December 29, 2015

Benjamin Rush Milam

   Ben Milam, soldier, colonizer, and entrepreneur, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, on October 20, 1788, the fifth of the six children of Moses and Elizabeth Pattie (Boyd) Milam. He had little or no formal schooling. He enlisted in the Kentucky militia and fought for several months in the War of 1812. When his period of enlistment was completed he returned to Frankfort. In 1818 he was in Texas trading with the Comanche Indians on the Colorado River when he met David G. Burnet. The two became friends. In New Orleans in 1819 Milam met José Félix Trespalacios and James Long, who were planning an expedition to help the revolutionaries in Mexico and Texas gain independence from Spain. Milam joined Trespalacios and was commissioned a colonel.

   While they sailed to Veracruz, Long marched to La Bahía, which he easily captured, only to discover that the people and soldiers there were revolutionaries, not Royalists. They gave him a hostile reception, and he moved on to San Antonio. In Veracruz and Mexico City, Trespalacios and Milam met with the same reception that Long had received and were imprisoned. Ultimately, with General Long, they were able to legitimatize their purposes and intentions to the new revolutionary government which, in turn, accepted and treated them with respect and generosity. Long was shot and killed by a guard under circumstances that convinced Milam that the killing was plotted by Trespalacios. Milam and several friends then planned to kill Trespalacios. The plot was discovered, however, and Milam and his friends were imprisoned in Mexico City. Through the influence of Joel R. Poinsett, United States minister, all were released.

   By the spring of 1824 Milam returned to Mexico, which now had adopted the Constitution of 1824 and had a republican form of government. In Mexico City he met Arthur G. Wavell, an Englishman who had become a general in the Mexican army. Trespalacios, now prominent in the new government also, made overtures to Milam to renew their friendship, and Milam accepted. He was granted Mexican citizenship and commissioned a colonel in the Mexican army in 1824. In 1825-26 he became Wavell's partner in a silver mine in Nuevo León; the two also obtained empresario grants in Texas. Wavell managed the mining in Mexico and leased the most productive mine to an English company, which by 1828 was unable to fulfill the terms of their contract. In 1829 Milam sought to organize a new mining company in partnership with David G. Burnet, but they were unable to raise the necessary capital.

   In April 1830 the Mexican Congress passed a law prohibiting further immigration of United States citizens into Texas. This was one reason why Milam, as Wavell's agent for his Red River colony, and Robert M. Williamson, as agent for Milam's colony, were not able to introduce the required number of settlers specified in their empresario contracts, which were due to expire in 1832. During this time Milam removed the great Red River raft of debris, which for years had blocked traffic in the upper part of the Red River for all vessels except canoes and small, flat-bottomed boats. He then purchased a steamboat, the Alps, the first of its kind to pass through the channel.

   In 1835 Milam went to Monclova, the capital of Coahuila and Texas, to urge the new governor, Agustín Viesca, to send a land commissioner to Texas to provide the settlers with land titles. Viesca agreed to do this. However, before Milam could leave the city, word came that Antonio López de Santa Anna had overthrown the representative government of Mexico, had established a dictatorship, and was en route to Texas with an army. Viesca fled with Milam, but both were captured and imprisoned at Monterrey. Milam eventually escaped and headed for the Texas border, which he reached in October 1835. By accident he encountered a company of soldiers commanded by George Collinsworth, from whom he heard of the movement in Texas for independence. Milam joined them, helped capture Goliad, and then marched with them to join the main army to capture San Antonio. While returning from a scouting mission in the southwest on December 4, 1835, Milam learned that a majority of the army had decided not to attack San Antonio as planned but to go into winter quarters. Convinced that this decision would be a disaster for the cause of independence, Milam then made his famous, impassioned plea: "Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?" Three hundred volunteered, and the attack, which began at dawn on December 5, ended on December 9 with the surrender of Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and the Mexican army. Milam did not survive to witness the victory, however. On December 7 he was shot in the head by a sniper and died instantly. In 1897 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas erected a monument at Milam's gravesite in Milam Park, San Antonio. The marker was moved in 1976, and the location of the grave was forgotten until 1993, when a burial was unearthed that archeologists think is probably Milam's. Source

29° 25.570, -098° 29.978

Milam Park
San Antonio

December 22, 2015

"Blind" Willie Johnson

   “Blind Willie” Johnson, known as the “Sightless Visionary” and bluesman and virtuoso of the "bottleneck" or slide guitar, was born near Brenham, Texas, on January 22, 1897 (according to his death certificate). He was the son of Willie and Mary (Fields) Johnson. The family moved to Marlin when he was a small child. Reportedly his mother died, and his father remarried. According to one legend, young Johnson was blinded when his stepmother threw lye at his father and some of it got in Willie’s eyes. Johnson had aspirations to be a preacher. His father made for him a cigar box guitar, and he taught himself to play. He performed at Baptist Association meetings and churches around Marlin and nearby Hearne, Texas.

   At some point Johnson moved to Dallas. He may have married Willie B. Harris, though no marriage certificate has been found. They had one daughter. Willie B. Harris sang accompaniment with Johnson on some of his recordings for Columbia Records between 1927 and 1930. A second woman, Angeline (listed as Anna in the 1920 census), sister of blues guitarist L. C. “Good Rockin’” Robinson, claimed to have married Johnson in 1927. According to Johnson’s daughter, her father lived with the family in Marlin, Texas, until the late 1930s. Eventually he settled in Beaumont.

   Blind Willie made his professional debut as a gospel artist. It total, he made thirty recordings for Columbia during four sessions. He was known to his followers as a performer "capable of making religious songs sound like the blues" and of endowing his secular songs with "religious feeling." Johnson's unique voice and his original compositions influenced musicians throughout the South, especially Texas bluesmen. He sang in a "rasping false bass," and played bottleneck guitar with "uncanny left handed strength, accuracy and agility." So forceful was his voice that legend has it he was once arrested for inciting a riot simply by standing in front of the New Orleans Customs House singing If I Had My Way I'd Tear This Building Down, a chant-and-response number that stimulated great audience enthusiasm.

   Johnson's celebrity career ended with the Great Depression, after which he continued to perform as a street singer but did no further recording. A 1944 Beaumont city directory listed him as operating the House of Prayer in that city. He died in Beaumont on September 18, 1945, and was buried in Blanchette Cemetery in that city. Anna Johnson was listed as his widow in a 1947 Beaumont directory. Johnson left behind a legacy of musical masterpieces, some of which have been rerecorded on Yazoo Records. His work includes such classics as Nobody's Fault but Mine, God Don't Never Change, Mother's Children Have a Hard Time, Bye and Bye I'm Going to See the King, God Moves on the Water, Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed, and I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole.

   His recording Dark was the Night (Cold was the Ground) was among the musical selections placed on board Voyager 1 in 1977 as a representative sampling of music on Earth. Johnson’s recordings were released by Sony/Legacy in 1993 on a double CD titled Complete Blind Willie Johnson. A Texas Historical Marker honoring Johnson was dedicated at Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church (the site of Johnson’s residence and House of Prayer during the 1940s) on December 15, 2010. Johnson was also recognized as a music legend in the Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame in Port Arthur. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Although Willie Johnson is known to be buried in this cemetery, the exact location has been lost over time due to poor record keeping.

30° 03.062,  094° 06.206

Blanchette Cemetery

December 15, 2015

Shane Dronett

   Carlton Shane Dronett was an American football defensive lineman who played for the NFL's Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons between 1992 and 2002. He was born in Orange, Texas, and graduated from Bridge City High School in Bridge City, Texas in 1989. He attended the University of Texas at Austin on a football scholarship and in 1991 he was named an All-American. In the 1992 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Dronett in the second round. He remained with the Broncos for four seasons, playing all 16 games in his first year. Dronett played for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions in 1996, playing 12 games total.

   The Lions released Dronett at the end of the 1996 season, and he was rehired by the Falcons, who had just hired as their new head coach Dan Reeves, who had originally drafted Dronett to play for the Broncos. Dronett played a significant role in the Falcons' defense, which ranked second in the NFL against the run, allowing only 75.2 rushing yards per game, and produced 313 tackles, 29.5 sacks, and 13 forced fumbles. When the Falcons won the NFC Championship in 1998, Dronett played in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos. In January 2000, he signed a five-year contract worth $20 million. In September, he suffered a torn ACL when sacking the Carolina Panthers quarterback. He suffered several other injuries, including knee and shoulder problems, over the next two seasons that limited his ability to play. He was released by the Falcons in 2003.

   In 2006, Dronett began to exhibit paranoia, confusion, fear, and rage. According to his family, his behavior changed radically. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2007. Its removal did not alleviate Dronett's symptoms. He confronted his wife with a gun on January 21, 2009. As she ran for safety, he turned the gun on himself. His death was ruled a suicide by the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's office. After his death, his brain was tested at Boston University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Scientists determined that Dronett suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. He left a wife, Chris, and two daughters, Berkley and Hayley.

30° 04.135, -093° 45.661

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
West Orange

December 8, 2015

John Wilkinson

   Born in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina, June 16, 1802, John Wilkinson came to Texas via Tennessee in 1835. He served in the Texian army from March 19 to June 19, 1836 as second sergeant in Captain Thomas H. McIntire's Company. He fought with that unit at the Battle of San Jacinto, and after his enlistment expired, he re-enlisted in Captain Thomas Stewart's Company of Matagorda Volunteers from June 17 to September 11, 1836. He returned to his residence in Matagorda after this, and died there four years later on December 12, 1840.

28° 42.027, -095° 57.317

Section D
Matagorda Cemetery

December 1, 2015

Jack St. Clair Kilby

   Jack St. Clair Kilby was born November 8, 1923 in Jefferson City, Missouri, grew up and attended school in Great Bend, Kansas, where he graduated from Great Bend High School. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an honorary member of Acacia Fraternity. In 1947, he received a degree in Electrical Engineering. He obtained his master of science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Milwaukee  in 1950, while simultaneously working at Centralab in Milwaukee.

   In mid-1958, as a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments, Kilby did not yet have the right to vacation time, so he spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the "tyranny of numbers" and finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12 he presented his findings to management: a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached; he pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and thus that he had solved the problem. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for "Miniaturized Electronic Circuits", the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. Along with Robert Noyce (who independently made a similar circuit a few months later), Kilby is generally credited as co-inventor of the integrated circuit.

   Kilby went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of microchip technology. He headed teams that built both the first military system and the first computer incorporating integrated circuits and later co-invented both the hand-held calculator and the thermal printer that was used in portable data terminals. In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor. He explored, among other subjects, the use of silicon technology for generating electrical power from sunlight. From 1978 to 1984 he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 1983, he retired from Texas Instruments.

   He is also the recipient of the nation’s most prestigious honors in science and engineering: the National Medal of Science in 1969 and the National Medal of Technology in 1990. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2000, Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his breakthrough discovery. He died of cancer on June 20, 2005 at the age of 81 in Dallas, and encrypted in Sparkman-Hillcrest Cemetery.

32° 52.100, -096° 46.832

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

November 24, 2015

George Washington Petty

   Born April 7, 1812 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Petty emigrated to Texas in the fall of 1835 and settled at Cole's Settlement (now Independence). As the Texas Independence movement took hold in early 1836, he was sworn into the Texican militia by Captain Joseph P. Lynch on March 1 as a soldier in Captain William W. Hill's Company. He remained in the service for just three months, during which time he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, before being discharged from the army on June 1. Petty died during services at a revival meeting at Alexander Camp Grounds at Kenny, Austin County, on July 27, 1901.

30° 09.331, -096° 24.526

Section 3
Prairie Lea Cemetery

November 17, 2015

Gene Elston

   A native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Robert Gene Elston was born on March 26, 1922. His first job in announcing was high school basketball in 1941 and from there progressed to minor league baseball in 1946. His first job in the major leagues was eight years later in 1954, when he became the number two radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs, alongside Bert Wilson. In 1958, he moved to a national radio audience by announcing the Game of the Day on the Mutual Broadcasting System, with Bob Feller.

   In 1961, Elston joined veteran radio broadcaster Loel Passe to announce the final season of Houston's minor league franchise, the Houston Buffs. With the expansion of the major league and the inaugural 1962 season of the Houston Colt 45s, Elston was chosen to lead the radio broadcast. The team changed its name to the Astros three years later, and Elston continued as their main announcer through 1986, when he ended his association with the Astros and joined Tal Smith Enterprises as a consultant and researcher. Starting in 1987, Elston went back to calling national radio broadcasts instead of games for a specific team. He called the CBS Radio Game of the Week until 1995, and also called postseason NLDS games on CBS Radio in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He then retired from broadcasting.

   In 2006, Elston was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. The award is given annually to a baseball announcer who has given major contributions to the game. Elston was healthy enough, at the age of 84, to accept the award in person at Cooperstown. He passed away in Houston on September 5, 2015 and interred at Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.848, -095° 26.759

Section C14
Houston National Cemetery

November 10, 2015

Philip Minor Cuney

   Philip Minor Cuney, soldier, plantation owner, and legislator, the son of Richard Edmond and Tabitha (Wells) Cuney, was born of Swiss descent in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, in 1808. After the death of his first wife in 1834, he moved to Texas around 1840 and settled in Austin County, where he took up farming. In 1842 he married Eliza Ware; they had three children. Cuney, a Whig, was elected to the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in 1843. He became a prosperous cotton planter and, with Oliver Jones, was Austin County delegate to the Convention of 1845, which voted for annexation to the United States. On July 13, 1846, Cuney was elected brigadier general of the First Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Texas Militia. Also in 1846 he was elected to the state Senate and represented Austin and Fort Bend counties in the First and Second legislatures until 1848.

   On February 22, 1848, he was elected a state delegate to the national Democratic convention in Baltimore. In 1851 he was a candidate for the state Senate. On his plantation, Sunnyside, twelve miles southeast of Hempstead on Iron Creek, Cuney had 2,000 acres and 105 slaves by 1850. Among them was Adeline Stuart, who bore him eight children and whom he eventually set free. Among their sons was Norris Wright Cuney, who became a prominent politician in Galveston. On September 26, 1851, Cuney married Adeline Spurlock, daughter of James L. and Eliza Spurlock, also of Austin County. Cuney died at his Austin County home on January 8, 1866. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association. Source

30° 04.974, -096° 04.053

Hempstead Cemetery

November 3, 2015

Stephen Franklin Sparks

   Stephen Franklin Sparks was born in Lawrence County, Mississippi, April 7, 1819, a son of Richard and Elizabeth (Cooper) Sparks. His father served in the War of 1812 and moved the family to San Augustine, Texas in 1834, later settling in Nacogdoches. On March 6, 1836, a volunteer company was organized at Nacogdoches and young Stephen left school and volunteered for service in the Texas Revolution on March 8. He was shortly afterward ordered to report to the Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army, and was assigned to Hayden Arnold's Nacogdoches Company, with whom he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto.

   In 1854, Sparks moved his family to McClennan County, where his first wife Elizabeth died in childbirth. On September 1, 1856 he was awarded 640 acres of land for his service in the army . In 1890, he moved his family to Aransas County, where he would remain the rest of his life. In his later years, Sparks was the last president of the Texas Veterans Association, as it was decided to dissolve the group due to the lack of living participants. He died in 1908 in Rockport and was laid to rest at the cemetery there.

28° 02.721, -097° 02.253

Section 1
Rockport Cemetery

October 27, 2015

Hamilton Prioleau Bee

   Hamilton P. Bee, Confederate brigadier general, the son of Anne and Barnard E. Bee, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 22, 1822. The family moved to Texas while he was still a youth. In 1839 he served as secretary for the commission that established the boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States, and in 1843 Texas president Sam Houston dispatched Bee, with Joseph C. Eldridge and Thomas S. Torrey to convene a peace council with the Comanches. On August 9, 1843, the commissioners obtained the promise of the Penatekas to attend a council with Houston the following April. The meeting culminated in the Treaty of Tehuacana Creek. In 1846 Bee was named secretary of the Texas Senate.

   During the Mexican War he served briefly as a private in Benjamin McCulloch's famed Company A - the "Spy Company" - of Col. John Coffee Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles, before transferring in October 1846, as a second lieutenant, to Mirabeau B. Lamar's independent company of Texas cavalry. Bee volunteered for a second term in October 1847 and was elected first lieutenant of Lamar's Company, now a component of Col. Peter Hansborough Bell's Regiment, Texas Volunteers.

   After the war Bee moved to Laredo and was elected to the Texas legislature, where he served from 1849 through 1859. From 1855 through 1857 he was speaker of the House. He was elected brigadier general of militia in 1861 and appointed brigadier general in the Confederate Army to rank from March 4, 1862. His brigade was composed of August C. Buchel's First, Nicholas C. Gould's Twenty-third, Xavier B. Debray's Twenty-sixth, James B. Likin's Thirty-fifth, Peter C. Woods's Thirty-sixth, and Alexander W. Terrell's Texas cavalry regiments. Given command of the lower Rio Grande district, with headquarters at Brownsville, Bee expedited the import of munitions from Europe through Mexico and the export of cotton in payment. On November 4, 1863, he was credited with saving millions of dollars of Confederate stores and munitions from capture by a federal expeditionary force under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. After transfer to a field command in the spring of 1864, Bee led his brigade in the Red River campaign under Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor. Having had only slight training or experience in the art of war and having served only in an administrative capacity to that time, he was less than skillful in handling troops. While he was leading a cavalry charge at the battle of Pleasant Hill, two horses were shot from beneath him, and he suffered a slight face wound. Though he was afterward the object of some heavy criticism, he was assigned to the command of Thomas Green's division in Gen. John A. Wharton's cavalry corps in February 1865 and was later given a brigade of infantry in Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey's division.

   After the war Bee went to Mexico for a time. In 1876 he returned to San Antonio, where he remained until his death, on October 3, 1897. He is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in San Antonio. Bee was married to Mildred Tarver of Alabama in 1854, and they had six children. He was the brother of Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr. Source

29° 25.194, -098° 27.806

Section 4
Confederate Cemetery
San Antonio

October 20, 2015

Anthony Martin Branch

   Anthony Martin Branch, Confederate congressman, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on July 16, 1823, one of ten children of Winnifred (Guerrant) and Samuel Branch III. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1842 and in 1847 moved to Huntsville, Texas, where he formed a law partnership with Henderson Yoakum and became closely associated with Sam Houston. (When Houston died Branch served as executor of his will and guardian of his children.) On March 18, 1849, Branch married Amanda Smith.

   In 1850 he was elected district attorney of the Seventh Judicial District. In 1859 he represented his district in the House of Representatives of the Eighth Texas Legislature, where, according to a contemporary biographer, he "well sustained his reputation for eloquence and ability." In November 1861 he was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate. Although a Unionist, he resigned from the Senate and on March 20, 1862, enlisted in the Confederate Army. A month later he was elected captain of Company A in Col. George Washington Carter's Twenty-first Texas Cavalry.

   On August 3, 1863, Branch defeated Peter W. Gray in the race to represent the Third District of Texas in the Second Confederate Congress. In Richmond he served as a member of the Elections, Military Affairs, and Territories and Public Lands committees and was vitally interested in the exportation of cotton through Mexican ports. Although a staunch political ally of President Jefferson Davis, Branch was an uncompromising exponent of states' rights. As such he fought to keep Texas troops in Texas and opposed Confederate interference with the Texas economy. After the war he returned to Texas and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in both the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth congresses but was denied his seat by the Radical Republican majority. He returned to Huntsville and helped to incorporate the Central Transit Company in 1866. Branch practiced law until his death during a yellow fever epidemic, on October 3, 1867. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery near the grave of Sam Houston. Source

30° 43.604, -095° 32.831

Oakwood Cemetery

October 13, 2015

George J. Brown

   As is often the case with early Texas settlers, little is known of George Brown's history. His enlistment records state that he came to Texas before May 2, 1835 and served in the Texian army as a musician from February 13 to August 13, 1836. He was with Captain Richard Roman's Company at San Jacinto as Drummer and Drum Major. Brown died at Houston on November 21, 1844 and was buried in the City Cemetery.

Note: Unmarked. 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. George Brown's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

October 6, 2015

Edward "Big Ed" Stevens

   Edward Lee "Big Ed" Stevens was a first baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1945 through 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Born in Galveston, Texas, Stevens was originally signed as a 16-year-old by the Dodgers. He played minor league ball in parts of four seasons before joining the big team in 1945. As a rookie, he shared duties at first with incumbent Augie Galan, batting a .274 average with four home runs and 29 runs batted in in 55 games.

   Stevens became a regular in 1946, ending with a .242 and 60 RBI in 103 games, while his 10 home runs were the second-highest on the team, being surpassed only by Pete Reiser. Although he had been the regular in that season, Stevens was replaced at first base by Jackie Robinson in 1947. He appeared in just five games and was sent to Triple-A Montreal Royals, where he hit .290 with 27 homers and 108 RBI in 133 games. During the off-season, he was purchased along with Stan Rojek by the Pirates from the Dodgers.

   Stevens opened 1948 with Pittsburgh, where he replaced retired Hank Greenberg. As a regular at first base, he posted career numbers in games (128), at-bats (468), runs, hits, RBI (69) and matched his career-best of 10 home runs, which were third-best on the team. He was used sparingly for the next two seasons before returning to the minors in 1951. He finished with a .252 average in 375 major league games.

   Following his playing days, Stevens went on to a long career as a coach, which included working for the San Diego Padres in 1981, and scouting. Stevens was still doing the latter up till when he retired in 1989. In 2009 he gained induction into the International League Hall of Fame. He was a longtime resident of Houston, Texas, where he died in 2012 at the age of 87.

29° 44.597, -095° 36.641

Section 411
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery

September 29, 2015

John Melville Allen

   John M. Allen (Tampico Allen), soldier and first mayor of Galveston, was a native of Kentucky. He joined the United States Navy in the aid of the Greek revolution against Turkey and was with Lord Byron at Missolonghi when Byron died (1824). Allen came to Texas in 1830 and joined the Tampico expedition in 1835 but escaped imprisonment. He returned to Texas in December, enlisted in the revolutionary army, was appointed captain of infantry, and served as acting major at the battle of San Jacinto. He commanded the Terrible in the summer of 1836 but did not see action; he was sent to the United States on recruiting service and enrolled about 230 men for the army. He was discharged on December 2, 1836, and received a headright for a league and labor of land on June 7, 1838.

   Later he moved to Galveston, where he was elected mayor in March 1839. In 1840 Samuel May Williams, seeking to rid the threat Allen posed to the Galveston City Company, called for a new election with a change in the franchise. Allen, refusing to give up his office since his term was not over, removed the city archives to his home and the protection of two cannons. Thomas F. McKinney and a posse removed the archives after the district court ruled on the matter, and so ended the "charter war." Allen was reelected annually until 1846. After annexation he was appointed United States marshal for the Eastern District of Texas, an office he held until his death on February 12, 1847. Allen was a Mason. Source

29° 17.619, -094° 48.701

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

September 22, 2015


   Singer Selena Quintanilla Perez, known simply as Selena, the daughter of Abraham and Marcella (Perez) Quintanilla, Jr., was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. She married Christopher Perez, guitarist and member of the band Selena y Los Dinos (slang for "the Boys") on April 2, 1992. They had no children. Selena attended Oran M. Roberts Elementary School in Lake Jackson and West Oso Junior High in Corpus Christi, where she completed the eighth grade. In 1989 she finished high school through the American School, a correspondence school for artists, and enrolled at Pacific Western University in business administration correspondence courses.

   Her career began when she was eight. From 1957 to 1971 her father played with Los Dinos, a Tejano band. He taught his children to sing and play in the family band and taught Selena to sing in Spanish. They performed at the family restaurant, Pappagallo, and at weddings in Lake Jackson. After 1981 the band became a professional act. In 1982 the group moved to Corpus Christi and played in rural dance halls and urban nightclubs, where Tejano music flourishes. In her late teens Selena adopted fashions sported by Madonna.

   Preceded by Lydia Mendoza and Chelo Silva, Mexican-American star vocalists of the 1930s, and by pioneer orchestra singer Laura Canales in the 1970s, Selena became a star in Tejano music. She won the Tejano Music Award for Female Entertainer of the Year in 1987, and eight other Tejano awards followed. By the late 1980s Selena was known as "la Reina de la Onda Tejana" ("the Queen of Tejano music") and "una mujer del pueblo." Her popularity soared with annual awards from the Tejano Music Awards and a contract with EMI Latin Records in 1989. At the 1995 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the band attracted 61,041 people, more than Clint Black, George Strait, Vince Gill, or Reba McEntire.

   Selena y Los Dinos recorded with Tejano labels GP, Cara, Manny, and Freddie before 1989. Their albums include Alpha (1986), Dulce Amor (1988), Preciosa (1988), Selena y Los Dinos (1990), Ven Conmigo (1991), Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), Selena Live (1993), Amor Prohibido (1994), and Dreaming of You (1995). The band's popularity surged with Ven Conmigo. Entre a Mi Mundo made Selena the first Tejana to sell more than 300,000 albums. In 1993 she signed with SBK Records to produce an all-English album, but it was eventually replaced with the bilingual Dreaming of You.

   Despite her success in the Spanish-language market, mainstream society largely ignored Selena until around 1993. In 1994 Texas Monthly named her one of twenty influential Texans and the Los Angeles Times interviewed her. That same year, Selena Live won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album. Also in 1993 and 1995, Lo Nuestro Billboard gave the band awards in four categories. Selena y Los Dinos was a cross-over act in Tejano, romance, cumbia, tropical, pop, rap, and salsa in Spanish and English; Selena was not only bilingual but biethnic. Before her death, the band sold more than 1.5 million records.

   By the mid-1980s Selena had crossed into the national Latino and Latin-American market. A recording with the Puerto Rican band Barrio Boyzz furthered inroads into this area. Selena y Los Dinos began to acquire a following in Mexico (Matamoros) as early as 1986. Along with Emilio Navaira, Selena y Los Dinos attracted 98,000 fans in Monterrey, and thus popularized Tejano music in Mexico. In 1994 the band played in New York to a Mexican and Central American audience. The band was the first Tejano group to make Billboard's Latin Top 200 list of all-time best-selling records.

   Selena was also known to Latin-American television audiences. At the age of twelve or thirteen she was introduced on the Johnny Canales Show. She appeared on Sábado Gigante, Siempre en Domingo, El Show de Cristina, and the soap opera Dos Mujeres, Un Camino. She also made a cameo appearance in the 1995 film Don Juan DeMarco. Advertisements also made Selena popular. Coca-Cola featured her in a poster, and she had a promotional tour agreement with the company. She had a six-figure contract with Dep Corporation and a contract with AT&T and Southwestern Bell. A six-figure deal with EMI Latin made her a millionaire. In 1992 she began her own clothing line. In 1994 she opened Selena Etc., a boutique-salon in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. At the time of her death she had plans to open others in Monterrey and Puerto Rico. A 1994 Hispanic magazine stated her worth at $5 million. Despite her wealth, however, she lived in the working-class district of Molina in Corpus Christi.

   Selena considered herself a public servant. She participated with the Texas Prevention Partnership, sponsored by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Dep Corporation) Tour to Schools, in an educational video. She was also involved with the D.A.R.E. program and worked with the Coastal Bend Aids Foundation. Her pro-education videos included My Music and Selena Agrees. She was scheduled for a Dallas-Fort Worth boys' and girls' club benefit. Selena taped a public-service announcement for the Houston Area Women's Center, a shelter for battered women, in 1993.

   On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot fatally in the back by Yolanda Saldivar, her first fan club founder and manager of Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi. The New York Times covered her death with a front-page story, as did Texas major dailies. Six hundred persons attended her private Jehovah's Witness funeral. More than 30,000 viewed her casket at the Bayfront Plaza Convention Center in Corpus Christi. Hundreds of memorials and Masses were offered for her across the country; on April 16, for instance, a Mass was celebrated on her behalf at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles. Her promotion agency, Rogers and Cowan, received more than 500 requests for information about her. Entertainment Tonight and Dateline NBC ran short stories on her, and People magazine sold a commemorative issue. Spanish-language television and radio sponsored numerous tributes, typically half-hour or hour programs.

   Selena's fans compared the catastrophe to the deaths of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, and Pedro Infante. Songs, quilts, paintings, T-shirts, buttons, banners, posters, and shrines honored her. Radio talker Howard Stern of New York, however, snickered at her music and enraged her fans. Bo Corona, a disc jockey at a Houston Tejano radio station, asked him to apologize, and the League of United Latin American Citizens organized a boycott of his sponsors. Selena's death became part of the controversy over the Texas concealed-handgun bill. Her death also fostered greater awareness of Tejano music. According to superstar Little Joe, as a result of Selena's death "the word Tejano has been recognized by millions." Governor George W. Bush proclaimed April 16, 1995, "Selena Day." Selena's family founded the Selena Foundation. Her bilingual album, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously in 1995 and was the first Tejano album to hit number one in the United States.

   Selena's killer, Yolanda Saldivar, was convicted by a Houston jury. In 2002 Nueces County Judge Jose Longoria ordered that the murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, be destroyed and its pieces scattered in Corpus Christi Bay. Some musicologists and fans felt that the gun should have been preserved in a museum for its historical significance, while others were glad to see the destruction of the instrument of the singer's death.

   In the years after Selena's death, the singer's popularity has remained very strong. Numerous honors have been awarded posthumously. The city of Corpus Christi erected a memorial, Mirador de la Flor ("Overlook of the Flower"), which included a life-sized bronze statue, to the fallen singer in 1997. That same year, a movie about her life - Selena - was released and starred newcomer Jennifer Lopez in the leading role. The Quintanilla family opened the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi in 1998, and in 2001 she was inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the South Texas Music Walk of Fame.

   On April 7, 2005, a tribute concert Selena ¡VIVE! was broadcast live from Houston's Reliant Stadium. Attended by more than 65,000 fans, the event featured famous artists performing Selena's songs. The live broadcast on the Univision Network became the highest-rated Spanish-language program in American television history. In 2011 the United States Postal Service honored Selena as a “Latin Legend” with the issue of a memorial postage stamp. In April 2015 the city of Corpus Christi hosted the first annual Fiesta de la Flor, a two-day festival celebrating the life and legacy of the singer. A portion of the profits was donated to the Selena Foundation. Source

27° 43.943, -097° 21.747

Living Lord Section
Seaside Memorial Cemetery
Corpus Christi

September 15, 2015

Michael Francis "Mike" Dukes

   Michael Francis Dukes was an American collegiate and professional football player who was best known as a linebacker for the original Houston Oilers. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Dukes attended Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Georgia and then played in college for Clemson University.

   He then played the 1959 season for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. Dukes left the NFL for the upstart American Football League where he played eleven seasons for the Oilers, Boston Patriots and New York Jets. He played for the first two championship teams of the American Football League, the 1960 and 1961 Oilers, and was selected to the UPI All-AFL Team in 1961. Dukes died in an automobile accident on Interstate 10 in Beaumont, Texas on June 16, 2008 at age 72 and was interred at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches.

30° 00.054, -093° 57.731

Section 10
Oak Bluff Memorial Park
Port Neches

September 8, 2015

William Lockhart Clayton

   William Lockhart Clayton, cotton merchant, was born on a farm near Tupelo, Mississippi, on February 7, 1880, to James Munroe and Martha Fletcher (Burdine) Clayton. He attended seven grades of public school in Tupelo and Jackson, Tennessee, where the family moved when he was six years old. Proficient in shorthand, he went to St. Louis in 1895 as personal secretary to an official of the American Cotton Company. From 1896 to 1904 he worked in the New York office of the American Cotton Company, where he rose to the position of assistant general manager. In 1904 Clayton formed a partnership to buy and sell cotton with two members of a Jackson, Tennessee, family prominent in banking - Frank E. and Monroe D. Anderson, the former Clayton's brother-in-law. A younger brother, Benjamin Clayton, joined the firm in 1905. Anderson, Clayton and Company first opened its offices in Oklahoma City and experienced immediate success.

   In 1916 the firm moved its headquarters to Houston, where Clayton, as the partner most expert in foreign sales, led other cotton exporters in providing warehouse facilities, insurance, credit, and other services that European firms had formerly rendered. In 1920 the company reorganized as an unincorporated Texas joint-stock association. Later in the 1920s Clayton led the fight that forced the New York Stock Exchange to accept southern delivery on futures contracts, thus removing an impediment to the natural operation of the futures market.

   When high tariffs and federal farm-price supports threatened to drive American cotton out of the world market in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Clayton's firm responded by establishing cotton-buying offices in Latin America and Africa in order to supply its foreign sales agencies with cotton at competitive rates. At the same time that Clayton was expanding his business abroad, he fought the farm policies of the New Deal. He opposed government supports of the agricultural market. Instead, he believed that if subsidies were necessary they should go straight to the farmer. Clayton joined the American Liberty League in 1934 but left the organization the following year, when it failed to accept his recommendations for public relations in Texas.

   In 1936 he renounced his earlier opposition to Roosevelt because of Secretary of State Cordell Hull's work for a reciprocal trade agreement, a cause Clayton had advocated for many years. Meanwhile, Anderson, Clayton and Company increased investments in cotton gins, vegetable-oil mills, feed factories, experimental seed farms, and other enterprises related to processing cotton and similar commodities. From the beginning such investments had made the firm unique among cotton-merchandising organizations. Frank Anderson died in 1924, and Benjamin Clayton withdrew from the firm in 1929. The two remaining partners formed Anderson, Clayton and Company (Delaware) in 1930 and issued preferred stock. In 1940 Clayton retired from active management in the firm, but through several trusts he maintained control of the company until his death.

   During World War I he served on the Committee of Cotton Distribution of the War Industries Board. In 1940 he was called to Washington to serve as deputy to the coordinator of inter-American affairs. For the next four years he held a variety of high-level positions with the Export-Import Bank, the Department of Commerce, and wartime agencies. From December 1944 until October 1947 he was assistant and then undersecretary of state for economic affairs, in which capacity he became a principal architect of the European Recovery Program, known commonly as the Marshall Plan. After his return to Houston in late 1947, he remained an occasional participant and frequent contributor to international conferences on world trade, the European Common Market, and related matters.

   He contributed personally and through the Clayton Fund to a variety of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, most notably to Johns Hopkins University (of which he was a trustee from 1949 to 1966), Tufts University, the University of Texas, Susan V. Clayton Homes (a low-cost housing project in Houston), and the Methodist Church. Clayton married Susan Vaughan of Clinton, Kentucky, on August 14, 1902. They had a son who died in infancy and four daughters who survived them. Clayton died after a brief illness on February 8, 1966, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Source

29° 45.910, -095° 22.983
Section I
Glenwood Cemetery

September 1, 2015

Jose Francisco Ruiz

   José Francisco Ruiz, military officer and public official, was born about January 28, 1783, to Juan Manuel Ruiz and María Manuela de la Peña and baptized eight days later in the parish church of San Fernando de Béxar (now San Antonio). It is said that he went to Spain for his final years of schooling. In 1803 he was appointed San Antonio's schoolmaster. The designated site for the school was a house on Military Plaza acquired earlier by Juan Manuel Ruiz and passed on to his son. This same house, suffering from the ravages of time and business encroachment, was removed from its original location in 1943 and carefully reconstructed on the grounds of the Witte Museum, where it is still used for educational purposes.

   Ruiz was elected regidor on the San Antonio cabildo or city council in 1805. His duties involved assisting the síndico procurador (city attorney) in administering the affairs of a public slaughterhouse. In 1809 he was elected procurador. Beginning a long military career, he joined the Bexar Provincial Militia on January 14, 1811, with the rank of lieutenant. He joined the Republican Army at Bexar and served first under José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and then José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois. He took part in the battle of Medina on August 18, 1813, and with the defeat of the revolutionaries and a price on his head, Ruiz was "obliged to emigrate to the United States of the North." His nephew, José Antonio Navarro, who was also in exile, wrote of their "wandering in the State of Louisiana."

   When a proclamation of general amnesty was issued on October 10, 1813, to the Mexican insurgents, Francisco Ruiz, Juan Martín de Veramendi, and a few others were excepted. The Ruiz family was on the "List of Insurgents for the Month of March 1814". Ruiz remained in exile until 1822, and spent part of this time with the Indians. In 1821, at the order of Augustín de Iturbide, he "occupied himself in making peace with the Indians until he succeeded in getting the hostile tribes of the North, the Comanches and Lipans, to present themselves in peace." In a letter to Antonio M. Martínez Ruiz writes that he will leave Natchitoches, Louisiana, on November 1, 1821, in compliance with the commission conferred on him by Gaspar López, commandant general of the Eastern Internal Provinces, and take the Indians to the capitol if possible.

   In 1822, his long exile ended, Ruiz returned to Texas, where he was appointed to the Mounted Militia. That same year he traveled with a party of Indians to Mexico City, where the Lipans signed a peace treaty ratified in September 1822 by the Mexican government. Ruiz was promoted in 1823 to army captain, unassigned, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His commission was confirmed on September 23, 1825. On June 22, 1826, he wrote the president of Mexico requesting the command of a post. He was sent to Nacogdoches in December 1826 to help put down the Fredonian Rebellion, and by April 1827 he was in command of a detachment there. In 1828 Ruiz returned to Bexar, where he commanded the Álamo de Parras company and assisted Gen. Manuel de Mier y Terán in his study of the Texas Indians. It was probably during this time that Ruiz wrote his Report on the Indian Tribes of Texas in 1818, preserved in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. During his years in the military Ruiz gained the trust of the Indians as negotiator. The Shawnees referred to him as "A good man no lie and a friend of the Indians."

   With the passage of the Law of April 6, 1830, General Mier instructed Antonio Elozúa, military commandant in Bexar, to dispatch Ruiz with the Alamo de Parras company to establish a military post on the Brazos at the upper crossing of the Bexar-Nacogdoches road. Its primary purpose was to prevent further American colonization from this direction. Ruiz set out on June 25, 1830, with his company and kept a diary of the trip, in which he recorded their arrival at the Brazos on July 13, 1830. They chose a site on August 2 on the west side of the river, in what is now Burleson County, and gave their post the name Fort Tenoxtitlán. Colonel Ruiz encountered many difficulties as commandant of the fort-isolation, hostile Indians, and desertions and other crimes. The post suffered shortages of food, funds, and military personnel. In a letter to his friend Stephen F. Austin on November 26, 1830, Ruiz stated that he was tired of his command and wanted to get out of military service. He longed to obtain land and build a house so he could bring his family from Bexar and settle down as a rancher.

   On October 16, 1831, he wrote Vice President Anastasio Bustamante asking to be separated from the army because of failing health. He outlined his military career and asked for retirement or a permanent leave. In a letter of November 13 to his friend and superior Elozúa, Ruiz described a debilitating illness that had impaired his hearing and caused his hair to fall out. On August 15, 1832, he received orders to abandon the fort and move his troops back to Bexar. Ruiz received his retirement and military pay from the Mexican government at the end of 1832. On January 17, 1836, James W. Robinson, lieutenant governor of the provisional government of Texas, appointed him one of five commissioners to treat with the Comanche Indians. When the struggle for Texas independence gained momentum in 1835, Ruiz allied himself with its cause. He traveled to Washington-on-the-Brazos in late February 1836 as a delegate to the Convention of 1836. There he and his nephew José Antonio Navarro signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, the only native Texans among the fifty-nine men who affixed their names to this document.

   Still away from his home in the service of the republic, Ruiz wrote his son-in-law, Blas María Herrera, on December 27, 1836, from Columbia, Texas. In this letter, still in family possession, he eloquently expressed his affection and longing for his family and his support for the young Republic of Texas. "Under no circumstance," he wrote, "take sides against the Texans . . . for only God will return the territory of Texas to the Mexican government." Ruiz represented the Bexar District as its senator in the First Congress of the Republic of Texas, from October 3, 1836, to September 25, 1837. He was a Catholic. He was married in San Antonio on March 8, 1804, to Josefa Hernández. They had four children, of whom one was Francisco Antonio Ruiz, alcalde of San Antonio during the battle of the Alamo. Besides the property Ruiz owned in and around San Antonio, in 1833 and 1834 he received eleven leagues of land that is now part of Robertson, Brazos, Milam, Burleson, and Karnes counties. Ruiz died in San Antonio, probably on January 19, 1840, and is buried there. Source

29° 24.937, -098° 30.740

Section 4
San Fernando Cemetery #1
San Antonio

August 25, 2015

George Krause Kitchen

   George K. Kitchen, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1844, son of George Kitchen. Both of his parents were born in England. Kitchen married a woman named Annie, who died in 1915, and later a second wife named Emma. Sgt. George K. Kitchen was in Texas with Company H, Sixth United States Cavalry, on the upper Washita River on September 9, 1874, with Lyman's wagon train, attempting to reach Gen. Nelson A. Miles's forces on the Washita River, when the company was attacked by a large force of Indians. They engaged the enemy from September 9 to 14 under very difficult conditions. Kitchen was awarded the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action." After leaving the army he lived in San Antonio for seventeen years and worked in the United States Post Office there. He died at Kelly Field No. 2 on November 22, 1922, and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, San Antonio.

Gallantry in action.

29° 25.016, -098° 27.832

St. Mary's Cemetery
San Antonio

August 18, 2015

Benjamin Brigham

   The son of Asa and Elizabeth Brigham, Benjamin arrived in Texas from Louisiana in April 1830, with his parents and brother Samuel. They made their home in Brazoria Municipality as a part of Austin's Third Colony on November 30, 1830. In early 1836, he enlisted as an orderly sergeant in Captain Robert J. Calder's Company of Brazoria Volunteers. Benjamin Brigham was mortally wounded at the Battle of San Jacinto, dying on the night of April 22nd.

Note: In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232, -095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

August 11, 2015

Robert Francis Catterson

   Robert Francis Catterson was born in 1835 on a farm near Beech Grove in Marion County, Indiana. He was the son of an Irish immigrant, but his father died in 1840 when Robert was only five years old. Catterson's education began at Adrian College in Michigan, and then he attended Cincinnati Medical College in Ohio, precursor to the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. After completing his medical studies, Catterson established a medical practice in Rockville, Indiana, just prior to the start of the American Civil War.

   When the American Civil War began in 1861, Catterson chose to follow the Union cause. He gave up his medical practice and volunteered to serve in the Union Army, enlisting in the 14th Indiana Infantry Regiment. On April 23 Catterson was mustered in as a private into Company A of the 14th, and on June 7 was promoted to first sergeant. Catterson was then elected as an officer, and he was commissioned a second lieutenant on July 5. The following year he was promoted to first lieutenant on March 15, 1862. In 1862 Catterson saw his first battle during the Valley Campaign, participating in the First Battle of Kernstown on March 23, and was promoted to captain on May 4. Catterson next fought during the Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam on September 17, where he was wounded. Upon recovering, Catterson was appointed lieutenant colonel in the 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry on October 18, and its commander as colonel on November 25. Catterson and the 97th Indiana served the Battle of Memphis in Tennessee on June 6, 1862, and the subsequent occupation of the city, until late in 1862. He then took part in the Siege of Vicksburg in the spring of 1863 and the Tullahoma Campaign that summer. Catterson and his command participated in the Third Battle of Chattanooga on November 23-25, and the Atlanta Campaign throughout the summer of 1864.

   During Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's March to the Sea in the winter of 1864, Catterson was part of the Army of the Tennessee, heading a brigade in its XV Corps beginning on November 22, 1864. He fought in the Carolinas Campaign of 1865, participating in the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina on March 19-21, the fight considered the last major engagement of the American Civil War. Also during the Carolinas Campaign, Catterson served very briefly as chief of staff to Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the commander of the XV Corps. He then returned to his brigade, leading it for the rest of the campaign and to the end of the war. Catterson was brevetted to brigadier general in the Union Army on May 31, 1865, and was mustered out of the volunteer service on January 15, 1866.

   After the war, Catterson chose not to return to practicing medicine; he moved to Arkansas, where he tried and failed at cotton speculation. He then became commander of the Arkansas Negro militia under Governor Powell Clayton, engaged in fighting against the Ku Klux Klan members operating there, and also as a United States Marshal. During Clayton's successful political run for the U.S. Senate, Catterson was removed as marshal when he lost the favor of Clayton, and replaced by Isaac Mills. He would later command the Brooks forces, during the Brooks-Baxter War. Catterson was the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, from 1872 to 1874. After serving as mayor, he moved to Minnesota, where he was unsuccessful as both a farmer and a farm implement merchant. He died at the age of 79 at the Veterans' Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, after suffering from a stroke and buried in the San Antonio National Cemetery at Section A, Grave 176/177.

29° 25.290, -098° 27.997

Section A
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

August 4, 2015

Andrew Jackson Houston

   Andrew Jackson Houston, politician, son of Sam and Margaret (Lea) Houston, was born at Independence, Texas, on June 21, 1854. In 1874, after attending various military academies and colleges including Baylor, he mustered the Travis Rifles to protect the new post-Reconstruction Democratic legislature. He was admitted to the bar at Tyler in 1876 and was United States district court clerk from 1879 to 1889. In 1892 he accepted the "Lily-white" Republican nomination for governor, though the party was split and had no chance of winning. In 1898 Houston gathered a troop of Rough Riders for Theodore Roosevelt, and in 1902 he accepted President Roosevelt's appointment as United States marshal in East Texas, a post in which he served until 1910. In 1910 and 1912 Houston again accepted futile nominations for the governorship, this time on the prohibition slate. He then returned to his legal practice in Beaumont. He was awarded several honors in the 1930s, including the post of honorary superintendent of San Jacinto State Park (now San Jacinto Battleground State Park). In 1938 he published Texas Independence, a book about his father's role in the Texas Revolution.

   After the death of United States senator Morris Sheppard on April 9, 1941, Governor W. Lee O'Daniel wanted to replace Sheppard as senator himself, but was required to appoint an interim senator to serve until election time. He had to find someone of some prominence who would like to be senator but would not run against him in the special election. O'Daniel selected Houston, who was two months short of his eighty-eighth birthday and disabled by illness. At that time Houston was the oldest person ever to serve in the United States Senate. There was some doubt that he would even enter the Senate chamber, since his daughters did not want him to risk the long trip. He did, however, travel to Washington a few weeks after his appointment. There he died after attending one committee meeting. On June 26, 1941, Houston's body was returned to Texas and buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. He had been married twice-to Carrie G. Purnell, who died in 1884, and to Elizabeth Hart Good, who died in 1907. Three daughters survived him. Source 

30° 43.596, -095° 32.839

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 28, 2015

Greer Garson

   Famed actress Greer Garson was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson in London, England, on September 29, 1904. She was the only daughter of George Garson, a London clerk, and Nina Nancy Sophia Greer. Her father died in 1906. She attended East Ham Secondary School in London and the prestigious University of London, where she graduated with a B.A. and with honors in English in 1926. Though family members suggested that she might enter the teaching field, Garson had ambitions to become an actress. She did postgraduate work and studied French theater at Grenoble University in France in 1927.

   From 1927 to 1931 she worked at an advertising agency in London where she met another aspiring actor, George Sanders, who later starred in such films as The Gay Falcon and The Saint. She joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in late 1931 and made her stage debut in 1932. In just a few short years she landed starring roles in a number of West End productions on the London stage. During one of her productions, she caught the eye of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who was desperate to find a leading lady to revitalize his studio with the impending departures of Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Garson signed with MGM in 1937.

   Garson’s first Hollywood production, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), won her an Academy Award nomination. This began a remarkable run of five more Oscar nominations during the first half of the 1940s for her leading roles in Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), and The Valley of Decision (1945). In 1942 she earned her only Oscar for playing the title role in Mrs. Miniver. Her portrayal of a British homemaker on the home front during World War II was a particular favorite of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her remarks upon accepting the Oscar remain the longest recorded acceptance speech (5.5 minutes in length) in the Academy’s history, which afterward prompted organizers to place a cap on them. After her role in Madame Curie, which featured the popular pairing of Garson with actor Walter Pidgeon, she was pictured on the cover of Time magazine. Garson was honored as Hollywood’s most popular star in polls within the United States and throughout the world in 1944.

   Her star was waning, however, by the later 1940s. During the 1950s her movie efforts were regarded mostly with disappointment. Garson negotiated the end of her contract with MGM in 1953 after playing a small role in the blockbuster production of Julius Ceasar. She made occasional television performances and in 1958 made her Broadway debut in Auntie Mame. Garson’s portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1960 movie Sunrise at Campobello earned her a final Oscar nomination.

   Garson’s first marriage, to Edward Snelson in 1933, ended in divorce in 1940. In 1943 she married Richard Ney, who had played her son in Mrs. Miniver; the couple divorced in 1947. Garson's third and final marriage, this time to Texas millionaire oil executive and rancher E. E. “Buddy” Fogelson, occurred on July 15, 1949. The union lasted nearly forty years and only ended with Fogelson’s death from Parkinson’s disease in 1987. It was Fogelson who brought Garson to Texas, and she remained connected to Dallas for the rest of her life, although she split her time between Los Angeles and the ranch they shared near Pecos, New Mexico. Garson retired from acting permanently in 1980.

   During these years Garson was a generous financier and benefactor to the arts, with Dallas being the recipient of many of her greatest contributions. Garson donated millions of dollars to Southern Methodist University in Dallas and funded the Greer Garson Theatre (part of the Meadows School of the Arts) which opened in 1992. The theater features a 366-seat classical thrust stage, which bears a striking resemblance to the Globe Theater in London. SMU holds many of Garson's papers and personal effects, which were donated to the university’s Jake and Nancy Hamon Library. In recognition for her contributions to the arts in Dallas, Garson received the prestigious TACA/Neiman-Marcus Silver Cup Award. The Meadows School of the Arts awarded her their Medal of Distinction. Garson also established an endowment for theater student awards at the College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design) in New Mexico, and the Greer Garson Theatre Center on that campus was dedicated in her honor. Garson received the Women’s International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1990, and in 1993 she received another honor when Queen Elizabeth II named her Commander of the British Empire.

   Fogelson and Garson prized education and the advancement of the arts and sciences, establishing multiple endowments and donatives to Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and the University of Texas Health Science Center. Garson was joined by Fogelson in establishing the E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Charitable Foundation, which sought to fund a variety of causes, including the creation of the Folgelson Honors Forum at Fogelson’s alma mater, Texas Christian University, through a $1 million dollar donation. In 2010 the Fogelson Honors Forum was in its twelfth year and had engaged some of America’s most sought-after speakers, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Governor Jeb Bush, Ben Stein, David McCullough, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. In honor of her husband’s memory, Garson also established the endowed E. E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the Distinguished Chair in Medical Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

   Because of her late husband's fight with Parkinson's, Garson had a strong desire to use her name and celebrity status to kindle public awareness of various medical conditions that needed the support of the community in order to make advancements and/or breakthroughs that could only be facilitated through research dollars. By the early 1990s, Garson, a valiant spokeswoman, championed these initiatives at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation’s most recognized fund-raising event is the annual Greer Garson Gala, a signature event that seeks to raise money and support for programs and services of the hospital. Garson was a zealous healthcare advocate and vociferous supporter of medical research, healthcare, and education.

   On April 6, 1996, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, Greer Garson passed away in the company of her close friend, pianist Van Cliburn. She was buried at the Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas. Garson's epitaph on her gravestone is a testament to her legacy:
A Dignified Lady of Grace and Beauty/Her Wit, Charm and Talent/Thrilled the World and Touched/All Who Knew Her. Source 

32° 52.163, -096° 46.761

Fogelson Triangle
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

July 21, 2015

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar

   Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, son of John and Rebecca (Lamar) Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, was born near Louisville, Georgia, on August 16, 1798. He grew up at Fairfield, his father's plantation near Milledgeville. He attended academies at Milledgeville and Eatonton and was an omnivorous reader. As a boy he became an expert horseman and an accomplished fencer, began writing verse, and painted in oils. In 1819 he had a brief partnership in a general store at Cahawba, Alabama; in 1821 he was joint publisher of the Cahawba Press for a few months. When George M. Troup was elected governor of Georgia in 1823, Lamar returned to Georgia to become Troup's secretary and a member of his household. He married Tabitha Jordan of Twiggs County, Georgia, on January 1, 1826, and soon resigned his secretaryship to nurse his bride, who was ill with tuberculosis.

   In 1828 he moved his wife and daughter, Rebecca Ann, to the new town of Columbus, Georgia, and established the Columbus Enquirer as an organ for the Troup political faction. Lamar was elected state senator in 1829 and was a candidate for reelection when his wife died on August 20, 1830. He withdrew from the race and traveled until he was sufficiently recovered. During this time he composed two of his best known poems, At Evening on the Banks of the Chattahoochee and Thou Idol of My Soul. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1832, helped organize a new party, and was again defeated for Congress in 1834 on a nullification platform. He then sold his interest in the Enquirer and in 1835 followed James W. Fannin, Jr., to Texas to collect historical data. By the time he reached Texas, Lamar's health and spirits began to mend and he decided to settle in the Mexican province. Characteristically, he immediately declared for Texas independence, helped build a fort at Velasco, contributed three poems to the Brazoria Texas Republican, and hurried back to Georgia to settle his affairs.

   At the news of the battle of the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre Lamar rushed back to Velasco and inquired the way to the scene of battle. He joined the revolutionary army at Groce's Point as a private. When the Mexican and Texan forces faced each other at San Jacinto on April 20, 1836, Thomas Jefferson Rusk and Walter Paye Lane were surrounded by the enemy. Lamar's quick action the next day saved their lives and brought him a salute from the Mexican lines. As the battle of San Jacinto was about to start, he was verbally commissioned a colonel and assigned to command the cavalry. Ten days after the battle, having become secretary of war in David G. Burnet's cabinet, he demanded that Antonio López de Santa Anna be executed as a murderer. A month later Lamar was major general and commander in chief of the Texas army, but the unruly Texas troops refused to accept him and he retired to civilian life.

   In September 1836, in the first national election, Lamar was elected vice president, an office in which he had leisure to augment his historical collections and study Spanish. He spent most of the year 1837 in Georgia being feted as a hero and publicizing the new republic. Upon his return to Texas, he organized the Philosophical Society of Texas on December 5, 1837, and found that his campaign for the presidency of Texas was already under way, sponsored by opponents of President Sam Houston, who by law could not succeed himself. The other candidates, Peter W. Grayson and James Collinsworth both committed suicide before election day, thus assuring Lamar's election by an almost unanimous vote. At his inauguration on December 10, 1838, Lamar declared the purposes of his administration to be promoting the wealth, talent, and enterprises of the country and laying the foundations of higher institutions for moral and mental culture.

   His term began with Texas in a precarious situation, however: only the United States had recognized her independence, she had no commercial treaties, Mexico was threatening re-conquest, the Indians were menacing, the treasury was empty, and currency was depreciated. It was characteristic of Lamar to divert the thoughts of his constituents from the harassments of the moment toward laying the foundations of a great empire. Opposed to annexation, he thought Texas should remain a republic and ultimately expand to the Pacific Ocean. For Houston's conciliatory Indian policy, Lamar substituted one of sternness and force. The Cherokees were driven to Arkansas in 1839; in 1840 a campaign against the Comanches quieted the western Indians in the west at a cost of $2.5 million. Lamar sought peace with Mexico first through the good offices of the United States and Great Britain, then by efforts at direct negotiation. When it was clear that Mexico would not recognize Texas, he made a quasi-official alliance with the rebel government in Yucatán and leased to it the Texas Navy. He proposed a national bank, but instead of establishing the bank Congress authorized additional issues of paper money in the form of redbacks, which were greatly depreciated by the end of his administration. Receipts for his administration were $1,083,661; expenditures were $4,855,213.

   At Lamar's suggestion, the new capital city of Austin was built on the Indian frontier beside the Colorado River and occupied in October 1839. Another step in his plans for a greater Texas was the Texan Santa Fe expedition, undertaken without congressional approval in the last months of his administration. If it had succeeded, as Lamar had reason to believe it would, this botched venture might have solved many of the problems of Texas; its failure was proof to his enemies that he was "visionary." Lamar's proposal that the Congress establish a system of education endowed by public lands resulted in the act of January 26, 1839, which set aside land for public schools and two universities. Although it was decades before the school system was established, Lamar's advocacy of the program earned for him the nickname "Father of Texas Education." A dictum in one of his messages to Congress, "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy," was rendered by Dr. Edwin Fay into Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, the motto of the University of Texas.

   As the national election of 1841 approached, Lamar's popularity was at its lowest ebb, and Texas was at the verge of bankruptcy. The blame cannot be assessed against the president exclusively, however, for most of his policies were implemented by acts of Congress, and economic and political conditions in the United States and abroad blocked measures that might have temporarily stabilized the Texas currency. Forces that neither Lamar nor his enemies fully understood or controlled brought failure to his grandest projects. Smarting under criticism, he retired to his home near Richmond at the end of 1841 and busied himself with his plantation and with the collection of historical materials. After his daughter's death in 1843, he was plunged into melancholia and sought relief in travel. He wrote the poem On the Death of My Daughter, which was later published in the Southern Literary Messenger. At Mobile in 1844 he fell in with a literary coterie that encouraged his interest in poetry. He received callers at the City Hall in New York and was given a courtesy seat in the United States Senate at Washington. Though he had formerly opposed annexation, he had been convinced that Texas statehood was necessary to protect slavery and prevent the state from becoming an English satellite; he therefore lobbied for annexation while in Washington.

   With the outbreak of the Mexican War, he joined Zachary Taylor's army at Matamoros as a lieutenant colonel and subsequently fought in the battle of Monterrey. Later he was captain of Texas Mounted Volunteers on the Rio Grande. He organized a municipal government at Laredo and in 1847 represented Nueces and San Patricio counties in the Second Texas Legislature. After 1848 Lamar traveled much and began writing biographical sketches for a proposed history of Texas. He denounced the Compromise of 1850, which convinced him that the interests of the South could be protected only by secession. In February 1851 in New Orleans he married Henrietta Maffitt. Their daughter, Loretto Evalina, was born at Macon, Georgia, in 1852. In 1857 Lamar was appointed United States minister to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, a post he held for twenty months. His Verse Memorials appeared in September 1857. Two months after returning from his diplomatic mission, he died of a heart attack at his Richmond plantation on December 19, 1859. He was buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Richmond.

   Lamar had great personal charm, impulsive generosity, and oratorical gifts. His powerful imagination caused him to project a program greater than he or Texas could actualize in three years. His friends were almost fanatically devoted to him; though his enemies declared him a better poet than politician, they never seriously questioned the purity of his motives or his integrity. Lamar County and the town of Lamar in Aransas County were named for him. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed statues of him in the Hall of State in Dallas and in the cemetery at Richmond. The commission also marked the site of his home near Richmond and the place of his residence as president in Austin, and built a miniature replica of his home on the square at Paris. At his death the Telegraph and Texas Register eulogized him as a "worthy man". Source 

29° 35.136, -095° 45.803

Masonic West Section
Morton Cemetery