Russ Haas, professional wrestler, was best known for his work alongside his brother Charlie in Memphis Championship Wrestling and Jersey All Pro Wrestling. He was a collegiate wrestler at Seton Hall University, and was then trained for a career in professional wrestling by Mike Sharpe. He quickly began working on the independent circuit alongside his brother Charlie, with the two forming a tag team known as The Haas Brothers. They won the JAPW Tag Team Championship for the first time in mid-1998, and won it for the second time in mid-1999. They went on to win the Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship and the ECWA Tag Team Championship in 2000, and the CZW World Tag Team Championship in early 2000. In late 2000, The Haas Brothers signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation, and were assigned to the developmental territories, the Heartland Wrestling Association and Memphis Championship Wrestling. In MCW, they won the MCW Tag Team Championship on three occasions during early 2001. In September 2001, Haas suffered a heart attack, and three months later suffered a second, fatal heart attack in his sleep. Following his death, JAPW held the Russ Haas Memorial Show in February 2002, and in August 2002 Phoenix Championship Wrestling held The Russ Haas Memorial Tag Team Tournament. In 2004, he was inducted into the ECWA Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was inducted into the JAPW Hall of Fame.
Robert Wilson, entrepreneur and politician, son of James and Elizabeth (Hardcastle) Wilson, was born on December 7, 1793, in Talbot County, Maryland. His academic education was supplemented by training in the carpentry and machinist trades. He served with Maryland troops during the War of 1812. With his new wife, Margaret Pendergrast, he moved to St. Louis in 1819. The family moved to Natchez in 1823, and Margaret died soon afterward from yellow fever. The couple's two sons were placed with relatives. In Natchez Wilson became a successful contractor and also opened a mercantile business. By 1827 he had formed a partnership with William Plunkett Harris to operate steamboats along the Mississippi and Red rivers. Within a year Wilson had joined his partner's Texas brother, John Richardson Harris, in developing Harrisburg. By the time John Harris died in 1829 from yellow fever, Wilson was living in Harrisburg, where he owned a gristmill and sawmill. He was later accused by Harris's widow of fraudulently claiming much of her late husband's business as his own. Before her suit was settled in 1838, promoters Augustus C. and John K. Allen had dropped plans to develop their new city of Houston on this disputed site.
Wilson married wealthy New Orleans widow Sarah Reed in 1830. At some point he built two customhouses for the Mexican government, at Galveston and Velasco. In 1832 he joined fellow Texans in laying siege to the garrison at Anahuac. Wilson subsequently provided two ships to transport the Mexican troops at Anahuac back to Mexico. In 1832 and 1833 he was elected a delegate to conventions in San Felipe that considered Texas grievances. Wilson volunteered for the army in 1835 and became a colonel. After participating in the siege of Bexar in November, he left for New Orleans to raise money and volunteers. When he returned in May 1836, after the San Jacinto victory, he found that his entire livelihood at Harrisburg had been burned by the Mexican army. Wilson was elected to the Texas Senate in 1836 and served a three year term. He became associated with the Allen brothers in developing Houston and also promoted the town of Hamilton (which merged with Harrisburg in 1839) and a railroad. In 1838 he was a candidate (apparently self-announced) for president, but he received only 252 votes against Mirabeau B. Lamar's 6,995. In 1844 Wilson again quixotically ran for president but was ignored. The next year he was defeated for a delegate position to the convention that approved annexation. For the last ten years of his life he avoided politics and focused on the real estate business. His more successful son James Theodore Wilson twice served as mayor of Houston after the Civil War. Robert Wilson died on May 25, 1856, and was buried in a family cemetery in Houston. His remains were later moved to Glenwood Cemetery. Source
Albert Sidney Burleson, attorney, congressman, and United States postmaster general, was born in San Marcos, Texas, on June 7, 1863, the son of Lucy Emma (Kyle) and Edward Burleson, Jr. He attended Coronal Institute in San Marcos and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University); he received a B.A. degree from Baylor University in 1881 and an LL.B. degree from the University of Texas in 1884. The following year he joined his uncle Thomas Eskridge Sneed and George F. Poindexter in their law practice in Austin. Burleson became interested in politics and rose quickly through the ranks of the local Democratic party. He served as assistant city attorney of Austin from 1885 to 1890, and in 1891 he was appointed attorney of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District. Among the friends he made during this time was Edward M. House, who later kept Burleson's name in consideration for a position in President Woodrow Wilson's cabinet. Burleson married Adele Lubbock Steiner on December 22, 1889, and they became the parents of three children. Burleson represented Texas in the Fifty-sixth through the Sixty-third United States congresses (1899-1913); he served on the committees of agriculture, census, foreign affairs, and appropriations. He was the author of considerable legislation affecting the development of agriculture. Woodrow Wilson appointed him postmaster general in 1913, and Burleson held that post until 1921. During his tenure the post office developed the parcel post and air mail service. Burleson was chairman of the United States Telegraph and Telephone Administration in 1918 and chairman of the United States Commission to the International Wire Communication Conference in 1920. He retired from public life in 1921 and returned to Austin to devote his time to agricultural interests. Although he rarely took an active role in politics after his retirement, he voiced support for presidential candidates Alfred Smith in 1928 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. Baylor University awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree in 1930. Burleson died of a heart attack at his home in Austin on November 24, 1937, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery. Source
William Menefee (Menifee), lawyer and public official, was born in Knox County, Tennessee, on May 11, 1796, son of John and Frances (Rhodes) Menefee. He studied law and was admitted to the bar sometime before 1824, when his family and that of John Sutherland Menefee moved to Morgan County, Alabama, and settled near Decatur. In 1830 he moved to Texas with his wife, the former Agnes Sutherland, daughter of George Sutherland, and seven children. Another daughter was born in Texas. Menefee settled in the community of Egypt in what is now Colorado County. By 1840 he had acquired title to 1,300 acres of land and owned fifty cattle, four horses, and seven slaves. He was a delegate from the district of Lavaca to the conventions of 1832 and 1833. He represented Austin Municipality in the Consultation and on December 8, 1835, was seated as a member of the General Council of the provisional government. On January 9, 1836, he was elected first judge of Colorado Municipality. He and William D. Lacey were delegates from Colorado to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Menefee was appointed the first chief justice of Colorado County on December 20, 1836. In 1839 he was one of the five commissioners who selected Austin as the capital of the Republic of Texas. He was nominated secretary of the treasury of the republic on December 23, 1840, but the Senate had taken no action by January 21, 1841, and the nomination was withdrawn. Menefee represented the Colorado district in the House of the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth congresses of the republic, September 1837 to November 1841, and in the Ninth Congress, December 1844 to February 1845. He was defeated by Edward Burleson for the vice presidency of the republic in 1841. In 1842 he participated in the campaign against Rafael Vásquez. Menefee was elected chief justice of Colorado County on July 13, 1846, but during that year moved to Fayette County, which he represented in the House of the Fifth Legislature. He died on October 28 or 29, 1875, and was buried in the Pine Springs Cemetery, six miles from Flatonia. The state of Texas later moved his remains and those of his wife to the State Cemetery. Source
Henry A. McMasters, soldier, born Augusta, Maine, 1848, was enlisted with Company A, 4th Cavalry Regiment under Ranald MacKenzie when engaged in combat with the Comanche at Red River, Texas in the late summer of 1872. As Colonel MacKenzie commanded an expedition over the Staked Plains of Texas in 1872 to find and rout hostile Indian forces, Companies A, D, F, I and L of the 4th US Cavalry made a one-day march to reach the North Fork of the Red River, where a large camp of Comanche was sighted. As the cavalry moved towards the 280 lodge encampment, the Indian ponies stampeded and alarmed the Indians to the soldiers' approach. Immediately they engaged the cavalry in fierce combat, during which Troop I was leading the advance to secure the right flank while the remaining companies attacked the left. In the bloody fight that followed, Corporal Henry McMasters of Troop A was cited for his bravery. In this action the camp was taken with the loss of only one soldier killed and three wounded. For the hostile band of the Mow-wi tribe of Comanche, it was a stinging defeat so devastating, they quickly surrendered at Fort Sill ending 17 years of hostilities. McMasters died a short few months afterward on November 11, 1872 and buried at San Antonio National Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions the following week.
CITATION Gallantry in action.
San Antonio National Cemetery
Fat Pat, musician, rapper, and one of the original members of DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.), was born Patrick Lamont Hawkins on December 4, 1970, in Houston. He graduated from Sterling High School in Houston. Hawkins’s career took off in the mid-1990s alongside his older brother Big Hawk, Lil’ Keke, and others as pioneers of the Screwed and Chopped phenomenon in the group S.U.C. Hawkins performed at numerous Houston nightclubs, parties, and freestyle garage sessions. He signed with Wreckshop Records and began recording his debut album. On February 3, 1998, Hawkins was shot and killed in Houston after visiting his club promoter’s apartment to collect payment for a performance. His debut, Ghetto Dreams, with the featured single Tops Drop, was released by Wreckshop Records two weeks after his death. His album release party became a wake of hip-hop artists as notable rappers Scarface, Willie D, Lil’ Keke, DJ Screw, and others paid their respects. The album sold more than 20,000 copies during its first week. Later that year Wreckshop Records released a second album Throwed in da Game, which featured the single Holla at Cha Later. Hawkins had highly influenced fellow Houston rappers, including Paul Wall, who named his firstborn son William Patrick Hawkins in memory of his friend. Wreckshop Records continued to release compilations and other Fat Pat tracks into the early 2000s. Tragically, other members of the Screwed Up Click suffered early deaths, including Fat Pat’s brother, Big Hawk, who was shot and killed in 2006. Source
David Spangler Kaufman, lawyer, Indian fighter, and politician, son of Daniel Kaufman, was born in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, on December 18, 1813. After graduating with high honors from Princeton College in 1830, he studied law under Gen. John A. Quitman in Natchez, Mississippi, and was admitted to the bar. He began his legal career in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1835. Two years later he settled in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he practiced law and participated in military campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He was wounded in the encounter in which Chief Bowl lost his life in 1839. Kaufman occupied a number of important positions in the republic and state of Texas. Between 1838 and 1841 he represented Nacogdoches County in the House of the Third Congress of the republic; he served as speaker in the Fourth and Fifth congresses. From December 1843 through June 1845 he represented Shelby, Sabine, and Harrison counties in the Senate of the republic. Texas president Anson Jones named him chargé d'affaires to the United States in February 1845. After annexation Kaufman represented the Eastern District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives during the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first congresses. While in Congress, Kaufman argued unsuccessfully that Texas owned lands that are now parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. He encouraged Governor Peter H. Bell to have Texas troops seize Santa Fe. He also played a role in the Compromise of 1850, whereby the national government assumed the debts of Texas. No other Jewish Texan served in Congress until the 1970s. Kaufman was a Mason and a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He married Jane Baxter Richardson, daughter of Daniel Long Richardson, on April 21, 1841. The couple had three sons and a daughter. Kaufman died in Washington, D.C., on January 31, 1851, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery there. In 1932 his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Kaufman County and the city of Kaufman are named for him. Source
Joe Medwick (aka Joe Veasey, Joe Masters, and Joe Melvin), prolific blues and R&B songwriter and vocalist, was born Medwick N. Veasey in Houston, Texas, on June 21, 1931, the son of Rayfield Veasey and Renatta Watson. Though mainly noted as a lyricist whose songs were often covered by other singers, Veasey, best-known both personally and professionally as Joe Medwick, also recorded and released material (under pseudonyms) on various labels from 1958 through 1988. A lifelong Houstonian, Veasey grew up in Third Ward and attended Yates High School. As a youth he reportedly adopted the nickname “Joe” as a prefix to his given name because of the national popularity of the major league baseball player Joe Medwick (who first starred for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1930s).
In his teens Veasey launched his singing career, performing with the Chosen Gospel Singers for approximately four years before turning his focus to secular music. Following an early-1950s stint serving in the United States Army in Korea, Medwick returned home and established himself at the Third Ward venue Shady’s Playhouse, a legendary showcase for blues musicians, some of whom (including Medwick’s frequent collaborator, pianist Teddy Reynolds) resided in the backyard cabins that the proprietor Vernon “Shady” Jackson offered for rent. There Medwick not only got to sing onstage but launched his major phase as a writer. During the mid-1950s he frequented a table at Shady’s Playhouse during the day and wrote lyrics on tablet paper and socialized with resident musicians such as Reynolds, whom he could engage on the spot to help him set the newly-minted words to music.
Given the burgeoning success of blues and R&B recording in Houston during this era, Medwick was often able to sell the resulting material almost immediately to local music producers. In doing so, he rarely asked for formal contracts to establish proper songwriting credit for himself, instead choosing to peddle the songs outright - thereby surrendering any rights to potential royalty payments - for ready cash. Thus, among his musician peers and industry insiders (if not always supported by publishing documentation), Medwick is commonly known to have written or co-written many songs which became hits for other artists with the writing credits typically attributed exclusively to the person who had purchased (and thereafter registered the copyrights on) the compositions. The most frequently cited examples of this phenomenon occurred in Medwick’s transactions with Don Robey, who was no songwriter himself but, among other things, the owner of the nationally prominent Duke Records. Certain hit songs (R&B classics such as I Don’t Want No Woman, I Pity the Fool, Cry, Cry, Cry, Turn On Your Love Light and others) recorded by Duke’s biggest star, Bobby Bland - particularly most of those that ascribe the songwriting to Robey or to Deadric Malone (the alias he later adopted to deflect criticism) - are widely believed to have originated with Medwick. However, in a few cases, such as the song Farther Up the Road (which was a Number 1 hit for Bland in 1957 and later also recorded by rock star Eric Clapton), Medwick did receive half of the writing credit, shared with Robey (although Medwick’s actual co-writer in this case reportedly was Johnny Copeland).
In a 1990 article for the Houston Chronicle, Medwick retrospectively acknowledged his poor judgment in choosing to trade songs to Robey for instant cash, yet he also absolved Robey of blame for exploiting his talents as he did. Moreover, as a singer Veasey, billing himself as Joe Medwick, also recorded some of his own compositions for Robey, resulting in three Duke singles issued in 1958-59. Beyond his affiliation with Robey, in the 1960s and early 1970s Veasey sold songs to various other Houston-based producers, including Huey P. Meaux, Steve Poncio, Charlie Booth, and Roy Ames. He also occasionally recorded for them, usually as Joe Medwick but also as Joe Masters or Joe Melvin; these tracks were released on small labels such as Paradise, All Boy, Boogaloo, Pacemaker, Jetstream, Monument, Tear Drop, Westpark, Kimberly, and others. In 1978, drawing from his archive of previously produced material, Meaux issued a Joe Medwick LP album titled Why Do Heartaches Pick On Me on the Crazy Cajun Records label. In 2000 many of those and other Meaux-produced tracks resurfaced in CD format on the posthumous Joe Medwick album titled I’m an After Hour Man released on the British imprint Edsel. Following a period of little or no professional work in music, Veasey reactivated his career in the mid-1980s when he joined a band of reunited Houston blues veterans led by saxophonist Grady Gaines. As a featured singer, Veasey made his final recordings, published under the Medwick alias, on two tracks of the Full Gain CD by Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters, issued on the New Orleans-based Black Top label in 1988. Though never formally married, Veasey is known to have fathered one child with Sarah Jean Braxton (aka Broadnax). He died on April 12, 1992, at his home in Houston. As a military veteran, Veasey is buried in Houston National Cemetery. Source
Born in Fulton, New York, November 13, 1915, Wilks was a right-handed pitcher over parts of ten seasons (1944-53) with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians. For his career, he compiled a 59-30 record in 385 appearances, most as a relief pitcher, with an 3.26 earned run average and 403 strikeouts and was a member of two World Series championship teams (1944, 1946) with the Cardinals. As a 28-year-old rookie pitcher in 1944, he beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 on August 29, for his eleventh victory in a row. Wilks concluded the 1944 season with a 17-4 record and a 2.65 earned run average. Following his impressive rookie season, Wilks encountered arm problems which limited his effectiveness. However, he became an important pitcher in the Cardinal bullpen in the post-World War II era. Upon his retirement in 1947, he had compiled a respectable career record of 33-11. Wilks died in Houston, Texas, August 21, 1989, at the age of 74.
William Clark, Jr., legislator, soldier, merchant, and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in North Carolina on April 14, 1798. He married Martha B. Wall; they had four children. In 1835 the Clarks moved from Georgia, where they had become wealthy from merchandising and farming, to Sabine County, Texas. Clark and James Gaines represented Sabine Municipality at the Convention of 1836 and signed the Declaration of Independence. After the convention Clark helped President David G. Burnet formulate a system of collecting and forwarding supplies to the army. He also served in 1836 as a member of the Board of Land Commissioners of Sabine County. He was elected to represent Sabine County in the House of the Second Congress in September 1837, but he resigned in April 1838 because of illness. Clark was still in Sabine County in April 1850 but probably moved to Nacogdoches County shortly thereafter. In 1859 he purchased the Planter Hotel in Nacogdoches, which he operated until his death, on January 3, 1871. Clark was a Methodist. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed a marker at the site of the Clarks' last home and a joint monument at the graves of Clark and his wife in Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches. Clark's son, who was also known as William Clark, Jr., was elected a representative to the state legislature in 1859 and to the Secession Convention in 1861. This man's activities have sometimes been attributed to his father. Source
Jane Long was called the "Mother of Texas", even during her lifetime, because of the birth of her child on Bolivar Peninsula on December 21, 1821. She was not, however, as she claimed, the first English-speaking woman to bear a child in Texas. Censuses between 1807 and 1826 reveal a number of children born in Texas to Anglo-American mothers prior to 1821. Jane was born on July 23, 1798, in Charles County, Maryland, the tenth child of Capt. William Mackall and Anne Herbert (Dent) Wilkinson. Her father died in 1799, and about 1811 her mother moved the family to Washington, Mississippi Territory. After the death of her mother around 1813, Jane lived with her older sister, Barbara, the wife of Alexander Calvit, at Propinquity Plantation near Natchez, where she met James Long when he was returning from the battle of New Orleans. The couple married on May 14, 1815, and for the next four years lived in the vicinity while James practiced medicine at Port Gibson, experimented with a plantation, and became a merchant in Natchez.
When Long left for Nacogdoches in June 1819, Jane and their daughter, Ann Herbert, born on November 26, 1816, remained with another sister, Anne Chesley, a widow, because of advanced pregnancy. Twelve days after the birth of Rebecca on June 16, Jane hastened to join her husband. She left with her two children and Kian, a black slave. While with the Calvits, now living near Alexandria, Louisiana, Jane became ill. She continued on while still recovering, and it was August before she reached Nacogdoches. Within two months she had to flee with the other American families towards the Sabine when Spanish troops from San Antonio approached the frontier outpost. James Long was returning to the stone fort from a visit to Galveston Island and managed to meet Jane near the Sabine. Jane returned to the Calvits' where she found that little Rebecca had died. About March 1820 James Long took Jane to Bolivar Peninsula on Galveston Bay, and she claimed to have dined with Jean Laffite on Galveston Island. The Longs returned to Alexandria for their daughter on their way to New Orleans to seek support for Long's cause. Jane missed sailing to Bolivar when at the last minute she returned to Rodney, Mississippi, for her daughter Ann, whom she had left with Anne Chesley. Jane and Ann waited in Alexandria until Warren D. C. Hall came to guide her overland to Bolivar. Jane Long was not the only woman at Fort Las Casas on the peninsula. Several families remained in the little community surrounding the military post when Long left for La Bahía on September 19, 1821. Instead of returning within a month as promised, Long was captured at San Antonio and taken to Mexico City where he was accidentally killed on April 8, 1822. Pregnant again, Jane stubbornly waited for her husband even when the guard and the other families left Bolivar. She was all alone except for Kian and Ann when she gave birth to her third daughter, Mary James, on December 21, 1821.
Lonely and near starvation, Jane welcomed incoming immigrants heading for the San Jacinto River early in 1822. She abandoned her vigil and joined the Smith family at their camp on Cedar Bayou. By mid-summer she moved farther up the San Jacinto River, where she finally received word that James Long had been killed. She traveled to San Antonio in September to seek a pension from Governor José Félix Trespalacios, her husband's former associate. She arrived on October 17, 1822, and remained ten months without success in her quest, after which she returned, disappointed, to Alexandria in September 1823. Jane Long returned to Texas with the Calvits after the death of her youngest child on June 25, 1824. She received title to a league of land in Fort Bend County and a labor in Waller County from empresario Stephen F. Austin on August 24, 1824. She did not live there, preferring San Felipe until April 1830, when she took Ann to school in Mississippi. They lived with Anne W. Chesney Miller until January 1831, when Ann James married Edward Winston, a native of Virginia. The newlyweds and Jane made a leisurely pilgrimage back to Texas, where they arrived in May. Jane bought W. T. Austin's boarding house at Brazoria in 1832, which she operated for five years.
In 1837 the widow, age thirty-nine, moved to her league, a portion of which she had sold to Robert E. Handy who developed the town of Richmond, the county seat of Fort Bend County. Jane opened another boarding house and also developed a plantation two miles south of town. She bought and sold land, raised cattle, and grew cotton with the help of slaves (twelve in 1840). Her plantation was valued at over $10,000 in 1850. By 1861 she held nineteen slaves valued at $13,300 and about 2,000 acres. When the war ended, she continued to work the land with tenants and briefly experimented with sheep. In 1870 she lived by herself next door to Ann who had married James S. Sullivan; Ann died in June, leaving the care of Jane to the grandchildren. By 1877 Jane was unable to manage her diminished estate valued at only $2,000. She died on December 30, 1880, at the home of her grandson, James E. Winston, and was buried in the Morton Cemetery in Richmond. Folklore and family tradition hold that Jane was courted by Texas's leading men, including Ben Milam, Sam Houston, and Mirabeau B. Lamar, but that she refused them all. Her history depends primarily on her own story told to Lamar about 1837, when he was gathering material for a history of Texas. In 1936 a centennial marker was erected in her honor in Fort Bend County. Source
Solon D. Neal, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in 1846 to Eli and May Neal at Hanover, New Hampshire. He attended Hanover public schools. He ran away from home in 1866, joined the United States Army, and served in Bonham, McKinney, Jefferson, and Greenville, Texas. In early 1870, with four years of cavalry experience, he was a private in Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. After being relieved of duties as post librarian at Fort Richardson, he served under the command of Capt. Curwen B. McLellan against Kiowa and Comanche Indians. On July 12, after pursuing a band of Kiowas since July 6, the company was attacked by 250 Indians. The encounter became known as the battle of the Little Wichita River. On the afternoon of the thirteenth, after intense fighting since the afternoon before, sergeants May and Kirk, together with Corporal Watson and Private Neal, volunteered to clear a high point of Indian snipers who were obstructing the retreat of the army. Two of the snipers were killed. The four men held the hill until the command was safely past. Thirty minutes later the Indians quit fighting and rode away. Neal and twelve others were awarded the Medal of Honor for "Gallantry in action" in this engagement. Neal was subsequently in and out of the army. He served with the Eleventh United States Infantry at Fort Richardson, with Company C, Eighth United States Cavalry at Fort Clark, with the Nineteenth and Sixteenth United States Infantry, and as ordinance sergeant at the Indianapolis Arsenal. He retired in 1897, returned to Texas, and resided in San Antonio at 106 Wyoming Street, the site of the Hemisfair '68 tower. He died on November 1, 1920, in the Station Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, and was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. He left all his earthly wealth ($5,000) to the American Red Cross. Source
Gallantry in action.
San Antonio National Cemetery
A native of Peekskill, New York, "Pidge" Browne spent much of his minor league career in the farm system of the St. Louis Cardinals and belted 190 home runs over the course of his 13 years in the minors. His two best seasons occurred back to back in the Texas League, when he hit 33 home runs for the 1955 Shreveport Sports, an unaffiliated team, then 29 more homers in 1956 for the Cardinals' Houston Buffaloes affiliate. Acquired by the Colt .45s for their first season in the National League, he made his major league debut on April 19, 1962, as a pinch hitter for pitcher Turk Farrell; batting against Jack Hamilton of the Philadelphia Phillies, Browne grounded out to second baseman Tony Taylor. Six days later, Browne started at first base for Houston against the Chicago Cubs and got his first MLB hit, a triple off Don Cardwell. He would appear in 65 games for the Colt .45s through the end of July, 15 as a starting player. His best day came May 6 on the road against the Milwaukee Braves, when Browne had three hits, including his only Major League home run, in five at bats and scored three runs in a 9-1 Houston win. He was sent to the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers to finish the 1962 season, and retired at the end of that campaign. Browne worked in the freight business after his retirement from baseball, and died in Houston at age 68 in 1997.
C. E. Doolin, founder of the Frito Company, businessman, inventor, farmer, and board member, was born on January 10, 1903, in Kansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Charles Bernard Doolin and Daisy Dean (Stephenson) Doolin. When he was a small child, the family moved to San Antonio. C. E. Doolin graduated from Brackenridge High School. He married Faye Floree Richards in 1928, and their son Ronald Elmer Doolin was born in 1929. The marriage ended in 1941, and Doolin was awarded custody of Ronald. Doolin’s father, C. B. Doolin, was an engineer who invented a laminated fabric for tire casings (this may have been the precursor of the steel belt in steel-belted tires) and a mechanical oil can for automotive oil, among other things. He taught both of his sons (Charles Elmer Doolin and Earl Bernard Doolin) about mechanical engineering and about writing patent applications for their inventions. As a teenager, C. E. Doolin worked in his father’s auto repair garage/tire shop. He later used this early training to teach his sales force how to get more wear out of their tires. The family also owned the Highland Park Confectionery in San Antonio, and it was at the confectionery that the Frito corn chip was born.
Ice cream sold at the confectionery wasn’t as creamy at it had been because the two companies who made it, Mistletoe Ice Cream and Dairyland, were engaging in a price war, and Doolin was looking for a new treat in order to diversify. On July 10, 1932, he responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express. The ad, placed by Gustavo Olguin, listed for sale an original recipe for fried corn chips along with an adapted potato ricer and nineteen retail accounts. Doolin sampled the chips at Olguin’s store. He liked them and bought the small business venture for $100. He began to manufacture the chips in his mother’s kitchen with the help of his father, mother, and brother Earl. At first the family made corn chips using Olguin’s adapted potato ricer and premade masa (corn dough) that they bought in bulk from a tortilla factory across town. They thinned the masa and extruded it through slots cut in the bottom plate of the ricer, then snipped the extruded ribbons of masa straight into boiling oil. They named their corn chips Fritos and chartered the Frito Company in September of 1932. In 1933 C. E. Doolin applied for a patent for a “hammer press” to mass produce the chips. Thanks to Doolin’s enterprising spirit, wide-ranging interests, and attention to detail, the company quickly expanded. By 1947 it had five manufacturing plants, including offices and a plant on the West Coast, and franchises all around the country, and it had expanded to include many new snack foods like roasted peanuts, peanut butter crackers, potato chips, and fried pork skins.
C. E. Doolin came up with many innovations that are taken for granted as standard business practices today. These include his “store-door” delivery policy, which involved company salesmen stocking the product directly onto the shelves, and which he staunchly defended to grocery store managers who wanted to stock the shelves themselves. He pioneered the engineering of sales routes to assure that salesmen had adequate time for product servicing as well as their usual sales activities, and he was a leader in the area of research and development, investing substantially in research to improve performance of raw materials, manufacturing processes, and packaging. He also had the idea for clip-racks, which displayed fresh products within easy reach of customers, and he instructed his newly-minted marketing department to create signage, tear-sheets printed with Fritos-ingredient recipes, and seasonal and other grocery store displays (such as the stuffed “Frito Kid” model who rotated on a regular basis from store to store). In his travels he frequently made roadside stops to collect examples of effective or innovative advertising; he frequently brought examples back to the Fritos marketing department. Doolin had a reputation for fairness and generosity toward his employees. He considered - and called - them collectively the “Frito Family,” and he sold them discounted company shares, gave them sizable pensions, and often personally presented them with rewards for excellence or years of service. He mingled with his employees and invited them to socialize with each other regularly at holiday parties and other celebrations.
The Frito Company purchased Champion Chili in 1952 and purchased controlling interest in Texas Tavern (which made bean dip, among other things) in 1956. The business of both canned food companies became the new Champion Foods Division of the Frito Company. (In 1962 Champion Foods became Austex Food Division.) C. E. Doolin had numerous plans for his newly-purchased canned food. He opened an experimental fast-food stand called Tango Dairy Mart, which served Mexican-inspired canned foods like chili, tamales, enchiladas, and bean dip, and became one of the first Tex-Mex fast food places in the country. It was also the first place in Dallas to have a microwave, known back then as a radarange. Doolin diversified into other fast food enterprises, buying Dixie Enterprises, which owned Pigstands - fast food places that served barbecue sandwiches and sold bags of Fritos on the counter attached to clip-racks - and Cheesesteak of Texas. He invented cup-shaped fried tortilla shells, called Ta-cups, and served them in the Tango Dairy Mart, Pigstands, and Cheesesteaks, because fold-over fried shells, or “walking tacos,” broke when customers bit into them. Doolin was an early investor in Disneyland, which opened in 1955, and built Casa de Fritos Restaurant in the amusement park. Casa de Fritos was first located across from the steamboat ride in ‘Main Street’ and later moved to a larger lot across from the exit to the jungle ride in Frontierland. At the restaurant they served the company’s canned Mexican-inspired foods and had a mechanical Frito Kid who talked, rolled his eyes, licked his lips, and dispensed small bags of Fritos.
In 1945 Doolin married Mary Kathryn Coleman. They had five children: Charles, Earl, Kaleta, Willadean, and Patrick Daniel. In 1980 Patrick Daniel was killed in an auto accident at the age of twenty-three. Doolin was a follower of Dr. Herbert Shelton, an advocate of “natural hygiene”, an early system of alternative health practices. Doolin had an avid interest in what today is called health food and in the wholesomeness of the food his company manufactured. C. E. Doolin was a master entrepreneur and had numerous business interests. With the help of an agronomist, he worked on hybridizing to create corn with the perfect flavor and texture for his corn chips. He was also involved in improving the oil the company used for frying. He was one of the first importers of sesame oil and grew corn, soybean, safflower, and sesame crops for the health food market and for his vegetable oil blend. He was involved in developing, selling, and finding new uses for cold-rolled sesame oil, and he designed recipes for and made sesame candy for the health food market. He owned “Frito Farms” located throughout Texas. The farms were in Ellis County (near Midlothian); Denton County (near Lewisville); Guadalupe County (500 acres near Seguin); Grayson County (near Tioga); Atascosa County (near Poteet); and Dimmit County (1,200 acres near Big Wells). In an interview Doolin said, “The motivating factor for establishing the farms was cultivation of the soil, for from good soil grows good corn”. His interest in fostering a healthy environment led him to seek advice from the Texas Department of Agriculture about crop rotation, composting, and soil conservation, and to conduct experiments in these areas. The farms were also used to develop products for his businesses, to raise cattle and hogs, and to test his experimental animal feed on his own livestock. He also crossbred Brangus cattle and experimented with developing hog and cattle feeds from his own industrial waste byproducts, such as potato skins and stale chips, and from agricultural waste products such as ground mesquite trees, sesame hulls, and corn stalks.
Doolin was a member of the Southwest Agricultural Institute. He was on the board of trustees of the Texas Research Foundation (the foundation developed TRF-3, a corn hybrid used in Fritos). He was a board member of Texas Bank and Trust Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Natural Food Associates (an organization to promote the growing and use of better foods from living soil), and American Natural Hygiene Society. He was a member of Texas Livestock Marketing Association of Fort Worth, San Antonio Inventors Association (charter member June 26, 1956), Dallas Athletic Club, Société des Gentilshommes Chefs de Cuisine, and National Food Distributors Association (Chicago). He was a trustee of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and committeeman of the Boy Scouts of America (Pack 579). He also belonged to the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and was a sponsor member of the Dallas Council on World Affairs. The Frito Company became publicly traded in 1953. C. E. Doolin served as president of the company until June 10, 1959, when he became the chairman of the board. His leadership had changed a small kitchen-operated business into a leader in the snack food industry. C. E. Doolin died of a heart attack on July 22, 1959, in Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He was fifty-six. He was buried in Restland Abbey (now Restland Memorial Park) in Dallas. At the time of his death the Frito Company employed 3,500 people and produced products throughout the nation and in foreign countries, with sales at an annual rate of $60 million. In 1961 the company merged with H. W. Lay and Company and became Frito-Lay. Source
John Gordon Chalmers, editor and political figure in the Republic of Texas, was born in Halifax County, Virginia, on August 25, 1803, the son of James Ronald and Sarah Lanier (Williams) Chalmers. After graduation from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he received his medical education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where his uncle, Rev. Thomas Chalmers, was a leading theologian. On his return from Scotland, he served for several years in the Virginia legislature. In 1827 he married Mary Wade Henderson of Milton, North Carolina; they had seven children. Chalmers moved his family to Texas in 1840 and settled first in La Grange and then in Austin. He held office for a time as secretary of the treasury for the Republic of Texas under President Mirabeau B. Lamar and later chaired the committee that drafted the resolution approving the annexation of Texas to the United States. Chalmers helped establish the Democratic party in Texas. In 1845 he became editor and proprietor of the Austin New Era. He also formed a partnership with Michael Cronican to publish the Austin Texas Democrat. On January 1, 1847, he became involved in a heated argument with Joshua Holden; a fight resulted and Chalmers was mortally stabbed. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. Source
Peter W. Gray, legislator and jurist, one of the six children of Milly Richards (Stone) and William Fairfax Gray, was born on December 12, 1819, at Fredericksburg, Virginia. His father moved to Texas in 1835, and his family followed him in the winter of 1838 to Houston, where young Gray studied in his father's law office. As a captain in the Army of the Republic of Texas, Peter Gray participated in the campaign to remove the Shawnee Indians from East Texas in 1839. In 1842 he was elected second lieutenant of the Milam Guards and aided in repulsing the raid of Rafael Vásquez on San Antonio. Upon his father's death in 1841, Gray was appointed district attorney of Houston by Sam Houston. He held this position from April 24 until annexation. On January 25, 1843, he married Abby Jane Avery. He failed in an election bid for city secretary on January 20, 1840, but was elected alderman on November 1, 1841, and was appointed a member of the board of health on May 20, 1844. He was elected in 1846 to the first state legislature, where he was author of the important Practice Act regulating Texas court procedures. In 1848 he became a founder of the Houston Lyceum, which became the Houston Public Library. Largely through his financial support, Henderson Yoakum was able to complete his classic History of Texas (1855), which is dedicated to Gray.
Gray was elected to the fourth Senate in 1854 and subsequently served as judge of the Houston district, a jurisdiction stretching from the Sabine to the Brazos, until the outbreak of the Civil War. Although he had been a strong advocate of annexation to the United States, Gray was a strong states'-rights Democrat and was elected as a delegate to the state Secession Convention, where he voted in favor of taking the state out of the Union. In November 1861 he was elected to represent the Houston district in the first Confederate House of Representatives. There he served on the House Currency and Judiciary committees and the special committee on homesteads for disabled soldiers. As a vigilant guardian of Texas financial interests, Gray secured a separate branch of the Treasury Department for the Trans-Mississippi region. Like most Texans, he favored direct taxation and heavy export duties to support the government and took a keen interest in the Sequestration Acts owing to the fact that much Texas land was owned by absentee Northern interests. At the same time he supported a strong central government, favoring, for example, nationalizing of the Confederate railroad system.
He was a friend and confidential advisor of Jefferson Davis, as well as a supporter of conscription and exemption from the draft of overseers of slaves. Gray was defeated in his 1863 reelection campaign by Anthony Martin Branch. At the end of his term he became a volunteer aide to Gen. John B. Magruder and served at the battle of Galveston. In 1864 President Davis appointed him fiscal agent for the Trans-Mississippi Department, a position that he accepted with some reluctance. He was unsuccessful in raising funds to retire the Confederate debt in the region and thus left Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's army virtually without financial means through the final months of the war. After the war Gray returned to his Houston law practice, which he built into one of the largest in the South, and was elected first president of the Houston Bar Association in 1870. In 1873 he toured Europe. In 1874 Gov. Richard Coke appointed him associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court, upon the resignation of William P. Ballinger, but Gray resigned within two months, on April 18, due to worsening pulmonary tuberculosis. He died in Houston on October 3, 1874, and was buried in the Glenwood Cemetery. In 1876 the Texas legislature named Gray County in his honor. Gray reportedly assumed his middle initial, which stands for no other name, in later life. He was a devout Episcopalian, a charter member of Christ Church in Houston, and an active Mason. Source
James Hope, pioneer settler, moved to Texas from Alabama before July 10, 1824, when, as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, he received title to 1¼ leagues and two labors of land on the east bank of the Brazos River in what is now southwestern Brazos County. By March 26, 1825, he had exchanged his league for that of Bluford Brooks and was trying to secure vacant land on Mill Creek. Hope's daughter, Augusta, married Horatio Chriesman in 1825. The census of March 1826 listed Hope as a farmer and stock raiser aged between forty and fifty. His household included his wife, Althea, three sons, six daughters, and one servant. In January 1827 at Mina, Hope signed a declaration of loyalty to the Mexican government and a protest against the Fredonian Rebellion. He bought garden lots in 1829 and in May 1830 advertised his Connecticut garden seed and fruit trees for sale at San Felipe. In August 1830 he and Gail Borden, Jr., were nominated commissioners to superintend surveying of town lots at San Felipe. Hope in December 1831 advertised that he was going to England and leaving his son Richard in charge of his 15,000 to 20,000 peach and nectarine trees. According to Worth S. Ray's Austin Colony Pioneers, the tax rolls of 1840 indicate that James Hope died about 1836. His sons took part in the battle of San Jacinto and later had a saddle shop at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Source
Note: During the Texas Revolution, the town of San Felipe was largely destroyed by Mexican troops chasing after the Texan army. Nothing was spared, not even the town graveyard. The majority of those buried here prior to 1836 are no longer marked, so although James Hope is known to be buried here, the exact location has been lost. The photo below shows the oldest section of the cemetery where it is possible he still rests.
William Steele, army officer, son of Orlo and Fanny (Abbe) Steele, was born in Albany, New York, on May 1, 1819. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1840, thirty-first in his class of forty-two. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Second U.S. Dragoons, he took part in the war in Florida with the Seminole Indians. He saw action in the Mexican War (1846-48) at Palo Alto and Monterrey under Gen. Zachary Taylor and at Churubusco in the Mexico City campaign under Gen. Winfield Scott. At Churubusco, he received a commendation for gallant conduct and meritorious service and a brevet promotion to captain. Steele continued his military career during the 1850s and served in Texas, New Mexico, and Nebraska; he rose to the rank of captain. On July 1, 1850, he married Anne Elizabeth Duval. The couple had one child, Laura, who was born in 1856.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Steele resigned his commission in the United States Army on May 30, 1861, and joined Confederate forces in Texas. On October 4, 1861, he was commissioned as colonel of the Seventh Texas Mounted Rifles. Although assigned to Henry H. Sibley's Army of New Mexico, he did not take a direct role in the campaign up the Rio Grande but remained instead in command of the troops occupying the El Paso/Mesilla area. Upon Sibley’s departure for Richmond at the end of the campaign, Steele remained as civil governor and military commander of Arizona Territory until his promotion to brigadier general in September 1862 and assignment to the command of the Department of Indian Territory. Superseded by Brig. Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey in December 1863, he was assigned to the command of the defenses of Galveston until the spring of 1864 when he took part in the Red River Campaign as a brigade commander in Maj. Gen. Thomas Green’s Cavalry division, which he briefly commanded after Green’s death at the battle of Blair’s Landing. Following the Civil War, Steele returned to Texas, where, from 1866 to 1873, he engaged in the mercantile business in San Antonio. With the end of Reconstruction in Texas, he was appointed as adjutant general, serving from January 1874 to January 1879, during which time he oversaw the reorganization of the Texas Rangers. Steele died at San Antonio on January 12, 1885, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin. Source
Carl Buchel, soldier, was born at Guntersblum, Hesse, on October 8, 1813. He dropped the umlaut from his original surname, Büchel, when he moved to Texas. He entered the military academy at Darmstadt at the age of fourteen and at eighteen was commissioned a second lieutenant of volunteers in the First Infantry Regiment of Hesse-Darmstadt. His next military training was at L'École Militaire in Paris, following which he served as a lieutenant in the Foreign Legion of France and participated in the Carlist War in Spain. He was decorated and knighted by Queen Maria Christina in 1838 for his bravery at the battle of Huesca the year before. Subsequently, he was for several years an instructor in the Turkish army and attained the rank of colonel, the highest allowed a Christian. He was offered the rank of general on the condition that he become a Moslem, but he refused and subsequently resigned. There is some indication that he was designated a pasha, a title of respect given officers of high rank. Buchel had a reputation for dueling and, according to family tradition, is said to have gone to Texas because he killed a man in a duel after his return to Germany. He sailed with the Adelsverein in 1845 and arrived late that year at Carlshafen, later known as Indianola, where he established residence. In 1846, during the Mexican War, he raised a company in the First Regiment of Texas Foot Rifles and served as its captain. He was present at the battle of Buena Vista, where he served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Gen. Zachary Taylor. After the war President Franklin Pierce appointed him collector of customs at Port Lavaca, a position he held for many years. He also sold lumber and building materials in Corpus Christi in partnership with M. T. Huck. In 1859, during the Cortina Wars, he organized the Indianola Volunteers to combat the depredations of Mexican bandits under Juan N. Cortina. Buchel served until 1860, but the volunteers never actually fought Cortina.
At the outbreak of the Civil War Buchel joined the Texas militia; late in 1861 he was made lieutenant colonel of the Third Texas Infantry and served in South Texas. He became colonel of the First Texas Cavalry in 1863 and saw extensive service on the Texas Gulf Coast but was transferred to Louisiana when the threat of an invasion of Texas by Union troops became imminent. He was mortally wounded while leading his troops in a dismounted charge at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864. He was taken to Mansfield, where he died and was buried. The generally accepted date of his death is April 15, but Gen. Hamilton P. Bee, Buchel's commander, related in his official report of the battle that he died two days following the battle, on April 11. Earlier that year Buchel had been appointed a brigadier general, but the appointment was never confirmed. Later, his body was taken by a detachment of his cavalry to Austin, and he was reinterred in the State Cemetery, where a eulogy was delivered by Lieutenant Governor Fletcher S. Stockdale. The state of Texas erected an impressive stone at his grave. Buchel, who never married, was described by his contemporaries as a small, quiet man and is said to have been unassuming, courteous, and gentlemanly in manner. He spoke seven languages. In his honor the state legislature designated an area as Buchel County in 1887, but the county was never organized and eventually became part of Brewster County. Source
Frederick (Fred) Benjamin Gipson, author, was born on a farm near Mason, Texas, on February 7, 1908, the son of Beck and Emma Deishler Gipson. He graduated from Mason High School in 1926 and after working at a variety of farming and ranching jobs entered the University of Texas in 1933. There he wrote for the Daily Texan and the Ranger, but he left school before graduating to become a reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in 1937. A year later he worked for the San Angelo Standard-Times, then briefly for the Denver Post. Soon afterward he began to sell stories and articles to pulp Western magazines and to such slick magazines as Liberty and Look. By 1944 Gipson had published a story in the Southwest Review. Many of his short stories appearing in that journal in the 1940s were prototypes for the longer works of fiction that followed. His first full-length book, The Fabulous Empire: Colonel Zack Miller's Story (1946), was moderately successful (25,000 copies sold), but it was his Hound-Dog Man (1949) that established Gipson's reputation when it became a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and sold over 250,000 copies in its first year of publication. Many critics and general readers maintain that Hound-Dog Man was Gipson's best work, and it remains popular with a large audience. The Hill Country writer earned increasing attention for the rapid succession of books that followed: The Home Place (1950; later filmed as Return of the Texan); Big Bend: A Homesteader's Story (1952), with J. O. Langford; Cowhand: The Story of a Working Cowboy (1953); The Trail-Driving Rooster (1955); Recollection Creek (1955); Old Yeller (1956); and Savage Sam (1962). Source
John Woods Harris, Texas legislator, attorney, and special counsel to the United States Supreme Court, was born in 1810 and reared in Nelson County, Virginia. He attended Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) for two years and in 1831 entered the University of Virginia, where he remained for five years and graduated in six departments, including law. In the fall of 1837 he came to Texas and settled near the mouth of the Brazos River in Brazoria County. By January 1, 1838, he was practicing law in partnership with John A. Wharton and Elisha M. Pease. After Wharton's death in 1839, Harris and Pease continued the partnership, and their firm, which continued until the election of Pease to the governorship in 1853, was one of the most noteworthy in Texas. When Harris became a member of the Texas bar, the republic comprised only four judicial districts. He and Pease divided the work of their office for the sake of greater efficiency and for their own convenience; Pease remained permanently at Brazoria, while Harris attended the courts of the six counties composing their district. In this way the firm was able to practice in all of the most important cases that came before the courts and before the Supreme Court of Texas as soon as it was organized in 1840.
In 1839 Harris was elected to represent Brazoria County in the House of Representatives of the Fourth Congress, where he introduced a bill providing for the abolition of the civil, or Mexican, law and the adoption of common law as the law of the land. The bill passed despite considerable opposition on the ground that common law was not sufficiently liberal in its provisions regarding the rights of married women. This feature was incorporated five years later in the Constitution of 1945. Harris was appointed the first Texas state attorney general by James Pinckney Henderson in 1846 and reappointed by George T. Wood, but he resigned on October 30, 1849. He was subsequently employed as a special counsel to represent the state's interests in the United States Supreme Court in matters involving land certificates issued by the Republic of Texas and suits or actions involving the constitutionality of the republic's revenue laws. In 1854 Governor Pease appointed him to a committee of three to revise the laws of the state. Although Harris was a staunch Democrat he disapproved of secession and regarded the Civil War as entirely unnecessary. Nevertheless, he was a strong supporter of the Confederate cause. After the Civil War he moved to Galveston and resumed his law practice in partnership with Marcus F. Mott and later with Branch T. Masterson. In 1874-75 Harris represented Matagorda, Galveston, and Brazoria counties in the Texas House of Representatives. He married Mrs. Annie Pleasants Dallam, the only daughter of Samuel Rhoads Fisher, in 1852 and later adopted her daughter. The couple had four children. Harris continued to practice law until his death, on April 1, 1887, at home in Galveston. Source
Slater Martin was an American professional basketball player and coach who was a playmaking guard for 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was born in Elmina, Walker County, Texas and was an alumnus of Jefferson Davis High School in Houston, where he led his school to two state basketball championships in 1942 and 1943. He was also a graduate of University of Texas at Austin, where he set a scoring record in 1949 with 49 points in a game for the Longhorns against Texas Christian University. Throughout his career with the Longhorns, he averaged 12.7 points per game. Martin was one of the NBA's best defensive players in the 1950s, playing for the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers that won four NBA championships between 1950 and 1954. In 1956, he joined Bob Pettit's St. Louis Hawks and won another NBA title in 1958. He would go on to play in seven NBA All-Star Games in his career. Martin was head coach of the Houston Mavericks of the American Basketball Association in the 1967-68 season and part of 1968-69, and led the Mavericks into the 1968 ABA Playoffs. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 3, 1982 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His jersey number 15 was retired by the University of Texas on January 31, 2009, making him only the second Longhorn basketball player to have his number retired. He died of a brief undisclosed illness on October 18, 2012, in Houston, Texas, aged 86.
Raul Chavez, noted Hispanic veteran, actor, scouter, television and advertising pioneer, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on February 14, 1926, the eldest son of Raul Chavez del Avellano and María Royval. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family to seek refuge from the turbulence that followed the Mexican Revolution. His family settled in Los Angeles, California, where Raul entered the parochial school system and graduated from J.H. Francis Polytechnic. With the outbreak of WWII, Raul joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as a flight engineer and turret aerial gunner on PBM5 flying boat patrol bombers. He participated in the Okinawa campaign, preparations for the invasion of the Japanese mainland and reconnaissance over-flights of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the conclusion of the war, Raul enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater in California, under the auspices of the GI Bill, to study acting, radio and TV production. While at the Playhouse, he appeared in the world premiere of Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding.
Among his credits in Hollywood were the 1948 pioneering TV drama, Space Patrol; the Lone Ranger; The Ruggles; But Not Goodbye; No Time for Comedy; Bird of Paradise and Beauty and the Beast. In 1951, he moved his young family to Mexico City to assist in the creation of Mexico's first TV broadcaster, XHTV Canal 4, and as the newscaster on XEB of the Noticiero General Motors and Paging the News on XEVIP. He was one of the first TV producers in Mexico with classic shows to his credit like the first live broadcasts of the Pan-American Races, the variety show El Estudio Raleigh with Pedro Vargas and the legendary classical music TV program El Concierto General Motors, broadcast live from El Palacio de Bellas Artes, featuring renowned artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Adolfo Odnoposoff. His film credits during this period include the dubbing of La Malquerida and The Magnificent Seven. He also starred in the bi-lingual TV series Famous Guests, alongside Pedro Armendariz and Dolores del Rio. In 1974, Raul returned to the US, settling in Dallas, and served as Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America at their national headquarters office in Irving, Texas until his retirement in 1989. Soon after retirement, he moved to Houston, reconnected with his acting career and was featured in commercials for many Dallas and Houston based corporations. In 1998, his voice was featured for all of the characters (except the burro) in The Legend of the Christmas Flower, an animated film nominated for an Emmy. He passed away on November 25, 2012 in Houston, at the age of 86.
Thomas Jefferson Rusk, soldier and statesman, the oldest of seven children of John and Mary (Sterritt) Rusk, was born in Pendleton District, South Carolina, on December 5, 1803. His father was an Irish stonemason immigrant. The family rented land from John C. Calhoun, who helped Rusk secure a position in the office of the Pendleton County district clerk, where he could earn a living while studying law. After admission to the bar in 1825, Rusk began his law practice in Clarksville, Georgia. In 1827 he married Mary F. (Polly) Cleveland, the daughter of Gen. Benjamin Cleveland. Rusk became a business partner of his father-in-law after he and Polly married. He lived in the gold region of Georgia and made sizable mining investments. In 1834, however, the managers of the company in which he had invested embezzled all the funds and fled to Texas. Rusk pursued them to Nacogdoches but never recovered the money. He did, however, decide to stay in Texas. He became a citizen of Mexico on February 11, 1835, applied for a headright in David G. Burnet's colony, and sent for his family. After hearing Nacogdoches citizens denounce the despotism of Mexico, Rusk became involved in the independence movement. He organized volunteers from Nacogdoches and hastened to Gonzales, where his men joined Stephen F. Austin's army in preventing the Mexicans from seizing their cannon. They proceeded to San Antonio, but Rusk left the army before the siege of Bexar.
The provisional government named him inspector general of the army in the Nacogdoches District, a position he filled from December 14, 1835, to February 26, 1836. As a delegate from Nacogdoches to the Convention of 1836, Rusk not only signed the Texas Declaration of Independence but also chaired the committee to revise the constitution. The ad interim government, installed on March 17, 1836, appointed Rusk Secretary of War. When informed that the Alamo had fallen and the Mexicans were moving eastward, Rusk helped President Burnet to move the government to Harrisburg. Rusk ordered all the coastal communities to organize militias. After the Mexicans massacred James W. Fannin's army Burnet sent Rusk with orders for Gen. Sam Houston to make a stand against the enemy, and upon learning that Antonio López de Santa Anna intended to capture the government at Harrisburg, the Texas army marched to Buffalo Bayou. As a security measure, Houston and Rusk remained silent about their plans. Rusk participated with bravery in the defeat of Santa Anna on April 21, 1836, in the battle of San Jacinto. From May 4 to October 31, 1836, he served as commander in chief of the Army of the Republic of Texas, with the rank of brigadier general. He followed the Mexican troops westward as they retired from Texas to be certain of their retreat beyond the Rio Grande. Then he conducted a military funeral for the troops massacred at Goliad.
When it appeared that the Mexicans intended to attack Texas from Matamoros, Rusk called for more troops. Though he had 2,500 soldiers by July, he maintained a defensive position. In the first regularly elected administration, President Houston appointed Rusk Secretary of War, but after a few weeks he resigned to take care of pressing domestic problems. At the insistence of friends, however, he represented Nacogdoches in the Second Congress of the republic, from September 25, 1837, to May 24, 1838. While in the capital, Houston, he taught a Christian Sunday school class. Like many prominent Texans, Rusk became a Mason. He joined Milam Lodge No. 40 in Nacogdoches in 1837 and was a founding member of the Grand Lodge of Texas, organized in Houston on December 20, 1837. In the election of 1838 and in succeeding ones, friends importuned Rusk to be a presidential candidate, but he refused. As chairman of the House Military Committee in 1837, he sponsored a militia bill that passed over Houston's veto, and Congress elected Rusk major general of the militia. In the summer of 1838 he commanded the Nacogdoches militia, which suppressed the Córdova Rebellion. Rusk suspected Cherokee involvement in the rebellion, but Chief Bowl emphatically denied any collusion with Córdova. In October, when Mexican agents were discovered among the Kickapoo Indians, Rusk defeated those Indians and their Indian allies. He captured marauding Caddo Indians in November 1838, and he risked an international incident when he invaded United States territory to return them to the Indian agent in Shreveport. Unrest among the Cherokees grew after the failure to ratify the Cherokee Treaty of 1836, which would have given the Cherokees title to the lands they occupied in East Texas.
In July 1839 the final battle with the Cherokees and their allies was fought. Papers taken from captured Mexican agents implicated the Cherokees in a Mexican-Indian conspiracy against the Republic of Texas. Because he agreed with President Mirabeau B. Lamar's determination to remove the Cherokees, Rusk commanded part of the troops in the battle of the Neches, in which the Cherokees were driven into Oklahoma. On December 12, 1838, Congress elected Rusk chief justice of the Supreme Court. He recognized that he was working in a system that combined Spanish and English law and practices, systems that did not always coincide. In Milam County v. Bell he established the rule of mandamus against public officers. He served until June 30, 1840, when he resigned to resume his law practice. Later he headed the bar of the Republic of Texas. He and J. Pinckney Henderson, later the first governor of the state of Texas, formed a law partnership on February 25, 1841, the most famous law firm in Texas of that day. For a short time the firm also included Kenneth L. Anderson, later vice president under Anson Jones. One of the most widely known cases Rusk handled was the murder of Robert Potter, former Secretary of the Texas Navy, in 1842. Rusk represented the ten defendants, secured their bail, which had previously been denied, and obtained a dismissal before the case was to be tried on May 6, 1843. Earlier in 1843 Rusk had been called once again to serve as a military commander. Concern over the lack of protection on the frontier caused Congress, in a joint ballot on January 16, 1843, to elect Rusk major general of the militia of the Republic of Texas. But he resigned in June when Houston obstructed his plans for aggressive warfare against Mexico. Rusk then turned his energies to establishing Nacogdoches University. He was vice president of the university when the charter was granted in 1845 and president in 1846.
The annexation of Texas by the United States was heartily supported by Rusk. He was president of the Convention of 1845, which accepted the annexation terms. Rusk's legal knowledge contributed significantly to the constitution of the new state. The first state legislature elected him and Houston to the United States Senate in February 1846. Rusk received the larger number of votes and the longer term of office. The two men forgot past differences as they worked to settle the southwest boundary question in favor of the Texas claim to the Rio Grande. Rusk supported the position of President James K. Polk on the necessity of the Mexican War and the acquisition of California. In the debate over the Compromise of 1850, Rusk refused to endorse secession, proposed by some in the caucus of southern congressmen. He vigorously defended Texas claims to New Mexico and argued forcefully for just financial compensation for both the loss of revenue from import duties as well as the loss of territory. As chairman of the Committee of Post Offices and Post Roads, he sponsored bills that improved services and lowered postage rates. As an early advocate of a transcontinental railroad through Texas, he made speeches in the Senate and throughout Texas in support of a southern route and toured Texas in 1853 to investigate a possible route. The Gadsden Treaty received his support since it provided an easier railroad route to the Pacific. Rusk received the approval of the state legislature for his vote in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He was a popular man in his party and was encouraged to become a presidential candidate in 1856. President James Buchanan offered him the position of Postmaster General in 1857. During the special session of March 1857 the United States Senate elected him president pro tem. While Rusk attended the spring session of Congress, Mrs. Rusk succumbed to tuberculosis, on April 26, 1856. Five of their seven children were still living at the time. Despondent over the death of his wife and ill from a tumor at the base of his neck, Rusk committed suicide on July 29, 1857. The State of Texas placed a monument at the graves of Rusk and his wife in Oak Grove Cemetery, Nacogdoches. Rusk County and the town of Rusk were named in his honor. Source
Mary Carson, soprano, was born Mary Carson Kidd in Millican, Texas, likely in the late 1800s. She was the daughter of George Kidd and Katherine Bledsoe (Aldridge), who were both trained musicians and singers. She grew up in Houston, and exhibited promising vocal skills at a very early age and performed excerpts from operas with her brothers for neighborhood children. She received formal training in New York and the New England Conservatory before traveling abroad to study voice in Milan and Florence. Her teachers included Isadore Vraggiotti, Rafaele del Ponte, and Adolgesa Moffi. She made her debut in Italy in 1912 as Amina in La Sonnambula. She would go on to sing in some thirty operas in Italian, German, French, and English. These included the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Norina in Don Pasquale. She was highly praised for her pure soaring soprano and vocal stamina, even performing Il barbiere de Siviglia twice in one day. In Berlin, composer Richard Strauss often played as her accompanist. At some point during her European performances she dropped her surname, Kidd, the subject of various puns, and adopted the stage name of Mary Carson. She also performed in many cities across the United States and was a member of the Century Opera Company.
In the 1910s she became a featured recording artist of popular songs and ballads for Thomas Edison’s Blue Amberol and Diamond Disc labels. Her rendition of Oh Dry Those Tears in 1912 was an early favorite, along with Kiss Waltz, released in 1913. Kiss Waltz remained a popular choice in the Edison catalog throughout the 1920s. She also recorded under the name of Kathleen Kingston. In 1917 Carson sued Edison over the company’s refusal to pay her when she was not booked with its phonograph dealers on its Tone Test circuit. The company had also forbidden her to work for any other employer, thereby depriving her of making a living. Carson won her suit. By the late 1920s and early 1930s Mary Carson worked as a music teacher in Houston. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She lived in Houston until her death on August 21, 1951. She was buried in Glenwood Cemetery. Throughout her life she received many accolades for her beautiful singing voice, but Carson commented that perhaps the best compliment came from a small boy in Devonshire, England, who likened her singing to "a thrush on the ground" and "a lark in the sky." Source