November 29, 2016

Stephen William Blount

   Stephen William Blount, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, soldier, and county official, son of Stephen William and Elizabeth (Winn) Blount, was born in Burke County, Georgia, on February 13, 1808. He was elected colonel of the Eighth Regiment of Georgia Militia in 1833, served as deputy sheriff and sheriff of Burke County for four years, and was an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Robert Tootle and Maj. Gen. David Taylor from 1832 to 1834. He arrived in Texas in August 1835 and settled at San Augustine. He was one of the three representatives from San Augustine at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On March 17, 1836, when the convention adjourned, he returned to San Augustine and joined the Texas army in the company of Capt. William D. Ratcliff. He reached San Jacinto the day after the battle had been fought. Blount returned to the United States and in Alabama, sometime after February 1, 1838, married Mrs. Mary Landon Lacy; they had eight children. Blount brought his wife to Texas in 1839.

   He was the first county clerk of San Augustine County and from 1846 to 1849 was postmaster at San Augustine. He was a delegate to the Democratic state convention in 1850 and to the national Democratic convention at Cincinnati in 1876. He acquired 60,000 acres, on which he raised cotton. During the Civil War he was fiscal agent for the Confederate States of America. He was a charter member of Redland Lodge No. 3 at San Augustine, and a member of the Episcopal Church. He was vice president of the United Confederate Veterans when he died, on February 7, 1890. He was buried at San Augustine. An oil portrait of Blount by Stephen Seymour Thomas was presented to the Dallas Historical Society and placed on exhibit in the Hall of State in 1950. Source

31° 31.936, -094° 06.582

San Augustine City Cemetery
San Augustine

November 25, 2016

William Peter Cartwright

   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

November 22, 2016

Mary Kay

   Business leader and entrepreneur Mary Kathlyn Wagner was born on May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas. Ash was a pioneer for women in business, building a substantial cosmetics empire. In 1939, Ash became as a salesperson for Stanley Home Products, hosting parties to encourage people to buy household items. She was so good at making the sale that she was hired away by another company, World Gifts, in 1952. Ash spent a little more than a decade at the company, but she quit in protest after watching yet another man that she had trained get promoted above her and earn a much higher salary than hers.

   After her bad experiences in the traditional workplace, Ash set out to create her own business at the age of 45. She started with an initial investment of $5,000 in 1963. She purchased the formulas for skin lotions from the family of a tanner who created the products while he worked on hides. With her son, Richard Rogers, she opened a small store in Dallas and had nine salespeople working for her. Today there are more than 1.6 million salespeople working for Mary Kay Inc. around the world.

   The company turned a profit in its first year and sold close to $1 million in products by the end of its second year driven by Ash's business acumen and philosophy. The basic premise was much like the products she sold earlier in her career. Her cosmetics were sold through at-home parties and other events. But Ash strove to make her business different by employing incentive programs and not having sales territories for her representatives. She believed in the golden rule "treat others as you want to be treated," and operated by the motto: God first, family second and career third.

   Ash wanted everyone in the organization to have the opportunity to benefit from their successes. Sales representatives - she called them consultants - bought the products from May Kay at wholesale prices and then sold them at retail price to their customers. They could also earn commissions from new consultants that they had recruited. All of her marketing skills and people savvy helped make Mary Kay Cosmetics a very lucrative business. The company went public in 1968, but it was bought back by Ash and her family in 1985 when the stock price took a hit. The business itself remained successful and now annual sales exceed $2.2 billion, according to the company's website.

   At the heart of this profitable organization was Ash's enthusiastic personality. She was known for her love of the color pink and it could be found everywhere, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year. She seemed to sincerely value her consultants, and once said "People are a company's greatest asset. Her approach to business attracted a lot of interest. She was admired for her strategies and the results they achieved. She wrote several books about her experiences, including Mary Kay: The Success Story of America's Most Dynamic Businesswoman (1981), Mary Kay on People Management (1984) and Mary Kay: You Can Have It All (1995). While she stepped down from her position as CEO of the company in 1987, she remained an active part of the business. She established the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation in 1996. The foundation supports cancer research and efforts to end domestic violence. In 2000, she was named the most outstanding woman in business in the 20th century by Lifetime Television.

   Married three times, Ash had three children - Richard, Ben and Marylyn - by her first husband, J. Ben Rogers. The two divorced after Rogers returned from serving in World War II. Her second marriage to a chemist was brief; he died of a heart attack in 1963, just one month after the two had gotten married. She married her third husband, Mel Ash, in 1966, and the couple stayed together until Mel's death in 1980. The cosmetics mogul died on November 22, 2001, in Dallas, Texas. By this time, the company she created had become a worldwide enterprise with representatives in more than 30 markets.

32° 52.102, -096° 46.847

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park

November 18, 2016

Job Starks Collard

   Born in Missouri, March 21, 1813, Job Collard came to Texas in August 1833. He enlisted in the revolutionary army on March 1, 1836 for a three month stint as a member of William Ware's Company. He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, served out the rest of his contract, then re-enlisted and commanded a company until at least September 30, 1836. he was married twice; first to Elizabeth Robinson, with whom he had five children, then after her death, married Sarah James, who bore him four more children. They lived in Danville, Montgomery County until Collard's death on June 1, 1867. He was buried next to his first wife Elizabeth, and upon the death of his second wife Sarah on August 7, 1883, she was laid next to him as well.

30° 56.735, -095° 55.255

Madisonville City Cemetery

November 15, 2016

Richard Bennett Hubbard

   Richard Bennett (Dick) Hubbard, Jr., governor of Texas and diplomat, son of Richard Bennett and Serena (Carter) Hubbard, was born in Walton County, Georgia, on November 1, 1832. He spent his formative years in rural Jasper County, Georgia. He graduated from Mercer Institute (now Mercer University) in 1851 with an A.B. degree in literature and was elected National University Orator, a high honor at Mercer. He briefly attended lectures at the University of Virginia, then went to Harvard, where he was awarded the LL.B. in 1853. Later that year he and his parents moved to Smith County, Texas, where they settled in Tyler and then on a plantation near the site of Lindale. Hubbard first entered politics in 1855, when he opposed the American (Know-Nothing) party. In the 1856 presidential election he supported James Buchanan, who appointed him United States district attorney for the western district of Texas, a position he resigned in 1859 to run for the state legislature. He served in the Eighth Legislature, where he supported secession. After his failure to win election to the Confederate States Congress from the Fifth District, he recruited men for the Confederate forces. During the Civil War he commanded the Twenty-second Texas Infantry regiment and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Arkansas and Louisiana.

   Hubbard's postwar law practice, supplemented by income from real estate and railroad promotion, enabled him to resume his political career by 1872, when he was chosen presidential elector on the Horace Greeley ticket. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1873 and 1876 and succeeded to the governorship on December 1, 1876, when Richard Coke resigned to become a United States senator. Hubbard's gubernatorial term was marked by post-Reconstruction financial difficulties, by general lawlessness, and by the fact that the legislature was never in session during his administration. Though political opponents prevented his nomination for a second term, he remained popular with the people of Texas. His accomplishments as governor include reducing the public debt, fighting land fraud, promoting educational reforms, and restoring public control of the state prison system. When he left the governorship in 1879 he was the object of acrimonious political and personal attacks. In 1884 Hubbard served as temporary chairman of the Democratic national nominating convention. He campaigned vigorously for the party nominee, Grover Cleveland, who appointed him minister to Japan in 1885. His oratory gained him the cognomen "Demosthenes of Texas." His four years in Japan marked a delicate transitional period in Japanese-American relations. Under American and European influences, Japan was emerging from feudalism and dependency and had begun to insist on recognition as a diplomatic equal, a position Hubbard strongly supported. He concluded with Japan an extradition treaty, and his preliminary work on the general treaty revisions provided the basis for the revised treaties of 1894-99. When he returned to the United States in 1889, he wrote a book based upon his diplomatic experience, The United States in the Far East, which was published in 1899.

   Hubbard was a Freemason, a member of the Smith County Agricultural and Mechanical Society, and a member of the board of directors of Texas A&M. In 1876 he was chosen Centennial Orator of Texas to represent the state at the World's Exposition in Philadelphia. There he urged national unity and goodwill in an acclaimed oration. Hubbard was a Baptist. He was first married to Eliza B. Hudson, daughter of Dr. G. C. Hudson of Lafayette, Alabama, on November 30, 1858; one daughter of this marriage, Serena, survived. Hubbard's second marriage, on November 26, 1869, was to Janie Roberts, daughter of Willis Roberts of Tyler. Janie died during Hubbard's mission to Japan, leaving him a second daughter, Searcy. Hubbard lived his final years in Tyler, where he died on July 12, 1901. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler. Hubbard in Hill County is named for him. Source

32° 21.218, -095° 18.556

Oakwood Cemetery

November 11, 2016

John C. Hale

   John C. Hale, early settler and soldier in the Texas revolution, was born on April 3, 1806, in Virginia; he came to Texas from Louisiana and settled in what became San Augustine County in the Sabine District. He was elected first lieutenant of Capt. Benjamin Franklin Bryant's Company K of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. He was killed in action at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and buried at the battlefield. Hale County is named in his honor. Hale's heirs received grants of 320 acres on May 24, 1850, 640 acres on November 8, 1851, and 640 acres on May 24, 1850. Hale was married to Barshaba (Miller). After his death she married Samuel H. Davis, administrator of Hale's estate. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232, -095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

November 8, 2016

William Homer Thornberry

   William Homer Thornberry was born on January 9, 1909, in Austin, Texas, to Mary L. and William N. Thornberry, teachers in the State School for the Deaf and themselves deaf. He attended public schools in Austin, graduated from Austin High School in 1927. He received his BBA in 1932, and his LLB in 1936 from the University of Texas. In 1954, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C. He served as a Member in the House of Representatives, Legislature of Texas, in 1937-1941. He was in private practice of law from 1936-1941 in the law firm of Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut and Gideon. During 1941-1942, he served as District Attorney in Travis County, resigning to serve in the Navy during World War II.

   Discharged from the Navy as Lieutenant Commander in 1946, he returned to Austin to re-enter the practice of law in partnership with the late Judge Herman Jones. He was a member of the City Council of Austin from 1946-1948, serving as Mayor pro tempore in 1947-1948. Thornberry was elected in 1948 to the 81st Session of the United States Congress as Representative of the 10th Congressional District of Texas. He was re-elected to each Congress until his resignation in December, 1963. During his time in Congress, he was a member of the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives from January of 1955, until his resignation.

   He was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas in 1963, and commissioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and sworn in as a United States Judge in El Paso, Texas, on December 21, 1963. He was appointed and commissioned by President Johnson as a United States Circuit Judge (Fifth Circuit) in 1965, and sworn into office as a Circuit Judge on July 3, 1965, at the LBJ Ranch. He took senior status December 21, 1978. During his service on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, he participated in decisions including many civil rights cases of the 1960s and 1970s. He served as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee to Implement the Criminal Justice Act from 1964 to 1979, and the Fifth Judicial Council Committee on Criminal Justice Act in 1967.

   Thornberry received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award in 1948. He served as a board member of Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. (the only senior college for the deaf in the world) from 1949 until his resignation from Congress, at which time he was named honorary life member of the Gallaudet Board. He was a Delegate-at-Large at the National Democratic Convention in 1956 and 1960. He was an Honorary Member of the Order of the Coif, an honorary legal organization and was chosen as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas in 1965. He was elected to the Austin High School Hall of Honor in May, 1983. He received the Leon Green Award from the Texas Law Review Association of the University of Texas School of Law in April, 1986. Judge Thornberry was a past member of the Texas Bar Association and a current member of the Travis County Bar Association. He was a member of the Texas Society of Sons of the American Revolution and a 33rd Degree KCCH Member of the Austin Scottish Rite Bodies. He was an honorary member of Kiwanis International, and served as Potentate of the Ben Hur Temple Shrine in 1948. He died peacefully at home in Austin on Tuesday, December 12, 1995. Source

30° 15.925, -097° 43.635

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

November 4, 2016

John Milton Swisher

   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 nonnegotiable. 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

November 1, 2016

David Koresh

   David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell to an unwed teenage mother named Bonnie Clark, on August 17, 1959, in Houston, Texas. Initially raised by his grandparents in the Dallas suburb of Garland, the young Koresh attended the Church of Seventh Day Adventists. In his senior year, Koresh dropped out of Garland High School to take a carpentry job. While in his early 20s, he spent a short time in Los Angeles trying to make it as a rock star. When he returned to Houston, the Seventh Day Adventists kicked him out of the church.

   In 1981, Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, and joined the Branch Davidians on their Mount Carmel compound. Koresh then had an affair with the sect's much older prophetess, Lois Roden. In 1984, he married a teenaged Branch Davidian named Rachel Jones, with whom he would have a son and two daughters. When Roden passed away, Koresh's and Roden's son, George, argued about who would take over the Branch Davidians. Koresh left the sect with his followers and lived in eastern Texas for a while. In 1987, he and a handful of his devotees returned to Mount Carmel heavily armed, and shot Roden. Roden survived. Koresh and his crew were tried for attempted murder, but were acquitted.

   In 1990, he legally changed his name from Howell to Koresh (after the Persian king) and became the Branch Davidians' leader. Koresh's teachings included the practice of "spiritual weddings" which enabled him to bed God-chosen female followers of all ages. Koresh had a dozen children with members other than his legal wife. As leader of the Branch Davidians, Koresh claimed he had cracked the code of the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation, which predicted events leading to the apocalypse. He told his followers that the lord willed the Davidians to build an "Army of God." As a result, they started stockpiling weapons.

   On February 28, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the compound. A four-hour gunfight left six of Koresh's followers and four BATF agents dead. Believing he and the Davidians had opened the fifth seal of revelation, Koresh claimed it was time to kill God's faithful. The result was a 51-day stand-off between Koresh and federal agents, in the latter's attempt to free his hostages. On April 19, 1993, Koresh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations launched a tank and tear gas assault on Mount Carmel. Source

32° 21.243, -095° 22.091

Last Supper Section
Memorial Park Cemetery