April 24, 2012

Harry McLeary Wurzbach

   Harry McLeary Wurzbach, lawyer and legislator, son of Kate (Fink) and Charles Louis Wurzbach, was born in San Antonio on May 19, 1874, and was educated in San Antonio public schools and at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1896 and began to practice law in San Antonio. That same year he married Frances Darden Wagner. During the Spanish-American War he volunteered as a private in Company F, First Regiment, Texas Volunteer Infantry. He resumed his law practice in Seguin in 1900 and was elected county attorney of Guadalupe County. In 1904 he became county judge and served four terms. On November 2, 1920, Wurzbach was elected to the Sixty-seventh United States Congress from the Fourteenth Texas District, the first native Texan to be a Republican representative. He was also the first Republican from Texas to be elected for more than two terms, for he was reelected to the Sixty-eighth, Sixty-ninth, Seventieth, and Seventy-second congresses. He died in San Antonio on November 6, 1931, and was buried there in the National Cemetery. Source

29° 25.294, -098° 28.054

Section J
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

April 17, 2012

St Clair Patton

   St Clair was born October 1, 1802 in Kentucky, the fifth of seven children born to John Dyer and Margaret (Hester) Patton. The Patton family emigrated to Texas in March 1832 and settled in what is now West Columbia in Brazoria County. On March 1, 1836, St Clair enlisted in the Texian militia to fight for independence from Mexico. As a member of Captain William H. Patton's Columbia Company, he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and afterward discharged on June 1. St Clair died in Brazoria County on December 2, 1849 and buried in the Patton family cemetery, now located in the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Park in West Columbia.

29° 09.857, -095° 38.422

Patton Family Cemetery
West Columbia

April 10, 2012

Isaac Van Dorn

   Isaac Van Dorn (Vandorn), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in Pennsylvania about 1801. At the age of fourteen he was indentured to a farmer for seven years, whom he eventually left. He traveled first to Kentucky and by 1822 to Texas, where he sojourned first at San Felipe de Austin and the Cedar Lake area before settling on Live Oak Creek in what is now Matagorda County. In July 1826 he petitioned for land in the Austin colony, and on April 14, 1828, with partner Daniel E. Balis as one of the Old Three Hundred families, received title to a sitio of land on Caney and Live Oak creeks, now in southeastern Matagorda County. In January 1827 Van Dorn attended a meeting supporting the Mexican constitution and condemning the Fredonian Rebellion. In February 1830 one Isaac "Vandoin" (probably Van Dorn) was serving as síndico procurador at the regular meeting of the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin. In June 1832 Van Dorn fought in Aylett C. Buckner's company at the battle of Velasco. He was a member of the committee of safety and correspondence at Matagorda in October 1835 and in December was recommended by Joseph W. E. Wallace to Henry Smith as a lieutenant in the artillery. On May 3, 1837, Van Dorn married Amanda Malvina Reader of Adams County, Mississippi; the couple had ten children and were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Matagorda. In July 1837 Van Dorn was elected the first sheriff of Matagorda County, and in late January 1840 he was appointed a commissioner to examine for fraudulent land title claims in the county. In the 1850 census he reported owning three slaves. He died on May 30, 1860, and is buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. Source 

28° 42.011, -095° 57.330

Section D
Matagorda Cemetery

April 3, 2012

Oscar Branch Colquitt

   Oscar Branch Colquitt, politician and governor, was born on December 16, 1861, at Camilla, Georgia, the son of Thomas Jefferson and Ann Elizabeth (Burkhalter) Colquitt, each of whom boasted some distinguished American ancestors. The family moved in 1878 to Daingerfield, Texas, where young Colquitt worked as a tenant farmer and attended the Daingerfield Academy one term. After a brief apprenticeship as a newspaperman, he founded the Gazette at Pittsburg, Texas, in 1884. He married Alice Fuller Murrell of Minden, Louisiana, on December 9, 1885, and the couple had four sons and one daughter. He sold the Gazette and published the Times-Star of Terrell, Texas, from 1890 to 1897. Colquitt served as state senator from 1895 to 1899 and was the author of delinquent-tax laws that earned him a statewide reputation. He was the state revenue agent during the last eight months of 1898 and, as the tax expert of a special tax commission, wrote the report that this commission submitted to the legislature in 1900. Colquitt acted as a paid lobbyist for several corporations during the sessions of 1899 and 1901 and also practiced law, having been admitted to the bar in 1900. He succeeded John H. Reagan as state railroad commissioner and served from 1903 to 1911.

   He made an unsuccessful run for governor in 1906 and was elected governor in 1910 as an anti-prohibitionist. After being reelected in 1912, he held the office until 1915. His administration achieved a reform of the prison system, improvement in the physical plants and management of the eleemosynary institutions, great advancement in the educational system, and a number of measures designed to improve the lot of laborers. This program was adopted despite the open hostility of two legislatures, which resulted from the animosities engendered by the prohibition question. Colquitt was pro-German from 1914 to 1916 and tried to secure the financial assistance of the German government in buying the New York Sun, which he planned to edit as a German propaganda organ. He failed in this venture, ran for the United States Senate in 1916, and received a large plurality over six opponents in the first primary. In the runoff, however, he was defeated by the incumbent, Charles A. Culberson. Although he remained interested in politics, Colquitt devoted the next decade to serving as president of a Dallas oil firm. In 1928 he bolted the Democratic party and headed the "Hoover Democrats" of Texas. He then served as a member of the United States Board of Mediation from 1929 through 1933. He became a field representative of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1935 and held this position until his death, on March 8, 1940. Colquitt was a self-made man, obstinate yet affable. Though not a polished orator, he was a convincing speaker and possessed of the "color that drew a crowd"; he was one of the most effective stump speakers in the history of Texas. Source

30° 16.697, -097° 43.524

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery