October 30, 2009

Ernest Anyz "Chief" Koy

   Ernie Koy was born in Sealy, Texas on September 17, 1909. While attending the University of Texas he was a fullback on the football team from 1930 to 1932. He played as an outfielder on the baseball team from 1931 to 1933 and served as captain in 1933. After signing with the New York Yankees, his contract was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1938. He hit a home run in his first at bat with the Dodgers on April 19, and played 142 games that season as an outfielder and one game as a third baseman. He finished the year ranking second in the NL with 15 stolen bases, and ninth with a .468 slugging average. He appeared in 125 games during the 1939 season, and 24 during the 1940 season as an outfielder. In 1940 he batted .301 for the Dodgers.

   He was traded on June 12, 1940 to the St. Louis Cardinals with Bert Haas, Sam Nahem and Carl Doyle and $125,000 for Curt "Coonskin" Davis and Joe "Ducky" Medwick. He played 91 games as an outfielder with the Cardinals in 1940, and 12 games of the 1941 season with the Cardinals. He was traded from the Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds on May 14, 1941. He played 49 games of the remaining 1941 season in a Reds uniform. He was sold by the Reds to the Philadelphia Phillies on May 2, 1942. He appeared in 78 games with the Phillies, and was eventually released from his contract May 27, 1946 after serving in the Navy during World War II. He ended his career with a .279 batting average, 36 home runs, 260 runs batted in, 238 runs, 515 hits and 40 stolen bases in 558 games. In 1960, he was inducted into the University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame. Koy died on January 1, 2007 at age 97 at his home in Bellville, Texas, one month after breaking his hip. He is buried at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Bellville.

29° 56.744,  -096° 14.997

Oak Knoll Cemetery

October 27, 2009

Julissa D'Anne Gomez

   Julissa D'anne Gomez was born in San Antonio, Texas, the younger of two daughters born to a pair of former migrant farm workers from Laredo. Her parents, Otilia and Ramiro, worked their way up from their farm working days to become a teacher and a welder, respectively, and struggled to keep their family together while giving 10-year-old budding gymnast Julissa a chance to train with renowned gymnastics coach Béla Károlyi in Houston. At the 1986 U.S. Championships, she placed fourth in the all-around in the junior division and won a place on the U.S. National Team. By 1987 she was representing the United States in international meets. Especially strong on the uneven bars and balance beam, Gomez was considered a legitimate contender for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team.

   In mid-1987, Gomez, wanting to move further up the rankings and reportedly frustrated with Károlyi's sometimes abusive training methods, decided to leave the Károlyis. After briefly training at US Acrosports in Webster, Texas, Gomez's search for a new coach led her to select Al Fong, who was the trainer of another up-and-coming gymnast eager to make the 1988 Olympic team, Christy Henrich. Though her parents had vowed to keep the family together no matter where Julissa's career took her, they decided that Ramiro would move with Julissa to Blue Springs, Missouri, where Fong's gymnastics club, Great American Gymnastics Express, was located, while Otilla would remain behind until Julissa's older sister Kristy finished school for the year.

   In May 1988, several months before the Olympics, she traveled with her coach to Tokyo, Japan, to compete in the World Sports Fair. During the all-around competition, Gomez qualified for the vault finals. However, observers had noticed her struggle with the apparatus over the months leading up to the competition, including her former coach Béla Károlyi, past and present teammates, and even her present coach Al Fong. Gomez's technique on the extremely difficult Yurchenko vault had been described as shaky at best, and Gomez was unable to perform the vault with any consistency during practices, sometimes missing her feet on the springboard. However, Julissa's coaches insisted that she needed to continue training and competing the Yurchenko vault in order to achieve high scores.

   During warmups for the final, held on May 5, 1988, Gomez continued to practice the Yurchenko. As she raced toward the vault on one of her practice runs, her foot slipped off the springboard and her head hit the vaulting horse at high speed. The resulting impact instantly paralyzed her from the neck down. A subsequent accident at a Japanese hospital, in which she became disconnected from her ventilator, resulted in severe brain damage and left her in a catatonic state. Her family cared for her for three years before she succumbed to an infection and died in August 1991 in Houston, just three months shy of her nineteenth birthday.

   The tragedy stands as one of the most serious accidents ever to occur in artistic gymnastics, and helped prompt changes in the sport. In 1989, the International Gymnastics Federation decided to increase vaulting safety by allowing U-shaped springboard mats, traditionally utilized in practice to give all gymnasts a greater margin of error in preflight, to be used during competitions. The mat is now mandatory: as of the 2006 Code of Points, performing a Yurchenko-style vault without the safety mat results in an automatic score of zero. In 2001, the traditional horse was completely phased out and replaced by a larger, more stable vaulting table to provide gymnasts with additional safety.

29° 47.283, -095° 28.755

Block 1
Woodlawn Garden of Memories

October 23, 2009

Robert Rankin

   Revolutionary War veteran Robert Rankin was born in the colony of Virginia in 1753. He entered the service of the Continental Army in 1776 with the Third Regiment of the Virginia line and participated in the battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and Stony Point, as well as the siege of Charleston, where he was captured; he remained a prisoner of war until exchanged, at which time he received a promotion to lieutenant. On October 1, 1781, during a furlough, he married Margaret (Peggy) Berry in Frederick County, Virginia. He returned to active duty on October 15 and served until the war's end. Robert and Margaret Rankin had three daughters and seven sons, one of whom was Frederick Harrison Rankin. The family moved to Kentucky in 1784. In 1786 Rankin was named by the Virginia legislature as one of nine trustees for the newly established town of Washington, in Bourbon County (later Mason County), Kentucky. In 1792 he served as a delegate from Mason County to the Danville Convention, which drafted the first constitution of Kentucky. He also became an elector of the Kentucky Senate of 1792. The last mention of Rankin in Mason County, Kentucky, is in the 1800 census. The Rankins moved to Logan County, Kentucky, in 1802 and to the Tombigbee River in Mississippi Territory in 1811; the area of their home eventually became Washington County, Alabama. Four of the Rankin sons fought in the War of 1812. The family suffered a severe financial reversal around 1819-20, probably in conjunction with land speculation and the panic of 1819. In July 1828 Rankin first made an application for a pension for his Revolutionary War service.

   In 1832 the Rankins moved to Joseph Vehlein's colony in Texas, along with the William Butler and Peter Cartwright families. Rankin was issued a certificate of character by Jesse Grimes on November 3, 1834, as required by the Mexican government. He applied for a land grant in Vehlein's colony on November 13 of the same year and received a league and labor in October 1835. The town of Coldspring, San Jacinto County, is located on Rankin's original grant. Rankin had the reputation of being a just and diplomatic man. He was a friend of Sam Houston, and his influence with the Indians in the region was well known. Houston reputedly called upon him in the spring of 1836 to encourage neutrality among the Indians during the crucial Texan retreat toward San Jacinto. Toward the end of 1836 Rankin became ill, and he and his wife moved to St. Landry parish, Louisiana, where he died on November 13, 1837. His body was brought back to the family home near Coldspring, in the new Republic of Texas, and buried in the old Butler Cemetery. In 1936 he was reinterred at the State Cemetery in Austin. His widow lived in Texas with her sons, William and Frederick, in Polk, Montgomery, and Liberty counties until her death sometime after December 1852. Source

Note: His stone is incorrect on his place of death. He was originally buried in Coldspring, but he died in Louisiana.

30° 15.921, -097° 43.649

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 20, 2009

Benjamin Cromwell Franklin

   Benjamin Cromwell Franklin, judge and legislator, the eldest son of Abednego (?) and Mary Graves (Cleveland) Franklin, was born in Georgia on April 25, 1805. He was educated at Franklin College in Athens, Georgia, and admitted to the bar in 1827. In 1835 he traveled to Velasco, Texas, and shortly afterward joined an expedition against Indians. In December 1835 at a public meeting at Columbia he was among those who favored immediate declaration of war against Mexico. On April 7, 1836, he was commissioned a captain in the Texas army by President David G. Burnet, but since he was not assigned to the command of a company at San Jacinto, he fought there as a private in Capt. Robert J. Calder's company. On April 23, 1836, Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk directed Franklin to proceed to Galveston Island and inform President Burnet and his cabinet of the victory at San Jacinto. Franklin later received a bounty warrant for 320 acres for his service and was among the first to purchase land at the future site of Houston.

   He was the first man to hold a judicial position in the Republic of Texas. The Pocket, a brig owned by a citizen of the United States, was captured in March 1836 by the Invincible, a Texas armed schooner. Realizing that the affair might alienate the United States, the government of Texas took immediate steps to have the matter thoroughly investigated. The judiciary not having been organized, the government established the judicial district of Brazoria in which to try the case, and Burnet appointed Franklin district judge. The exact date of his appointment has not been ascertained, but it was before June 15, 1836. The position had been tendered to James Collinsworth on April 12, but he declined.

   On December 20, 1836, Franklin was appointed judge of the Second or Brazoria Judicial District by President Sam Houston. The appointment automatically made Franklin a member of the Supreme Court of the republic, of which James Collinsworth was chief justice. Franklin held his first court at Brazoria on March 27, 1837. He resigned from his judgeship on November 29, 1839, and moved to Galveston to practice law. He was elected to represent Galveston County in the House of Representatives of the Third, Fifth, and Eighth state legislatures. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was too old for military service and was suffering from rheumatism. He retired to a small farm near Livingston, Polk County, and remained until 1870, when he returned to Galveston. Governor E. J. Davis appointed him commissioner to revise the laws of Texas, but he declined the appointment.

   Franklin's first wife was Eliza Carter Brantly, whom he married on October 31, 1837; they had two children. After her death on September 24, 1844, Judge Franklin married Estelle B. Maxwell of Illinois, on November 3, 1847. He died unexpectedly on December 25, 1873, after several weeks of illness and was buried in Galveston. The act establishing Franklin County does not state for whom the county was named, but it is generally accepted as having been named for Judge Benjamin C. Franklin. Source

29° 17.550, -094° 48.819

New City Cemetery

October 16, 2009

Benjamin Watson Hardin

   Benjamin Watson Hardin, early settler and political figure, the first son of Swan and Jerusha (Blackburn) Hardin, was born in Franklin County, Georgia, on March 25, 1796. By 1807 he was living in Maury County, Tennessee, with other family members and managing the family farm. Because of an affair between his brother's wife, Mrs. A. B. Hardin, and Isaac Newton Porter, of which Porter bragged about publicly, Benjamin accompanied his brothers to a meeting with Porter and William Williamson in Columbia, Tennessee, on October 1, 1825. During the ensuing confrontation Hardin's brothers Augustine and Benjamin Franklin Hardin fatally shot Porter and Williamson. After being indicted with his brothers, including William Hardin, in December 1825, Hardin fled to what is now Liberty County, Texas, in 1827 in order to avoid a possible conviction for murder and to join other family members who had similarly made themselves scarce in Tennessee.

   On January 8, 1828, Hardin married Adelia Coleman in Liberty County; they had four children, two of whom lived beyond childhood. Hardin received a league of land in 1831 and served as sheriff of the Liberty District. He was elected Liberty county sheriff in 1839 and served until 1845. On December 2, 1844, he began his term as Liberty County representative in the Ninth Congress (1844-45) of the Republic of Texas. He was a prominent rancher and farmer in Liberty County and a founding member of the Liberty Masonic Lodge in 1849. He died on January 2, 1850, at his homestead and was buried in the Hardin family cemetery, on his original land grant north of Liberty. Hardin County and Hardin, Texas (Liberty County), were named in honor of the Hardin family. The Texas Centennial Commission erected a monument at Benjamin W. Hardin's grave in 1936. Source

Note: The family cemetery is private and kept locked, but it lies on the shoulder of FM 1011 and can be viewed in its entirety from outside the gate.

30° 06.076, -094° 45.971

Hardin Family Cemetery

October 13, 2009

Paul Prichard Haney

   Paul Prichard Haney was born in Akron, Ohio in 1928. He put himself through Kent State University by working nights for the Associated Press, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1945. After working for newspapers in Erie, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee, he joined the staff at the Washington, D.C. Evening Star newspaper in 1954.

   Three months after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed in 1958, Haney joined the organization as an information officer, and from 1960 to 1962, served as NASA's first News Director. In that position, he managed the Cape Canaveral and Project Mercury information programs. His work in the Mercury program set the standard for all subsequent NASA information efforts.

   From 1962 to 1963, Paul Haney was the Public Affairs Officer for the Office of Manned Space Flight. In September 1963, he moved to Houston, Texas, and as Public Affairs Officer for the Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center), directed the information flowing out of the Gemini and Apollo manned spaceflight programs. In this position he became well known as the "Voice of NASA's Mission Control," and the "Voice of Apollo." He also established the first NASA open-door museum at the Johnson Space Center (formally known as the Manned Spacecraft Center) in Houston. Paul Haney served with distinction throughout the Gemini program and the early phases of the Apollo program. He retired from NASA on April 25, 1969, after the successful Apollo 9 mission. Paul Haney passed away on May 28, 2009, in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

29° 30.802, -095° 07.397

Lakeview Mausoleum
Forest Park East Cemetery

October 9, 2009

Frances Sanger Mossiker

   Frances Mossiker, writer, was born on April 9, 1906, in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Elihu and Evelyn (Beekman) Sanger. She was raised in wealth derived from the family business, the prosperous manufacturing and retail establishment Sanger Brothers. She frequently visited her mother's family in France and became fluent in French and German. She attended the Hockaday School and Forest Avenue High School and attempted to join the circus at fifteen but was stopped by her grandfather, Alexander Sanger. She enrolled at Smith College but was prevented by college policy from remaining a student after she eloped with Frank Beaston, an actor, about 1922. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard in 1927, did graduate work at the Sorbonne in Paris, then moved to Detroit and to Hollywood with her husband; the marriage ended in divorce about 1929, and she returned to Dallas.

   Frances Beaston worked as a radio commentator in Dallas and Fort Worth. She married businessman Jacob Mossiker on October 15, 1935. The couple traveled widely and lived comfortably. They had no children. When she was in her early fifties, while recovering from a radical mastectomy, Frances Mossiker began to research the disappearance of a diamond necklace in eighteenth-century France. Through family and friends she gained access to primary documents in France, and the result was the nonfiction mystery The Queen's Necklace, published in 1961. The book won the Carr P. Collins award from the Texas Institute of Letters. Mossiker was the first woman to win the prize. She followed this book with the Literary Guild selection Napoleon and Josephine: The Biography of a Marriage (1964), The Affair of the Poisons (1969), More Than a Queen: The Story of Josephine Bonaparte (1971), Pocahontas: The Life and Legend (1976), and Madame de Sevigne: A Life and Letters (1983). She donated her papers to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, to Boston University, and to Smith College. She died on May 12, 1985, in Dallas and was entombed at Hillcrest Mausoleum. Source

32° 52.093, -096° 46.815

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

October 6, 2009

Joseph Henry Barnard

   Joseph Henry Barnard, military surgeon and diarist, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on April 21, 1804. He was a sailor for three years before graduating from Williams College in 1829. He practiced medicine in Canada until 1835, when he moved to Chicago. He left for Texas on December 14, 1835, and enlisted in the revolutionary army as a private with the Red Rovers. While surgeon to James W. Fannin, Jr.'s command, he was captured at Goliad, but his life was spared so that he might treat the wounded Mexicans at Goliad and San Antonio. In San Antonio he lived with José Ángel Navarro. Barnard's diary is one of the best sources of information covering this period. He served in the army in Galveston from June 10 to October 28, 1836. He moved to Fort Bend County in 1837, was county clerk in 1838-39, and represented the county in the House of the Eighth Congress, 1843-1844. He married Mrs. Nancy M. Danforth on July 30, 1841. Dr. Barnard moved to Goliad and lived there until 1860, when he went on a visit to Canada, where he died in 1861. Source

30° 15.935, -097° 43.644

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 2, 2009

Clarence Wilbert "Candy" Green

   Pianist Clarence "Candy" Green was born on March 15, 1929 in Galveston, Texas. His mother played piano, accompanying herself on spiritual numbers, and she taught Green from a young age. Preferring the secular music of the vibrant Southeast Texas blues and jazz scene to gospel, at age fifteen Green began playing for tips in the juke joints and brothels of the area. He quickly became a favorite among patrons and the other musicians.

   From 1945 to 1948, Green traveled with the Merchant Navy, igniting a lifelong wanderlust, but when he was home he would perform in his usual haunts. In 1947, rather than continue to play solo, he decided to form a group. Recruiting tenor saxophonist Johnny Fontenette, who later joined Roy Brown's band, Horace Richmond on bass and Rip Bolden on drums, the combo found regional success with one of Green’s compositions, Galveston Blues. After performing on radio station KGBC, Green was approached by Eddie Henry, who operated Eddie's Records on Houston's Dowling Street. Henry recorded the Green combo, cutting Galveston Blues and another original song called Green's Bounce. Before the record was released, Henry went out of business and the band broke up. Green continued touring alone through Louisiana and Texas.

   In 1950, Green approached Peacock label owner Don Robey, and secured a three year contract. Going into the studio with Bill Harvey’s band, Green recorded one of his most enduring songs, Hard Headed Woman. Unhappy with the promotion and compensation Peacock offered, despite his contract, Green avoided recording again with Robey, and turned down other offers to record. Although drafted into the Army, when on leave Green played often with legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery. While in the Army, Green gained his nickname, “Candy.” According to Green himself, women gave him the nickname because of his sweet disposition. It stuck, and he was henceforth known as Candy Green. In 1952, still under contract to Peacock, Essex Records of Philadelphia offered to record him. Using the name "Galveston Green", Green recorded My Time is Your Time, using Rathe Lee on tenor-sax, Kinrey Bailey on bass and Lawrence Harris on drums. Soon after, he recorded Bad Shape Blues for the Monarch label. Neither of those records met with much commercial success, and Green soured on the recording industry.

   Green’s wanderlust manifested itself in the mid-1950s, when he traveled to Mexico City with Paul Love’s band. The gig ended, but Green stayed, running a jazz club called the Echo. In 1958 he left Mexico intent on traveling, and headed for Copenhagen. He spent the next thirty years gigging, working in bars and clubs, and traveling throughout Scandinavia and Central Europe. He recorded under the name "Candy Green" for the Supraphon label, and found quite a measure of celebrity in Europe, if not in his native haunts of Galveston and Houston. Green died at the age of 59 on April 13, 1988 in Galveston and buried in the Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.804, -095° 26.898

Section K
Houston National Cemetery