April 27, 2010

Warren DeWitt Clinton Hall (1794-1867)

Warren D. C. Hall, early settler, was born in Union County, South Carolina, in 1794, the son of Warren and Mary Sims Hall. As a youth, he moved with his family to Louisiana. He studied law in Natchitoches and in 1812 joined the Mexican Republican Army of the North, under José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Augustus W. Magee. He was elected a captain in the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition and participated in the opening engagements, including the battle of Rosillo in 1813. He resigned his command and returned to Louisiana in protest against the butchery of royalist prisoners, reportedly ordered by Gutiérrez, at Alazán Heights. In November 1814, Hall volunteered to serve six months with a company of Louisiana volunteers and participated in the defense of New Orleans against the British as the War of 1812 ended. He received a bounty land warrant for 160 acres for his service. In 1816-1817 Hall participated in filibustering expeditions, including one led by Francisco Xavier Mina and Gen. Louis Michel Aury that occupied Galveston Island. He also supported the revolutionary movement headed by Gen. James Long in 1819-1820. Though he allegedly befriended Jean Laffite on Galveston Island, Hall took no part in the buccaneer’s sometimes questionable activities.

In November 1828 Hall and his wife, Julietta, a native of New York, settled near Columbia in Brazoria County. After taking an oath of allegiance to the Mexican government on December 21, 1829, Hall quickly became active in colonial affairs. In 1832 he was second in command of the Texans at Anahuac in the protest against John Davis Bradburn and participated in the battle of Velasco. In October he attended the Convention of 1832 at San Felipe as a delegate from Liberty Municipality. Affairs were for a time quiet, and Hall retired to his farm. He was among the charter members of the first Masonic lodge in Texas, organized at Brazoria by John A. Wharton in 1834, and helped train William T. Austin for a duel with Wharton that year. In 1835 Hall was made a member of the committee of safety at Columbia, and in November represented Columbia at the Consultation. After the revolution broke out he was able to advance Stephen F. Austin $500 in an 1835 campaign for "expresses, spies, corn, beeves, etc." Hall was appointed adjutant general by David G. Burnet early in 1836 and later acted as secretary of war of the Republic of Texas while Thomas J. Rusk was with the army. Hall held the rank of colonel and commanded the post at Velasco until May 26, after independence had been won at San Jacinto. He again served the republic in September 1842, when he joined the forces that expelled Adrián Woll.

After 1836 Hall practiced law in Brazoria County for several years and served three years (1843-46) as justice of the peace. He established China Grove Plantation, fourteen miles south of Houston, and raised sugar. Tax rolls for 1840 showed that he owned more than 17,000 acres of land and ninety slaves. In 1843, however, financial difficulties, which plagued him throughout his years in Texas, forced him to sell China Grove to Albert Sidney Johnston. He continued to reside in Brazoria County during the early 1850s when he surveyed and speculated in choice bottomland in Harris County and helped finance the building of the Columbus Tap Railroad. By January 1853, Hall moved to west Galveston Island where is resided at a home called “Three Trees” and maintained a ferry to Velasco. He died of a stroke in Galveston in April 1867 and was buried in the Trinity Episcopal Cemetery there. His wife Juliette lived in Galveston until her death in March 1878. Hall County, which was created in 1876 and organized in 1890, was named in honor of Warren D. C. Hall. Source

29° 17.617
-094° 48.728

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

April 20, 2010

Frederick W. Ogden (1808?-1859?)

Frederick W. Ogden, lawyer and political figure, was born in Kentucky about 1808. He had arrived in Texas by 1839, and ultimately settled in San Augustine, where he became the district attorney of the First Judicial District. He later moved to Jefferson County; there he secured a land certificate in 1842. Voters from that county elected him to the House of the Eighth Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1843-44. During that assembly Ogden was known as an advocate of annexation. He returned to Jefferson County and was appointed a notary public on February 1, 1850. Although trained in both medicine and law, he practiced only the latter while in Texas. He and his wife, Mary, a native of New York, had at least five children. According to the 1850 census Ogden's real estate was valued at just over $1,500. A brother, James Ogden, was killed on the Mier expedition after drawing a black bean. Frederick Ogden died in Beaumont about 1859. Source

30° 06.104
-094° 06.042

Magnolia Cemetery

April 13, 2010

John Avery Lomax (1867-1948)

John Avery Lomax, folklorist, the son of James Avery and Susan Frances (Cooper) Lomax, was born on September 23, 1867, in Goodman, Mississippi. In August 1869 the Lomaxes set out for Texas in two covered wagons. They arrived in Bosque County before Christmas and settled on a farm north of Meridian. Young Lomax learned to do farm work and attended short terms of school between crops. As his home was located on a branch of the Chisholm Trail, he heard many cowboy ballads and other folk songs; before he was twenty, he began to write some of them down. In 1887 he had a year at Granbury College. With that training he taught for a year at Clifton and for six years at Weatherford College; he spent a summer in study at Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, and three summers at Chautauqua. In 1895 he enrolled at the University of Texas, from which he graduated in 1897. He remained at the university as secretary to the president, as registrar, and as steward of the men's dormitory. In 1903-04 he taught English at Texas A&M. On June 9, 1904, he married Bess B. Brown; they had two sons and two daughters.

In 1906 Lomax received a scholarship at Harvard University, where Barrett Wendell and George Lyman Kittredge encouraged him to take up seriously the collection of western ballads he had begun as a youth. He collected by means of an appeal published in western newspapers and through his own vacation travel, supported by private funds from the two Harvard professors. In the back room of the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth he found cowhands who knew many stanzas of The Old Chisholm Trail. A Gypsy woman living in a truck near Fort Worth sang Git Along, Little Dogies. At Abilene an old buffalo hunter gave him the words and tune of Buffalo Skinners. In San Antonio in 1908 a black saloon keeper who had been a trail cook sang Home on the Range. Lomax's first collection, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, was published in 1910. From 1910 to 1925 Lomax was secretary of the Alumni Association, which became the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas, except for two years, 1917-19, when he was a bond salesman in Chicago. He was active in the fight to save the university from political domination by James E. Ferguson.

From 1925 until 1931 he was vice president of Republic National Company in Dallas. His first wife died on May 8, 1931, and on July 21, 1934, he married Ruby R. Terrill. Lomax was one of the founders of the Texas Folklore Society and was president of the American Folklore Society. In his collecting of folk songs, he traveled 200,000 miles and visited all but one of the forty-eight states. Often accompanied by his son, Alan, he visited prisons to record on phonograph disks the work songs and spirituals of black inmates. At the Angola prison farm in Louisiana, he encountered a talented black minstrel, Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Upon Lead Belly's release from prison, Lomax took him on a tour in the north and recorded many of his songs. In 1919 he published Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp; it was republished in 1927 and in 1931. With his son, Lomax edited other collections: American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), Negro Songs as Sung by Lead Belly (1936), Our Singing Country (1941), and Folk Song: U.S.A. (1947). In 1947 his autobiographical Adventures of a Ballad Hunter (1947) was awarded the Carr P. Collins prize as the best Texas book of the year by the Texas Institute of Letters. Beginning in 1933 Lomax was honorary curator of the Archive of Folksong at the Library of Congress, which he helped establish as the primary agency for preservation of American folksongs and culture. He died at Greenville, Mississippi, on January 26, 1948. He was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Source

30° 16.514, -097° 43.502

Section 2
Oakwood Cemetery

April 6, 2010

Robert Rankin (1753-1837)

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