September 30, 2014

Thomas Jones Hardeman

Thomas Jones Hardeman, soldier, pioneer Texas settler, judge, and politician, child of Thomas and Mary (Perkins) Hardeman, was born at Hardeman's Stockade near Nashville, Tennessee, on January 31, 1788. His father represented back-country North Carolina at the convention that ratified the United States Constitution and with his close friend Andrew Jackson was a delegate at the Tennessee State Constitutional Convention. Hardeman moved with his family to Williamson County, Tennessee, in 1803. In 1814 he married Mary Ophelia Polk, the aunt of James K. Polk. Later that year, as a captain, Hardeman fought under General Jackson in the closing campaign of the War of 1812 at New Orleans. He was captured by the British and wounded in the head by a sabre for refusing to divulge military secrets to the enemy.

In 1818 applying his legal training, he helped to settle and organize Hardeman County, Tennessee. His wife died there in 1835. In the same year, accompanied by his brothers Blackstone and Bailey Hardeman, he moved to Texas, where he and his four sons became involved in the move for Texas independence. Hardeman, a devout Episcopalian and an active Mason, served in the Congress of the Republic of Texas from Matagorda County in 1837-39 and spent two terms in the state legislature from Bastrop and Travis counties, from 1847 to 1851. In the 1840s he served both as associate and chief justice of Bastrop County. At his suggestion the capital of Texas was named Austin.

Hardeman's second wife was a widow, Eliza DeWitt Hamilton, daughter of empresario Green DeWitt. Hardeman had five children by his first wife and three by the second. The four sons of his first marriage, Thomas Monroe Hardeman, William Polk Hardeman, Owen Bailey Hardeman, and Leonidas Polk Hardeman, were all venturesome types. They participated in scores of military campaigns of the Texas Revolution, the Mexican War, Indian wars, and the Civil War.

Hardeman died on January 15, 1854, and was buried in Bastrop County. In 1937 his remains were removed to the State Cemetery in Austin.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.919, -097° 43.640

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

September 23, 2014

James Stephen Hogg

James Stephen Hogg, the first native governor of Texas, was born near Rusk on March 24, 1851, the son of Lucanda (McMath) and Joseph Lewis Hogg. He attended McKnight School and had private tutoring at home until the Civil War. His father, a brigadier general, died at the head of his command in 1862, and his mother died the following year. Hogg and two of his brothers were left with two older sisters to run the plantation. Hogg spent almost a year in 1866 near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, going to school. After returning to Texas, he studied with Peyton Irving and worked as the typesetter in Andrew Jackson's newspaper office at Rusk. There he perfected his spelling, improved his vocabulary, and was stimulated by the prose and poetry contributions of his brother Thomas E. Hogg, who was studying law. Gradually, the family estate had to be sold to pay taxes and buy food, clothes, and books while the brothers tried to prepare themselves to earn a living by agriculture and practicing law as their father had done.

While helping the sheriff at Quitman, Hogg earned the enmity of a group of outlaws, who lured him over the county line, ambushed him, and shot him in the back. He recovered and turned again to newspaper work in Tyler, after which he ran his own papers in Longview and Quitman from 1871 to 1873, fighting subsidies to railroads, the corruption of the Ulysses S. Grant administration, and local lawlessness. He served as justice of the peace at Quitman from 1873 to 1875. He studied law and was licensed in the latter year. Meanwhile, he had married Sallie Stinson; four children were born to them. Hogg received his only defeat in a contest for public office in 1876, when he ran against John S. Griffith for a seat in the Texas legislature. He was elected county attorney of Wood County in 1878 and served from 1880 to 1884 as district attorney for the old Seventh District, where he became known as the most aggressive and successful district attorney in the state. In the national campaign of 1884 he succeeded in winning enough black votes from the Republicans to make Smith County a Democratic stronghold. Despite a popular move for Hogg to go to Congress, he declined to run for public office in 1884 and entered private practice in Tyler, where he worked first with John M. Duncan and afterward with Henry Marsh.

In 1886 his friends urged him to run for attorney general. His father's connections with the older political leaders made it easy for Hogg to be admitted to their councils, and he received the Democratic nomination and was elected. As attorney general, Hogg encouraged new legislation to protect the public domain set aside for the school and institutional funds, and he instituted suits that finally returned over a million and a half acres to the state. He sought to enforce laws providing that railroads and land corporations sell their holdings to settlers within certain time limits and succeeded in breaking up the Texas Traffic Association, which was formed by the roads to pool traffic, fix rates, and control competing lines, in violation of the laws. He forced "wildcat" insurance companies to quit the state and aided legitimate business generally. He helped to write the second state antitrust law in the nation and defended the Texas Drummer Tax Law before the United States Supreme Court, but lost. He managed to regain control of the East Line and Red River Railroad, despite Jay Gould's delaying actions, by making use of federal receivers. Hogg forced the restoration to Texas of railroad headquarters and shops, as a result of which depots and road aids were repaired or rebuilt, and he gradually compelled the railroads to respect Texas laws. Finally, seeing that neither the legislature nor his small office force could effectively carry out the laws to protect the public interest against powerful corporate railway interests, he advocated the establishment of the Railroad Commission and was elected governor on this platform in 1890.

While governor, from 1891 to 1895, Hogg did much to strengthen public respect for law enforcement, defended the Texas claim to Greer County, and championed five major pieces of legislation. The "Hogg Laws" included (1) the law establishing the Railroad Commission; (2) the railroad stock and bond law cutting down on watered stock; (3) the law forcing land corporations to sell off their holdings in fifteen years; (4) the Alien Land Law, which checked further grants to foreign corporations in an effort to get the land into the hands of citizen settlers; and (5) the act restricting the amount of indebtedness by bond issues that county and municipal groups could legally undertake. In order to encourage investment in Texas, he traveled to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia explaining to businessmen and chambers of commerce the laws and advantages of the state. He was ever solicitous for the welfare of the common schools, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M. He also manifested earnest attention to the normals and to appointments to teacher-training scholarships. Always interested in the history of Texas, he succeeded in obtaining financial aid for a division of state archives and appointed C.W. Raines to supervise the collection and preservation of historical materials.

Without any real difficulty Hogg could have become a United States senator in 1896, but he was content to return to private practice. After his wife died in 1895, he invited his older sister, Mrs. Martha Frances Davis, to come to his home to help rear his children. Though he was in debt when he relinquished the governor's chair to his attorney general, Charles A. Culberson, Hogg was able to build up a sizable family fortune by his law practice and wise investments in city property and oil lands. He successfully inculcated in his children a worthy interest in individual and public welfare as evidenced by numerous gifts to the University of Texas and various services to Texas as a whole, as well as to the cities of Houston and Austin.

Although Hogg sought no other public office, he was always interested in good government. He aided William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 and 1900 campaigns and spoke on Bryan's behalf before Tammany Hall in 1900. Hogg had long been an advocate of an isthmian canal and increased trade for Texas to South America and the Orient via Hawaii, which he had visited after the Spanish-American War. He also championed progressive reforms in Texas in a famous speech at Waco on April 19, 1900. The meeting had been packed against him, but he insisted upon his right to speak and persisted until the crowd heard him. He pleaded for three separate principles: (1) that no insolvent corporation should do business in Texas; (2) that the free-pass system over the railroads should forever terminate; and (3) that the use of corporate funds in politics and in support of lobbies at Austin should be prohibited. At the end of a trying evening, he had won the audience over to his views. In 1901 he addressed the legislature on these progressive political principles, and in 1903 he rented the Hancock Opera House in Austin to plead again for their adoption. He raised questions about railroad mergers and consolidations and the unblushing use of lobbying and the corroding influences of the free pass. In conclusion he implored, "Let us have Texas, the Empire State, governed by the people; not Texas, the truck-patch, ruled by corporate lobbyists." At La Porte, on September 6, 1904, he prophetically spoke of the new role of labor in the twentieth century.

After the oil boom at Beaumont and a trip to England in connection with his expanding business interests in South Texas, Hogg gave up his partnership with Judge James H. Robertson in Austin and moved to Houston, where he formed the firm of Hogg, Watkins, and Jones. He continued his political interests but was hurt in a railroad accident, after which he was never well again. One of his last public addresses was at the banquet in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt at Dallas on April 5, 1905, when two of the finest leaders of their parties met and exchanged respects. During the State Fair of Texas that year, Hogg was expected to speak before the Legislative Day banquet, but he was taken ill and confined to his hotel room in Fort Worth. Arrangements were made by his daughter for a phonograph recording of remarks for use in Dallas. In this address he summarized his political views. Among other points, he called for the permanent establishment of rotation in office, the prohibition of nepotism, equality of taxation, the suppression of organized lobbying in Austin, steps to make "corporate control of Texas" impossible, and open records that would "disclose every official act...to the end that everyone shall know that, in Texas, public office is the center of public conscience, and that no graft, no crime, no public wrong, shall ever stain or corrupt our State." On March 3, 1906, Hogg died in the home of his partner, Frank Jones, at Houston. He was buried in Austin.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.677, -097° 43.602

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

September 16, 2014

Leroy Daniels

Wilbert LeRoy Daniel, professionally known as Leroy Daniels, was born on November 28, 1928, in Oklahoma. Popular, funny and usually the center of attention, Leroy had a natural charisma that drew people to him, so he decided his fortunes lied in the entertainment industry. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Leroy moved to California. While working at the Los Angeles train station, a songwriter named Harry Stone noticed the rhythmic technique Leroy used to shine shoes. His unique slapping beat inspired Stone to write "Chattanoogie Shoe-Shine Boy" a song that soon became a bonafide hit for country musician Red Foley. A natural comedian, Leroy started performing on the Chitlin Circuit in the 1940s and 50s through the eastern, southern, and upper mid-west areas of the United States. After some success, he tried to get the attention of Hollywood, but only received small, usually uncredited parts; the most notable being his performance as a shoeshine boy who dances with Fred Astaire in The Bandwagon (1953).

Somewhat disappointed in the lack of interest, Leroy returned to the Chitlin Circuit in the 1960s. Shortly thereafter, he met Ernest "Skillet" Mayhand, and the two started a successful run as the comedy duo "Leroy and Skillet". Leroy and Skillet were signed by LaFF Records and made several very popular, very risque albums, mostly comprised of recorded-live performances of their stage routines. They appeared together in the comedy Handle with Care (1964) and other low budget films until the 1970s, when they were asked to be guests on the television series Sanford and Son. The two blended in so well with the cast - Redd Foxx, Slappy White, and LaWanda Page were all longtime friends of Skillet and Leroy - that they became semi-regulars on the show. Leroy's newfound exposure earned him a few more acting roles in Petey Wheatstraw (1977), Disco Godfather (1979) and a few other minor blaxploitation flicks.

Feeling his age and having saved his money, Leroy decided to retire from show business after his final film role in the revenge B-movie Avenging Angel (1985). He spent his remaining days visiting and reminiscing with his friends, and often set up shop at the local watering hole where he entertained the customers with his stories. Leroy died in Los Angeles on December 11, 1993, and for some reason was buried in San Antonio at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 28.608, -098° 25.349

Section 25
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

September 9, 2014

James Gillaspie

James Gillaspie, prison superintendent and army officer in the Texas Revolution, the Mexican War, and the Civil War, son of William and Elizabeth Gillaspie, was born in Virginia on January 5, 1805. He traveled to Texas in 1835 and on January 14, 1836, enlisted in the volunteer auxiliary corps for the Texas army at Nacogdoches. On February 1 he was elected first lieutenant in Joseph L. Bennett's volunteer company. On April 8 Gillaspie became captain of the Sixth Company, Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers, which he commanded in the battle of San Jacinto. He was discharged from the army on May 29, 1836.

Gillaspie married Susan Faris of Walker County; they had seven children. During the Mexican War he raised a company for the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers, for service under John C. (Jack) Hays. With the outbreak of the Civil War Gillaspie again raised a Walker County company for the Fifth Regiment, Texas Infantry Volunteers, and was stationed on Galveston Island. Gillaspie was superintendent of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville from 1850 to 1858 and again from May 1867 until his death, on October 3, 1867. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville. The monument at his grave lists the personnel of the various units that he commanded during three wars.

GPS Coordinates
30° 43.641, -095° 32.806


Oakwood Cemetery
Huntsville

September 2, 2014

Robert Anderson Irion

Robert Anderson Irion, physician, surveyor, and Republic of Texas secretary of state, was born in Paris, Henry County, Tennessee, on July 7, 1804, to John Poindexter and Maacha (White) Irion. He received his medical training and completed his education at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, in March 1826. He began his medical practice in Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1832, following the death of his first wife, Ann A. Vick, he left a daughter in the care of relatives and moved to Texas, first practicing medicine in San Augustine. He subsequently moved to Nacogdoches, where he became a surveyor and partner of George Aldrich.

In May 1835 Samuel M. Williams, Francis W. Johnson, and Robert Peebles sponsored a bill in the legislature of Coahuila and Texas to award Irion and Aldrich 400 leagues of land for enlisting a company of soldiers for the Mexican army. Though the bill passed, Irion never received this grant, but he did receive a ten-league grant for enlisting as a soldier for that year. His title and all of the Mexican ten-league grants were canceled by the Republic of Texas.

When the Mexican land offices closed in the fall of 1835, Irion returned to the practice of medicine in Nacogdoches. On September 14, 1835, he was elected to the Committee of Safety and Vigilance for Nacogdoches and on April 14, 1836, was a commandant of Nacogdoches Municipality. He was a senator from Nacogdoches in the First Congress of the Republic of Texas, from October 4, 1836, to June 13, 1837. President Sam Houston appointed him secretary of state of the Republic of Texas in 1837, and he traveled to the United States, Canada, England, and Europe until President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Barnard E. Bee to succeed him on December 13, 1838.

Irion was a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and an Episcopalian. On March 29 or 30, 1840, he married Anna W. Raguet of Nacogdoches, daughter of Henry Raguet; they had five children. Irion continued the practice of medicine in Nacogdoches until his death, on March 2, 1861. He was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches, where a monument was erected in his honor. Irion County in West Texas was named for him in 1889.

GPS Coordinates
31° 36.202, -094° 38.945


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches