May 31, 2016

Andrew Jackson Houston (1854-1941)

A. J. 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

May 27, 2016

Michael Short (1797-1859)

Michael Short was born September 17, 1797 in Georgia. He fought in the War of 1812, and in February 1836 emigrated to Texas from Alabama to enlist in the Texas army. He was with Captain Alfred Henderson Wyly's 2nd Regiment Volunteers Infantry Company at San Jacinto. He died on February 4, 1859 while living in La Grange and buried in the city cemetery.

29° 54.644
-096° 52.057

La Grange Old City Cemetery
La Grange

May 24, 2016

Robert Francis Catterson (1835-1914)

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.

29° 25.290
-098° 27.997

Section A
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

May 20, 2016

Freeman Wilkinson (?-1839)

As is often the case with early Texas settlers, little is known of Freeman Wilkinson's history. He came to Texas in 1835 and served in the Texas Army from March 5 to June 5, 1836. He fought at San Jacinto with Thomas McIntire's Company, then transferred to Peter Dexter's Company a few days later. In 1838, he was living in Harrisburg County in and there married Delia Semore on January 23, 1839. Wilkinson died a few months later of yellow fever in Lynchburg and was buried on the San Jacinto battlefield.

29° 45.249
-095° 05.349

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

May 17, 2016

George Krause Kitchen (1844-1922)

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. Source

Gallantry in action.

29° 25.016
-098° 27.832

Lot 67
St. Mary's Cemetery
San Antonio

May 13, 2016

Thomas Pliney Plaster (1804-1861)

Thomas Plaster, soldier and planter, was born in North Carolina on June 26, 1804. He moved from Giles County, Tennessee, in 1835 with his wife, Dollie B. (Samuel), and established a plantation near the site of present Bedias in Montgomery (now Grimes) County, Texas. From March 1 until April 1, 1836, he served as a lieutenant in Capt. L. B. Franks's ranger company on the northern frontier. On April 2 he enlisted in Lt. Col. James C. Neill's so-called "Artillery Corps" and was elected second sergeant. At the battle of San Jacinto Plaster manned one of the "Twin Sisters." He was tried by court-martial for a now unknown offense and sentenced by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk to be reprimanded before the entire army on parade on the evening of June 27, 1836, and dismissed from service. He rejoined the army on July 5, however, as a private in Capt. George Washington Poe's First Artillery Battalion, and by August 1 had been promoted to quartermaster of the First Cavalry Regiment of the First Brigade, Army of the Republic of Texas. From then until November 22, 1836, he was stationed at Camp Johnson, on the Lavaca River. Thereafter he returned to his plantation, where by 1840 he owned 2,952 acres. By 1850 his Grimes County real estate had increased in value to $1,400. By 1860 it was worth $11,000, and that year he reported $6,000 in personal property. His wife died in 1857, at age forty-nine, in giving birth to their ninth child, named Dollie after her mother. Plaster served for several years as postmaster at Bedias, and after annexation he was elected to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He died of pneumonia in Austin on March 27, 1861, and is buried in the State Cemetery. At the time of his death he was doorkeeper of the Texas House of Representatives. Source 

30° 15.933
-097° 43.639

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

May 10, 2016

Martin Dies (1900-1972)

Martin Dies, congressman, son of Olive M. (Cline) and Martin Dies, was born on November 5, 1900, in Colorado City, Texas. He attended Cluster Springs (Virginia) Academy, graduated from Beaumont (Texas) High School, and earned a law degree from National University in Washington, D.C., in 1920. Dies soon joined his father's law firm in Orange and in 1930 was elected to Congress to represent the Second Congressional District, his father's old seat; he was the youngest member of Congress. In his early years he supported much of the New Deal but turned against it in 1937. Dies achieved fame as the first chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, established in 1938 to investigate subversion. The Dies committee welcomed testimony against any suspected communists. The Texas Senate established a similar committee that attempted to ferret out communists at the University of Texas in 1941 but could not discover any. Dies ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1941, finishing last in a four-way race won by Wilbert Lee (Pappy) O'Daniel. During World War II the Dies committee continued to oppose the New Deal and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, but in 1944 Dies announced his retirement after the CIO launched a vast voter-registration drive and found a candidate to oppose him.

In 1952 he won election to a new congressman-at-large seat, but he was not allowed to return to the HUAC, which believed that he had damaged the cause of anticommunism. When he ran for the Senate in the special election of 1957, state leaders such as Lyndon B. Johnson and Samuel T. (Sam) Rayburn, believing that Dies was too conservative to defeat liberal challenger Ralph Yarborough, attempted to pressure him out of the race in favor of Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey. Their effort failed, however, and they turned to another tactic. They attempted to change the laws pertaining to special elections, which required only a plurality, and make a majority vote necessary. The Texas leaders were hoping the change would necessitate a runoff and make a win for Yarborough more difficult. This gambit failed also, and Dies finished second to Yarborough. Dies married Myrtle M. Adams in 1920, and they had three sons. He practiced law in Lufkin between terms in Congress and after declining to run for reelection in 1958; he continued to warn that the United States was succumbing to communism. He wrote Martin Dies' Story (1963) and was the putative author of The Trojan Horse in America (1940), actually written by J. B. Matthews. From 1964 to 1967 Dies was a popular writer in American Opinion magazine. He died in Lufkin on November 14, 1972, and was buried there. Source 

31° 15.931
-094° 44.485

Last Supper Mausoleum
Garden of Memories

Hugh McLeod (1814-1862)

Hugh McLeod, soldier and legislator of the Republic of Texas, was born on August 1, 1814, in New York City, the son of Hugh and Isabella (Douglas) McLeod. The family soon moved to Macon, Georgia. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point on September 1, 1831, and graduated last in a class of fifty-six in 1835. He was brevetted second lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry on September 18, 1835, and ordered to Fort Jesup, Louisiana. On his way to his first posting, however, he visited Macon and there fell in with the Georgia Battalion volunteers for the Texas army-and accompanied it as far as Columbus, Georgia. Ardent in his desire to join the Texans, he resigned his United States Army commission, effective June 30, 1836. In Texas, McLeod advanced rapidly in rank, becoming adjutant general in the Army of the Republic of Texas in December 1837 and adjutant and inspector general in 1840. He served against the Caddos and Kickapoos in 1838, fought the Cherokees in 1839, and was wounded at the battle of the Nueces. He was appointed one of two negotiators with the Comanches before the Council House Fight in San Antonio in 1840. His official report on the fight is appended to the Journal of the Fifth Legislature of the Republic of Texas.

During this period he studied law and began practice in 1839. After his tenure as adjutant general ended on January 18, 1841, McLeod was commissioned a brigadier general on June 17 and appointed commander of the military component of the Texan Santa Fe expedition by President Mirabeau B. Lamar. McLeod's illness delayed the expedition somewhat and was perhaps a contributing factor in its failure. He was captured with the rest of the expedition and interned at Perote Prison through the summer of 1842. As an important prisoner, he was reported to have been treated well by his Mexican captors. Later that year he married Rebecca Johnson Lamar, a cousin of President Lamar. The couple had two children: a daughter, who died in infancy, and a son. Upon his return to Texas McLeod was appointed to the House of Representatives of the Seventh Congress (1842-43) from Bexar County, to fill the seat Samuel A. Maverick was forced to vacate when he was captured and taken to Mexico by Adrián Woll's raiders in September 1842. In 1844 he was returned to the House, again representing Bexar County, in the Ninth Congress (1844-45). In national politics McLeod was a Democrat except for a brief flirtation with the Know-Nothing party (or American party) in the mid-1850s, but locally he was a member of the anti-Houston faction. Before the Mexican War McLeod was once again appointed adjutant general of Texas.

He subsequently retired from public life and in 1850 became involved in the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, the first railroad company in Texas. In 1855 he was a delegate to the southern commercial convention in New Orleans. McLeod was commissioned a lieutenant colonel of state troops at the time of secession from the Union and participated in the capture of the federal forts on the lower Rio Grande. During the Civil War he was elected lieutenant colonel of the First Texas Infantry Regiment of what was later became Hood's Texas Brigade. When the regimental commander, Louis T. Wigfall, was promoted to brigadier general, McLeod was promoted to colonel and assigned to command of the regiment. He died of pneumonia near Dumfries, Virginia, on January 2, 1862. His body was returned to Texas and is buried in the State Cemetery in Austin. McLeod was characterized as a "fat, jovial man" and said to have been popular, in spite of his violent attacks on Sam Houston. Source 

30° 15.921
-097° 43.645

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

May 6, 2016

Michael Goheen (1807-?)

Michael Goheen was born in Catawissa, Pennsylvania sometime in 1807 and arrived in Texas in 1834. He applied for a land grant in October 1835, but did not receive it. In September of that year, he enlisted in the Texas army and commanded a company at the Storming and Capture of Bexar (December 5-10), after which he left the service. He re-enlisted in March 1836 during the Texas Revolution as a member of James Gillaspie's company and fought with that unit at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21. During his enlistment, he served as postmaster of Electra and stayed in the army until November 20, 1836 when he was discharged. He was living in Grimes County in June 1850, but shortly thereafter moved to Harris County where he died some time prior to August 30, 1850.

Note: Unmarked. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. Michael Goheen's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

May 3, 2016

Mary Stanley Bunce Palmer Shindler (1810-1883)

Mary Shindler was a poet of the southern United States. Her father, the Rev. B. M. Palmer, was pastor of a Congregational Church at Beaufort, and when she was three years old he moved with her to Charleston, South Carolina, where she was educated. In Charleston, she was educated by the Misses Ramsay, the daughters of David Ramsay, the historian. The summer of 1825 her parents spent in Hartford, Connecticut, and she was placed for six months at a female seminary in the neighboring town of Wethersfield. In 1826 she was placed at a young ladies’ seminary in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. She pined for her Southern home, and at the expiration of six months was allowed to return to the arms of her parents. She subsequently spent several months at a seminary in New Haven, Connecticut. In June 1835, Mary Palmer married Charles E. Dana, and moved with him first to New York City, and in 1837 to Bloomington, Iowa. During this time she occasionally wrote little pieces of poetry, but did not publish them. Before her marriage, however, she had written considerably for the Rose-Bud, a juvenile periodical published in Charleston by Mrs. Gilman. On her husband's death, she returned to her family in Charleston.

   To give herself mental occupation, she now began to indulge in literary pursuits. She had always been very fond of music, and finding very little piano music that was suitable for Sunday playing, she had for several years been in the habit of adapting sacred words to any song which particularly pleased her. To wean her from her sorrows, her parents encouraged her to continue the practice, and this was the origin of the first work she published, The Southern Harp. At first she had no idea of publishing these little effusions, but having written quite a number of them, she was advised to print a few for the use of herself and friends. The work, however grew under her hands, until finally, becoming much interested in the design, she decided to publish, not only the words, but the music. She visited New York for this purpose in 1840, and the work appeared early in 1841. In the early 1840s, she experienced a change in her religious views, which attracted considerable attention, and led to her next publication. She had been bred a Calvinist, but during the year 1844 she began to entertain doubts about the doctrine of the Trinity, and finally, to the grief of her revered parents, and numerous friends, early in the year 1845, she avowed herself a Unitarian. Both her parents died within weeks of each other, and in 1848, she became an Episcopalian. In May of that year, she married the Rev. Robert D. Shindler, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, who was for a time professor in Shelby College, Kentucky. She moved with her husband in 1850 to Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and in 1869 to Nacogdoches, Texas, where she passed away in 1883.

31° 36.187
-094° 38.932

Oak Grove Cemetery