January 28, 2011

William S. Fisher (?-1845)

William S. Fisher, soldier and secretary of war of Texas, son of James and Margaret (Nimmo) Fisher, moved to Texas from Virginia in 1834 and settled in Green DeWitt's colony at Gonzales. Fisher represented the municipality of Gonzales at the Consultation at San Felipe in 1835. On March 10, 1836, he joined the Texas army and on March 26 reinforced Sam Houston's army with the company that he had raised, Company I, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, and participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He remained in the army until June 10, 1836, and served again from June 27 to September 27, 1836. Appointed secretary of war of the Republic of Texas, he served from December 21, 1836, to November 13, 1837, but his was a recess appointment and was not confirmed when the Senate met because of the change to the Mirabeau B. Lamar administration. On January 23, 1837, Lamar appointed Fisher lieutenant colonel of a frontier cavalry regiment. On March 19, 1840, he was in command of two companies of regulars at San Antonio at the time of the Council House Fight. Later in 1840 he was attracted to the Republic of the Rio Grande and led 200 men to join the army of that organization at San Patricio. Returning to Texas after a few months of unsuccessful campaigning, he joined the Somervell expedition in 1842 and was elected captain. With Alexander Somervell's abandonment of the enterprise, Fisher was elected leader of those members of the expedition who continued on into Mexico on the Mier expedition. During the attack on Mier, Fisher was wounded. Imprisoned with his men by the Mexican general Pedro de Ampudia, Fisher was marched to Perote Prison. He was released in 1843 and returned to Texas, where he died at his home in Jackson County in 1845. Source

29° 17.617
-094° 48.701

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

January 25, 2011

John Austin Wharton (1828-1865)

John Austin Wharton, Confederate major-general, the son of Sarah Ann (Groce) and William Harris Wharton, was born near Nashville, Tennessee, on July 3, 1828. Wharton was brought to Galveston as an infant and spent his early years on a Brazoria County plantation. At the age of eight he was sent to the home of his uncle, Leonard W. Groce, for instruction under a Mr. Deans from Boston, who later founded a school at Galveston which Wharton attended until he was fifteen. From 1846 to 1850 Wharton attended South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina), where he served as a commander in the student cadet corps. In 1848 he married Eliza Penelope Johnson, daughter of David Johnson, the governor of South Carolina. Following college, Wharton returned to Texas and studied law with former United States Senator William Preston, Jack Harris, and Elisha M. Pease, all well-known and successful lawyers. After he was licensed to practice, Wharton established the firm of Wharton and Terry with Clint Terry at Brazoria.

In 1860 Wharton served as a Breckinridge presidential elector and later represented Brazoria County at the state Secession Convention, voting for secession. In addition to his career in law and politics, Wharton was also a planter of considerable means. The 1860 tax roll for Brazoria County showed that he owned $167,004 of taxable property, including 135 slaves. When the war began Wharton was elected captain of Company B, Eighth Texas Cavalry, better known as Terry's Texas Rangers. He rose to command the regiment after the deaths of Col. Benjamin F. Terry and Lt. Col. Thomas S. Lubbock. Wharton led his troop with distinction at the battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded. His leadership in the course of Gen. Braxton Bragg's 1862 Kentucky invasion earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general on November 18, 1862. His actions at the battle of Chickamauga in the fall of 1863 earned him another promotion, to the rank of major general. In February 1864 the general was transferred to Richard Taylor's Trans-Mississippi Department in Louisiana. Upon his arrival he was assigned to lead the cavalry and took part in the closing scenes of the Red River campaign. On April 6, 1865, while visiting Gen. John B. Magruder's headquarters at the Fannin Hotel in Houston, Wharton was killed by fellow officer George W. Baylor in a personal quarrel that grew out of "an unpleasant misunderstanding over military matters." Even though Wharton was found to have been unarmed, Baylor was acquitted of murder charges in 1868. Wharton was originally buried at Hempstead but was later moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Source

30° 15.904
-097° 43.603

Confederate Field
Texas State Cemetery

January 21, 2011

Isaac L. Jaques (?-1836)

Isaac L. Jaques, his wife and two daughters came to Texas via New York in October, 1835 and settled near Lynchburg. A few months later, on February 22, he volunteered to serve in Captain Duncan's Company for two weeks, before being transferred to Captain Thomas A. McIntire's Company on March 8. He fought at San Jacinto, but passed away several months later at his home in Lynchburg on August 8, 1836.

29° 45.241
-095° 05.351

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

January 18, 2011

Joseph Franklin Wilson (1901-1968)

J. Frank Wilson, U. S. Congressman, was born in Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas, March 18, 1901. In 1913, he moved with his family to the Texas Panhandle community of Memphis, Texas in Hall County. From September 1917 to June 1918, he was enrolled at Peacock Military College in San Antonio; from September 1918 to June 1919, Wilson attended the Tennessee Military Institute; and in 1923, Wilson graduated from Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas and was admitted to the bar the same year. He then moved to Dallas and began his law practice. He married Ruby Lee Hopkins in 1926. The couple later had a son, Joseph Franklin, and a daughter, Marion Sue. He began his political career as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1936 and later as chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee (1942-1945). In the 1946 Texas Congressional election, Wilson defeated primary opponent Sarah T. Hughes by 14,000 votes, then defeated Republican L.W. Stayart in the 1946 general election. He was re-elected in 1948, 1950 and 1952, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1954. He served as district judge of the criminal district court of Texas in 1943 and 1944, being known as Judge J. Frank Wilson. He was appointed judge of Criminal District Court No. 1, Dallas, Texas, in 1955, in which capacity he served until September 1968. During the Jack Ruby trial in Dallas, Wilson was granted a vacation so that his larger courtroom could accommodate Judge Joe B. Brown for the Ruby Trial. Wilson interrupted his vacation to fill in for the ailing Judge Brown.  He retired due to illness and died in Dallas, Texas on October 13, 1968.

32° 52.017
-096° 46.734

Monument Garden
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

January 14, 2011

James Allison York (1800-1869)

James Allison York, Republic of Texas veteran, was born July 4, 1800, in Kentucky. His father's name was James York, but only his mother's maiden name (Allison) is known. York moved to Texas with his family in 1821 and settled in present day Austin County. During Texas' fight for independence, York first enlisted in his brother's company, the Brazos Guards, as a second sergeant on October 7, 1835. York was one of the men who entered Bexar on December 5, 1835, in what later became known as the Storming and Capture of Bexar. After he was discharged on December 13, York enlisted in Moseley Baker's San Felipe Company on March 30, 1836. With Baker, York participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. After being discharged on May 29, 1836, he re-enlisted again, this time joining George W. Jewell's Company on September 19, 1836. Because of his service to Texas, York received 640 acres of land for taking part in the Storming and Capture of Bexar in December 1835. He also received 320 acres of land for serving in the army from October 7 to December 23, 1835. York died on February 6, 1869, and was buried near Sweet Home, Lavaca County, Texas. Because of the neglected state of the cemetery, the State of Texas reinterred York to the Texas State Cemetery on July 31, 1937. Source

30° 15.917
-097° 43.648

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

January 11, 2011

Alexander Hodge (1760-1836)

Alexander Hodge, a member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, the son of William Hodge, was born in Newton Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in 1760. A preponderance of evidence indicates that his mother was Mary Elliott, daughter of James Elliott, also of Cumberland County. Before his eighteenth birthday Alexander and his brother, William, Jr., moved to Edgefield District, South Carolina, where they served with the "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion and his brigade during the American Revolution. After the war Hodge moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia, where he read for the law and where his seven children were born. After 1806 he moved west through Kentucky, and in 1815 he was in Arkansas where he served as a magistrate in Spring River Township, Lawrence County. He met Stephen F. Austin, and in 1824 he and his family began the trip to Texas.

On April 12, 1828, Austin granted the old judge one of the leagues of land he had reserved for himself on the Brazos River and Oyster Creek near Fort Bend. Hodge served his district as comisario and alcalde. His plantation, Hodge's Bend, was a favorite stopping place for William B. Travis, James B. Bonham, Erastus (Deaf) Smith, and other persons of prominence in Texas history, as well as unknown travelers. His wife, Ruth, died in 1831. Hodge's sons and sons-in-law were active in the Texas Revolution. Hodge shepherded the women, children, and family slaves in their flight to safety. In her memoirs his granddaughter, Clarinda Pevehouse Kegans, described him as a tall, white-haired man who raised fine horses and was usually too preoccupied for his grandchildren. However, that changed during their escape. They traveled by night, and as they walked Hodge held some child's hand in his, and all through the dark night they could hear his voice - sometimes laughing, sometimes cajoling - even above the rain and thunder. They huddled in a thicket on April 21 and listened to the guns of San Jacinto. Hodge brought his family back to Oyster Creek, but he was ill and exhausted. He died on August 17, 1836, and is buried at Hodge's Bend Cemetery. Source

Note: Alexander Hodge's tombstone has two different dates for his birth year. It is inscribed as 1757 on the military marker, whereas the DAR medallion states that he was born in 1760. Recent genealogical research shows that he was born sometime between 1760 and 1762, with 1760 being the most likely.

29° 38.424
-095° 39.752

Hodge's Bend Cemetery
Sugar Land

January 7, 2011

John Plunkett (1808-1886)

John Plunkett was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1808, the son of John and Elizabeth (Keenan) Plunkett. His parents, because of financial reverses, emigrated to the United States in 1830 with their children and located near Andover, Massachusetts. His father only lived a short time after reaching America, dying at Baltimore on his return home from a visit to a brother in the South. In the year 1834, Plunkett came to Texas and settled at Matagorda where he engaged in merchandising and later in various other enterprises. At the onset of the Texas Revolution, he enlisted on February 23, 1836 with Robert J. Calder's Company for a term of three months, during which time he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. Upon his discharge on May 24, he re-enlisted in Captain Thomas Stewart's Company, Matagorda Volunteers for an unknown period, after which he returned home to his businesses. Plunkett died some fifty years later at his home in Matagorda, October 3, 1886, unmarried and childless, leaving his estate to his two sisters.

28° 42.008
-095° 57.327

Section D
Matagorda Cemetery

January 4, 2011

Ernest Bevil Ford (1916-1991)

Ernest B. Ford was born in D'Lo, Mississippi on February 23, 1916 to Ernest and Grace (Bevil) Ford. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1938. A natural songwriter, he collaborated on more than two hundred songs with many different composers; some of his best-known songs being Daddy Brings Home the Bacon (and Mama's Gotta Fry It); My Itty Bitty Kitty; Hum, Mister Hummingbird and You'll Be Just as Sweet at Sixty (As You Were At Sweet Sixteen). Among Ford's co-writers represented in this collection are Geoffrey O'Hara, J. Rosamond Johnson, Billy Mills, and Doc Bechtel. Ford retired in 1981 after serving 34 years as an advertising executive with the Houston Chronicle. Ford also owned the Gulf Coast Music publishing company. On April 16, 1991, Ford died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and buried in Houston.

29° 44.379
-095° 36.528

Section 407
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery