August 21, 2012

William Stilwell

A native of New York (b 1809), William Stilwell came to Texas through Velasco on January 28, 1836, likely for the purpose of enlisting in the Texas army. A few days after landing, on February 1, he enlisted with Turner's Company but was transferred shortly afterward to Captain Isaac N. Moreland's Company. He was at the Battle of San Jacinto and apparently impressed his superiors enough that he was appointed an officer some time after. Stilwell was stationed on Galveston Island when he was promoted to Captain of Artillery and ended his military career with that rank when his enlistment ended in February, 1837. He died a few months afterward in Houston on September 12, 1837, possibly from one of the yellow fever epidemics sweeping through the area at the time.

This is a cenotaph. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.429, -095° 22.740

Founders Memorial Park

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