March 29, 2016

Walter Arthur "Hoot" Evers (1921-1990)

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1921, Evers gained the nickname "Hoot" as a child since he was a devoted fan of the films of Richard "Hoot" Gibson, a popular movie cowboy. He graduated from Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Illinois, then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he was a star baseball and basketball player. Evers was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1941 and was considered one of the brightest prospects in baseball. After playing one major league game on September 16, 1941, Evers' baseball career was put on hold while he served four years in the military during World War II. He returned to the Tigers in 1946, playing 76 games in center field, but missing half the season with a broken ankle. In 1947, the 26-year-old Evers finally played his first full season in the big leagues. He had a .296 batting average and a .344 on-base percentage. He was selected for the American League All-Star team in 1948 and 1950. Evers' career peaked in the three years from 1948 to 1950, hitting over .300 all three years and batting in over 100 runs in 1948 and 1950.

His best season was in 1950 when he led the American League in triples and was among the American League leaders in most batting categories. That year, he had a .551 slugging percentage, 34 doubles, .959 OPS, 67 extra base hits, .323 batting average, 109 RBIs, 259 total bases, and .408 on-base percentage. He remains the only major league player to hit two triples and hit for the cycle in the same game. In 1951 his batting average dropped nearly 100 points from .323 to .224, and his RBI production dropped from 103 to 46. After playing only one game for the Tigers in 1952, Evers was traded on June 3, 1952 that sent George Kell, Johnny Lipon, Dizzy Trout, and Evers to the Boston Red Sox. He became the Red Sox starting left fielder in 1952, and he hit .262 with 59 RBIs. A broken finger in 1952 reportedly hampered Evers' grip, and he never regained his stroke. Evers played four more major league seasons from 1953 to 1956, but he did not hit above .251 or collect more than 39 RBIs. In 1,142 career games, Evers batted .278 with 98 home runs, 565 RBIs, and 1,055 hits. After his playing career ended, he worked in the Cleveland Indians organization for several years and was a member of the team's coaching staff in 1970. In 1971, he joined the Detroit Tigers as director of player development. In 1978, he became a special assignment scout for the Tigers in Houston. Evers died at 69 years old in Houston after a heart attack.

29° 46.636
-095° 37.034

Section 212
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

March 25, 2016

José Antonio Menchaca (1800-1879)

José Menchaca, Tejano army officer, was born in San Antonio in January 1800, the son of Juan Mariano and María Luz (Guerra) Menchaca. He married Teresa Ramón in 1826, and they had four children. Menchaca was not in San Antonio during the siege of Bexar, but returned shortly after Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos was forced to leave. In February 1836 he left for Gonzales, where he joined Juan N. Seguín's company of Texas Mexicans and fought in the battle of San Jacinto. After the revolution he returned to San Antonio, served several terms as alderman, and became mayor pro tem in July 1838. In July 1842 Menchaca was appointed to command a frontier company. His troops patrolled the area between the San Antonio River and the Rio Grande. When Adrián Woll led a Mexican army into Texas in September 1842, Menchaca participated in the defense of San Antonio and was wounded in the leg. In February 1844 Sam Houston appointed him an Indian escort. Menchaca helped organize a club of Texas Mexicans in support of Horace Greeley, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Republicans and Democrats in 1872. Along with eighteen other Bexar residents of Mexican descent, Menchaca wrote a letter in 1875 to the comptroller of public accounts claiming discrimination by the Texas government against Hispanic veterans of the revolution. Menchaca was a member of the Holland Lodge, the oldest chapter of the Masonic order in San Antonio. He died on November 1, 1879, and was buried in San Fernando Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio. In 1936 the Centennial Commission erected a marker at his grave. It has been asserted by residents of the town of Manchaca in Travis County that their village was named for the nearby Manchaca Springs, which were named for Jose Antonio Menchaca. Source

29° 24.930
-098° 30.691

Section 8
San Fernando Cemetery #1
San Antonio

March 22, 2016

Charlton W. Thompson (1809-1838)

Charlton Thompson, lawyer and Texas legislator, was born in 1809 in South Carolina. He moved to Coahuila and Texas in 1826 with other members of the Thompson family. He was a delegate from Matagorda to the Convention of 1833 at San Felipe. He moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1834 and practiced law. In early 1837 he returned to Texas and settled in San Augustine, where he acquired property. He owned the American Hotel, a municipal building, two rent houses, and ten or twelve lots. He married Sophia Lairy on August 1, 1837. On September 16 of that year Thompson became a first-degree member of the McFarlane Masonic Lodge in San Augustine. He was a member of the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas as a representative of San Augustine County. Thompson died in Houston in 1838 while attending Congress. At the time of his death he owned more than 39,000 acres of land. Source 

31° 29.222
-094° 01.181

Chapel Hill Cemetery
Chapel Hill

March 18, 2016

Washington Hampton Secrest (1809-1854)

W. H. Secrest, soldier, moved to Texas with his brother Felix in 1835. During the Texas Revolution he enlisted as a private in Capt. Henry W. Karnes's company of Mirabeau B. Lamar's cavalry corps but most often was on detached service as a scout with Erastus (Deaf) Smith. In this capacity he was with Moseley Baker at the time of the evacuation and burning of San Felipe, and, when Baker authorized the troops to loot the town before it was put to the torch, Secrest chose a small Bible belonging to Sumner Bacon as his part of the spoils. Years later he joined the Methodist Church at Rutersville; he claimed that he had read the Bible every day since the fall of San Felipe. According to the recollections of pioneer memoirist Dilue Rose Harris, Secrest was one of the men who captured General Santa Anna after the battle of San Jacinto. After that battle Secrest was elected captain of the Washington Cavalry Company, a post he held from June until the company was disbanded on October 23, 1836. For his services he was granted a headright in Colorado County in 1838. By 1841 he was living in Fort Bend County, where he was authorized a league and a labor of land on January 16, 1850. On September 22, 1842, Sam Houston commissioned Secrest to raise a company of rangers in response to Rafael Vásquez's raid on San Antonio. Secrest was characterized as something of a daredevil, and Houston wrote to him, "Your characteristic activity, caution and valor will be of great use, and contribute much to the success of our arms." On July 10, 1852, the Texas State Gazette erroneously reported that Secrest had been shot and killed at Columbus, Texas, during an altercation with a man named Taylor on June 21. On July 17 the newspaper rescinded that report and stated that Secrest had been stabbed but was recovering. He died of natural causes at his home at Columbus on February 3, 1854. Source

29° 38.496
-096° 53.264

Navidad Baptist Cemetery

March 15, 2016

Andrew Jackson Hamilton (1815-1875)

Andrew Jackson Hamilton, governor of Texas, son of James and Jane (Bayless) Hamilton, was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on January 28, 1815. He was educated and admitted to the bar in Alabama. Late in 1846 he joined his older brother, Morgan, in Texas. He practiced law in La Grange, Fayette County, for three years, then moved to Austin. His marriage to Mary Bowen, also of Alabama, produced two sons and four daughters. Hamilton's political career began in 1849, when Gov. Peter H. Bell appointed him acting attorney general. He also represented Travis County for a single term (1851-53) in the state House of Representatives. By the 1850s he had become a member of the "Opposition Clique" in Texas, a faction of the regular Democratic party that opposed secession, reopening the slave trade, and other Southern extremist demands. As such, in 1859 Hamilton won election to the United States Congress from the Western District of Texas. He served on the House committee formed during the secession winter of 1860-61 to try to solve the sectional crisis. When he returned to Texas in the spring of 1861 he won a special election to the state Senate, and he remained in Austin until July 1862, when alleged plots against his life forced him to flee to Mexico. Hamilton became a hero in the North and delivered speeches in New York, Boston, and other Northern cities. His rhetorical targets included slavery, disunionists, and the "slave power," which he believed was trying to subvert democracy and the rights of non-slaveowners. After he met with President Abraham Lincoln in November 1862, he accepted a commission as brigadier general of volunteers and an appointment as military governor of Texas. Hamilton accompanied an unsuccessful federal expedition into South Texas in late 1863 and spent most of the rest of the war in New Orleans, where his family joined him late in 1864.

 His career during Reconstruction was stormy and frustrating. As provisional governor from the summer of 1865 to the summer of 1866, he pursued a program of trying to limit officeholders to former Unionists, ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and granting economic and legal rights (although not the vote) to freedmen. When the Constitutional Convention of 1866 refused to enact most of Hamilton's suggestions, he rejected presidential Reconstruction and promoted the harsher program of the Radical Republicans. He endorsed black suffrage and helped organize the Southern Loyalists' Convention in Philadelphia in September 1866. For a time he served as a bankruptcy judge in New Orleans, but in 1867 he returned to Texas as an associate justice on the state Supreme Court. Hamilton played a leading role in the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1868-69 and served on the Republican National Executive Committee. His political views changed again, however; he once again came to favor a quick reconstruction of Texas. He opposed the Radicals' scheme for turning West Texas into a separate, Unionist state and withdrew his support for black suffrage. As a result, although his brother Morgan C. Hamilton was a leading Radical spokesman and United States senator, Hamilton became one of the state's leading moderate Republicans and ran against Radical Edmund J. Davis in the 1869 governor's race. Davis won, but Hamilton remained a vocal opponent of Radical policies. Hamilton never sought public office after this defeat. In 1871 he was a leader in the Tax-Payers' Convention. He practiced law and worked on his farm near Austin. He died of tuberculosis on April 11, 1875, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. Source

30° 16.548
-097° 43.628

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

March 11, 2016

John Milton Swisher (1819-1891)

John Milton Swisher, soldier, civil servant, and financier, was born on May 31, 1819, near Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee, the son of Elizabeth (Boyd) and James Gibson Swisher. In 1833 he immigrated to Texas with his parents, who settled first in Milam Municipality. At age fourteen Swisher opened a school - what he referred to as an "ABC class" - at Tenoxtitlán, but quickly abandoned it to take up farming. The family remained at Tenoxtitlán from January until October 1834 and then, harassed by Indians, moved to Gay Hill in what is now Washington County. After learning of William B. Travis's appeal for assistance at the Alamo, Swisher and ten or twelve companions started on March 1, 1836, for San Antonio. They halted at Gonzales on March 5 and there, after Sam Houston arrived on March 10 to organize the army, became the core of Capt. William W. Hill's Company H of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. Harvey H. Swisher, John's uncle, was first lieutenant of the company. After taking part in the battle of San Jacinto, Swisher was discharged on May 30 at Victoria. Thereafter he clerked for a time in his father's Washington County store. By December 1836 he was working as recording clerk of the treasury department and in 1840 was promoted to chief clerk. In 1841 he was appointed a first lieutenant in the Republic of Texas Marine Corps, but resigned after a cruise to the Yucatán under Commodore Edwin W. Moore. Swisher served as chief clerk of the auditor's office at Washington-on-the-Brazos, as clerk of the Ninth Congress of the Republic of Texas, and as clerk of the Convention of 1845.

In 1846 he was elected colonel of the first regiment of Thomas Green's brigade of Texas militia, and in January 1847 he raised a company of rangers for service in the Mexican War, but got no farther than San Antonio before the United States victory at Buena Vista made the company unnecessary. His younger brother, James Monroe Swisher, served as a private in Capt. Benjamin McCulloch's company of Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen. In 1848 Swisher was appointed auditor of public accounts, and in 1852 he became a banker in Austin. On January 23, 1860, Governor Sam Houston appointed him paymaster of the Texas Rangers, a position he held until Texas seceded from the Union. Swisher was an ardent unionist, but after secession became an accomplished fact he threw his support behind the Confederacy. In 1862 he was sent to London to exchange Texas securities for war materials but was frustrated when the state's United States bonds were declared non-negotiable. On promise of exchange for Texas cotton, he then ordered supplies delivered to Matamoros, but when he returned to Texas he was dismissed from his post on charges of unionist sympathies. Swisher nevertheless spent the remainder of the war in Matamoros as purchasing agent for Col. John S. Ford's Confederate forces. From 1865 until 1868 he ran a banking and commission house in Galveston. Then, after returning to Austin, he organized and until 1870 served as president of a stock company for the construction of the city's street-railway system. Swisher married Maria W. Sims, a native of Virginia, at Washington-on-the-Brazos on May 28, 1844; they had two children. Maria died on April 13, 1870, and Swisher married Helen "Nellie" A. Nickerson, a teacher at Medina, on January 1, 1873; they had two daughters. After Nellie's death in March 1875 Swisher married Bella French in Austin in October 1878. Swisher died on March 11, 1891, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. He was a Mason. His reminiscences of early Texas and the battle of San Jacinto are preserved in the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, and were published in a truncated version as Swisher's Memoirs by Mary R. Maverick Green in 1932. Source

30° 16.552
-097° 43.646

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

March 8, 2016

Sara Haden (1899-1981)

Born Katherine W. Haden on November 17, 1899 in Galveston, Texas, Sara was the second daughter of Dr. John Brannum Haden and character actress Charlotte Walker, one of the great stage beauties at the turn of the century. Her parents divorced when she was young and the children split their time between New York and Galveston. Sara and her elder sister Beatrice attended the Sacred Heart Academy in Galveston, where they boarded during school terms. She made her debut onstage in the early 1920s as Nora in Macbeth. She lacked the beauty of her mother, having the appearance of a lonely school marm, and thus was always cast in character roles and supporting parts. Sometime in the mid-20s she changed her professional name to Sara, although it was often spelled Sarah on the programs. She made her film debut in 1934 in the Katharine Hepburn vehicle Spitfire. Sara later became a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player and had small roles in many of the studio's films, most notably as spinsterish Aunt Milly in the Andy Hardy series. She was most notable for her stern, humorless characterizations such as a truant officer in Shirley Temple's Captain January (1936), but she also played the much-loved teacher Miss Pipps who is unjustly fired in the Our Gang comedy Come Back, Miss Pipps (1941). Her other notable films include Poor Little Rich Girl (1936), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Woman of the Year (1942) and The Bishop's Wife (1947). She made her last film in 1958 (Andy Hardy Comes Home) and turned to television, performing on episodes of Climax!, Bourbon Street Beat, Perry Mason and Bonanza, with her last TV appearance in a 1965 guest spot on Dr. Kildare. She retired, and spent the rest of her life socializing with her friends and decorating her home. Sara died of an unknown illness on September 15, 1981, in Woodland Hills, California, and buried in Galveston.

Note: Unmarked. There are several crypts inside the Haden family mausoleum, all marked with a small nameplate except for two - those of Sara and her mother Charlotte.

29° 17.621
-094° 48.682

Haden Mausoleum
Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

March 4, 2016

William Peter Cartwright (1813-1844)

Born March 16, 1813, in Washington County, Alabama, William arrived in Texas December 22, 1832 after his father Peter bought some property there. He lived in what is now Montgomery County and worked his father's farm with his brother Matthew until the two siblings enlisted in the Texas army on April 12, 1836. Nine days later, as a member of William Ware's Company, both William and Matthew fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. William stayed in the army until July 13, when he was discharged just outside of Victoria. He passed away on October 25, 1844 and buried in the Cartwright family cemetery. The State of Texas erected a monument at his grave in 1936.

30° 20.629
-095° 38.131

Rabon Chapel Cemetery

March 1, 2016

John Goodwin Tower (1925-1991)

John Tower, United States senator, was born on September 29, 1925, in Houston, Texas, to Joe and Beryl (Goodwin) Tower. His father was a Methodist minister. Tower grew up in the various East Texas communities where his father preached, graduated from Beaumont High School in the spring of 1942, and entered Southwestern University in the fall of the same year. By June 1943 he had enlisted in the United States Navy; he served during World War II on an amphibious gunboat in the western Pacific and was discharged as a seaman first class in 1946. He remained active in the naval reserve from 1946 until 1989, when he retired with the rank of master chief boatswain's mate. After the war, Tower returned to Southwestern University, where he received a B.A. in political science in 1948. He worked for a time during and after college as a radio announcer at country and western station KTAE in Taylor. By spring of 1949 he had moved to Dallas and enrolled in graduate courses at Southern Methodist University. While in Dallas, he also worked as an insurance agent. He completed his coursework at Southern Methodist University in Spring of 1951 and accepted a position as assistant professor of political science at Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, a job he held until 1960. In 1952 and 1953 Tower continued his graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. While in London, he conducted field research on the organization of the Conservative party in Britain, which he used for his master's thesis, The Conservative Worker in Britain. He received his M.A. in political science from Southern Methodist University in 1953. In March of 1952 he married Lou Bullington in Wichita Falls. They had three daughters during their years in Wichita Falls; they were divorced in 1976, and Tower married Lilla Burt Cummings in 1977. They were divorced in 1987.

In Wichita Falls, Tower became active in the Republican party of Texas. In 1954 he ran an unsuccessful race for state representative from the Eighty-first District, and in 1956 he led Texas as a delegate to the Republican national convention. By 1960 he was sufficiently well known to be nominated at the state Republican convention to run against Lyndon B. Johnson for senator in the November general election. Johnson easily won the election but was also elected vice president. William Blakely was appointed to fill the seat that Johnson resigned, and a special election was slated for the spring. Tower led in this election and beat Blakely in the runoff on May 27. As the first Republican senator elected in Texas since 1870, he was seen by many as heralding the arrival of two-party politics in Texas. He was reelected to the Senate in 1966, 1972, and 1978. Upon assuming his Senate seat, Tower was assigned to two major committees: Labor and Public Welfare, and Banking and Currency. He served on the former until 1964. He remained on the Banking and Currency Committee, which in 1971 became the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, throughout his Senate career. In 1965 Tower was assigned to the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which where he served continuously until his retirement; he was chairman from 1981 to 1984. He also served on the Joint Committee on Defense Production from 1963 until 1977 and on the Senate Republican Policy Committee in 1962 and from 1969 until 1984. He was elected chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee from 1973 to 1984. In his twenty-four year Senate career, Tower influenced a variety of domestic and foreign policy issues. As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he worked to strengthen and modernize the nation's defenses. He was widely respected for his skills at guiding legislation through Congress. He worked to stimulate economic growth, improve opportunities for small business, improve transportation systems, and encourage strong financial institutions and systems. He was also concerned with promoting prosperity in agriculture, the energy industry, the fishing and maritime industries, and other areas of commerce particularly important to Texans.

   Senator Tower took a leadership role in Republican politics in Texas and on the national level. He supported Barry Goldwater for president in 1964, headed Richard M. Nixon's Key Issues Committee in 1968, supported Gerald Ford for president in 1976, and worked for the Reagan-Bush tickets in 1980 and 1984, and the Bush-Quayle ticket in 1988. He was a member of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1962-63, 1969-70, and 1973-74 and was its chairman in 1969-70. He was a Texas delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1980. He also chaired the National Security and Foreign Policy Platform Subcommittee in 1972, and was chairman of the National Republican Platform Committee in 1980. Tower also maintained close ties with his alma mater, Southwestern University, and served on its board of trustees from 1968 through 1991. In 1964 he received an honorary doctorate degree from the university and was named distinguished alumnus in 1968. The Tower-Hester Chair of Political Science, named for Tower and his former professor George C. Hester, was inaugurated at Southwestern University in 1975. Tower retired from the Senate on January 3, 1985. Two weeks later President Ronald Reagan appointed him chief United States negotiator at the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks in Geneva. Tower served for fifteen months in this role and gained the Soviets' respect for his negotiating skills, knowledge of the issues, and mastery of technical details. In April 1986 he resigned to pursue personal business. Tower was distinguished lecturer in political science at Southern Methodist University from 1986 until 1988 and chaired Tower, Eggers, and Greene Consulting, Incorporated of Dallas and Washington from 1987 to 1991. Reagan again called Tower into government service in November 1986, when he appointed him to chair the President's Special Review Board to study the actions of the National Security Council and its staff during the Iran-Contra affair. The board, which became known as the Tower Commission, issued its report on February 26, 1987. In 1989 Tower was President George Bush's choice to become secretary of defense, but the Senate did not confirm his nomination because of his conservative political views and alleged excessive drinking and womanizing. The charges, counter-charges, and accusations of the hearings are chronicled in Tower's 1991 book, Consequences: A Personal and Political Memoir. In 1990 President Bush named Tower chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Senator Tower died, along with his daughter Marian, in a commuter plane crash near New Brunswick, Georgia, on April 5, 1991. Source

32° 52.128
-096° 46.675

Providence Monument Garden
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery