Elliott McNeil Millican, pioneer physician and legislator, the son of Nancy Jane (McNeil) and Robert Hemphill Millican, was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in 1808. In December 1821 he arrived in Texas as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists with his parents, eight brothers, and two sisters. He received title to a sitio of land adjoining his father's grant on March 31, 1831. He was appointed constable of Washington County in 1839 and was elected sheriff of Navasota County in 1841. When the Congress of the Republic of Texas formed Brazos County in 1843, Millican was appointed sheriff. In elections held in Brazos County in March 1839 he was elected to the office, which he held until 1844, when he was elected representative for Brazos County to the Ninth Congress of the republic (1844–45). When Austin was chosen to replace Washington-on-the-Brazos as capital, Millican signed a resolution protesting the move. He was elected representative from Brazos County to the First, Second, and Third Texas legislatures. He was elected senator from Brazos County to the Fifth and Sixth legislatures. He resigned from the Senate during the sixth session because of a widespread epidemic; as one of the few physicians resident in Brazos County, he thought he was needed there. He devoted himself to his medical practice until his death. Millican married Elizabeth Clampitt, a member of Austin's second colony and daughter of Susanah G. Clampitt, on June 14, 1827, at Fort Tenoxtitlán. They had four sons and three daughters. After Elizabeth's death Millican married Marcella Elizabeth Boyce Triplett, who had a young son by a previous marriage. The couple had four more sons. As members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Millican and his first wife donated 1½ acres of land for a church building; the Millican United Methodist Church still occupied this land in 1990. In 1859, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway extended its line to his community, Millican sold land to the railroad for its right-of-way; the tracks were still in use in 1990. Millican's home was known as the Log Cabin Inn and served as a popular hotel and restaurant. Millican died at his home in Millican during a cholera epidemic on October 13, 1860. Source
William Templeton Millican, pioneer, attorney, and public official, the son of Nancy Jane (McNeil) and Robert Hemphill Millican, was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in the 1780s. As a member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists he arrived in Texas in December 1821, in company with other members of the Millican family. He received title to one sitio of land in what is now Brazos County on July 16, 1824. Horatio Chriesman had surveyed the land by October, but by September 1825 Millican had moved to land purchased from Henry Whitesides and Jack C. Davis and was in conflict with Henry and Boland Whitesides over his title. The census of March 1826 listed Millican as a farmer and stock raiser, aged between twenty-five and forty. His household included his wife, Libitha, two sons, two daughters, and one slave. In July 1826 his home was a polling place for the election of delegates to a provisional judiciary for the colony. He was elected as a delegate from the Washington district to the Consultation of 1835. In 1839 he was elected justice of the peace for Washington County. He was appointed agent for various Washington County residents in 1840, and in 1841 he was elected justice of the peace for Navasota County. Millican served in the Texas army during the Texas Revolution and was to receive a bounty warrant for 320 acres from the secretary of war for service from April 25, 1836, to July 25, 1836. He died in September 1843, however, and the Brazos County land was not patented to him until October 10, 1845. In a letter filed in the probate court of Brazos County, his brother, Dr. Elliott McNeil Millican, stated that their mother was William Millican's only heir-at-law, and she received title to his land. At his death, Millican was survived by his wife, three sons, and four daughters.
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, Papa Was Too, Skinny Legs and All, and South Country, an album of country songs; his biggest seller was I Gotcha, which went platinum in 1971.
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.
George Herbert Walker Bush, forty-first president of the United States, was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the second of five children of Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy (Walker) Bush. George Bush was named for his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker, and he had two middle names because his parents couldn’t decide whether to name him George Herbert Bush or George Walker Bush. Bush grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he attended Greenwich Country Day School. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He played baseball and soccer and was president of his senior class.
When the United States entered World War II following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Bush was eager to enlist in the military. At the age of eighteen and just after graduation, he volunteered to join the United States Navy. He completed his preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in June 1943 was commissioned an ensign and thus became one of the youngest aviators in the U. S. Navy. He was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT 51) in the Pacific Theater and carried out missions as pilot of a TBM Avenger torpedo bomber off the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto. On August 1, 1944, he was promoted to lieutenant junior grade. On September 2, 1944, over the Pacific island of Chichi Jima, Bush’s airplane was struck by anti-aircraft gunfire and caught fire. According to Bush’s account, he ordered his two crewmates, William “Ted” White and John Delaney, to put on their parachutes and bail out. Bush did the same and landed in the ocean. He kicked off his shoes to reduce his weight and inflated his life jacket. Then he swam to an uninflated life raft, which he inflated and climbed aboard. He was rescued by the submarine USS Finback. Both his crewmates were killed. The episode deeply affected Bush, who said he always wondered why he was spared. He returned to the USS San Jacinto in November 1944 and, in total, flew fifty-eight combat missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation (awarded to USS San Jacinto). Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned to a training wing for new torpedo pilots in Norfolk, Virginia.
When Bush returned from the war, he married Barbara Pierce in Rye, New York, on January 6, 1945. The two had met at a Christmas dance in 1941. After his discharge from military service, George Bush went to Yale University, where he played varsity baseball, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, joined the exclusive Skull and Bones society, and earned his degree in economics in 1948. After graduating from Yale, Bush decided not to follow his father into the investment banking business. He wanted to try something different. In 1948 George, Barbara, and their young son George Walker moved to Odessa, Texas, where he began his oil and gas career as a clerk with IDECO (International Derrick and Equipment Company, a subsidiary of Dresser Industries), for a $375 per month salary. Bush worked his way up in the business.
In 1950 the Bush family moved to Midland and grew to include John Ellis (Jeb) Bush, Neil Mallon Bush, Marvin Pierce Bush, and Dorothy Walker Bush. Another daughter, Pauline Robinson (Robin) Bush, died at the age of three of leukemia in 1953. With partner John Overbey, George H. W. Bush founded an oil exploration company, Bush-Overbey Oil Development, Inc., that later merged with another enterprise to form Zapata Petroleum in 1953 and Zapata Offshore Company in 1954. In 1959 the family moved to Houston, where Bush continued his oil and gas career. He eventually resigned as chief executive officer of Zapata in 1966.
Inspired by his father, who by this time was a Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut, Bush wanted to go into politics himself. He began his political career when he was elected Harris County Republican Party chairman. In 1964 he ran for the United States Senate but lost to incumbent Texas senator Ralph Yarborough. Two years later, Bush was elected to the first of two terms as U.S. representative from West Houston. In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon persuaded Bush to try again for the Senate against Yarborough. Bush decided to run, but the more conservative Lloyd Bentsen upset Yarborough in the Democratic primary and defeated Bush in the general election.
Nixon nominated Bush for U. S. ambassador to the United Nations, and he was confirmed in 1971. This was the first of several appointed positions that Bush would hold over the next few years. Nixon in 1973 named him Republican National Committee chairman, and Bush defended Nixon during the Watergate crisis. When it was disclosed that Nixon did in fact know about the Watergate cover-up, Bush wrote Nixon on August 7, 1974, urging him to resign. Nixon announced the next day his intention to do.
Upon succeeding Nixon as president, Gerald Ford asked Bush at which foreign post he wanted to serve. Bush chose China and served as head of the U.S. Liaison Office there. In 1976 Ford appointed Bush director of the Central Intelligence Agency. When Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Bush offered to remain as director but left the office in 1977 when Carter named his own appointee. Bush returned to Houston.
George H. W. Bush sought the 1980 Republican presidential nomination but lost to former California governor Ronald Reagan, who asked Bush to be his vice-presidential running mate. Bush accepted, and the Reagan-Bush ticket won the general election and handily won reelection in 1984. As vice president, Bush oversaw a number of task forces to address the reduction of federal regulations and to assess drug policies, and he traveled the world as a representative foreign dignitary.
In 1988 Vice President George Bush was eager to succeed Reagan, who left under term limits. The odds against Bush were long, as no sitting vice president had been directly elected to the presidency since Martin Van Buren in 1836. Bush won the Republican nomination, and in November he defeated the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, to win the presidency.
Some historians have suggested that Bush’s presidency, from 1989 to 1993, focused on foreign policy. The Cold War, which had divided the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union and its allies, had been going on since the end of World War II. Bush worked closely with other Western leaders to manage the process as the Soviet Union and its allies were collapsing politically. Of particular interest was the reunification of Germany, which had been divided since the end of World War II. He believed that bringing East Germany and West Germany together would mark the true end of World War II. “German reunification had a very personal meaning to me,” Bush said. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
In late 1989 Bush authorized the U. S. Army to spearhead Operation Just Cause, in which troops were sent to Panama to apprehend its dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega on narcotics trafficking charges. This marked the largest U. S. combat operation since the Vietnam War.
In 1990 the Iraqi army, on the orders of dictator Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, a small, neighboring nation to the southeast. Hussein’s intention was to turn Iraq, and by extension himself, into a more significant player on the regional and world stage because Iraq under Hussein would control 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Bush assembled a coalition of nations to send their military forces to the Middle East. Operation Desert Storm, launched in January 1991, successfully drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.
He also signed with the Soviet Union the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals in 1991, and he negotiated a second treaty with Russia in 1992 and signed it in early 1993. While his actions in the arena of foreign policy generally won praise, his cautious response to the killing of pro-democracy student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, in the spring of 1989 drew some criticism in that he did not push for severe sanctions against the Communist regime.
Despite his triumphs on the world stage and the passage of the civil rights legislation Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Bush faced increased instability and critical scrutiny on the domestic front. The U.S. economy was in recession, and his political opponents were quick to seize the opportunity. They accused him of being out of touch and projecting a “patrician image.” A Bush gaffe helped. In his 1988 nomination acceptance speech, Bush vowed, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Dukakis recalled in the post-election courtesy meeting, Bush said there was no way that he (Bush) could raise taxes in the first year. Dukakis said he realized then that the “read my lips” promise was only a temporary one. Bush wanted to reduce the federal budget deficit. The 1990 budget deal Bush brokered with Congress did that through both spending cuts and a tax increase. But his critics were upset that he broke his word and raised taxes.
During the Republican primary race for the 1992 presidential nomination, the politically-moderate Bush faced a strong primary opponent in conservative Patrick Buchanan. After winning his party’s nomination for a second term, Bush found himself in a three-way race with Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Dallas businessman Ross Perot, who was running as an independent. Clinton won the race - the first Democrat to be elected president since Carter in 1976.
In 1993 Bush left the White House; he retired to Houston and also spent time at the family home at Kennebunkport, Maine. He was disappointed over his loss, but his setback set the stage for his sons to serve in public office. Son George W. Bush in 1994 was elected Texas governor, defeating incumbent governor Ann Richards. George W. Bush was reelected in 1998 and in 2000 defeated Vice President Al Gore to become the forty-third president of the United States. George H. W. and George W. Bush became the first father and son to serve as president since John and John Quincy Adams in the nineteenth century. Bush became known, informally, as “Bush 41,” while his son was known as “Bush 43.” The elder Adams died while his son was in office. George H.W. Bush lived through all eight years of his son’s presidency. Bush’s second son, Jeb, served two terms as Florida governor, from 1999 to 2007, and unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
In retirement George H. W. Bush enjoyed golfing and speedboating and famously made parachute jumps to celebrate his seventy-fifth, eightieth, eighty-fifth, and ninetieth birthdays. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened on the campus of Texas A&M University in 1997. He authored (or co-authored) several books, including A World Transformed (1998), All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (1999), and The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (2008). He partnered with former president Bill Clinton to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast and also participated in other disaster relief efforts.
Bush received numerous honors from countries throughout the world. Houston’s Intercontinental Airport was renamed George Bush Intercontinental Airport in 1997. The headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia, was officially named for him in 1999. A new Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS George H. W. Bush, was commissioned by the U. S. Navy on January 10, 2009. President George H. W. Bush received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on February 15, 2011.
When Robin Bush died in 1953, George and Barbara Bush buried her in a family plot in Greenwich, Connecticut. After attending former President Nixon’s funeral in 1994, George and Barbara decided that they should be buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. They created a small family cemetery on the library grounds and had Robin’s remains relocated there in May 2000. Barbara Bush died April 17, 2018. George H.W. Bush died at his home in Houston on November 30, 2018. After a state funeral at Washington National Cathedral on December 5, he was transported to College Station and, in a private ceremony, buried in the family cemetery on the library grounds on December 6, 2018. Source
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George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Alfred Henderson Wyly, soldier, presumably joined the Texas army at Groce's Retreat on the Brazos River, where he organized and was elected to command of a small company from the "Redlands" about April 6, 1836. The company was assigned to Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and served at the battle of San Jacinto. Wyly was discharged on July 24, 1836. He was married to a widow named Josephine Louise (Burk) Williams, and they had five children. His family lived in Rusk County from 1848 until at least 1855. He died on May 11, 1867, at Hempstead, where he is buried. Source
Born March 11, 1886, in Columbus, Ohio, Edward Theodore "Laddie" Link was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for only one season. He debuted on April 15, 1910, for the Cleveland Naps, playing in 22 games before he was traded to the St. Louis Browns, but only played three games before he was released. His last Major League appearance was on August 25, 1910. He quit baseball and worked 19 years as a clerk in the general offices of the Texas Company in Houston. Link died in Houston on May 22, 1939, of cancer at the age of 53.
Hersal Thomas, child prodigy pianist, was born in Houston in 1910. Hersal was one of thirteen children of George and Fannie Thomas. George, Sr., was a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church, where his children often sang in the choir and played the piano and organ. The Thomas family was exceptionally talented musically. Hersal's older brother George Washington Thomas Jr. was a publisher and composer whose tunes included New Orleans Hop Scop Blues and Muscle Shoals Blues. In addition to composing, George was an accomplished pianist who taught Hersal to play. Although George was twenty-five years older than his youngest brother, Hersal's skills were so exceptional that he quickly surpassed his brother in musical accomplishment. The most famous member of the Thomas family, however, was Hersal's older sister, the sensational blues singer Beulah "Sippie" Wallace.
Hersal's life was intertwined with Sippie's. When he was a small child, he performed with her on Houston street corners for tips. In 1915 Hersal and Sippie moved to New Orleans to live with their brother George. They performed in New Orleans clubs and worked theaters throughout the South. In 1923 the two moved to Chicago to work with their brother George and their niece, blues singer Hociel Thomas. Although Hersal was still a teenager, his musical talents quickly became much in demand around the city. His performances of The Fives, the groundbreaking boogie-woogie song that Hersal and his brother George had published in 1922, inspired such Chicago pianists as Jimmy Yancey, Meade "Lux" Lewis, and Albert Ammons. In addition to playing in local venues, he toured with Louis Armstrong, Joe "King" Oliver, and Sippie. Hersal also backed his niece, Hociel, on most of her recordings. In 1925, at the age of fifteen, he recorded Hersal Blues and the piano classic Suitcase Blues. At the age of sixteen, while performing at Penny's Pleasure Inn in Detroit, he contracted ptomaine poisoning and died on July 2, 1926. His body was shipped back to Houston and buried alongside his father and mother in an unmarked grave. Source
C. A. A. Dellschau (1830–1923) inventor, scientist, and artist, was born on June 4, 1830, in Germany. Dellschau arrived in the United States in the 1850s and lived in Sonora and Columbia, California, among other German scientists. He joined the Sonora Aero Club, a secret society of sixty-two members committed to designing and assembling aircraft, and served as their primary draftsman. In 1886 Dellschau moved to Houston, Texas. Although no clear evidence points to how Dellschau spent his years in between his time in California and Houston, there is some speculation that he may have served as a Civil War spy. Regardless, once in Houston, Dellschau worked for the Stelzig Saddlery Shop as a salesman until 1900, when he retired. Upon retirement Dellschau spent his time drawing imaginary airships, focusing on his interests in new inventions and aviation. Some of these drawings were his original inventions, while others were drawn from designs of his former colleagues. Dellschau collected extensive scrapbooks of his drawings. On April 20, 1923, he died, without recognition of his artistic contributions. Not until the 1960s were his scrapbooks discovered by art students in a Houston antique shop. The University of St. Thomas exhibited selections from Dellschau's work in a 1969 art show. The works rose in public prominence in 1977, when they were featured in a Rice University exhibition, and in 1979, when four of his scrapbooks were purchased by the San Antonio Museum Association. His name is misspelled on his stone. Source
Jack William Wilson was born in Paris, Texas, on November 20, 1917. After graduation from high school, he attended Baylor where he lettered in track, basketball and football - a feat which brought the attention of professional scouts. In the 1942 NFL Draft he was the first round pick by the Los Angeles Rams. After a few years on the training team, he was called up to the Los Angeles Rams for the 1947 season. His stats as a halfback were less than stellar, with 123 rushing yards, 22 rushing attempts and one touchdown. The Rams kept him on for the 1947 season before letting him go.
Jack was the head track and field coach at Baylor during the 1950s while also serving as an assistant football coach. After coaching at Baylor, he worked as a glass bottle manufacturer at Owens-Illinois in Waco. In 1968, he was one of the first members elected to the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame. Jack Wilson died in Waco on April 11, 2001 at the age of 84.
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Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park
Max Edward West was an outfielder and first baseman for the Boston Bees/Braves (1938-42, 1946), Cincinnati Reds (1946) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1948). He signed as an outfielder with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in 1935 and joined Mission of the same league the following year. After batting .330 with 16 home runs and 95 RBIs for Mission in 1937, West’s contract was purchased by the Boston Braves. He batted .234 his rookie year but increased his average to .285 in 1939 with 19 home runs and 82 RBIs, finishing 23rd in voting for the 1939 National League MVP.
West was named to the 1940 National League All-Star Team, his only career appearance, and was inserted as the starting right fielder at the last minute by NL manager Bill McKechnie. In his only career All-Star at bat, he hit what would be the eventual game-winner, a 3-run home run in the first inning off Red Ruffing at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Unfortunately, it would be his only All-Star plate appearance, as he was injured leaping for Luke Appling's double off the wall in the 2nd inning and had to leave the game.
West finished 26th in voting for the 1940 NL MVP, and 27th in voting for the 1942 NL MVP. In March 1943, he joined the Army Air Force, serving with the Sixth Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command at Long Beach, California. In April 1946, after returning from military service, West was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Jim Konstanty. He played just 73 games that year, only batting .212. He was with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League in 1947, returned to Pittsburgh in 1948 and returned to San Diego the following year. West led the Pacific Coast League in home runs on three occasions, and in 1949 he hit 48 home runs with 166 RBIs. He continued playing in the PCL until 1954.
West operated a sporting goods firm with Ralph Kiner in California after retiring from baseball. He died in Sierra Madre, California from brain cancer at the age of 87. Source
Rosalyn Renee Brunswick-McDuffie was born in Los Angeles on January 19, 1969 to Joseph and Rose Brunswick. In 1970, the Brunswicks relocated to Houston. She graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1987, then furthered her education by becoming a certified dental technician from Texas Dental School. At the age of seventeen, Rosalyn sang with a band called Leon Mitcheson & Company. Mitcheson took her to Los Angeles to collaborate with Quincy Jones and Larry Dunn on a solo soul project, but after some reconsideration, she decided to leave a soul music career behind and returned to Houston.
She became active in the local Christian theatrical community, performing in the plays I Need a Man, Momma I'm Sorry, Sneaky, and Fake Friends. On June 1, 1996, she married pastor Efrem Z. McDuffie. Her recording career began at Abundant Life Cathedral as their lead vocalist.
In 2003 Rosalyn recorded her independent solo release Just Rosalyn featuring the hit single Speak to Me, which she performed on Gospel Superfest and at religious conferences throughout the country, launching her solo career nationally. In 2005, she and a 350-voice choir opened the Houston meeting of the Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention USA.
In 2006 Rosalyn and Rhonda McLemore, who were background singers for gospel icon Donnie McClurkin, agreed to join forces and start a group called Lyric Sings. Lyric Sings released a project Brand New Day on Canvas Records which garnered them a Stellar Award nomination for Best New Artist. She also recorded another solo album, Together We'll Stand, with Al Jarreau. Later that year she and her husband founded the Willie C. McDuffie Adolescent Treatment Center for at risk youth. On July 26, 2008, Rosalyn died of ovarian cancer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She was only 39.
The Von Erichs were a wrestling family, best known for their dominance in the 1980s and the so-called "Von Erich Curse". They all primarily wrestled in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the organization their father Fritz ran and owned in Dallas. They are all buried together in the same section of the cemetery.
Fritz Von Erich was born Jack Barton Adkisson on August 16, 1929 in Jewett, Texas. Originally trained by Stu Hart, Fritz became a top star in many National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotions, most notably in St. Louis and in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). He held a variation of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship at one time in the 1960s. Despite never winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, he maintained his presence within the NWA, holding many other major belts. Fritz also served shortly as NWA President in the 1970s, as well as President of WCCW when it moved to Dallas, Texas. Fritz was also a major part of Japanese wrestling, where he was known as "Tetsu no Tsume" - The Iron Claw - and helped rebuild the business after the death of Rikidōzan. On September 10, 1997, Fritz died of lung cancer that had spread to his brain.
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Grove Hill Memorial Park
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" David Von Erich was the third son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born David Alan Adkisson on July 22, 1958 in Dallas, Texas.
David worked in the World Class Championship Wrestling promotion with the rest of his family. It was there that he faced off with Harley Race and later Ric Flair several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (never winning), as well as teamed with brothers Kevin and Kerry against their mortal enemies The Fabulous Freebirds. David also wrestled in Missouri, winning the Missouri Heavyweight Championship on a couple of occasions. From late 1981 to mid-1982, David wrestled in the Florida territory to show that he could work as a heel. This run was successful, with David enjoying brief reigns as both as singles and tag team champion.
David died on February 10, 1984 in Tokyo, Japan of acute enteritis. Ric Flair wrote in his autobiography, To Be the Man, that "everyone in wrestling believes" that it was a drug overdose that really killed him and that Bruiser Brody (the wrestler who found David) disposed of the narcotics by flushing them down a toilet before the police arrived. Mick Foley also claims that he died from an apparent drug overdose. A tribute show was held a couple of months later in his honor, during which his younger brother, Kerry Von Erich, won the NWA World Title from Ric Flair.
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Grove Hill Memorial Park
Kerry Von Erich was the fourth son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born Kerry Gene Adkisson on February 3, 1960 in Niagara Falls, New York. Known as "The Modern Day Warrior" and "The Texas Tornado", Kerry was by far the best-known of the Von Erich family.
Much like his brothers, Kerry spent the majority of his career wrestling in World Class Championship Wrestling. Among the many major feuds he had were those against Gino Hernandez, Iceman Parsons, Chris Adams and The Fabulous Freebirds. Kerry won the NWA World Heavyweight Title from Ric Flair at the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, a tribute show to his deceased older brother. He lost the belt three weeks later to Flair. Kerry also wrestled for several months in both the World Wrestling Federation (where he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam on August 27, 1990) and Global Wrestling Federation.
Kerry committed suicide via a .44 caliber gunshot to the heart on February 18, 1993 on his father's ranch in Denton County, Texas. There is a marker placed by his father Fritz of an angel on the spot Kerry had shot himself. Bret Hart states in his biography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, that Kerry had told him months before about his plans, that he had wanted to follow his late brothers, that they were calling him. His marriage had fallen apart as well and he thought his death was inevitable. He is buried alongside his father.
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Grove Hill Memorial Park
Mike Von Erich was the fifth son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born Michael Brett Adkisson on March 2, 1964 in Dallas, Texas. Mike replaced David in the feud the Von Erichs had with The Fabulous Freebirds following David's death. According to the documentary Heroes of World Class, Mike wanted to work for World Class as a cameraman and had no interest in being in the ring full-time. His only previous involvement on-screen was being involved in an angle where Ric Flair insulted him and wrestled him as a run-up, to what was planned, as David winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but Fritz forced him into the ring after David's death.
Mike was married on February 14, 1985 to Shani Danette Garza. Shortly after his wedding, Mike suffered a shoulder injury on a tour of Israel and was forced to have surgery. After the surgery it was discovered that he was suffering from Toxic shock syndrome, a rarity in men. He had to retire from wrestling after not being able to return to the ring at full strength. He committed suicide on April 12, 1987 in Denton County, Texas by overdosing on tranquilizers.
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Grove Hill Memorial Park
Born Chris Barton Adkisson on September 30, 1969 in Dallas, Texas, Chris Von Erich was the youngest of the Von Erich family. Due to his short stature (5'4"), asthma, and extremely brittle bones that were prone to breaking, Chris was never able to reach the success his father and brothers reached. He made many attempts to succeed in the squared circle due to an incredible love of wrestling that kept him going despite numerous injuries. He managed one major feud with Percy Pringle in the USWA/World Class, but his career didn't take off like the rest of the family's. On occasion, he, his brothers Kerry and Kevin, and Chris Adams wrestled tag-team matches against Percy Pringle and Steve Austin, but Chris only wrestled Pringle, while the much more athletic Adams, Kerry or Kevin wrestled Austin.
After several years of not being able to succeed in the wrestling business, Chris became depressed and frustrated. He was also heartbroken over the loss of his brother, Mike. In 1991, 18 days before his 22nd birthday, he committed suicide via gunshot to the head. Source
Johnson Lundy Arledge was born on March 12, 1906 (his grave marker reads 1907) in Crockett, Texas. After studying at the University of Texas, he started his career in vaudeville for two years and stock with David Belasco before transitioning to film. He kickstarted his acting career in various films such as Young Sinners (1931), Heartbreak (1931) and the remake Daddy Long Legs (1931) with Janet Gaynor. He also appeared in Week-Ends Only (1932), the sports drama Huddle (1932) with Ramon Novarro and Olsen's Big Moment (1933).
He kept working in film throughout the thirties, starring in Flirtation Walk (1934) with Dick Powell, the Charles "Buddy" Rogers musical Old Man Rhythm (1935) and the Dick Powell musical Shipmates Forever (1935). He also appeared in Devil Dogs of the Air (1935). Toward the end of his career, he continued to act in Twelve Crowded Hours (1939), the Vivien Leigh box office smash dramatic adaptation Gone With the Wind (1939) and the drama Strange Cargo (1940) with Joan Crawford. He also appeared in The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and the James Cagney drama City For Conquest (1940). His final film was Dark Passage (1947) with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Arledge died later that year and was buried in his hometown. Source
Infielder Joffre "Jeff" Cross signed as an amateur free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1938 season and spent five years in the minor leagues before getting his first look at major league pitching with the Cardinals on September 27, 1942. He appeared in one game for the team, managed one hit in four tries, and spent the next three years (1943-1945) with the United States Navy during World War II.
Jeff returned to the St. Louis Cardinals after the war and was used mainly as a back-up infielder in 1946 and 1947 before being purchased by the Chicago Cubs on May 2, 1948. Jeff appeared in 18 games for the Cubs and was sent to the Texas League Shreveport Sports where he appeared in 81 outings and called it a career at the seasons end. Cross's major league stats showed he appeared in 119 games and hit at a .162 clip. He did better in the minors hitting at a .250 number while appearing in 645 games. Jeff's best batting average came in 1939 when he hit .288 with four home runs for the Mobile Shippers of the class B Southeastern League. Jeff played with five different clubs during his six seasons in the minors. After baseball Cross worked forty years in the insurance business in Houston, retiring in 1988. Cross passed away on July 23, 1997 in Huntsville, TX. Source
29° 78.340, -095° 61.414
Chapel Of The Oaks Mausoleum
Memorial Oaks Cemetery
Moon Mullican, "King of the Hillbilly Piano Players" was born Aubrey Wilson Mullican near Corrigan or Moscow in Polk County, Texas, on March 29, 1909. He was the son of Oscar Luther and Virginia (Jordan) Mullican. He lived on his family's eighty-seven-acre farm at Corrigan during his childhood and developed his musical skills on a pump organ his father purchased around 1917.
The elder Mullican, a deeply religious man, wanted his children to learn sacred music. Though Moon served as a church organist during his teens, he developed an interest in blues music and learned to play the guitar with instruction from a black farmer. Impressed also by pianists who performed in local juke joints, Mullican developed a distinctive two-finger right-handed piano style that became his trademark. Much to the chagrin of his father, he began to play for dances as a teenager and aspired to become a professional musician. When he was about sixteen years old he moved to Houston and worked as a piano player for establishments that some observers characterized as "houses of ill repute." Sleeping by day and working evenings, Mullican may have received his nickname for his nocturnal habits during this period. For a time in the 1930s he performed with his own band in clubs and on the radio in Southeast Texas and Louisiana.
Later in that decade and in the 1940s he became associated with bands that performed the western swing music made famous by Bob Wills. Mullican played and sang this music with the Blue Ridge Playboys, a band that included such pioneers as Pappy Selph, Floyd Tillman, and Ted Daffan; he later worked with Cliff Bruner's bands, the Texas Wanderers and the Showboys. While with Bruner, a former member of Milton Brown's Musical Brownies, Mullican sang the lead vocal on the classic Truck Driver's Blues in 1939. That same year he traveled to Hollywood, where he played a role in the movie Village Barn Dance. He also led the band that performed with James Houston Davis during the latter's successful campaign for the Louisiana governor's office in 1944.
By 1947 Mullican, who had made his first recording in 1931, had signed a contract with King Records of Cincinnati, Ohio. With King he recorded two songs, Harry Choates's New Jole Blon (1947) and I'll Sail My Ship Alone (1950), that sold over a million copies each. The King recordings, which numbered 100, featured Mullican's smooth vocals and a piano style that merged swing, blues, honky-tonk, Cajun, ragtime, pop, and country music. During his years with the King label (1947 to 1956), Mullican had great success with such best-selling recordings as Sweeter than the Flowers (1948), Huddie Ledbetter's Goodnight Irene (1950), Mona Lisa (1950), and Cherokee Boogie (1951), which he coauthored with W. C. Redbird. He was less successful commercially with Foggy River, Sugar Beet, Well Oh Well, Moon's Tune, Good Deal Lucille, You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry, Rocket to the Moon, A Thousand and One Sleepless Nights, and others. In some of the King recording sessions Mullican was accompanied by a rock-and-roll band that featured a saxophone player.
In 1949 he joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was probably the first singing piano player to perform as a solo act on a regular basis. He remained with the show until 1955. During his career he traveled and performed across the United States as well as in Europe and Vietnam and entertained with such well-known artists as Hank Williams, Ernie Ford, and Red Foley. At one stage in his career, Mullican had his own radio show on station KECK in Odessa. He also appeared as a guest on the ABC television program Jubilee U.S.A. and entertained periodically on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. Mullican, who in conjunction with partners owned several nightclubs in Texas, served as a supporting musician on more than 200 recordings by other performers. The legendary singer Jim Reeves was a member of a Mullican band that played in the Beaumont region during the late 1940s.
In 1958-59 Mullican recorded in Nashville for the Coral label, a subsidiary of Decca Records. His records for Coral were remakes of songs that he had previously performed for King, as well as such new releases as Moon's Rock, I Don't Know Why (I Just Do), Jenny Lee, Sweet Rockin' Music, and The Writin' on the Wall. Hoping to benefit from the ascendancy of rock-and-roll in the United States, Coral sought to incorporate this style with the more traditional honky-tonk, swing, and blues forms that had made Mullican a star. However, the Coral recordings achieved virtually no commercial success and little critical acclaim. Some observers believe that Mullican's strongest performances for Coral consisted of the songs that he performed in the more conventional country style, as opposed to the newer sound.
From 1960 to 1963 Moon was a member of Jimmie Davis's band. He recorded for several minor companies at various times in his career. He made his final hit record, Ragged but Right, on the Starday label in 1961. He also recorded a few songs such as Quarter Mile Rows, Colinda, Mr. Tears, Make Friends, and This Glass I Hold, for the Hall–Way label in Beaumont between 1962 and 1964. Though his health declined in the 1960s, when he underwent several illnesses, he continued to perform. On January 1, 1967, he died of a heart attack at his home in Beaumont. Source
James A. Chaffin came to Texas in 1835 to enlist in the Texas Revolutionary Army. He served in Captain Jacob Eberly's Company from September 28 to November 23, 1835, then transferred to Captain William Kimbro's Company from December 19, 1835 to September 6, 1836. He fought at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 and in 1839 was awarded 320 acres of land for having served in the army. Chaffin settled in San Augustine and ran a saloon for a number of years. He died in 1879 and was buried in an unmarked grave five miles south of San Augustine.
Thomas Franklin Hughes was a reserve outfielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly at center field for the Detroit Tigers during the 1930 season. Listed at 6 ft 1 in, 190 lb., Hughes batted left-handed and threw right-handed. A native of Emmet, Arkansas, he attended University of Texas at Austin. In his one-season career, Hughes was a .373 hitter (22-for-59) in 17 games, including eight runs, two doubles, three triples, and a .413 on-base percentage. He died in Beaumont, Texas, at the age of 82. Source
Huey P. Meaux, music producer, promoter, and studio owner, was born on March 10, 1929, in Louisiana. Nicknamed the “Crazy Cajun,” Meaux pioneered “swamp pop” of the Gulf Coast. An owner of Houston’s influential SugarHill Studios, Meaux is perhaps best-remembered in music for his role in creating the Sir Douglas Quintet and reviving Freddy Fender’s career.
Meaux was the son of Stanislaus “Pappy Te-Tan” Meaux. His parents were Cajun sharecroppers who worked in the cotton and rice fields around Kaplan near Lafayette, Louisiana. When Huey was twelve, the family moved to Winnie, Texas, near Port Arthur. He grew up in an atmosphere of hard field work during the week, punctuated by lively Saturday night dances. His father, also an accordionist, headed a band for which Huey played drums when he was a teenager.
By the 1950s, after serving in the United States Army, Meaux opened a barbershop in Winnie. At nights he worked as a disc jockey for KPAC radio in Port Arthur. In this capacity he got to know other deejays and musicians in the business, such as Moon Mullican, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and George Jones. Meaux was riding in a car with Richardson to Houston’s Gold Star Studios when the Bopper penned his hit Chantilly Lace. Meaux also learned the ins and outs of the music business from Bill Hall, a local record producer and manager of the Bopper. In 1959 Meaux produced his first hit - Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois’s swamp-pop classic, Breaking Up is Hard to Do - in his own barbershop. Meaux was on his way to pioneering the Gulf Coast “swamp pop” sound.
In 1962 he produced Barbara Lynn’s You’ll Lose a Good Thing, which hit Number 8 on the charts. He also produced regional hits, such as Joe Barry’s I’m a Fool to Care, while working with other artists, including Lightnin’ Hopkins and Archie Bell. He found success with acts such as Sunny and the Sunliners, Roy Head and the Traits and Dale & Grace, whose song I’m Leaving It Up to You reached Number 1 on Billboard in October 1963. Meaux’s uncanny instinct for sniffing out hits led singer Roy Head to describe the producer as a “metal detector in the business.”
When the British Invasion landed in Texas in the early 1960s, Meaux, by this time based out of Houston, dissected the sound of the Beatles and other groups. In response he persuaded Doug Sahm and his group of Tex-Mex musicians from San Antonio’s West Side to pretend to be British, and the Crazy Cajun dubbed them the Sir Douglas Quintet. In 1965 the group’s She’s About a Mover became a hit. Later, when the Sir Douglas Quintet appeared on television with its Hispanic members, the truth was revealed.
Meaux made use of the diverse array of ethnic music and musicians in Texas and the Gulf Coast to seek out stand-out sounds for the recording industry. According to writer Joe Nick Patoski, “For two generations of Gulf Coast rock and rollers - or any musicians from Baton Rouge to San Antonio - he was the pipeline to the big time.” Despite Meaux’s successes in the music business, the hedonistic Cajun also had the shady reputation of shortchanging his artists as well as womanizing. Around the end of the 1960s, he was prosecuted for violation of the Mann Act (driving a prostitute across state lines) and was sentenced to the state penitentiary.
By late 1971 Meaux was out of prison and purchased the former Gold Star Studios at a bankruptcy auction. He now owned the Houston studio where he had produced many of his artists through his years of turning out hits, and he renamed the facility SugarHill Studios and set about remaking it as his own. Meaux also entertained listeners on his Friday night radio show on KPFT-FM in Houston. He regained success in 1974 with Freddy Fender’s comeback. Meaux released Fender’s Before the Last Teardrop Falls on his Crazy Cajun label. The song became a Number 1 country single and a pop crossover success along with his follow-up Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. After a successful run with Fender in the 1970s, Meaux scored one more hit with Rockin’ Sidney Simien’s novelty song (Don’t Mess With) My Toot-Toot in 1985.
Meaux sold SugarHill in 1986 but still leased an office there. In 1996 he was arrested and eventually plead guilty to two counts of sexual assuault of a child, cocaine possession, child pornography, and bond jumping. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. He was released from prison in 2007 and lived out the remainder of his life in Winnie, Texas. Source