January 29, 2016

Elias E. Hamilton

Elias E. Hamilton was born in Clarksville, Georgia, in about 1816 to William and Nancy (Hallums) Hamilton. He left Clarksville, Georgia in the fall of 1835 with his family. Shortly after having arrived in Texas, he enlisted in the company recruited in Nacogdoches by Captain Thomas J. Rusk and left with that organization for Bexar, then under siege (October 12 - December 11, 1835). He was later transferred to Captain Hayden Arnold's "Nacogdoches Company" and fought at San Jacinto. Hamilton was killed by his horse falling on him in Douglass, Nacogdoches County, September 30, 1840. He was originally buried beside his father and sister in the "old Mexican cemetery", but has since been relocated to Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches.

GPS Coordinates
31° 36.190, -094° 38.959


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

January 26, 2016

John Balch

John Balch, San Jacinto veteran, was born September 6, 1812 in Greene County, Tennessee. He and his brother came to Texas from Maryland in April, 1835, and on October 7, John joined the army. He participated in the Storming and Capture of Bexar as part of John York's Company in December, 1835, and fought at the historic Battle of San Jacinto under Alfred H. Wyly on April 21, 1836. After San Jacinto, Balch left the service and married Elizabeth Rogers in Nacogdoches County on January 21, 1841. He was awarded a land grant for his service to the Republic and used this to acquire property in Dallas County around the springs between Mesquite and Kleberg. He moved to the town of Chireno in Nacogdoches County later in life and died there on June 3, 1900. He was buried in Cove Springs Cemetery in Nacogdoches.

GPS Coordinates
31° 33.953, -094° 25.489


Cove Springs Cemetery
Nacogdoches County

January 22, 2016

William Durham

William Davis Durham, soldier, was born at Bardswell, Norfolk, England, on July 4, 1815, the eldest of seven children of William and Ester (Bloomfield) Durham; he was a brother of George J. Durham. The family immigrated to the United States in 1833 or 1835 and settled in New York. William enlisted in the New Orleans Greys on October 22, 1835, and landed at Velasco, Texas, three days later. As a member of that unit he participated in the siege of Bexar. When the Texas army split, Durham marched to the east and fought at the battle of San Jacinto. His name is engraved (incorrectly, as William Daniel Durham) on the face of the San Jacinto Monument. He died, a victim of a yellow fever epidemic, in Houston on August 27, 1838, and was buried in Old Founders Memorial Park. In 1936 the state placed a monument over his grave.

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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.430, -095° 22.750


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

January 19, 2016

Charlotte Walker

Charlotte Ganahl Walker, actress, was born in Galveston to Edwin A. Walker and Charlisa (De Ganahl) Walker and was the mother of character actress Sara Haden. Walker made her stage debut as a teen, when at nineteen she performed in London, England in a comedy called The Mummy. She performed with Richard Mansfield and later returned to her native Texas.

She appeared as June in Trail of the Lonesome Pine in 1911 and would later reprise the role in Cecil B. DeMille's 1916 film Trail of the Lonesome Pine. David Belasco noticed her in On Parole and signed her for starring roles in plays The Warrens of Virginia, Just a Wife, and Call The Doctor. She continued to act on the Broadway stage. In 1923 she played with Ethel Barrymore in The School For Scandal, produced by the Player's Club.

Walker's motion picture career began in 1915 with Kindling and Out of the Darkness. Sloth (1917) is a five-reeler which features Walker. In the third reel of this film she plays a youthful Dutch maid who is about sixteen years old. The setting is an old Dutch settlement on Staten Island, New York. The theme stresses the perils of indolence to a nation of people and cautions against permitting luxury to replace the simplistic life led by America's forebears. In her later silent film work Walker can be seen in The Midnight Girl (1925) starring alongside a pre-Dracula Bela Lugosi. The Midnight Girl is one of Walker's few silents that survives. As a film actress she continued to perform in films into the early 1930s. Her later screen performances include roles in Lightnin (1930), Millie (1931), Salvation Nell (1931), and Hotel Variety (1933).

She married her first husband, Dr. John B. Haden, on November 16, 1896 in New York City. With him she had two daughters, Beatrice Shelton Haden and Katherine Haden, who later changed her name to Sara Haden. After her divorce, she returned to the stage. Her second husband, Eugene Walter, was a playwright who adapted the novel The Trail of the Lonesome Pine for Broadway;. the second marriage also ended in divorce in 1930. Charlotte Walker died in 1958 at a hospital in Kerrville, Texas at age 81.

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

GPS Coordinates
29° 17.621, -094° 48.682

Haden Mausoleum
Trinity Episcopal Cemetery
Galveston

January 15, 2016

Ashley R. Stephens

Born in Wayne County, North Carolina in 1808, Stephens stated in his original land application that he came to Texas from Tennessee in February, 1831. He received title to a league of land in Austin's Second Colony, November 22, 1832, situated in what are now Washington and Lee Counties. A farmer by profession, he enlisted at the home of Asa Mitchell's by Captain Joseph P. Lynch at the onset of the Texas Revolution. He served as Second Corporal of Captain William W. Hill's Company and was listed among those few who had been wounded during the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.  Despite being shot through the calves of both legs, his wounds were generally regarded as slight, yet he died nine days later, possibly from infection.

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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.232, -095° 05.363


San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

January 12, 2016

John Beldin

Originally from New York, John Beldin (Belden) enlisted in Captain William J. Cook's Company of "New Orleans Greys," October 22, 1835 and arrived in Texas three days later. He was "dangerously wounded while in the act of spiking a cannon" during the Storming and Capture of Bexar (December 5-10, 1835) and discharged due to injury on December 16. Despite this, on April 21, 1836, he fought victoriously at San Jacinto as part of Captain Amasa Turner's Company. He was granted several land grants for his service, most of which he sold for cash, and settled in Houston. Belden married Francis Emeline Bartlett on October 24, 1839. He died in Houston on September 15, 1841 and buried under the auspices of Holland (Masonic) Lodge No. 1. His marker, if there ever was one, no longer exists.

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 Beldin's is one of them.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

January 8, 2016

Nathaniel Hazen

Born in 1808, Nathaniel C. Hazen came to Texas in January, 1836, likely just to enlist in the Texian army. He arrived in Nacogdoches on January 14 and subscribed to the oath of allegiance, then enlisted two days later for a ten month period with eight others to Lieutenant Samuel Sprague. The nine men traveled south towards Goliad to meet up with James Fannin, who was to be their acting commander. They arrived on March 19, and within a week, they, and the rest of Fannin's command, were captured by the Mexican army and sentenced to death for treason. On March 27, Hazen and the others were led out of the presidio where they were being held and marched to a spot near the river, where the Mexicans opened fire, killing hundreds of men in what would come to be known as the Goliad Massacre. Hazen, however, along with perhaps a dozen others, ran towards the wooded area along the river and made his escape.

He discovered that the main force of the Texian army under Sam Houston was moving east towards Louisiana, and was able to catch up with them at the Brazos River, where he told the men about the details of Goliad and was assigned to Captain William H. Patton's Company. Two weeks later, Hazen fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, fiercely determined to avenge his slaughtered comrades at Goliad. After the battle, he continued to serve the rest of his enlistment, leaving the army for good on November 10, 1836. He traveled to Columbia in Brazoria County to look for property to build a homestead, but sadly died of unknown causes on December 27. He was buried in the Old Columbia Cemetery in what is now West Columbia. His grave went unmarked until 1936, when the Texas Historical Commission placed a granite stone there.

GPS Coordinates
29° 08.396, -095° 38.852


Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia

January 5, 2016

Clarence Green

Clarence Green, blues guitarist and band leader, was born in Mont Belvieu, Texas, in Chambers County, on January 1, 1934. He was a versatile guitarist who should not be confused with the piano-playing blues singer Clarence "Candy" Green from nearby Galveston. Green, the guitar player, was a stalwart of the Houston scene who fronted a number of popular bands, the most famous being the Rhythmaires, between the early 1950s and his death.

The oldest son of a Creole mother, he grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward in the neighborhood known as Frenchtown. He had first started making music on homemade stringed instruments devised in collaboration with his brother, Cal Green, who later served as lead guitarist for Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and did studio work for Ray Charles and other stars, relocating permanently to California in the process. Clarence, however, opted to stay close to home all his life, choosing the security of full-time employment with Houston Light and Power, where he worked for twenty years.

Nevertheless, he found ample opportunity in the Bayou City to exploit his musical talents, both on stage and in recordings. He started out around 1951 or 1952 in a group that called itself Blues For Two. Throughout the next decade the band's personnel changed often; some of the more well-known members, at various times, included fellow guitarists Johnny Copeland and Joe Hughes. Green went on to lead the High Type Five, the Cobras (not to be confused with the mid-1970s Austin-based band of the same name led by Paul Ray), and ultimately his most well-known ensemble, the Rhythmaires, which was a mainstay of the Houston scene for over thirty years.

Mixing blues, jazz, and soul music - and playing in all manner of venues, from small clubs in the old wards to grand corporate affairs downtown and in private mansions - the Rhythmaires are remembered not only for Green's precisely swinging performances on electric guitar, but also for the many female vocalists they developed and featured over the years, including Iola Broussard, Gloria Edwards, Luvenia Lewis (who married Cal Green but did not follow him to the West Coast), Trudy Lynn, Faye Robinson, Lavelle White, and others.


Starting in the late 1950s and continuing through the 1960s, Green also did regular session work as a guitarist at various studios, the most notable being Duke Records, where he backed artists such as Bobby Bland, Joe Hinton, and Junior Parker and released a few singles, including Keep On Working, under his own name. In 1958 he had recorded his first single, Mary My Darling, for the C&P label, which later leased it to Chicago-based Chess Records. In the following years he made numerous records for a variety of other small labels, including Shomar (which released his Crazy Strings in 1962), All Boy, Aquarius, Bright Star, Lynn, Pope, and Golden Eagle. His backing personnel on these tracks varied from session to session but occasionally included notable Texas blues musicians such as Henry Hayes, Wilbur McFarland, Teddy Reynolds, Ivory Lee Semien, and Hop Wilson.

Green did not always receive proper compensation for his many recordings, especially as they began to reappear on compact disk in the 1990s. In 1994 he became a co-plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed against one of his former producers on behalf of fifteen Houston blues musicians or their descendants. Just days before Green died of natural causes in Houston on March 13, 1997, a federal jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. In the final months of his life Green was especially focused on performing gospel music in the context of religious worship, especially at the Frenchtown institution known as Buck Street Memorial Church of God in Christ, where he served as a deacon for many years. Green had a daughter, three sons, and several stepchildren.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.171, -095° 27.770

Garden of Memories
Paradise North Cemetery
Houston

January 1, 2016

Fielding Grundy Secrest

Secrest came to Texas in 1835, some time prior to May 2. He enlisted in the Texas army as a member of Captain Henry W. Karnes' Company early in 1836, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, then enlisted in the Washington Cavalry, commanded by his brother Washington H. Secrest, from June 25 to December 25, 1836. Early in 1838, he was issued one-third of a league of land in Brazoria County where he married Eliza H. Sneed on September 25. He moved to Harrisburg County in 1839, where he received two-thirds of a league and one labor of land for his military service. Eliza Secrest died in Houston in 1839, leaving behind her husband and an infant daughter, Elizabeth, who died two months later. Fielding himself died in Houston on June 1, 1840 of unknown causes, possibly of yellow fever.

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.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.434, -095° 22.740


Founders Memorial Park
Houston