June 30, 2015

Joseph Baker (1804-1846)

Joseph Baker, newspaperman and public official, son of William and Jane (Gerrish) Baker, was born in Maine in 1804. On December 7, 1831, he arrived at San Felipe de Austin, where he taught school for three years and was secretary of the ayuntamiento in 1835. On October 5, 1835, he was issued title to one-fourth league of land on the west bank of Fish Pond Creek, a mile north of the site of Hempstead, in what is now Waller County. A ten-league grant made to him in December 1835 was cancelled by the Republic of Texas. With Gail Borden, Jr., and Thomas H. Borden, Baker, or Don José, as he was called, established the Telegraph and Texas Register at San Felipe; the first issue appeared on October 10, 1835. Baker severed his connection with the paper on April 5, 1836, to join the Texas army, in which he served from February 29 to June 1. He was a member of Moseley Baker's company at the battle of San Jacinto. In 1836 he was chosen second judge of Austin Municipality and became a charter member of the Texas Philosophical Society. He was appointed translator to the state on October 23, 1836, and was elected first chief justice of Bexar County on December 16, 1836. In 1837-38 he represented Bexar County in the House of the Second Congress. In 1841-42 he published the Houston Houstonian. He was Spanish translator in the General Land Office in 1845. Baker died in Austin on July 11, 1846, and was buried there in Oakwood Cemetery. In 1936 the state of Texas placed a monument at his grave. Source

30° 16.505
-097° 43.698

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

June 23, 2015

Oscar Branch Colquitt (1861-1940)

Oscar B.Colquitt, politician and governor, was born on December 16, 1861, at Camilla, Georgia, the son of Thomas Jefferson and Ann Elizabeth (Burkhalter) Colquitt, each of whom boasted some distinguished American ancestors. The family moved in 1878 to Daingerfield, Texas, where young Colquitt worked as a tenant farmer and attended the Daingerfield Academy one term. After a brief apprenticeship as a newspaperman, he founded the Gazette at Pittsburg, Texas, in 1884. He married Alice Fuller Murrell of Minden, Louisiana, on December 9, 1885, and the couple had four sons and one daughter. He sold the Gazette and published the Times-Star of Terrell, Texas, from 1890 to 1897. Colquitt served as state senator from 1895 to 1899 and was the author of delinquent-tax laws that earned him a statewide reputation. He was the state revenue agent during the last eight months of 1898 and, as the tax expert of a special tax commission, wrote the report that this commission submitted to the legislature in 1900. Colquitt acted as a paid lobbyist for several corporations during the sessions of 1899 and 1901 and also practiced law, having been admitted to the bar in 1900. He succeeded John H. Reagan as state railroad commissioner and served from 1903 to 1911.

He made an unsuccessful run for governor in 1906 and was elected governor in 1910 as an anti-prohibitionist. After being re-elected in 1912, he held the office until 1915. His administration achieved a reform of the prison system, improvement in the physical plants and management of the eleemosynary institutions, great advancement in the educational system, and a number of measures designed to improve the lot of laborers. This program was adopted despite the open hostility of two legislatures, which resulted from the animosities engendered by the prohibition question. Colquitt was pro-German from 1914 to 1916 and tried to secure the financial assistance of the German government in buying the New York Sun, which he planned to edit as a German propaganda organ. He failed in this venture, ran for the United States Senate in 1916, and received a large plurality over six opponents in the first primary. In the runoff, however, he was defeated by the incumbent, Charles A. Culberson. Although he remained interested in politics, Colquitt devoted the next decade to serving as president of a Dallas oil firm. In 1928 he bolted the Democratic party and headed the "Hoover Democrats" of Texas. He then served as a member of the United States Board of Mediation from 1929 through 1933. He became a field representative of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1935 and held this position until his death, on March 8, 1940. Colquitt was a self-made man, obstinate yet affable. Though not a polished orator, he was a convincing speaker and possessed of the "color that drew a crowd"; he was one of the most effective stump speakers in the history of Texas. Source

30° 16.697
-097° 43.524

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery

June 16, 2015

Harry McLeary Wurzbach (1874-1931)

Harry McLeary Wurzbach, lawyer and legislator, son of Kate (Fink) and Charles Louis Wurzbach, was born in San Antonio on May 19, 1874, and was educated in San Antonio public schools and at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1896 and began to practice law in San Antonio. That same year he married Frances Darden Wagner. During the Spanish-American War he volunteered as a private in Company F, First Regiment, Texas Volunteer Infantry. He resumed his law practice in Seguin in 1900 and was elected county attorney of Guadalupe County. In 1904 he became county judge and served four terms. On November 2, 1920, Wurzbach was elected to the Sixty-seventh United States Congress from the Fourteenth Texas District, the first native Texan to be a Republican representative. He was also the first Republican from Texas to be elected for more than two terms, for he was reelected to the Sixty-eighth, Sixty-ninth, Seventieth, and Seventy-second congresses. He died in San Antonio on November 6, 1931, and was buried there in the National Cemetery. Source

29° 25.294
-098° 28.054

Section J
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

June 9, 2015

Robert Hampton Kuykendall (1788-1831)

Robert Hardin (or Hampton) Kuykendall, an early member of the Old Three Hundred, was born in 1788 near Princeton, Kentucky, to Adam and Margaret (Hardin) Kuykendall. After moves through Sumner County, Tennessee, and Henderson County, Kentucky, the family settled in Arkansas near the Cadron Settlement on the Arkansas River around February 15, 1810. In the fall of 1821, having explored west of the Sabine River for some time, Robert joined his brothers Abner, Joseph, and Peter at Nacogdoches. He and Joseph moved with Daniel Gilleland and their families to the east bank of the Colorado River, near the La Bahía crossing, where they established the river's first settlement. In December 1822 the Baron de Bastrop arrived at the settlement to organize the Austin colony. The settlers elected Robert Kuykendall captain of the militia for the Mina (Colorado) District and alcalde of the Colorado District. Kuykendall's house was the election site when James Cummins was elected alcalde of the Colorado District. Kuykendall and his men killed a group of horse thieves and placed their heads on tall poles along the La Bahía Road as a warning to others, a warning that evidently succeeded in deterring lawlessness in the colony. After many Indian depredations in the summer of 1822, Kuykendall headed a party of settlers in an attack on the Karankawas at the mouth of Skull Creek, where the Indians were defeated with considerable loss.

In 1824 Kuykendall was involved in further encounters with the Karankawas. On July 15, 1824, Stephen F. Austin granted Kuykendall two leagues of land, one on the east side and one on the west side of the Colorado River. Kuykendall established his home on the east league near the site of present Glen Flora and named it Pleasant Farm Plantation. In an Indian fight sometime after the spring of 1826, he received a serious head injury, which gradually led to paralysis, blindness, and eventual death. Between March 20 and 27, 1830, Dr. Robert Peebles performed a successful trepan on Kuykendall, an event that induced Judge Robert M. Williamson, editor of the Texas Gazette at San Felipe, to commend the doctors of the colony. William B. Travis later turned money over to E. Roddy for Dr. Peebles from the Kuykendall estate for medical expenses. In 1830 Stephen F. Austin requested that commissioner general Juan Antonio Padilla convey an extra league of land each to two men of particular merit in the early days of the colony, Josiah H. Bell as alcalde and Robert H. Kuykendall as commander of the militia. Kuykendall married Sarah Ann Gilleland at Red Hill, Arkansas, in 1814. They had six children. Kuykendall died in the latter part of 1830 and is presumed to have been buried in the Old Matagorda Cemetery. Subsequent hurricanes washed away most of the grave markers, and his headstone has been lost. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Over the course of several decades during the mid-to-late 1800s, many of the older grave markers in Matagorda Cemetery were washed away by a series of severe storms. Although Robert Kuykendall is known to be buried in the immediate area, his exact grave location has been lost. 

28° 42.033
-095° 57.281

Section E
Matagorda Cemetery

June 2, 2015

John Lang Sinclair (1879-1947)

John Sinclair was born near Center Point, Texas, on November 26, 1879. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to a dairy farm in eastern Bexar County. While a student at the University of Texas, Sinclair was a member of the band and the Glee Club; served as editor of the campus literary magazine and the literary section of the yearbook; and played football. One day in class, he was inspired by UT President William L. Prather, who ended his speeches to the student body with the statement, "The eyes of Texas are upon you," sometimes adding, "You cannot get away." The phrase became a running campus joke. Prather borrowed the phrase from his own college president, General Robert E. Lee, who often told students at Washington University, "Remember, gentlemen, the eyes of the South are upon you." Sinclair wrote a song titled The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You which was set to the tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. The song was first sung by the Glee Club quartet at a minstrel show held on May 12, 1903, to benefit the University’s track team. After graduating from UT in 1904, Sinclair tried farming near Artesia Wells in La Salle County. He returned to his family’s dairy farm following his father’s death in 1908. Around 1923, Sinclair moved to New York City, where he became a partner in a tax and investment advisory service and, in 1945, married Stella C. Anderson of San Antonio. Sinclair died in New York on January 4, 1947, and is buried with his wife in San Antonio.

29° 25.184
-098° 28.158

Alamo Masonic Cemetery
San Antonio