February 26, 2016

James S. Patterson (1800-1872)

James S. Patterson was born August 10, 1800. The census of 1850 and 1870 both give Maryland as his place of birth although his gravestone is inscribed “a native of Kentucky”. When he was about 10 years old, his father died and his mother remarried. He was then apprenticed to a hatter but ran away when he was 12 years old. He made his way to Louisiana, when and by what route is not known, where he claimed to have lived and worked with the followers of the pirate Jean LaFitte. He stated under oath that he came to Texas in the fall of the year that Stephen F. Austin came to Texas; his gravestone is inscribed “and emigrated to Texas in 1822”. He said that he helped build the first house in San Felipe, Stephen F. Austin’s first colony in Texas. He lived and worked in the Matagorda and Brazoria areas as a farmer, stockman, and a teamster, and could speak fluent French and Spanish. Patterson was approximately 6 feet tall, had sandy hair, blue or grey eyes, and generally was not regarded as a handsome man. In 1836, when the Mexican Army approached the town of Harrisburg, he joined Sam Houston’s army, enlisting as a private in Co. I,  Captain William S. Fisher’s Company (Velasco Blues), with Colonel Millard, Commander. He participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, while a member of Capt. Fisher’s company. He was wounded by a sword thrust above the knee but did not report as wounded and was not, therefore, listed among the casualties. He enlisted for an additional three months after the battle.

The wound in his knee bothered him a great deal and he returned to Louisiana, and in August 1843 married Eugenia Trahan. They had two children, James W. and Elvira J. Patterson.  He remained in Louisiana until he heard that Texas was giving land grants to those who had participated in the Battle of San Jacinto and other battles and also for service in the Texas Army. He returned to Texas before 1850 and petitioned the Texas Legislature for the land grants (the date to apply for such grants having expired before he was aware of them). His petitions were granted and he was issued a head right certificate for one-third of a league of land; Donation Certificate Nr. 218 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto; and, Bounty Warrant Nr. 723 for 320 acres for “3 months service” in the Army of the Republic of Texas. He was issued the 640 acres on August 26, 1850; he was living in Milam County, when on October 6 1851, he sold the certificate of land to Nathan Halbert for $64.00. He could not write but affixed his mark to the deed of transfer. It is probable that he sold the other parcels of land as well, as they are no longer owned by his descendents. He applied for a pension as a surviving veteran of the Texas War of Independence and this was granted December 21, 1870, Certificate Nr. 173. He was in Goliad, Texas, in the early 1860’s but by 1870 he and Eugenia were residing in Austin.  He suffered from "the gravels" and died November 8, 1872. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery with his wife Eugenia at his side.

30° 16.528
-097° 43.580

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

February 23, 2016

Owen Shannon (1762?-1839)

Owen Shannon, Texas pioneer, son of Eleanor and Thomas Shannon, Sr., was born around 1762 in Georgia. He, two of his brothers, and their father received certificates of service in the Revolutionary War and bounty grants of 287½ acres each. Owen, who was fourteen years old when he fought, received bounty land in Franklin County, Georgia. He married Margaret (Margit) Montgomery in Wilkes County, Georgia, on October 22, 1792. They had six children, most of whom settled on empresario grants in Texas. Their daughter Ellinder married Jonas Harrison, in whose honor Harrison County was named, and immigrated to Texas in January 1821. Another daughter, Ruthy, married James Miller; they were listed in the 1826 Atascosito census and received a league in Joseph Vehlein's colony. Nancy Shannon married Charles Garrett, a member of the Old Three Hundred. Another daughter, Polly, was the wife John Hauk, and did not come to Texas. A son, John, received a league in Austin's second colony. Jacob Montgomery Shannon married Catherine Yoakum and received a league in Austin's second colony that became known as Shannon Prairie). Shannon came with his family to Texas in 1821 as a member of the Old Three Hundred. He and his sons are listed on the June 9, 1826, muster roll of the Ayish Bayou District. Shannon was listed by Stephen F. Austin as seventy years of age when he and Margaret received their league of land in Montgomery County, where the Shannons operated the Montgomery Trading Post. Margaret was a member of the Montgomery family for whom Montgomery County was named, and Owen was one of forty-six veterans of the American Revolution who came to Mexican Texas. He died in 1839. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Differing contemporary accounts have Owen Shannon as being buried either on his homestead or in the now defunct Joel Greenwood family cemetery in Plantersville. However, in both cases, his grave was never marked and the location lost.

30° 23.316
-095° 41.845

Old Methodist Churchyard

February 19, 2016

Henry Larkin Chapman (1812-1887)

Born July 20, 1812 to Henry and Lavinia Mobley Chapman, Henry came to Texas in 1834. He settled in what is now Nacogdoches County and practiced law. During the Texas Revolution, he signed up with the Texas militia as a volunteer on March 8, 1836 and assigned to Captain L. Smith's Company as a private. Smith's company was stationed near Harrisburg on April 8 when they were ordered by David Thomas, the ad interim secretary of war, to report to the commander-in-chief of the army. They reached General Sam Houston on April 12, and nine days later, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto as a part of Captain Hayden Arnold's Company. On June 27, he re-enlisted for another three months under Captain William Rufus C. Hays. Once he was discharged, he returned home to his practice and later served as the Justice of the Peace for Nacogdoches County from 1841 to 1843. Chapman died in Nacogdoches County on September 12, 1887 and was buried in Fairview Cemetery.

31° 34.462
-094° 35.197

Fairview Church Cemetery

February 16, 2016

Richard William "Dick" Dowling (1838-1867)

Richard William Dowling, businessman and Civil War officer, son of William and Mary Dowling, was born in Tuam, Galway County, Ireland, in 1838. After 1846 the family migrated to the United States and settled in New Orleans. In the early 1850s, after the deaths of his parents, Dick Dowling worked his way to Texas and eventually settled in Houston. The likeable, red-headed Irishman quickly made a reputation as an enterprising businessman. In October 1857 he opened the Shades, the first of his successful saloons. He probably received financial backing for this enterprise from Benjamin Digby Odlum, whose daughter, Elizabeth Ann, Dowling married in November 1857. By 1860 he had sold his interest in the Shades and had purchased the popular Bank of Bacchus near the Harris County Courthouse. Still later he operated the Hudgpeth Bathing Saloon as well as a Galveston-based liquor-importing firm. With the outbreak of the Civil War Dowling joined the Jefferson Davis Guards as first lieutenant. Capt. Frederick H. Odlum was commander. During the first part of 1861 Dowling and his associates raided United States Army outposts on the Texas-Mexico border. When the guards were designated Company F of the Third Texas Artillery Battalion in October 1861, Dowling's theater became the upper Texas Gulf Coast. By 1862 the battalion was upgraded to a full regiment, the First Texas Heavy Artillery, under the overall command of Col. J. J. Cook. Dowling's early Civil War exploits were consistent but not spectacular.

On January 1, 1863, he participated in Gen. John B. Magruder's recapture of the port of Galveston. Three weeks later, after the transfer of his company to Sabine Pass, which controlled access to the Sabine River, he earned his first individual praise. As artillery commander aboard the steamer Josiah A. Bell, he took part in a naval battle on January 21, 1863, with two United States vessels. In a two-hour engagement the Confederate forces achieved a victory, in part because of Dowling's accuracy with the eight-inch Columbiad gun, which he commanded. Not only was he singled out for making some of the "prettiest shots" but also for saving the Bell's magazine from flooding. Throughout the spring and summer of 1863 Odlum, Dowling, and the guards manned defensive positions at Sabine Pass, including Fort Griffin, a nondescript post on the west side of the pass that controlled both the Texas and Louisiana channels of the river. By August 1863 Odlum was in charge of forces at nearby Sabine City, and Dowling commanded Company F, which consisted of forty-seven men armed with six cannons, at Fort Griffin. On September 8, 1863, the United States forces attacked the area in what became known as the battle of Sabine Pass. Dowling directed such intense and accurate fire from his guns that two of the United States gunboats, the Clifton and the Sachem, were disabled, and the remaining United States vessels withdrew. As a result of federal ineptitude and Dowling's leadership, Dowling and his men captured two ships and 350 prisoners and routed the invasion without a single casualty. The battle at Sabine Pass was the pinnacle of Dowling's career. During the remainder of the war he was a recruiting officer for the Confederacy, until his discharge with the rank of major in 1865. He returned to Houston, managed the businesses he had owned before the war, and acquired new businesses, including real estate, oil and gas leases, and an interest in a steamboat. His financial successes appeared to ensure a bright future, but he became ill with yellow fever and died on September 23, 1867. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son and was buried in St. Vincent's Cemetery, Houston. Source 

29° 45.550
-095° 20.667

St Vincent's Cemetery

February 12, 2016

John Slayton (1807-1882)

Johann Frederic Schlobohm, also recorded as John Slaburn, John Slayton, John Slighton, John Sleightson, John Slader and John Sladon, was born December 10, 1807 in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany. As was the case with Henry Tierwester, his last name was easily misspelled, so he was given various names in his legal and military records, making him somewhat difficult to track. What is known as fact is that he arrived in Texas in 1825 and settled near the Liberty/Harris County line. He enlisted in the Texian army on March 6, 1836 (where the muster rolls listed him as John Slaburn, John Sleightson and John Slighton) and was assigned to Captain William Mitchell Logan's Company of Liberty Volunteers (where the company rolls listed him as either John Slayton or John Slighton). He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 and left the service on June 6, 1836. Three days later, he reenlisted for a period of seventeen months, leaving the army for good on November 4, 1837. He was awarded several land grants for his service, most of which he sold off to an A. B. Grant, and settled in what is now eastern Harris County. Schlobohm died at his home on September 25, 1882. His gravestone records his last name with the correct spelling.

29° 54.992
-095° 19.679

Schlobohm Cemetery

February 9, 2016

James Edward "Jim" Pendleton (1924-1996)

Jim Pendleton was born in 1924 in St. Charles, Missouri. He joined a Negro minor league team in Asheville before he was promoted to the Negro American League in 1948. Playing shortstop for the Chicago American Giants, he hit .301. The following year, he was in the American Association as an outfielder with the St. Paul Saints, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Upon signing with the Dodgers organization, he took two years off his age. He was the only black player in the American Association at the time of his signing. In 1951, St. Paul moved him back to shortstop. The next year, he played for the Dodgers' minor league team in Montreal. Between 1950 and 1952, Pendleton hit between .291 and .301 each season, averaging 14 home runs and more than 15 triples per year during that period. Despite his minor league success, two factors worked against the possibility of a promotion to the Dodgers. Brooklyn already had a star major league shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, and the franchise was worried about backlash from the rest of baseball if it promoted more than one black player to the major leagues each year. The Dodgers also rejected trade offers from other teams during that time. With Reese holding strong as the Dodgers shortstop, Brooklyn agreed to a trade that sent Pendleton to the Milwaukee Braves in early 1953. At the age of 29, on April 17, 1953, Pendleton made his MLB debut with the Braves. In 1953, he was traded to the Braves as part of a four-team transaction (involving the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as the Braves and Dodgers). He played more than 100 games in the outfield for Milwaukee, and batted .299 in a part-time role, which increased his popularity. In 1957, he hit .305 in 46 games for the Pirates, but after three at bats in 1958, he was sent back to the minors for the rest of 1958 campaign. He was a member of the first Houston Colt .45s team in 1962 and played in 117 games at the age of 38. In his MLB career, Pendleton appeared in 444 games over eight seasons, hitting 19 home runs. He died in Houston, Texas, at age 72.

29° 55.786
-095° 26.957

Section K
Houston National Cemetery

February 5, 2016

Henry Tierwester (?-1859)

Born Heinrich Thurwachter in France, he became Henry Tierwester after an immigrations clerk misspelled his name and he decided to keep it. He came to Texas from Ohio in 1828 and applied for land in Austin's Second Colony, which he received in October, 1832. His grant was located in present-day Harris County, and he settled in a small town nearby named Frost Town. On March 1, 1836, he enlisted in the Texas Army as a private in Captain William S. Fisher's Company of Velasco Blues until June 7. During the battle of San Jacinto, he was shot through a powder horn that he had slung around his neck. Fortunately, the bullet had been spent before it penetrated fully and he was unharmed. He married Anne White on April 12, 1838, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1842; he later married Phillipine Pugh, and remained so until his death in 1859. His grave in Houston's City Cemetery was once marked and fenced, but is now lost.

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. Henry Tierwester's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

February 2, 2016

Hardin Richard Runnels (1820-1873)

Hardin R. Runnels, governor and legislator, the son of Hardin D. and Martha "Patsy" Burch (Darden) Runnels, was born on August 30, 1820, in Mississippi. His father died in 1839, and in 1842 he moved with his mother, his three brothers, and his uncle Hiram G. Runnels to Texas. The family first settled on the Brazos River, but Runnels soon moved with his mother and brothers to Bowie County, where they established a cotton plantation on the Red River. From 1847 to 1855 he served as state representative in the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth legislatures. He was speaker of the House during his final term. In 1855 he was elected lieutenant governor. During these years he acquired a reputation as a loyal member of the Democratic party and a staunch supporter of states' rights. He was the son of a prominent and wealthy family and also became a wealthy man in his own right. By 1860 his real and personal property was worth an estimated $85,000 and included thirty-nine slaves. In May 1857 the state Democratic party held its first convention at which a gubernatorial candidate was nominated. Leading Democrats, angered by Sam Houston's votes in the United States Senate and his seeming endorsement of the American (Know-Nothing) party in 1856, wished to prevent Houston's election as governor. Because of his support of Southern positions and his party loyalty, Runnels received the nomination on the eighth ballot. Shortly thereafter, Houston announced his candidacy as an independent Democrat, saying that the issues were "Houston and Anti-Houston." Runnels was a poor public speaker and made few appearances, but the party's candidate for lieutenant governor, Francis R. Lubbock, campaigned actively. Houston also campaigned vigorously, but had no party machinery and little support from Texas newspapers. Runnels won by a vote of 38,552 to 23,628 and thus became the only person ever to defeat Sam Houston in an election.

During his term Runnels consistently supported Southern positions. He frequently asserted that Texas might be forced to secede from the Union, supported the unsuccessful effort to put the Texas legislature on record in favor of reopening the African slave trade, and signed into law a bill allowing free blacks to choose a master and become slaves. He also signed into law the bill that appropriated financial support to establish the University of Texas and the bill establishing the State Geological Survey. The most vexing problem Runnels faced during his term as governor was the problem of protecting frontier settlers against Indian depredations. The year he took office there was a marked upsurge in Indian attacks, generally by the Comanches. Although Runnels supported and signed into law bills that called for the raising of temporary ranger battalions to meet the emergency, he opposed efforts to form permanent battalions on the grounds that the state could not afford them and that the federal government was responsible for protecting the frontier. When angry settlers took matters in their own hands and retaliated against Indians on the Brazos Indian Reservation, they clashed with the army. Runnels's efforts to make peace failed. In 1859 the state Democratic convention renominated Runnels, and Houston again declared himself a candidate. This time however, Houston's key issues were his record of service to the state, particularly at the battle of San Jacinto, and Runnels's record as governor. Houston made particularly effective use of the problems on the frontier and the African slave-trade issue. The Democratic party attempted to blunt the criticism on the slave-trade matter by remaining silent on the controversy in their platform, but they were largely unsuccessful. The combination of Runnels's mediocre record as governor and Houston's personal popularity resulted in a reversal of the 1857 results, and Houston defeated Runnels by a vote of 36,227 to 27,500.

Runnels subsequently retired to his plantation in Bowie County but remained active in the Democratic party. He was a member of the Secession Convention in 1861, where he was a vigorous supporter of the secession resolution. After the Civil War, although he had not yet received a pardon from the president, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866. At this convention he was one of about eleven delegates who were often termed the "aggressive secessionists" or the "irreconcilables." Although this group nominated him for convention president, he was not elected, and his extreme reluctance to seek or endorse workable compromises negated any influence he might have had on the convention's deliberations. In the 1850s Runnels built an impressive Greek Revival mansion near Old Boston and furnished it in anticipation of his approaching marriage. For some reason the wedding never took place, and he remained a bachelor for the rest of his life. When the Texas Historical Society was organized in Houston on May 23, 1870, Runnels was elected one of its vice presidents. He was also a member of St. John's Masonic Lodge. He died on December 25, 1873, and was buried in the Runnels family cemetery in Bowie County. In 1929 his remains were exhumed and reinterred in the State Cemetery at Austin, where a monument was installed at his new grave. Source

30° 15.933
-097° 43.639

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery