December 30, 2011

Paschal Pavolo Borden (1806-1864)

Paschal Pavolo Borden, soldier, merchant, and surveyor, brother of Gail, Jr., Thomas H., and John P. Borden and son of Gail and Philadelphia (Wheeler) Borden, Sr., was born in Norwich, New York, in December 1806. The family moved to Kentucky, to Indiana, and, in 1829, to Texas. Borden served as an official surveyor for the state of Coahuila and Texas. On March 4, 1831, he received 1,102 acres of land in Stephen F. Austin's second colony, on Mill Creek in what is now Washington County. From 1831 to 1835 he farmed and helped in his father's blacksmith shop in San Felipe. During the Texas Revolution Borden was a member of Capt. John Bird's company from October 24 to December 13, 1835. He then served as a private in Moseley Baker's company until June 1, 1836. He fought in the battle of San Jacinto and was therefore granted 3,306 acres of land by the Fort Bend county board. In late 1836 at Columbia, he opened a general store with H. F. Armstrong, and in December 1837 he began a term as Fort Bend county surveyor, a position he combined with a private real estate enterprise. In September 1846 he was named administrator of the estate of Moses Lapham. By 1854 he was farming at Seclusion, near Egypt. Borden was married on February 3, 1838, to Frances Mary Heard, sister of William J. E. Heard; after Frances's death he married Martha Ann Stafford, on July 19, 1842. By his second wife Borden had three sons. He died on April 28, 1864. Source 

Note: This is a cenotaph. Originally this small piece of land was part of William Joseph Stafford's plantation grounds, which was known to have had a small family cemetery. The specific location of this cemetery has been lost, but in the 1960s local historians deemed this spot as the most likely area for the graveyard and several historical markers have been erected here denoting it so. His middle name is misspelled on his stone as Paolo.

29° 36.362
-095° 35.185

William J. Stafford Cemetery

December 27, 2011

Karle Wilson Baker (1878-1960)

Karle Wilson Baker, writer, daughter of William Thomas Murphey and Kate Florence (Montgomery) Wilson, was born on October 13, 1878, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her first name was originally spelled Karl; the e was added later, first appearing in Kate Wilson's diary in 1893. She attended public schools, Little Rock Academy, and Ouachita Baptist College and returned to graduate from Little Rock Academy, a high school, in 1898. She attended the University of Chicago periodically from 1898 to 1901 and later attended Columbia University (1919) and the University of California at Berkeley (1926-27). The only university degree that she held, however, was an honorary doctorate of letters conferred in 1924 by Southern Methodist University. From 1897 to 1901 Karle Wilson alternately studied at the University of Chicago and taught at Southwest Virginia Institute in Bristol, Virginia. In 1901 she joined her family, which had moved to Nacogdoches, Texas. She went back to Little Rock to teach school for two years but returned to Nacogdoches, and there, on August 8, 1907, she married Thomas E. Baker, a banker. They had a son and daughter. Karle Baker devoted the remainder of her life to maintaining her household, to writing, and to teaching (from 1925 to 1934) at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College (now Stephen F. Austin State University).

She wrote personal and historical essays, novels, nature poetry, and short stories. Her early writing appeared in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Century, Harper's, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner's, Putnam's, and the Yale Review, under the pen name of Charlotte Wilson. Yale University Press published her first volume of poetry, ninety-two lyrics collected under the name of the title poem, Blue Smoke (1919), which received favorable reviews in the United States and England. Yale also published a second collection of her poems, Burning Bush (1922), as well as two prose volumes, The Garden of Plynck (1920), a children's fantasy novel, and Old Coins (1923), twenty-seven short allegorical sketches. Baker was anthologized in The Best Poems of 1923, English and American, published in London, and in 1925 she won the Southern Prize of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, a competition open to poets living in the states of the former Confederacy. In 1931 a third volume of her poems, Dreamers on Horseback, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. By that time, however, she had begun to concentrate mainly on prose writing. As early as 1925 she had written The Texas Flag Primer, a Texas history for children that was adopted for use in the public schools. In 1930 The Birds of Tanglewood, a collection of essays based on her birdwatching, appeared. Tanglewood was the name that she gave to an area around her parents' second home in Nacogdoches. A second reader for children, Two Little Texans, was published in 1932. Her most notable prose works were two novels published when she was in her late fifties and early sixties. Family Style (1937), a study of human motivation and reaction to sudden wealth, is set against the background of the East Texas oil boom. Star of the Wilderness (1942) is a historical novel in which Dr. James Grant, a Texas revolutionary, figures. It later became a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. In 1958 Baker was designated an honorary vice president of the Poetry Society of Texas, of which she was a charter member. She had served in 1938-39 as president of the Texas Institute of Letters, of which she was a charter member and the first woman fellow. Still other recognition was given her by the Authors League of America, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Poetry Society of America. She died on November 9, 1960, and is buried in Nacogdoches. Source

31° 36.206
-094° 38.904

Oak Grove Cemetery

December 23, 2011

Thomas Fowle (1800-1836)

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, December 5, 1800, Thomas Fowle arrived in Texas May 1, 1835 and settled in Nacogdoches Municipality, where he worked as a wagon maker and surveyor. Well-educated, he was known to be highly skilled in martial exercises and was a notable scholar in the French, Spanish and Italian languages. In early 1836, he enlisted in a company raised by Captain (later Colonel) James Smith before being transferred and promoted to first sergeant in Captain William H. Smith's Cavalry Company. While leading a charge of cavalry at the Battle of San Jacinto, he fell mortally wounded and expired on the field soon after.

Note: This is a cenotaph. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232
-095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

December 20, 2011

Samuel Bronson Cooper (1850-1918)

Samuel Bronson Cooper, politician, son of Rev. A. H. and Elizabeth Cooper, was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, on May 30, 1850. The family moved to Texas in 1850, and the elder Bronson, a Methodist minister, died in 1853. Samuel was raised by an uncle and worked on a farm as a boy. He was admitted to the bar in 1872. He married Phoebe Young on October 15, 1873. He was elected county attorney of Tyler County in 1876 and again in 1878. He also helped in the early educational efforts of John Henry Kirby. Cooper served two terms in the state Senate, from 1880 to 1884, and was president pro tem during his second term. He wrote a bill granting each Confederate veteran 1,280 acres of state land. In 1885 President Grover Cleveland named him collector of internal revenue at Galveston, a position he held until 1888. Cooper ran unsuccessfully for district judge in 1889 but was elected in the Second Texas District to the first of six consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives in 1892. He was defeated by Moses L. Broocks in 1904 but came back to beat Broocks in 1906 for a position in the Sixtieth Congress, only to lose to Martin Dies in the 1908 race. While a member of the Congress, Cooper served on the House Ways and Means Committee. He helped secure $600,000 in federal appropriations to link Beaumont with the Port Arthur ship channel. With Cooper's support, a nine-foot-deep channel was dug in 1908; later improvements tied Beaumont to the Sabine-Neches Waterway and made the city a deepwater port. Cooper was chairman of the Texas delegation to the Democratic convention in Kansas City (1904). In 1910 President William Howard Taft appointed him to the Board of General Appraisers, a customs court that sat at New York. Cooper was affiliated with the Masonic lodge, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He died in New York on August 21, 1918, after a short illness. His funeral and burial were in Beaumont. He was survived by four of his five children, his wife having died in 1911. One of his daughters, William (Willie) Chapman Cooper, married William P. Hobby, and another married S. W. Sholars, congressman from Tyler County. Source 

30° 06.146
-094° 06.107

Magnolia Cemetery

December 16, 2011

Alfred Henderson Wyly (?-1867)

Alfred H. 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

30° 05.054
-096° 04.075

Hempstead Cemetery

December 13, 2011

Junius William Mottley (1812-1836)

Junius William Mottley, physician and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Virginia about 1812. In 1833 he matriculated in the medical college of Transylvania University, giving his home as Greensburg, Kentucky. Since the college has no record of his receiving a degree, he probably left for Texas before March 18, 1835, the date it would have been conferred. On January 24, 1836, Dr. Mottley was appointed surgeon for the post of Goliad, which he furnished with surgical instruments worth at least $125. He was a delegate from Goliad to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. When the convention was dissolved he hastened to rejoin the military forces. While serving as aide-de-camp to Thomas J. Rusk, Mottley was mortally wounded in the battle of San Jacinto; he died on the night of April 21, 1836, and was buried on the battlefield. His heirs could not be located, and his donation certificate for military service was sold at auction. Motley County was named in his honor. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph at Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them. His name is incorrectly inscribed on the monument as William Junius Mottley.

29° 45.232
-095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

December 9, 2011

Thomas August Graves (?-1861)

Graves came to Texas in 1831 as part of Robertson's Colony (located in present-day Milam County) and worked as a surveyor while waiting for his application for citizenship and land to be approved. Four years later, he finally received his title to one-fourth of a league of land on November 10, 1835. On January 14, 1836, he enlisted in Captain Sterling C. Robertson's Company of Rangers, but the company shortly afterward disbanded. He re-enlisted April 8, 1836 as a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina Volunteers and was with them at the Battle of San Jacinto. His enlistment ended on July 8, 1836, and he returned to his estate. He married in April 1837, and later that year was elected the first County Surveyor of Milam County. Several years later, for his service in the Texas army and for fighting at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was granted an additional three-fourths of a league and one labor of land near his homestead in Milam County. Graves died in Washington County in 1861 and was buried in the cemetery in Independence.

Note: Graves' burial site is unmarked and its exact location has been lost, but it is likely he is buried somewhere in the photo below where the majority of those who died in 1860-1864 rest.


Old Independence Cemetery

December 6, 2011

Denton Arthur Cooley (1920-2016)

Denton Cooley was born August 22, 1920 in Houston and graduated in 1941 from the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and majored in zoology. He became interested in surgery through several pre-medical classes he attended in college and began his medical education at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He completed his medical degree and his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also completed his internship. At Johns Hopkins, he worked with Dr. Alfred Blalock and assisted in the first "Blue Baby" procedure to correct an infant's congenital heart defect.

In 1946 Cooley was called to active duty with the Army Medical Corps. There, he served as chief of surgical services at the station hospital in Linz, Austria, and was discharged in 1948 with the rank of captain. He then returned to complete his residency at Johns Hopkins and remained as an instructor in surgery. In 1950 he went to London to work with Russell Brock. In the 1950s Cooley returned to Houston to become associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and to work at its affiliate institution, The Methodist Hospital. During the 1950s, Cooley began working with American cardiac surgeon, scientist, and medical educator Michael E. DeBakey. During that time he worked on developing a new method of removing aortic aneurysms, the bulging weak spots that may develop in the wall of the artery. In 1960, Cooley moved his practice to St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital while continuing to teach at Baylor. In 1962 he founded The Texas Heart Institute with private funds and, following a dispute with DeBakey, he resigned his position at Baylor in 1969. He and his colleagues worked on developing new artificial heart valves from 1962 to 1967; during that period, mortality for heart valve transplants fell from 70% to 8%. In 1969, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart designed by Domingo Liotta in a man, Haskell Karp, who lived for 65 hours. The next year, in 1970, "he performed the first implantation of an artificial heart in a human when no heart replacement was immediately available."

On March 13, 1972, the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society was founded at the Texas Heart Institute by the Residents and Fellows of Cooley to honor him. Founding President Philip S. Chua had envisioned this exclusive society to foster academic, professional and personal camaraderie among cardiac surgeons in the United States and around the world through scientific seminars and symposia. There are now more than 900 cardiac surgeons from more than 50 countries around the globe who are members of the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society.In the HBO film Something the Lord Made, Cooley was portrayed by Timothy J. Scanlin. Cooley filed for bankruptcy in 1988, citing real estate debts during a market downturn. Cooley and the heart surgeon Michael E. DeBakey had a professional rivalry that lasted more than 40 years. They made amends in a public rapprochement on November 7, 2007, when DeBakey was 99 years old (Cooley was 87). He died on November 18, 2016, at the age of 96. Source

29° 76.451
-095° 38.641

Section E-2
Glenwood Cemetery

December 2, 2011

Oscar Farish (1812-1884)

Oscar Farish was born on December 18, 1812, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and emigrated to Texas in October, 1835 to pursue his profession of land surveyor. He joined Captain McIntyre's Company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Regiment, and participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. In 1837 he was elected engrossing clerk of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. He was elected to be the first Clerk of Galveston County in 1856 and was holding that office when he died May 25, 1884.

29° 17.661
-094° 48.709

Range #3
Old City Cemetery

November 29, 2011

William Bacon Wright (1830-1895)

William Bacon Wright, Confederate legislator, was born in Columbus, Georgia, on July 4, 1830, the son of John Wright and a relative of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. According to his obituary in the San Antonio Daily Express he graduated from Princeton at the age of seventeen, but the university has no record of his attendance. He is also said to have established a law practice in Georgia in 1849. After residing briefly in Eufaula, Alabama, he moved to Texas in 1854 and established a law practice in the Lamar County community of Paris, where he soon became one of the region's foremost attorneys.

In 1857 he helped to found a male academy in Paris. Wright was elected as an alternate Democratic statewide elector for the 1860 presidential election. In December of that year he was appointed chairman of a committee to draw up a plan of secession for the state. In October 1861 he was elected to represent the Sixth Congressional District in the first regular session of the Confederate House of Representatives, where he served on the Patents, Claims, Enrolled Bills, and Indian Affairs committees. Although an opponent of taxation, in general Wright supported the policies of the Jefferson Davis administration. His most significant contributions to Confederate legislation were the exemption from conscription of all militiamen serving in frontier defense and the exemption from impressment of all slaves employed in the cultivation of grain. He was defeated in the congressional race of 1863 by Simpson H. Morgan and served for the remainder of the war as a major in the quartermaster corps on the staff of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.

After the war Wright practiced law for a time in Clarksville before returning to Paris in 1873. He is said to have defended the accused in ninety-three murder trials without losing a single case. He also remained active in politics, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875. Wright married a Miss Greer of Georgia in 1849, and they had four children. After her death he married Pink Gates of Mississippi in 1868; they had six children. In 1885 Wright moved to San Antonio, where he engaged in banking until his death on August 10, 1895. He is buried in Dignowity Cemetery. Source

29° 25.416
-098° 28.047

Section B
Dignowity Cemetery

November 25, 2011

James A. Chaffin (?-1879)

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.


Parker Cemetery
San Augustine

November 22, 2011

Hamilton James "Nick" Nichols (1924-2013)

Nichols attended Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston and excelled at collegiate football at Rice University. He was so impressive that he was elected a member of the 1944 College Football All-America Team. His studies yielded to his service with the United States Navy during World War II, where he was stationed in the South Pacific Theater. He returned to resume his athletics and was a contributor to the 1946 Owls squad which won the Orange Bowl. Nichols was selected by the Chicago Cardinals during the 1946 NFL Draft and appeared in 43 regular season games. During his years with the Cardinals, he served as a blocker for quarterback Paul Christman and experienced a world championship with the 1947 team which captured the NFL Title. The following season, he was a member of the Cardinals' squad which earned their second appearance in the NFL Championship Game. After concluding his football career with the Green Bay Packers in 1951, he went onto become a successful claims attorney. He died in Houston on July 6, 2013 at the age of 89.

29° 42.669
-095° 18.374

Section 31
Forest Park Lawndale

November 18, 2011

Joseph Edgar Smith (1818-1837)

Smith was born in 1818 to James and Selah Smith in Maury County, Tennessee. In late 1835, Joseph went to Texas and enlisted as a member of Capt. Robert Calder's Infantry Company K, 1st Regiment, Texas Volunteers, which he fought alongside at the Battle of Jacinto. As a veteran of the Texas Revolution, Joseph was awarded a donation grant of 640 acres for his service at the Battle of San Jacinto and a bounty grant of 320 acres for his service in the Texas Army in general. Joseph died before he ever saw any of the land he had earned. He passed when he was 19, on July 9, 1837 at the home of a family friend, Capt. James Gibson Swisher, on the Swisher Farm near the Old Gay Hill community in Washington County. Source

Note: His grave is unmarked but believed to be somewhere in the area shown below.


Old Independence Cemetery

November 15, 2011

Nancy Spencer Gray (1801-1863)

Nancy Gray, early Texas settler, moved to Texas from Tennessee with her husband, William S. Spencer, by April 1824. Karankawa Indians killed William in a fight on Bay Prairie in Brazoria. On August 19, 1824, as the widow of one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, Mrs. Spencer received title to a sitio now in Fort Bend County on the Brazos River eight miles above the site of present Richmond. In 1825 she married Thomas Barnett, and the colony census of March 1826 listed her as his wife. The Barnetts had six children. Barnett died on September 20, 1843. In 1845 Nancy married Thomas M. Gray. They had one son. Nancy Gray died on August 4, 1863, and was buried in the family cemetery.

29° 58.625
-95° 88.680

Barnett Cemetery

November 11, 2011

Francis Jarvis Cooke (1816-1903)

Francis Cooke, Texas revolutionary fighter and merchant, was born on July 13, 1816, in Beaufort, Carteret County, North Carolina, the son of Henry M. and Frances Barry (Buxton) Cooke. Mrs. Cooke died in February 1833. Henry Cooke, a successful merchant, shipper, and collector of customs, remarried the following January and soon departed for Texas with his new wife, Naomi, and with Francis and his six brothers and four sisters. On the journey Henry grew ill and died, on March 4, 1835, in Randolph, Tennessee. Naomi returned to North Carolina, but all eleven children continued to Texas, where they arrived on April 3, 1835. They originally settled in Matagorda County and planted crops, but were forced by a flood to flee. In Montgomery County they settled in a log cabin by a creek, but were again flooded out; this time they lost all they owned. They moved to higher land, were helped by neighbors, and started over again.

Francis and his brother Tom heard William B. Travis's plea for help from a courier and, with ten or twelve others from the area, joined Col. Albert C. Horton's company on its way to join James W. Fannin, Jr. The two brothers traveled to Victoria and there volunteered with seventeen others to transport a wagonload of lead and powder from Dimitt's Landing to the main army at Beeson's Ford. They were successful in this mission and fortunate to have volunteered for it, as most of the men who stayed at Victoria were killed. In the meantime, the rest of the Cooke family was fleeing in the Runaway Scrape; they eventually returned to their home after the war.

At Beeson's, Tom and Francis joined Capt. Robert J. Calder's company, in which Francis and his brother fought at the battle of San Jacinto. The night before the battle a friend in his company, Benjamin Brigham, asked someone to stand guard duty in his place, since he had been on duty the last two nights. Francis gave Brigham his bed for the night. Brigham was one of the first to be killed the next day in battle, and it is said that Mirabeau B. Lamar wrote his poem on the battle after viewing the body of Brigham and others. Francis Cooke continued to serve for a short time after the battle and served as one of Santa Anna's guards.

After the war he received 320 acres of land for his service from March 17 to June 20, 1836, and later 640 acres of land for his part at San Jacinto. In 1842 he enlisted again in the army for three months in Col. Joseph L. Bennett's regiment to take part in the campaign against Adrián Woll, though he did not join the Mier expedition. He served in the Texas Rangers for six weeks in 1843.

Cooke tried his skills as a merchant in both Houston and Brenham. While in Brenham, he fell ill and was nursed back to health by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McIntyre, Sr. On December 28, 1845, he married their niece, Emily Stockton. He was involved as a partner in businesses in Brenham, Houston, Chappell Hill, and Hempstead before retiring to his farm near Hempstead. He and Emily had eleven children, one of whom grew up to be "Senator" Annie Cooke, an influential figure in Texas politics in the first half of the twentieth century. Cooke died on November 11, 1903, and was buried in Salem Cemetery, near Howth. He was a member of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 1 of Houston and of the Texas Veterans Association. Emily died on September 4, 1908. In 1936 the state had a Texas Centennial monument placed at their graves, probably under the influence of Annie Cooke. Source

30° 10.145
-096° 05.565

Salem Cemetery

November 8, 2011

Clark Wallace Thompson (1896-1981)

Clark Thompson, politician and military leader, was born on August 6, 1896, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the son of Clark Wallace and Jesse Marilla (Hyde) Thompson. He grew up in Oregon and from 1915 to 1917 attended the University of Oregon, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta. On May 25, 1917, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After basic training he was stationed at Fort Crockett in Galveston, Texas, where he met Libbie Moody, daughter of William L. Moody, Jr. He was discharged from the marines as an enlisted man on December 15, 1918, and commissioned a second lieutenant in the marine reserves on December 16, 1918. Thompson married Libbie in Richmond, Virginia, on November 16, 1918. They had two children. Shortly after he was commissioned, the Thompsons moved to Galveston.

In 1919, Thompson became treasurer of the American National Insurance Company. In 1920 he left that business to open a mercantile firm, Clark W. Thompson Company, which he owned until 1932. In 1927 he became involved in the Cedar Lawn Development Company; he served as its secretary-treasurer until 1934. He was appointed public relations counsel for the Moody interests in 1936 and served until 1947, when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Continuing his connection with the United States Marine Corps as a member of the reserve, Thompson organized the Fifteenth Battalion of the USMC Reserves in 1936. He was called up to national service in 1940, attended the Naval War College in 1941, and in 1942 was sent to the Southwestern Pacific Theater with his unit; he was the oldest officer in his theater. In 1943 he was returned to Washington, D.C., to become director of the marine reserves, a position he held until he retired as a colonel in 1946. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service.

Thompson's concern with national defense led him into politics. In 1933 he was elected to represent the Seventh (later the Ninth) Texas Congressional District to fill the seat left vacant by Clay Stone Briggs. He made a mark with his legislative efforts to strengthen the military before he was redistricted and chose to step down. He was elected in 1946 to the same seat, on the death of Joseph Jefferson Mansfield, and held it until he retired on January 3, 1967. In the Congress he was a member of the Agricultural, Maritime and Fisheries, and Ways and Means committees. He and his wife were also an important part of the Washington, D.C., social scene; their home was known as the "Texas Embassy" or "Texas Legation," a central feature in the life of Washington during the 1950s and 1960s. Thompson played an important role in bridging the gap between different factions of the state Democratic party. In 1968, after retiring from the House, he became legislative consultant for Hill and Knowlton and director of the Washington office of Tenneco. Thompson was a member of the Episcopal Church. He was president of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce in 1931 and 1935–36 and a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Texas State Society; he was also a thirty-second-degree Mason and a Shriner. He died in Galveston on December 16, 1981, and was buried in Galveston Memorial Cemetery.

29° 21.256
-095° 00.360

Galveston Memorial Cemetery

November 4, 2011

Thomas Jefferson Sweeny (1812-1869)

Thomas J. Sweeny, soldier and planter, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 10, 1812, the son of John W. and Ann (Fuller) Sweeny. The family entered Texas on January 20, 1835. At Brazoria on August 9, 1835, Sweeny added his signature to a petition calling for a convention "to quite the present excitement and to promote the general interest of Texas," and on March 25, 1836, he and his brother William Burrell Sweeny enlisted as privates in Capt. William H. Patton's Fourth Company-the "Columbia Company"-of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. The brothers served at the battle of San Jacinto, where William was on detached duty in Capt. Henry Wax Karnes's cavalry company. Thomas Sweeny was discharged from the army on June 6, 1836. William was murdered in Brazoria in September 1840. In 1844 Sweeny married Diana Frances Haynie, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. They had five children. In 1850 their Brazoria County property was valued at $4,140. In January 1851 Sweeny was involved in a legal dispute over the ownership of a number of slaves that was argued before the Supreme Court of Texas. By 1860 he was a wealthy planter with $32,000 worth of real estate and $43,000 in personal property, including thirty-nine slaves, in Brazoria County. The topsoil on his plantation is said to have been twenty feet deep. At the time he employed a full-time overseer and a tutor for his children. Sweeny died at La Grange, Fayette County, in 1869 and was buried near the southwest Brazoria County community of Sweeny. His widow died in Angleton in 1904. Source 

29° 02.833
-095° 42.773

Sweeny Cemetery

November 1, 2011

Bill Goyens (1794-1856)

William Goyens (or Goings), early Nacogdoches settler and businessman, was born in Moore County, North Carolina, in 1794, the son of William Goings, a free mulatto, and a white woman. He came to Galveston, Texas, in 1820 and lived at Nacogdoches for the rest of his life. Although he could not write much beyond his signature, he was a good businessman. He was a blacksmith and wagonmaker and engaged in hauling freight from Natchitoches, Louisiana. On a trip to Louisiana in 1826, he was seized by William English, who sought to sell him into slavery. In return for his liberty, Goyens was induced to deliver to English his slave woman and to sign a note agreeing to peonage for himself, though reserving the right to trade on his own behalf. After his return to Nacogdoches, he successfully filed suit for annulment of these obligations.

During the Mexican Texas era, Goyens often served as conciliator in the settlement of lawsuits under the Mexican laws. He was appointed as agent to deal with the Cherokees, and on numerous occasions he negotiated treaties with the Comanches and other Indians, for he was trusted not only by them but also by the Mexicans and Anglo-Americans in East Texas. He also operated an inn in connection with his home near the site of what is now the courthouse in Nacogdoches. In 1832 he married Mary Pate Sibley, who was white. Sibley had one son, Henry Sibley, by a former marriage, but Goyens and Mary had no children.

During the Texas Revolution, Goyens was given the important task of keeping the Cherokees friendly with the Texans, and he was interpreter with Gen. Sam Houston and his party in negotiating a treaty. After the revolution he purchased what was afterwards known as Goyens' Hill, four miles west of Nacogdoches. By 1841 his property included 4,160 acres of farmland, several town lots, and nine slaves. He built a large two-story mansion with a sawmill and gristmill west of his home on Moral Creek, where he and his wife lived until their deaths. During his later life Goyens amassed considerable wealth in real estate, despite constant efforts by his white neighbors to take away what he was accumulating. He always employed the best lawyers in Nacogdoches, including Thomas J. Rusk and Charles S. Taylor, to defend him and was generally successful in his litigation. By 1856, Goyens owned 12,423 acres of land, including 4,428 acres in Angelina County. He died on June 20, 1856, soon after the death of his wife; they were both buried in a Nacogdoches County cemetery near the junction of Aylitos Creek with the Moral. At his grave a marker was erected by the Texas Centennial Commission in 1936. Many traditions grew up in Nacogdoches about this unusual man, and sometimes it is hard to tell just what is true and what is tradition. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. When construction encroached on the original gravesite, his marker was moved to the county courthouse grounds.

31° 36.209
-094° 39.384

Nacogdoches County Courthouse grounds

October 28, 2011

William Gammell (1812-1869)

William Gammell was born in Ayshire, Scotland on October 18, 1812. He and his parents immigrated to the United States, settling in Lowell, Massachusetts. He arrived in Texas during the spring of 1836, where he enlisted in the Texian Army on April 5. He served in the army under Captain Alfred Henderson Wyly and fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Gammell also served as a gunsmith for the new Republic of Texas, rebuilding firearms for the army in the summer of 1836. In the summer of 1837 he served under Captain John Bowyer in the "mounted gun men," a volunteer group established by the Republic of Texas for the protection of the northern frontier from Indians. Gammell married Jane McDaniel, a native of New York, on July 19, 1839 in Houston. The couple had no children. In 1842 Gammell was again called to defend his new homeland and enlisted in Captain James Gillespie’s company in the spring of that year to defend San Antonio against an invasion by the Mexican Army. He again took up arms in September of 1842 and fought under Captain Jesse Billingsley against the Mexican Army at the Battle of Salado Creek. Gammell traveled to California during the gold rush, but returned to Texas to settle on 390 acres just outside the city limits, now situated in Houston’s Fifth Ward.He opened a gunsmith shop on Congress Avenue in Houston around 1851 and operated the business until his retirement in 1866. Gammell died unexpectedly from pneumonia on April 10, 1869 and was buried in Houston’s Masonic Cemetery. In 1900 he was reinterred in the Deutsche Gesellschaft (German Society) Cemetery, which is now Washington Cemetery.

29° 45.981
-095° 23.326

Section A
Washington Cemetery

October 21, 2011

John W. McHorse (1819-1897)

John W. McHorse, a citizen of the Republic of Texas, was born in 1819 in Tennessee. He immigrated to Texas at the age of 17, probably by way of Alabama. Settling in Nacogdoches, McHorse enlisted in Captain Hayden Arnold's Company in Colonel Sidney Sherman's regiment of the Texas Army on March 10, 1836. On April 21, 1836, McHorse participated in the triumph of Texas independence at the Battle of San Jacinto where he suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand. He was discharged from the Texas Army in Victoria, Texas on June 1, 1836. After leaving the Army, McHorse lived with Jesse Walling for two months in Rush County, Texas. Walling was elected to the legislature and later provided confirmation of McHorse's service to the Republic, proving his eligibility for a pension. In 1837, McHorse returned to Alabama. On October 26 of that year, he enlisted as a corporal in Captain Bryson's Company of the North Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Seminole Indians Wars in Florida. He served for several months and was discharged on April 13, 1838, at Fort Mitchell, Alabama, ending his military career. In 1842, McHorse married Elizabeth Wilson, the daughter of James W. Wilson of Kentucky, in Jackson County, Alabama.

The next few years of McHorse's life were marked by the birth of five children and a move to Arkansas. On July 8, 1853, McHorse became ordained as a Baptist minister at the New Home Baptist Church in Clark County, Arkansas. He also bought and sold several tracts of land while in Arkansas. On October 25, 1858, he organized the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Sevier County, Arkansas. The church and the adjoining McHorse Cemetery still exist today. In late 1860, or early 1861, Elizabeth Wilson McHorse died, possibly from complications due to the birth of her last child, Thomas Mason, who was born on December 16, 1860. McHorse later remarried in 1861, to Rutha Jane, who was born in Mississippi. During the Civil War, McHorse was appointed a commissioner for the relief of families of Confederate soldiers in 1863. Between 1866 and 1870, McHorse and his family moved back to Texas where they settled in Milam County. In 1871, McHorse joined a Masonic Lodge in Falls County, Texas, an organization in which he remained active until his death. In 1874, he helped establish Macedonia, Williamson County, Texas and a Masonic lodge for the community. The community of Macedonia, Texas no longer exists today, except for a small country cemetery, where McHorse's second wife, Rutha Jane, and two children are buried.

In 1883, McHorse founded the city of Circleville, Texas, which is north of Taylor. He established a Masonic lodge there also. In 1889, he divorced Rutha Jane and later married Denisa Ann Harrison, granddaughter of President William Henry Harrison. In 1892, McHorse and Denisa joined the New Hope Baptist Church in Cedar Park, Texas. He was dismissed from the church in 1896 for "un-Christian conduct." This bleak period in his life also saw his divorce from Denisa, probably due to his dismissal from New Hope Baptist Church. McHorse died at his home in Leander, Texas on January 19, 1897 and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery on January 20, 1897.

Note: The stone is incorrect on his birthplace. John McHorse stated on his 1860 United States Census form that he was born in Tennessee.

30° 15.922
-097° 43.627

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 18, 2011

Charles August Albert Dellschau (1830-1923)

C. A. A. Dellschau, 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

29° 45.945
-095° 23.327

Section A
Washington Cemetery

October 14, 2011

Harvey Homan (?-1846)

A carpenter by trade, Homan was living in New Orleans when he was recruited into the Texas militia by Amasa Turner. He arrived at Velasco on January 28, 1836, aboard the schooner Pennsylvania. He officially enlisted the day after landing and was assigned to Captain Richard Roman's company, with whom he later fought at San Jacinto. Homan left service once his initial enlistment period was up, but re-enlisted January 18th as part of George M. Casey's company until December 17, 1837, when he left the army for good. He died in Houston in July, 1846 of unknown causes.

Note: This is a cenotaph. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day.

29° 45.431,
-095° 22.731

Founders Memorial Park

October 11, 2011

Hersal Thomas (1910-1926)

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's unmarked graves in an unmarked grave. Source


Evergreen Negro Cemetery

October 7, 2011

Luke O. Bryan (1807-1869)

Born at Berwick Bay, Louisiana, October 7, 1807, Luke O. Bryan came to Texas with his parents in 1834 and settled in Liberty Municipality. On March 6, 1836, he was mustered into the service of the Texian army at Liberty for a four month stint. He was first assigned as Second Lieutenant in Captain S.C. Hirom's company of Liberty Volunteers before transferring to Captain William Logan's Company, with whom he fought at San Jacinto. He re-enlisted on July 7, a few days after his initial term expired, as First Lieutenant in Captain Franklin Hardin's company until October 7, 1836, when he left the service permanently. He died October 7, 1869, and was buried in the Bryan family cemetery.

30° 04.273
-094° 48.181

Bryan-Neyland Cemetery

October 4, 2011

Isom Palmer (?-1874)

Isom Palmer, whose name has various spellings, was born to Martin and Sarah (Hardwick) Parmer. In 1825, the Palmer (Parmer) family moved to Texas, settling near Nacogdoches the next year, and participated in the 1826 Fredonian Rebellion. Palmer fought under Capt. John M. Bradley during the Siege of Bexar in late 1835. He then served as sergeant-at-arms at the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos. He later wed Laura E. Dougherty and moved to Brazos County in the early 1870s. Source

30° 41.042
-096° 22.025

Block 3
Bryan City Cemetery