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.
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.
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.
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.
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. During a trip to New York to confer with Roosevelt, Gregory contracted pneumonia and died, on February 26, 1933. He is buried in Austin.