August 25, 2015

George Krause Kitchen

   George K. Kitchen, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1844, son of George Kitchen. Both of his parents were born in England. Kitchen married a woman named Annie, who died in 1915, and later a second wife named Emma. Sgt. George K. Kitchen was in Texas with Company H, Sixth United States Cavalry, on the upper Washita River on September 9, 1874, with Lyman's wagon train, attempting to reach Gen. Nelson A. Miles's forces on the Washita River, when the company was attacked by a large force of Indians. They engaged the enemy from September 9 to 14 under very difficult conditions. Kitchen was awarded the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action." After leaving the army he lived in San Antonio for seventeen years and worked in the United States Post Office there. He died at Kelly Field No. 2 on November 22, 1922, and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, San Antonio.

Gallantry in action.

29° 25.016, -098° 27.832

St. Mary's Cemetery
San Antonio

August 18, 2015

Benjamin Brigham

   The son of Asa and Elizabeth Brigham, Benjamin arrived in Texas from Louisiana in April 1830, with his parents and brother Samuel. They made their home in Brazoria Municipality as a part of Austin's Third Colony on November 30, 1830. In early 1836, he enlisted as an orderly sergeant in Captain Robert J. Calder's Company of Brazoria Volunteers. Benjamin Brigham was mortally wounded at the Battle of San Jacinto, dying on the night of April 22nd.

Note: In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232, -095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

August 11, 2015

Robert Francis Catterson

   Robert Francis Catterson was born in 1835 on a farm near Beech Grove in Marion County, Indiana. He was the son of an Irish immigrant, but his father died in 1840 when Robert was only five years old. Catterson's education began at Adrian College in Michigan, and then he attended Cincinnati Medical College in Ohio, precursor to the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. After completing his medical studies, Catterson established a medical practice in Rockville, Indiana, just prior to the start of the American Civil War.

   When the American Civil War began in 1861, Catterson chose to follow the Union cause. He gave up his medical practice and volunteered to serve in the Union Army, enlisting in the 14th Indiana Infantry Regiment. On April 23 Catterson was mustered in as a private into Company A of the 14th, and on June 7 was promoted to first sergeant. Catterson was then elected as an officer, and he was commissioned a second lieutenant on July 5. The following year he was promoted to first lieutenant on March 15, 1862. In 1862 Catterson saw his first battle during the Valley Campaign, participating in the First Battle of Kernstown on March 23, and was promoted to captain on May 4. Catterson next fought during the Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam on September 17, where he was wounded. Upon recovering, Catterson was appointed lieutenant colonel in the 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry on October 18, and its commander as colonel on November 25. Catterson and the 97th Indiana served the Battle of Memphis in Tennessee on June 6, 1862, and the subsequent occupation of the city, until late in 1862. He then took part in the Siege of Vicksburg in the spring of 1863 and the Tullahoma Campaign that summer. Catterson and his command participated in the Third Battle of Chattanooga on November 23-25, and the Atlanta Campaign throughout the summer of 1864.

   During Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's March to the Sea in the winter of 1864, Catterson was part of the Army of the Tennessee, heading a brigade in its XV Corps beginning on November 22, 1864. He fought in the Carolinas Campaign of 1865, participating in the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina on March 19-21, the fight considered the last major engagement of the American Civil War. Also during the Carolinas Campaign, Catterson served very briefly as chief of staff to Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the commander of the XV Corps. He then returned to his brigade, leading it for the rest of the campaign and to the end of the war. Catterson was brevetted to brigadier general in the Union Army on May 31, 1865, and was mustered out of the volunteer service on January 15, 1866.

   After the war, Catterson chose not to return to practicing medicine; he moved to Arkansas, where he tried and failed at cotton speculation. He then became commander of the Arkansas Negro militia under Governor Powell Clayton, engaged in fighting against the Ku Klux Klan members operating there, and also as a United States Marshal. During Clayton's successful political run for the U.S. Senate, Catterson was removed as marshal when he lost the favor of Clayton, and replaced by Isaac Mills. He would later command the Brooks forces, during the Brooks-Baxter War. Catterson was the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, from 1872 to 1874. After serving as mayor, he moved to Minnesota, where he was unsuccessful as both a farmer and a farm implement merchant. He died at the age of 79 at the Veterans' Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, after suffering from a stroke and buried in the San Antonio National Cemetery at Section A, Grave 176/177.

29° 25.290, -098° 27.997

Section A
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

August 4, 2015

Andrew Jackson Houston

   Andrew Jackson Houston, politician, son of Sam and Margaret (Lea) Houston, was born at Independence, Texas, on June 21, 1854. In 1874, after attending various military academies and colleges including Baylor, he mustered the Travis Rifles to protect the new post-Reconstruction Democratic legislature. He was admitted to the bar at Tyler in 1876 and was United States district court clerk from 1879 to 1889. In 1892 he accepted the "Lily-white" Republican nomination for governor, though the party was split and had no chance of winning. In 1898 Houston gathered a troop of Rough Riders for Theodore Roosevelt, and in 1902 he accepted President Roosevelt's appointment as United States marshal in East Texas, a post in which he served until 1910. In 1910 and 1912 Houston again accepted futile nominations for the governorship, this time on the prohibition slate. He then returned to his legal practice in Beaumont. He was awarded several honors in the 1930s, including the post of honorary superintendent of San Jacinto State Park (now San Jacinto Battleground State Park). In 1938 he published Texas Independence, a book about his father's role in the Texas Revolution.

   After the death of United States senator Morris Sheppard on April 9, 1941, Governor W. Lee O'Daniel wanted to replace Sheppard as senator himself, but was required to appoint an interim senator to serve until election time. He had to find someone of some prominence who would like to be senator but would not run against him in the special election. O'Daniel selected Houston, who was two months short of his eighty-eighth birthday and disabled by illness. At that time Houston was the oldest person ever to serve in the United States Senate. There was some doubt that he would even enter the Senate chamber, since his daughters did not want him to risk the long trip. He did, however, travel to Washington a few weeks after his appointment. There he died after attending one committee meeting. On June 26, 1941, Houston's body was returned to Texas and buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. He had been married twice-to Carrie G. Purnell, who died in 1884, and to Elizabeth Hart Good, who died in 1907. Three daughters survived him. Source 

30° 43.596, -095° 32.839

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery