April 30, 2013

George Washington Lonis

Mistakenly called "G.W. Lewis" on several of the original rosters, Lonis was born in Tennessee and emigrated to Texas sometime in 1830. He was engaged in several skirmishes against Mexico during the early stages of the Revolution, including the Siege of Bexar in 1835 as part of Augustine's Company as well as the Grass Fight. On March 13, 1836, he enlisted with Captain Patton's Company to fight against Mexico.

During the Battle of San Jacinto, he was seriously wounded and nearly died: "Lonis, an infantry soldier, was shot in the breast early in the action, and fell in the tall grass, and lay there until after night, without being seen by his victorious comrades. He suffered terribly from his wound, and almost famished for water. He heard the battle receding from him; heard the shouts of victory, and the voices of his comrades near him, returning from the pursuit; but he was too weak to call for aid, and lay there wallowing about in his blood, almost delirious from the burning thirst that raged within. Sometimes he gave up all hope, and thought he must die for want of help with so many of his brave comrades near; but, then again, he would hear the sound of voices and hope would again revive, only to be disappointed as the sounds died away in the distance. It was now long after night, and he had been lying there since 4 o'clock, with a rifle ball in his breast, with not even enough strength to raise his head, but only to move it from side to side, and mutter low gurgling moans. At last he gave up all hope; he knew he could not survive until morning in this condition; his tongue was dry and thick, and he was almost choked with thirst; but, suddenly he heard a footstep near, which seemed to be passing the spot where he lay; his articulation was almost gone, but he uttered a faint moan. A few quick steps and Howard Baily and Frank Sparks bent over him. 'Wash Lonis' says Baily, 'the poor fellow, he is almost gone'. With a canteen of water he soon relieved the thirst of the wounded man. Baily being a strong man, carried him to camp in his arms, and by careful nursing, Washington Lonis recovered" - Rangers and Pioneers of Texas (1884)

By 1851, Lonis and his wife, Margaret Cowan, were living in Brazoria County. They later moved to San Augustine County, before moving one last time to Guadalupe County where he died in 1882.

GPS Coordinates
29° 34.412, -097° 56.113


San Geronimo Cemetery
Seguin

April 23, 2013

William Steele

William S. 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.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.527, -097° 43.640

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

April 16, 2013

John Crittenden Duval

John Crittenden (John C., Texas John) Duval, writer, son of Nancy (Hynes) and William Pope Duval, was born at Bardstown, Kentucky, on March 14, 1816, and grew up in Tallahassee after his father was appointed to a federal judgeship in what was then Florida Territory. Duval returned to Bardstown in 1831 with his mother to continue his education at St. Joseph College. Late in 1835 he left the college to join a small company organized by his brother Capt. Burr H. Duval to fight with the Texans against Mexico. The brothers were with James W. Fannin's army when it surrendered to the Mexican forces under José de Urrea. In the Goliad Massacre on Palm Sunday, 1836, Burr Duval was killed, but John escaped. Not long afterwards he entered the University of Virginia to study engineering. He returned to Texas by 1840 and became a land surveyor. In 1845 he was, alongside William A.A. (Bigfoot) Wallace, a member of John C. (Jack) Hays's company of Texas Rangers. Duval did not favor secession, but he joined the Confederate Army as a private, declining a commission. He was a captain by the war's end.

He liked to be out in wilderness places, to loiter and to read, write, and recollect. His writings justify his being called the first Texas man of letters. Early Times in Texas was published serially in Burke's Weekly at Macon, Georgia, in 1867, although it did not appear in book form (and then only as a pamphlet printed on rotten paper) until 1892. The story of Duval's remarkable escape from the Goliad Massacre and of his more remarkable adventures before he rejoined human society became a Texas classic. Of all personal adventures of old-time Texans it is perhaps the best written and the most interesting. The Young Explorers (189?), a narrative with a fictional thread, a book for boys, was published as a sequel to Early Times in Texas. Duval's most artistic and most important book is The Adventures of Bigfoot Wallace, the Texas Ranger and Hunter (1870). Always free and at home with himself, Bigfoot opened up to his old friend Duval with gusto, and Duval helped him stretch the blanket. He died in Fort Worth on January 15, 1897.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.515, -097° 43.632

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

April 9, 2013

Morgan Calvin Hamilton

Morgan C. Hamilton, government official, was born near Huntsville, Alabama, on February 25, 1809. He was the brother of A. J. Hamilton. He began work as a clerk in a mercantile establishment and moved to Texas in 1830. In 1837 he moved to Austin. He moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1842 and returned to Austin in 1845. For six years, 1839-45, he served in the war department of the Republic of Texas, first as clerk and in 1844-45 as secretary of war. In Austin he had a mercantile business until 1852, when he sold out and retired from active business.

Hamilton was an uncompromising Republican, violently opposed to secession. During Reconstruction he was appointed state comptroller in 1867 and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868-69. His participation caused some controversy at the convention, since he was part of a Radical Republican faction that called for the disfranchisement of all former Confederates. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1870 and served until 1877. After retirement from public life he traveled extensively. During his last years he resided in Brooklyn, New York, and made occasional trips to Austin. He never married. Hamilton died on November 21, 1893, while visiting in San Diego, California. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, and his fortune was divided among his relatives.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.565, -097° 43.565

Section 2
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

April 2, 2013

Slater "Dugie" Martin

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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 46.952, -095° 36.932

Section 2A
Memorial Oaks Cemetery
Houston