May 29, 2018

Hamilton Prioleau Bee (1822-1897)

Hamilton P. Bee, Confederate brigadier general, the son of Anne and Barnard E. Bee, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 22, 1822. The family moved to Texas while he was still a youth. In 1839 he served as secretary for the commission that established the boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States, and in 1843 Texas president Sam Houston dispatched Bee, with Joseph C. Eldridge and Thomas S. Torrey to convene a peace council with the Comanches. On August 9, 1843, the commissioners obtained the promise of the Penatekas to attend a council with Houston the following April. The meeting culminated in the Treaty of Tehuacana Creek. In 1846 Bee was named secretary of the Texas Senate. During the Mexican War he served briefly as a private in Benjamin McCulloch's famed Company A - the "Spy Company" - of Col. John Coffee Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles, before transferring in October 1846, as a second lieutenant, to Mirabeau B. Lamar's independent company of Texas cavalry. Bee volunteered for a second term in October 1847 and was elected first lieutenant of Lamar's Company, now a component of Col. Peter Hansborough Bell's Regiment, Texas Volunteers. After the war Bee moved to Laredo and was elected to the Texas legislature, where he served from 1849 through 1859. From 1855 through 1857 he was speaker of the House.

He was elected brigadier general of militia in 1861 and appointed brigadier general in the Confederate Army to rank from March 4, 1862. His brigade was composed of August C. Buchel's First, Nicholas C. Gould's Twenty-third, Xavier B. Debray's Twenty-sixth, James B. Likin's Thirty-fifth, Peter C. Woods's Thirty-sixth, and Alexander W. Terrell's Texas cavalry regiments. Given command of the lower Rio Grande district, with headquarters at Brownsville, Bee expedited the import of munitions from Europe through Mexico and the export of cotton in payment. On November 4, 1863, he was credited with saving millions of dollars of Confederate stores and munitions from capture by a federal expeditionary force under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. After transfer to a field command in the spring of 1864, Bee led his brigade in the Red River campaign under Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor. Having had only slight training or experience in the art of war and having served only in an administrative capacity to that time, he was less than skillful in handling troops. While he was leading a cavalry charge at the battle of Pleasant Hill, two horses were shot from beneath him, and he suffered a slight face wound. Though he was afterward the object of some heavy criticism, he was assigned to the command of Thomas Green's division in Gen. John A. Wharton's cavalry corps in February 1865 and was later given a brigade of infantry in Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey's division. After the war Bee went to Mexico for a time. In 1876 he returned to San Antonio, where he remained until his death, on October 3, 1897. He is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in San Antonio. Bee was married to Mildred Tarver of Alabama in 1854, and they had six children. He was the brother of Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr. Source

COORDINATES
29° 25.194
-098° 27.806

Section 4
Confederate Cemetery
San Antonio

May 25, 2018

John Beldin (?-1841)

Originally from New York, John Beldin (Belden) enlisted in Captain William J. Cook's Company of "New Orleans Greys," October 22, 1835 and arrived in Texas three days later. He was "dangerously wounded while in the act of spiking a cannon" during the Storming and Capture of Bexar (December 5-10, 1835) and discharged due to injury on December 16. Despite this, on April 21, 1836, he fought victoriously at San Jacinto as part of Captain Amasa Turner's Company. He was granted several land grants for his service, most of which he sold for cash, and settled in Houston. Belden married Francis Emeline Bartlett on October 24, 1839. He died in Houston on September 15, 1841 and buried under the auspices of Holland (Masonic) Lodge No. 1. His marker, if there ever was one, no longer exists.

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 Beldin's is one of them.

COORDINATES
N/A


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

May 22, 2018

Anthony Martin Branch

Anthony Martin Branch, Confederate congressman, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on July 16, 1823, one of ten children of Winnifred (Guerrant) and Samuel Branch III. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1842 and in 1847 moved to Huntsville, Texas, where he formed a law partnership with Henderson Yoakum and became closely associated with Sam Houston. (When Houston died Branch served as executor of his will and guardian of his children.) On March 18, 1849, Branch married Amanda Smith. In 1850 he was elected district attorney of the Seventh Judicial District. In 1859 he represented his district in the House of Representatives of the Eighth Texas Legislature, where, according to a contemporary biographer, he "well sustained his reputation for eloquence and ability." In November 1861 he was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate. Although a Unionist, he resigned from the Senate and on March 20, 1862, enlisted in the Confederate Army. A month later he was elected captain of Company A in Col. George Washington Carter's Twenty-first Texas Cavalry. On August 3, 1863, Branch defeated Peter W. Gray in the race to represent the Third District of Texas in the Second Confederate Congress. In Richmond he served as a member of the Elections, Military Affairs, and Territories and Public Lands committees and was vitally interested in the exportation of cotton through Mexican ports. Although a staunch political ally of President Jefferson Davis, Branch was an uncompromising exponent of states' rights. As such he fought to keep Texas troops in Texas and opposed Confederate interference with the Texas economy. After the war he returned to Texas and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in both the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth congresses but was denied his seat by the Radical Republican majority. He returned to Huntsville and helped to incorporate the Central Transit Company in 1866. Branch practiced law until his death during a yellow fever epidemic, on October 3, 1867. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery near the grave of Sam Houston. Source

COORDINATES
30° 43.604
-095° 32.831


Oakwood Cemetery
Huntsville

May 18, 2018

Ashley R. Stephens (1808-1836)

Born in Wayne County, North Carolina in 1808, Stephens stated in his original land application that he came to Texas from Tennessee in February, 1831. He received title to a league of land in Austin's Second Colony, November 22, 1832, situated in what are now Washington and Lee Counties. A farmer by profession, he enlisted at the home of Asa Mitchell's by Captain Joseph P. Lynch at the onset of the Texas Revolution. He served as Second Corporal of Captain William W. Hill's Company and was listed among those few who had been wounded during the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.  Despite being shot through the calves of both legs, his wounds were generally regarded as slight, yet he died nine days later, possibly from infection.

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.

COORDINATES
29° 45.232
-095° 05.363


San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

May 15, 2018

Edward Lee "Big Ed" Stevens (1925-2012)

Ed Stevens was a first baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1945 through 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Born in Galveston, Texas, Stevens was originally signed as a 16-year-old by the Dodgers. He played minor league ball in parts of four seasons before joining the big team in 1945. As a rookie, he shared duties at first with incumbent Augie Galan, batting a .274 average with four home runs and 29 runs batted in in 55 games. Stevens became a regular in 1946, ending with a .242 and 60 RBI in 103 games, while his 10 home runs were the second-highest on the team, being surpassed only by Pete Reiser. Although he had been the regular in that season, Stevens was replaced at first base by Jackie Robinson in 1947. He appeared in just five games and was sent to Triple-A Montreal Royals, where he hit .290 with 27 homers and 108 RBI in 133 games. During the off-season, he was purchased along with Stan Rojek by the Pirates from the Dodgers. Stevens opened 1948 with Pittsburgh, where he replaced retired Hank Greenberg. As a regular at first base, he posted career numbers in games (128), at-bats (468), runs, hits, RBI (69) and matched his career-best of 10 home runs, which were third-best on the team. He was used sparingly for the next two seasons before returning to the minors in 1951. He finished with a .252 average in 375 major league games. Following his playing days, Stevens went on to a long career as a coach, which included working for the San Diego Padres in 1981, and scouting. Stevens was still doing the latter up till when he retired in 1989. In 2009 he gained induction into the International League Hall of Fame.

COORDINATES
29° 44.597
-095° 36.641

Section 411
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Houston

May 11, 2018

William Stanhope Taylor (1819-1869)

William S. Taylor, soldier and planter, was born in Canton, Stark County, Ohio, in 1819, the son of Thomas and Sarah Hoyland (Bull) Taylor. William’s family moved to central Tennessee in the mid-1820s. His father obtained a Mexican land grant on April 27, 1831, via the Austin colony in present-day Fayette County. In 1832 William and his brother, George A. Taylor, traveled to Texas with their father, and then the boys returned to Tennessee that same year. After the death of his father to yellow fever in August 1833 in Louisiana, Taylor returned to Texas to take care of his father’s estate. As reflected in Comptroller’s Military Service Record No. 1441, William Taylor enlisted in the revolutionary army on October 17, 1835, and served with Capt. John M. Bradley (Volunteers from Tunahan District) at the siege of Bexar, to include the Grass Fight, and was discharged on December 23, 1835. He re-enlisted on March 12, 1836, and served under Capt. William Ware (Second Company, Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers) and Capt. William Smith (Company J, Second Regiment, Volunteer Cavalry). On April 20, 1836, Taylor, who served as a scout/spy, volunteered to participate as part of Col. Sidney Sherman’s cavalry force in an attempt to capture the Mexican cannon at San Jacinto. On April 21 he was reassigned to Captain Smith’s Company J in the cavalry charge on the Mexican left flank, followed by the pursuit of General Santa Anna and his cavalry towards Vincent Bridge. William received Texas land via Headright Certificate No. 183 and Donation Certificate No. 353 for his military services. Taylor married Agnes Elizabeth Garrett on June 7, 1838, in Montgomery County, Texas, and they had eleven children. In 1853 he achieved Master Mason (3rd degree) with Masonic Lodge No. 25 in Montgomery County. He was one of the vice presidents of the 1860 Know-Nothing convention at San Jacinto that nominated Sam Houston for president of the United States as “the people’s candidate.” In 1866 he wrote a personal letter to William C. Crane, president of Baylor University and biographer of Sam Houston, defending Gen. Sam Houston’s conduct at the battle of San Jacinto and refuting incorrect information about the pursuit of Santa Anna that was printed in the Texas Almanac. Taylor’s personal account of the pursuit of Santa Anna and his cavalry was published in the Texas Almanac of 1868 and is recorded in the Texas State Archives. William Taylor died of yellow fever on February 2, 1869, in Montgomery, Montgomery County, Texas, and was buried with Masonic honors at the Montgomery Old Cemetery. In February 1879 his widow filed for a Republic of Texas veteran’s pension; she died later the same year and is buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Montgomery County. A Texas Centennial marker was erected at William’s grave in 1936 to honor him as a San Jacinto veteran. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 23.309
-095° 41.862


Old Methodist Churchyard
Montgomery

May 8, 2018

Joan Barton (1925-1976)

Joan Barton was born on September 20, 1925. At fourteen, and dubbed "Mary Ann," she sang with Phil Spitalney's Orchestra. She toured overseas on USO tours during the Second World War, and was warmly welcomed by the soldiers (her measurements were 37-24-35). After the war, she turned to acting. Her career included film roles in Lone Star Moonlight (1946), Romance of the West (1946),  Cigarette Girl (1947) and her most famous role, showgirl Lila Neal in Angel and the Badman (1947) with John Wayne. Barton then began to rack up a number of small television and film credits like Mary Lou (1948) and her final film, Million Dollar Mermaid (1957) with Esther Williams. She married the notorious pitchman Earl "Madman" Muntz  in 1950 and  She managed an Ed Sullivan Show appearance in 1950, worked nightclubs, and went from dating A-list guys like Dick Powell to marrying used-car dealer "Madman" Muntz, notorious for his pioneering hard-sell and totally ludicrous TV commercials, in 1950. The couple had a daughter, Tee Vee "Teena" Muntz, in 1953. The marriage was not a long one, as Muntz was well-known for his ability to only have one woman. Muntz went bankrupt in 1959 and in 1962 Joan failed to make cash registers ring for Warners, so she did the only thing she could do, sing professionally. Her single album, the confusingly titled The Most Fun I Had Laughing, In Fidelity Low Lights and Laughs (1962), released on Warner Bros. Records. The album did not do well, with reviews like "an album of sanitized Bessie Smith numbers and 'sophisticated' tunes that hotel nightclub bon vivants sang". She then met and married Jerry Gray, the famous bandleader and arranger, and the duo moved to Dallas, where he lead the Fairmont Hotel band into the 1970s before dying of a heart attack at the age of 61. Joan remained in Dallas until her passing on August 27, 1976.

COORDINATES
32° 55.567
-096° 44.369

Abbey Mausoleum
Restland Memorial Park
Dallas

May 4, 2018

Jacob Maybee (?-1838)

As is often the case with early Texas settlers, little is known of Jacob Maybee's history; nearly everything is from his initial military papers. He came to Texas in 1835, and sometime afterward enlisted in Captain William S. Fisher's Company of "Velasco Blues." He was discharged on June 22, 1836 and made his way to Houston, where he settled. It was there that he died on February 8, 1838, and buried in the City Cemetery, now Founders Memorial Park.

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.

COORDINATES
29° 45.437
-095° 22.728


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

May 1, 2018

Edward Burleson (1798-1851)

Edward Burleson, soldier and statesman, son of Capt. James and Elizabeth (Shipman) Burleson, was born at Buncombe County, North Carolina, on December 15, 1798. He served as a private in the War of 1812 in his father's company, part of Perkin's Regiment, Alabama. He married Sarah Griffin Owen on April 25, 1816, in Madison County, Missouri Territory; they had nine children. On October 20, 1817, Burleson was appointed a captain of militia in Howard County, Missouri; he was commissioned colonel on June 13, 1821, in Saline County, and was colonel of militia from 1823 to 1830 in Hardeman County, Tennessee. He arrived in Texas on May 1, 1830, and applied for land in March 1831; title was issued on April 4, 1831. On August 11, 1832, he was a member of the ayuntamiento at San Felipe de Austin. On December 7, 1832, he was elected lieutenant colonel of the militia of Austin Municipality. In 1833 he was elected a delegate to the Second Convention in Mina. From 1830 to 1842 he defended settlers in numerous engagements with hostile Indians. On May 17, 1835, in Bastrop he was elected to the committee of safety and was therefore unable to attend the Consultation of 1835, although he had been elected a delegate. On October 10, 1835, in Gonzales he was elected lieutenant colonel of the infantry in Gen. Stephen F. Austin's army. On November 24, 1835, Burleson became general of the volunteer army and replaced Austin. On November 26, 1835, he fought in the Grass Fight during the siege of Bexar. His father was active in this battle, which was won by the Texans. On December 1, 1835, Burleson was commissioned commander in chief of the volunteer army by the provisional government. On December 6 he entered Bexar and, with Benjamin R. Milam, wrote a report to the provisional government. On December 14, 1835, he reported on the success at Bexar to the provisional governor, Henry Smith. The volunteer army disbanded on December 20, 1835, and Burleson raised a company and rode to Gonzales in February 1836. By March 10, in Gonzales, he was officially elected colonel of the infantry, First Regiment.

On April 21, 1836, at the battle of San Jacinto, he commanded the First Regiment, which was placed opposite Mexican breastworks and was the first to charge them. Burleson accepted the sword and surrender of Gen. Juan N. Almonte. From July 12 to December 1836 he was colonel of the frontier rangers. In 1837 he surveyed and laid out roads to Bastrop, La Grange, and other Central Texas places. On June 12, 1837, he became brigadier general of the militia established by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. As a representative of the Second Congress from September 26, 1837, to May 1838, Burleson served on the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, the Committee on Military Affairs, and the Committee of Indian Affairs, of which he was chairman. In 1838 he was colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry in the new regular army and on April 4, 1838, defeated Mexican insurrectionists under Vicente Córdova. In the spring of that year Burleson laid out the town of Waterloo, the original settlement of the city of Austin. He was elected to the Senate of the Third Congress but resigned on January 19, 1839, at President Mirabeau B. Lamar's request, to take command of the Frontier Regiment. On May 22, 1839, Burleson intercepted a Córdova agent with proof that Mexico had made allies of Cherokees and other Indians. He defeated the Cherokees under Chief Bowl in July 1839. On October 17, 1839, Burleson was in command of the ceremonies establishing Austin as the capital of the Republic of Texas. He defeated the Cherokees, three miles below the mouth of the San Saba River, on Christmas Day, 1839, killing Chief Bowl's son John and another chief known as the Egg. Burleson sent Chief Bowl's "hat" to Sam Houston, who was enraged. On August 12, 1840, Burleson defeated the Comanches in the battle of Plum Creek. In 1841 he was elected vice president of the republic. In the spring of 1842, when the Mexican army under Rafael Vásquez invaded Texas, Burleson met with volunteers at San Antonio, where they elected him to command. Houston sent Alexander Somervell to take over, and Burleson handed the command to him. Burleson then made his famous speech before the Alamo: "though Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, the Alamo had none".

In the fall of 1842 Mexican general Adrián Woll invaded Texas. Burleson raised troops for defense and again yielded the command to General Somervell, sent by Houston. In 1844 Burleson made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Anson Jones. In December 1845 he was elected senator from the Fifteenth District to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He was unanimously elected president pro tem. During the Mexican War Burleson and Governor James P. Henderson went to Monterrey, Nuevo León; Burleson was appointed senior aide-de-camp, held the rank of major, and served as a spy during the siege of Monterrey and at Buena Vista. In March 1851 Burleson, Eli T. Merriman, and William Lindsey surveyed and laid out the town of San Marcos. In 1848 Burleson introduced a resolution to establish Hays County and donated the land for the courthouse. He chaired the Committee on Military Affairs, which awarded a $1,250,000 grant to Texas for Indian depredations. Burleson died of pneumonia on December 26, 1851, in Austin, while serving as senator from the Twenty-first District. He was still president pro tem. He was given a Masonic burial at the site of the future State Cemetery, the land for which was purchased by the state of Texas in his honor in 1854. Burleson was a Methodist. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.924
-097° 43.639

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin