Along with everything else, Hurricane Harvey took with it decades worth of files, maps, notes, coordinates, names and research I had on my external hard drive; so for the time being, this site will be on hiatus until I finish republishing. I will upload as I go, so each post will reappear on its original date and can be found in the Archive section in the right sidebar. If you need to contact me for any reason in the duration, my contact info is found in my profile. Wish me luck, guys. - JES

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

COORDINATES
32° 21.218, -095° 18.556


Oakwood Cemetery
Tyler

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

COORDINATES
30° 16.552, -097° 43.646

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin