February 26, 2016

Isaac McGary

Isaac McGary, early settler and soldier, was born in 1800 in Butler County, Ohio, the son of John McGary. He moved to Texas with Stephen F. Austin and fought at the battle of San Jacinto, after which he helped guard Antonio López de Santa Anna. McGary received a donation land grant for his participation in the battle, and his name is on the San Jacinto monument. He also served as a private under Captain James Gillaspie in the Mexican War. His name is on the Gillaspie Memorial Marker in Huntsville. McGary served as sheriff of Montgomery County in 1843. When Walker County was formed, he was elected the first county clerk. He served in this capacity from 1846 to 1852. In 1854 he was chief justice of Walker County. McGary was a Mason in Forest Lodge No. 19. In the 1850 census he is listed as fifty years old, married to Elizabeth (Visier), a French immigrant, age thirty-four. Three children are listed. Elizabeth died in 1853 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville. While on a trip to the coast, McGary died in Galveston in 1866. He was buried in Soldier's Rest Cemetery, Galveston.

Note
Unmarked. Isaac McGary was buried in Soldiers Rest, a section of the Old Potters Field cemetery set aside specifically for veterans in 1864. His tombstone, as well as most of the grave markers in the cemetery, was washed away in the 1900 hurricane. During the reconstruction of the island, the ruined graveyard renamed Oleander Cemetery, the ground level was raised several feet and the original section boundaries of Soldier's Rest were lost.

GPS Coordinates
N/A

Soldiers Rest (defunct)
Oleander Cemetery
Galveston

February 23, 2016

Thomas Pliney Plaster

Thomas Pliney Plaster, soldier and planter, was born in North Carolina on June 26, 1804. He moved from Giles County, Tennessee, in 1835 with his wife, Dollie B. (Samuel), and established a plantation near the site of present Bedias in Montgomery (now Grimes) County, Texas. From March 1 until April 1, 1836, he served as a lieutenant in Capt. L.B. Franks's ranger company on the northern frontier. On April 2 he enlisted in Lt. Col. James C. Neill's so-called "Artillery Corps" and was elected second sergeant. At the battle of San Jacinto Plaster manned one of the "Twin Sisters."

He was tried by court-martial for a now unknown offense and sentenced by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk to be reprimanded before the entire army on parade on the evening of June 27, 1836, and dismissed from service. He rejoined the army on July 5, however, as a private in Capt. George Washington Poe's First Artillery Battalion, and by August 1 had been promoted to quartermaster of the First Cavalry Regiment of the First Brigade, Army of the Republic of Texas. From then until November 22, 1836, he was stationed at Camp Johnson, on the Lavaca River.

Thereafter he returned to his plantation, where by 1840 he owned 2,952 acres. By 1850 his Grimes County real estate had increased in value to $1,400. By 1860 it was worth $11,000, and that year he reported $6,000 in personal property. His wife died in 1857, at age forty-nine, in giving birth to their ninth child, named Dollie after her mother.

Plaster served for several years as postmaster at Bedias, and after annexation he was elected to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He died of pneumonia in Austin on March 27, 1861, and is buried in the State Cemetery. At the time of his death he was doorkeeper of the Texas House of Representatives.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.933, -097° 43.639

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 19, 2016

William Jarvis Cannan

William Jarvis Cannan, soldier at the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, in 1808 and moved to Texas in 1835. He was in the Texas army from March 1 to November 1, 1836, and took part at San Jacinto as a private in Company H, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, under Robert Stevenson. For his service Cannan was granted a bounty warrant for 640 acres in Brazoria County. In 1837 he married Matilda Jane Lonis. They had four sons and a daughter. After his wife's death at Brazoria in 1850, Cannan married Parmelia A. Wilcox; they became the parents of three sons and a daughter. Throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction era, the Cannan family figured prominently in the Texas cotton trade. Cannan died in September 1881 and was buried in the Oyster Creek Cemetery four miles from Velasco.


GPS Coordinates
29° 00.477, -095° 18.986


Hudgins Cemetery
Oyster Creek

February 16, 2016

John Hillery Osteen

John Osteen, founder and first pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, was born in Paris, Texas, August 21, 1921. He earned his bachelor's degree from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and his master's degree from Northern Baptist Seminary; he also held a Doctorate of Divinity degree from Oral Roberts University. He did not begin thinking seriously about God or religion until 1939, after leaving a nightclub he frequented. Within a couple of months, he began preaching in Paris, Texas and was apparently ordained to the gospel ministry shortly before his 18th birthday by a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

He served as an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church in San Diego after completing his studies at NBTS and by the late 1940s as a minister at First Baptist Church, Hamlin, Texas. John left Hamlin in 1948 to become an itinerant preacher, but within a year he became pastor of Central Baptist Church, Baytown, Texas. During his pastorate of Central Baptist Church, Osteen and his first wife, Emma, began to experience marital unrest and subsequently divorced. He married Dolores "Dodie" Pilgrim on September 17, 1954, and the following year resigned his pastorate. Before long, Osteen again entered pastoral ministry at Hibbard Memorial Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, but left in 1958.

That same year, John and Dodie's first daughter Lisa was born with severe health issues. As he wrestled with her circumstance, his theological beliefs began to shift and he had ecstatic religious experiences that he called "the baptism of the Holy Ghost". A year later, on Mother's Day, May 10, 1959, he and Dodie started Lakewood Baptist Church in an abandoned feed store in northeast Houston as a church for charismatic Baptists. The church soon dropped "Baptist" from its name and became independent and nondenominational. Lakewood developed into a body of approximately 15,000 members with active ministries in televangelism, conferences, missionary support, and food distribution. He hosted the weekly John Osteen television program for 16 years, reaching millions in the U.S. and in many other countries. On January 23, 1999, he died after a heart attack at the age of 77.

GPS Coordinates
30° 05.433, -095° 34.335

Chapel Mausoleum
Klein Memorial Park
Tomball

February 12, 2016

James Gore Wilkinson

James G. Wilkinson, Jr., Republic of Texas veteran, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, March 5, 1805, a son of Captain James G. Wilkinson. His father received title to a league of land in Austin's Fifth Colony, situated in Fayette County, October 14, 1835. James G., Jr., did not arrive in Texas until 1835, as is shown in the headright certificate issued to him in 1838 by the Milam County Board. On an original roll of Captain William W. Hill's Company at muster, April 11, 1836, Wilkinson is shown as having been born in Hardin County, Kentucky in 1805. He was recruited at the home of Asa Mitchell in Washington County by Captain Joseph P. Lynch. He is shown as being 5 feet, 10 inches in height, fair complexion, with blue eyes and light hair. He was a farmer. Mr. Wilkinson was issued Bounty Certificate No. 803 for 320 acres of land, December 7, 1837 for having served in the army from March 1 to May 30, 1836. He was First Sergeant in Captain William W. Hill's Company at San Jacinto and on May 15, 1838 he received Donation Certificate No. 65 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle.

Mr. Wilkinson died in Burleson County on August 15, 1848. His widow, Mrs. Amanda Wilkinson, was appointed administrator of his estate. He left two minor children. Wilkinson and his wife were buried beneath a huge post-oak tree on a knoll overlooking the Yegua Creek, about five miles east of Dime Box, Lee County, in Burleson County. The tombstone at the grave of Mr. Wilkinson was of marble and bore an inscription. The grave of Mrs. Wilkinson was marked only by a rough stone and there was no inscription on it. An iron fence, fashioned by hand, enclosed Mr. Wilkinson's grave. The graves in 1938 were on land owned by Mr. August B. Kubena. The State of Texas had the remains of Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson removed and on April 8, 1938 reinterred in the State Cemetery at Austin where a new joint monument was erected at their graves.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.921, -097° 43.644

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 9, 2016

Albert Sidney Johnston

Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate general, son of John and Abigail (Harris) Johnston, was born at Washington, Kentucky, on February 2, 1803. He attended Transylvania University before he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in June 1826. He served at Sackett's Harbor, New York, in 1826, with the Sixth Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1827, and as regimental adjutant in the Black Hawk War. On January 20, 1829, he married Henrietta Preston. Because of his wife's illness, he resigned his commission on April 22, 1834, and farmed near St. Louis in 1835. She died on August 12, 1835. In 1836 Johnston moved to Texas and enlisted as a private in the Texas Army.

On August 5, 1836, he was appointed adjutant general by Thomas Jefferson Rusk and on January 31, 1837, he became senior brigadier general in command of the army to replace Felix Huston. A duel with Huston resulted; Johnston was wounded and could not immediately take the command. On December 22, 1838, he was appointed secretary of war for the Republic of Texas by President Mirabeau B. Lamar, and in December 1839 he led an expedition against the Cherokee Indians in East Texas. On March 1, 1840, Johnston returned to Kentucky, where, on October 3, 1843, he married Eliza Griffin, a cousin of his first wife. They returned to Texas to settle at China Grove Plantation in Brazoria County.

During the Mexican War he was colonel of the First Texas Rifle Volunteers and served with W. O. Butler as inspector general at Monterrey, Mexico. On December 2, 1849, Johnston became paymaster in the United States Army and was assigned to the Texas frontier. He went with William S. Harney to the Great Plains in 1855, and on April 2, 1856, he was appointed colonel of the Second Cavalry. In 1858 Johnston received command of a Utah expedition to escort a new territorial governor and three judges to Salt Lake City and to establish a military presence, due to Mormon resistance of federal authority. He set up Camp Scott near the ruins of Fort Bridger in the fall of 1858, and later selected a site southwest of Salt Lake City for a permanent camp - Camp Floyd which was dedicated in November of 1859. Johnston remained in charge of Camp Floyd until 1860 when he was sent to the Pacific Department and stationed at San Francisco. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, he resigned his commission in the United States Army, refused the federal government's offer of a command, and returned overland to Texas.

In Austin 1861 Jefferson Davis appointed Johnston a general in the Confederate Army and in September assigned him command of the Western Department. Johnston issued a call for men and formed and drilled an army, but it lacked men and organization, had a huge area to defend, and could not control the rivers that were vital to military success in the region. In February 1862, following Federal victories on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, he moved his line of defense to the vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee, and later to Corinth, Mississippi. On April 6, 1862, he was killed while leading his forces at the battle of Shiloh. He was temporarily buried at New Orleans. By special appropriation, the Texas Legislature, in January 1867, had his remains transferred to Austin for burial in the State Cemetery. In 1905 a stone monument executed by noted sculptor Elisabet Ney was erected at the site.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.913, -097° 43.597

Confederate Field
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 5, 2016

William C. Swearingen

William C. Swearingen, soldier of the Republic of Texas, enlisted at Velasco on February 13, 1836, "for two years or the duration of the war." He joined Sam Houston's army on the Colorado River, and at the battle of San Jacinto he fought in Capt. Amasa Turner's Company B of Lt. Col. Henry W. Millard's Regular Infantry battalion. From the battlefield on April 23 Swearingen wrote a lengthy and detailed account of the campaign and battle to his brother Lemuel in Scottsville, Kentucky. The letter ends with the poignant request that his brother "kiss William for me and tell him pappy will be there in the fall and stay with him always."

With the reorganization of the army after San Jacinto, Swearingen was transferred to Company A of the First Regiment, Regular Infantry, under Capt. John Smith, formerly Millard's first sergeant. He was posted to Galveston Island but served a part of his enlistment period on detached duty aboard the schooner Apollo out of Cedar Bayou. He received a promotion to sergeant on March 17 and resigned from the army on November 4, 1836, but reappeared on the muster roll of February 28, 1837. He died in Houston on December 24, 1839. Swearingen was most likely a kinsman of Elemeleck Swearingen, who also fought in Turner's company at San Jacinto, and of Elemeleck's brother V.W. Swearingen, who served in Capt. John York's company at the siege of Bexar and with Capt. Moseley Baker's company at San Jacinto. He subsequently took part in the Mier expedition and was incarcerated at Perote prison. Elemeleck and V.W. Swearingen moved from Kentucky to Milheim, Austin County, Texas, in 1830.

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° 45.436, -095° 22.769


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

February 2, 2016

Reuben White

Reuben White, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was the son of William and Amy White and was born in 1795 in what is now Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. In the War of 1812 he served in Capt. Shadrack Porter's Company, Baker's Regiment, Louisiana Militia. He married Christina Faulk on June 15, 1818. They had at least eight children. The family was Catholic. He moved to Texas in 1824 with his widowed mother and received his grant of one league on the east bank of the San Jacinto River. He was listed with his family in the Atascosito Census in 1826 as a farmer and stock raiser. Reuben and his brother Henry White were on the grand jury of Harris County in 1837. In 1838 he appeared before the Board of Land Commissioners of Harris County to petition for one labor of land due him as a colonist. He appeared on the Ad Valorem Tax Rolls of the Republic of Texas in 1837 and in subsequent years. His taxable property (after considerable exemptions) was 2,214 acres of land, two pleasure horses, 150 cattle, and one clock. He was a successful farmer-rancher of the period. Reuben White died before October 1848, as proven by a probate court record of his estate in Harris County in 1848. After White died, his widow married Hervey Whiting. In 1854 she married Isaac Curtis, and in the 1860 census she and her two youngest sons were living with a son-in-law, Thomas W. McComb, at Lynchburg.

Note
Unmarked. The modern White Cemetery evolved from the original White family cemetery, now located to the rear left of the grounds. Although Reuben White's grave location has been lost, he is likely buried in the area shown in the photo below, as this site contains the still-standing tombstone of his youngest brother William. The coordinates given below are from William's grave.

GPS Coordinates
29° 51.307, -095° 03.740

1824 Lawn Crypts A-B Section
White Cemetery
Highlands