April 24, 2012

Frost Thorn (1793-1854)

Frost Thorn, empresario and merchant said to have been the first Texas millionaire, was born in Glen Cove, New York, in 1793. He first came to Texas with the trading company of William Barr and Peter Samuel Davenport. On April 15, 1825, he and Haden Edwards obtained empresario contracts from the Mexican government. During the same year Thorn was married to Susan Wroe Edwards, daughter of Haden Edwards. The couple had three children. Thorn donated land for church sites, served on the board of health of Nacogdoches, aided Stephen F. Austin in getting colonists into Texas, attempted to persuade José de las Piedras to join in the revolution against Anastasio Bustamante, was elected to the state legislature of Coahuila and Texas, and was chairman of the Nacogdoches committee of vigilance and safety during the Texas Revolution. He also aided in the establishment of the University of Nacogdoches and served on the board of trustees. Thorn's chief interest was in the acquisition of land. Besides his own empresario contracts with Benjamin R. Milam and Green DeWitt, whereby he obtained a share in each of their grants from the Mexican government, he acquired additional titles to land grants until his holdings amounted to hundreds of thousands of acres. His other business activities included trade with the Indians in the areas of his landholdings, a general store in Nacogdoches operated in partnership with Haden Edwards, a bank, a salt mine, and a lumber business. Thorn also operated large farms both in Texas and in Louisiana and attempted the establishment of towns in East Texas, one of which, called Thornville, was located north of Nacogdoches. His business activities resulted in the accumulation of a fortune estimated at well over a million dollars. He died in Nacogdoches on December 3, 1854, and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. Source

COORDINATES
31° 36.178
-094° 38.964


Oak Grove Cemetery
Nacogdoches

April 17, 2012

Sidney Sherman (1805-1873)

Sidney Sherman, soldier and entrepreneur, one of ten children of Micah and Susanna (Frost) Sherman, was born at Marlboro, Massachusetts, on July 23, 1805. Sherman was orphaned at twelve and at sixteen was clerking in a Boston mercantile house. The next year he was in business for himself but failed for lack of capital. He spent five years in New York City; in 1831 he went to Cincinnati. In Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio from Cincinnati, Sherman formed a company, the first to make cotton bagging by machinery. He was also the first maker of sheet lead west of the Alleghenies. Sherman became a captain of a volunteer company of state militia in Kentucky and in 1835 sold his cotton bagging plant and used the money to equip a company of fifty-two volunteers for the Texas Revolution. The volunteers left for Texas by steamer on the last day of 1835. That they were already regarded as soldiers in the Texas army is shown by a land certificate for 1,280 acres awarded Sherman for services from December 18, 1835, to December 16, 1836. They carried with them the only flag that the Texans had for the battle of San Jacinto. Sherman's volunteers went down the Ohio and the Mississippi and up Red River to Natchitoches, where Sherman was detained by illness. They reached Texas the day before the election for delegates to the Convention of 1836. Sherman's company demanded and received the right to vote.

They proceeded to San Felipe, where they were received by Governor Henry Smith and Sherman received his command. When Sam Houston organized his first regiment at Gonzales in March 1836, Edward Burleson was made colonel and Sherman lieutenant colonel. The army was reorganized at Groce's Ferry and Sherman, recently promoted to colonel, was given command of the Second Regiment of the Texas Volunteers. On the retreat across Texas, Sherman was eager to fight. At the Colorado he asked permission to re-cross the river and engage Joaquín Ramirez y Sesma, but his request was refused. On the afternoon of April 20, 1836, the opposing armies faced each other at San Jacinto. Sherman called for volunteers to seize the Mexican cannon, but the weapon was withdrawn. On the following day Sherman commanded the left wing of the Texas army, opened the attack, and has been credited with the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo." After the battle he acted as president of the board of officers that distributed captured property among the soldiers. President David G. Burnet refused to accept Sherman's resignation when the fighting was over and instead commissioned him as colonel in the regular army and sent him to the United States to raise more troops.

After weeks of illness Sherman made his way back to Kentucky and sent troops and clothing back to Texas. His wife, the former Catherine Isabel Cox, returned to Texas with him. They established their home, Mount Vernon, a one-room log house, on a bluff below the San Jacinto battleground. In 1839 the family moved to Cresent Place on San Jacinto Bay. Sherman was Harris County's representative in the Seventh Congress of the Republic, serving as chairman of the committee on military affairs. During his term in office he introduced a bill to establish the position of Major General of the Militia and increase protection along the western and southwestern frontiers. In 1843 he was elected major general of militia, a position he held until annexation. It was in his capacity as head of the militia that he presided over the trial of Capt. Edwin W. Moore. After annexation, Sherman moved to Harrisburg and with the financial support of investors bought the town and the local railroad company. The town was laid out anew, and he organized the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway Company, which constructed the first rail line in the state. In 1852 Sherman was among the passengers when the steamer Farmer burst its boilers; he was saved by clinging to a piece of wreckage. In 1853 the Harrisburg sawmill, owned by Sherman and DeWitt Clinton Harris, was burned. After his residence also burned, Sherman sent his family to Kentucky, and he moved into the railroad office at Harrisburg. Then that office burned. Sherman was keeping the Island City Hotel in Galveston when the Civil War came. Appointed commandant of Galveston by the Secession Convention, he performed his duties ably until he became ill and retired to his home on San Jacinto Bay. A son, Lt. Sidney Sherman, was killed in the battle of Galveston. David Burnet Sherman, the remaining son, died after the family moved to Richmond, and Mrs. Sherman died in 1865. Sherman spent his last years in Galveston. He died there at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J. M. O. Menard, on August 1, 1873. Sherman County and the city of Sherman in Grayson County are named in his honor. Source

COORDINATES
29° 16.392
-094° 49.566

Section C
Lakeview Cemetery
Galveston

April 10, 2012

William DeArmond (1838-1874)

William DeArmond was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1838. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in the late 1860s or early 1870s as a sergeant in Company 1, 5th Infantry. On the morning of September 9, 1874, a supply train with a small cavalry escort, began the long trek from their encampment to General Nelson Miles expedition force camped at Battle Creek, which force had been in the field and was in desperate need of resupply. The supply train was attacked by a large Indian war party as it emerged from a canyon on the Upper Washita River. Though vastly outnumbered, the cavalry fought fiercely as the train continued onward in what became a daylong fight. DeArmond was killed in action in the heavy fighting and was one of six soldiers cited for "Gallantry in action" on the first day of the three-day running battle. Seven other soldiers were similarly cited for continuing acts of heroism for the full term of the desperate struggle for survival, and the valiant efforts to reach General Miles with the supplies his 650-man force desperately needed. Since DeArmond's body was never recovered from the battlefield, a cenotaph in his name was placed in San Antonio National Cemetery.

CITATION
Gallantry in action.

COORDINATES
29° 25.278
-098° 28.022

Section MA
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

April 3, 2012

James Monroe Goggin (1820-1889)

James Monroe Goggin, soldier and planter, son of Pleasant Moorman and Mary Otey (Leftwich) Goggin, was born on October 23, 1820, in Bedford County, Virginia. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point with the class of 1842, although he did not graduate. He moved to the Republic of Texas, where he served in the Texas army as a lieutenant in the First Infantry and acquired large landholdings, principally in Waller County. Goggin lived in Missouri, California, and Tennessee from 1844 until 1861, when he entered the Confederate Army as major of the Thirty-second Virginia Infantry. He was commended for gallantry and appointed brigadier general to rank from December 4, 1864, but probably because there was no vacant brigade at the time, the appointment was subsequently canceled, and he returned to staff duty at his former rank of major. After the war Goggin returned to Texas and was a planter in Waller County until about 1883, when he moved to Austin. He married Elizabeth Nelson Page on February 13, 1860, and they had several children. He died in Austin on October 10, 1889. He and his wife were buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 16.642
-097° 43.589

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin