August 28, 2012

Thomas Franklin "Tom" Hughes (1907-1989)

Tom Hughes was a reserve outfielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly at center field for the Detroit Tigers during the 1930 season. Listed at 6 ft 1 in, 190 lb., Hughes batted left-handed and threw right-handed. A native of Emmet, Arkansas, he attended University of Texas at Austin. In his one-season career, Hughes was a .373 hitter (22-for-59) in 17 games, including eight runs, two doubles, three triples, and a .413 on-base percentage. He died in Beaumont, Texas, at the age of 82. Source

30° 07.777
-094° 05.883 

Azalea Garden
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

August 21, 2012

James Morgan (1787-1866)

James Morgan, pioneer Texas settler, merchant, land speculator, and commander at Galveston during the Texas Revolution, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 13, 1787, the son of James and Martha (Prudun) Morgan. As a child he was taken to North Carolina, where he grew to manhood and married Celia Harrell. In 1830 he visited Brazoria and decided to open a mercantile business in Texas. After returning to the United States, he bound his sixteen slaves as indentured servants for ninety-nine years in order to get around the Mexican prohibition on slavery, and set out for Texas with his wife, two daughters, and a son. In New Orleans Morgan formed a partnership with John Reed, and the two of them purchased a schooner, Exert. Morgan went by land to Anahuac, where he opened a store. Reed soon arrived with a cargo of merchandise, upon which George Fisher, collector of customs, levied a tariff. Morgan's defiance of Fisher's evaluation established him as a leader and was possibly the reason for his being chosen to represent the Liberty Municipality in the Convention of 1832. In 1835 Morgan was appointed agent for a company called the New Washington Association, organized in 1834 by Lorenzo de Zavala and a number of New York financiers to develop Texas real estate. He immediately purchased for the company an enormous quantity of real estate in Harrisburg and Liberty municipalities, including the point at the mouth of the San Jacinto River variously called Rightor's, Hunter's, Clopper's, and later Morgan's Point. Here he laid out the town of New Washington.

The company brought to Texas a number of Scottish highlanders and free blacks from New York, including Emily D. West, the so-called Yellow Rose of Texas, and planned a colony of free blacks from Bermuda. As agent, Morgan also operated one of two ships belonging to the company. During the Texas Revolution these ships were often used by the Texas government. Morgan also supplied the civil and military branches with merchandise from his store. From March 20, 1836, to April 1, 1837, with the rank of colonel, he was commandant of Galveston Island and, as such, planned and effected the fortification of the island during the spring campaign of 1836. President Sam Houston later charged him with mismanagement in this work. After the revolution Morgan returned to the site of New Washington, which had been destroyed by the Mexicans, and erected for himself a dwelling named Orange Grove. For some time he continued to act as agent for the New York company and as such projected the town of Swartwout (named for Samuel Swartwout, one of the prime movers of the company) on the Trinity River. Morgan sought election to one of the congresses of the republic, but he lost because his neighbors were suspicious of his wealth. In 1843 he and William Bryan were the commissioners charged with the secret sale of the Texas Navy. During the 1850s Morgan was active in promoting the improvement of what later became the Houston Ship Channel. He owned extensive herds of cattle and reputedly imported the first Durham shorthorns into Texas. He also experimented with the cultivation of oranges, cotton, and sugarcane. At his home he entertained such notable guests as John James Audubon and Ferdinand von Roemer. Though he was completely blind during his last years, he twice saved himself from drowning when squalls overturned the boats in which he was crossing Trinity Bay. He died at his home on March 1, 1866, and was buried on his plantation. The family cemetery is now a public one, and the stones marking the graves of the Morgans have disappeared. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Morgan's family plot was at one time marked by a large tombstone bearing the names of family members. The stone disappeared and was found by fishermen years later submerged in the bay. Stolen again after its replacement, it was never recovered.

29° 40.736
-094° 59.568

Morgan's Point Cemetery
Morgan's Point

August 14, 2012

Benjamin W. Wightman (1755-1830)

Ben Wightman was born in Norwich, Connecticut on August 31, 1755, and served with the Tyron County Rangers of New York in the American Revolution. He married Esther Randall and became a Baptist minister. Benjamin and Esther had nine daughters, Jerusha, Lydia, Eunice, Lucy, Susan, Esther, Margaret, Amy and Clarissa, and two sons, Elias and Dimmis. In 1828 Elias, a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin, brought a group of colonists from New York to Matagorda - including his parents, Benjamin and Esther, and his sisters, Jerusha and Margaret. They traveled down the Mississippi River by flatboat to New Orleans, then sailed on the schooner Little Zoe to Matagorda, where they landed on January 1, 1829, the first sailing ship to enter the port. The first year they lived in a small stockade built by Stephen F. Austin. Esther Randall Wightman died of typhoid fever on June 20, 1830 becoming the first person buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. Six weeks later, on August 1, 1830, Wightman followed her.

28° 42.082
-095° 57.346

Section B
Matagorda Cemetery

August 7, 2012

Stephen William Blount (1808-1890)

Stephen William Blount, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, soldier, and county official, son of Stephen William and Elizabeth (Winn) Blount, was born in Burke County, Georgia, on February 13, 1808. He was elected colonel of the Eighth Regiment of Georgia Militia in 1833, served as deputy sheriff and sheriff of Burke County for four years, and was an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Robert Tootle and Maj. Gen. David Taylor from 1832 to 1834. He arrived in Texas in August 1835 and settled at San Augustine. He was one of the three representatives from San Augustine at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On March 17, 1836, when the convention adjourned, he returned to San Augustine and joined the Texas army in the company of Capt. William D. Ratcliff. He reached San Jacinto the day after the battle had been fought. Blount returned to the United States and in Alabama, sometime after February 1, 1838, married Mrs. Mary Landon Lacy; they had eight children. Blount brought his wife to Texas in 1839. He was the first county clerk of San Augustine County and from 1846 to 1849 was postmaster at San Augustine. He was a delegate to the Democratic state convention in 1850 and to the national Democratic convention at Cincinnati in 1876. He acquired 60,000 acres, on which he raised cotton. During the Civil War he was fiscal agent for the Confederate States of America. He was a charter member of Redland Lodge No. 3 at San Augustine, and a member of the Episcopal Church. He was vice president of the United Confederate Veterans when he died, on February 7, 1890. He was buried at San Augustine. An oil portrait of Blount by Stephen Seymour Thomas was presented to the Dallas Historical Society and placed on exhibit in the Hall of State in 1950. Source

31° 31.936
-094° 06.582

San Augustine City Cemetery
San Augustine