November 29, 2016

Teala Loring (1922-2007)

Teala Loring, American actress, was born Marcia Eloise Griffin on October 6, 1922 in Denver, Colorado. She was the sister of actors Debra Paget, Lisa Gaye, and Reull Shayne. At the start of her film career, she was sometimes credited as Judith Gibson. From 1942, Loring appeared in uncredited or bit parts in films at Paramount, turning up as a cigarette girl in Holiday Inn and as a telephone operator in Double Indemnity, for example. In 1945-46, she appeared in ten films released by the low-key Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures, including Fall Guy (1947), the Charlie Chan vehicle Dark Alibi (1946), and two films starring Kay Francis, Allotment Wives (1945) and Wife Wanted (1946). Having failed to achieve the success that her sister Debra would capture in the 1950s, Loring made her final film, Arizona Cowboy in 1950. She died at the age of 84 on January 28, 2007 from injuries she sustained in an automobile accident in Spring, Texas.

29° 55.948
-095° 27.333

Section S1
Houston National Cemetery

November 25, 2016

George A. Lamb (1814-1836)

George A. Lamb, participant in the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Laurens District, South Carolina, on October 3, 1814. Orphaned as a child, he made his home with a family named Bankhead and accompanied one of the sons, Richard, to Texas in 1834. There they established a farm in the western part of what is now Walker County. When Bankhead died on January 17, 1835, Lamb remained to care for his family. Lamb married Bankhead's widow, Sarah, on June 27, 1835, and adopted his two young children. He joined Capt. William Ware's Company D of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, on March 12, 1836, and was elected second lieutenant. He was killed in action on April 21, 1836, at San Jacinto. Lamb County was named in his honor in 1876. His widow later married Jonathan A. McGary, who became the administrator of Lamb'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 22, 2016

Edwin Alan "Bud" Shrake (1931-2009)

Bud Shrake was born September 6, 1931, in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Paschal High School where he wrote for the school newspaper, the Paschal Pantherette. He served in the Army and attended the University of Texas and Texas Christian University. In 1951, he started on the police beat of the Fort Worth Press while he earned a degree in English and Philosophy at TCU. In 1958, he moved to the Dallas Times Herald as a sportswriter, followed by a move in 1961 to the Dallas Morning News in order to write a daily sports column. He wrote his first novel, Blood Reckoning (1962), about the Comanche’s final battle against the United States Army and followed up with But Not For Love, published in 1964, which looked at the post-war generation. In 1964, Shrake moved to New York City to join the staff of Sports Illustrated, where he was often allowed to write long feature stories, sometimes barely related to sports. He returned to Texas in 1968 and continued his association with Sports Illustrated until 1979, while also writing novels and screenplays. His 1968 book Blessed McGill, set during Reconstruction, is often cited as a classic of Texas fiction, as is his 1972 novel Strange Peaches. In 1969, Shrake wrote what is perhaps his best-known article, Land of the Permanent Wave, about a trip to the Big Thicket in East Texas. He intended the article for publication in Sports Illustrated, but it was rejected and instead published in the February 1970 issue of Harper's Magazine. He became involved with Hollywood in the early 70s as a screenwriter and occasional actor. Shrake's screenplays include Kid Blue (1973), Nightwing (1979), the Steve McQueen western Tom Horn (1980), and Songwriter (1984), which starred his friend Willie Nelson. He had a small part in the TV movie Lonesome Dove and wrote his last screenplay in 1991 for the TV movie Another Pair of Aces: Three of a Kind, a sequel to his 1990 movie Pair of Aces. Night Never Falls, the only one of his novels not set in Texas, was published in 1987, and became his favorite of his novels. He was twice married to and twice divorced from Joyce Shrake, with whom he had two sons; his marriage to Doatsy Shrake also ended in divorce. From then on he acted as Texas Governor Ann Richards' companion for 17 years, escorting her to her inaugural ball and other social events until her death in 2006. He suffered from both prostate cancer and lung cancer in his final years, and on May 8, 2009, died at St. David's Hospital in Austin, of complications from lung cancer. He is buried next to Ann Richards in the Texas State Cemetery.

30° 15.934
-097° 43.614

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

November 18, 2016

Job Starks Collard (1813-1867)

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

Carlton Shane Dronett (1971-2009)

Shane Dronett was an American football defensive lineman who played for the NFL's Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons between 1992 and 2002. He was born in Orange, Texas, and graduated from Bridge City High School in Bridge City, Texas in 1989. He attended the University of Texas at Austin on a football scholarship and in 1991 he was named an All-American. In the 1992 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Dronett in the second round. He remained with the Broncos for four seasons, playing all 16 games in his first year. Dronett played for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions in 1996, playing 12 games total. The Lions released Dronett at the end of the 1996 season, and he was rehired by the Falcons, who had just hired as their new head coach Dan Reeves, who had originally drafted Dronett to play for the Broncos. Dronett played a significant role in the Falcons' defense, which ranked second in the NFL against the run, allowing only 75.2 rushing yards per game, and produced 313 tackles, 29.5 sacks, and 13 forced fumbles. When the Falcons won the NFC Championship in 1998, Dronett played in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos. In January 2000, he signed a five-year contract worth $20 million. In September, he suffered a torn ACL when sacking the Carolina Panthers quarterback. He suffered several other injuries, including knee and shoulder problems, over the next two seasons that limited his ability to play. He was released by the Falcons in 2003. In 2006, Dronett began to exhibit paranoia, confusion, fear, and rage. According to his family, his behavior changed radically. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2007. Its removal did not alleviate Dronett's symptoms. He confronted his wife with a gun on January 21, 2009. As she ran for safety, he turned the gun on himself. His death was ruled a suicide by the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's office. After his death, his brain was tested at Boston University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Scientists determined that Dronett suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. He left a wife, Chris, and two daughters, Berkley and Hayley.

30° 04.135
-093° 45.661

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
West Orange

November 11, 2016

Robert W. Montgomery (?-1837)

Little is known of Montgomery's private history prior to Texas; it is known that he was divorced and had a daughter, Emma Jane, living in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Texas army on February 23, 1836, as "McGready Montgomery" and was a member of Captain Henry Teal's Company at the Battle of San Jacinto. Montgomery left the army on October 10, 1836, and died in Harrisburg (now Harris) County in June 1837.

Note: This is a cenotaph. 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.

29° 45.441
-095° 22.767

Founders Memorial Park

November 8, 2016

Helen Vinson (1907-1999)

Helen Vinson was born Helen Rulfs in Beaumont on September 17, 1907, the daughter of an oil company executive. The family eventually settled in Houston, where her passion for acting was ignited. While in her teens, she married Harry N. Vickerman, a man fifteen years her senior, who came from a well-to-do Philadelphia family. Although she was not accepted into the drama department of the University of Texas, she persevered by earning parts in local theater productions. She eventually made her Broadway debut in a walk-on role in a production entitled Los Angeles (1927). The stock market crash of 1929 ruined her husband's business and the stress and anguish precipitated divorce proceedings after only five years. Helen gained further notice on Broadway in Berlin starring Sydney Greenstreet and The Fatal Alibi (1932) with Charles Laughton. During this time she was also noticed by Warner Brothers talent scouts who ushered the svelte blonde straight to Hollywood. She played both lead and support roles in pre-Code films, making a strong impression trading insults as the aloof "other woman". Often unsympathetic, self-involved and frequently backstabbing, she was not above using her feminine wiles to get her way. She played Kay Francis' epicurean friend in the mild comedy Jewel Robbery (1932), and stood between Loretta Young and David Manners happiness as his wealthy fiancée in the soap-styled drama They Call It Sin (1932).

In the classic I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), she had a role as the stylish woman Paul Muni leaves Glenda Farrell for. More film work came Helen's way alongside some of Hollywood's most popular and virile leading men. She played Warner Baxter's castoff wife in Frank Capra's Broadway Bill (1934) and Gary Cooper's problematic mate in The Wedding Night (1935). She appeared with Charles Boyer in Private Worlds (1935); Humphrey Bogart in Two Against the World (1936); James Cagney in Torrid Zone (1940) and even lightened it up a little bit in the Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard comedy Nothing But the Truth (1941). One of Helen's best known film roles, however, came with the plush drama In Name Only (1939) starring Cary Grant and Carole Lombard. When Helen married British Wimbledon tennis champion Fred Perry in 1935, she moved to England. While there she made the films Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (1935), King of the Damned (1935) and Love in Exile (1936), which resulted in little fanfare. They relocated to Los Angeles a couple of years later so she could find more work, and Perry also hoped he could parlay his sports fame into a movie career. Their highly publicized marriage was short-lived, lasting only five years after Perry failed to click onscreen. After marrying her third husband, stockbroker Donald Hardenbrook, in 1945, Helen gave up her career completely according to the wishes of her husband. The couple remained together until his death in 1976. She had no children from her three marriages. For the remainder of her life, she split home life in both Chapel Hill, North Carolina and on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Helen passed away in Chapel Hill in 1999 of natural causes at the age of 92 and was buried in the Rulfs family plot in Nacogdoches, Texas.

31° 36.197
-094°° 38.885

Oak Grove Cemetery

November 4, 2016

Thomas Young Buford (1814-1839)

Little is known of Thomas Buford's life prior to the Texas Revolution. His military record states that was born in South Carolina on August 5, 1814 and came to Texas in April, 1835, living near Nacogdoches. He enlisted in the Texas army on March 27, 1836 for six months and, as a member of Captain William H. Smith's Company J, Cavalry, fought at San Jacinto. He was afterward promoted to first lieutenant and put on detached duty as an army recruit until his discharge in September. Buford died on his farm near Nacogdoches on August 23, 1839, survived by his widow Mary and two infant daughters, and was buried in Oak Grove in Nacogdoches.

31° 36.188
-094° 38.944

Oak Grove Cemetery

November 1, 2016

Bailey Hardeman (1795-1836)

Bailey Hardeman, War of 1812 soldier, Santa Fe trader, mountain man, a founder and officer of the Republic of Texas, thirteenth or fourteenth child of Thomas and Mary (Perkins) Hardeman, was born at the Thomas Hardeman station or stockade, near Nashville, on February 26, 1795. His father was a prominent frontiersman who served in the North Carolina convention that considered ratifying the United States Constitution at Hillsboro, North Carolina, and in the Tennessee state constitutional convention of 1796. Bailey spent his early years in Davidson and Williamson counties, Tennessee. He was a store proprietor, deputy sheriff of Williamson County, and lawyer in Tennessee. At eighteen he served as an artillery officer in the War of 1812 under his father's friend Andrew Jackson in Louisiana. On June 19, 1820, he married Rebecca Wilson, also of Williamson County. The next year he joined his father and his brother John on the Missouri frontier west of Old Franklin. There he met William Becknell and became involved in the early Santa Fe trade. Hardeman was in the Meredith Miles Marmaduke expedition to New Mexico in 1824-25. He and Becknell trapped beaver along the Colorado River north and west of Santa Cruz and Taos and narrowly escaped starvation during the winter of 1824-25. On his return trip to Missouri, he lost two horses and a mule to Osage Indian attackers, but his overall trading profits must have been considerable. He was able to finance the Santa Fe trading trip of William Scott in the summer of 1825.

Several years later he endowed Hardeman Academy at Hardeman's Cross Roads (later Triune), donated lands to Wilson's Creek Baptist Church, and opened a tavern and store, all in Williamson County, Tennessee. A few years after his return to Tennessee he moved from Williamson to Hardeman County. In the fall of 1835 he and his brothers Thomas Jones and Blackstone Hardeman and his sister Julia Ann Bacon, together with their families, numbering about twenty-five people in all, moved to Texas. Bailey and several other members of the family quickly joined the independence movement. Bailey's first involvement was to help secure an eighteen-pound cannon at Dimmitt's Landing near the mouth of the Lavaca River and haul it to San Antonio, an action that encouraged Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos to surrender his forces, on December 10, 1835. On November 28, while Hardeman was on the artillery assignment, the General Council of the provisional government appointed him to serve on a commission to organize the militia of Matagorda Municipality. After this, Hardeman's activities shifted from the military to the political arena. He was elected a representative from Matagorda to the convention at work on the Texas Declaration of Independence. He arrived at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, and was selected to serve on the five-member drafting committee of the declaration.

After the convention approved the document, Bailey, along with two other members of the committee, was appointed to a twenty-one-member committee to draw up a constitution for the Republic of Texas. The resulting Constitution was approved in mid-March. Hardeman performed several other services for the convention, including membership on the militia and tariff-payment committees. Although he requested to be excused in order to rejoin the military forces, he was persuaded to assume other political duties. The delegates elected him secretary of the treasury. Concurrently with this position, he held the office of secretary of state when Samuel P. Carson left for the United States on April 2-3, 1836. After the fall of the Alamo, Hardeman fled eastward with other cabinet members as the ad interim government moved from Washington to Harrisburg, and from Harrisburg to Galveston Island, in advance of approaching Mexican troops. The group reached Galveston in safety around the time of the battle of San Jacinto; after the Texas victory, Hardeman left the island to deliver supplies to the soldiers of the republic. As acting secretary of state he negotiated and signed two treaties, an open document honorably ending the war and providing for removal of Mexican soldiers from Texas, and a secret agreement in which Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna promised diplomatic recognition of the new republic. Hardeman was then appointed to go to Mexico City in order to help secure ratification of the open treaty. His service to the republic was cut short by his death from congestive fever, probably on September 25, 1836, at his Matagorda County home on Caney Creek. He was buried there, but in 1936 his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Bailey was survived by his wife and four children. A daughter had died at the age of eight in Hardeman County, Tennessee. Hardeman County, Texas, was named for Bailey and Thomas Jones Hardeman. Source 

30° 15.918
-097° 43.637

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery