November 27, 2018

Jerry Denny (1859-1927)

Jeremiah Dennis Eldridge was born in New York City on March 16, 1859, to Irish immigrants who moved the family to the Bay area of California in 1861. Shortly after the relocation, Eldridge’s parents died leaving him and his sister Mary to be raised in orphanages. He attended St Mary's College in San Francisco in the late 1870s, and played semi-professional baseball during the summer months (changing his name to Jerry Denny to hide his professional play from the college), when he wasn't playing for the college as an amateur. He started playing in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Eagles in 1878, and the Stars and Athletics teams from 1879-1880. On May 2, 1881, he went pro and began playing with the Providence Grays of the National League. In 1884, the Providence Grays won the NL pennant and played in the first-ever World Series against the New York Metropolitans. In the second game of the series, Denny hit a three-run homer, the first-ever hit in World Series play, enabling the Grays to win the game, 3-1. He was one of the few ambidextrous major league players in the game; although he threw primarily with his right arm, he could also toss with his left. This gave him a defensive advantage at his customary field position - in ranging to his left on a ground ball, if he saw a play at second base, instead of having to transfer the ball to his right hand while pivoting and repositioning his body (as third basemen would customarily do), Denny could dispatch the ball to second with his left hand. This skill contributed to his refusal to wear a glove in the field, long after most players considered gloves essential.

He holds the distinction of being the last Major League position player (non-pitcher) to play his entire career on the diamond without wearing a fielding glove. When attendance dropped off in 1885, the Providence team became cash short and left the National League, Jerry Denny signed with the St. Louis Maroons, a new NL team. When the Maroons ballpark burned to the ground in 1886, the team folded. Denny then played three years for the Indianapolis Hoosiers. The Hoosiers, never ending higher than 7th place, folded in 1889. From this point, Denny bounced from team to team; playing for the New York Giants in 1890, the Cleveland Spiders in 1891, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1892 and finally the Louisville Colonels from 1893-94. Denny's last major league appearance was on July 10, 1894 for the Louisville Colonels. His career totals are 1,237 Games and 4,946 At Bats, 714 Runs, 1,286 Hits, 74 Home runs, and a Batting average of .260. He still holds the Major League record for most chances by a third baseman in a single game, handling 16 chances during an 18-inning match on August 17, 1882. He led the National League in games (85) in 1881 and strikeouts (79) in 1888. Following his baseball career, he travelled to Connecticut and took over a men’s furnishing store. He became quite a businessman, his gentlemen’s stores prospered, and he went into the hotel business in Derby and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lured back into baseball, he played in the Connecticut State League from 1897-1902 and also served as manager for the Derby franchise from 1897-1901. After that he contented himself with family life, working at his hotel business and as a city inspector for Bridgeport, Connecticut. He also occasionally appeared at old-timers get-togethers. During a visit to his daughter in Houston, Texas, during the summer of 1927, he was stricken with a heart attack and died at the age of 68 on August 16, 1927.

COORDINATES
29° 47.309
-095° 22.139

Section N
Holy Cross Cemetery
Houston

November 20, 2018

William Rabb (1770-1831)

William Rabb, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, the eldest son of Andrew and Mary (Scott) Rabb, was born on December 21, 1770, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Smalley about 1789 and they eventually had four sons, Andrew, John, Thomas, and Ulysses, and a daughter, Rachel, who later married Joseph Newman. Rabb and his family left Pennsylvania about 1803. After a brief sojourn with relatives in Ohio, Rabb reached his destination near the Mississippi River in Indiana Territory (later Illinois Territory) in 1804. There he built and operated a large gristmill on Cahokia Creek near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. He also served as Madison county judge and in 1814 was elected to the legislature of Illinois Territory, where he served for two terms. In 1818 the Rabbs moved to Clear Creek settlement on the north side of the upper Red River in Arkansas Territory, in what is now Choctaw County, Oklahoma. From there, Rabb made an exploratory trip into Texas in 1819 and chose an area on the east side of the Colorado River as the site he wished to acquire. When the federal government ceded the land north of the Red River to the Choctaw Indians in 1820, Rabb moved his family south of the river to Jonesborough, an area now in Red River County, Texas. Although the Arkansas Territory authorities attempted to exercise civil jurisdiction over the Jonesborough settlers, the Rabbs were technically in Spanish territory.

In 1821 Rabb wrote a letter to the Spanish governor in San Antonio de BĂ©xar which stated, among other things, that he intended to settle soon on the Colorado River as a member of Austin's colony. When and where Rabb first became involved in the plan of Moses Austin and his son, Stephen, to establish a colony in Texas is uncertain. Since Rabb is believed to have been a longstanding acquaintance of the Austins, he probably was aware of their plan at an early date. Somewhere along the line they reached an agreement whereby Rabb would build a gristmill in the proposed colony to help supply the settlers in exchange for a sizable grant of land. Rabb and his wife and two unmarried sons left Jonesborough and arrived at his site on the Colorado River in December 1821. Probably for security reasons plus availability of fresh water from springs, they initially settled on the high ground west of the river at a place Rabb called Indian Hill. Located a short distance above present-day La Grange in Fayette County, it was directly across the river from the rich bottom land that he had chosen on his exploratory trip in 1819. When Stephen F. Austin returned from a journey to Mexico City in 1823 with the news that the Mexican authorities had reconfirmed his colonization contract and would honor land titles in the colony, Rabb returned to Jonesborough to fetch the remaining members of his family. They arrived in December 1823, and for a while the entire family remained at Indian Hill. However, in early 1824, they moved downriver to the little settlement of Egypt in present-day Wharton County in order to escape Indian harassment.

Title to Rabb's land grant was signed by Stephen Austin and Commissioner Baron de Bastrop on July 19, 1824. It was one of the earliest and largest grants made in Austin's first colony and comprised a total of five square leagues of about 22,000 acres. Two leagues of approximately 9,000 acres were located in the area near the Gulf of Mexico known as Bay Prairie in present-day Matagorda County. The other three leagues of over 13,000 acres comprised the land granted to Rabb as the result of his agreement to build a gristmill in the upper portion of the colony. Situated on the east side of the Colorado River in present-day Fayette County, it is the site Rabb chose in 1819 and is the tract known today as Rabb's Prairie. Although he soon left Egypt and returned to Rabb's Prairie to begin work on the mill, Rabb was forced to abandon the project on several occasions due to threats of Indian attack. In 1830 the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, the governing council of Austin's colony, reviewed Rabb's situation and reconfirmed his title. Also, because of delays caused by Indian harassment, it approved an additional eighteen months for him to finish construction of the mill. With the help of his sons, Rabb completed his mill in 1831. Some of the material used in its construction came from New Orleans, but it was the transportation and installation of two large grinding stones, or burrs, that proved to be an accomplishment of considerable ingenuity and determination. The mill stones, each weighing around a ton, had been imported from Scotland and off-loaded at Matagorda at the mouth of the Colorado River. The problem facing Rabb was how to move these two ponderous objects to his mill in Rabb's Prairie, a distance of about 100 miles. Driftwood rafts and shallow water made it impractical to float them upriver on a barge. His solution was to make an axle, attach the mill stones on the ends to serve as wheels, and use oxen to pull the resulting vehicle overland to his mill. Rabb lived to see his mill in operation but died later in 1831. His wife died a few months afterward. They are believed to be buried in an old abandoned cemetery on a hillside overlooking Rabb's Prairie. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. The small Rabb family cemetery outside of La Grange has been lost.

COORDINATES
30° 15.925
-097° 43.591

Confederate Field
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

November 13, 2018

Bernard D'Ortolant (1753?-1822?)

Bernard D'Ortolant was born in Bordeaux, France about 1753, and migrated to Louisiana about 1773, and served in the American Revolution in Louisiana.  He married Marie Ann Grappe and in 1797 he was the Lieutenant of the Natchitoches, Louisiana Cavalry Militia where he served for 14 years.  He returned to San Antonio in 1779 and was in charge of the first cattle drive of 10,000 Texas long-horned cattle that were taken to Louisiana to be used by Bernardo de Galvez during his attacks on Mobil and Pensacola.  Lt. D'Ortolant was in charge of the Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches when Philip Nolan was arrested in 1801, and died there about 1822.  The exact location of his grave has been lost, but it is believed that he was buried in the Old Spanish Cemetery located near the Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches, Texas. Source

Note: In 1911, the Old Spanish Cemetery was razed in order to build the first Nacogdoches County courthouse (shown below is the second county courthouse, built on the same grounds as the first in 1958). It is not recorded that any of those at rest here were exhumed and/or moved; in fact, it is specifically stated on the historical marker located on site that D'Ortolant is still buried here, as are others.

COORDINATES
N/A


Old Spanish Cemetery (Defunct)
Nacogdoches

November 6, 2018

Richard Joseph "Turk" Farrell

Turk Farrell was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1956 to 1969. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Colt .45s and Astros, all of the National League. Before the 1953 season, Farrell was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent. The 19-year-old was assigned to the class A Schenectady Blue Jays, where over a two-year span (1953-54), he would build an 18-18 record and a 3.30 ERA. He spent 1955 in the IL with the Syracuse Chiefs, going 12-12 with a 3.94 ERA, and in 1956 he played for the Miami Marlins, going 12-6 with a 2.50 ERA. He would get a late-season look in 1956 by the Phillies and would lose his only decision, but set the groundwork for a 14-year run in the major leagues. Farrell was one of the young Phillies pitchers of the late 1950s, along with Jack Meyer and Jim Owens, dubbed the "Dalton Gang" for their fun-loving late-hour escapades. Phillies fans liked what they saw of the 6 ft 4 in hard-throwing rookie right-hander in 1957 when he was 10-2 plus 10 saves and a 2.38 ERA in 52 appearances out of the bullpen. On September 3, 1957, Farrell was the winning pitcher for the Phils in the last of fifteen home games the Dodgers played at the Jersey City Roosevelt Stadium, 3-2 in twelve innings. After four more seasons of relief work with the Phils, Farrell was traded to the Dodgers early in 1961. He was selected in the 1961 MLB expansion draft by the Houston Colt .45s. In 1962, Farrell finished with the seventh best ERA at 3.02, but with a poor 10-20 record. A starter in Houston, Farrell was used almost exclusively in relief with Philadelphia and Los Angeles. His career totals include 590 games pitched, a won-loss record of 106-111, 83 saves, and an ERA of 3.45. He was selected to the National League All-Star team 4 times (1958, 1962, 1964 and 1965) in his career. Farrell last pitched in the major leagues on September 19, 1969 for the Phillies against the Expos in a game the Phillies lost 10-6. He would never pitch in the majors again, and would leave the US shortly thereafter for good. Farrell moved to England, where he lived and worked on an offshore oil rig just off Great Britain in the North Sea. He was killed on June 10, 1977, in an auto accident in Great Yarmouth, England, at age 43.

COORDINATES
29° 44.493
-095° 36.623

Section 409
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Houston