August 29, 2017

William B. Bridges

   William B. Bridges, early Texas farmer and public official and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, immigrated from Arkansas to Texas as early as April 1824 and received a sitio of land now in Jackson County on July 21 of that year. In April 1831 Mexican officials filed a character certificate and a land application under his name, listing him as a single farmer from Arkansas who was twenty-three years of age. In 1838 Bridges received a headright certificate for a labor of land in Gonzales County. W. B. Bridges was listed in the July 17, 1841, issue of the Austin Texas Sentinel as being delinquent in paying his 1840 taxes in Gonzales County. Bridges may have served as justice of the peace in Fayette County in 1843. On September 17, 1871, the Columbus Citizen reported the burial of a William Bridge, who had come to Texas "around 1825." Source

Note: The exact location of  Bridges' grave is unknown, but most historians believe that he was buried in the Lyons Family Cemetery, which is shown within the borders below in its entirety. It is now completely surrounded by Schulenburg's City Cemetery.

COORDINATES
29° 41.121, -096° 55.164


Schulenburg City Cemetery
Schulenburg

August 25, 2017

William Gordon Cooke

   William Gordon Cooke, soldier and statesman, son of Adam and Martha (Riddell) Cooke, was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on March 26, 1808. He was trained in the family drug business. He moved to New Orleans to continue his career and on October 13, 1835, volunteered for the New Orleans Greys. He arrived with the second company at Velasco, Texas, on October 25, 1835, and was elected first lieutenant the next day at Quintana. After arrival at Bexar on November 8, 1835, Cooke was elected captain of his company and raised volunteers to storm the town. Cooke led the party that captured the priest's house on the main plaza, thus forcing the Mexican capitulation, and received the flag of surrender, which he sent to Col. Francis W. Johnson, commanding officer.

   Cooke then volunteered for the Matamoros expedition of 1835-36. As captain he led the reformed San Antonio Greys to Goliad. Shortly after Sam Houston's arrival and impassioned speech there, Cooke offered his services to the Texas army and was sent with his company to Refugio, where they were joined by Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr., and the Georgia Battalion. Fannin ordered Cooke to San Patricio to reinforce Maj. Robert C. Morris. Cooke was subsequently left in command there when Morris, Johnson, and Col. William Grant proceeded to the Rio Grande.

   Cooke received Grant's letter stating his intentions to join the Mexican Federalists and, after relaying this news to Fannin, was ordered to fall back to Goliad, where he arrived on February 12, 1836. He was then sent with two Mexican prisoners to Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he joined Houston's staff as assistant inspector general. Cooke went with Houston to Gonzales and there assisted in organizing the troops. At the battle of San Jacinto he served on Houston's staff with the rank of major. Cooke was in charge of the guard on the prisoners when Antonio López de Santa Anna was captured. He prevented the angry Texans from executing Santa Anna so that he could be brought before General Houston.

   When Houston went to New Orleans to recover from wounds received in the battle, Cooke accompanied him, but soon returned to Texas to serve as chief clerk of the War Department. In October 1836 he was appointed stock commissioner in Houston's first administration and was responsible for issuing stock certificates and certificates to fund the public debt. He served in this office until the spring of 1839. In November 1836 Houston appointed Cooke acting secretary of war and on January 31, 1837, inspector general, an office he held until July 31, 1837. Cooke then retired from the army because of ill health and opened two drugstores in Houston. On June 9, 1837, he was made official signer of the president's name to promissory notes of the Republic of Texas, a job necessitated by injuries to Houston's arm that were aggravated by illness. The position lasted until November 11, 1839.

  Cooke reenlisted in the army around October 1838 and received a commission as quartermaster general of the republic. In March 1840 Mirabeau B. Lamar named him commissioner to sign treaties with the Comanches, and in this role he took part in the Council House Fight in San Antonio on March 19, 1840.

   On August 18, 1840, Cooke was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, the unit that laid out the Military Road from the Little River to the Red River. Fighting Indians and starvation along the way, Cooke explored and mapped much of north central Texas. He established Fort Johnson and Fort Preston on the Red River and Cedar Springs Post on the Trinity River; at this post were the first structures built by white men at the future site of Dallas. Cooke's success in this venture prompted a grand military ball in his honor, held in the Senate chamber at Austin on February 27, 1841, and a nomination for vice president of the republic. He declined the latter and accepted instead an appointment from Lamar in April 1841 as senior commissioner on the Texan Santa Fe expedition.

  Cooke assisted Lamar in promoting and organizing the expedition and was to have been the chief civil authority in Santa Fe. On September 17, 1841, he was deceived by the traitor Capt. William G. Lewis and surrendered the Texans' arms. Cooke and his men were marched to Mexico City and imprisoned in Santiago Prison on December 26, 1841. They were released on June 14, 1842, and stayed at Waddy Thompson's house in Mexico City and then in Jalapa, Vera Cruz, until passage could be arranged. Cooke arrived at Galveston aboard the United States brig Boxer on August 10, 1842.

   Ignoring his pledge not to take arms against Mexico under pain of death, he immediately joined with Gen. Edward Burleson to expel the Mexican general Adrián Woll from San Antonio. On September 22, 1842, Cooke was wounded in Capt. John C. Hays's charge on the cannon at Arroyo Hondo. On October 25, 1842, Houston appointed him quartermaster general and chief of the subsistence department, in which capacity Cooke helped organize the infamous Snively expedition and the Somervell expedition, of which he was a member until February 1, 1843.

   Seeking further revenge, Cooke went to New Orleans to join Edwin Ward Moore on his expedition to the Yucatán. They sailed on April 15, 1843, in the sloop-of-war Austin. Cooke participated in engagements with the Mexican steamships Montezuma and Guadaloupe, and after the Independencia joined the Texan fleet, he twice accompanied her on raiding expeditions, hoping to capture prisoners to exchange for those held in Mexican prisons. The first expedition resulted in the capture of the Mexican ship Glide, and the second brought back news to Moore that Houston had declared him a pirate, charges against which Cooke later defended himself. They returned to Galveston on July 14, 1843, and Cooke received an appointment from Gen. Sidney Sherman as adjutant general of the Texas militia.

   Cooke was elected representative from Bexar County to the House of the Ninth Congress on September 2, 1844, and served his term as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Partly as a result of his efforts on Commodore Moore's behalf, Cooke was appointed by President Anson Jones in December 1844 to replace Morgan Calvin Hamilton as secretary of war. Cooke, who had become the last commander of the regular Texas army when the troops were disbanded in 1841, was now responsible for raising troops and supplies for the United States army of occupation under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He served in this office until the spring of 1846, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Congress of the United States. He lost to Timothy Pillsbury by a narrow margin. On April 27, 1846, Cooke was appointed the first adjutant general of the state of Texas by Governor James Pinckney Henderson. He served in this office until his death.

   Cooke was a Protestant and a grand royal arch captain of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 36 in Houston. On August 16, 1844, he married Ángela María de Jesús Blasa Navarro, daughter of Luciano Navarro and niece of José Antonio Navarro. They had one son. Cooke died of tuberculosis on December 24, 1847, at his father-in-law's ranch in Seguin. He was buried in nearby Geronimo and, on March 2, 1937, reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. Cooke's Camp, near San Antonio, Cooke County, and Cooke Avenue in San Antonio were named for him. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.920, -097° 43.641

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

August 22, 2017

Darrell K. Royal


   Darrell K. Royal, born in Hollis, Oklahoma, on July 6, 1924, helped Coach Bud Wilkinson build the post–World War II University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners football dynasty, and later went south of the Red River to build his own dynasty with the University of Texas Longhorns. He coached Texas to twenty consecutive winning seasons, including sixteen bowl appearances, three national championships, and six consecutive Southwest Conference titles. His teams were undefeated twice and won eight bowl games among ten appearances in the Cotton Bowl, three in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, and one each in the Orange, Sugar, and Gator bowls.

   Royal joined the Sooners as a player in 1946 and became an All-American quarterback. He also played defensive back and was a punter in 1948, when the Sooners went undefeated and beat Louisiana State 35–0 in the Sugar Bowl. His ninety-six-yard punt return remains an OU record, and the Sooners earned a 36–6–1 record during his four years as a player.

   He worked as an assistant coach at North Carolina State University, University of Tulsa, and Mississippi State University. He coached Edmonton in the Canadian Football League for one season and then returned as head coach at Mississippi State University. He coached at the University of Washington for one year before going to Texas in 1957. In 1962 he also took over as the athletic director and continued this role for three years after retiring as coach in 1976.

   Royal's honors include Coach of the Year twice each from the Football Writers Association and American Football Coaches Association. He is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Coach Royal died on November 7, 2012, in Austin, Texas. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.969, -097° 43.582

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

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. Historical markers in Troy, Missouri, and West Point, Texas, note Woods as a significant early pioneer. Source

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.


Old Independence Cemetery
Independence

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.

COORDINATES
29° 53.339, -096° 52.618


Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

August 8, 2017

James Shannon Mayfield

   James Shannon Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee on November 1, 1808, to John and Polly (Martin) Mayfield.  James Shannon married Sophia Ann Crutcher on July 10, 1833, and the following year the family relocated to Jackson County, Illinois. Between 1834 and 1871 the Mayfield family expanded to include seven children. In 1837 Mayfield arrived in Nacogdoches County, Texas, where he joined the military to combat incursions from Native Americans and began practicing law in Nacogdoches with Joseph M. White. In 1839 he accompanied Albert Sidney Johnston, David Burnet, I. W. Burton, and Thomas J. Rusk as a commission to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. The Cherokee refused the offer on July 16, 1839, which resulted in hostilities with the military.  Mayfield participated in the ensuing battles as aide-de-camp for Brigadier General K. H. Douglas and authored field reports for Johnston. 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 October 28, 1841, Mayfield relocated his family to La Grange in Fayette County, where he continued to practice law.

   During a speech in the Texas House of Representatives on January 4, 1842, Mayfield disparaged fellow congressman David S. Kaufman. The two men exchanged gunfire and Kaufman ultimately died from a wound to the abdomen, but the encounter was considered a fair fight and Mayfield did not face charges. On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of fifty-three 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. Mayfield commanded one of the battalions but opposed pursuing Woll further south due to overwhelming force and the inevitable arrival of Mexican reinforcements. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. Congressman Robert Potter died in 1842 and bequeathed one-third of his estate to Sophia as well as his favorite horse “Shakespeare” to James. 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 in September challenged Burleson to a duel but did not go through with the engagement.

   In 1846 Mayfield served as an inspector of the La Grange Female Institute and in April he helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. On July 28, 1849, he killed Absolom Bostwick in self-defense during a political argument regarding the special election of the sheriff.  Bostwick’s death led to the discovery of an organized gang of thieves operating from Missouri to the Rio Grande. In July 1850 Mayfield was one of a committee appointed in a meeting at La Grange to consider insurrectionary movements in Santa Fe County. Sophia died in La Grange on March 2, 1852 and James passed away later that year on December 3. The Mayfields were buried in the front yard of their home in La Grange, but relocated to the La Grange Cemetery in 1858. On March 6, 2004, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held a dedication ceremony to adorn the grave with a bronze medallion identifying Mayfield as a “Defender of the Republic of Texas.” Source

COORDINATES
29° 54.643, -096° 52.109


Old La Grange City Cemetery
La Grange

August 4, 2017

Alfred Henderson Wyly

   Alfred Henderson 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. Source

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. Source

COORDINATES
29° 42.328, -096° 33.071


Old City Cemetery
Columbus