and the Home Owners Loan Corporation.

After flirting with the vice-presidential nomination in 1940, Jones was offered the post of Secretary of Commerce. With congressional approval, he was allowed to retain his post as FLA chief during the war years, when he supervised more than thirty agencies that received federal money. Jones' relationship with the president and some members of his cabinet, however, deteriorated. In 1944 Roosevelt believed that Jones was allied with Republican Thomas E. Dewey against him. On January 20, 1945, Jones received a letter from the president asking him to resign so that the post could be given to Henry Wallace, his former vice president. Jones was offered other positions but declined and returned to Houston. From this time to his death he occupied himself with his business ventures and philanthropy. He also broke with the Democratic leadership and supported the Republican ticket in 1948 and 1952. After a brief illness, he died on June 1, 1956, and was buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston. The Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in Houston was named for him. Houston Endowment, which he established in 1937, was the nation's fifteenth largest by 1979. In 1988 the Jesse H. Jones and Mary Gibbs Jones Endowed Presidential Scholarship in the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School of Business was established by a gift of Houston Endowment. Collections of Jones's papers and memorabilia are housed at the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, at the Library of Congress, and at Houston Endowment.

GPS Coordinates
29° 42.997, -095° 18.273

Chapel Garden
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery
Houston