February 28, 2017

James Albon Mattox

Jim Mattox was born in Dallas and grew up in a working-class neighborhood of East Dallas, the son of a sheet-metal worker and a waitress. After graduating from high school in 1961, he joined the Teamsters and worked on loading docks. He also peddled Bibles door-to-door in Dallas and Tulsa. Thinking that he might want to be a Baptist preacher, he enrolled at Baylor University, a Southern Baptist institution, where he ultimately decided to major in business. He received his undergraduate degree in 1965.

After receiving his law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1968, he worked as a felony prosecutor for Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. He also got himself arrested while in private practice when he rushed to a downtown Dallas park one evening to assist pot smokers being arrested by police. Mr. Mattox was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1973 and to Congress in 1976. In that race, he accused his Republican opponent, Nancy Judy, of being unladylike for bringing up labor contributions to his campaign that had come from outside Texas.

In Congress, he was the only freshman elected to the powerful House Budget Committee and the Banking Committee and was one of the leaders of his freshman caucus. He described himself as an "urban populist" who was liberal on civil rights but conservative on fiscal and moral matters.  After serving three terms in Congress, he successfully ran for Texas attorney general in 1982.  The next year, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle charged Mr. Mattox with commercial bribery, accusing him of threatening to destroy the bond business of the Fulbright & Jaworski law firm unless it abandoned an unrelated oil company case involving his sister. Mr. Mattox refused a plea-bargain offer and was acquitted by a jury.

Four years after his loss to Richards, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He vowed to project more of a "Gentle Jim" image, but both friends and foes were skeptical.  Mattox lost the Democratic primary. Four years later, he tried to regain the attorney general's seat but lost to Republican John Cornyn. Mattox continued to practice law and was a Hillary Clinton delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, later shifting his support to Barack Obama. On November 20, 2008, Mattox died of a heart attack at his home in Dripping Springs.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.917, -097° 43.620

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 24, 2017

Moses W. Brigham

Nothing is known of Brigham prior to his enlistment. He was recruited in New Orleans for the Texas army by Amasa Turner in January, 1836. He arrived in Velasco on January 28th on the schooner Pennsylvania, and assigned to William S. Fisher's Company of Velasco Blues. It was during this enlistment period that Brigham fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

After serving at San Jacinto, he returned to New Orleans and published a thirty-four page pamphlet detailing the events of the battle titled A Detailed Account of the Battle of San Jacinto, with a Complete List of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates Engaged Therein; Return of Killed and Wounded; Army Order, Lamar's Address to the Texian Troops, upon Taking Command as Major General; and Other Interesting Matters in 1836. Some time after this he was living in Houston and running "a small mercantile establishment with a bar in connection" there.

On January 20, 1838, after a brawl resulting from a gambling argument, "W.M. Brigham" was stabbed and died at the Houston House saloon. John C.C. Quick and David J. Jones (also a San Jacinto veteran) were convicted of the murder and hung for their crimes.

Note
This is a cenotaph. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. Brigham's marker is in error on the date (1854, instead of 1838) of his death.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.432, -095° 22.744


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

February 21, 2017

William Moore

Outside of his military records, there is little known about William Moore. he was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 18, 1837 and enlisted as a boatswain's mate in the Union Navy in the early years of the Civil War. On December 27, 1862, while aboard the USS Benton, the ship participated in the attack on Haines Bluff while Moore, under heavy fire, ran lines to the shore in spite of the danger until the ship was ordered to withdraw. It was for this action that he was awarded the Medal of Honor (received April 16, 1864). He was still with the USS Benton on May 22, 1863, this time acting as captain of a 9 inch gun during the Battle of Vicksburg. Moore died on February 16, 1918 and was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.

Citation  
Serving as boatswain's mate on board the U.S.S. Benton during the attack on Haines Bluff, Yazoo River, 27 December 1862. Wounded during the hour-and-a-half engagement in which the enemy had the dead range of the vessel and was punishing her with heavy fire, Moore served courageously in carrying lines to the shore until the Benton was ordered to withdraw.

GPS Coordinates
30° 16.593, -097° 43.456

Block A
Oakwood Cemetery Annex
Austin

February 17, 2017

Ambrose Mays

As is often the case with early Texas settlers, little is known of Mays' history. He came to Texas in 1831, and enlisted in the Texian army on March 20, 1836 for a four month stint. He fought at San Jacinto as a member of Captain Thomas H. McIntire's Company and died in Harris County in 1852.

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. Ambrose Mays' is one of them.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

February 14, 2017

Goree C. Carter

Goree Chester Carter was born in Houston, Texas on December 31, 1930. In late 1948 or early 1949, he and his jump blues band, The Hepcats, were discovered at a gig in the Eldorado Ballroom by a talent scout named Solomon Kahal, who quickly signed the group to his label Freedom Records and recorded their first release, Sweet Ole Woman Blues.

At the age of 18, he recorded his best known single Rock Awhile in April 1949. It has been cited as a strong contender for the title of "first rock and roll record" and a "much more appropriate candidate" than the more frequently cited Rocket 88 by Ike Turner. However, Rock Awhile was not as commercially successful as later rock & roll records. Carter's electric guitar style was influenced by Aaron "T-Bone" Walker, but was over-driven and had a rougher edge which presaged the sound of rock and roll a few years later. His single-string runs and two-string "blue note" chords anticipated and influenced the pioneers of rock music - the intro to Rock Awhile, for example, closely resembles those in several of Chuck Berry's records from 1955 onwards.


Carter recorded for several labels in the early 1950s, including Imperial, Coral and Modern, but last recorded in 1954. After a stint in the army during the Korean War, he returned home and continued to play occasional local gigs in Houston. Sadly, the popular demand for his unique style had slowed over the last few years and his last live performance was in 1970. Goree Carter, the man who beat Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Ike Turner to the feat of inventing rock and roll died on December 27, 1990, at the age of 59 (or 60) and was buried in Houston National Cemetery.


GPS Coordinates
29° 55.761, -095° 27.014

Section J
Houston National Cemetery
Houston

February 10, 2017

Henry Tierwester

Born Heinrich Thurwachter in France, he became Henry Tierwester after an immigrations clerk misspelled his name and he decided to keep it. He came to Texas from Ohio in 1828 and applied for land in Austin's Second Colony, which he received in October, 1832. His grant was located in present-day Harris County, and he settled in a small town nearby named Frost Town.

On March 1, 1836, he enlisted in the Texas Army as a private in Captain William S. Fisher's Company of Velasco Blues until June 7. During the battle of San Jacinto, he was shot through a powder horn that he had slung around his neck. Fortunately, the bullet had been spent before it penetrated fully and he was unharmed. He married Anne White on April 12, 1838, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1842; he later married Phillipine Pugh, and remained so until his death in 1859. His grave in Houston's City Cemetery was once marked and fenced, but is now lost.

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. Henry Tierwester's is one of them.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

February 7, 2017

Edwin A. "Bud" Shrake

"Bud" Shrake was born September 6, 1931, in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Paschal High School where he wrote for the school newspaper, the Paschal Pantherette. He served in the Army and attended the University of Texas and Texas Christian University. In 1951, he started on the police beat of the Fort Worth Press while he earned a degree in English and Philosophy at TCU. In 1958, he moved to the Dallas Times Herald as a sportswriter, followed by a move in 1961 to the Dallas Morning News in order to write a daily sports column.

He wrote his first novel, Blood Reckoning (1962), about the Comanche’s final battle against the United States Army and followed up with But Not For Love, published in 1964, which looked at the post-war generation. In 1964, Shrake moved to New York City to join the staff of Sports Illustrated, where he was often allowed to write long feature stories, sometimes barely related to sports. He returned to Texas in 1968 and continued his association with Sports Illustrated until 1979, while also writing novels and screenplays. His 1968 book Blessed McGill, set during Reconstruction, is often cited as a classic of Texas fiction, as is his 1972 novel Strange Peaches. In 1969, Shrake wrote what is perhaps his best-known article, Land of the Permanent Wave, about a trip to the Big Thicket in East Texas. He intended the article for publication in Sports Illustrated, but it was rejected and instead published in the February 1970 issue of Harper's Magazine.

He became involved with Hollywood in the early 70s as a screenwriter and occasional actor. Shrake's screenplays include Kid Blue (1973), Nightwing (1979), the Steve McQueen western Tom Horn (1980), and Songwriter (1984), which starred his friend Willie Nelson. He had a small part in the TV movie Lonesome Dove and wrote his last screenplay in 1991 for the TV movie Another Pair of Aces: Three of a Kind, a sequel to his 1990 movie Pair of Aces. Night Never Falls, the only one of his novels not set in Texas, was published in 1987, and became his favorite of his novels.

He was twice married to and twice divorced from Joyce Shrake, with whom he had two sons; his marriage to Doatsy Shrake also ended in divorce. From then on he acted as Texas Governor Ann Richards' companion for 17 years, escorting her to her inaugural ball and other social events until her death in 2006. He suffered from both prostate cancer and lung cancer in his final years, and on May 8, 2009, died at St. David's Hospital in Austin, of complications from lung cancer. He is buried next to Ann Richards in the Texas State Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.934, -097° 43.614

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

February 3, 2017

John H. Smith

Born in Northfield, New Hampshire in 1810, John Smith arrived at Velasco, January 28, 1836 on the schooner Pennsylvania, having been recruited in New Orleans by Captain Amasa Turner for the army of Texas. He was a member of Captain Turner's Company B, 1st Regiment Regular Infantry at San Jacinto, but with the promotion of Captain Turner to lieutenant colonel, the men of his company were transferred to Company A, First Regiment of Regular Infantry. On June 21, he was commissioned first lieutenant and adjutant on the staff of Lieutenant Colonel Millard, and shortly afterward promoted to captain and put in command of Company A, stationed on Galveston Island. There are no records of where or when he died, only that he was laid to rest in the City Cemetery in Houston.

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. John Smith's is one of them.

GPS Coordinates
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston