July 29, 2016

Alexander Horton

   Alexander Horton, early settler, local official, and aide-de-camp to Sam Houston during the Texas Revolution, the son of Julius and Susan (Purnell) Horton, was born on April 18, 1810, in Halifax County, North Carolina. In 1823 he moved with his widowed mother and other members of her family to Texas. With his brother, Sam W., and his brother-in-law James Whitis Bullock, Horton crossed the Sabine River into Texas on January 1, 1824. The three built a cabin on the Attoyac River, where Horton, aged thirteen, was left in charge, while the other two returned to Louisiana for the remainder of the family.

   In 1827 Horton participated in putting down the Fredonian Rebellion, and on August 2, 1832, under Bullock, he fought in the battle of Nacogdoches against José de las Piedras. From 1831 to 1833 he served as sheriff of Ayish Bayou and in 1835 represented Ayish Bayou (or San Augustine) in the Consultation. When Sam Houston was appointed commander-in-chief of the Texas army in 1836, Horton was named his aide-de-camp and fought as such in the battle of San Jacinto. He was chairman of the board of land commissioners in 1838 and collector of customs of San Augustine in 1838–39. Horton was again sheriff of San Augustine in 1844 and played an active part in arresting the leaders of the Regulator-Moderator War. After 1844 he was mayor of San Augustine for several years. His last public office was as representative of San Augustine and Sabine counties in the Fifteenth Legislature. He died on his farm near San Augustine on January 11, 1894. Source

31° 32.679, -094° 05.837

Horton Cemetery
San Augustine

July 26, 2016

Matchett Herring Coe

   Herring Coe was born in Loeb, Texas on July 22, 1907. As a young adult, he attended Lamar College, where he studied electrical engineering. After receiving his degree, he went to Cranbrook Educational Community, where he studied art. During World War II, Coe was called to duty and served with the Navy. However, Coe's experience was most likely somewhat different from most men who served in that era, as he was a part of a Seabees unit based in Guadalcanal. The Seabees were a militarized construction crew that built and razed buildings for the military wherever they were sent, which undoubtedly influenced Coe's artistic development. 

   As Coe developed as a sculptor, his pieces were characterized as architectural in nature with an affinity for simplicity of form. His works consisted mostly of commissioned works for permanent institutions, including the Battalion Memorial at Guadalcanal, the bronze Dick Dowling at Sabine Pass, TX, and the granite frieze on the cenotaph erected in memory of the children and teachers who perished in a school explosion at New London, TX. He is also the creator of The Texan in Vicksburg National Military Park. Several Houston buildings are adorned with Coe sculptures, including Houston City Hall, Rice University Library, St. Mary's Seminary Chapel, St. Placidus Home for the Aged, First Presbyterian Church and the entrance to the Hermann Park Zoo. His works have been featured at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. For the overwhelming majority of his life, Coe remained in the Beaumont area of Texas, where he died on January 14, 1999.

30° 06.049, -094° 06.109

Magnolia Cemetery

July 22, 2016

Elijah Dale

   Jackson County, Georgia native Elijah Valentine Dale arrived in Texas in February, 1836 and almost immediately enrolled in Captain C.W. Vickery's Company at Matagorda on February 22. He was transferred to Captain William Wood's Company on April 11th, just ten days before the Battle of San Jacinto. He was discharged on July 9, 1837 and re-enlisted several times over the next few years; as a soldier in the Republic (September 1839 - December 1839), as a member of the ill-fated Somervell Expedition (1842) and as a soldier in the United States Army in the Mexican War where he fought at the Battle of Monterrey (September 21-24, 1846). Dale died at Seguin June 16, 1896, while a member of the Texas Veterans Association and was buried next to his wife Jane.

Note: His 1936 grave marker transposes the death dates of he and his wife: Elijah died June 1896, his wife Jane died December 1890.

29° 34.393, -097° 56.074

San Geronimo Cemetery

July 19, 2016

Benjamin McCulloch

   Ben McCulloch, Indian fighter, Texas Ranger, United States marshal, and brigadier general in the Army of the Confederate States of America, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on November 11, 1811, the fourth son of Alexander and Frances F. (LeNoir) McCulloch. His mother was the daughter of a prominent Virginia planter, and his father, a graduate of Yale College, was a major on Brig. Gen. John Coffee's staff during Andrew Jackson's campaign against the Creeks in Alabama. Ben was also the elder brother of Henry Eustace McCulloch. The McCullochs had been a prosperous and influential colonial North Carolina family but had lost much of their wealth as a result of the Revolutionary War and the improvidence of Alexander McCulloch, who so wasted his inheritance that he was unable to educate his younger sons. Two of Ben's older brothers briefly attended school taught by a close neighbor and family friend in Tennessee, Sam Houston. Like many families on the western frontier, the McCullochs moved often-from North Carolina to eastern Tennessee to Alabama and back to western Tennessee between 1812 and 1830. They settled at last near Dyersburg, Tennessee, where David Crockett was among their closest neighbors and most influential friends. After five years of farming, hunting, and rafting, but virtually no formal schooling, Ben agreed to follow Crockett to Texas, planning to meet him in Nacogdoches on Christmas Day, 1835. Ben and Henry arrived too late, however, and Ben followed Crockett alone toward San Antonio. When sickness from measles prevented him from reaching the Alamo before its fall, McCulloch joined Houston's army on its retreat into East Texas. At the battle of San Jacinto he commanded one of the famed Twin Sisters and won from Houston a battlefield commission as first lieutenant. He soon left the army, however, to earn his living as a surveyor in the Texas frontier communities of Gonzales and Seguin. He then joined the Texas Rangers and, as first lieutenant under John Coffee Hays, won a considerable reputation as an Indian fighter. In 1839 McCulloch was elected to the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in a campaign marred by a rifle duel with Reuben Ross. In the affray McCulloch received a wound that partially crippled his right arm for the rest of his life. On Christmas Day of that year Henry McCulloch killed Ross in a pistol duel in Gonzales.

   Ben chose not to stand for reelection in 1842 but returned to surveying and the pursuit of a quasimilitary career. At the battle of Plum Creek on August 12, 1840, he distinguished himself as a scout and as commander of the right wing of the Texas army. In February 1842, when the Mexican government launched a raid against Texas that seized the strategic town of San Antonio, McCulloch rendered invaluable service by scouting enemy positions and taking a prominent role in the fighting that harried Rafael Vásquez's raiders back below the Rio Grande. On September 11, 1842, a second Mexican expedition captured San Antonio. McCulloch again did valuable scouting service and joined in the pursuit of Adrián Woll's invading troops to the Hondo River, where Hays's rangers engaged them on September 21. After the repulse of the second Mexican invasion, McCulloch remained with the ranger company that formed the nucleus of an army with which the Texans planned to invade Mexico. The so-called Somervell expedition was poorly managed, however, and Ben and Henry left it on the Rio Grande only hours before the remainder of the Texans were captured at Mier, Tamaulipas, on December 25, 1842. McCulloch was elected to the First Legislature after the annexation of Texas.

   At the outbreak of the Mexican War he raised a command of Texas Rangers that became Company A of Col. Jack Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers. He was ordered to report to the United States Army on the Rio Grande and was soon named Zachary Taylor's chief of scouts. As such he won his commander's praise and the admiration of the nation with his exciting reconnaissance expeditions into northern Mexico. The presence in his company of George Wilkins Kendall, editor of the New Orleans Picayune, and Samuel Reid, who later wrote a popular history of the campaign, The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers, propelled McCulloch's name into national prominence. Leading his company as mounted infantry at the battle of Monterrey, McCulloch further distinguished himself, and before the battle of Buena Vista his astute and daring reconnaissance work saved Taylor's army from disaster and won him a promotion to the rank of major of United States volunteers.

   McCulloch returned to Texas at the end of the war, served for a time as a scout under Bvt. Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs, and traveled to Tennessee on family business before setting out from Austin on September 9, 1849, for the gold fields of California. Although he failed to strike it rich, he was elected sheriff of Sacramento. His friends in the Senate, Sam Houston and Thomas Jefferson Rusk, mounted a campaign to put him in command of a regiment of United States cavalry for duty on the Texas frontier, but largely due to McCulloch's lack of formal education the attempt was frustrated. In 1852 President Franklin Pierce promised him the command of the elite Second United States Cavalry, but Secretary of War Jefferson Davis bestowed the command instead on his personal favorite, Albert Sidney Johnston. McCulloch was, however, appointed United States marshal for the Eastern District of Texas and served under Judge John Charles Watrous during the administrations of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. In 1858 he was appointed one of two peace commissioners to treat with Brigham Young and the elders of the Mormon Church; he is credited with helping to prevent armed hostilities between the United States government and the Latter-Day Saints in Utah.

   When secession came to Texas, McCulloch was commissioned a colonel and authorized to demand the surrender of all federal posts in the Military District of Texas. After a bloodless confrontation at the Alamo on February 16, 1861, General Twiggs turned over to McCulloch the federal arsenal and all other United States property in San Antonio. On May 11, 1861, Jefferson Davis appointed McCulloch a brigadier general, the second-ranking brigadier general in the Confederate Army and the first general-grade officer to be commissioned from the civilian community. McCulloch was assigned to the command of Indian Territory and established his headquarters at Little Rock, Arkansas, where he began to build the Army of the West with regiments from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Although hampered by logistical nightmares and a total disagreement over strategic objectives with Missouri general Sterling Price, with whom he had been ordered to cooperate, McCulloch, with the assistance of Albert Pike, established vital alliances with the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, and other inhabitants of what is now eastern Oklahoma.

   On August 10, 1861, he won an impressive victory over the army of Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon at Wilson's Creek, or Oak Hills, in southwest Missouri. McCulloch's continuing inability to come to personal or strategic accord with Price, however, caused President Davis, on January 10, 1862, to appoint Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn to the command of both McCulloch's and Price's armies. Van Dorn launched the Army of the West on an expedition to capture St. Louis, a plan that McCulloch bitterly resisted. The Confederates encountered the army of Union major general Samuel R. Curtis on the Little Sugar Creek in northwest Arkansas. Due largely to McCulloch's remarkable knowledge of the terrain, Van Dorn's army was able to flank the enemy out of a strong position and cut his line of communication to the north. McCulloch, commanding the Confederate right wing in the ensuing battle of Pea Ridge, or Elkhorn Tavern, on March 7, 1862, overran a battery of artillery and drove the enemy from his original position. As federal resistance stiffened around 10:30 A.M., however, McCulloch rode forward through the thick underbrush to determine the location of the enemy line, was shot from his horse, and died instantly.

   His command devolved upon Brig. Gen. James M. McIntosh, who was killed but a few minutes later while leading a charge to recover McCulloch's body. Col. Louis Hébert, the division's senior regimental commander, was captured in the same charge, and soon McCulloch's division, without leadership, began to fall apart and drift toward the rear. Most participants and later historians attribute to McCulloch's untimely death the disaster at Pea Ridge and the subsequent loss of Arkansas to the Union forces. McCulloch was first buried on the field, but his body was removed to the cemetery at Little Rock and thence to the State Cemetery in Austin. McCulloch never married. His papers are located in the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Source 

30° 15.921, -097° 43.636

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 15, 2016

William Wood

   Wood enrolled as a First Lieutenant in Sidney Sherman's Company, The Kentucky Rifles on December 18, 1835, while living in Newport, Kentucky. The company arrived in Texas in January, 1836 and swore allegiance to Texas in Nacogdoches on January 14. When Sherman was promoted in March, Wood was elected captain of the company, now officially designated Company A, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, in Gonzales. Wood lead the company at the Battle of San Jacinto, and remained in the army until May 22, 1837, when he was discharged. He first settled in Brazoria County, near Columbia, but declining health forced him to move to Houston in 1849. Wood died at the Pierce House on June 17, 1854. In his will, signed the day before he died, he requested that he be buried on the battleground of San Jacinto and was permitted so in honor of his service.

29° 45.257, -095° 05.355

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

July 12, 2016

Don Massengale

   Born April 23, 1937 in Jacksboro, Texas, Donald Ray Massengale started playing golf while at attending Texas Christian University and hit the amateur golf circuit at the age of 21, when he entered and won the Texas Amateur Championship in 1958. After turning pro in 1960, he was regularly rated highly on the competitive roster, finishing among the top-60 money winners on the PGA Tour in 1962, 1966 and 1967. In 1966 he won two tournaments on the PGA tour, first at the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (January 23) and later that year at the Canadian Open (October 2).

   Through the 1970s onward, Massengale worked as a club pro in the Houston area in between his PGA and Senior PGA Tournaments. During this period, he won the Senior PGA Tour twice, as well as the Greater Grand Rapids Open in 1990 and the Royal Carribbean Classic in 1992. Massengale died of a heart attack on January 2, 2007 in Conroe, Texas.

30° 21.068, -095° 28.768

Garden Park Cemetery

July 8, 2016

Lucien Hopson

   Lucien Hopson, Republic of Texas Veteran, was born in Ohio on November 25, 1803. Upon coming to Texas in 1836, he fought for independence with Company C of the 1st Regiment of the Texas Volunteers, or the Mina Volunteers, at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Mina Volunteers were organized on February 28, 1836. This Company became Company C of the 1st Regiment of the Texas Volunteers. The Mina Volunteers were quite unique because they were made up entirely of settlers who lived in and around Bastrop County. For his service to Texas, Hopson received one-third of a league of land on May 2, 1839, and an additional 960 acres on August 17, 1840, for having served in the army from February 3 to November 4, 1836.

   Unable to fight during the Civil War, Hopson, at age 58, still worked for the Confederate cause. On September 25, 1862, he was granted patent number 106 by the Confederate Patent Office for creating a "projectile." The vast majority of the records from the Confederate Patent Office were destroyed at the end of the war, so it is unknown what Hopson's invention actually was. On October 29, 1866, the state legislature, by joint resolution, gave Hopson an additional 640 acres of land, which was issued to him on November 9, 1866. A member of the Texas Veterans Association, Hopson lived in Lampasas County. He died in Austin on February 16, 1896, and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

30° 15.910, -097° 43.634

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 5, 2016

Charles "Tex" Harrison

   Charles Harrison was born in Gary, Indiana, January 20, 1933. Houston became his home when his parents, Alexander and Lullelia Walker Harrison, relocated to the historic Fifth Ward. Charles graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1950. At Wheatley, he was an exceptional athlete who competed in varsity basketball. He was recruited by North Carolina Central University and attended on an athletic scholarship. Charles received the nickname "Tex" because he was a recognizable 6'5" Texan. He was the first basketball player from an African-American institution to capture College All-American honors. He holds NCCU's second highest scoring record and was inducted into the university's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.

   During his senior year, the Harlem Globetrotters noticed Tex when they played opposite him and his College All-American team during the World Series of Basketball. Tex graduated NCCU in 1954 and was drafted by the Globetrotters. This led to a legendary career. The team received the Athletic Order of Lenin Medal in 1959 (during the Cold War), an event that solidified Tex and the Globetrotters as global ambassadors. Tex was quick and an awesome rebounder and stellar exhibition dribbler who spent 18 years as a player before becoming a coach and advisor. He held these management positions for more than three decades. On November 20, 2014, Tex passed away and was buried in Houston's Golden Gate Cemetery.

29° 50.167, -095° 19.482

Block D
Golden Gate Cemetery

July 1, 2016

James Monroe Hill

   James Monroe Hill, soldier at the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Putnam County, Georgia, on March 13, 1818, the son of Elizabeth (Barksdale) and Asa Hill. The family lived for a time in Hillsborough and Columbus, Georgia, before immigrating to Texas. Asa Hill visited Texas in 1834, and the following year the Hills were one of seventeen families to charter a schooner to take them to Stephen F. Austin's colony. Young Hill, with his parents and eight brothers and sisters, landed at Matagorda on May 31, 1835, and soon established a farm in Washington County.

   After the fall of the Alamo, Hill and his father set out with seven other men, including William Bennett Scates, to join Sam Houston's army. They met Capt. William W. Hill's detachment at Columbus, and young Hill joined this group while his father went on to army headquarters. Asa Hill was later detached from the army to warn settlers of Houston's planned withdrawal to the Brazos River. At San Jacinto James M. Hill served in Company H of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. This company was led by Robert Stevenson in the absence of its commander, Captain Hill, who had contracted measles at Donahoe, on the Brazos. James Monroe Hill was one of the few men present at the first interview between Houston and Antonio López de Santa Anna and is portrayed in William Henry Huddle's painting The Surrender of Santa Anna, now hanging in the state Capitol.

   Hill is said to have joined a volunteer company in response to Adrián Woll's invasion of Texas in 1842. Later that year his father and two brothers, Jeffrey Barksdale Hill and John C. C. Hill, participated in the Somervell expedition. Before John Hill left for the Rio Grande, his brother James gave him a new rifle, telling him "never to surrender it to a Mexican." After the battle of Mier, at which Jeffrey was wounded and all three of the Hills were captured, young John smashed his brother's gift against the pavement rather than give it up. Their father later drew one of the white beans at Saltillo in the Black Bean Episode.

   On September 14, 1843, Hill married Jane Hallowell Kerr in Washington County. Jane was born in Tennessee in 1824, had immigrated to Texas with her family in 1831, and had taken part in the Runaway Scrape in 1836. The couple spent the next forty-one years in Fayette County. According to his wife's brief memoir, Hill was a soldier in the Confederate Army. The family moved in 1884 to Austin, where Hill opened a store on Congress Avenue. In April 1894 at a Texas Veterans Association meeting in Waco he was appointed chairman of a committee to locate the battlefield of San Jacinto. He and the other members of the committee, Francis R. Lubbock and William P. Hardeman, visited the ground on July 4 of that year and recommended that the state acquire the site as a memorial. In 1897 Governor Charles A. Culberson appointed Hill one of three commissioners to purchase the battleground. His colleagues on the committee were Sterling Brown Hendricks and Waller T. Burns. The purchase was made in November of that year.

   In Austin, on October 19, 1897, Hill completed his recollections, "relating personal experiences and vivid details" of the battle of San Jacinto. He was then eighty years old and one of only ten surviving San Jacinto veterans. Upon the death of Guy M. Bryan on June 4, 1901, Hill, then first vice president (1893-1901), became president of the Texas Veterans Association. He served until his death on February 14, 1904. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. Hill and his wife were the parents of four daughters and four sons, two of whom served in the Confederate Army. One son, James L. Hill, was a member of a Texas cavalry regiment and participated in Earl Van Dorn's famed Holly Springs, Mississippi, raid in 1862. James Monroe Hill was the grandfather of George Alfred Hill, Jr. He was a Methodist and an honorary life member of the Texas State Historical Association. His papers, including a typescript of his reminiscences of San Jacinto, are preserved at the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Source 

30° 16.684, -097° 43.677

Section 4
Oakwood Cemetery