April 29, 2016

Francis E. Brookfield (1820-1842)

Francis Brookfield was born in 1820 in what is now Fayette County, Texas, the son of William and Lalliet Brookfield, who had come to Texas in 1831 as part of Austin's Second Colony. He participated in the Battle of Gonzales, the first battle of the Texas Revolution, on October 2, 1835. He enlisted in the army on March 16, 1836, and was with Captain William J.E. Heard's Company of Citizen Soldiers at San Jacinto. Brookfield left the army on April 27, then re-enlisted in Captain William Scurlock's Company from July 4 to October 4, 1836, after which he was sent by his parents "to Beardstown in the United States to receive his education". After his return to Texas, he enlisted in the army once again, this time as a member of Captain Nicholas M. Dawson's Company, who were all killed on Salado Creek in Bexar County, September 18, 1842. His remains and those of his comrades were later placed in a single vault at the top of a hill, since called Monument Hill, overlooking the town of La Grange.

29° 53.339
-096° 52.618

Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

April 26, 2016

Duncan Campbell Ogden (1813-1859)

D. C. Ogden, soldier, legislator, and merchant, was born on September 13, 1813, the son of David A. and Rebecca Cornell (Edwards) Ogden, at Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, New York, a community founded by his father. His father was a law partner of Alexander Hamilton. Young Ogden joined an uncle in a New Orleans business venture and then immigrated to Texas; he landed at Galveston in the summer of 1838. Almost immediately upon his arrival he was commissioned second lieutenant in a regiment being raised to repel an anticipated Mexican invasion, and in 1839 he was promoted to captain in the Army of the Republic of Texas. He commanded Company G of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Infantry in the battle of the Nueces in 1839. On August 21, 1840, he was transferred to the command of Company C of the First Regiment, then commanded by Col. William G. Cookeqv. In this capacity he participated in the opening of the Military Road from the Red River to Austin. Ogden was transferred from Company C on March 1, 1841. In partnership with his old comrade, Maj. George T. Howard, he opened the mercantile establishment of Howard and Ogden in San Antonio. In 1841 this firm loaned Juan N. Seguín $3,000 to purchase merchandise to smuggle into Mexico, and Ogden accompanied Seguín to the Rio Grande to establish the cartel by which the goods would be traded. In reaction to the invasion of Raphael Vásquez in the spring of 1842 Ogden was elected captain of the San Antonio militia company that served under Col. John C. Hays. After entering the captured city under a flag of truce to parley with Vásquez, Ogden rode to Austin with Hays's plea to the War Department for reinforcements and then returned to San Antonio in time to lead a cavalry charge against the rear guard of Vásquez's retreating column.

That fall, after a show of resistance to a second column of raiders under Mexican general Adrián Woll, Ogden was sent to treat with the enemy and was taken captive on September 11, 1842. He and a number of other San Antonio citizens were marched to Perote Prison, from which, with Thomas Jefferson Green and John Twohig, Ogden was one of sixteen Texans to escape on July 2, 1843, through a carefully excavated tunnel. The horse and guide for which he had arranged were not at the designated rendezvous point, however, and he began the walk north with fellow escapees Tom Hancock and John Forester. "We directed our course from the prison immediately to the mountains overlooking the town of Perote," Forester later wrote. "We then started to the town of Jalapa, traveling by night and lying up during the day. We were frequently in hearing distance of the Mexicans, but managed to keep from being seen by them." Hancock, who had been a member of the Texan Santa Fe expedition, was soon retaken while attempting to purchase food. Ogden and Forester became separated while crossing a deep canyon during the night, and although Forester was assisted in making his escape through Vera Cruz by members of the English colony in Jalapa, Ogden was recaptured by Mexican Indians some days later and returned to captivity at Jalapa. Only eight of the sixteen Texans avoided recapture.

Presumably through the efforts of members of his family in New Orleans, the Mexican council in that city secured orders for Ogden's release on February 22, 1844, but an illness prevented his planned departure from prison on March 3. According to the Trueheart diary, Ogden left Perote on March 7; other accounts claim that he was still there on March 23, and Green lists him among the thirty-six prisoners who were not released until April 24, 1844, at the intercession of United States minister Waddy Thompson. Upon Ogden's return to Texas he was elected to represent Bexar County in the House of Representatives of the Ninth Congress of the Republic of Texas. In 1846, after annexation to the United States, Ogden was reelected to the House of Representatives of the First Legislature. Also in 1846 he was appointed the state adjutant general. On May 30, 1845, he married Elizabeth Cox, a daughter of San Jacinto veteran James Cox, in Washington County; they had three children. After his return from Mexico, Ogden devoted his full energies to his mercantile firm until his death, on March 10, 1859, of a "pleuritic infection." His Perote Prison diary, which was never copied, was destroyed in the fire that burned the state Capitol in 1881. Mrs. Ogden later married Ogden's partner, George Howard, and became a founder of the Battle of Flowers, a part of Fiesta San Antonio. Source

29° 25.212
-098° 28.034

Section G
City Cemetery #1
San Antonio

April 22, 2016

John H. Smith (1810-?)

Born in Northfield, New Hampshire in 1810, John Smith arrived at Velasco, January 28, 1836 on the schooner Pennsylvania, having been recruited in New Orleans by Captain Amasa Turner for the army of Texas. He was a member of Captain Turner's Company B, 1st Regiment Regular Infantry at San Jacinto, but with the promotion of Captain Turner to lieutenant colonel, the men of his company were transferred to Company A, First Regiment of Regular Infantry. On June 21, he was commissioned first lieutenant and adjutant on the staff of Lieutenant Colonel Millard, and shortly afterward promoted to captain and put in command of Company A, stationed on Galveston Island. There are no records of where or when he died, only that he was laid to rest in the City Cemetery in Houston.

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. John H. Smith's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

April 19, 2016

Leon "Pappy" Selph (1914-1999)

Leon "Pappy" Selph, honky-tonk fiddler and a "founding father" of honky-tonk music, was born on April 7, 1914, in Houston to Lee and Alvenie Selph. He began playing the violin at the age of seven and studied classical violin at the Columbia Conservatory in Houston. He graduated from those studies in 1928, and he performed with the Houston Youth Symphony when he was fourteen. Selph joined W. Lee O'Daniel's Light Crust Doughboys in 1931, when he was seventeen. Although O'Daniel paid Selph $20 a week to play for the band, the fiddler's primary duty was to teach the Doughboys, who could not read music, one new song a week to perform on their radio show. Bob Wills was one of his students. At the same time, Selph was approached to instruct some of the musicians at the Grand Ole Opry, and so he commuted between Fort Worth and Nashville. When one of the featured performers fell ill, Selph also got the opportunity to perform onstage at the Opry, and he played Orange Blossom Special to a standing ovation. Back in Fort Worth, members of the Light Crust Doughboys increasingly clashed with O’Daniel’s demands. When Wills moved to Waco to form the Texas Playboys, Selph joined him. Selph stayed with the Playboys until Wills moved the band to Tulsa in 1934, then moved back to Houston and formed his own band, the Blue Ridge Playboys. The group, which included legendary musicians Floyd Tillman, Moon Mullican, and Ted Daffan, signed with Columbia Records in the mid-1930s and achieved some regional success with recordings that included Give Me My Dime Back and the classic Orange Blossom Special.

From the 1930s until World War II the Blue Ridge Playboys had their own national radio show on KPRC in Houston. The show was canceled at the outbreak of the war. Selph enlisted in the United States Navy and served as a firefighter. After the war he returned to Houston and joined the Houston Fire Department, where he worked for the next thirty years. He achieved the rank of captain in 1955. After he retired in 1972, he formed another band, with which he toured the Soviet Union and served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. During his music career, he performed in some thirty states and fourteen foreign countries. His audience members included United States presidents, the King of Norway, and other dignitaries. He played at numerous venues, including clubs, hospitals, churches, and schools, around Houston and for many private and municipal functions. Selph was a mainstay for thirty-one years at the Houston Rodeo parade and was made an honorary life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Association. The city of Houston proclaimed June 9, 1991, as “Leon Pappy Selph Appreciation Day.” In 1996 he was inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. Selph had married his wife Inez about 1937; they had four children. Once he became a father, he used the nickname “Pappy” for the duration of his career. He continued to play local venues around Texas until his death on January 8, 1999, in Houston. Selph was survived by his wife, two sons, and two daughters. Source

29° 54.848
-095° 18.707

Section 6
Brookside Memorial Park

April 12, 2016

Johnson Calhoun Hunter (1787-1855)

Johnson C. Hunter, early Texas doctor and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in South Carolina on May 22, 1787. He received a diploma in medicine about 1805. In 1813 he and his wife, the former Martha Herbert of Virginia, were living in Circleville, Ohio, where Hunter practiced medicine, taught school, had a mercantile business, and acted as county judge. He moved to New Madrid, Missouri, in 1817. In 1821, after the earthquake there, he made an exploratory trip to Texas, going as far as San Antonio, where he left a supply of medicines with Juan Martín Veramendi. On that trip he selected land near the Nacogdoches Road crossing of the Colorado River. The vessel bringing the Hunter family, including five children, to Texas was wrecked on Galveston Island in June 1822. After repairing the boat the Hunters proceeded to land at the future site of Morgan's Point or New Washington. From his cypress-bark home on Sylvan Beach near the mouth of the San Jacinto River, Hunter sailed the Santa María of San Jacinto and, after its loss, the Adventure, to bring supplies to the colonists. He also traded in bear oil and skins, acted as a surveyor (and as such had disagreements with Enoch Brinson, John Iiams, and John R. Harris, and practiced medicine; one of his patients was the widow McCormick, with whom a quarrel over a bill furnished several documents in the Austin Papers. As one of the Old Three Hundred, Hunter received title to a sitio of land now in Harris County on August 10, 1824. The census of 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser with a household including his wife, four sons, two daughters, and three servants. In 1829 Hunter moved to land now in Fort Bend County, bought part of the Randal Jones survey, and developed the Hunter plantation on Oyster Creek. For fifty years the Hunter home was a landmark in the Richmond area. The family retreated from the plantation at the time of the Runaway Scrape, and the Mexican army camped there for three days; both Mexican and Texan troops subsisted on cattle belonging to Hunter. In October 1836 Hunter was postmaster at Rocky Well, on the road between San Felipe and Liberty. He died at his plantation on May 29, 1855, and was buried in the Brick Church Graveyard. Source

29° 39.931
-095° 45.194

Section I
Brick Church Graveyard

April 8, 2016

Moses Austin Bryan (1817-1895)

Moses Austin Bryan, soldier, son of James and Emily (Austin) Bryan, was born in Herculaneum, Missouri, on September 25, 1817. After the death of James Bryan, Emily Bryan, sister of Stephen F. Austin, married James F. Perry, and the family moved to Texas in 1831. Bryan was employed for a time in the store of W. W. Hunter and Stephen F. Austin and then went to Saltillo, Mexico, as Austin's secretary. In 1835 Bryan clerked in the land office. He again became Austin's secretary when Austin became commander of the Texas army in the fall of 1835. After Austin retired from the army, Bryan joined as a private. He served in the battle of San Jacinto as third sergeant in Moseley Baker's company, as aide-de-camp on the staff of Thomas J. Rusk, and as interpreter for the conference between Sam Houston and Antonio López de Santa Anna. In 1839 Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Bryan secretary of the legation to the United States under Anson Jones. Bryan was a member of the Somervell expedition in 1842. During the Civil War he was a major in the Third Texas Regiment. He helped organize the Texas Veterans Association in 1873 and served as its secretary until 1886. Bryan married Adaline Lamothe of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, in 1840; she died in 1854. In 1856 he married Cora Lewis, daughter of Ira Randolph Lewis; they had four sons and a daughter. Bryan died in Brenham on March 16, 1895, and was buried at Independence. Source 

30° 19.709
-096° 21.685

Old Independence Cemetery

April 5, 2016

William Polk Hardeman (1816-1898)

William P. (Gotch) Hardeman, Texas Ranger, soldier, and public servant, was born on November 4, 1816, in Williamson County, Tennessee. His father, Thomas Jones Hardeman, was an officer in the War of 1812 and a prominent Texas political figure. Mary (Polk) Hardeman, his mother, was an aunt of James K. Polk. Hardeman attended the University of Nashville and in the fall of 1835 moved to Matagorda County, Texas, with his father and a large group of Hardeman family members. Immediately after his arrival in Texas he joined the resistance movement against Mexico. He participated in the battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. Shortly afterward he assisted his uncle, Bailey Hardeman, and others in bringing a cannon from Dimmitt's Landing to San Antonio for use against Mexican forces under Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos. Hardeman and his brother Thomas Monroe Hardeman accompanied a small relief column to the Alamo, but the garrison had fallen to Mexican forces shortly before their arrival. The Hardemans abandoned their exhausted horses and after a narrow escape on foot suffered severe hunger. Gotch was then sent by his uncle Bailey on an errand to summon militia. An illness resulting from exposure on this assignment probably kept him from action in the decisive battle of San Jacinto. He subsequently served for a number of years in the Texas Rangers. He accompanied Erastus (Deaf) Smith for four months of ranger duty on the frontier in 1837 and fought in Col. John Henry Moore's ranger force against the Comanches at Wallace's Creek on February 22, 1839. Three months later he participated in the Córdova campaign in East Texas, an aftermath of the Córdova Rebellion.

Hardeman fought the Comanches in the battle of Plum Creek on August 11, 1840. In February 1842 he engaged in harassment of invading Mexican forces led by Gen. Rafael Vásquez. Nine months later he joined the Somervell expedition against Mexico. After the annexation of Texas by the United States, Hardeman served as a member of Benjamin McCulloch's Guadalupe valley rangers in Gen. Zachary Taylor's army. He engaged in the exploration of the Linares, China, and Cerralvo-San Juan River routes to the Mexican stronghold of Monterrey and scouted ahead of Taylor's main invading force. Hardeman's last Mexican War engagements were in the scouting expedition to Encarnación and the ensuing battle of Buena Vista. Subsequently he went to his Guadalupe County plantation, where he farmed with as many as thirty-one slaves. Fifteen years later he returned to military life. After voting for secession in 1861 as a member of the Secession Convention, he raised a force from Guadalupe and Caldwell counties, forming the 800-man Company A of Col. Spruce M. Baird's Fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment, part of Henry H. Sibley's New Mexico Brigade. He fought and was twice wounded at Valverde, where he participated in the successful charge against Alexander McRae's battery of artillery (the Valverde Battery), after which he was promoted to regimental major. In April 1862 Hardeman commanded the successful defense of the Confederate supply depot at Albuquerque against Col. Edward R. S. Canby's much larger force and was credited with saving the artillery.

After the defeat of Sibley's column, Hardeman was reassigned to the Gulf theater of war. He participated in Gen. Richard Taylor's Red River campaign, which turned back the numerically superior army of Union general Nathaniel P. Banks, and eventually rose to the command of the Fourth Texas Cavalry. After successful campaigns at Yellow Bayou and Franklin, Hardeman was promoted to brigadier general. After the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, Hardeman, like his cousin Peter Hardeman and thousands of other Confederates, became an exile. He joined a company of fifteen high-ranking officers, eluded Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, and escaped to Mexico. There he served briefly as a battalion commander in Maximilian's army and became a settlement agent for a Confederate colony near Guadalajara. In 1866 he returned to Texas, where he served as inspector of railroads, superintendent of public buildings and grounds, and superintendent of the Texas Confederate Home in Austin. He also helped avert bloodshed in the Coke-Davis controversy of 1873-74 and was one of the founders of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). Hardeman was twice married, first to his uncle Bailey's widow Rebecca, and after her death to Sarah Hamilton. He had two children by the first marriage and five by the second. He died of Bright's disease on April 8, 1898, and was buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. Source

30° 15.917
-097° 43.631

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

April 1, 2016

John Wesley Scallorn (?-1842)

Scallorn came to Texas from Kentucky or Tennessee (most likely Tennessee) in 1834-35. During the Texas Revolution he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and later became a surveyor in Fayette County, Texas. He married Mariam Spier in 1839 and they had one son born in 1840, named George Wesley. In 1842 Mexico was still sending troops into Texas and in September of that year San Antonio was attacked and captured briefly. Scallorn and his brother, Elam, rode with a reinforcement group of volunteers, mostly from the La Grange area along the Colorado River. This group was led by Captain Nicholas M. Dawson and their intent was to join other volunteers on the way to San Antonio. Before they could join with the other group of volunteers they were met by Mexican forces near Salado Creek, in what is now San Antonio, near where Fort Sam Houston is located today. In the fighting that ensued 36 Texans were killed, among them John Wesley and Elam Scallorn. Fifteen Texans were taken prisoner and marched to Mexico. This terrible battle became known as the “Dawson Massacre”. The remains of John Wesley Scallorn and the other brave volunteers who died in this battle were buried in the tomb at Monument Hill State Park in La Grange, Texas.

29° 53.339
-096° 52.618

Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange