August 26, 2014

Zeno Phillips (1802-1835)

Zeno Philips, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, on July 19, 1824, received title to a sitio of land in what is now Brazoria County. The census of March 1826 classified him as a farmer and stock raiser, a single man aged between twenty-five and forty, with one servant and twenty-two slaves. In March 1829 Philips and John R. Harris acted as partners in one of the first large contracts for cotton in Texas, when they bought about 100 bales from Jared E. Groce. Philips was a lieutenant colonel in the local militia in August 1829. The same year he was defeated as a candidate for regidor. In December 1830 he was administering the estate of Joseph White. Source 

Note: Unmarked. This small field was originally the site of the Phillips family cemetery. Although there were once several stones, none exist now. Outside of the historical marker at the gate, nothing remains that denotes this as a burying ground. 

COORDINATES
29° 09.202
-095° 42.439


Phillips Family Cemetery
West Columbia

August 19, 2014

Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson (1814?-1883)

Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson (also spelled Dickerson), survivor of the Alamo, was born about 1814 in Tennessee, perhaps in Williamson County. Her first name has also been recorded as Susan, Susana, and Suzanna; her maiden name is sometimes given as Wilkinson. On May 24, 1829, she married Almeron Dickinson before a justice of the peace in Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee. The couple remained in the vicinity through the end of 1830. The Dickinsons arrived at Gonzales, Texas, on February 20, 1831, in company with fifty-four other settlers, after a trip by schooner from New Orleans. On May 5 Dickinson received a league of land from Green DeWitt, on the San Marcos River in what became Caldwell County. He received ten more lots in and around Gonzales in 1833 and 1834. The Dickinsons lived on a lot just above the town on the San Marcos River, where Susanna took in at least one boarder. A map of Gonzales in 1836 shows a Dickinson and Kimble hat factory in Gonzales. Susanna's only child, Angelina Elizabeth Dickinson, was born on December 14, 1834. Susanna and her daughter may have joined other families hiding in the timber along the Guadalupe River in early October 1835, when Mexican troops from San Antonio demanded the return of an old cannon lent to Gonzales four years earlier. The resulting skirmish, the battle of Gonzales, was the first fight of the Texas Revolution. Susanna said goodbye to her husband on October 13 as the volunteers left for San Antonio under command of Stephen F. Austin. She remained in Gonzales through November, when newly arriving troops looted her home. She joined Dickinson in San Antonio, probably in December 1835, and lodged in Ramón Músquiz's home, where she opened her table to boarders (among them David Crockett) and did laundry. On February 23, 1836, the family moved into the Alamo.

After the battle of the Alamo on March 6, Mexican soldiers found her - some accounts say in the powder magazine, others in the church - and took her and Angelina, along with the other women and children, to Músquiz's home. The women were later interviewed by Santa Anna, who gave each a blanket and two dollars in silver before releasing them. Legend says Susanna displayed her husband's Masonic apron to a Mexican general in a plea for help and that Santa Anna offered to take Angelina to Mexico. Santa Anna sent Susanna and her daughter, accompanied by Juan N. Almonte's servant Ben, to Sam Houston with a letter of warning dated March 7. On the way, the pair met Joe, William B. Travis's slave, who had been freed by Santa Anna. The party was discovered by Erastus (Deaf) Smith and Henry Wax Karnes. Smith guided them to Houston in Gonzales, where they arrived after dark about March 12. Susanna Dickinson probably followed the army eastward in company with the other Gonzales women. Illiterate, without family, and only twenty-two years old, she petitioned the government meeting at Columbia in October 1836 for a donation, but the proposed $500 was not awarded. She needed a male protector, and by June 1837 she was cohabiting with John Williams, whom she married about November 27, 1837. He beat her and Angelina, and she petitioned in Harrisburg (later Harris) County for a divorce, which was granted on March 24, 1838 - one of the first divorces in the county.

By 1839 Almeron Dickinson's heirs had received rights to 2,560 acres for his military service; they sold the land when Angelina reached twenty-one. Subsequent requests to the state legislature in November 1849 were turned down. Susanna tried matrimony three more times before settling into a stable relationship. She wed Francis P. Herring on December 20, 1838, in Houston. Herring, formerly from Georgia, had come to Texas after October 20, 1837. He died on September 15, 1843. On December 15, 1847, Susanna married Pennsylvania drayman Peter Bellows (also known as Bellis or Belles) before an Episcopalian minister. In 1850 the couple had sixteen-year-old Angelina living with them. But by 1854 Susanna had left Bellows, who charged her with adultery and prostitution when he filed for divorce in 1857. Susanna may have lived in the Mansion House Hotel of Pamelia Mann, which was known as a brothel, before marrying Bellows. The divorce petition accuses her of taking up residence in a "house of ill fame." Nevertheless, Susanna received praise from the Baptist minister Rufus C. Burleson for her work nursing cholera victims in Houston, where he baptized her in Buffalo Bayou in 1849. Susanna's fifth marriage was long-lasting. She married Joseph William Hannig (or Hannag), a native of Germany living in Lockhart, in 1857. They soon moved to Austin, where Hannig became prosperous with a cabinet shop and later a furniture store and undertaking parlor; he also owned a store in San Antonio. Susanna became ill in February 1883 and died on October 7 of that year. Hannig buried her in Oakwood Cemetery, and even though he married again, he was buried next to Susanna after his death in 1890. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 16.524
-097° 43.602

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery
Austin

August 12, 2014

Edwin Hawley "Eddie" Dyer (1900-1964)

Eddie Dyer, baseball player and manager, son of Joseph Dyer, was born in Morgan City, Louisiana, on October 11, 1900. After attending public schools there, he enrolled in Rice Institute, Houston, where he played football and baseball. He was a member of the class of 1924 but did not graduate until 1936, after playing with various minor-league baseball teams. As manager of the Houston club of the Texas League he won league championships in 1939, 1940, and 1941, and in 1942 he was named minor-league manager of the year for his direction of the Columbus, Ohio, team. Thereafter, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals and was manager of that club when it won the World Series in 1946 by beating the Boston Red Sox four games to three. After twenty-three years as a player, manager, and coach, Dyer moved to Houston in 1948 and opened an insurance office. He relinquished managership of the Cardinals in 1950. On January 2, 1962, he suffered a stroke and on April 20, 1964, died of a heart attack. He was described in the Official Encyclopedia of Baseball as a "slow-speaking and quick-thinking Texan" and was considered one of the best teachers and developers of young baseball talent. Source 

COORDINATES
29° 43.032
-095° 18.227

Section 53
Forest Park Lawndale
Houston

August 5, 2014

Robert Allan Shivers (1907-1985)

Allan Shivers, governor of Texas, was born on October 5, 1907, in Lufkin, Texas, the son of Robert Andrew and Easter (Creasy) Shivers, and spent his early childhood at Magnolia Hills, the family home near Woodville. By the age of thirteen he was "doing a man's job" after school and during the summer at a nearby sawmill. When his father moved to Port Arthur, Shivers completed his secondary schooling, graduating from Port Arthur High School in 1924. He then entered the University of Texas, intent upon becoming a lawyer like his father. At the end of his first year he dropped out of school to work at an oil refinery in Port Arthur. But by 1928 he had re-entered the University of Texas, determined to participate fully in campus life and to graduate. He ran for and was elected president of the Students' Association and was a member of the Friars, the Cowboys, and Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. In 1931 Shivers graduated with a B. A. degree and also passed the state bar exam, although he did not receive his LL. B. degree until two years later. He engaged in private law practice in Port Arthur until 1934, when he was elected as a Democrat to the state senate, at age twenty-seven the youngest member ever to sit in that body. In 1937 he married Marialice Shary of Mission, whose father, John H. Shary, was a prominent citrus fruit grower, cattleman, banker, and realtor in the Rio Grande valley. In 1943 Shivers entered the United States Army and during the next 2½ years served with the Allied Military Government in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany.

Upon his discharge from the army in 1945 with the rank of major (with five battle stars and the Bronze Star), Shivers became general manager of his father-in-law's business enterprises. But he soon decided to pursue an ambitious political career. In 1946 he ran for and was elected state lieutenant governor; he was reelected two years later. Together with Democratic Governor Beauford H. Jester, Shivers helped bring Texas into the twentieth century. As lieutenant governor he initiated the practice of appointing senators to specific committees and setting the daily agenda. Subsequently, the Senate passed a right-to-work law, reorganized the public school system with the Gilmer-Aikin Laws, appropriated funds for higher education, including the Texas State University for Negroes (now Texas Southern University), and provided monies for improvements of state hospitals and highways. On July 11, 1949, Beauford Jester died; subsequently Shivers assumed the governorship, which he held effectively for the next 7½ years. During his tenure he pushed through significant legislation as well as reforms of state government. He helped create the Legislation Council, which researches and drafts bills, and the Legislative Budget Board, which sets the budget for legislative consideration. Shivers also expanded state services by pushing tax increases through the legislature. His administrations thus augmented appropriations for eleemosynary institutions, retirement benefits for state employees, aid for the elderly, teacher salaries, and improvements for roads and bridges. During his terms of office the legislature also enacted laws pertaining to safety inspection and driver responsibility, legislative redistricting in 1951 (the first in thirty years), and the expansion of juries and grand juries to include women in January 1955. But Shivers was probably best known for defending state claims to the Tidelands against the Truman administration and his break with the national Democratic party over this issue. As a result, he was instrumental in delivering the state's electoral votes in 1952 to Republican nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower and the subsequent congressional approval in 1953 of the state's claim to the Tidelands.

During the last years of his governorship, his popularity diminished. Because of his support of Eisenhower in 1952 he was accused of disloyalty to the Democratic party. He also lost support for his opposition to Brown v Board of Education, which legally ended segregation. And even though Shivers was never implicated in any way, his administration became tainted with corruption because of state scandals involving insurance and veterans' lands. After retiring from politics in January 1957, Shivers served in a number of capacities. He actively managed vast business enterprises in the valley, which his wife inherited. He served on the board of directors or as chairman for a number of banks, including the Austin National Bank (later Interfirst Bank Austin) and Texas Commerce Bank. He was president of the United States Chamber of Commerce and, for a time, chairman of the advisory board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. In 1973 Shivers was a appointed to a six-year term to the University of Texas Board of Regents, whereupon he served as chairman for four years. During this time he donated his Austin home, the historic Pease mansion, to the university to help raise funds for the UT law school. In 1980 he was instrumental in securing a $5 million grant for the UT College of Communications, which soon thereafter established an endowed chair of journalism in his honor. On January 14, 1985, Shivers died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He was survived by wife Marialice, three sons and a daughter, and ten grandchildren. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.908
-097° 43.640

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin