May 31, 2016

Bailey Hardeman

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.

Independence Hall, location of the Declaration signing
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.

GPS Coordinates 
30° 15.918, -097° 43.637

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

May 27, 2016

William M. Logan

William Mitchell Logan, participant in the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, on September 15, 1802, the son of William Mitchell and Catherine (Henderson) Logan. Catherine Logan was the aunt of James Pinckney Henderson, governor of Texas. Logan arrived in Texas in November 1831 and settled near Liberty. Shortly afterward, he became involved in a dispute with John Davis Bradburn, the military commander at Fort Anahuac. Bradburn was harboring three runaway slaves from Louisiana. Logan, acting as a slave catcher, claimed the three as runaways, but Bradburn refused to relinquish them without proof of ownership and the authority of the governor of Louisiana. However, when Logan returned with the documents, Bradburn again refused to hand the three over on the grounds that they had requested the protection of the Mexican government and had joined the Mexican army. Bradburn's actions caused both resentment and alarm among Anglo-Texans and has frequently been cited in later years as one of the immediate causes of the Texas revolution.  

In 1835 Logan enlisted in Andrew Briscoe's company of Liberty volunteers and served as lieutenant during the siege of Bexar. In March 1836 at Liberty he was elected captain of the Third Infantry, Second Regiment, of the Texas volunteers who fought at San Jacinto. After the revolution he became the first sheriff of Liberty County and served as tax collector and muster officer. He died of yellow fever on November 22, 1839, while in Houston on business; he was buried there. A historical marker in his honor was placed on the southeast corner of the Liberty County Courthouse in Liberty.


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. William Logan's is one of them.


GPS Coordinates
N/A

 

Founders Memorial Park
Houston

May 24, 2016

Jesse Billingsley

Jesse Billingsley, San Jacinto soldier, ranger, and legislator, was born on October 10, 1810, in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of Jeptha and Miriam (Randolph) Billingsley. In 1834 he moved to Mina, Texas. On November 17, 1835, he joined Capt. Robert M. Coleman's company of Mina Volunteers–forty-nine Bastrop County men, including George B. Erath. Billingsley served until December 17. When this unit mustered into Sam Houston's army at the beginning of the Texas Revolution, it was designated Company B of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, and on March 1, 1836, Billingsley was elected its captain. He commanded the company at the battle of San Jacinto, where he received a wound that crippled his left hand for life. The company disbanded at Mina on June 1. Billingsley thereafter served as a private in John C. Hunt's ranger company, from July 1 through October 1, 1836.

He was elected from Bastrop County to the House of Representatives of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas and is said to have "furnished his own grub, slept on his own blanket, and wor[n] a buckskin suit that he took from a Comanche Indian whom he killed in battle." Billingsley was reelected to the House of the Second Congress in 1837. In February 1839 he commanded a company of volunteers under Edward Burleson that pursued and engaged the band of Comanche raiders who had killed the widow of Robert Coleman and their son Albert and kidnapped their five-year-old son, Thomas. In 1842 Billingsley recruited volunteers to aid in the repulse of the invasion of Adrián Woll and fought with John C. Hays at the battle of Salado Creek. After annexation he served as a senator in the Fifth (1853-54) and Eighth (1859-61) legislatures. Billingsley died on October 1, 1880, and was buried in the front yard of his house near McDade. On September 3, 1929, he was reinterred in the State Cemetery at Austin.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.914, -097° 43.627

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

May 20, 2016

John W. McHorse

John W. McHorse, a citizen of the Republic of Texas, was born in 1819 in Tennessee, Alabama, or South Carolina. He immigrated to Texas at the age of 17, probably by way of Alabama. Settling in Nacogdoches, McHorse enlisted in Captain Hayden Arnold's Company in Colonel Sidney Sherman's regiment of the Texas Army on March 10, 1836. On April 21, 1836, McHorse participated in the triumph of Texas independence at the Battle of San Jacinto where he suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand. He was discharged from the Texas Army in Victoria, Texas on June 1, 1836.

After leaving the Army, McHorse lived with Jesse Walling for two months in Rush County, Texas. Walling was elected to the legislature and later provided confirmation of McHorse's service to the Republic, proving his eligibility for a pension. In 1837, McHorse returned to Alabama. On October 26 of that year, he enlisted as a corporal in Captain Bryson's Company of the North Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Seminole Indians Wars in Florida. He served for several months and was discharged on April 13, 1838, at Fort Mitchell, Alabama, ending his military career. In 1842, McHorse married Elizabeth Wilson, the daughter of James W. Wilson of Kentucky, in Jackson County, Alabama. The next few years of McHorse's life were marked by the birth of five children and a move to Arkansas. On July 8, 1853, McHorse became ordained as a Baptist minister at the New Home Baptist Church in Clark County, Arkansas. He also bought and sold several tracts of land while in Arkansas. On October 25, 1858, he organized the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Sevier County, Arkansas. The church and the adjoining McHorse Cemetery still exist today.

In late 1860, or early 1861, Elizabeth Wilson McHorse died, possibly from complications due to the birth of her last child, Thomas Mason, who was born on December 16, 1860. McHorse later remarried in 1861, to Rutha Jane, who was born in Mississippi. During the Civil War, McHorse was appointed a commissioner for the relief of families of Confederate soldiers in 1863. Between 1866 and 1870, McHorse and his family moved back to Texas where they settled in Milam County. In 1871, McHorse joined a Masonic Lodge in Falls County, Texas, an organization in which he remained active until his death. In 1874, he helped establish Macedonia, Williamson County, Texas and a Masonic lodge for the community. The community of Macedonia, Texas no longer exists today, except for a small country cemetery, where McHorse's second wife, Rutha Jane, and two children are buried.

In 1883, McHorse founded the city of Circleville, Texas, which is north of Taylor. He established a Masonic lodge there also. In 1889, he divorced Rutha Jane and later married Denisa Ann Harrison, granddaughter of President William Henry Harrison. In 1892, McHorse and Denisa joined the New Hope Baptist Church in Cedar Park, Texas. He was dismissed from the church in 1896 for "un-Christian conduct." This bleak period in his life also saw his divorce from Denisa, probably due to his dismissal from New Hope Baptist Church. McHorse died at his home in Leander, Texas on January 19, 1897 and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery on January 20, 1897.

Note
The stone is incorrect on his birthplace. John McHorse stated on his 1860 United States Census form that he was born in Tennessee.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.922, -097° 43.627

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

May 17, 2016

Helen Vinson

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.

GPS Coordinates
31° 36.197, -094°° 38.885


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

May 13, 2016

William Gammell

William Gammell was born in Ayshire, Scotland on October 18, 1812. He and his parents immigrated to the United States, settling in Lowell, Massachusetts. He arrived in Texas during the spring of 1836, where he enlisted in the Texian Army on April 5. He served in the army under Captain Alfred Henderson Wyly and fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Gammell also served as a gunsmith for the new Republic of Texas, rebuilding firearms for the army in the summer of 1836. In the summer of 1837 he served under Captain John Bowyer in the "mounted gun men," a volunteer group established by the Republic of Texas for the protection of the northern frontier from Indians.

Gammell married Jane McDaniel, a native of New York, on July 19, 1839 in Houston. The couple had no children. In 1842 Gammell was again called to defend his new homeland and enlisted in Captain James Gillespie’s company in the spring of that year to defend San Antonio against an invasion by the Mexican Army. He again took up arms in September of 1842 and fought under Captain Jesse Billingsley against the Mexican Army at the Battle of Salado Creek.

Gammell traveled to California during the gold rush, but returned to Texas to settle on 390 acres just outside the city limits, now situated in Houston’s Fifth Ward.He opened a gunsmith shop on Congress Avenue in Houston around 1851 and operated the business until his retirement in 1866. Gammell died unexpectedly from pneumonia on April 10, 1869 and was buried in Houston’s Masonic Cemetery. In 1900 he was reinterred in the Deutsche Gesellschaft (German Society) Cemetery, which is now Washington Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.981, -095° 23.326

Section A
Washington Cemetery
Houston

May 10, 2016

Hugh McLeod

Hugh McLeod, soldier and legislator of the Republic of Texas, was born on August 1, 1814, in New York City, the son of Hugh and Isabella (Douglas) McLeod. The family soon moved to Macon, Georgia. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point on September 1, 1831, and graduated last in a class of fifty-six in 1835. He was brevetted second lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry on September 18, 1835, and ordered to Fort Jesup, Louisiana. On his way to his first posting, however, he visited Macon and there fell in with the Georgia Battalion volunteers for the Texas army-and accompanied it as far as Columbus, Georgia. Ardent in his desire to join the Texans, he resigned his United States Army commission, effective June 30, 1836. In Texas McLeod advanced rapidly in rank, becoming adjutant general in the Army of the Republic of Texas in December 1837 and adjutant and inspector general in 1840. He served against the Caddos and Kickapoos in 1838, fought the Cherokees in 1839, and was wounded at the battle of the Nueces. He was appointed one of two negotiators with the Comanches before the Council House Fight in San Antonio in 1840. His official report on the fight is appended to the Journal of the Fifth Legislature of the Republic of Texas.

During this period he studied law and began practice in 1839. After his tenure as adjutant general ended on January 18, 1841, McLeod was commissioned a brigadier general on June 17 and appointed commander of the military component of the Texan Santa Fe expedition by President Mirabeau B. Lamar. McLeod's illness delayed the expedition somewhat and was perhaps a contributing factor in its failure. He was captured with the rest of the expedition and interned at Perote Prison through the summer of 1842. As an important prisoner, he was reported to have been treated well by his Mexican captors. Later that year he married Rebecca Johnson Lamar, a cousin of President Lamar. The couple had two children: a daughter, who died in infancy, and a son. Upon his return to Texas McLeod was appointed to the House of Representatives of the Seventh Congress (1842-43) from Bexar County, to fill the seat Samuel A. Maverick was forced to vacate when he was captured and taken to Mexico by Adrián Woll's raiders in September 1842. In 1844 he was returned to the House, again representing Bexar County, in the Ninth Congress (1844-45). In national politics McLeod was a Democrat except for a brief flirtation with the Know-Nothing party (or American party) in the mid-1850s, but locally he was a member of the anti-Houston faction. Before the Mexican War McLeod was once again appointed adjutant general of Texas.

He subsequently retired from public life and in 1850 became involved in the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, the first railroad company in Texas. In 1855 he was a delegate to the southern commercial convention in New Orleans. McLeod was commissioned a lieutenant colonel of state troops at the time of secession from the Union and participated in the capture of the federal forts on the lower Rio Grande. During the Civil War he was elected lieutenant colonel of the First Texas Infantry Regiment of what was later became Hood's Texas Brigade. When the regimental commander, Louis T. Wigfall, was promoted to brigadier general, McLeod was promoted to colonel and assigned to command of the regiment. He died of pneumonia near Dumfries, Virginia, on January 2, 1862. His body was returned to Texas and is buried in the State Cemetery in Austin. McLeod was characterized as a "fat, jovial man" and said to have been popular, in spite of his violent attacks on Sam Houston.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.921, -097° 43.645

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin


May 6, 2016

Charles Stephanes

Charles Stephanes, veteran of San Jacinto, was born in 1806 in Burgundy, France, and was known to be living in what is now the Houston area as early as 1835. A soldier in the Texas army, he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 as a member of McIntire's Company. When his term of enlistment expired, he opened a grocery store in the Old Market Square in Houston and was evidently quite successful, acquiring a lot of property and stock in the Texas Central Railroad. As a charter member of St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, he was buried in its churchyard (now St Vincent's Cemetery) upon his death on November 7, 1868.

Note
Portrait photo courtesy of Nicole Girard

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.519, -095° 20.672


St Vincent's Cemetery
Houston

May 3, 2016

Samuel Thompson

Samuel Thompson, physician, participant in the Revolutionary War, and alcalde of San Augustine Municipality, Texas, was born in 1765, the son of George Thompson of England. He was a resident of the Spartanburg District of South Carolina when he enlisted for service in the American Revolution in 1778 or 1779, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, under Capt. Joseph Wofford. He was an express carrier and wagoner and fought in the battle of Cowpens. Thompson married Precius Wofford after the war, and the couple owned three slaves. They sailed with other members of the Thompson family to Coahuila and Texas in 1826. Dr. Thompson is listed in Stephen F. Austin's register of families, and the first census of Texas enrolled him as a physician owning eighteen slaves. In 1834 and 1835 Thompson was alcalde in San Augustine. Thompson Academy was founded about 1839. The institution, about seven miles east of San Augustine, was donated by Thompson and named after him. He died in 1843 in San Augustine County and was buried on the original Thompson settlement.

GPS Coordinates
31° 29.217, -094° 01.183


Chapel Hill Cemetery
Chapel Hill