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.

GPS Coordinates
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. 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.

GPS Coordinates
30° 43.604, -095° 32.831


Oakwood Cemetery
Huntsville

October 13, 2015

George 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.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 44.597, -095° 36.641

Section 411
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Houston