October 28, 2014

John Cheevers

John Cheevers came to Texas in 1829 and volunteered for the army at Lynchburg on March 8, 1836, for a three month period. He was put with Captain Thomas H. McIntire's Company and with them fought at San Jacinto on April 21. After the battle, he was transferred to Captain Peter B. Dexter's Company, with whom he served out his remaining enlistment. Some time after his discharge on June 2, 1836 at La Bahia, he moved to Houston. He died there ten years later and was buried in the City Cemetery.

Note
This is a cenotaph. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. 

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.436, -095° 22.750


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

October 21, 2014

John Alexander Greer

John Alexander Greer, early settler, lieutenant governor, and legislator, was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on July 18, 1802. He moved to Texas in 1830 from Kentucky. He married Adeline Minerva Orton on May 18, 1836. Greer was a senator representing San Augustine in the Texas Congress from 1837 through 1845; he served in all but the First Congress. He was appointed secretary of the treasury by President Anson Jones in July 1845 and became lieutenant governor of the state of Texas in 1847. He held the position until 1851 and was campaigning for the governorship when he died on July 4, 1855. Greer was buried on his farm nine miles northwest of San Augustine. His remains were moved to the State Cemetery in 1929.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.936, -097° 43.638

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

October 14, 2014

Lucian Adams

Lucian Adams, Medal of Honor recipient and son of Lucian Adams, Sr., and Rosa (Ramírez) Adams, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 26, 1922. The Adams family consisted of nine brothers and three sisters. Eight of his brothers served in World War II, and all returned home safe after the war. Lucian Adams attended Webster and Franklin elementary schools in Port Arthur as well as Thomas Jefferson Junior High School but dropped out of high school to help support his family. At the beginning of World War II, Adams worked eighteen months for Consolidated Iron Works, a company that manufactured landing crafts and warships. In February 1943 Adams was inducted in the United States Army at Fort Sam Houston and then went to Camp Butner, North Carolina, for basic training. He remained at Camp Butner until November 1943 and then was sent to Europe.

Adams distinguished himself during the Italian campaign. The Texan hit Anzio Beach with the Third Infantry Division in January 1944. On the beach at Anzio, he was credited with neutralizing a German machine gun nest. Wounded in combat, Adams would receive the Purple Heart. For his efforts at Anzio, Adams was awarded the Bronze Star on May 23, 1944.

On August 15, 1944, the Third Infantry Division came ashore on the Riviera in southern France as part of Operation Dragoon. In late October the division faced stiff enemy resistance in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France. Reinforced with fresh troops familiar with the terrain, the Germans succeeded in moving into the Third Division’s defenses in the forest and cutting its supply lines. Assigned to a company in the Thirtieth Infantry Regiment, Staff Sergeant Adams’s unit was assigned the task of reconnecting this breach in the supply line and reestablishing contact with two companies that had lost contact with the rest of the battalion.

Lucian Adams earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics in combat that took place near St. Die, France, on October 28, 1944. Efforts by the Americans to rectify the situation proved slow and costly with three men from Adams’s company killed and six others wounded (including the company commander). Facing heavy fire from three German machine guns sites and infantry equipped with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Adams, acting on his own and holding a Browning automatic rifle, rapidly moved forward firing from his hip, avoiding the full force of enemy fire, and going from tree to tree for cover. In an episode that lasted about ten minutes, the Texan dashed “like a tornado” from one machine gun position to another and knocked out three with weapon fire and grenades. When the fighting was over, Staff Sergeant Adams had killed nine Germans, taken two prisoners, knocked out three machine guns, contributed to a German retreat, and had reopened the broken supply lines in his battalion. Near the end of his life, Adams credited his mother’s prayers for having emerged from the ordeal uninjured.

On April 22, 1945, Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Adams and four others in a ceremony at Zeppelin Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany, the same location of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi rallies. Before the ceremony, army personal covered the swastika symbol on top of the stadium with an American flag. Minutes after the ceremony army engineers removed the flag and blew up the swastika.

On September 7, 1945, Adams received his discharge from the United States Army. On January, 4, 1946, he accepted a position with the Veterans Administration and worked as a benefits counselor in San Antonio for forty years until his retirement in 1986. He also served as a veterans’ affairs consultant for Congressman Frank Tejeda.

Near the end of his life, Adams suffered from heart trouble and diabetes. In 2002 he was profiled in the documentary film Hispanics and the Medal of Honor shown on the History Channel. Adams died in San Antonio on March 31, 2003. His marriage to Linda Cassias had ended in divorce; his children - Grace, Rose, and Lucian Adams, Jr. - survived him. Lucian Adams was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. Jose Mendoza Lopez, a friend and follow Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, called Adams “a great, great man who did a terrific job. I will miss him very much.” A stretch of Interstate 37 in San Antonio is named the Lucian Adams Freeway in his honor.

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 28 October 1944, near St. Die, France. When his company was stopped in its effort to drive through the Mortagne Forest to reopen the supply line to the isolated third battalion, S/Sgt. Adams braved the concentrated fire of machineguns in a lone assault on a force of German troops. Although his company had progressed less than 10 yards and had lost 3 killed and 6 wounded, S/Sgt. Adams charged forward dodging from tree to tree firing a borrowed BAR from the hip. Despite intense machinegun fire which the enemy directed at him and rifle grenades which struck the trees over his head showering him with broken twigs and branches, S/Sgt. Adams made his way to within 10 yards of the closest machinegun and killed the gunner with a hand grenade. An enemy soldier threw hand grenades at him from a position only 10 yards distant; however, S/Sgt. Adams dispatched him with a single burst of BAR fire. Charging into the vortex of the enemy fire, he killed another machinegunner at 15 yards range with a hand grenade and forced the surrender of 2 supporting infantrymen. Although the remainder of the German group concentrated the full force of its automatic weapons fire in a desperate effort to knock him out, he proceeded through the woods to find and exterminate 5 more of the enemy. Finally, when the third German machinegun opened up on him at a range of 20 yards, S/Sgt. Adams killed the gunner with BAR fire. In the course of the action, he personally killed 9 Germans, eliminated 3 enemy machineguns, vanquished a specialized force which was armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, cleared the woods of hostile elements, and reopened the severed supply lines to the assault companies of his battalion.

GPS Coordinates
29° 28.587, -098° 25.976

Section AI
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

October 7, 2014

William Neff Patman

William Patman was born March 26, 1927 in Texarkana, Texas. He attended public schools there and in Washington, D.C., where his father was a Congressman on the House Banking Committee. He subsequently attended the Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, graduating in 1944. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a private first class from 1945 to 1946. He was a diplomatic courier for the United States Foreign Service from 1949 to 1950, then subsequently served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a captain from 1953 to 1966. After Patman graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1953, he was admitted to the Texas bar and served as a legal examiner for the Texas Railroad Commission until 1955. In 1955, Patman commenced the private practice of law as well as acting as the city attorney for Ganado, Texas from 1955 to 1960.

In 1960, Patman successfully sought the now District 18 seat in the Texas State Senate. He took office the following year and served until 1981, also working as a delegate to state Democratic Party conventions during his senatorial tenure. In 1980, he was elected to the District 14 seat in the United States House of Representatives, when the short-term incumbent Joseph P. Wyatt did not seek reelection. Patman was re-elected in 1982, when U.S. Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen led the entire Democratic ticket to its last ever full sweep of Texas statewide offices. In 1984, however, Patman was unseated by Republican Mac Sweeney of Wharton, when Ronald W. Reagan swept Texas in his presidential reelection bid. After his defeat, he did not seek further office and retired to his ranch in Ganado, where he spent his last years. Patman died December 9, 2008 of stomach cancer at the age of eighty-one at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.930, -097° 43.601

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin