June 24, 2014

Stephen Heard Darden (1816-1902)

Stephen Heard Darden, public official and soldier, son of Washington Lee and Ann (Sharkey) Darden, was born in Fayette County, Mississippi, on November 19, 1816. He traveled to Texas in 1836 as a volunteer under Capt. David M. Fulton for service in the Texas Revolution. Darden served as clerk in the office of the comptroller in September 1836. He returned to Madison County, Mississippi, in the early 1840s but was back in Texas in 1841 and purchased land on the Guadalupe River in Gonzales County. He represented the county for two terms in the state House of Representatives and once in the state Senate. In 1861, as a state senator, he initially opposed secession but finally voted with the majority; at the coming of the Civil War he was elected first lieutenant of Company A of the Fourth Texas Infantry in Hood's Texas Brigade. He served under colonels Robert T. P. Allen, John Bell Hood, and John F. Marshall. He was elected captain of his company on May 20, 1862, but after the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) that September he resigned due to ill health. Darden was the appointed colonel in command of the Fifth Infantry regiment of state troops on the Texas Gulf Coast in 1863 and, upon the death of John A. Wilcox, was elected to fill the unexpired term in the Second Confederate Congress, where he took his seat on November 21, 1864.

As a Confederate congressman Darden served on the Naval Affairs Committee. As a firm states'-rights advocate he opposed the growth of the central government of the Confederate States of America and thus generally voted against the Jefferson Davis administration. While he supported higher taxation, a larger army, and a powerful commander-in-chief, he fought against taxation in kind, centralized control over transportation and production, and the confiscation of slaves for public works. Darden was financially ruined by the war and apparently returned to his Gonzales County farm. When Reconstruction ended he was appointed comptroller of public accounts and served from 1873 to 1879. He recommended that the school money be invested in state bonds and thus raised the bonds to par. Although he retired from office in January 1881 because of his age, he accepted the chief clerkship in his old department. He was appointed superintendent of public buildings and grounds on February 9, 1884, and chief clerk of the comptroller's department in January 1887. He assisted in organizing the state Democratic party in 1871 and was secretary of the Texas Veterans Association from 1886 until his death. Darden may have been married four times; the last time to Catherine Mays in March 1862. He died at Wharton on May 16, 1902, and was buried in the State Cemetery, Austin. Source 

Note: The birth date on his stone is incorrect.

30° 15.920
-097° 43.651

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

John Rabb (1798-1861)

John Rabb, early settler, son of Mary (Smalley) and William Rabb, was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on January 1, 1798. The family moved successively to Ohio, Illinois, and then Jonesboro (i.e. Jonesborough), Arkansas, where John married Mary Crownover on October 2, 1821. He came to Texas in 1822 as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists and lived for a time near San Felipe de Austin. He was given title to a sitio of land now part of Fort Bend and Austin counties on July 8, 1824. He finally settled on Rabb's Prairie in what is now Fayette County, where he and his father received a bonus of land for building a grist and saw mill. Rabb went on an Indian campaign under John Henry Moore to Fort Tenoxtitlán in 1835 and in 1840 was again in military service when he joined a company under his brother, Thomas J. Rabb. After joining the Methodist Church in 1834, Rabb gave land to the missionary society of the church and to Rutersville College, for which he was treasurer in 1840. He also contributed the lumber for building the first Methodist church in San Antonio. In 1845 he was vice president of the Fayette County Temperance Society. Rabb later moved to Hill County and, in 1860, to Travis County, where he helped to settle Barton Springs. He died there on June 5, 1861, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery. Source

30° 16.559
-097° 43.611

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

June 17, 2014

Francis James "Salty" Parker (1912-1992)

"Salty" Parker, baseball player, coach and manager, was born July 8, 1912 in East St. Louis, Illinois. He played in the major leagues for only one month (August 13, 1936 - September 16, 1936), appearing in eleven games for the Detroit Tigers. After a lengthy minor league managerial career, including a stint managing Leones de Escogido in the Dominican Republic (1957-59), Parker coached for the San Francisco Giants (1958-61), Cleveland Indians (1962), Los Angeles/California Angels (1964-66; 1973-74), New York Mets (1967) and Houston Astros (1968-72) and served brief stints as manager of the Mets and the Astros. After his MLB coaching career, Parker scouted for the Angels and remained active in Houston-area baseball, coaching in the Karl Young League for many years.

29° 44.434
-095° 36.617

Section 409
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery

June 3, 2014

Nathaniel C. Lewis (1806-1872)

Nathaniel C. Lewis, merchant and legislator, was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on June 11, 1806, the son of Nathaniel and Sarah (Hatch) Lewis. He went to sea at age fourteen in a whaling vessel. Accounts of his early life and journey to Texas are confused and contradictory. According to family legend he was shipwrecked on the coast of South America and taken to New Orleans and thence to Port Lavaca. Another story has him settling in Cincinnati, then proceeding to Texas on a boatload of tobacco that was seized by Mexican authorities. According to this account he was befriended by Castillo de la Garza, who took him to San Antonio in 1830. He entered the mercantile trade, first at Indianola and shortly thereafter in San Antonio. By 1832 he is said to have been involved in coastal trade. As a founder of the firm of Lewis and Groesbeck on Main Plaza in San Antonio, he became one of the leading merchants in the Southwest before the Civil War. He also established San Antonio's first gristmill, was an early real estate promoter and developer, and was the first large-scale cattleman in the region. He owned herds from the Medina River to the coast. When Santa Anna's forces entered San Antonio on February 23, 1836, Lewis fled to Gonzales, although he is reputed to have supplied the Alamo garrison from his store and was perhaps the last man to have left the mission before the battle of the Alamo on March 6. He is said to have served as a scout for Houston's army. After the battle of San Jacinto he returned to San Antonio to reestablish his mercantile business. In 1839 he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas from Bexar County. After 1840 he served several terms as alderman in San Antonio and once served as mayor pro tem. During the 1850s he was engaged in the freighting business between San Antonio and El Paso. Lewis was married twice, first to Letitia Groesbeck, then to Mary Fanny Liffering, with whom he had two children. He died in San Antonio on October 21, 1872. His brother, Henry M. Lewis, was a San Antonio attorney and editor of the West Texan. Source

29° 25.282
-098° 27.951

City Cemetery #5
San Antonio