August 22, 2017

Zadock Woods

Zadock Woods, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born Zaduck Wood on September 18, 1773, in Brookfield Township, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan and Keziah (Keith) Wood. By 1796 he had moved to South Woodstock, Vermont, where he married Minerva Cottle in 1797. They had six children. Woods and his family moved to the St. Charles District of Missouri Territory around 1801 and were the first white settlers granted land in that area. The town of Woodville (or Woods' Fort) was established at Troy, Missouri, and Woods's inn and tavern was its first stagecoach stopover. Woods' Fort, commanded by Lt. Zachary Taylor, was a principal defense post during the War of 1812. Woods fought with Andrew Jackson in Alabama and New Orleans.

After a lead-mining venture with Moses Austin ruined him financially, Woods and his family joined Stephen F. Austin's Texas colony in 1824. His original land grant was in Matagorda County, but the family settled farther up the Colorado River in Fayette County. His fortified home in the vicinity of present West Point was called Woods' Fort (or Woods' Prairie) and was used by the colonists as a place of refuge from Indian attacks from 1828 to 1842.

Woods's son Leander was killed in the battle of Velasco in 1832. Zadock mustered under Capt. Michael Goheen and Col. John H. Moore to fight in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, and the Grass Fight near San Antonio, all in 1835. He returned home on December 3 of that year but was again involved in the Texas Revolution the next spring, when he housed a ten-member company of Tennessee volunteers under Daniel William Cloud on February 10, 1836, on their way to the Alamo. The family took part in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing before the advancing Mexican army. Minerva Woods died on March 28, 1839, and was buried in the Woods' Prairie Cemetery.

In 1842 Woods and his sons Norman and Henry G. were recruited by Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson to fight with Mathew Caldwell's forces against Mexican general Adrián Woll at Salado Creek. On September 18, 1842, Woods was killed in the Dawson Massacre. His son Henry escaped, but Norman was captured and taken to Perote Prison. Zadock Woods was buried in a mass grave by Salado Creek but was reinterred six years later at Monument Hill-Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

August 18, 2017

Thomas August Graves

Thomas Graves came to Texas in 1831 as part of Robertson's Colony (located in present-day Milam County) and worked as a surveyor while waiting for his application for citizenship and land to be approved. Four years later, he finally received his title to one-fourth of a league of land on November 10, 1835. On January 14, 1836, he enlisted in Captain Sterling C. Robertson's Company of Rangers, but the company shortly afterward disbanded. He re-enlisted April 8, 1836 as a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina Volunteers and was with them at the Battle of San Jacinto. His enlistment ended on July 8, 1836, and he returned to his estate. He married in April 1837, and later that year was elected the first County Surveyor of Milam County. Several years later, for his service in the Texas army and for fighting at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was granted an additional three-fourths of a league and one labor of land near his homestead in Milam County. Graves died in Washington County in 1861 and was buried in the cemetery in Independence.

Note
Graves' burial site is unmarked and its exact location has been lost, but it is likely he is buried somewhere in the photo below where the majority of those who died in 1860-1864 rest.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

August 15, 2017

William Bacon Wright

William Bacon Wright, Confederate legislator, was born in Columbus, Georgia, on July 4, 1830, the son of John Wright and a relative of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. According to his obituary in the San Antonio Daily Express he graduated from Princeton at the age of seventeen, but the university has no record of his attendance. He is also said to have established a law practice in Georgia in 1849. After residing briefly in Eufaula, Alabama, he moved to Texas in 1854 and established a law practice in the Lamar County community of Paris, where he soon became one of the region's foremost attorneys. In 1857 he helped to found a male academy in Paris.

Wright was elected as an alternate Democratic statewide elector for the 1860 presidential election. In December of that year he was appointed chairman of a committee to draw up a plan of secession for the state. In October 1861 he was elected to represent the Sixth Congressional District in the first regular session of the Confederate House of Representatives, where he served on the Patents, Claims, Enrolled Bills, and Indian Affairs committees. Although an opponent of taxation, in general Wright supported the policies of the Jefferson Davis administration. His most significant contributions to Confederate legislation were the exemption from conscription of all militiamen serving in frontier defense and the exemption from impressment of all slaves employed in the cultivation of grain. He was defeated in the congressional race of 1863 by Simpson H. Morgan and served for the remainder of the war as a major in the quartermaster corps on the staff of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.

After the war Wright practiced law for a time in Clarksville before returning to Paris in 1873. He is said to have defended the accused in ninety-three murder trials without losing a single case. He also remained active in politics, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875. Wright married a Miss Greer of Georgia in 1849, and they had four children. After her death he married Pink Gates of Mississippi in 1868; they had six children. In 1885 Wright moved to San Antonio, where he engaged in banking until his death on August 10, 1895.


GPS Coordinates
29° 25.416, -098° 28.047


Dignowity Cemetery
Austin

August 11, 2017

Francis E. Brookfield

Francis Brookfield was born in 1820 in what is now Fayette County, Texas, the son of William and Lalliet Brookfield, who had come to Texas in 1831 as part of Austin's Second Colony. He participated in the Battle of Gonzales, the first battle of the Texas Revolution, on October 2, 1835. He enlisted in the army on March 16, 1836, and was with Captain William J.E. Heard's Company of Citizen Soldiers at San Jacinto. Brookfield left the army on April 27, then re-enlisted in Captain William Scurlock's Company from July 4 to October 4, 1836, after which he was sent by his parents "to Beardstown in the United States to receive his education".

After his return to Texas, he enlisted in the army once again, this time as a member of Captain Nicholas M. Dawson's Company, who were all killed on Salado Creek in Bexar County, September 18, 1842. His remains and those of his comrades were later placed in a single vault at the top of a hill, since called Monument Hill, overlooking the town of La Grange.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

August 8, 2017

James Shannon Mayfield

James S. Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Tennessee in 1809 and moved to Texas in 1837. In January 1839 he was practicing law in Nacogdoches with J. M. White and later that year was chosen to go with Albert Sidney Johnston to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. Mayfield represented Nacogdoches County in the Fifth and Sixth congresses (1840-42) and introduced the Franco-Texian Bill. From February 8, 1841, to September 7, 1841, Mayfield served as secretary of state under Mirabeau B. Lamar, except for the period from April 30 to September 7, when Joseph Waples and Samuel A. Roberts served consecutively in his place.

On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of volunteers from La Grange, to follow Capt. Nicholas Dawson in an attempt to repel Gen. Adrián Woll's Mexican army from San Antonio. His group, joined by others under the command of Jesse Billingsley and W. J. Wallace, arrived at the scene of the Dawson massacre on Salado Creek while it was occurring. Mayfield, as the commanding officer, determined that his group was too far outnumbered and remained in the distance until the following day, when he joined the command of Mathew Caldwell. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. In 1843 he presented himself as a candidate for major general of the Texas army but removed himself from consideration because, he said, of ill health. It is probable, however, that accusations of cowardice during the Woll invasion leveled by Mathew Caldwell and Edward Burleson had much to do with his decision. Mayfield represented Fayette County at the Convention of 1845 and during the same year challenged Burleson to a duel but did not go through with the engagement.

In April 1846 Mayfield helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. He was living in La Grange in 1849, the year he killed Absolom Bostwick in a political argument. In July 1850 Mayfield was one of a committee appointed in a meeting at La Grange to consider insurrectionary movements in Santa Fe County.

GPS Coordinates
29° 54.643, -096° 52.109


Old La Grange City Cemetery
La Grange

August 4, 2017

Alfred Henderson Wyly

Alfred H. Wyly, soldier, presumably joined the Texas army at Groce's Retreat on the Brazos River, where he organized and was elected to command of a small company from the "Redlands" about April 6, 1836. The company was assigned to Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and served at the battle of San Jacinto. Wyly was discharged on July 24, 1836. He was married to a widow named Josephine Louise (Burk) Williams, and they had five children. His family lived in Rusk County from 1848 until at least 1855. He died on May 11, 1867, at Hempstead, where he is buried.

GPS COORDINATES
30° 05.054, -096° 04.075


Hempstead Cemetery
Hempstead

August 1, 2017

William Bluford DeWees

William Bluford DeWees, pioneer settler and public official, was born in Virginia on September 8, 1799. He first visited Texas on a keelboat excursion up the Red River in 1819. In late 1821 he accompanied a group of four families from Arkansas to the Austin colony; the party arrived on the lower Brazos River on January 1, 1822. On August 3, 1824, DeWees and his partner, James Cook, who constituted one of the Austin colony's Old Three Hundred households, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River in the southern part of what is now Colorado County, about ten miles below Columbus. DeWees then obtained title to a second half league on the west bank of the river at the site of the Columbus township, on April 28, 1831. As property owner, developer, and early settler of the site he became known as a founder of Columbus. The census of 1825 listed him as a gunsmith, and he appears as a blacksmith in the census of 1826. In 1840 he held title to 1,207 acres, claimed another 887 acres under survey, and possessed a personal estate that included eleven slaves, thirty cattle, nine horses, and a carriage.

DeWees traveled in Mexico in 1826 and 1827, then took up residence in San Antonio, where he lived for almost two years before returning to his home on the Colorado. Beginning in 1837 he held a series of public offices in Colorado County, including justice of the peace, associate land commissioner, and associate justice of the county court. In 1865 he was again elected justice of the peace for Precinct 1 of Colorado County. Later that year he was appointed to a term as county treasurer by provisional governor A. J. Hamilton. But DeWees's political career and reputation were ruined in 1866 when he was charged by his successor with misappropriating $1,200 in county funds and was successfully sued for that amount in district court. His appeal of the decision was denied in 1870.

DeWees married a daughter of Austin colonist Benjamin Beeson, probably named Lydia, in 1823 and eventually became the father of two children. His wife apparently died before 1850, and DeWees probably married a German immigrant named Angelica. In the early 1850s he covertly collaborated with writer Emmaretta Cara Kimball Crawford in producing a journal of his pioneering experiences that purported to be a compilation of his letters to a Kentucky resident named Cara Cardelle; this volume of dictated reminiscences, actually written by Emmaretta Kimball, was published in 1852 under the title Letters from an Early Settler of Texas to a Friend. DeWees died in Colorado County on April 14, 1878.

GPS Coordinates
29° 42.328, -096° 33.071


Old City Cemetery
Columbus

July 28, 2017

Jerome B. Alexander

Jerome B. Alexander, soldier of the Republic of Texas, moved to Texas in January 1832. During the Texas Revolution he served as a private in Capt. John York's volunteer company at the siege of Bexar and as a private in Capt. Moseley Baker's Company D of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, at the battle of San Jacinto. He was elected clerk of the Third Judicial District court in January 1838 and was reelected in January 1842. During this period he was a resident of Fayette County with title to 200 acres of land and an additional 611 acres under survey. He also owned two town lots in La Grange, four horses, fifty cattle, and a silver watch. He had an additional 1,476 acres under survey in Gonzales County.

When Adrián Woll raided San Antonio in 1842, Alexander was elected lieutenant in the volunteer company of Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson. He was killed in action in the infamous Dawson Massacre on September 18, 1842. He was buried with his companions at Monument Hill near La Grange, Fayette County.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

July 25, 2017

John Prince Coles

John P. Coles (Cole), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1793. He married Mary Eleanor Owen in Georgia in 1821. The couple moved to Texas as an Old Three Hundred family and reached the Brazos River in the spring of 1822. Coles received title to 8½ leagues of land in the area of present-day Burleson, Washington, and Brazoria counties on August 19, 1824. His cedar log cabin became the center of a community known as Coles' Settlement. Coles maintained a public house, where David Crockett was reported to have lost eighty dollars in a poker game on his way to the Alamo.

According to inaccurate local tradition, when the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence rode from Washington-on-the-Brazos to spend the night at Coles' Settlement, the name of the village was changed to Independence. The census of March 1826 listed Coles's wife, a son, two daughters, five servants, and four slaves and noted that Coles was building a mill on Yegua Creek. Three other children were later born to the family.

Coles was alcalde of Washington Municipality in 1828 and a delegate to the Convention of 1833 at San Felipe de Austin. On July 2, 1835, he signed a petition for the organization of Washington Municipality. During the Texas Revolution he moved his family east of the Neches and then joined William Warner Hill's company, in which he served from July to October 1836. Coles was elected chief justice of Washington County in December 1836 and represented the county in the Senate of the Fifth Texas Congress, 1840-41. He died on January 19, 1847, and was buried at Independence.

GPS Coordinates
30° 19.720, -096 21.664


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

July 21, 2017

Isaac Lafayette Hill

Isaac Lafayette Hill, soldier, settler, and legislator, the son of John Hill, was born on February 1, 1814, in Jasper County, Georgia. In 1834 he traveled to Texas with his uncle Asa Hillqv. Isaac taught school in the Cole settlement in Washington County before joining Company D, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, as a corporal under the command of Capt. Moseley Baker. He was in command of the ferry at San Felipe during the retreat of the Texas army in April 1836 and subsequently fought at the battle of San Jacinto.

In 1845 Isaac settled near Round Top in Fayette County, where he became a prosperous planter and slave owner and represented that county in the Senate of the Fifth and Sixth legislatures (1853-57). In 1863 Hill paid an unknown substitute to serve in his place in Capt. Zebulon M. P. Rabb's company of the Plum Grove Rifles, a Home Guard unit. He later served as a private in Capt. James C. Gaither's company, the Round Top Guerrillas, organized by Brig. Gen. William G. Webb as a volunteer cavalry "to repel armed or hostile invasions of the state." Hill was married three times and had nine children. During the 1870s he was a promoter and stockholder of the Central railroad. He died at his home on July 18, 1889, and was buried near Round Top.

GPS Coordinates
30° 06.523, -096° 41.512


Hill Cemetery
Carmine

July 18, 2017

John Winfield Scott Dancy

John Dancy, early legislator, farmer, and railroad promoter, was born to William and Prescilla (Turner) Dancy in Greensville County, Virginia, on September 3, 1810. He was a descendant of Francis de Dance, a Castilian nobleman who fled persecution in France. Dancy had a sister and at least one brother, Charles, who spent time in Texas. General Winfield Scott was Dancy's cousin. After growing up in Decatur, Alabama, Dancy studied law, science, and languages and attended Nashville University. He received a law license in Tennessee from Judge John Catron, United States Supreme Court justice from 1837 to 1865.

In July 1835 Dancy married Evalina Rhodes. After her death the following summer he decided to move to Texas. On December 28, 1836, he and Francis R. Lubbock arrived at Velasco on the schooner Corolla. Dancy became a citizen of Texas on January 13, 1837, before Judge Robert M. Williamson. He traveled throughout the republic and in 1838 purchased 640 acres in Fayette County. He introduced long-staple cotton to Texas and developed the first hydraulic ram in the state to provide irrigation for his plantation.

In 1841 he was elected Fayette County representative to the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas. He later served in the Senate of the Second and Fourth state legislatures (1847-48 and 1851-53) and in the House of the Sixth Legislature (1855-56). He was considered an eloquent but long-winded speaker. Dancy ran for governor as a Democrat in 1853 but placed last in a field of six candidates led by Elisha M. Pease. In February 1861 he was a delegate to the Secession Convention. His early advocacy of railroad development earned him the nickname "Father of Texas Railroads." During his first legislative term he advocated annexing California and constructing a railroad to connect the West Coast to Texas. He helped secure charters for the Harrisburg Railroad and Trading Company and the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway; he became a vice president of the latter and in 1866 transferred it to the Southern Pacific. In 1850 Dancy proposed using public lands to finance railroad construction.

He maintained a law practice in La Grange and was a developer of Colorado City, the site chosen by the legislature in 1838 for the new capital but vetoed by President Sam Houston. Dancy was a member of the Texas Monumental Committee, formed to raise funds for a monument to men killed during the Mier Expedition and Dawson Massacre, and edited the committee's newspaper, the Texas Monument, from July 1850 to June 1851. He was a founding trustee of Rutersville College. During the Mexican invasions of 1842, Dancy served in the First Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers under John Coffee Hays. From May to July 1847 he served as a private in a spy company of Texas mounted volunteers commanded by Benjamin McCulloch. He also fought in Indian skirmishes. He married Lucy Ann Nowlin of Austin on October 25, 1849. They had a son and five daughters. Dancy died in La Grange on February 13, 1866, and was buried in La Grange Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 54.625, -096° 52.090

Section 1
Old La Grange City Cemetery
La Grange

July 14, 2017

Michael Short

Michael Short was born September 17, 1797 in Georgia. He fought in the War of 1812, and in February 1836 emigrated to Texas from Alabama to enlist in the Texas army. He was with Captain Alfred Henderson Wyly's 2nd Regiment Volunteers Infantry Company at San Jacinto. He died on February 4, 1859 while living in La Grange and buried in the city cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
29° 54.644, -096° 52.057


La Grange Old City Cemetery
La Grange

July 11, 2017

Joshua Parker

Joshua Parker, member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born on April 13, 1790, in Grayson County, Virginia. He was living in Arkansas in 1821, when he became acquainted with Moses Austin and enrolled in the proposed Austin colony in Texas. He and his colonist partner William Parks received title to a sitio of land in what is now Wharton County on July 24, 1824. Parker's home place on Palmetto Creek was adjacent to Stephen F. Austin's headquarters.

The census of 1826 listed Parker as a farmer and stock man, a single man aged between twenty-five and forty. He married Nancy Whiteside in 1828. Evidently he dealt extensively in livestock. He bought a mule from James Gaines in 1824, ordered horses from Josiah H. Bell in 1826, had Austin buy him an ox ring from Nicholas Clopper in August 1826, and had a quarrel with Aylett C. Buckner while he and Buckner were driving a herd of horses from the Rio Grande. In November 1830 Parker was listed among persons who must comply with the conditions of their grants or have their lots sold by the ayuntamiento of San Felipe. He was an acquaintance of William B. Travis at San Felipe in 1833. Parker died on July 24, 1838, at Independence, Texas.


GPS Coordinates
30° 19.729, -096° 21.675


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

July 7, 2017

John Wesley Scallorn

John Scallorn came to Texas from Kentucky or Tennessee (most likely Tennessee) in 1834-35. During the Texas Revolution he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and later became a surveyor in Fayette County, Texas. He married Mariam Spier in 1839 and they had one son born in 1840, named George Wesley. In 1842 Mexico was still sending troops into Texas and in September of that year San Antonio was attacked and captured briefly. Scallorn and his brother, Elam, rode with a reinforcement group of volunteers, mostly from the La Grange area along the Colorado River. This group was led by Captain Nicholas M. Dawson and their intent was to join other volunteers on the way to San Antonio. Before they could join with the other group of volunteers they were met by Mexican forces near Salado Creek, in what is now San Antonio, near where Fort Sam Houston is located today. In the fighting that ensued 36 Texans were killed, among them John Wesley and Elam Scallorn. Fifteen Texans were taken prisoner and marched to Mexico. This terrible battle became known as the “Dawson Massacre”. The remains of John Wesley Scallorn and the other brave volunteers who died in this battle were buried in the tomb at Monument Hill State Park in La Grange, Texas.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

July 4, 2017

Dallas Stoudenmire

Dallas Stoudenmire, gunfighter-cum-lawman, was born on December 11, 1845, in Aberfoil, Macon County, Alabama, to Lewis and Elizabeth Stoudenmire. In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He arrived in Columbus, Texas, about 1867 and reputedly killed several men. For a while in January 1874 he was a second sergeant in J.R. Waller's Company A of the Texas Rangers. He then lived briefly in the Panhandle before serving a stint as marshal of Socorro, New Mexico. Stoudenmire reached El Paso in early April 1881 and was appointed town marshal on the eleventh. Three days later he engaged in the incredible "Four Dead in Five Seconds" gunfight in downtown El Paso. Rancher John Hale had killed Constable Gus Krempkau, so Stoudenmire reacted by killing Hale, plus an innocent bystander, plus former city marshal George Campbell. On April 17 former city marshal Bill Johnson attempted to assassinate Stoudenmire and was himself shot dead on the city streets.

Stoudenmire returned to Columbus in February 1882 to marry Isabella Sherrington, but was soon back in El Paso. He began feuding with the Texas Rangers, the local politicians, and the press. He especially hated the Manning brothers, George Felix (Doc), Frank, and James, the owners of two saloons. James Manning had recently killed Samuel Cummings, Stoudenmire's brother-in-law. The Stoudenmire-Manning feud ran so deep that local residents prevailed upon both factions to sign a peace treaty that was duly published in the El Paso Herald. In mid-1882, after resigning, Stoudenmire accepted a position as United States deputy marshal. On September 18, 1882, James and Doc Manning killed him in El Paso. The Mannings were acquitted of murder charges, and Stoudenmire's body was shipped to Columbus, Texas, for burial in nearby Alleyton.

GPS Coordinates
29°  42.498, -096° 28.920


Alleyton Cemetery
Alleyton

June 30, 2017

James Seaton Lester

James S. Lester, early settler, legislator, and official, was born in Virginia on April 21, 1799. He was admitted to the bar in 1831 and moved to Mina, Texas in 1834. In 1835 he represented the Mina or Bastrop District at the Consultation and was a member of a committee appointed to plan organization of the provisional government. Lester was recruiting agent at Bastrop for the army to attack Bexar in 1835 and later fought in the battle of San Jacinto.

He served as senator from Bastrop and Gonzales in the First and Second congresses, as representative from Fayette County in the Third Congress, and as senator from Fayette, Bastrop, and Gonzales in the Fourth and Fifth congresses. He was one of the first trustees of Baylor University, chief justice of Fayette County, 1844-48, and a member of the Texas Veterans Association. He lived at Winchester until his death in December 1879 and was buried at La Grange.

GPS Coordinates
29° 54.629, -096° 52.118

Section 1
Old La Grange City Cemetery
La Grange

June 27, 2017

Richard Tice

Richard Tice was born September 28, 1762 in Gloucester, New Jersey and first served as a "fifer" in a company commanded by Capt. Jonathan Williams as he was only 14 years of age and too young to handle a musket.  He later served as a private at the Battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth as well as a number of smaller battles.  He lived in Philadelphia, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York before coming to Texas some time after October 1842 to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Adam James Hall.  Richard Tice died August 27, 1848 in Independence and was buried in the Old Independence Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
30° 19.732, -096° 21.637


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

June 23, 2017

Nicholas Mosby Dawson

Nicholas Mosby Dawson, hero of the Texas Revolution, was born in Woolford, Kentucky, in 1808. He later moved with his parents to White County, Tennessee, where he attended school. He moved to Texas in 1834 and settled in Fayette County near the home of a relative, William Mosby Eastland. Dawson enlisted in the revolutionary army on January 24, 1836, and within a week was elected to the rank of second lieutenant of Company B, Texas Volunteers. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He served as captain of a militia company in 1840 during an Indian campaign in what is now Mitchell County. In August 1837 he was a lieutenant in Company C and in 1842 was captain of a company of volunteers under John H. Moore.

He was residing in Fayette County when Adrián Woll invaded Texas in the fall of 1842. Dawson organized a small company of some fifteen men and left La Grange on September 16, 1842. Soon his company numbered fifty-three men, recruited from settlements in Fayette, Gonzales, and DeWitt counties. While attempting to join Texas forces under Mathew Caldwell on Salado Creek near San Antonio, Dawson and his men were surrounded by a large number of Mexican cavalry on September 18. The following battle, known as the Dawson Massacre, resulted in the death or capture of nearly all the Texans. Dawson was among the casualties. On September 18, 1848, his remains and those of thirty-five other victims of the battle were buried along with casualties from the Mier expedition in a vault on Monument Hill near La Grange. Dawson County is named for Nicholas Dawson.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

June 20, 2017

Marvin "Buck" Barrow

Buck Barrow was born Marvin Ivan Barrow in Jones Prairie, Marion County, Texas, the third child of Henry and Cumie Barrow. He got the nickname Buck from an aunt, who said he ran around like a horse. In the early 1920s, Marvin went to Dallas, ostensibly to work for his brother Clyde repairing cars, but he quickly became part of the West Dallas petty-criminal underworld. He began his criminal career as a cockfighter, but he moved up quickly; just before Christmas 1926, Marvin and Clyde were arrested with a truck full of stolen turkeys they intended to sell. Marvin took the rap for himself and his brother and went to jail for a week. He met his future wife, Blanche, on November 11, 1929 in West Dallas and she soon became part of the loose Barrow gang. He was shot and captured two weeks later after a burglary and given four years in the state prison.

He escaped from the Ferguson Prison Farm on March 8, 1930 by simply walking out and stealing a guard's car. He and Blanche married on July 3, 1931 in Oklahoma. Blanche convinced him to return to prison and serve the rest of his term, which he did. After two years, he was issued a pardon by the governor, mostly due to the lobbying done by his wife and mother, partly due to the effort to reduce prison overcrowding. Upon his release on March 22, 1933, he and Blanche joined Clyde, his girlfriend Bonnie and W.D Jones and began the crime spree the Barrow gang became notorious for. A few robberies and murders later, Buck was mortally wounded during a shootout with the police at the Red Crown Tourist Court in Platte City, Missouri. He hung on for a few days in a delirium until July 29, 1933, when he died of pneumonia aggravated by his head injury. His parents did not buy a headstone for him, expecting his brother Clyde to be joining him soon. They were right.

Note
Marvin's year of birth on his stone is incorrect. His mother gave the engravers her daughter Nell's birth year by accident.

GPS Coordinates
32° 45.957, -096° 84.663


Western Heights Cemetery
Dallas

June 16, 2017

Washington Hampton Secrest

Washington H. Secrest, soldier, moved to Texas with his brother Felix in 1835. During the Texas Revolution he enlisted as a private in Capt. Henry W. Karnes's company of Mirabeau B. Lamar's cavalry corps but most often was on detached service as a scout with Erastus (Deaf) Smith. In this capacity he was with Moseley Baker at the time of the evacuation and burning of San Felipe, and, when Baker authorized the troops to loot the town before it was put to the torch, Secrest chose a small Bible belonging to Sumner Bacon as his part of the spoils. Years later he joined the Methodist Church at Rutersville; he claimed that he had read the Bible every day since the fall of San Felipe. According to the recollections of pioneer memoirist Dilue Rose Harris, Secrest was one of the men who captured General Santa Anna after the battle of San Jacinto. After that battle Secrest was elected captain of the Washington Cavalry Company, a post he held from June until the company was disbanded on October 23, 1836. For his services he was granted a headright in Colorado County in 1838.

By 1841 he was living in Fort Bend County, where he was authorized a league and a labor of land on January 16, 1850. On September 22, 1842, Sam Houston commissioned Secrest to raise a company of rangers in response to Rafael Vásquez's raid on San Antonio. Secrest was characterized as something of a daredevil, and Houston wrote to him, "Your characteristic activity, caution and valor will be of great use, and contribute much to the success of our arms." On July 10, 1852, the Texas State Gazette erroneously reported that Secrest had been shot and killed at Columbus, Texas, during an altercation with a man named Taylor on June 21. On July 17 the newspaper rescinded that report and stated that Secrest had been stabbed but was recovering. He died of natural causes at his home at Columbus on February 3, 1854.

GPS Coordinates
29° 38.496, -096° 53.264


Navidad Baptist Cemetery
Schulenburg


June 13, 2017

Willet Holmes

Willet Holmes, early settler and public official, was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, on May 14, 1807. He moved to Texas in 1833 and after a short time returned for his family to the United States. There he assisted Gen. Thomas J. Chambers in raising two companies for the Texas army. Holmes took his family to Texas in 1837 and settled in Milam County, which he represented in the Seventh Congress of the republic. In 1846 he was ordained a Baptist deacon. He lived for a time in Washington County, where he ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 1856, and in Burleson County, where he was elected commissioner in August 1858. From 1861 to 1869 he lived in Grimes County, and from 1880 to 1886 he lived in Lee County. His first wife, Amelia R. (Cummins), died in 1843; Holmes married Mary Jane Newman of Virginia in 1853.

GPS Coordinates
30° 19.726, -096° 21.680


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

June 9, 2017

William Mosby Eastland

William Mosby Eastland, soldier, was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, on March 21, 1806, the son of Thomas B. and Nancy (Mosby) Eastland. As a child he moved with his family to Tennessee where he was reared and educated. As a young man he entered the timber business and was persuaded by his friend and former neighbor Edward Burleson to move to Texas in 1834. With his wife and children, two brothers, and a cousin, Nicholas Mosby Dawson, he settled near the site of present La Grange in Fayette County. From July 25 to September 13, 1835, Eastland served as first lieutenant of a volunteer company under Col. John H. Moore against the Waco and Tawakoni Indians. From September 28 to December 13, 1835, he served under Capt. Thomas Alley and participated in the siege of Bexar, and from March 1 to May 30, 1836, he served under Capt. Thomas J. Rabb.

Eastland was elected second lieutenant of Rabb's Company F of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, on April 3, 1836, and advanced to first lieutenant when Rabb left the company and 1st Lt. W.J.E. Heard moved up to captain. At the battle of San Jacinto, according to Robert Hancock Hunter, when Sam Houston ordered that the killing of Mexican fugitives cease and that his men begin to take prisoners, Eastland responded, "Boys take prisners, you know how to take prisners, take them with the but of guns, club guns, & said remember the Alamo remember Laberde [La Bahía], & club guns, right left & nock there brains out."

Eastland enlisted in the Texas Rangers on September 5, 1836, and on December 14, 1836, succeeded Capt. M. Andrew as commander, but when he attempted to instill military discipline in their ranks the men "marched out, stacked their arms, told him to go to hell and they would go home." According to Walter P. Webb, however, Eastland yielded gracefully, maintained the rangers' respect, and continued to serve until as late as January 22, 1838. In 1839 he was elected captain of one of the three companies that campaigned against the Comanches on the upper Colorado River.

Eastland's wife, the former Florence Yellowly, died in September 1837, and in 1839 he married Louisa Mae M. Smith, the daughter of Rev. Dr. William P. Smith, a Methodist minister. By 1840 he owned 5,535 acres under survey in Bastrop County and four town lots in Bastrop. On January 31, 1840, Eastland was elected one of three land commissioners for Fayette County.

In response to the raid of Adrián Woll in 1842, Eastland raised a company that he led to San Antonio; but he arrived too late to take part in the battle of Salado Creek. He participated in the pursuit, however. His company was incorporated into Col. James R. Cook's First Regiment, Second Brigade, of Gen. Alexander Somervell's Army of the South West for the subsequent Somervell expedition. Eastland, eager for revenge for the killing of his cousin Nicholas Mosby Dawson and his nephew Robert Moore Eastland by Woll's men, chose to remain on the Rio Grande with William S. Fisher's command when Somervell ordered his expedition to return to San Antonio. Eastland was elected captain of Company B for the Mier expedition. He was taken captive with his men after the battle of Mier on December 26, 1842, and marched to the interior of Mexico. There he participated in the Texans' abortive escape attempt and was the first of the Texans to draw a fatal black bean, the only officer of the expedition to do so. In a brief private interview with Fenton M. Gibson Eastland said, "For my country I have offered all my earthly aspiration and for it I now lay down my life. I never have feared death nor do I now. For my unjustifiable execution I wish no revenge, but die in full confidence of the Christian faith." After giving his money to his brother-in-law, Robert Smith (who responded with the joyous shout that he had "made a raise!"), and sending word to his wife that "I die in the faith in which I have lived", Eastland was shot to death, on March 25, 1843. Diarist Israel Canfield, to whom Eastland was handcuffed on the march to Salado, observed with some satisfaction that Robert Smith later died at Perote Prison.

On February 17, 1844, the Texas Congress passed a bill for the relief of Eastland's family. In 1848 Eastland's remains, together with those of the other Mier victims, were moved to Monument Hill. near La Grange for reinterment. Eastland County is named in Eastland's honor.

GPS Coordinates
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

June 6, 2017

Shubael Marsh

Shubael Marsh, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in Portland, Maine. He took the oath of loyalty to the Mexican government in April 1824 and received title to a sitio of land in what is now Brazoria County on July 8, 1824. The census of March 1826 listed him as a single man, aged between twenty-five and forty. In August 1830 he was living at Brazoria when he was appointed to collect money to supply an army in case of a Spanish invasion. As síndico procurador, he presided over an election at Bolivar on December 12, 1830.

In 1831 he married Lucinda Pitts, and he and his brothers-in-law, Levi and John Pitts, lived west of Hidalgo in Washington County. Marsh applied for three-fourths of a league of land on Spring Creek on November 5, 1835. He petitioned for the organization of Washington municipality and in May 1839 was a trustee of Independence Female Academy. He died in 1868.

GPS Coordinates
30° 19.744, -096° 21.687


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

June 2, 2017

Sampson Connell

Sampson Connell, son of Giles and Elizabeth Gibbs Connell, was born about 1787 near Spartanburg, South Carolina. He married Millie Cook about 1810 in Tennessee, and the two went on to have ten children. He fought in the War of 1812 as well as the Battle of New Orleans. Sampson, his wife and seven of their children emigrated to Texas in 1834, first settling in Mina where Millie died in August 1834. he became a wagon master for the Texan Army and listed in the garrison at Bexar in February, 1836, and it is believed that he delivered the last load of supplies to the Alamo before it was barricaded. He was in Gonzales when he heard the news of the Goliad Massacre and the Fall of the Alamo.

He fought at the Battle of an Jacinto on April 21, 1836, as part of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina Volunteers. By 1838, he was married to Sarah J. (last name unrecorded) and his family were all living in Washington County, where he was granted a league of land for his military service. He died on July 27, 1845 while living near Brenham and buried in an unmarked grave in the Old Independence Cemetery.

Note
Connell's grave was unmarked when he was buried and the exact location has been lost, but it is likely he rests somewhere in the photo below, as this area is where many who died in 1846-1848 lie.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

May 30, 2017

Robert Porter "Buddy" Tinsley

Buddy Tinsley was born in Damon, Texas, and played college football at Baylor. He was drafted in 1948 by the Philadelphia Eagles, but after only one year in the AAFC with the Los Angeles Dons, he had a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers and went north to Canada. Although American, Tinsley was classified as a non-import later in his career under the rules at the time for long time players and naturalized citizens, allowing him to play on Canadian teams. He played eleven years in the Canadian Football League, all with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, from 1950 to 1960.

Playing on both sides of the ball, Tinsley was an All-Star on both offense and defense; he won West All-Star honors five times at offensive tackle (1950, 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1956) and two West All-Stars at defensive tackle (1957 and 1958). He played in five Grey Cup games, winning two (1958 and 1959) and losing three (1950, 1953 and 1957), one of the losses coming from the infamous Mud Bowl, where he was rumored he nearly drowned in a mud puddle. Tinsley was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1982, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, as well as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame and the Baylor University Hall of Fame. He passed away on September 14, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba at age 87.

GPS Coordinates
29° 08.454, -095° 38.876


Columbia Cemetery
West Columbia