Along with everything else, Hurricane Harvey took with it decades worth of files, maps, notes, coordinates, names and research I had on my external hard drive; so for the time being, this site will be on hiatus until I finish republishing. I will upload as I go, so each post will reappear on its original date and can be found in the Archive section in the right sidebar. If you need to contact me for any reason in the duration, my contact info is found in my profile. Wish me luck, guys. - JES

January 22, 2016

William Davis Durham

   William Davis Durham, soldier, was born at Bardswell, Norfolk, England, on July 4, 1815, the eldest of seven children of William and Ester (Bloomfield) Durham; he was a brother of George J. Durham. The family immigrated to the United States in 1833 or 1835 and settled in New York. William enlisted in the New Orleans Greys on October 22, 1835, and landed at Velasco, Texas, three days later. As a member of that unit he participated in the siege of Bexar. When the Texas army split, Durham marched to the east and fought at the battle of San Jacinto. His name is engraved (incorrectly, as William Daniel Durham) on the face of the San Jacinto Monument. He died, a victim of a yellow fever epidemic, in Houston on August 27, 1838, and was buried in Old Founders Memorial Park. In 1936 the state placed a monument over his grave. Source

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

COORDINATES
29° 45.430, -095° 22.750


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

January 5, 2016

Clarence Green

   Blues guitarist and band leader Clarence Green was born in Mont Belvieu, Texas, in Chambers County, on January 1, 1934. He was a versatile guitarist who should not be confused with the piano-playing blues singer Clarence "Candy" Green (1929-88) from nearby Galveston. Green, the guitar player, was a stalwart of the Houston scene who fronted a number of popular bands, the most famous being the Rhythmaires, between the early 1950s and his death.

   The oldest son of a Creole mother, he grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward in the neighborhood known as Frenchtown. He had first started making music on homemade stringed instruments devised in collaboration with his brother, Cal Green, who later served as lead guitarist for Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and did studio work for Ray Charles and other stars, relocating permanently to California in the process. Clarence, however, opted to stay close to home all his life, choosing the security of full-time employment with Houston Light and Power, where he worked for twenty years.

   Nevertheless, he found ample opportunity in the Bayou City to exploit his musical talents, both on stage and in recordings. He started out around 1951 or 1952 in a group that called itself Blues For Two. Throughout the next decade the band's personnel changed often; some of the more well-known members, at various times, included fellow guitarists Johnny Copeland and Joe Hughes. Green went on to lead the High Type Five, the Cobras (not to be confused with the mid-1970s Austin-based band of the same name led by Paul Ray), and ultimately his most well-known ensemble, the Rhythmaires, which was a mainstay of the Houston scene for over thirty years.

   Mixing blues, jazz, and soul music - and playing in all manner of venues, from small clubs in the old wards to grand corporate affairs downtown and in private mansions - the Rhythmaires are remembered not only for Green's precisely swinging performances on electric guitar, but also for the many female vocalists they developed and featured over the years, including Iola Broussard, Gloria Edwards, Luvenia Lewis (who married Cal Green but did not follow him to the West Coast), Trudy Lynn, Faye Robinson, Lavelle White, and others.

   Starting in the late 1950s and continuing through the 1960s, Green also did regular session work as a guitarist at various studios, the most notable being Duke Records, where he backed artists such as Bobby Bland, Joe Hinton, and Junior Parker and released a few singles, including Keep On Working, under his own name. In 1958 he had recorded his first single, Mary My Darling, for the C & P label, which later leased it to Chicago-based Chess Records. In the following years he made numerous records for a variety of other small labels, including Shomar (which released his Crazy Strings in 1962), All Boy, Aquarius, Bright Star, Lynn, Pope, and Golden Eagle. His backing personnel on these tracks varied from session to session but occasionally included notable Texas blues musicians such as Henry Hayes, Wilbur McFarland, Teddy Reynolds, Ivory Lee Semien, and Hop Wilson.

   Green did not always receive proper compensation for his many recordings, especially as they began to reappear on compact disk in the 1990s. In 1994 he became a co-plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed against one of his former producers on behalf of fifteen Houston blues musicians or their descendants. Just days before Green died of natural causes in Houston on March 13, 1997, a federal jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

   In the final months of his life Green was especially focused on performing gospel music in the context of religious worship, especially at the Frenchtown institution known as Buck Street Memorial Church of God in Christ, where he served as a deacon for many years. Green had a daughter, three sons, and several stepchildren. Source

COORDINATES
29° 53.171, -095° 27.770

Garden of Memories
Paradise North Cemetery
Houston