July 29, 2016

Joel Walter Robison (1815-1889)

Joel Walter Robison, soldier and legislator, was born in Washington County, Georgia, on October 4 or 5, 1815, the son of John G. Robison. He moved to Texas from Georgia with his parents and one sister in 1831 and settled first near Columbia in Brazoria County. With his father, he served in Capt. Henry Stevenson Brown's company at the battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832. In 1833 the family moved to a farm on the west bank of Cummings Creek in Fayette County, and Robison became a volunteer Indian fighter in the company of Capt. John York. He served at the siege of Bexar in 1835 and took part in the Grass Fight and the battle of Concepción. At the battle of San Jacinto, Robison was a private in Capt. William Jones Elliott Heard's Company F of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and was one of the party that captured Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Mexican general is said to have entered the Texan camp riding double on Robison's horse. On December 14, 1836, Sam Houston commissioned Robison a first lieutenant in the Texas Rangers. In 1837 Robison married Emily Almeida Alexander, who was born in Kentucky in 1821. They became the parents of seven children. In 1840 Robison owned 6,652 acres in Fayette County, and on January 31, 1840, he was elected commissioner of the Fayette County land office. His brother-in-law, Jerome B. Alexander, was killed in the Dawson Massacre in 1842. Robison became a prosperous planter and was elected in 1860 as a Democrat to the Eighth Legislature, where he favored secession. He served until 1862. From 1870 until 1879 he owned a store in Warrenton in partnership with one of his sons. At the end of the Reconstruction period he was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1875. Emily Robison died in 1887, and Joel died at his home in Warrenton on August 4, 1889. Both were buried in the Florida Chapel Cemetery near Round Top, but in 1932 their remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Robison, an active Mason, was second vice president of the Texas Veterans Association at the time of his death. Source 

30° 15.914
-097° 43.638

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 26, 2016

Edwin Oswald LeGrand (1801-1861)

Edwin LeGrand, soldier and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in North Carolina on June 28, 1801, the son of John and Margaret (Chambers) LeGrand. He married Martha McGehee in North Carolina in 1825 and in 1833 moved his family, consisting of a son and a daughter, to the Ayish Bayou District of Texas, now San Augustine County. On May 11, 1835, he received a land grant from the Mexican government. During the Texas Revolution he is said to have served under Capt. George English at the siege of Bexar, but his name does not appear on English's muster roll or on the list of those who received donation certificates for participating in the storming of the city on December 5-10, 1835. In February 1836 he was elected with Stephen William Blount and Martin Parmer as a San Augustine delegate to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. He reached Washington on February 28, the day before the convention began, and began to lobby energetically for independence from Mexico. On March 1, the opening day of the convention, he nominated for secretary Herbert Simms Kimble, who was easily elected. On March 3 LeGrand was appointed to the committee on privileges and elections and to a committee of five "to inquire into the actual condition of the army." He signed the Declaration of Independence on March 2 and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas on March 17. After the convention adjourned, he enlisted as a private in Capt. William Kimbrough's company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and took part in the battle of San Jacinto. From 1836 to 1838 he served as chief justice of San Augustine County. On November 18, 1839, he was elected inspector of the Third Brigade of the Texas militia. Nothing further is known about his family. From 1846 until his death in 1861 he lived at the home of his sister, Mrs. W. C. Norwood. He is buried in the Macune Cemetery, twelve miles south of San Augustine. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed a historical marker at his grave. Source

Note: His first name is misspelled on his stone. His name was Edwin, not Edward.

31° 24.836
-094° 09.794

Macune Cemetery

July 22, 2016

Hugh Montgomery Swift (?-1838)

A native of Hanover County, Virginia, Swift came to Texas in January, 1836, shortly after the rest of his family. He took the oath of allegiance to Texas at Nacogdoches on January 14, 1836 and within weeks enlisted in the Texican army on February 1. He initially served as a member of Captain Isaac N. Moreland's Company, with whom he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21. On June 24, he was commissioned Adjutant on the staff of the First Regiment of Artillery, under Colonel James C. Neill, and was honorably discharged on November 5, 1836. After his time in the army he worked as "a Mississippi River pilot like Mark Twain and a gambler" according to his descendants, likely up and down the Seguin River. Swift died June 15, 1838 and was buried in the Vaughan Cemetery in Seguin, Guadalupe County, in a grave that still remains unmarked.


Vaughan Cemetery

July 19, 2016

Richard Tice (1762-1848)

Richard Tice was born September 28, 1762 in Gloucester, New Jersey and first served as a "fifer" in a company commanded by Capt. Jonathan Williams as he was only 14 years of age and too young to handle a musket. He later served as a private at the Battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth as well as a number of smaller battles. He lived in Philadelphia, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York before coming to Independence, Texas some time after October 1842 to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Adam James Hall. Richard Tice died August 27, 1848 and buried in the Old Independence Cemetery. Source

30° 19.732
-096° 21.637

Old Independence Cemetery

William B. Bridges (?-1871)

William B. Bridges (Bridgers), early Texas farmer and public official and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, immigrated from Arkansas to Texas as early as April 1824 and received a sitio of land now in Jackson County on July 21 of that year. In April 1831 Mexican officials filed a character certificate and a land application under his name, listing him as a single farmer from Arkansas who was twenty-three years of age. In 1838 Bridges received a headright certificate for a labor of land in Gonzales County. W. B. Bridges was listed in the July 17, 1841, issue of the Austin Texas Sentinel as being delinquent in paying his 1840 taxes in Gonzales County. Bridges may have served as justice of the peace in Fayette County in 1843. On September 17, 1871, the Columbus Citizen reported the burial of a William Bridge, who had come to Texas "around 1825." Source

Note: The exact location of  Bridges' grave is unknown, but most historians believe that he was buried in the Lyons Family Cemetery, which is shown within the borders below in its entirety. It is now completely surrounded by Schulenburg's City Cemetery.

29° 41.121
-096° 55.164

Schulenburg City Cemetery

July 8, 2016

Willis Thomas Avery (1809-1889)

Willis Avery, Republic of Texas veteran and Texas Ranger, was born in North Carolina on October 15, 1809, to Vincent and Catherine Overton Avery. After the death of his father, Avery's mother married William McCutcheon, Sr. and moved to Lincoln County, Missouri. The McCutcheons had one son, William. While in Missouri, Avery met and married Elzina Weeks. Together, they had nine children, Nancy, Malinda, Vincent, Willis, Lucinda, Henry, Calvin, Harriet, and W.T. On November 12, 1832, the Avery's arrived in what is now Bastrop County. During Texas' fight for independence, Avery's step-father, Jennings, was said to have perished at the siege of the Alamo, while Avery joined Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina (Bastrop) Volunteers on February 28, 1836. The Mina Volunteers eventually became Company C of General Edward Burleson's regiment, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. Company C was made up of settlers who lived in and around Bastrop County. Because of his service for Texas, Avery was issued, on May 22, 1838, 640 acres of land. On March 20, 1840, he also received another 320 acres for serving in the army from February 28 to June 1, 1836. Ultimately, the Averys moved to Williamson County and settled on Brushy Creek, near Rice's Crossing, where Elzina died on March 1, 1870. Willis died on July 17, 1889, and both were buried in the family cemetery on their property. On July 3, 1938, the Averys' remains were moved to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Source

30° 15.923
-097° 43.649

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 5, 2016

Norman Downs "Red" Branch (1915-1971)

Red Branch was born on March 22, 1915 in Spokane, Washington. He played baseball at the University of Texas and signed with the New York Yankees in 1937. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander pitched for Norfolk of the Piedmont League his rookie year posting an impressive 14-4 record and earning promotion to Kansas City of the American Association. By 1939, Branch was with Newark of the International League where he worked primarily as a relief pitcher and appeared in 41 games that season. The 25-year-old made 30 appearances for Newark in 1940 and joined the Yankees in 1941. He made his major league debut on May 5, 1941 and appeared in 27 games for a 5-1 record and 2.87 ERA although he didn’t pitch in the World Series against Brooklyn. In 1942, he made just 10 appearances for the Yankees and entered military service with the Coast Guard at the end of the year. Branch was initially stationed at Groton in Connecticut before moving to the Coast Guard Academy at New London where he spent the rest of the war and pitched for the Coast Guard Dolphins. Returning from service at the end of 1945 with an injured arm, Branch pitched briefly for Newark and Beaumont in 1946 before retiring from the game. He returned to his home in Texas and played semi-pro ball for a number of years. He passed away in Navasota on November 21, 1971. He was only 56. Source 

30° 23.170
-095° 42.240

New Cemetery

July 1, 2016

Hezekiah Faris (1797-1859)

Hezekiah Faris (Feris, Farris) was born in Virginia on October 29, 1797 and emigrated to Texas from Tennessee in 1835. He enlisted with the Texas army from March 1, 1836 until May 30, as a private in Captain James Gillaspie's Company, with whom he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was awarded several land grants for his military service and chose one in what is now Walker County to settle on. On September 1, 1859, Faris died at his home and was buried in the Faris family cemetery twelve miles west of Huntsville.

30° 35.729
-095° 43.722

Farris Cemetery