July 31, 2018

John Alexander Greer (1802-1855)

John Alexander Greer, early settler, lieutenant governor, and legislator, was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on July 18, 1802. He moved to Texas in 1830 from Kentucky. He married Adeline Minerva Orton on May 18, 1836. Greer was a senator representing San Augustine in the Texas Congress from 1837 through 1845; he served in all but the First Congress. He was appointed secretary of the treasury by President Anson Jones in July 1845 and became lieutenant governor of the state of Texas in 1847. He held the position until 1851 and was campaigning for the governorship when he died on July 4, 1855. Greer was buried on his farm nine miles northwest of San Augustine. His remains were moved to the State Cemetery in 1929. Source

COORDINATES
30° 15.936
-097° 43.638

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

July 27, 2018

Matthias Amend Bingham (?-1861)

According to his recruitment records, Bingham arrived in Texas sometime before March 2, 1835. It is possible he had a legal background, as he was requested to witness a peace treaty signed between Sam Houston and John Forbes on behalf of Texas, and Chiefs Bowles, Big Mush and other chiefs for the Cherokees and associated tribes on February 23, 1836. He enlisted in the army on March 5 of that year as a private in Captain William S. Fisher's Company of Velasco Blues and fought at San Jacinto. Although his enlistment ended on June 5, he apparently re-enlisted, because records show he was a member of Captain Thomas Stewart's Company of Matagorda Volunteers on July 15, 1836. He was living in Houston at the time of his death on January 12, 1861.

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. Matthias Bingham's is one of them.

COORDINATES
N/A

Founders Memorial Park
Houston

July 24, 2018

Edmund Jackson Davis (1827-1883)

Edmund J. Davis, Union Army officer and Reconstruction governor of Texas, was born at St. Augustine, Florida, on October 2, 1827, the son of William Godwin and Mary Ann (Channer) Davis. His grandfather Godwin Davis, an Englishman, had settled in Virginia and had fought and died in the Revolutionary War. His father, who had lived in South Carolina, was a land developer and attorney at St. Augustine. The young Davis received his education in Florida and moved with his family to Galveston, Texas, in January 1848. There he worked as a clerk in the post office and studied law. In mid-1849 he moved to Corpus Christi, where he worked in a store and read law. He was admitted to the bar in the fall of 1849. Between 1849 and 1853 he was an inspector and deputy collector of customs at Laredo. In 1853 he became district attorney of the Twelfth Judicial District at Brownsville. About 1856 Governor Elisha M. Pease named him judge of the same district, and Davis continued to serve as a state judge until 1861. As judge he accompanied the ranger unit of Capt. William G. Tobin, who was involved in the Cortina affair at Brownsville in 1859. On April 6, 1858, Davis married Elizabeth Anne Britton, daughter of Forbes Britton, a state senator and friend of Sam Houston. The couple had two sons, Britton and Waters. Britton was born in 1860, attended West Point, and became an officer in the United States Army. Waters, born in 1862, attended the University of Michigan and became an attorney and merchant in El Paso. Davis was a Whig until the mid-1850s.

In 1855 he joined the Democratic party in a fusion against the American (Know-Nothing) party, and he remained a Democrat until after the Civil War. In later politics he supported Sam Houston and opposed secession in 1861, when he ran unsuccessfully to become a delegate to the Secession Convention. After secession Davis refused to take the oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, and the state vacated his judgeship on April 24. As a result of his opposition to the Confederacy, he fled the state in May 1862. With John L. Haynes and William Alexander, he went to New Orleans, then to Washington, where the men met with President Abraham Lincoln, who recommended providing arms to troops that they wanted to raise. On October 26, 1862, Davis received a colonel's commission and authorization to recruit the cavalry regiment that became the First Texas Cavalry (U.S.). Davis and the First Texas saw extensive service during the remainder of the war. They were at Galveston on January 3, 1863, and barely escaped capture when Confederates took that city back from Union hands. On March 15, 1863, Confederate citizens and off-duty soldiers seized Davis in Matamoros, where he was attempting to take his family out of Texas and recruit men for his unit. This event precipitated diplomatic trouble between the Confederacy and Mexico that lasted until Gen. Hamilton P. Bee released Davis to appease Mexican governor Albino López. From November to December 1863 Davis was in Texas as a part of Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's unsuccessful Rio Grande campaign. His unit marched to Rio Grande City and seized cotton and slaves in an effort to disrupt the border trade. On November 4, 1864, Davis was promoted to brigadier general. For the rest of the war he commanded Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds's cavalry in the Division of Western Mississippi. On June 2, 1865, he was among those who represented Gen. Edward R. S. Canby at Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's surrender of Confederate forces in Texas.

Davis participated in state politics as a Unionist and Republican after the war. He served in the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate from his old district in the 1866 general election. He represented the border district and was president of the Constitutional Convention of 1868-69. In this period he consistently supported political programs that would have restricted the political rights of secessionists, expanded rights for blacks, and divided the state. He also favored the ab initio theory, which held that all laws passed since secession were null and void. In the election of 1869 Davis ran for governor against Andrew J. Hamilton, another Republican, and won in a closely disputed race. His administration was a controversial one. Its program called for law and order backed by a State Police and restored militia, public schools, internal improvements, bureaus of immigration and geology, and protection of the frontier. All of these measures encountered strong attacks from both Democratic and Republican opponents and added to the controversy surrounding Reconstruction in Texas. Davis ran for reelection in December 1873 and was defeated by Richard Coke by a vote of two to one. Davis believed that the Republican national administration was partly responsible for his defeat, and relations between the governor and Washington were strained until he was removed from office by Democrats the following January in what is known as the Coke-Davis controversy. From 1875 until his death Davis, contemporarily described as a "tall, gaunt, cold-eyed, rather commanding figure," headed the Republican party in Texas as chairman of the state executive committee. In 1880 he ran again for governor but was badly defeated by Oran M. Roberts. In 1882 he ran for Congress in the Tenth District against John Hancock, again unsuccessfully. He was nominated as collector of customs at Galveston in 1880 but refused the job because of his opposition to the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Supporters recommended him for a cabinet position under President Chester A. Arthur, but he received no appointment. Davis died in Austin on February 7, 1883, and is buried there. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.926
-097° 43.637

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

July 20, 2018

John N. O. Smith (1815-1851)

John N. O. Smith, soldier, state legislator, and newspaper publisher, was born in Massachusetts in 1815. Smith came to Texas prior to 1836. On February 1, 1836, he enlisted for service with Sam Houston’s forces in the Texas Revolution. He served as a sergeant major and participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He served until May 1, 1836. On April 12, 1838, Smith received a grant for one-third league of land in Harris County for his service in the revolution, but he lost his certificate and obtained a replacement certificate in 1840 and sold his headright certificate in 1845. Smith was also the original grantee for 320 acres of land in present-day Erath County in 1847. On April 24, 1842, he married Margaret Farrell. In September 1842 Smith was elected captain of a company for a new foray against Mexico - the Somervell expedition - but remained in Gonzales County due to illness. Around this time he settled in Houston, Harris County, and established himself in the newspaper business. In 1841 Smith published the Houstonian. From December 1843 to October 1844, he published a newspaper which was issued under several titles, including The Citizen, the Weekly Citizen, and the Texian Democrat. He was also president of the first Typographical Association of Texas. In 1846 Smith served as representative for Harris County in the House of the First Texas Legislature. He was a member of the Education Committee, Public Printing Committee, and several select committees, and he chaired the Select Committee on An act for the incorporation of all Lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of the State of Texas. Politically, Smith was a Democrat, his constituency consisting of “Farmers, Mechanics, and Working Men.” Smith died in Houston on May 5, 1851, and was buried in Houston. Source 

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.

COORDINATES
N/A

Founders Memorial Park
Houston

July 17, 2018

John Anthony "Earthquake" Tenta

John Tenta was a Canadian professional wrestler and sumōtori best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation as Earthquake. After a promising start to his sumo career, using the name Kototenzan, Tenta switched to professional wrestling and became a high-profile star for the WWF, feuding with Hulk Hogan and winning the WWF Tag Team Championship with partner, and personal friend, Fred "Typhoon" Ottman. His professional wrestling career also encompassed runs in World Championship Wrestling, where he was known as Avalanche and The Shark, All Japan Pro Wrestling and a return to WWF as Golga. He died in 2006 after a long battle with bladder cancer. Source

COORDINATES
29° 26.359
-095° 04.545


Towering Pines Section
Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery
Dickinson

July 13, 2018

Joseph Ehlinger (?-1853)

Joseph Ehlinger was a native of Alsace, France. He served under Napoleon in the European wars during the early part of the nineteenth century and acquired both a practical and theoretical knowledge of military tactics. He brought his family to America and arrived in Texas just before the war for independence, locating in the vicinity of Houston, which had not yet been laid as a town. In the War of 1836 he joined Houston’s army on the Colorado River at about the site of the present city of Columbus, and owing to his previous military experience as a French soldier was appointed drill master for the Texas cavalry. He proved a valuable man to the cause, went with Houston’s army in its retreat across Texas, participated in the battle of San Jacinto, and was present when the Texans captured the Mexican president, Santa Anna. With the success of the Texans in their struggle for independence, Ehlinger, after performing his own important share in that conflict, settled in the vicinity of Houston and became a farmer and stock man. His name is identified with the city of Houston because of the fact that he platted Ehlinger’s Addition, which is now in the heart of the city, but which, during his lifetime, was of little importance. His later years were spent quietly, and he died in Houston and is buried there. He was a member of the Catholic Church. His wife, Mary, is buried in the little cemetery on the Joseph Ehlinger League in Colorado County.

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° 45.457
-095° 22.760


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

July 10, 2018

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (1798-1859)

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, son of John and Rebecca (Lamar) Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, was born near Louisville, Georgia, on August 16, 1798. He grew up at Fairfield, his father's plantation near Milledgeville. He attended academies at Milledgeville and Eatonton and was an omnivorous reader. As a boy he became an expert horseman and an accomplished fencer, began writing verse, and painted in oils. In 1819 he had a brief partnership in a general store at Cahawba, Alabama; in 1821 he was joint publisher of the Cahawba Press for a few months. When George M. Troup was elected governor of Georgia in 1823, Lamar returned to Georgia to become Troup's secretary and a member of his household. He married Tabitha Jordan of Twiggs County, Georgia, on January 1, 1826, and soon resigned his secretaryship to nurse his bride, who was ill with tuberculosis.  In 1828 he moved his wife and daughter, Rebecca Ann, to the new town of Columbus, Georgia, and established the Columbus Enquirer as an organ for the Troup political faction. Lamar was elected state senator in 1829 and was a candidate for reelection when his wife died on August 20, 1830. He withdrew from the race and traveled until he was sufficiently recovered. During this time he composed two of his best known poems, At Evening on the Banks of the Chattahoochee and Thou Idol of My Soul. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1832, helped organize a new party, and was again defeated for Congress in 1834 on a nullification platform. He then sold his interest in the Enquirer and in 1835 followed James W. Fannin, Jr., to Texas to collect historical data. By the time he reached Texas, Lamar's health and spirits began to mend and he decided to settle in the Mexican province.

Characteristically, he immediately declared for Texas independence, helped build a fort at Velasco, contributed three poems to the Brazoria Texas Republican, and hurried back to Georgia to settle his affairs. At the news of the battle of the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre Lamar rushed back to Velasco and inquired the way to the scene of battle. He joined the revolutionary army at Groce's Point as a private. When the Mexican and Texan forces faced each other at San Jacinto on April 20, 1836, Thomas Jefferson Rusk and Walter Paye Lane were surrounded by the enemy. Lamar's quick action the next day saved their lives and brought him a salute from the Mexican lines. As the battle of San Jacinto was about to start, he was verbally commissioned a colonel and assigned to command the cavalry. Ten days after the battle, having become secretary of war in David G. Burnet's cabinet, he demanded that Antonio López de Santa Anna be executed as a murderer. A month later Lamar was major general and commander in chief of the Texas army, but the unruly Texas troops refused to accept him and he retired to civilian life. In September 1836, in the first national election, Lamar was elected vice president, an office in which he had leisure to augment his historical collections and study Spanish. He spent most of the year 1837 in Georgia being feted as a hero and publicizing the new republic.

Upon his return to Texas, he organized the Philosophical Society of Texas on December 5, 1837, and found that his campaign for the presidency of Texas was already under way, sponsored by opponents of President Sam Houston, who by law could not succeed himself. The other candidates, Peter W. Grayson and James Collinsworth both committed suicide before election day, thus assuring Lamar's election by an almost unanimous vote. At his inauguration on December 10, 1838, Lamar declared the purposes of his administration to be promoting the wealth, talent, and enterprises of the country and laying the foundations of higher institutions for moral and mental culture. His term began with Texas in a precarious situation, however: only the United States had recognized her independence, she had no commercial treaties, Mexico was threatening re-conquest, the Indians were menacing, the treasury was empty, and currency was depreciated. It was characteristic of Lamar to divert the thoughts of his constituents from the harassments of the moment toward laying the foundations of a great empire. Opposed to annexation, he thought Texas should remain a republic and ultimately expand to the Pacific Ocean. For Houston's conciliatory Indian policy, Lamar substituted one of sternness and force. The Cherokees were driven to Arkansas in 1839; in 1840 a campaign against the Comanches quieted the western Indians in the west at a cost of $2.5 million. Lamar sought peace with Mexico first through the good offices of the United States and Great Britain, then by efforts at direct negotiation. When it was clear that Mexico would not recognize Texas, he made a quasi-official alliance with the rebel government in Yucatán and leased to it the Texas Navy.

He proposed a national bank, but instead of establishing the bank Congress authorized additional issues of paper money in the form of redbacks, which were greatly depreciated by the end of his administration. Receipts for his administration were $1,083,661; expenditures were $4,855,213. At Lamar's suggestion, the new capital city of Austin was built on the Indian frontier beside the Colorado River and occupied in October 1839. Another step in his plans for a greater Texas was the Texan Santa Fe expedition, undertaken without congressional approval in the last months of his administration. If it had succeeded, as Lamar had reason to believe it would, this botched venture might have solved many of the problems of Texas; its failure was proof to his enemies that he was "visionary." Lamar's proposal that the Congress establish a system of education endowed by public lands resulted in the act of January 26, 1839, which set aside land for public schools and two universities. Although it was decades before the school system was established, Lamar's advocacy of the program earned for him the nickname "Father of Texas Education." A dictum in one of his messages to Congress, "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy," was rendered by Dr. Edwin Fay into Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, the motto of the University of Texas. As the national election of 1841 approached, Lamar's popularity was at its lowest ebb, and Texas was at the verge of bankruptcy. The blame cannot be assessed against the president exclusively, however, for most of his policies were implemented by acts of Congress, and economic and political conditions in the United States and abroad blocked measures that might have temporarily stabilized the Texas currency. Forces that neither Lamar nor his enemies fully understood or controlled brought failure to his grandest projects. Smarting under criticism, he retired to his home near Richmond at the end of 1841 and busied himself with his plantation and with the collection of historical materials. After his daughter's death in 1843, he was plunged into melancholia and sought relief in travel. He wrote the poem On the Death of My Daughter, which was later published in the Southern Literary Messenger.

At Mobile in 1844 he fell in with a literary coterie that encouraged his interest in poetry. He received callers at the City Hall in New York and was given a courtesy seat in the United States Senate at Washington. Though he had formerly opposed annexation, he had been convinced that Texas statehood was necessary to protect slavery and prevent the state from becoming an English satellite; he therefore lobbied for annexation while in Washington. With the outbreak of the Mexican War, he joined Zachary Taylor's army at Matamoros as a lieutenant colonel and subsequently fought in the battle of Monterrey. Later he was captain of Texas Mounted Volunteers on the Rio Grande. He organized a municipal government at Laredo and in 1847 represented Nueces and San Patricio counties in the Second Texas Legislature. After 1848 Lamar traveled much and began writing biographical sketches for a proposed history of Texas. He denounced the Compromise of 1850, which convinced him that the interests of the South could be protected only by secession. In February 1851 in New Orleans he married Henrietta Maffitt. Their daughter, Loretto Evalina, was born at Macon, Georgia, in 1852. In 1857 Lamar was appointed United States minister to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, a post he held for twenty months. His Verse Memorials appeared in September 1857. Two months after returning from his diplomatic mission, he died of a heart attack at his Richmond plantation on December 19, 1859. He was buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Richmond. Lamar had great personal charm, impulsive generosity, and oratorical gifts. His powerful imagination caused him to project a program greater than he or Texas could actualize in three years. His friends were almost fanatically devoted to him; though his enemies declared him a better poet than politician, they never seriously questioned the purity of his motives or his integrity. Lamar County and the town of Lamar in Aransas County were named for him. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed statues of him in the Hall of State in Dallas and in the cemetery at Richmond. The commission also marked the site of his home near Richmond and the place of his residence as president in Austin, and built a miniature replica of his home on the square at Paris. At his death the Telegraph and Texas Register eulogized him as a "worthy man". Source 

COORDINATES
29° 35.136
-095° 45.803

Masonic West Section
Morton Cemetery
Richmond

July 6, 2018

John Richardson (?-1840)

Richardson arrived in Texas in 1834 and shortly afterward involved himself in the Texas Revolution. He served in Captain Silas M. Parker's Ranging Company from October 23, 1835 to January 25, 1836, then re-enlisted in the army from March 1 through May 30, 1836. During that time he was a member of Captain James Gillaspie's Company and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. He died in Harris County on May 25, 1840 and was buried in the City Cemetery in Houston.

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° 45.431
-095° 22.757


Founders Memorial Park
Houston

July 3, 2018

Joseph "Joe Tex" Arrington Hazziez (1935-1982)

Soul singer Joseph Arrington, better known as Joe Tex, was born at Rogers, Texas, on August 8, 1935. He was the son of Joseph Arrington, Sr., and Cherie (Jackson) Arrington. He moved to Baytown at age five with his mother after her divorce from his father and attended school there. While in Baytown, Arrington performed song and dance routines to enhance his business as a shoeshine and paper boy. He also sang in the G. W. Carver school choir and the McGowen Temple church choir. During his junior year of high school Arrington entered a talent search at a Houston nightclub. He took first prize over such performers as Johnny Nash, Hubert Laws, and Acquilla Cartwright, an imitator of Ben E. King. He performed a skit called It's in the Book and won $300 and a week's stay at the Hotel Teresa in Harlem. There Arrington performed at the Apollo Theater. During a four-week period he won the Amateur Night competition four times. After graduating from high school in 1955, he returned to New York City to pursue a music career. While working odd jobs, including caretaking at a Jewish cemetery, he met talent scout Arthur Prysock who paved the way for him to meet record-company executive Henry Glover and get his first record contract with King Records.

Arrington, now known as Joe Tex, introduced a style of music that has been copied by Isaac Hayes, Barry White, and others. In songs and ballads in particular, he slowed the tempo slightly and started "rapping," that is, speaking verse that told the story in the middle of the song before repeating the refrain and ending the song. The biggest hits of Joe Tex included Hold On To What You Got, Skinny Legs and All, and Soul Country, an album of country songs; his biggest seller was I Gotcha. In 1972 Arrington gave up show business and began a three-year speaking ministry for the Nation of Islam which he joined in 1968. He became known as Yusef Hazziez or Minister Joseph X. Arrington. He said he was through with singing, and he would follow Allah and Elijah Muhammad. But after Muhammad's death in 1975, and with the approval and blessing of the Nation of Islam, Arrington returned to show business in order to deliver the Nation of Islam's message to his fans. He enjoyed moderate success with no hit singles until the 1977 smash hit I Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) put him back on the top of the charts. After that single he left the music scene and performed at local clubs and benefits. Arrington died on August 12, 1982, of heart failure at his home in Navasota. He was survived by his wife, Belilah, and six children. Source

COORDINATES
30° 21.799
-096° 02.395


Dennis Bryant Cemetery
Navasota