June 30, 2015

Anderson Buffington

Anderson Buffington, soldier at San Jacinto and Baptist minister, was born in South Carolina on February 14, 1806. After being reared by a stepmother, he ran away from home with his brother John and settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he learned the printing trade. In Nashville he was licensed to preach by the Nashville Baptist Church. Buffington and Parolee Cobler were married on October 1, 1834, and eventually became the parents of two boys and four girls. The Buffingtons left Tennessee in 1835 and crossed the Red River into Texas in an ox wagon on January 10, 1836. They settled at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Two months later Buffington joined Capt. William Kimbro's company in the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers as a private. He was discharged on June 15 at San Augustine and received 640 acres of land for fighting in the battle of San Jacinto.

Buffington and his wife became members of a prayer-meeting group organized at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Later in the year they formed a small church, Washington Baptist Church No. 1, the first missionary Baptist church in Texas. Buffington was on a committee that requested missionaries from the United States. The church dissolved in 1838. During this time Buffington was operating a sawmill at Washington-on-the-Brazos. He also served in the 1839 campaign against the Cherokee Indians and published a newspaper, the Tarantula, at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1841. On October 19, 1841, he was ordained by Washington Baptist Church No. 2 and appointed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society as a missionary to Montgomery County.

The Buffingtons moved in 1848 to Anderson, where Buffington opened a store with a man named Van Alstyne. They later sold the business, and Buffington opened another store, but it did not last long. He then opened the second hotel in Anderson and operated it for many years. Buffington preached to Negro congregations in Anderson for twenty years. He was also a strong Mason. At the beginning of the Civil War he was one of the few men in Grimes County who voted for the Union and Sam Houston. Both his sons fought in the Confederate Army. Buffington served briefly as postmaster in Anderson in 1865-66. He died on December 20, 1891, and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery at Anderson.

GPS Coordinates
30° 29.278, -096° 00.295


Odd Fellows Cemetery
Anderson

June 23, 2015

Thomas Green

Thomas Green, military leader, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on June 8, 1814, to Nathan and Mary (Field) Green. The family moved to Tennessee in 1817. Green attended Jackson College in Tennessee and Princeton College in Kentucky before he received a degree from the University of Tennessee in 1834. He then studied law with his father, a prominent judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court. When the Texas Revolution began, he left Tennessee to join the volunteers. He reached Nacogdoches by December 1835 and enrolled for military service on January 14, 1836. He became one of Isaac N. Moreland's company, which operated the Twin Sisters cannons in the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. A few days after the battle Green was commissioned a lieutenant; in early May he was made a major and aide-de-camp to Thomas J. Rusk. He resigned on May 30 to continue studying law in Tennessee.

When he returned and settled in Texas in 1837, he was granted land in reward for his army service and became a county surveyor at La Grange, Fayette County. After his nomination by fellow San Jacinto veteran William W. Gant, he was elected engrossing clerk for the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, a post he held until 1839, when he represented Fayette County in the House of the Fourth Congress. After a term he chose not to run again and resumed the office of engrossing clerk. During the Sixth and Eighth congresses he served as secretary of the Senate. From 1841 to 1861 he was clerk of the state Supreme Court.

Between legislative and court sessions Green served in military campaigns against the Indians and Mexico. In the fall of 1840 he joined John H. Moore in a foray up the Colorado River against the Comanches. After Rafael Vásquez's invasion of San Antonio in March 1842, Green recruited and served as captain of the Travis County Volunteers, a unit that did not see battle. That fall he served as inspector general for the Somervell expedition after Adrián Woll's foray into San Antonio. When the United States went to war with Mexico, Green recruited and commanded a company of Texas Rangers in La Grange as part of the First Texas Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, led by John C. Hays. The Texans helped Zachary Taylor capture Monterrey, Nuevo León, in September 1846. After returning home, Green married Mary Wallace Chalmers, daughter of John G. Chalmers, on January 31, 1847. Five daughters and one son were born to them.

After secession in 1861, Green was elected colonel of the Fifth Texas Volunteer Cavalry, which, as part of a brigade led by Gen. H. H. Sibley, joined the invasion of New Mexico in 1862. There Green led the Confederate victory at the battle of Valverde in February. After a difficult retreat into Texas he led his men, aboard the river steamer Bayou City, to assist in the recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863. In the spring of 1863 Green commanded the First Cavalry Brigade in fighting along Bayou Teche in Louisiana. On May 20 he became a brigadier general. In June he captured a Union garrison at Brashear City but failed to seize Fort Butler on the Mississippi. At Cox's Plantation he defeated a Union advance in July. In September the First Cavalry captured another Union detachment at Stirling's Plantation. A similar success followed in November at Bayou Burbeaux. In four victories Green's men inflicted about 3,000 casualties and suffered only 600. In April 1864 he led a division in successful attacks against Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks at the battle of Mansfield and against Maj. Gen. William H. Emory at the battle of Pleasant Hill. A few days later, on April 12, 1864, Green died while leading an attack on federal gunboats patrolling the Red River at Blair's Landing. He was buried in the family plot at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin. Tom Green County was named for him in 1874.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.566, -097° 43.703

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

June 16, 2015

John Grant Tod

John Grant Tod, Sr., naval officer and one of the founders of the first railroad in Texas, was born on November 14, 1808, near Lexington, Kentucky, the youngest of the nine children of Scottish immigrants William and Margaret Tod. He attended Kentucky schools, left home at the age of seventeen, and traveled down the Mississippi to New Orleans, where he joined the Mexican navy. Some years later, through the influence of Henry Clay, he was commissioned a midshipman in the United States Navy; he served on a training ship in the Caribbean from 1830 to 1833. A fever he contracted on that duty led to his medical discharge from service in 1836. A year later he arrived in Texas with letters of introduction to Samuel Rhoads Fisher, secretary of the Texas Navy.

He served briefly as a customs inspector at Velasco while he pursued a commission in the fledgling navy of the republic, which at that time was under the command of Edwin Moore and consisted of three vessels. Tod was appointed a naval inspector in 1838, charged with investigating supply purchases at the Galveston naval station, and from 1838 to 1840 was one of the Texas Navy's purchasing agents in Baltimore. In that capacity he oversaw the construction and outfitting of the ships that became known as the "second navy." In July 1839 he was appointed a commander in the navy and the following year was placed in command of the naval station at Galveston. From November to December of 1840 he also served as acting secretary of the navy. In 1842, in the midst of controversy over the faltering navy's finances, Tod resigned his post and went to Washington to further his own interests and to act as a lobbyist for the republic. Among other issues he lobbied the state department for annexation, although he apparently was not acting in any official capacity. In 1845 he returned to Texas carrying the official notification of annexation.

During the Mexican War Tod served in the United States Navy and as an agent of the United States quartermaster general at the Brazos Santiago Depot and at New Orleans. Among other duties, he superintended the recommissioning of old Texas Navy vessels for United States service. In 1847 he resigned from the service and set out for Mexico, hoping to find some profitable business. He tried but failed to win the government mail contract for the New Orleans-Veracruz line. He returned to the United States in 1849. During the late 1840s Tod also began corresponding with Sidney Sherman over the need for railroads in Texas. By 1852 Sherman and Tod, together with eastern capitalists including John Barrett and John Angier of Boston, had founded the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway. Tod remained a principal in the company until the late 1860s. He served intermittently as treasurer and, as one of the few local shareholders, helped oversee construction and operation of the railroad.

In 1851 he was appointed the Texas delegate to the London Industrial Exhibition. He served as assistant state engineer and river-work superintendent in 1857 and for two years supervised improvements on the Guadalupe and Colorado rivers. Just before the Civil War Tod worked for the federal government as assistant superintendent of construction of the Galveston customhouse and post office. During this time he also began to develop several business interests along Dickinson Bayou in Galveston County. His Dickinson Packery, financed initially with money from a northern partner, continued to operate on a limited basis throughout the Civil War, even supplying beef to the Confederate Army. After the war the business prospered for a while, but was bankrupt by 1871. Tod married Abigail Fisher West of Delaware on July 1, 1851, in Baltimore; they were the parents of three children. They lived in Galveston, Houston, and Richmond before moving to Harrisburg in 1866. Tod died at Harrisburg on August 14, 1877, and was buried in the family cemetery there.

GPS Coordinates
29° 43.180, -095° 16.460


Glendale Cemetery
Houston

June 9, 2015

Cornelius Devore

Cornelius E. Devore, soldier at the battle of San Jacinto, son of Polly (Black) and Jesse Devore, was born in Louisiana in 1820. The Devore family moved to the Atascosito District of Texas in 1828. In 1836 Cornelius Devore served in Capt. William M. Logan's company of the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers at the decisive battle of San Jacinto. He was subsequently awarded 320 acres of land for his service from March 6 to June 6, 1836, and 640 acres for participating at San Jacinto. After the Texas Revolution he became a prominent farmer and rancher in Liberty County. By 1862 his total estate, valued at almost $11,000, included 615 acres, three Liberty town lots, seven slaves, fifteen horses, forty cattle, and sixty sheep. Although a slave owner himself, Devore reportedly lent assistance to a group of runaway slaves who organized a Baptist church in 1864 and called him Neil Devore. He later gave two acres for a church and school near Liberty. He was a Mason, and he apparently never married. He died on July 29, 1885.

GPS Coordinates
30° 03.797, -094° 48.169


City Cemetery
Liberty

June 2, 2015

Thomas Chilton

Thomas Chilton, United states congressman and author, was born near Lancaster, Kentucky, a son of Rev. Thomas John Chilton and Margaret Bledsoe. One week before his seventeenth birthday he married and commenced study for ordination as a Baptist minister while simultaneously studying for the bar. After setting up a law practice in Owingsville he was elected to the State House of Representatives at age 21. He became enamored of the political persona of Andrew Jackson and carried Jackson's banner to the Twenty-first Congress from Elizabeth, Kentucky. Chilton was first seated in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 11, 1828.

In Washington, DC, Chilton took residence at the boarding house of Mary Ball and was lodged in the same room as David Crockett, a representative from Tennessee. The two men rapidly became friends and would spend the better part of the next six years acting in political concert. The most significant event they shared was disillusion with Andrew Jackson, and abandonment of his political party in March 1830. Chilton failed in his bid for reelection to the Twenty-second Congress but was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-third Congress. By the end of that term both Chilton and Crockett were tired of dealing with the Jackson machine and associated dirty tricks. The two men were glad to turn their backs on Washington, so in 1835 Chilton chose to resume the Baptist ministry in addition to law practice.

In 1834 a Philadelphia publisher released a book titled Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee. Many readers suspected that this autobiography was crafted by someone other than Crockett himself. It had indeed been crafted by Chilton, from Crockett's written material and in response to questioning, but the agreement between these friends was absolute public silence on the matter. After a century of historical suspicion the details were unearthed during research by Crockett biographer, James Atkins Shackford, when he discovered two letters in Crockett's hand which revealed the circumstances.

Chilton remained in Kentucky for the next four years. In 1839 he removed his family to Talladega, Alabama, where he accepted the pulpit of the Hope Baptist Church. In August 1851, he was invited to pastor the First Baptist Church in Houston, and so, with his second wife, Louisa and their six children in tow, left Alabama for Texas. He began his ministry there on December 6, 1851, but resigned on October 28, 1853 to pastor a church in Montgomery, Texas. While delivering a sermon on August 15, 1854 he suddenly clutched his chest, collapsed, and died of a heart attack before the congregation. The town of Chilton, Texas was named for his son, Lysias. A grandson, Horace Chilton, became the first native born Texan to serve in Congress.

GPS Coordinates
30° 23.338, -095° 41.868


Old Methodist Cemetery
Montgomery