Charlton Thompson, lawyer and Texas legislator, was born in 1809 in South Carolina. He moved to Coahuila and Texas in 1826 with other members of the Thompson family. He was a delegate from Matagorda to the Convention of 1833 at San Felipe. He moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1834 and practiced law. In early 1837 he returned to Texas and settled in San Augustine, where he acquired property. He owned the American Hotel, a municipal building, two rent houses, and ten or twelve lots. He married Sophia Lairy on August 1, 1837. On September 16 of that year Thompson became a first-degree member of the McFarlane Masonic Lodge in San Augustine. He was a member of the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas as a representative of San Augustine County. Thompson died in Houston in 1838 while attending Congress. At the time of his death he owned more than 39,000 acres of land.
Betty Jane made her singing debut at the age of seven as a member of The Tucker Sisters, a singing trio that received national acclaim during the late thirties, forties, and early fifties. They began their professional career in 1936 at the Texas State Fair and became one of many successful sister trios during World War II, headlining at major nightclubs from New York to Hollywood, California, and appearing regularly on live CBS radio broadcasts through the 1940s and 1950s. Betty actually declined a contract with MGM in the 1940s in order to stay with the group. The group also enjoyed popularity as recording artists and performed with the USO during WWII. The trio disbanded in the early 1950s when Ernestine and Betty Jane married and raised families respectively. She married and had six children, then divorced and moved to Concord, New Hampshire, where she worked with an insurance company through 1994. She returned to Dallas in 1999, and passed away in her sleep on June 4, 2004.
John Lapham Bullis, military officer and commander of the famed Black Seminole scouts, son of Dr. Abram R. and Lydia P. (Lapham) Bullis, was born at Macedon, New York, on April 17, 1841. As the eldest of seven children he had significant leadership in the family. He received a standard education at academies in Macedon and nearby Lima. Despite the devout Quaker sympathies of his parents and the revivalistic fervor of the surrounding area, he rarely attended services, but he apparently still remained on good terms with the family.
Bullis enlisted as a corporal in the 126th New York Volunteer Infantry on August 8, 1862, and subsequently participated in several of the most important actions of the Civil War. At the battle of Harper's Ferry in September 1862 he was wounded and captured. He rejoined his regiment after exchange, was again wounded and captured at the battle of Gettysburg, and spent the following ten months confined to the notorious Libby Prison in Virginia. Having again been exchanged for Confederate prisoners in the spring of 1864, he joined the 118th United States Infantry, Colored, and received the rank of captain. He participated in a number of major combats around Richmond, Virginia, during the remaining months of the war.
Bullis reenlisted in the regular army as a second lieutenant on September 3, 1867, and returned to Texas, where his Civil War regiment had been stationed for Reconstruction duty following the war's end. Garrison assignments in coastal Texas provided little chance for military action or promotion, and so in November 1869 he was transferred by request to the new Twenty-fourth Infantry, composed of white officers and black enlisted men. Although the initial years of service along the lower Rio Grande border proved fairly routine, Bullis participated in a number of operations against small Indian raiding parties and cattle rustlers. More important, while stationed at Fort Clark in 1873, he received command of a special troop of Black Seminole scouts that had been mustered three years earlier. Because of their intimate knowledge of the terrain in Coahuila, Mexico, the scouts were assigned to Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie's expedition in 1873 against renegade Kickapoo camps at Remolino. Bullis and his twenty scouts distinguished themselves in battle and played an important role in Mackenzie's withdrawal to Texas. They served again with Mackenzie during the Red River War of 1874, which was directed against Comanches, Kiowas, and Southern Cheyennes in the Texas Panhandle. Sixteen years later Bullis received brevet citations for his "gallant service" at Remolino, for similar actions on the Pecos River and near Saragosa, Mexico, during 1875 and 1876 respectively, and for a fight in 1881 with Lipan Apaches at the Burro Mountains in Coahuila.
Upon Bullis's transfer in 1882 from command of the Black Seminole scouts to new duties in Indian Territory, the people of Kinney County, Texas, presented him with two ceremonial swords, one silver and one gold, in appreciation of his efforts to protect the border. The swords were later donated by his daughters to the Witte Museum in San Antonio. The Texas legislature likewise passed a special resolution in his honor. After service at Camp Supply in Indian Territory from 1882 to 1888, Bullis joined his old regiment in Arizona and served as agent for the Apaches at San Carlos Reservation. In 1893 he was transferred to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, to act as agent for the Pueblos and Jicarilla Apaches. Four years later he returned to Texas with the rank of major and was appointed paymaster at Fort Sam Houston. During the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection he saw service in Cuba and the Philippines. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt promoted him to the rank of brigadier general, and on the following day Bullis retired from service.
Drawing upon knowledge from his scouting experiences across West Texas, Bullis purchased numerous tracts of land as investments. In 1885 he also entered into a lucrative partnership with fellow officer William R. Shafter and rancher John W. Spencer to open the Shafter silver mines in Presidio County. The investments made Bullis a wealthy man and helped promote the settlement of West Texas. His marriage in 1872 to Alice Rodríguez of San Antonio ended with her death in 1887. Four years later he married Josephine Withers, also of San Antonio; they had three daughters. Bullis died in San Antonio on May 26, 1911. He received a final, posthumous, honor when, on the eve of American entry into World War I, the new military training base near San Antonio was named Camp Bullis.
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San Antonio National Cemetery
Henry Falcott, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Champagne, France in 1835. He emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Army in San Francisco, California. He joined Company L of the 8th U.S. Cavalry and eventually reached the rank of first sergeant. He was part of a small cavalry force numbering 50 to 60 soldiers, primarily from Company B and Company L, who were charged with protecting settlers from Apache raiding parties in the Arizona Territory during the summer and fall of 1868. Falcott and his comrades faced the Apache in fierce fighting, often being ambushed or sniped at from hidden ravines, in a campaign lasting 90 days. The following summer, Falcott and 33 other members of his regiment received the Medal of Honor for their actions on July 24, 1869. It was one of the largest MOH presentations at the time. Falcott died in San Antonio, Texas on December 2, 1910, at the age of 75 and interred at the San Antonio National Cemetery.
Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.
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San Antonio National Cemetery
Corll was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Mary Robinson and Arnold Corll. After his parents divorced, Dean and his brother Stanley moved with their mother to Houston, Texas. In 1964, Corll was drafted into the military, but he was released on a hardship discharge a year later so that he could return home to help his mother with her growing candy business. It was there that he earned the name, The Candy Man, because he would often treat children to free candy. He developed a sexual relationship with David Brooks, one of the many kids who hung around the candy company, and the two stayed in Corll's apartment. After the candy business closed, his mother moved to Colorado and Corll began training to become an electrician.
In 1970, Brooks walked into Corll's house while Corll was in the midst of assaulting two teenage boys. Corll bought Brooks' silence with a car and was then offered $200 for each boy he was willing to lure into Corll's home. Two years later, Brooks introduced Corll to Elmer Henley. Corll gave Henley the same offer per victim and told him that they were sold into a sex slave ring in Houston. Henley refused the offer initially, but took it up in 1973 when his family fell into financial trouble.
In late summer 1973, Henley invited fellow teenagers Tim Kerley and Rhonda Williams to Corll's home. There, Corll scolded Henley for bringing a girl into his home. The teenagers then smoke, drank, and huffed fumes until they passed out. Henley woke to find himself tied up along with Williams and Kerley. Corll and Henley argued, with Henley managing to convince Corll to untie him by promising to participate in the murder of Williams and Kerley. Corll had brought a pistol for the murders and placed it down when he began ripping Kerley's clothes. Seeing an opportunity, Henley took the gun and attempted to ward Corll off. Corll stepped forward though, forcing Henley to fire five shots at him and killing him. At the trial, it was revealed that Corll had raped, tortured, and murdered at least twenty-eight boys during 1970-1973, all of them between 13 and 20 years old. Many of them were associated with Henley and Brooks, who both ended up with life sentences due to their parts in the murders.
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Garden of Devotion
Grand View Memorial Park
Richard Henry "Dickey" Kerr was a starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1919-1921. As a rookie, he won 13 games and both his starts in the 1919 World Series, which would lead to the permanent suspensions of eight of his teammates in the Black Sox Scandal. In later years, Kerr would receive praise for his honest play during the Series.
In 1921, he went 19-17 and led the league in giving up only 357 hits in 3082 innings pitched. After the season, he was suspended from organized baseball for violating the reserve clause in his contract. Kerr attempted a comeback in 1925, pitching in 12 games and compiling a record of 0-1 in 362 innings, mostly out of the bullpen. He finished his career with a record of 53 wins against 34 losses for a winning percentage of .609. His career ERA over three-plus seasons was 3.84.
After his playing days, Kerr became a baseball coach at Rice University and minor league manager for the Daytona Beach Islanders, where he met and became close friends with future Hall of Famer Stan Musial. Kerr died of cancer in Houston on May 4, 1963, just two months shy of his 70th birthday, and buried in Forest Park Lawndale.