March 24, 2017

George A. Lamb

George A. Lamb, participant in the battle of San Jacinto, was born in Laurens District, South Carolina, on October 3, 1814. Orphaned as a child, he made his home with a family named Bankhead and accompanied one of the sons, Richard, to Texas in 1834. There they established a farm in the western part of what is now Walker County. When Bankhead died on January 17, 1835, Lamb remained to care for his family. Lamb married Bankhead's widow, Sarah, on June 27, 1835, and adopted his two young children.

He joined Capt. William Ware's Company D of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, on March 12, 1836, and was elected second lieutenant. He was killed in action on April 21, 1836, at San Jacinto. Lamb County was named in his honor in 1876. His widow later married Jonathan A. McGary, who became the administrator of Lamb's estate.

Note
This is a cenotaph. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.232, -095° 05.363


San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

March 21, 2017

Benjamin Franklin Terry

B.F. Terry, organizer and first commander of the Eighth Texas Cavalry (Terry's Texas Rangers) in the Civil War, was born on February 18, 1821, in Russellville, Kentucky, the son of Joseph R. and Sarah D. (Smith) Terry and the older brother of David Smith Terry. His grandfathers, Nathaniel Terry and David Smith, had been officers in the Revolutionary War, and the latter also served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. While Terry was still a child his parents moved to Mississippi and separated. The 1830 census of Hinds County, Mississippi, enumerated the Terry household as Sarah Terry, five male children, and eight slaves. In 1833 or early 1834 Sarah Terry moved to Texas and settled with her brother, Maj. Benjamin Fort Smith, in Brazoria County. Sarah Terry died a few years later; in 1837 her brother was appointed guardian of the children and administrator of her estate, which consisted of over 2,000 acres of land fronting the Brazos River and eighteen slaves. Ben F. Smith then died in 1841, and young Frank Terry assumed responsibility for managing the family plantation.

On October 12, 1841, Terry married Mary Bingham, daughter of Francis Bingham, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists in Texas. The couple had three sons and three daughters. On March 6, 1844, the Houston Telegraph reported that two insurgent slaves attacked Terry on his plantation with knives and axes, but "with admirable courage" he defended himself and managed to disable both men. Terry formed a partnership with William J. Kyle, and in 1851 they were awarded a contract to construct the first railroad in Texas, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, from Harrisburg, a small hamlet five miles from Houston, to the Brazos River and beyond to Richmond. Terry and Kyle used slave labor in the construction, which cost $18,400 per mile, but it was not until January 1856 that the tracks reached the Brazos some thirty miles from Harrisburg. Due to the railroad, however, a brisk trade began to move to Harrisburg. Houston was not to be outdone and received authorization from the state to finance a railroad and approval from its taxpayers to build the Houston Tap, as it was called, to connect with the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway at a point eight miles from Harrisburg. Terry and Kyle were also awarded the contract to build the Houston Tap. Terry had also purchased the Oakland sugar plantation in Fort Bend County in 1852 and became a prosperous sugar planter. In 1860 he and Kyle had real and personal property worth almost $300,000.

By reason of his wealth, large physical size, and popularity, Frank Terry became a leader in Fort Bend County, and on January 9, 1861, he was elected a delegate to the Secession Convention in Austin. Terry and two fellow delegates, Thomas S. Lubbock and John A. Wharton, conceived the idea of organizing at least one company of Texas cavalrymen for the new government. In February and March of 1861 Terry was one of the senior officers aiding John Salmon Ford and Ebenezar B. Nichols in the campaign to disarm the federal troops at Brazos Santiago. In June 1861 Terry, Lubbock, Wharton, and perhaps as many as fifty other Texans sailed from Galveston to New Orleans and then caught the train to Richmond to offer their services to the Confederate Army. In Richmond Terry and Lubbock secured positions as volunteer aides to Gen. James Longstreet. Both men were appointed colonel, a term attached as a courtesy for their volunteer service, and participated with distinction in the battle of First Manassas or Bull Run. Afterward, the Confederate War Department granted the authority to organize a cavalry regiment. At Houston on August 12, 1861, Terry and Lubbock issued a call for volunteers that was answered by 1,170 men.

The rangers were sworn into service in September, but Terry delayed their final organization until late November, when they were officially designated the Eighth Texas Cavalry. The regiment started immediately for Virginia but en route was diverted to Nashville and then later ordered to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Terry was killed in the first battle fought by the rangers near Woodsonville, Kentucky, on December 17, 1861. The battle, however, abruptly ended in a Confederate victory. Terry's body was sent by train to Nashville, Tennessee, where the legislature adjourned and joined in a procession escorting the remains to be held in state at the Tennessee Capitol. The body lay in state in New Orleans and then Houston, where the funeral procession was described as "the most imposing ever seen in this state." Governor Lubbock lauded Terry in the state Senate: "no braver man ever lived-no truer patriot ever died." Terry County was later named in his honor.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.897, -095° 23.142

Section E1
Glenwood Cemetery
Houston

March 17, 2017

Jacob Littleton Standifer

A native of Illinois, Jacob Standifer came to Texas in 1829 with his family. In 1836, at seventeen years old, he and his brother William enlisted in the Texas militia as a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company. He fought with them at San Jacinto and was discharged June 1, 1836. Jacob was married twice, first to Martha Eggleston, who gave him four children, then after her passing, to Martha Childs. He died on January 7, 1902 while living in Elgin and buried in the city cemetery.

GPS Coordinates
30° 20.885 -097° 22.678


Elgin City Cemetery
Elgin

March 14, 2017

Donald Yearnsley "Trey" Wilson

Born in Houston, Texas, to Donald Yearnsley and Irene Louise Wilson, he attended Bellaire High School, where he fell under the tutelage of storied drama director Cecil Pickett, who mentored Randy and Dennis Quaid, Brent Spiner, Brett Cullen and several other successful actors. He then majored in English and theater at the University of Houston.  It was there that Wilson met Judy Blye, a well-known New York soap opera casting agent, and they were married on August 25, 1975.

He eventually moved to Los Angeles, finding some work in soap operas and local theater, but had to come back home when he ran out of money. In Houston he worked as an assistant manager at a Windmill dinner theater, but continued to peck away at Hollywood, eventually scoring his first film role in the little-seen Drive-In (1976). Two years later, he appeared with his friend Randy Quaid in Three Warriors (1978). That same year he adopted an alter ego, and as "Terry Wayne" acted in a low-budget film called Vampire Hookers (1978). He did some well-regarded work on Broadway, where he appeared in Sandy Duncan's Peter Pan, portrayed Teddy Roosevelt in Tintypes, and even landed a role in Pat Benatar's video Love is a Battlefield.

The Coen brothers writer Ethan and director Joel gave Wilson his big break with their film Raising Arizona (1987) and even wrote a choice role in their period piece gangster film Miller's Crossing (1990) specifically for him. On January 13, 1989, two days before he was to fly to Louisiana to start filming it, he was at his New York City apartment where he and his wife planned to celebrate his birthday early. However, when she got home, he complained of a severe headache. He was taken to the hospital where he slipped into a coma and died two days later of a cerebral hemorrhage. Wilson's final film, released after his death, was Great Balls of Fire (1989), the biopic of Jerry Lee Lewis, where he played legendary American record producer Sam Phillips.

GPS Coordinates
29° 42.970, -095° 18.266

Section 16
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery
Houston

March 10, 2017

Andrew May Clopper

Born in Pennsylvania in 1791, Andrew Clopper came to Texas in January, 1828 and settled in the Matagorda Municipality (now County). He enlisted and served in the army from April 6 to October 3, 1836 as a member of Captain William H. Smith's cavalry company with whom he fought under at San Jacinto. Clopper died on September 16, 1853, and buried in Morris Cemetery in Seabrook until May 17, 1936, when his remains were exhumed and reinterred in Founders Memorial Park, Houston as part of Texas' Centennial celebration.

GPS Coordinates
29° 45.460, -095° 22.745


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

March 7, 2017

Seth Lathrop Weld

Seth Weld was born on February 19, 1879 in Washington County, Maryland, the sixth child of George and Emily Weld. The family moved to Altamont, North Carolina while he was young. He enlisted in 1899, lying about his age to get in the Army, and was assigned to 39th Company, Coast Artillery at Fort McHenry. Within three years, he had reached the rank of first sergeant. In late 1905, Weld transferred to the 8th Infantry, which was scheduled to move to the Philippine Islands to fight the Philippine-American War, also known as the Philippine Insurrection. He requested the transfer even though it meant moving back to the rank of private. Weld served in the Philippine Islands from April 1906 to April 1908, with the rank of corporal at the time of the 1906 incident that earned him the medal.

On December 5, 1906, he saved the lives of a wounded officer and a fellow soldier who were surrounded by about forty Phillipine insurgents. Although wounded himself, he used his disabled rifle as a club and beat the assailants back until the three were rescued. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this courageous action on October 20, 1908. The day after, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Phillipine Scouts. He remained in the Army his entire life until physical disability forced his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in September 1933. A few months later, he  was advanced to the honorary rank of colonel. He settled in San Antonio, where he died at the age of 79 on December 20, 1958.

Citation
With his right arm cut open with a bolo, went to the assistance of a wounded constabulary officer and a fellow soldier who were surrounded by about 40 Pulajanes, and, using his disabled rifle as a club, beat back the assailants and rescued his party.

GPS Coordinates
29° 28.511, -098° 25.972

Section AH
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

March 3, 2017

James Austin Sylvester

James Austin Sylvester, captor of Antonio López de Santa Anna, was born at Baltimore, Maryland, in 1807. At an early age he moved with his parents to Newport, Kentucky. Later he became a printer's devil with the Cincinnati Enquirer, where he continued to work until the beginning of the Texas Revolution. On December 18, 1835, Sylvester and fifty other men joined Capt. Sidney Sherman to form a company of Kentucky riflemen to fight for Texas independence. The newly formed company arrived in Nacogdoches early in 1836.

On January 10 the provincial governor of Texas, Henry Smith, commissioned Sylvester a captain in the reserve army. Sylvester and his company left Nacogdoches on February 26 for Gonzales, where the Texas army was reorganized. Sylvester was appointed second sergeant and color bearer in the active army, but he still maintained his captain's rank in the reserves.

After the Alamo fell on March 6, 1836, Sylvester marched with Gen. Sam Houston's army from Gonzales to San Jacinto. Meanwhile, Santa Anna, after his victory in San Antonio, marched to Harrisburg, which he burned to the ground before proceeding to San Jacinto. According to one account, the Mexicans captured Sylvester at Harrisburg, but he managed to escape. On April 21, during the decisive battle of San Jacinto, Sylvester carried the flag of the Kentucky volunteers that the women of Newport had presented to them. The day after the battle, the Texans began looking for members of the Mexican army who had not yet been captured. Sylvester was with the main body of men under Gen. Edward Burleson. With a small party of men, he left the main group at Vince's Bayou to hunt. He was alone when he found a Mexican dressed in a private's uniform. Not realizing he had captured the president of Mexico, he escorted the leader to the main camp of the Texas army.

Not long after the battle of San Jacinto, Governor Henry Smith commissioned Sylvester a captain in the cavalry. He served under Gen. Thomas Jefferson Chambers. He remained in the army until June 1837, when he was discharged from the service. He moved to Texana in Jackson County and became the deputy county recorder. In 1842 he participated in the Somervell expedition. The next year Sylvester, who never married, left Texas and took a position on the New Orleans Picayune. He remained with that newspaper until his death on April 9, 1882. His remains were later removed from the Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery in New Orleans and reinterred at the State Cemetery in Austin.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.917, -097° 43.637

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin