William Carrol Crawford, the last surviving signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of Archibald and Nancy (Carroll) Crawford, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on September 13, 1804. He was related to Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. The family moved to Georgia, where both parents died about 1821. Crawford was a tailor's apprentice from 1821 or 1822 until 1830, when he became a Methodist minister and was assigned to a circuit in Alabama. In 1834 he married Rhoda Jackson Watkins. Later, because of ill health, he moved to Texas with his wife's family. The caravan arrived in January 1835 and settled near the site of Shelbyville. The Crawfords became the parents of nine children. Crawford and Sydney O. Penington represented Shelby County at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1859 Crawford moved to Pittsburg, Camp County, where he was postmaster from 1874 to 1881. His wife died on January 18, 1881, and Crawford moved to Hill County, where he lived until 1884, when he moved to Alvarado, Johnson County, to live with a daughter. He died on September 3, 1895, while he was visiting his son in Erath County. He was buried in Cow Creek Cemetery, about five miles north of Dublin. In 1936 his remains were reinterred in the State Cemetery. Source
John Henry Faulk, humorist and author, fourth of five children of Henry and Martha (Miner) Faulk, was born in Austin, Texas, on August 21, 1913. His parents were staunch yet freethinking Methodists who taught him to detest racism. He entered the University of Texas in 1932. Under the guidance of J. Frank Dobie, Walter P. Webb, and Roy Bedichek, he developed his considerable abilities as a collector of folklore. For his master's degree thesis, Faulk recorded and analyzed ten African-American sermons from churches along the Brazos River. His research convinced him that members of minorities, particularly African Americans, faced grave limitations of their civil rights. Between 1940 and 1942, Faulk taught an English I course at the University, using mimicry and storytelling to illustrate the best and worst of Texas societal customs. Often made to feel inferior at faculty gatherings, Faulk increasingly told unbelievable tales and bawdy jokes. His ability both to parody and to praise human behavior led to his entertainment and literary career. Early in World War II the army refused to admit him because of a bad eye. In 1942 he joined the United States Merchant Marine for a year of trans-Atlantic duty, followed by a year with the Red Cross in Cairo, Egypt. By 1944 relaxed standards allowed the army to admit him for limited duty as a medic; he served the rest of the war at Camp Swift, Texas.
Radio provided Faulk the audience he, as a storyteller, craved. Through his friend Alan Lomax, who worked at the CBS network in New York, Faulk became acquainted with industry officials. During Christmas 1945, Lomax hosted a series of parties to showcase Faulk's yarn-spinning abilities. When discharged from the army in April 1946, CBS gave Faulk his own weekly radio program, entitled Johnny's Front Porch; it lasted a year. Faulk began a new program on suburban station WOV in 1947 and the next year moved to another New Jersey station, WPAT, where he established himself as a raconteur while hosting Hi-Neighbor, Keep 'em Smiling, and North New Jersey Datebook. WCBS Radio debuted the John Henry Faulk Show on December 17, 1951. The program, which featured music, political humor, and listener participation, ran for six years.
Faulk's radio career ended in 1957, a victim of the Cold War and the blacklisting of the 1950s. Inspired by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, AWARE, Incorporated, a New York-based, for-profit, corporation, offered "clearance" services to major media advertisers and radio and television networks. For a fee, AWARE would investigate the backgrounds of entertainers for signs of Communist sympathy or affiliation. In 1955 Faulk earned the enmity of the blacklist organization when he and other members wrested control of their union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists from officers under the aegis of AWARE. In retaliation, AWARE branded Faulk a Communist. When he discovered that the AWARE bulletin prevented a radio station from making him an employment offer, Faulk sought redress. Several prominent radio personalities and CBS News vice president Edward R. Murrow supported Faulk's effort to end blacklisting. With financial backing from Murrow, Faulk engaged New York attorney Louis Nizer. Attorneys for AWARE, including McCarthy-committee counsel Roy Cohn, managed to stall the suit, which was originally filed in 1957, for five years. When the trial finally concluded in a New York courtroom, the jury had determined that Faulk should receive more compensation than he sought in his original petition. On June 28, 1962, the jury awarded him the largest libel judgment in history to that date - $3.5 million. An appeals court subsequently reduced the amount to $500,000. Legal fees and accumulated debts erased the balance of the award.
Despite his vindication, CBS did not rehire Faulk - indeed, years passed before he worked again as a media entertainer. He returned to Austin in 1968. From 1975 to 1980 he appeared as a homespun character on the television program Hee-Haw. During the 1980s he wrote and produced two one-man plays. In both Deep in the Heart (1986) and Pear Orchard, Texas, he portrayed characters imbued with the best of human instincts and the worst of cultural prejudices. The year 1974 proved pivotal for Faulk. CBS Television broadcast its movie version of Fear on Trial, Faulk's 1963 book that described his battle against AWARE. Also in 1974, Faulk read the dossier that the FBI had maintained on his activities since the 1940s. Disillusioned and desirous of a return to the country, Faulk moved to Madisonville, Texas. He returned to Austin in 1981. In 1983 he campaigned for the congressional seat abdicated by Democrat-turned-Republican Phil Gramm. Although he lost the three-way race, the humorist had spoken his mind. During the 1980s he traveled the nation urging university students to be ever vigilant of their constitutional rights and to take advantage of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin sponsors the John Henry Faulk Conference on the First Amendment.
In 1940 Faulk wed one of his students at the University of Texas, Hally Wood. They had a daughter. After he and Hally were divorced, Faulk married Lynne Smith, whom he met at a New York City rally for presidential candidate Henry Wallace in the spring of 1948. Born of their marriage were two daughters and a son. After his divorce from Lynne, Faulk married Elizabeth Peake in 1965: they had a son. Faulk died in Austin of cancer on April 9, 1990. The city of Austin named the downtown branch of the public library in his honor. Source
William Hugh Young, Confederate army officer, was born on January 1, 1838, at Booneville, Missouri, the son of Hugh F. Young. In 1840 he moved with his parents to Red River County, Texas, and soon thereafter to Grayson County. Young was educated at Washington College, Tennessee, at McKenzie College, Texas, and at the University of Virginia, where he was matriculating at the outbreak of the Civil War. Leaving the university, Young returned to Texas to recruit a company for Confederate service. He was elected its captain. Assigned to Samuel Bell Maxey's Ninth Texas Infantry, Young and his command fought at the battle of Shiloh, on April 6 and 7, 1862, after which he was promoted to the command of the regiment. Young led the Ninth Texas in the battles of Perryville, Kentucky (October 8, 1862); Murfreesboro, Tennessee (December 31, 1862 - January 3, 1863), where he was wounded in the shoulder and had two horses shot from under him; and in the Vicksburg campaign (spring and summer 1863), in which he sustained a second wound, this to the thigh, at the battle of Jackson, Mississippi, on May 14, 1863. There, according to the official report, Young "seized the colors of his regiment in one of its most gallant charges and led it through." More modestly, Young reported of the same engagement, he "ordered the regiment to move forward with a shout, both of which they did, a la Texas." At Chickamauga (September 19 and 20, 1863) he was wounded a third time, in the chest. Transferred with his regiment to Gen. Matthew D. Ector's brigade, he participated in the Atlanta campaign (spring and summer 1864) and despite suffering wounds to the neck and jaw at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27 was promoted to brigadier general to rank from August 15, 1864, when Ector was disabled at the battle of Peachtree Creek. Young's brigade consisted of his own Ninth Texas Infantry plus the Twenty-third Texas Cavalry (dismounted) and the Twenty-ninth and Thirty-ninth North Carolina Infantry regiments. During John Bell Hood's disastrous Tennessee campaign (October - December 1864), during which Young's regiment was attached to the brigade of Gen. Samuel G. French, Young lost his left foot to enemy fire, had his horse shot from beneath him, and was captured at Altoona, Georgia, on October 5. "Most gallantly," reported French, "he bore his part in the action." Held prisoner at Johnson's Island, Ohio, Young was not released until July 24, 1865. Following the war Young moved to San Antonio, where he was a successful attorney and real estate investor. Later he and his father organized a transportation company that hauled freight between San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico. Young also organized the Nueces River Irrigation Company and acquired considerable ranch and farm property. For a time he was owner of the San Antonio Express. General Young died in San Antonio on November 28, 1901, and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery there. Source
Benjamin Franklin Bryant, early settler and participant in the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Georgia on March 15, 1800. He moved to Texas in 1834 and, with his family, settled on Palo Gaucho Bayou in Sabine County. In March 1836 he recruited and was elected captain of a company of volunteers that joined the main Texas army at Bernardo on March 29, 1836. After participating in the battle of San Jacinto, Bryant built a fort called Bryant Station on Little River, where he spent his life protecting the frontier from the Indians. In 1845 he built a home near the fort; in it he and his second wife, Roxana (Price), lived the remainder of their lives. Bryant died on March 4, 1857. His body was reinterred in the State Cemetery at Austin in 1931. Source
A baseball player of imposing size, Walt Bond stood 6 feet 7 inches and weighed 228 pounds, making him an effective power hitter during his minor league career. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 1962, but still batted a strong .320 in 132 games for the Salt Lake City Bees of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Then, in a 12-game September stint with the Indians, Bond hit six home runs in only 50 at bats, drove in 17 runs, batted .380 and slugged .800 - yet he could not make the 1963 Indians roster and spent that season still in Triple-A.
On December 19, 1963, he was acquired by Houston. The Colt .45s' general manager was aware of Bond's illness, but the team doctor examined him and determined that the leukemia was in remission. Bond then turned in his best Major League season as the starting first baseman for the 1964 Colt .45s, leading Houston in home runs and runs batted in, and appearing in 148 games. The following year, Bond held onto his starting job, but his production slumped with the team's move into the Astrodome; some teammates speculated that his leukemia had recurred that season, affecting his play.
Traded to the Twins just before the 1966 season, he returned to Triple-A and batted .316 with 18 home runs in 122 games for the Denver Bears, earning an invitation to spring training for 1967. Bond made the team and batted .313 in part-time duty during the season's first month, but the Twins released him on May 15 Although Bond was snapped up by the Jacksonville Suns, his declining health forced him to the sidelines after only three games. He entered a Houston hospital for cancer treatment, but died there on September 14, 1967 at age 29.
Thomas Watt Gregory, politician and United States attorney general, son of Francis Robert and Mary Cornelia (Watt) Gregory, was born at Crawfordsville, Mississippi, on November 6, 1861. His father was killed in the Civil War, and his mother taught school and took in boarders to support and educate her only surviving child. After graduating in 1883 from Southwestern Presbyterian University at Clarksville, Tennessee, and attending the University of Virginia for one year, Gregory entered the University of Texas in 1884 and graduated a year later with a degree in law. For the remainder of his life he championed UT. He served on the board of regents from 1899 to 1907, headed the Ex-Students' Association from 1926 to 1928, and organized a fund-raising campaign that resulted in the construction of four university buildings, including a men's gymnasium that was named in his honor. He also served as a trustee for Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Sherman.
After practicing law in Austin for fifteen years, Gregory formed a partnership with Robert L. Batts in 1900; the two added a third partner, Victor L. Brooks, in 1908. Gregory's success as a lawyer provided him with an entry into politics. From 1891 to 1894 he was an assistant city attorney of Austin. Although he declined appointments as an assistant state attorney general in 1892 and as a state judge in 1896, his political involvement deepened. While embracing the progressive rhetoric of the early twentieth century with his condemnations of "plutocratic power," "predatory wealth," and "the greed of the party spoilsmen," Gregory participated in Col. Edward M. House's essentially conservative Democratic coalition. He established his credentials as a progressive reformer with his attacks against Senator Joseph Weldon Bailey, the symbol of political corruption in the eyes of Texas progressives, and with his service as a special prosecutor for the state in a series of antitrust suits, including the famous Waters-Pierce Case.
In 1911-12 Gregory joined other Texas reformers and erstwhile conservatives like Colonel House in promoting the presidential candidacy of Woodrow Wilson. The important contributions of the Texas delegation to Wilson's victory at the 1912 Democratic national convention and House's growing influence upon Wilson led to appointments for Gregory in the new Democratic administration. He was named a special assistant to the United States attorney general to conduct antitrust litigation against the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1913, and in 1914 he became attorney general. In 1916 President Wilson wanted to appoint Gregory to the United States Supreme Court, but the attorney general declined the offer because of his impaired hearing, his eagerness to participate in Wilson's reelection campaign, and his belief that he lacked the necessary temperament to be a judge.
Despite a continuing commitment to progressive reform, Gregory's performance as attorney general provoked enormous controversy because of his collaboration with postmaster general Albert S. Burleson and others in orchestrating a campaign to crush domestic dissent during World War I. Gregory helped frame the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which compromised the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and press, and lobbied for their passage. He encouraged extralegal surveillance by the American Protective League and directed the federal prosecutions of more than 2,000 opponents of the war.
After resigning his position as attorney general on March 4, 1919, he played a brief and limited role at the Paris Peace Conference and then served on Wilson's Second Industrial Commission in 1919-20, studying the social effects of American industrial development. He also resumed his private law practice, initially in Washington, D.C., where he formed a partnership with a former Justice Department colleague, G. Carroll Todd, and later in Houston, where he lived from 1924 until his death. During the final years of his life Gregory remained active in Democratic politics at both the state and national levels, and he campaigned for Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.
On February 22, 1893, Gregory married Julia Nalle; they had four children. During a trip to New York to confer with Roosevelt, Gregory contracted pneumonia and died, on February 26, 1933. He is buried in Austin. Source
Patrick Churchill Jack, attorney and legislator, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, in 1808, a son of Patrick Jack, who commanded a Georgia regiment in the War of 1812. After practicing law in Jefferson County, Alabama, for three years, Jack moved to Texas in 1830 and on April 6, 1831, was issued title to one-fourth of a league of land in Stephen F. Austin's second colony in the area of present Grimes County. Jack, one of the men whose imprisonment led to the Anahuac disturbances in the spring of 1832, was a delegate from the district of Liberty to the conventions of 1832 and 1833. He later moved to Brazoria Municipality, which he represented in the House of the Second Congress of the Republic from September 29, 1837, to November 13, 1838. Jack married Margaret E. Smith at Houston on October 30, 1838. He was appointed district attorney of the First Judicial District on February 1, 1840, and of the Sixth District on March 15, 1841, by President Mirabeau B. Lamar. Jack died of yellow fever in Houston on August 4, 1844, and was buried in the City Cemetery under the auspices of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 1, of which he was a member. Later his remains were removed to Lake View Cemetery, Galveston. They were again exhumed on February 10, 1942, and reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. In the act of the state legislature on August 27, 1856, establishing Jack County from Cooke County, it is not stated for whom the county was named. Homer S. Thrall in 1879 said it was named for the brothers, Patrick C. and William H. Jack, and this statement is generally accepted as correct. Source
Pimp C, rap artist, was born Chad Lamont Butler in Port Arthur, Texas, on December 29, 1973. He was the son of Weslyn and Charleston Butler. Pimp C is best-known as cofounder and one-half of the Houston rap duo UGK (Underground Kingz), whose soulful, blues-based version of “Dirty South” hip-hop helped put Texas rap music in the national spotlight. He, along with his UGK partner Bernard Freeman (aka Bun B), helped to define Southern rap.
The son of a trumpet player who at one time performed with Solomon Burke, Butler grew up in a home filled with jazz, blues, and soul music. He cited his early influences as B. B. King, Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Marvin Gaye, and many other jazz and blues artists. His parents divorced when he was about six, and his mother married Norwood Monroe. Butler’s stepfather was a band teacher who taught him to read music and later influenced him to incorporate more musical instruments into his sound.
Butler first became interested in rap when a friend loaned him an early Run DMC album in 1983. After hearing the record, he began exploring rap’s origins in an effort to learn more about the music that so captivated his imagination. Although his interest in rap music was growing, he also pursued more traditional musical interests. In high school, he studied classical music and received a Division I rating on a tenor solo at a University Interscholastic League choir competition.
While still in high school, Pimp C worked with fellow musicians Mitchell Queen, Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, and Jalon Jackson before eventually settling into a rap collaboration with Bun B to form the group UGK. They released a cassette, The Southern Way, on the small Houston label Bigtyme Recordz in 1988. They landed a deal with Jive Records in 1992. During that same year, the duo released its first major label debut, Too Hard to Swallow. It featured the single Tell Me Something Good, a laid-back track that contained a sample of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s tune of the same name. Another song from the album, Pocket Full of Stones, was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Menace II Society (1993), helping earn the group some national exposure. The song Pocket Full of Stones is emblematic of the rise in “gangsta rap” that came to dominate the hip-hop landscape in the early 1990s. In 1994 UGK released Super Tight; Pimp C produced all the tracks. He also produced most of the songs on UGK’s next release in 1996, Ridin’ Dirty, which reached Number 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, proving that the group was much more than a regional act and could sell records on a national scale.
Following their success with Ridin’ Dirty, UGK made a number of guest appearances, one on a hit single by Jay-Z entitled Big Pimpin’ in 1999. This song merged Jay-Z’s Brooklyn-based braggadocio with UGK’s southern slang. The second guest appearance was on a record with the Tennessee-based rap group, Three 6 Mafia, called Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp, released in 2000. These recordings boosted the group’s national appeal and proved once again that their fan base extended far beyond the confines of Texas.
In 2001 UGK released its fourth album, Dirty Money. It featured several songs that included sexual content and blatant misogyny, such as Like a Pimp, Pimpin’ Ain’t No Illusion, and Money, Hoes, and Power. The album peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The year 2002 brought the release of Side Hustles, the duo’s fifth album. It did not sell as well as previous releases, and UGK suffered further setbacks when Pimp C was arrested and jailed on an aggravated assault charge. After violating probation because he ignored a community service sentence, he spent the next three years in prison. During his imprisonment hip-hop fans and rappers, spearheaded by Bun B, launched a grassroots “Free Pimp C” campaign.
While Pimp C was incarcerated, his label Rap-A-Lot Records released his solo record Sweet James Jones Stories in early 2005. The album included several songs that focused on the “playa/baller” theme - that is the notion of defining one’s self in terms of the money one makes and the women one dates. Through such songs as I’m a Hustler, I’s a Player, and Get My Money, Pimp C focused on recurring themes in rap music - hustling, pimping, and money. He was released from prison on December 30, 2005. In the summer of 2006 another Pimp C solo album, Pimpalation, featured the song Free celebrating his release from prison.
In 2007 UGK released the album, Underground Kingz, which debuted at Number 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. It featured guest appearances from such notable rap artists as T. I., Talib Kweli, Rick Ross, Big Daddy Kane, Too Short, Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band, and Outkast. The collaboration with Atlanta-based rappers Outkast, Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You), proved to be the most popular song on the album. Using a sample from a tune produced by Willie Hutch from the 1970s Blaxploitation flick The Mack (1973), the song features two of the South’s most popular groups rapping side-by-side on a single track for the first time. Despite UGK’s growing prominence, the band’s success was short-lived. On December 4, 2007, Pimp C was found dead at the age of thirty-three in the Mondrian Hotel located in West Hollywood, California. His death was ruled accidental and was attributed to a lethal combination of codeine/promethazine and sleep apnea. He was married and had three children. Int’l Players Anthem was nominated for a Grammy after Pimp C’s death. UGK’s final album UGK 4 Life was released in 2009. Source
William Alexander Anderson (Bigfoot) Wallace, soldier and Texas Ranger, the son of Andrew and Jane Ann (Blair) Wallace, was born in Lexington, Virginia, on April 3, 1817. He was descended from Highlanders William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and the clan instinct was strong in him. In 1836, when he learned that a brother and a cousin had been shot down in the Goliad Massacre, he set out for Texas to "take pay out of the Mexicans." A good many years later he told John C. Duval that he believed the account had been squared. Wallace was a magnificent physical specimen. In his prime he stood six feet two inches "in his moccasins," and weighed 240 pounds without surplus fat. For a while he tried farming in the vicinity of La Grange, but the occupation was not to his taste. In the spring of 1840 he moved to Austin, saw the last buffalo of the region run down Congress Avenue, decided that people were getting too thick, and moved to San Antonio. He was with the Texans who fought Gen. Adrián Woll's invading Mexican army near San Antonio in 1842 and then volunteered for the Somervell and Mier expeditions. Some of his most graphic memories were of his experiences in Perote Prison. As soon as he was released, he joined the Texas Rangers under John Coffee (Jack) Hays and was with the rangers in the Mexican War. In the 1850s Wallace commanded, as captain, a ranger company of his own, fighting border bandits as well as Indians. He was so expert at trailing that he was frequently called upon to track down runaway slaves trying to get to Mexico. He drove a mail hack from San Antonio to El Paso and on one occasion, after losing his mules to Indians, walked to El Paso and ate twenty-seven eggs at the first Mexican house he came to - before going on to town for a full meal. During the Civil War he helped guard the frontier against the Comanche Indians. At one time Wallace had a little ranch on the Medina River on land granted him by the state of Texas. The later years of his life were spent in Frio County in the vicinity of a small village named Bigfoot. He never married. He was a mellow and convivial soul who liked to sit in a roomy rawhide-bottomed chair in the shade of his shanty and tell over the stories of his career. Occasionally he rode to San Antonio; less occasionally he would go to Austin and consort with "Texas John" Duval. Wallace was as honest as daylight but liked to stretch the blanket and embroider his stories. He read and was no illiterate frontiersman, but he summed up in himself all the frontiers of the Southwest. His picturesqueness, humor, vitality, and representativeness of old-timey free days, free ways, and free land have broken down the literalness of every writer who has treated of him. Without directing events, he was there when they happened - and he was a tale-teller. As a folk hero he belongs more to social than to military history. Wallace died on January 7, 1899, and shortly thereafter the Texas legislature appropriated money for moving his body to the State Cemetery. Source
Ellis (sometimes Elias) Benson, soldier and legislator, was born in Vermont in 1808 and moved to Texas in January 1836. During the Texas Revolution he joined Capt. John Hart's company of volunteers (later commanded by Lt. Richard Roman) at Velasco, on January 30, 1836. On February 13 Benson accepted a bounty of twenty-four dollars and joined the regular army "for two years or the duration of the war." At the battle of San Jacinto he served as a gunner in Capt. Henry Teal's company of Lt. Col. James Clinton Neill's "artillery corps." In December 1836 Benson was a private in Capt. John Smith's Company A of the First Regiment, Regular Infantry, stationed on Galveston Island, but was detached to garrison duty at Anahuac. By February 28 he was still in the army and back at his regular duty station at Galveston. Benson was a member of William Ryon's company on the Somervell expedition. He was also one of the vice presidents of the convention that met on the San Jacinto battlefield on April 21, 1860, to nominate Sam Houston for president. On July 26, 1881, the Texas Veterans Claims Commission approved his application for a veteran's pension. Benson was an active member of the Texas Veterans Association. He died in Houston in 1892. Source
Ben Thompson, gunfighter and lawman, was born in Knottingley, Yorkshire, England on November 2, 1843, the child of William and Mary Ann (Baker) Thompson. His family emigrated to Austin, Texas, in the spring of 1851. He initially worked as a printer for various Austin newspapers. At age fifteen he wounded another boy during an argument about his shooting abilities. In 1859 Thompson traveled to New Orleans to work for a bookbinder and intervened on behalf of a woman being abused by a Frenchman. He reputedly killed the offender in a subsequent knife fight. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted on June 16, 1861, in Col. John (Rip) Ford's Second Texas Cavalry regiment. He participated in two actions, the battle of Galveston Bay, where he was wounded, and the Confederate defeat at La Fourche Crossing, Louisiana. On November 26, 1863, he married Catherine L. Moore, the daughter of a prominent Austin merchant, Martin Moore. After his marriage he returned to the army and served till the end of the war. In May 1865 Thompson fatally shot a teamster in Austin after the man pulled out a shotgun during an argument over an army mule. Later arrested by federal soldiers, Thompson broke jail and left the state to join Emperor Maximilian's forces in Mexico. Fighting until the fall of the empire in June 1867, Thompson received several promotions for gallantry in action. He then returned to Texas and slightly wounded his brother-in-law, Jim Moore, who was abusing his pregnant sister, Thompson's wife. Thompson was sentenced on October 20, 1868, to four years' hard labor and sent to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, where he was held for two years until his conviction by a military tribunal was deemed illegal and he was pardoned by President U. S. Grant. After his release, he left Texas for Abilene, Kansas, undoubtedly hoping to change his fortunes. In 1871 he opened the Bull's Head Saloon with his Civil War friend, Philip H. Coe. The pair ran the drinking and gambling establishment while Abilene prospered as a railhead for the cattle drives originating in Texas. Thompson was involved in a buggy accident in Kansas City which also injured his son and his wife, who had her arm amputated. While Thompson was recovering, his partner Coe was killed in a shootout with Abilene marshal "Wild Bill" Hickok. In the summer of 1873 Thompson was working as a house gambler in an Ellsworth, Kansas, saloon with his younger brother Billy. On August 15, during a drunken altercation with other gamblers, Billy shot and killed Ellsworth sheriff Chauncey B. Whitney, a friend of the Thompson brothers. Billy Thompson fled Kansas and avoided authorities until 1876, when he was returned to Ellsworth, stood trial, and was acquitted. The jury ruled that the shooting was an accident.
Aside from a visit to Kansas in the spring of 1874, Ben Thompson made his living as a gambler in various Texas cities between 1874 and 1879. On December 25, 1876, Thompson was at Austin's Capital Theatre with several friends when a fight erupted. When Thompson tried to intervene on behalf of one of the troublemakers, theater owner Mark Wilson emerged with a shotgun. In the ensuing fracas, Wilson fired at Thompson and was killed by three fast return shots. Thompson was found to have fired in self-defense. The Leadville, Colorado, silver strike lured Thomson to visit Colorado several times during the spring and summer of 1879. There he joined a group of Kansas gunmen led by Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson who were hired by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in a right-of-way dispute with the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Well paid by the Santa Fe for his services as a hired gun, Thompson returned to Austin and opened a gambling hall above the Iron Front Saloon on Congress Avenue. According to Lafayette Rogers, a local patron of the Iron Front, "Ben...never run a crooked game in his house." Thompson's acknowledged honesty, loyalty, generosity, and prowess with a revolver impressed the citizens of Austin enough that they twice elected him city marshal. First winning office in December 1880, he proved to be an excellent officer, some claiming that he was the finest marshal that Austin had known up to that time, and was re-elected in November of the following year. In July 1882, while still serving as marshal, Thompson quarreled over a card game in a saloon in San Antonio, where he killed the prominent sportsman and owner of the Vaudeville Theatre, Jack Harris. He was indicted for the murder and resigned as marshal. After a sensational trial and acquittal, he returned to Austin to a hero's welcome and resumed his life as a professional gambler. On the evening of March 11, 1884, Thompson brashly returned to the Vaudeville Theatre with his notorious friend John King Fisher, deputy sheriff of Uvalde County. Word of their arrival in San Antonio preceded them. Within minutes of stepping into the Vaudeville the two were shot and killed from behind. Many believed that Harris's friends and partners, Joe Foster and William Simms, arranged the assassination. Thompson was survived by his wife, Catherine, and two children, Ben and Katy. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Austin newspaper editors engaged those of San Antonio in a free-wheeling, nasty debate after a coroner's jury in San Antonio ruled the killing self-defense and no one was ever charged with the murders. Source
Early steel guitarist and songwriter Theron Eugene (Ted) Daffan was born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, on September 21, 1912, the son of Carl and Della Daffan. Ted Daffan pioneered in the electrification of instruments and was an active figure in the Houston-area country-dance-band scene of the 1930s. His most lasting contribution to country music was in songwriting.
The Daffans moved from Louisiana to Houston, where Ted graduated from high school in 1930. Having developed a fascination with electronics at an early age, he opened a repair shop for radios and electric musical instruments. The shop served as a center of experimentation with pickups and amplifiers. Daffan also developed an early interest in Hawaiian guitar and played in a Hawaiian music group called the Blue Islanders that performed on Houston radio station KTRH in 1933.
Drawn to country music mainly through the influence of Milton Brown, in 1934 Daffan joined the Blue Ridge Playboys, an influential group whose membership included two other legendary early honky-tonk figures, Floyd Tillman and Moon Mullican. He also performed with several other Houston-area bands, including the Bar-X Cowboys and Shelly Lee Alley's Alley Cats, before starting his own band, the Texans, in 1940. The Texans leaned more toward honky-tonk than swing.
Daffan is generally credited with writing the first truck-driving song, Truck Driver's Blues, in 1939; the song became a hit for Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers, and its success led to Daffan's Texans being signed by Columbia Records in 1940. Three of the songs he wrote and recorded in the early 1940s became honky-tonk classics: Worried Mind, Born to Lose, and Headin' Down the Wrong Highway. Daffan was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1970. Among the artists who recorded his songs were Ray Charles, who performed versions of Born to Lose and No Letter Today, and Les Paul and Mary Ford, who recorded I'm A Fool to Care.
Daffan moved to California in 1944 and led a band at the Venice Pier Ballroom for a short time before returning to Texas in 1946. After leading a band in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he returned to Houston by the early 1950s. Although his recording career slowed after World War II, he continued a successful career as a songwriter and stayed involved in the music business. From 1955 to 1971 he ran his own record label, Daffan Records, which featured releases by Floyd Tillman, Jerry Irby, and Dickie McBride, among others. Daffan moved to Nashville in 1958 to form a music publishing company with Hank Snow but returned in 1961 to Houston, where he formed his own music-publishing business and continued to live until his death on October 6, 1996. He was buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston.
Daffan was married to Lela Bell McGuire; they had one daughter, Dorothy Jean. He later married Fannie Lee “Bobbie” Martin; they had no children. Daffan was inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1995. His song Born to Lose received a BMI "one million air play" award in 1992. Source
John Hancock, congressman and judge, son of John Allen Hancock, was born near Bellefonte, Alabama, on October 24, 1824. After attending the University of East Tennessee at Knoxville, he worked on his father's Alabama farm before he began to study law at Winchester, Tennessee. He was admitted to the Alabama bar in 1846, then moved to Austin, Texas, in January 1847 and began a lucrative law practice. In 1851 he was elected district judge of the Second Judicial District for a term of six years; he resigned at the end of four years to resume his law practice and engage in planting and stock raising. He earned a high reputation for soundness of legal opinion and promptness in dispatch of business.
Hancock was elected to the Texas legislature as a Unionist in 1860. During the Civil War he was an avowed Union man but took no part in active hostilities. In March 1861 as a member of the legislature he declined to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States and was expelled from the legislature. He practiced in the state courts but refused to conduct any legal business in the Confederate courts or in any way to recognize their validity or constitutionality. In 1864 he left Texas for Mexico, where he remained for several months. He was in New Orleans at the time of Robert E. Lee's surrender, whereupon he returned to Texas. Hancock was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and was conspicuous in that body for his efforts in favor of reconciliation and the restoration of the Southern states to the Union. He declined nomination to Congress in 1870 but subsequently ran on the Democratic ticket and was elected to the Forty-second Congress; he served from 1871 to 1877. He returned in the Forty-eighth Congress, 1883-85. He supported the Indian peace policy of the Grant administration, which called for placing Indians on reservations under government supervision.
Hancock married Susan E. Richardson in November 1855. He was a member of the Episcopal Church. He died on July 19, 1893, in Austin, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Source
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.
Charles Stewart, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 6, 1806, to Charles and Adrianna (Bull) Stewart. He studied medicine in the early 1820s, and after 1825 he worked as a druggist in Columbus, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina; he subsequently resided in Cuba for a few months and conducted a trading partnership. He returned to South Carolina and received his license in pharmacy in June 1829. Stewart then moved to New Orleans and worked as a coffee merchant. He moved to Texas in the spring of 1830 and operated an apothecary shop in Brazoria. In June 1832, during the Anahuac Disturbances, Stewart joined Francis W. Johnson's command and fought at the battle of Velasco. He was later appointed to the Subcommittee of Safety and Vigilance of the Brazoria District by the Convention of 1832. In November 1834 Stewart was appointed secretary of the judicial district of Brazos. In the spring of 1835 he moved to San Felipe de Austin and opened a drugstore. On May 4, 1835, he obtained a license to practice medicine in Texas. On July 17, as secretary for the Austin delegation, Stewart attended a meeting with representatives of Columbia and Mina to discuss the capture Antonio Tenorio's troops by William B. Travis's troops at Anahuac. On October 11 Stewart was elected secretary of the Permanent Council. On November 11 he was appointed by the General Council as enrollment clerk and secretary to the executive, thus becoming in effect the first Texas secretary of state. Stewart and Thomas Barnett were elected to represent Austin at the Convention of 1836. On March 2, 1836, Stewart signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He moved to Montgomery in 1837, established a medical practice, and opened a drugstore. In 1839 he served on the committee appointed by the Third Congress of the republic to design a new state flag. Stewart is credited with drawing the original draft of the Lone Star flag. On March 5, 1840, he was appointed district attorney pro tem of Montgomery County, and President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed him notary public on May 11, 1841. Stewart represented Montgomery County at the Constitutional Convention of 1845. He also represented Montgomery County in the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth legislatures. Stewart married Julia Sheppard in March 1835, and the couple had five children. After the death of his first wife he married Elizabeth Antoinette Nichols Boyd. They had two children, and he also adopted her two children from a previous marriage. Stewart died on July 2, 1885, and was buried in the Montgomery Cemetery. Source
Glenn Corbett was an American actor, best known for his roles on the original Star Trek series and as Lincoln Case on the CBS adventure drama Route 66. An American lead actor and supporting actor, the ruggedly handsome Corbett was born Glenn Edwin Rothenburg on August 17, 1933, the son of a garage mechanic. After serving time in the United States Navy as a Seabee, he met his wife Judy at Occidental College, and with her encouragement, he began acting in campus theater plays. He was seen by a talent scout and was signed to a contract with Columbia Pictures.
His film debut was in The Crimson Kimono (1959); it was followed with supporting roles in The Mountain Road (1960), Man on a String (1960) and Homicidal (1961). In 1963, Corbett replaced George Maharis on the wildly popular CBS television series Route 66. Corbett, playing Lincoln Case, co-starred with Martin Milner during part of the third season and the fourth, and final, season of the series (1963-1964). His other notable television roles in the early-to late-1960s were as Wes Macauley on It's a Man's World (1962-1963) and an episode of Gunsmoke in which a man gets a reputation as a gunman when he's found with four dead outlaws at his feet. He is probably best remembered by science fiction fans for his guest starring role in the second season Star Trek episode Metamorphosis (1967) as Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive.
He returned to movies in the 1970s, and starred with John Wayne in the films Chisum (1970), and Big Jake (1971). Later in the 1970s he had the lead role in Nashville Girl (1976) and in Universal's war epic Midway (1976). In 1977, he joined the cast of the NBC daytime soap opera, The Doctors, and stayed with the show until 1981 when he was cast in the long-running television series Dallas. After his character was written off the show in 1988, he stayed with the Lorimar Television production company for three more years as its dialogue director. In January 1993, Glenn Corbett died of lung cancer at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 59 and was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio.
29° 28.564, -098° 25.806
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
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 P. (Gotch) Hardeman, Texas Ranger, soldier, and public servant, was born on November 4, 1816, in Williamson County, Tennessee. His father, Thomas Jones Hardeman, was an officer in the War of 1812 and a prominent Texas political figure. Mary (Polk) Hardeman, his mother, was an aunt of James K. Polk. Hardeman attended the University of Nashville and in the fall of 1835 moved to Matagorda County, Texas, with his father and a large group of Hardeman family members.
Immediately after his arrival in Texas he joined the resistance movement against Mexico. He participated in the battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. Shortly afterward he assisted his uncle, Bailey Hardeman, and others in bringing a cannon from Dimmitt's Landing to San Antonio for use against Mexican forces under Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos. Hardeman and his brother Thomas Monroe Hardeman accompanied a small relief column to the Alamo, but the garrison had fallen to Mexican forces shortly before their arrival. The Hardemans abandoned their exhausted horses and after a narrow escape on foot suffered severe hunger. Gotch was then sent by his uncle Bailey on an errand to summon militia. An illness resulting from exposure on this assignment probably kept him from action in the decisive battle of San Jacinto. He subsequently served for a number of years in the Texas Rangers. He accompanied Erastus (Deaf) Smith for four months of ranger duty on the frontier in 1837 and fought in Col. John Henry Moore's ranger force against the Comanches at Wallace's Creek on February 22, 1839. Three months later he participated in the Córdova campaign in East Texas, an aftermath of the Córdova Rebellion.
Hardeman fought the Comanches in the battle of Plum Creek on August 11, 1840. In February 1842 he engaged in harassment of invading Mexican forces led by Gen. Rafael Vásquez. Nine months later he joined the Somervell expedition against Mexico. After the annexation of Texas by the United States, Hardeman served as a member of Benjamin McCulloch's Guadalupe valley rangers in Gen. Zachary Taylor's army. He engaged in the exploration of the Linares, China, and Cerralvo-San Juan River routes to the Mexican stronghold of Monterrey and scouted ahead of Taylor's main invading force. Hardeman's last Mexican War engagements were in the scouting expedition to Encarnación and the ensuing battle of Buena Vista. Subsequently he went to his Guadalupe County plantation, where he farmed with as many as thirty-one slaves.
Fifteen years later he returned to military life. After voting for secession in 1861 as a member of the Secession Convention, he raised a force from Guadalupe and Caldwell counties, forming the 800-man Company A of Col. Spruce M. Baird's Fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment, part of Henry H. Sibley's New Mexico Brigade. He fought and was twice wounded at Valverde, where he participated in the successful charge against Alexander McRae's battery of artillery (the Valverde Battery), after which he was promoted to regimental major. In April 1862 Hardeman commanded the successful defense of the Confederate supply depot at Albuquerque against Col. Edward R. S. Canby's much larger force and was credited with saving the artillery. After the defeat of Sibley's column, Hardeman was reassigned to the Gulf theater of war. He participated in Gen. Richard Taylor's Red River campaign, which turned back the numerically superior army of Union general Nathaniel P. Banks, and eventually rose to the command of the Fourth Texas Cavalry. After successful campaigns at Yellow Bayou and Franklin, Hardeman was promoted to brigadier general.
After the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, Hardeman, like his cousin Peter Hardeman and thousands of other Confederates, became an exile. He joined a company of fifteen high-ranking officers, eluded Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, and escaped to Mexico. There he served briefly as a battalion commander in Maximilian's army and became a settlement agent for a Confederate colony near Guadalajara. In 1866 he returned to Texas, where he served as inspector of railroads, superintendent of public buildings and grounds, and superintendent of the Texas Confederate Home in Austin. He also helped avert bloodshed in the Coke-Davis controversy of 1873-74 and was one of the founders of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). Hardeman was twice married, first to his uncle Bailey's widow Rebecca, and after her death to Sarah Hamilton. He had two children by the first marriage and five by the second. He died of Bright's disease on April 8, 1898, and was buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. 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 Katherine W. Haden on November 17, 1899 in Galveston, Texas, Sara was the second daughter of Dr. John Brannum Haden and character actress Charlotte Walker, one of the great stage beauties at the turn of the century. Her parents divorced when she was young and the children split their time between New York and Galveston. Sara and her elder sister Beatrice attended the Sacred Heart Academy in Galveston, where they boarded during school terms.
She made her debut onstage in the early 1920s as Nora in Macbeth. She lacked the beauty of her mother, having the appearance of a lonely school marm, and thus was always cast in character roles and supporting parts. Sometime in the mid-20s she changed her professional name to Sara, although it was often spelled Sarah on the programs. She made her film debut in 1934 in the Katharine Hepburn vehicle Spitfire. Sara later became a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player and had small roles in many of the studio's films, most notably as spinsterish Aunt Milly in the Andy Hardy series. She was most notable for her stern, humorless characterizations such as a truant officer in Shirley Temple's Captain January (1936), but she also played the much-loved teacher Miss Pipps who is unjustly fired in the Our Gang comedy Come Back, Miss Pipps (1941). Her other notable films include Poor Little Rich Girl (1936), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Woman of the Year (1942) and The Bishop's Wife (1947).
She made her last film in 1958 (Andy Hardy Comes Home) and turned to television, performing on episodes of Climax!, Bourbon Street Beat, Perry Mason and Bonanza, with her last TV appearance in a 1965 guest spot on Dr. Kildare. She retired, and spent the rest of her life socializing with her friends and decorating her home. Sara died of an unknown illness on September 15, 1981, in Woodland Hills, California, and buried in the Haden family mausoleum in Galveston.
Note: Unmarked. There are several crypts inside the Haden family mausoleum, all marked with a small nameplate except for two - those of Sara and her mother Charlotte.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1921, Evers gained the nickname "Hoot" as a child since he was a devoted fan of the films of Richard "Hoot" Gibson, a popular movie cowboy. He graduated from Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Illinois, then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he was a star baseball and basketball player. Evers was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1941 and was considered one of the brightest prospects in baseball. After playing one major league game on September 16, 1941, Evers' baseball career was put on hold while he served four years in the military during World War II.
He returned to the Tigers in 1946, playing 76 games in center field, but missing half the season with a broken ankle. In 1947, the 26-year-old Evers finally played his first full season in the big leagues. He had a .296 batting average and a .344 on-base percentage. He was selected for the American League All-Star team in 1948 and 1950. Evers' career peaked in the three years from 1948 to 1950, hitting over .300 all three years and batting in over 100 runs in 1948 and 1950.
His best season was in 1950 when he led the American League in triples and was among the American League leaders in most batting categories. That year, he had a .551 slugging percentage, 34 doubles, .959 OPS, 67 extra base hits, .323 batting average, 109 RBIs, 259 total bases, and .408 on-base percentage. He remains the only major league player to hit two triples and hit for the cycle in the same game.
In 1951 his batting average dropped nearly 100 points from .323 to .224, and his RBI production dropped from 103 to 46. After playing only one game for the Tigers in 1952, Evers was traded on June 3, 1952 that sent George Kell, Johnny Lipon, Dizzy Trout, and Evers to the Boston Red Sox. He became the Red Sox starting left fielder in 1952, and he hit .262 with 59 RBIs. A broken finger in 1952 reportedly hampered Evers' grip, and he never regained his stroke. Evers played four more major league seasons from 1953 to 1956, but he did not hit above .251 or collect more than 39 RBIs. In 1,142 career games, Evers batted .278 with 98 home runs, 565 RBIs, and 1,055 hits.
After his playing career ended, he worked in the Cleveland Indians organization for several years and was a member of the team's coaching staff in 1970. In 1971, he joined the Detroit Tigers as director of player development. In 1978, he became a special assignment scout for the Tigers in Houston. Evers died in Houston, Texas in 1991. He was 69 years old and had recently suffered a heart attack.
John Sinclair was born near Center Point, Texas, on November 26, 1879. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to a dairy farm in eastern Bexar County. While a student at the University of Texas, Sinclair was a member of the band and the Glee Club; served as editor of the campus literary magazine and the literary section of the yearbook; and played football.
One day in class, he was inspired by UT President William L. Prather, who ended his speeches to the student body with the statement, "The eyes of Texas are upon you," sometimes adding, "You cannot get away." The phrase became a running campus joke. Prather borrowed the phrase from his own college president, General Robert E. Lee, who often told students at Washington University, "Remember, gentlemen, the eyes of the South are upon you." Sinclair wrote a song titled The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You which was set to the tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. The song was first sung by the Glee Club quartet at a minstrel show held on May 12, 1903, to benefit the University’s track team.
After graduating from UT in 1904, Sinclair tried farming near Artesia Wells in La Salle County. He returned to his family’s dairy farm following his father’s death in 1908. Around 1923, Sinclair moved to New York City, where he became a partner in a tax and investment advisory service and, in 1945, married Stella C. Anderson of San Antonio. Sinclair died in New York on January 4, 1947, and is buried with his wife in the Masonic Cemetery in San Antonio.
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.