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