December 30, 2014

Cleveland T. "Big Cat" Williams (1933-1999)

Georgia native Cleveland Williams was an American heavyweight boxer who fought in the 1950s through the 1970s. A Ring Magazine poll once rated him as one of the finest boxers never to win a title. He made an imposing figure, tall with an impressive athletic broad shouldered build. Williams turned professional in 1951 and fought many of the best heavyweights of his era. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the 6 ft 3 in Williams was a top-rated heavyweight. His quest to obtain a title fight, however, was consistently derailed. First he was knocked out by Liston on April 15, 1959, after hurting Liston early and breaking Liston's nose (Liston often said Williams was the hardest puncher he ever fought). Williams recovered from the Liston fight to score more wins, but was again stopped by Liston in two rounds in their rematch on March 21, 1960. His quest for the title was again stalled when he was held to a draw by Eddie Machen on July 10, 1962 and when he dropped a split decision on March 13, 1963 to Ernie Terrell, a fighter he had previously knocked out in seven rounds in 1962. On November 29, 1964, during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, a car driven by Williams was stopped near Houston, Texas, by highway patrolman Dale Witten, who stated afterwards Williams was speeding. According to the police report subsequently filed by the patrolman, Williams resisted arrest, and the officer's .357 magnum revolver went off during the struggle to arrest him. The bullet moved across his intestines, and lodged against his right hip. He ultimately had to undergo four operations in the next seven months for colon damage and an injured right kidney. The right kidney of Williams was too damaged and not working, and had to be removed in June 1965. Doctors could not take out the patrolman's bullet, which had broken his right hip joint and caused partial paralysis of some of Williams' hip muscles. He was fined $50 and briefly jailed after pleading no contest to charges arising from the incident.

   Williams was inactive the entire year of 1965 while recovering from his injuries. The injury, surgeries and subsequent convalescence caused Williams to lose over 60 pounds, and over 17 months of his career. He regained his weight and strength by tossing 80-pound bales of hay daily on a cattle ranch until he had regained his fighting weight and physique. On February 8, 1966, Williams got a standing ovation from Houston fans as he returned to the ring, and knocked out Ben Black in the first round. It was in this condition that Williams fought for the heavyweight championship against Muhammad Ali on November 14, 1966 at the Astrodome. He lasted until the third round. He retired from boxing after the Ali bout, but later made a comeback. Although able to defeat journeymen fighters, he suffered several knockout losses before retiring for good in 1972. Williams finished his career with a record of 78 wins (58 KOs), 13 losses and 1 draw. He worked as a forklift operator and other odd jobs through the 1980s. On September 3, 1999, he was tragically killed in an unsolved hit-and-run accident. Four years later, Ring Magazine ranked him 49th on their list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Note: Cleveland Williams' grave is presently unmarked. He is buried in the bottom left space of the White family plot. There is no mention of his name on the headstone.

COORDINATES
29° 53.419
-095° 27.580

Block 12A
Paradise North Cemetery
Houston

December 23, 2014

J. Frank Wilson (1941-1991)

John Frank Wilson, singer, known as J. Frank Wilson, was born in Lufkin, Texas, on December 11, 1941. He was the son of a railroad engineer. Wilson became a one-hit wonder in the early 1960s when he was the lead singer of the hit song Last Kiss. He and the Cavaliers, his own band, recorded Wayne Cochran's teenage-death melodrama, which rose to the top of the American pop charts in 1964. The lugubrious song was the last exemplar of a genre that flourished in the early 1960s. Last Kiss remained on the charts for twelve weeks. Wilson had listened carefully to Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. After graduating from Lufkin High School in 1960, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo. He joined the Cavaliers (guitarist Sid Holmes, bassist Lewis Elliott, saxophonist Bob Zeller, and drummer Ray Smith), a group that had formed in San Angelo in 1955; moved to Memphis in the early 1960s; and returned to San Angelo in 1962. Wilson enhanced the group's appeal and enlarged its audience. The Cavaliers and J. Frank Wilson became a popular attraction at area clubs. In 1962, at the Blue Note in Big Spring, record producer Sonley Roush heard Wilson and the Cavaliers perform. At Ron Newdoll's Accurate Sound Recording Company on Tyler Avenue in San Angelo, the group recorded Cochran's song. Newdoll and his production company, Askell Productions, produced the recording and acquired ownership of the masters, with royalties, in exchange for the group's right to use the studio. Major Bill Smith, a recording executive in Fort Worth who had released Bruce Channel's hit Hey! Baby and Paul & Paula's Hey Paula, signed Wilson and the Cavaliers to record the song on the Josie label. The record was released in June 1964, entered the charts on October 10, and reached Number 2 on the Billboard Top 40 charts on November 7. The album sold more than 100,000 copies the first few months. Wilson and the Cavaliers earned a gold record for Last Kiss.

On October 22 Roush was killed in a car wreck in which Wilson was injured. The press whooped up the connection between the accident and the lyrics of Last Kiss, which is about a teen-aged girl who dies in the arms of her boyfriend after a car accident. Wilson was touring again within a week of the crash. On American Bandstand - and on crutches - he lip-synced Last Kiss and introduced a new single, Six Boys, produced by Smith with studio musicians. Wilson and Josie Records put together a new group under the name Cavaliers, although the original Cavaliers were continuing to perform with Lewis Elliott as leader and James Thomas as vocalist. Wilson recorded with session musicians. He continued as a single act, traveling with Jerry Lee, the Righteous Brothers, the Animals, and other well-known performers until he bottomed out from alcoholism. He made records and performed into the 1970s, but without much income or effect. On the tenth anniversary of the Last Kiss success, he was working in Lufkin as a nursing-home orderly for $250 a week. The depressed one-hit singer attempted marriage eight times and sank into alcohol addiction. Suffering from seizures and diabetes, he died in a nursing home in Lufkin on October 4, 1991, not long before his fiftieth birthday. In 1999 Last Kiss once again became a hit when the rock group Pearl Jam released its version, and in 2000, VH1 fans voted Last Kiss Number 3 in the all-time Top 10 cover songs. The song received a BMI 2-Million air-play award. J. Frank Wilson is honored in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. Source

COORDINATES
31° 15.933
-094° 44.496


Garden of Memories
Lufkin

December 16, 2014

James H. Fields (1920-1970)

James H. Fields, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Caddo, Texas, on June 16, 1920, the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Fields. He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston and was drafted into the army in 1942. He was a member of the Tenth Armored Infantry, Fourth Armored Division, United States Army. First Lieutenant Fields was cited for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" on September 27, 1944, at Réchicourt, France. He led his depleted platoon in a counterattack on an enemy position and exposed himself to enemy fire while attending to one of his wounded men. He himself was wounded in the face by a bursting shell. Badly injured and rendered speechless he continued to direct his platoon in the attack by hand signals. Two enemy machine-guns had the platoon in a deadly crossfire. Fields left his foxhole, picked up a light machine gun, and, firing from the hip, knocked out both the enemy positions. His action inspired his men to increase the pressure of the attack. Only when the enemy was scattered did Fields allow himself to be evacuated to the command post. There he refused further evacuation until he could brief the battalion commander. Only eleven of the fifty-five men in his platoon survived the day's engagement. Fields's heroism was largely responsible for the repulse of the enemy forces and was an inspiration to the entire command. After the war he became an independent oil operator. He died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Houston (now the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston) on June 17, 1970, and was survived by his wife, Mathilde, and four children. He was buried in the VA Houston National Cemetery. Source 

CITATION  
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, at Rechicourt, France. On 27 September 1944, during a sharp action with the enemy infantry and tank forces, 1st Lt. Fields personally led his platoon in a counterattack on the enemy position. Although his platoon had been seriously depleted, the zeal and fervor of his leadership was such as to inspire his small force to accomplish their mission in the face of overwhelming enemy opposition. Seeing that 1 of the men had been wounded, he left his slit trench and with complete disregard for his personal safety attended the wounded man and administered first aid. While returning to his slit trench he was seriously wounded by a shell burst, the fragments of which cut through his face and head, tearing his teeth, gums, and nasal passage. Although rendered speechless by his wounds, 1st Lt. Fields refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his platoon by the use of hand signals. On 1 occasion, when 2 enemy machine guns had a portion of his unit under deadly crossfire, he left his hole, wounded as he was, ran to a light machine gun, whose crew had been knocked out, picked up the gun, and fired it from his hip with such deadly accuracy that both the enemy gun positions were silenced. His action so impressed his men that they found new courage to take up the fire fight, increasing their firepower, and exposing themselves more than ever to harass the enemy with additional bazooka and machine gun fire. Only when his objective had been taken and the enemy scattered did 1st Lt. Fields consent to be evacuated to the battalion command post. At this point he refused to move further back until he had explained to his battalion commander by drawing on paper the position of his men and the disposition of the enemy forces. The dauntless and gallant heroism displayed by 1st Lt. Fields were largely responsible for the repulse of the enemy forces and contributed in a large measure to the successful capture of his battalion objective during this action. His eagerness and determination to close with the enemy and to destroy him was an inspiration to the entire command, and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

COORDINATES
29° 55.828
-095° 27.041

Section Hb
Houston National Cemetery
Houston

December 9, 2014

Joanna Troutman (1818-1879)

Joanna Troutman, designer of an early Texas Lone Star flag, was born on February 19, 1818, in Baldwin County, Georgia, the daughter of Hiram Bainbridge Troutman. In 1835, in response to an appeal for aid to the Texas cause, the Georgia Battalion, commanded by Col. William Ward, traveled to Texas. Joanna Troutman designed and made a flag of white silk, bearing a blue, five-pointed star and two inscriptions: "Liberty or Death" on the obverse and, in Latin, UBI LIBERTAS HABITAT, IBI NOSTRA PATRIA EST (Where Liberty dwells, there is our fatherland)" on the reverse. She presented the flag to the battalion, and it was unfurled at Velasco on January 8, 1836, above the American Hotel. It was carried to Goliad, where James W. Fannin, Jr., raised it as the national flag when he heard of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The flag was accidentally torn to shreds, however, and only its remnants flew above the battle. Joanna Troutman married Solomon L. Pope in 1839, and the couple moved to Elmwood, their prosperous plantation near Knoxville, Georgia, in 1840. They had four sons. Her husband died in 1872, and Joanna married W. G. Vinson, a Georgia state legislator, in 1875. She died on July 23, 1879, at Elmwood and was buried next to her first husband. In 1913 Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt secured permission to have her remains taken to Texas for interment in the State Cemetery in Austin. A bronze statue by Pompeo L. Coppini was erected there as a monument to her memory; her portrait hangs in the state Capitol. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.906
-097° 43.603

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

December 2, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Gazley (1798-1853)

Thomas J. Gazley, physician and legislator, was born in 1798 in Duchess County, New York. He established himself as a physician in Louisiana in 1828 but returned shortly to Baltimore, where he had received his medical training, to marry Eliza Boyce. They had four children. The family traveled to Texas from Ohio in November 1828 and settled in what is now Bastrop County. On April 29, 1829, Gazley applied for a license to practice medicine in San Felipe de Austin. On February 1, 1830, he was appointed clerk of the ayuntamiento. The Convention of 1832 appointed him a member of the subcommittee of safety and vigilance for the District of Bastrop. He was a delegate to the Convention of 1833. From September 28 to November 9, 1835, he was surgeon in Michael R. Goheen's company in the Texas army. Gazley was one of three representatives from Mina (Bastrop) at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. After the Texas Revolution he moved to Houston and on September 4, 1837, was elected from Harrisburg County to the House of the Second Congress of the Republic. At that time he was a law partner of John Birdsall. Gazley was senior warden of Holland Lodge No. 36 and a charter member of the Grand Lodge of Texas, organized on December 20, 1837. He moved from Houston to Bastrop County and settled near the site of present Smithville, where he died on October 31, 1853. In 1937 his body was reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin. Source 

Note: The birth date on his stone is incorrect.


COORDINATES
30° 15.918
-097° 43.645

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

November 25, 2014

Paul Francis Buskirk (1923-2002)

Paul Buskirk, mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist, was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, on April 8, 1923, the son of Lottie Mamel and John Everett Buskirk. He lived much of his life in the Houston area. Paul was a popular multi-instrumentalist who appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and at many other venues throughout the United States and around the world. He performed with a number of prominent musicians, including Chet Atkins, Tex Ritter, Roy Acuff, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Eddy Arnold, and Rex Allen. However, he is perhaps best-known for his close personal and professional relationship with singer-songwriter Willie Nelson. Paul began playing music at the age of eleven and performed with his parent’s family band. He learned violin and applied those lessons to learning the mandolin. He became an accomplished guitarist and later worked for Gene Austin. He also mastered the banjo and dobro. However, it was his skill on the mandolin that garnered him the greatest fame.

He has been described by country music historian Bill Malone as a “superb mandolin player...who was one of the first "modern" exponents of that instrument (that is, jazz-influenced) in country music...” Fellow mandolinist Red Rictor recalled “that during an era when bluegrass king Bill Monroe totally dominated the instrument, Buskirk had a reputation for actually having figured out a different way of playing on mandolin”. He was a member of the Blue Ridge Mountain Folk (in Texas), which included the Callahan Brothers (Joe and Bill), and toured the Southwest. The group recorded for Decca in 1941. During World War II he served in the United States Army. Back in Texas, reportedly while operating a music store in Pasadena, Buskirk gave a young Willie Nelson guitar lessons and later gave him a job teaching music lessons. Thus began a longtime musical association between Nelson and Buskirk, who is credited as having helped give Nelson his start in the music business. Paul purchased the rights to Nelson’s gospel song Family Bible for fifty dollars. They co-wrote the song Night Life. Originally recorded in Houston with Nelson and the band Paul Buskirk and His Little Men, the song went on to be a country hit for Faron Young and was covered by numerous other artists. At a number of his state fair performances, Buskirk's opening act was a young Elvis Presley. He helped produce and he performed on Nelson’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow album in 1981. In 1992 Nelson helped produce Buskirk’s record Nacogdoches Waltz. Later in life and after retirement, he lived in Nacogdoches. He was a Mason as well as a Shriner. Buskirk died of cancer in Nacogdoches on March 16, 2002, at the age of seventy-eight. Source 

COORDINATES
31° 33.913
-094° 28.933


Lower Melrose Cemetery
Nacogdoches

November 18, 2014

William Sparks (1761-1848)

William Sparks was born on April 3, 1761 in Rowan County, North Carolina. During the American Revolution, he served in the North Carolina Militia under Capt. John Cleveland and later under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, fighting Cherokee Indians and Tories when he was just 17 years old. At the close of the war, he moved to Franklin County, then Jackson and later Clark County in the state of Georgia, where Sparks married Mary Polly Fielder. The two had five children, Richard, John, James, Sarah and Edith, before moving to Lawrence County, Mississippi, in 1811 and then to Holmes County, Mississippi, where they lived until March 1834. There they had three more children, Levi, Nathan and William Matthew. Sometime in 1834-36, the Sparks family migrated to the Old North Church Community in Nacogdoches County, Texas where he obtained 2,200 acres of land. William served as a deacon in the church for about four years before asking to be relieved of his duties due to the infirmities of old age. He died in 1848 and was buried in the Old North Church Cemetery.

COORDINATES
31° 40.053
-094° 39.468


Old North Church Cemetery
Nacogdoches

November 11, 2014

Haden Edwards (1771-1849)

Haden (or Hayden) Edwards, pioneer settler and land speculator, was born in Stafford County, Virginia, on August 12, 1771, the son of John Edwards. In 1780 the family moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky (at that time part of Virginia), where John Edwards acquired 23,000 acres of land, worked for statehood, and was elected to the United States Senate. Haden was educated for the law but like his father was more interested in land speculation. In 1820 he married Susanna Beall of Maryland, and they moved to the area of Jackson, Mississippi, where he and his brother Benjamin W. Edwards acquired a plantation. He and Susanna eventually had thirteen children. In Mississippi the Edwards first heard the news of Moses Austin's plans for colonization in Texas. In 1823 Edwards traveled to Mexico City, where he joined Stephen F. Austin, Robert Leftwich, and others in a three-year attempt to persuade various Mexican governments to authorize American settlement in Texas. Because of his wealth Edwards was often called upon to finance Austin. Their efforts resulted in the colonization law of 1824 in Mexico City and of 1825 in Saltillo, which allowed empresarios to introduce settlers to Texas. Edwards suffered more than he profited from his relationship with Austin, at least in his own mind, since he believed that Austin claimed the best lands and tried to push his boundaries in every direction at the expense of other empresarios.

   Edwards received a grant in the vicinity of Nacogdoches where he could locate 800 families. Like other empresarios he agreed to honor pre-existing grants and claims made by Spanish or Mexican officials. Of all empresarios, Edwards probably had the most such claims, some over a century old. In 1825 he posted notices to inform all potential claimants that they must come forward with proof of their claims or he would consider the land his, subject to sale to new settlers. This angered the older settlers, who opposed Edwards until he was expelled two years later. He also became involved in an election dispute between the representative of the older settlers, Samuel Norris, and Chichester Chaplin, Edwards's son-in-law. As empresario, Edwards certified the election of Chaplin. Norris then protested to Governor José Antonio Saucedo in San Antonio, and Saucedo upheld Norris's claim to office. However, Chaplin continued to hold the position until Norris requested aid from the local militia. Continued complaints from the area caused Edwards to come under suspicion, and his brother Benjamin, who handled business affairs while Haden was absent from Texas in 1826, addressed such strident correspondence to government officials that it resulted in the revocation of the Edwards grant in October of that year.

   Edwards was shocked by this turn of events. He had invested more than $50,000 to secure and launch the grant, and he did not willingly surrender it. Additionally, the cancellation of his grant resulted in the forfeiture of the claims of all settlers who had moved onto his lands. Thus, when the events known as the Fredonian Rebellion, which the Edwards brothers eventually headed, began the following month, the Edwards grantees were most supportive. In November 1826 Edwards was arrested as a ruse. When no one appeared at his trial as an accuser he was freed, but Norris and militia chief José Antonio Sepúlveda were found guilty and judged deserving of the death sentence, which was commuted to banishment from office by this extralegal tribunal. News of the uprising reached the Mexican authorities, who dispatched Lt. Col. Mateo Ahumada to Nacogdoches. Learning that troops were on their way, Martin Parmer and Benjamin Edwards recruited the Ayish Bayou militia to come to town as well. They signed articles establishing the Fredonian Republic, with Haden Edwards as its leader. An alliance was also made with Cherokee Indians led by Richard Fields and John Dunn Hunter, who also had grievances against the government. Before an armed clash occurred the Fredonians dispersed, in early February 1827, and Edwards fled to Louisiana for safety. He returned to Texas during the Texas Revolution and made his home in Nacogdoches until his death, on August 14, 1849. Edwards was the first worshipful master of Milam Lodge No. 2 when it was organized in 1837, a fact that indicates his status in the Anglo leadership. Until his death he was engaged in the land business. Source

COORDINATES
31° 36.173
-094° 38.965


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

November 4, 2014

James Love (1795-1874)

James Love, jurist and legislator, was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, on May 12, 1795, and attended the common schools in Bardstown, Kentucky. He was orphaned at an early age and moved to Clay County, Kentucky, where he was employed in the office of the clerk of the courts. At the age of seventeen he volunteered for service in the War of 1812. After his military service he returned home to study law, was admitted to the bar, and established a practice at Barbourville, Kentucky. There he married Lucy Ballinger, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Jennings Ballinger. Love served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1819 to 1831 and was speaker of the House for at least one term. He served in the Twenty-third United States Congress from March 4, 1833, to March 4, 1835. Afterward he declined nomination for another term, moved south, and lived for a time in Helena, Arkansas, then in New Orleans. He moved to Houston in 1837 and settled in Galveston in 1838. He was a bitter enemy of Sam Houston and, with Mirabeau B. Lamar and David G. Burnet, a leader of the opposition. Houston, in a speech to militia volunteers in 1842, said these leaders should be executed as traitors. In a speech to the same volunteers Love threatened to put Houston on a ship to the United States. Love was a member of the first board of directors of the Galveston City Company and was elected in 1845 to represent Galveston County at the annexation convention, which framed the Texas constitution. When the state government was formed Love was appointed judge of the first judicial district; he resigned after two years. In 1850 he was appointed clerk of the federal court in Galveston, a position he held until the onset of the Civil War. He had been among the few to argue against secession and predicted its dire consequences; however, when only thirty Galvestonians voted against secession, he entered wholeheartedly into the conflict and served two years with the Eighth Texas Cavalry (Terry's Texas Rangers). When the war ended he was elected the first judge of the Galveston and Harris County Criminal District Court but was removed, with the governor and most Texas officials, by the military commander as an "impediment to reconstruction." Love was confined to his home by ill health for the last several years of his life. He died in Galveston on June 12, 1874, and was interred at Trinity Church Cemetery. Source 

COORDINATES
29° 17.629
-094° 48.677


Trinity Episcopal Cemetery
Galveston

October 28, 2014

Ben Thompson (1843-1884)

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

COORDINATES
30° 16.552
-097° 43.631

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

October 21, 2014

William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace (1817-1899)

"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

COORDINATES
30° 15.920
-097° 43.626

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

October 14, 2014

Walter Franklin "Walt" Bond (1937-1967)

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.

COORDINATES
29° 55.791
-095° 27.063

Section C
Houston National Cemetery
Houston

October 7, 2014

William Carroll Crawford (1804-1895)

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

COORDINATES
30° 15.924
-097° 43.650

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

September 30, 2014

Thomas Watt Gregory (1861-1933)

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

COORDINATES
30° 16.717
-097° 43.596

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

September 23, 2014

John Henry Faulk (1913-1990)

John 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

COORDINATES
30° 16.716
-097° 43.583

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

September 16, 2014

Chad Lamont "Pimp C" Butler (1973-2007)

Pimp C, rap artist, was born 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

COORDINATES
29° 56.155
-093° 55.453

Mausoleum
Greenlawn Memorial Park
Groves

September 9, 2014

James Power (1778-1852)

James Power, empresario and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in 1778 or 1779 in Ballygarrett, County Wexford, Ireland. In 1809 he immigrated to New Orleans, where he lived for twelve years and worked as a merchant. In New Orleans he learned from Stephen F. Austin of the empresario contracts being offered by the Mexican government and, in 1821, moved to Matamoros. He subsequently moved to Saltillo and became a citizen of Mexico. There he dealt in mining equipment and formed a partnership with James Hewetson. In 1828 Power and Hewetson received an empresario contract to settle 200 Catholic families, half Irish and half Mexican citizens, on the coast of Texas between the Lavaca and Guadalupe rivers. The contract was subsequently modified many times; by the early 1830s the Power and Hewetson colony included lands between Coleto Creek and the mouth of the Nueces. In the fall of 1835 Power participated in the Lipantitlán expedition and could not take his seat at the Consultation, to which he had been elected as representative from Refugio. He represented Refugio at the Convention of 1836 and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He used his influence to persuade the 1836 convention to seat Sam Houston and also served on the committee that drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. As Gen. José de Urrea's army advanced into the state, Power was sent to New Orleans to raise supplies for the Texas army. In 1837 Power founded the town of Aransas City by his home on Live Oak Point in present-day Aransas County on the Gulf Coast. He opened a mercantile and post office, built a wharf, and established a customs operation. With his partner Henry Smith, Power promoted the town and became mayor after its incorporation in January 1839. The town declined, however, and ceased to exist by the mid-1840s. He represented Refugio in the Second Congress and at the Convention of 1845. Power was first married to Dolores de la Portilla, daughter of Felipe Roque de la Portilla, in 1832. They had two children. After her death he married her sister, Tomasita, and fathered five more children. Power died on August 15, 1852, at his home, where he was buried. Subsequently, his remains were reinterred in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Refugio. The site of his homestead, Live Oak Point, was marked by the Texas Centennial Commission in 1936. Source 

COORDINATES
28° 18.132
-097° 16.978


Mount Calvary Cemetery
Refugio

September 2, 2014

John Hemphill (1803-1862)

John Hemphill, jurist and Confederate congressman, was born in Blackstock, Chester District, South Carolina, on December 18, 1803, the son of John and Jane (Lind) Hemphill. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Hemphill attended Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson) in Pennsylvania from 1823 to 1825 and graduated second in his class. He taught school for a while in South Carolina and in 1829 began to study law with David J. McCord in Columbia. After admission to practice in the court of Common Pleas in November 1829 he established a practice in Sumter District, South Carolina. In 1831 he was admitted to practice in the Court of Chancery. As a staunch advocate of states' rights, Hemphill edited a nullification newspaper in Sumter in 1832-33. In 1836 he volunteered for service in the Seminole War, in which he achieved the rank of second lieutenant. In the summer of 1838 he immigrated to Texas and established a legal practice at Washington-on-the-Brazos. In early 1840 the Congress of the Republic of Texas elected him judge of the Fourth Judicial District, an election that automatically made him an associate justice of the republic Supreme Court. He was confirmed in the office on January 20, 1840. On March 19, 1840, he participated in the Council House Fight in San Antonio. In 1840-41 Hemphill joined several campaigns against the Comanches, and in 1842-43, during a period when the Supreme Court did not meet, he served as adjutant general of the Somervell expedition. On December 5, 1840, the Congress elected him chief justice of the Supreme Court, a position he held until 1858. He was elected a delegate from Washington County to the Convention of 1845, where he cast his vote in favor of statehood. Governor James Pinckney Henderson appointed Hemphill to a six-year term as chief justice, and he was confirmed on March 2, 1846. After the selection of Supreme Court justices was transferred to the voters, Hemphill was elected chief justice on August 4, 1851, and again in 1856.

As a jurist he took a particular interest in cases involving Spanish and Mexican law, which he had studied intensively, as well as those concerning marital rights, divorce, and homestead and other exemptions. He was noted for the "liberal construction" he placed on married women's rights and for his championship of homestead rights. His decisions are credited with substantially shaping the "form and content" of community property and homestead exemption law. Hemphill regretted the adoption of common law by the Texas Congress in 1840 and managed, in his written opinions, to preserve "something of the liberal spirit of the civil law." He was called the John Marshall of Texas for the significant role he played in the development of Texas jurisprudence. In November 1857 Democrats, dissatisfied with Sam Houston, nominated Hemphill to succeed Houston when the latter's senatorial term ended in March 1859. Hemphill was subsequently elected by the Texas Senate and took office on March 4, 1859. In January 1861 he delivered an address expressing his belief in the right of states to secede, and on January 6, 1861, he was one of fourteen senators who recommended the immediate withdrawal of the southern states. On February 4, 1861, the Secession Convention elected him one of seven Texas delegates to the convention of Southern states in Montgomery, Alabama, which became the Provisional Confederate Congress. He was subsequently expelled from the United States Senate by resolution on July 11, 1861. As a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress, Hemphill served on the Commercial and Financial Independence, Finance, and Judiciary committees and on the special committee to digest the laws. He devoted much of his attention to the task of adapting United States laws to Confederate purposes. In November 1861 he ran for a seat in the First Regular Congress but was narrowly defeated by Williamson S. Oldham. Before the end of the Provisional Congress Judge Hemphill died in Richmond, on January 4, 1862. His body was returned to Austin for burial in the State Cemetery. Never married, Hemphill was characterized as a private and reserved yet generous individual. Hemphill County, established on August 21, 1876, was named in his honor. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.925
-097° 43.646

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin


August 26, 2014

Zeno Phillips (1802-1835)

Zeno Philips, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, on July 19, 1824, received title to a sitio of land in what is now Brazoria County. The census of March 1826 classified him as a farmer and stock raiser, a single man aged between twenty-five and forty, with one servant and twenty-two slaves. In March 1829 Philips and John R. Harris acted as partners in one of the first large contracts for cotton in Texas, when they bought about 100 bales from Jared E. Groce. Philips was a lieutenant colonel in the local militia in August 1829. The same year he was defeated as a candidate for regidor. In December 1830 he was administering the estate of Joseph White. Source 

Note: Unmarked. This small field was originally the site of the Phillips family cemetery. Although there were once several stones, none exist now. Outside of the historical marker at the gate, nothing remains that denotes this as a burying ground. 

COORDINATES
29° 09.202
-095° 42.439


Phillips Family Cemetery
West Columbia

August 19, 2014

Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson (1814?-1883)

Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson (also spelled Dickerson), survivor of the Alamo, was born about 1814 in Tennessee, perhaps in Williamson County. Her first name has also been recorded as Susan, Susana, and Suzanna; her maiden name is sometimes given as Wilkinson. On May 24, 1829, she married Almeron Dickinson before a justice of the peace in Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee. The couple remained in the vicinity through the end of 1830. The Dickinsons arrived at Gonzales, Texas, on February 20, 1831, in company with fifty-four other settlers, after a trip by schooner from New Orleans. On May 5 Dickinson received a league of land from Green DeWitt, on the San Marcos River in what became Caldwell County. He received ten more lots in and around Gonzales in 1833 and 1834. The Dickinsons lived on a lot just above the town on the San Marcos River, where Susanna took in at least one boarder. A map of Gonzales in 1836 shows a Dickinson and Kimble hat factory in Gonzales. Susanna's only child, Angelina Elizabeth Dickinson, was born on December 14, 1834. Susanna and her daughter may have joined other families hiding in the timber along the Guadalupe River in early October 1835, when Mexican troops from San Antonio demanded the return of an old cannon lent to Gonzales four years earlier. The resulting skirmish, the battle of Gonzales, was the first fight of the Texas Revolution. Susanna said goodbye to her husband on October 13 as the volunteers left for San Antonio under command of Stephen F. Austin. She remained in Gonzales through November, when newly arriving troops looted her home. She joined Dickinson in San Antonio, probably in December 1835, and lodged in Ramón Músquiz's home, where she opened her table to boarders (among them David Crockett) and did laundry. On February 23, 1836, the family moved into the Alamo.

After the battle of the Alamo on March 6, Mexican soldiers found her - some accounts say in the powder magazine, others in the church - and took her and Angelina, along with the other women and children, to Músquiz's home. The women were later interviewed by Santa Anna, who gave each a blanket and two dollars in silver before releasing them. Legend says Susanna displayed her husband's Masonic apron to a Mexican general in a plea for help and that Santa Anna offered to take Angelina to Mexico. Santa Anna sent Susanna and her daughter, accompanied by Juan N. Almonte's servant Ben, to Sam Houston with a letter of warning dated March 7. On the way, the pair met Joe, William B. Travis's slave, who had been freed by Santa Anna. The party was discovered by Erastus (Deaf) Smith and Henry Wax Karnes. Smith guided them to Houston in Gonzales, where they arrived after dark about March 12. Susanna Dickinson probably followed the army eastward in company with the other Gonzales women. Illiterate, without family, and only twenty-two years old, she petitioned the government meeting at Columbia in October 1836 for a donation, but the proposed $500 was not awarded. She needed a male protector, and by June 1837 she was cohabiting with John Williams, whom she married about November 27, 1837. He beat her and Angelina, and she petitioned in Harrisburg (later Harris) County for a divorce, which was granted on March 24, 1838 - one of the first divorces in the county.

By 1839 Almeron Dickinson's heirs had received rights to 2,560 acres for his military service; they sold the land when Angelina reached twenty-one. Subsequent requests to the state legislature in November 1849 were turned down. Susanna tried matrimony three more times before settling into a stable relationship. She wed Francis P. Herring on December 20, 1838, in Houston. Herring, formerly from Georgia, had come to Texas after October 20, 1837. He died on September 15, 1843. On December 15, 1847, Susanna married Pennsylvania drayman Peter Bellows (also known as Bellis or Belles) before an Episcopalian minister. In 1850 the couple had sixteen-year-old Angelina living with them. But by 1854 Susanna had left Bellows, who charged her with adultery and prostitution when he filed for divorce in 1857. Susanna may have lived in the Mansion House Hotel of Pamelia Mann, which was known as a brothel, before marrying Bellows. The divorce petition accuses her of taking up residence in a "house of ill fame." Nevertheless, Susanna received praise from the Baptist minister Rufus C. Burleson for her work nursing cholera victims in Houston, where he baptized her in Buffalo Bayou in 1849. Susanna's fifth marriage was long-lasting. She married Joseph William Hannig (or Hannag), a native of Germany living in Lockhart, in 1857. They soon moved to Austin, where Hannig became prosperous with a cabinet shop and later a furniture store and undertaking parlor; he also owned a store in San Antonio. Susanna became ill in February 1883 and died on October 7 of that year. Hannig buried her in Oakwood Cemetery, and even though he married again, he was buried next to Susanna after his death in 1890. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 16.524
-097° 43.602

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

August 12, 2014

Edwin Hawley "Eddie" Dyer (1900-1964)

Eddie Dyer, baseball player and manager, son of Joseph Dyer, was born in Morgan City, Louisiana, on October 11, 1900. After attending public schools there, he enrolled in Rice Institute, Houston, where he played football and baseball. He was a member of the class of 1924 but did not graduate until 1936, after playing with various minor-league baseball teams. As manager of the Houston club of the Texas League he won league championships in 1939, 1940, and 1941, and in 1942 he was named minor-league manager of the year for his direction of the Columbus, Ohio, team. Thereafter, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals and was manager of that club when it won the World Series in 1946 by beating the Boston Red Sox four games to three. After twenty-three years as a player, manager, and coach, Dyer moved to Houston in 1948 and opened an insurance office. He relinquished managership of the Cardinals in 1950. On January 2, 1962, he suffered a stroke and on April 20, 1964, died of a heart attack. He was described in the Official Encyclopedia of Baseball as a "slow-speaking and quick-thinking Texan" and was considered one of the best teachers and developers of young baseball talent. Source 

COORDINATES
29° 43.032
-095° 18.227

Section 53
Forest Park Lawndale
Houston

August 5, 2014

Robert Allan Shivers (1907-1985)

Allan Shivers, governor of Texas, was born on October 5, 1907, in Lufkin, Texas, the son of Robert Andrew and Easter (Creasy) Shivers, and spent his early childhood at Magnolia Hills, the family home near Woodville. By the age of thirteen he was "doing a man's job" after school and during the summer at a nearby sawmill. When his father moved to Port Arthur, Shivers completed his secondary schooling, graduating from Port Arthur High School in 1924. He then entered the University of Texas, intent upon becoming a lawyer like his father. At the end of his first year he dropped out of school to work at an oil refinery in Port Arthur. But by 1928 he had re-entered the University of Texas, determined to participate fully in campus life and to graduate. He ran for and was elected president of the Students' Association and was a member of the Friars, the Cowboys, and Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. In 1931 Shivers graduated with a B. A. degree and also passed the state bar exam, although he did not receive his LL. B. degree until two years later. He engaged in private law practice in Port Arthur until 1934, when he was elected as a Democrat to the state senate, at age twenty-seven the youngest member ever to sit in that body. In 1937 he married Marialice Shary of Mission, whose father, John H. Shary, was a prominent citrus fruit grower, cattleman, banker, and realtor in the Rio Grande valley. In 1943 Shivers entered the United States Army and during the next 2½ years served with the Allied Military Government in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany.

Upon his discharge from the army in 1945 with the rank of major (with five battle stars and the Bronze Star), Shivers became general manager of his father-in-law's business enterprises. But he soon decided to pursue an ambitious political career. In 1946 he ran for and was elected state lieutenant governor; he was reelected two years later. Together with Democratic Governor Beauford H. Jester, Shivers helped bring Texas into the twentieth century. As lieutenant governor he initiated the practice of appointing senators to specific committees and setting the daily agenda. Subsequently, the Senate passed a right-to-work law, reorganized the public school system with the Gilmer-Aikin Laws, appropriated funds for higher education, including the Texas State University for Negroes (now Texas Southern University), and provided monies for improvements of state hospitals and highways. On July 11, 1949, Beauford Jester died; subsequently Shivers assumed the governorship, which he held effectively for the next 7½ years. During his tenure he pushed through significant legislation as well as reforms of state government. He helped create the Legislation Council, which researches and drafts bills, and the Legislative Budget Board, which sets the budget for legislative consideration. Shivers also expanded state services by pushing tax increases through the legislature. His administrations thus augmented appropriations for eleemosynary institutions, retirement benefits for state employees, aid for the elderly, teacher salaries, and improvements for roads and bridges. During his terms of office the legislature also enacted laws pertaining to safety inspection and driver responsibility, legislative redistricting in 1951 (the first in thirty years), and the expansion of juries and grand juries to include women in January 1955. But Shivers was probably best known for defending state claims to the Tidelands against the Truman administration and his break with the national Democratic party over this issue. As a result, he was instrumental in delivering the state's electoral votes in 1952 to Republican nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower and the subsequent congressional approval in 1953 of the state's claim to the Tidelands.

During the last years of his governorship, his popularity diminished. Because of his support of Eisenhower in 1952 he was accused of disloyalty to the Democratic party. He also lost support for his opposition to Brown v Board of Education, which legally ended segregation. And even though Shivers was never implicated in any way, his administration became tainted with corruption because of state scandals involving insurance and veterans' lands. After retiring from politics in January 1957, Shivers served in a number of capacities. He actively managed vast business enterprises in the valley, which his wife inherited. He served on the board of directors or as chairman for a number of banks, including the Austin National Bank (later Interfirst Bank Austin) and Texas Commerce Bank. He was president of the United States Chamber of Commerce and, for a time, chairman of the advisory board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. In 1973 Shivers was a appointed to a six-year term to the University of Texas Board of Regents, whereupon he served as chairman for four years. During this time he donated his Austin home, the historic Pease mansion, to the university to help raise funds for the UT law school. In 1980 he was instrumental in securing a $5 million grant for the UT College of Communications, which soon thereafter established an endowed chair of journalism in his honor. On January 14, 1985, Shivers died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He was survived by wife Marialice, three sons and a daughter, and ten grandchildren. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.908
-097° 43.640

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin