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. JosĂ© 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