April 27, 2018

John Forbes (1797-1880)

John Forbes, lawyer, judge, and military man of the Texan army during the Texas Revolution, was born to Scottish parents on February 26, 1797, in Cork, Ireland. His family moved when he was two to England, where he remained until 1817. That year Forbes immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he engaged in business. While in Ohio he married Emily Sophia Sisson. They moved to Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1835. There, Forbes was appointed chairman of the Committee of Vigilance and Public Safety, and according to one account he wrote to President Andrew Jackson, protesting that various Indian chiefs of the Creek Nation were contracting with Archibald Hotchkiss and Benjamin Hawkins to enter and settle a vast tract of land in East Texas, to which 5,000 Creeks would migrate. When the General Council of the provisional government passed an act providing the council authority to elect two judges, Forbes was elected first judge of Nacogdoches Municipality on November 26, 1835. In December Gen. Sam Houston, John Cameron, and Forbes were appointed commissioners by provisional governor Henry Smith and the Consultation to secure a treaty with the Cherokees who were living near Nacogdoches. This treaty was signed by Chief Bowl, Sam Houston, and Forbes after a three-day conference with the Indians; the treaty bound the Cherokees to strict neutrality. Forbes also administered the oath of allegiance to army recruits, including David Crockett, as they passed through Nacogdoches. Forbes was then given the rank of major and appointed aide-de-camp to Sam Houston. He also served as commissary general under Houston during the campaigns at Anahuac and San Jacinto.

According to the accounts of Nicholas D. Labadie, Forbes murdered one or two Mexican women, took prisoners without justification, and reportedly took a gold snuff box from the dead body of a Mexican colonel. After the defeat of the Mexican forces under Antonio López de Santa Anna, Forbes was placed in charge of the spoils of war and acquired Santa Anna's sword. Eventually his reputation was restored, after he filed a libel suit in a Nacogdoches court against Labadie, a suit that was on the civil agenda from 1859 to 1867. Forbes was cleared of all charges. He was discharged on November 17, 1836, from military duty. On his return to Nacogdoches, he served as principal judge of the Municipality of Nacogdoches, in which office he administered the oath of allegiance to many of the new Texans who arrived after the revolution. In 1856 he ran for mayor of Nacogdoches and won. He served in that capacity for several years. In 1876 he was appointed lieutenant colonel on the staff of Richard Coke. Forbes died on February 10, 1880, in Nacogdoches, and was survived by two daughters, who buried him beside his wife in the Oak Grove Cemetery. Source

31° 36.160
-094° 38.946

Oak Grove Cemetery

April 20, 2018

Daniel O'Driscoll (?-1849)

Daniel O'Driscoll was born in County Cork, Ireland, date unknown. In 1829, he came to Texas with the McMullen and McGloin colonists and joined the patriot army at the outbreak of the Texas Revolution. He fought in the Battle of Nueces Crossing (November 4, 1835), the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21, 1836) and, after Texas had gained its independence, the Battle of the Nueces (July 6, 1842). He was a first lieutenant in the regular army of the Republic of Texas until September 14, 1838. He married Catherine Duggan in 1837 while stationed in Victoria and they had two children, Jeremiah and Robert. After he left the service, they moved to Refugio where he established a tavern and began raising cattle. O'Driscoll served as justice of Refugio County from 1846 until July 3, 1849, when he was killed in a horse carriage accident. His granddaughter Clara would do her part for Texas as well, as the "Savior of the Alamo".

28° 18.112
-097° 16.968

Mount Calvary Cemetery

April 17, 2018

Branch Tanner Archer (1790-1856)

Branch Tanner Archer, legislator and secretary of war of the Republic of Texas, son of Maj. Peter Field and Francis (Tanner) Archer, was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, on December 13, 1790. Peter Archer was a Revolutionary War officer. Branch Archer attended William and Mary College at Williamsburg in 1804, and in 1808 he received his M.D. degree from the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. After returning to Virginia he practiced medicine, served one or two terms in the Virginia legislature (1819-20), and was a presidential elector in 1820. On May 13, 1828, Archer killed his cousin, Dr. James Ottway Crump, in a duel fought with pistols near Scottsville, Powhatan County, Virginia. Archer arrived in Texas in 1831 and quickly joined a group in Brazoria agitating for independence from Mexico. He represented Brazoria at the Convention of 1833 and participated in the battle of Gonzales in October 1835. In November 1835 he traveled to San Felipe as representative of Brazoria and there was elected chairman of the Consultation. He urged the members to disregard previous factional divisions and concentrate on what was the best course for Texas. Although he favored independence, he voted with the majority, who favored a return to the Constitution of 1824. The Consultation then selected Archer to join Stephen F. Austin and William H. Wharton as commissioners to the United States to lobby for financial assistance, collect supplies, and recruit men for the Texas cause. The three arrived in New Orleans in January 1836 and negotiated a series of loans that totaled $250,000. Then they proceeded up the Mississippi River, making numerous speeches before turning east for Washington, D.C. During their trip Texas declared its independence, on March 2, 1836. The three commissioners were unable to persuade Congress to support their cause and returned home. After arriving in Texas Archer worked for the election of Austin as president of the young republic. He also served in the First Congress of Texas and as speaker of the House during its second session. In Congress he and James Collinsworth sponsored a law establishing the Texas Railroad, Navigation, and Banking Company. Subsequently, Archer served as President Mirabeau B. Lamar's secretary of war until 1842. Archer married Eloisa Clarke on January 20, 1813. They had six children. He was a Mason and helped organize a Masonic lodge in Brazoria. He was grand master of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas in 1838-39. Archer continued to be an active political force until his death. He died on September 22, 1856, at Brazoria and was buried at Eagle Island Plantation on Oyster Creek in Brazoria County. Archer County was named in his honor. Source 

29° 01.304
-095° 25.071

Wharton Lawn Crypt Garden
Restwood Memorial Park

April 13, 2018

George Weedon (?-1842)

George Weedon, Republic of Texas veteran, was born in Virginia, most likely Culpeper County, to Augustine and Elizabeth Farmer Weedon. Both of his grandfathers, George Weedon, for whom he was probably named, and Daniel Farmer, fought in the American Revolutionary War, thus setting an example for their grandson. After moving to Texas in 1835, Weedon followed in his grandfathers' footsteps by joining Texas' fight for independence. He served as a member of Captain William S. Fisher's Company of Velasco Blues, which later became Company I, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, from April 19 to June 18, 1836, and participated in the battle of San Jacinto, where he was wounded. Because of his service to Texas, Weedon received one-third of a league of land, 1,476.13 acres, in Washington County in 1838, as well as 320 acres for having served in the Texas Army. Two years after being mustered out of the Army, Weedon received another 640 acres for fighting at San Jacinto. On August 2, 1838, he received a league of land, 4,428.4 acres, for being wounded at San Jacinto. The majority of his land holdings were in present day Walker County. Weedon settled in Cincinnati, Texas, which was founded by James DeWitt, also a veteran of San Jacinto. Weedon passed away on January 18, 1842, and was buried on his property. According to his will, Weedon, with no mention of any family, requested that 20 acres of his land be set aside for a church, a cemetery, and a schoolhouse. Weedon's grave was moved from Walker County to the Texas State Cemetery on November 3, 1938.

30° 15.937
-097° 43.637

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

April 10, 2018

William Bennett Scates (1802-1882)

William Bennett Scates, soldier and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Scates, was born in Halifax County, Virginia, on June 27, 1802. The family moved to Christian County, Kentucky, where Scates remained until 1820, when he went to New Orleans; there he clerked and did carpenter work. He arrived at Anahuac, Texas, on March 2, 1831, and in 1832 participated in the Anahuac Disturbances and the battle of Velasco. In 1835 he joined the Revolutionary Army and took part in the siege of Bexar. Scates was one of the two representatives from Jefferson Municipality at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. When he left the convention, Scates rejoined the army and participated in the battle of San Jacinto in Benjamin F. Bryant's company of Sabine Volunteers. When Bryant's company was disbanded, Scates joined Hayden S. Arnold's Nacogdoches Company. After the revolution he settled in Washington County, where he married Theodocia Clardy Smith on November 17, 1836; two children were born to them. By 1840 Scates had title to 150 acres in Fayette County; he also appears on that county's 1846 poll-tax list. After his first wife's death, he married Sarah McMillan, on March 25, 1850; they had five children. At the age of sixty-two, Scates enlisted as a private in Company F, Fourth Battalion, Texas Cavalry, Texas State Troops, on October 9, 1863. He died on February 22, 1882, and was buried near Osage, Colorado County. In 1929 the state of Texas reinterred the bodies of Scates and his second wife in the State Cemetery. Source

30° 15.916
-097° 43.634

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

April 6, 2018

John C. Hale (1806-1836)

John C. Hale, early settler and soldier in the Texas revolution, was born on April 3, 1806, in Virginia; he came to Texas from Louisiana and settled in what became San Augustine County in the Sabine District. He was elected first lieutenant of Capt. Benjamin Franklin Bryant's Company K of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. He was killed in action at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and buried at the battlefield. Hale County is named in his honor. Hale's heirs received grants of 320 acres on May 24, 1850, 640 acres on November 8, 1851, and 640 acres on May 24, 1850. Hale was married to Barshaba (Miller). After his death she married Samuel H. Davis, administrator of Hale's estate. Source

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.

29° 45.232
-095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

April 3, 2018

John Bankhead Magruder (1807-1871)

John Bankhead (Prince John) Magruder, soldier for the United States, the Confederate States, and Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, was born on May 1, 1807, at Port Royal, Virginia, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Bankhead) Magruder. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1826, graduated fifteenth in the class of 1830, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry on July 30, 1830. He was transferred to the First Artillery on August 11, 1831, and promoted to first lieutenant on March 31, 1836. With Winfield Scott's army in Mexico, Magruder was promoted to captain on June 18, 1846, and brevetted to major on April 18, 1847, for "gallant and meritorious conduct" at the battle of Cerro Gordo. On September 13, 1847, he received a lieutenant colonel's brevet for his bravery in the storming of Chapultepec. Said to have been "the wittiest man in the old army," he was a great favorite of General Scott's. He resigned from the United States Army on April 20, 1861, and was commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate service, and was then quickly promoted to major general. While commanding Confederate forces at Yorktown, Virginia, Magruder completely deceived George B. McClellan as to his strength and caused the Union commander weeks of needless delay. Lack of aggressiveness during the Seven Days Battles cost him the favor of Robert E. Lee, however, and he was soon reassigned to the command of the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

He arrived in Texas on October 10, 1862, and assumed command on November 29. From his headquarters in Houston, Magruder ably administered his department and was generally popular with the citizens of the region, despite occasional clashes with the governor, especially over the enforcement of conscription laws. His greatest success was his brilliant recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863, and the consequent if temporary dispersal of the Union blockading fleet. On August 17, 1864, however, he was transferred to the command of the Department of Arkansas and was superseded in Texas by Gen. John G. Walker. On March 31, 1865, Confederate president Jefferson Davis returned Magruder to the command of the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, but only in time to witness Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department at Galveston on June 2, 1865. After the war Magruder offered his sword to the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, but after the collapse of the imperial forces he returned to Texas to make his home in Houston, where he died on February 19, 1871. According to John N. Edwards, with whom he traveled Mexico, "Magruder was a born soldier...He would fight all day and dance all night. He wrote love songs and sang them, and won an heiress rich beyond comparison." Magruder spoke with a lisp. He was six feet tall and "in full regimentals" was said to have been "the handsomest soldier in the Confederacy." He married Esther Henrietta von Kapff on May 18, 1831. For the first nineteen years he saw his family in Baltimore only on occasional furloughs. After 1850 his wife visited him only twice, 1854-55 and 1856. Many thought he was single. He is buried in Galveston, the scene of his greatest military success. Source

29° 17.624
-094° 48.674

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery