December 19, 2017

Robert Rudolph "Bob" Marquis

   Robert Rudolph Marquis, American professional baseball player, began his professional career in 1947 with the Lufkin Foresters, hitting .346 with 22 doubles and 16 triples in 140 games. He was sent to the Beaumont Exporters in the New York Yankees system, and with them he played in four games, going 0-for-1 at the plate. In 1948, he played for Beaumont (two games) and the Quincy Gems (126 games), hitting a combined .333 with 15 home runs, 18 triples and 21 doubles.

   Marquis split the 1949 season between Beaumont (20 games) and the Binghamton Triplets (106 games), hitting a combined .236 in 453 at-bats. He hit .293 in 151 games for Beaumont in 1950, and with the Kansas City Blues in 1951 he hit .278 in 123 games. He played for the Blues again in 1952, hitting .246 in 97 games. On August 28, 1952, he was traded to Cincinnati with Jim Greengrass, Ernie Nevel, Johnny Schmitz and $35,000 for Ewell Blackwell. The Reds' manager, Baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, had been Beaumont's skipper in 1950.

   He made his big league debut on April 17, 1953. In 40 games with the Redlegs (as the Reds were known from 1953-1958) that year, he hit .273 with two home runs, a triple and a double in 44 at-bats. Despite posting an OPS+ of 108, that would end up being his only year in the big leagues - he played his final game on July 7. He also spent 61 games in the minors that year; with the Portland Beavers he hit .271. Back in the minors in 1954, he hit .282 with 16 triples in 143 games for Beaumont. After his death in 2007, he was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont. Source

30° 07.423, -094° 06.020

Park View Garden
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

December 12, 2017

Hamilton Nichols

   Born Hamilton James Nichols, he attended Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston and excelled at collegiate football at Rice University. He was so impressive that he was elected a member of the 1944 College Football All-America Team. His studies yielded to his service with the United States Navy during World War II, where he was stationed in the South Pacific Theater. He returned to resume his athletics and was a contributor to the 1946 Owls squad which won the Orange Bowl. Nichols was selected by the Chicago Cardinals during the 1946 NFL Draft and appeared in 43 regular season games. During his years with the Cardinals, he served as a blocker for quarterback Paul Christman and experienced a world championship with the 1947 team which captured the NFL Title. The following season, he was a member of the Cardinals' squad which earned their second appearance in the NFL Championship Game. After concluding his football career with the Green Bay Packers in 1951, he went onto become a successful claims attorney. He died in Houston on July 6, 2013 at the age of 89.

29° 42.669, -095° 18.374

Section 31
Forest Park Lawndale

December 5, 2017

William Bacon Wright

   William Bacon Wright, Confederate legislator, was born in Columbus, Georgia, on July 4, 1830, the son of John Wright and a relative of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. According to his obituary in the San Antonio Daily Express he graduated from Princeton at the age of seventeen, but the university has no record of his attendance. He is also said to have established a law practice in Georgia in 1849. After residing briefly in Eufaula, Alabama, he moved to Texas in 1854 and established a law practice in the Lamar County community of Paris, where he soon became one of the region's foremost attorneys. In 1857 he helped to found a male academy in Paris. Wright was elected as an alternate Democratic statewide elector for the 1860 presidential election. In December of that year he was appointed chairman of a committee to draw up a plan of secession for the state. In October 1861 he was elected to represent the Sixth Congressional District in the first regular session of the Confederate House of Representatives, where he served on the Patents, Claims, Enrolled Bills, and Indian Affairs committees. Although an opponent of taxation, in general Wright supported the policies of the Jefferson Davis administration. His most significant contributions to Confederate legislation were the exemption from conscription of all militiamen serving in frontier defense and the exemption from impressment of all slaves employed in the cultivation of grain. He was defeated in the congressional race of 1863 by Simpson H. Morgan and served for the remainder of the war as a major in the quartermaster corps on the staff of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.

   After the war Wright practiced law for a time in Clarksville before returning to Paris in 1873. He is said to have defended the accused in ninety-three murder trials without losing a single case. He also remained active in politics, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875. Wright married a Miss Greer of Georgia in 1849, and they had four children. After her death he married Pink Gates of Mississippi in 1868; they had six children. In 1885 Wright moved to San Antonio, where he engaged in banking until his death on August 10, 1895. He is buried in Dignowity Cemetery. Source

29° 25.416, -098° 28.047

Dignowity Cemetery

November 28, 2017

Norman Downs "Red" Branch

   Norman D. “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

November 21, 2017

James Morgan

   James Morgan, pioneer Texas settler, merchant, land speculator, and commander at Galveston during the Texas Revolution, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 13, 1787, the son of James and Martha (Prudun) Morgan. As a child he was taken to North Carolina, where he grew to manhood and married Celia Harrell. In 1830 he visited Brazoria and decided to open a mercantile business in Texas. After returning to the United States, he bound his sixteen slaves as indentured servants for ninety-nine years in order to get around the Mexican prohibition on slavery, and set out for Texas with his wife, two daughters, and a son. In New Orleans Morgan formed a partnership with John Reed, and the two of them purchased a schooner, Exert.

   Morgan went by land to Anahuac, where he opened a store. Reed soon arrived with a cargo of merchandise, upon which George Fisher, collector of customs, levied a tariff. Morgan's defiance of Fisher's evaluation established him as a leader and was possibly the reason for his being chosen to represent the Liberty Municipality in the Convention of 1832. In 1835 Morgan was appointed agent for a company called the New Washington Association, organized in 1834 by Lorenzo de Zavala and a number of New York financiers to develop Texas real estate. He immediately purchased for the company an enormous quantity of real estate in Harrisburg and Liberty municipalities, including the point at the mouth of the San Jacinto River variously called Rightor's, Hunter's, Clopper's, and later Morgan's Point. Here he laid out the town of New Washington. The company brought to Texas a number of Scottish highlanders and free blacks from New York, including Emily D. West, the so-called Yellow Rose of Texas, and planned a colony of free blacks from Bermuda. As agent, Morgan also operated one of two ships belonging to the company.

   During the Texas Revolution these ships were often used by the Texas government. Morgan also supplied the civil and military branches with merchandise from his store. From March 20, 1836, to April 1, 1837, with the rank of colonel, he was commandant of Galveston Island and, as such, planned and effected the fortification of the island during the spring campaign of 1836. President Sam Houston later charged him with mismanagement in this work. After the revolution Morgan returned to the site of New Washington, which had been destroyed by the Mexicans, and erected for himself a dwelling named Orange Grove.

   For some time he continued to act as agent for the New York company and as such projected the town of Swartwout (named for Samuel Swartwout, one of the prime movers of the company) on the Trinity River. Morgan sought election to one of the congresses of the republic, but he lost because his neighbors were suspicious of his wealth. In 1843 he and William Bryan were the commissioners charged with the secret sale of the Texas Navy. During the 1850s Morgan was active in promoting the improvement of what later became the Houston Ship Channel. He owned extensive herds of cattle and reputedly imported the first Durham shorthorns into Texas. He also experimented with the cultivation of oranges, cotton, and sugarcane. At his home he entertained such notable guests as John James Audubon and Ferdinand von Roemer. Though he was completely blind during his last years, he twice saved himself from drowning when squalls overturned the boats in which he was crossing Trinity Bay. He died at his home on March 1, 1866, and was buried on his plantation. The family cemetery is now a public one, and the stones marking the graves of the Morgans have disappeared. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. Morgan's family plot was at one time marked by a large tombstone bearing the names of family members. The stone disappeared and was found by fishermen years later submerged in the bay. Stolen again after its replacement, it was never recovered.

29° 40.736, -094° 59.568

Morgan's Point Cemetery
Morgan's Point

November 14, 2017

Jerry Denny

   Jeremiah Dennis Eldridge was born in New York City on March 16, 1859, to Irish immigrants who moved the family to the Bay area of California in 1861. Shortly after the relocation, Eldridge’s parents died leaving him and his sister Mary to be raised in orphanages. He attended St Mary's College in San Francisco in the late 1870s, and played semi-professional baseball during the summer months (changing his name to Jerry Denny to hide his professional play from the college), when he wasn't playing for the college as an amateur. He started playing in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Eagles in 1878, and the Stars and Athletics teams from 1879-1880. On May 2, 1881, he went pro and began playing with the Providence Grays of the National League. In 1884, the Providence Grays won the NL pennant and played in the first-ever World Series against the New York Metropolitans. In the second game of the series, Denny hit a three-run homer, the first-ever hit in World Series play, enabling the Grays to win the game, 3-1.

   He was one of the few ambidextrous major league players in the game; although he threw primarily with his right arm, he could also toss with his left. This gave him a defensive advantage at his customary field position - in ranging to his left on a ground ball, if he saw a play at second base, instead of having to transfer the ball to his right hand while pivoting and repositioning his body (as third basemen would customarily do), Denny could dispatch the ball to second with his left hand. This skill contributed to his refusal to wear a glove in the field, long after most players considered gloves essential. He holds the distinction of being the last Major League position player (non-pitcher) to play his entire career on the diamond without wearing a fielding glove.

   When attendance dropped off in 1885, the Providence team became cash short and left the National League, Jerry Denny signed with the St. Louis Maroons, a new NL team. When the Maroons ballpark burned to the ground in 1886, the team folded. Denny then played three years for the Indianapolis Hoosiers. The Hoosiers, never ending higher than 7th place, folded in 1889. From this point, Denny bounced from team to team; playing for the New York Giants in 1890, the Cleveland Spiders in 1891, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1892 and finally the Louisville Colonels from 1893-94. Denny's last major league appearance was on July 10, 1894 for the Louisville Colonels. His career totals are 1,237 Games and 4,946 At Bats, 714 Runs, 1,286 Hits, 74 Home runs, and a Batting average of .260. He still holds the Major League record for most chances by a third baseman in a single game, handling 16 chances during an 18-inning match on August 17, 1882. He led the National League in games (85) in 1881 and strikeouts (79) in 1888.

   Following his baseball career, he travelled to Connecticut and took over a men’s furnishing store. He became quite a businessman, his gentlemen’s stores prospered, and he went into the hotel business in Derby and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lured back into baseball, he played in the Connecticut State League from 1897-1902 and also served as manager for the Derby franchise from 1897-1901. After that he contented himself with family life, working at his hotel business and as a city inspector for Bridgeport, Connecticut. He also occasionally appeared at old-timers get-togethers. During a visit to his daughter in Houston, Texas, during the summer of 1927, he was stricken with a heart attack and died at the age of 68 on August 16, 1927.

29° 47.309, -095° 22.139

Section N
Holy Cross Cemetery

November 7, 2017

Pete McClanahan

   Robert Hugh "Pete" McClanahan was born in Coldspring, Texas on October 24, 1906. He began his baseball career in 1927, as pinch hitter for the Palestine Pals of the Lone Star League. In 1929, he was traded to the Shreveport Sports in the Texas League, then traded again in 1931 to the Fort Worth Panthers. He was given his major league shot on April 24, 1931, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but after only seven games he was sent back down to the minors. In 1933, he played for the Henderson Oilers of the Dixie League before retiring for the sport entirely. McClanahan died at his home in Mont Belvieu on October 28, 1987 and buried in Coldspring.

30° 36.118, -095° 07.916

Oakwood Cemetery

October 31, 2017

James A. Michener

   James Albert Michener was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1907, and soon after abandoned by his parents. His foster mother, Mabel Michener, a poor widow who made a scant living by taking in laundry and sewing, took him in and raised him to young adulthood. At fourteen, Michener began what would become a lifelong inclination toward travel when he went on a hitchhiking tour that took him through 45 states. That fall he entered Doylestown High School, where his chief interest was sports, especially basketball. Upon graduation in 1925, he won a scholarship to Swarthmore College. He graduated from college summa cum laude in 1929 with a bachelor's degree in English and history.

   His first job was as an English teacher at Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he worked from 1929 to 1931. He then received a Lippincott Travel Fellowship and, for the next two years, traveled in Europe. He studied in Scotland, England, and Italy, worked on a Mediterranean cargo ship, and toured Spain with a troupe of bullfighters. Upon returning to the United States in 1933, Michener accepted a teaching position at George School in Doylestown. While there he met Patti Koon; they were married in 1935. The following year, Michener was offered an associate professorship at the Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, where he taught until 1939. He also obtained his master's degree in English in 1937. His next move was to Harvard University's School of Education, where he was a visiting professor from 1939 to 1940. In 1940, he began a nine-year stint as a social studies editor at Macmillan.

   In 1943, an event occurred that would drastically change Michener's life, although perhaps not in the way he expected. He had enlisted as an apprentice seaman in the United States Naval Reserve when World War II broke out and, in 1943, was called to active duty. He was sent to the South Pacific in 1944, where he traveled from island to island, learning about local culture and history and hearing stories from the residents. Michener developed an idea for a book and began to spend his nights tapping it out with two fingers on an old typewriter, using the backs of letters from home, old envelopes, and official Navy correspondence. Ultimately the recording of his experiences became his first well-known book, Tales of the South Pacific, published in 1947. It paid off - Tales of the South Pacific won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and was adapted by Rogers and Hammerstein into the popular musical comedy, South Pacific in 1949.

   In 1948, Michener and his first wife were divorced and he married Vange Nord, an aspiring writer. The couple bought some property and built a new house, and Michener proceeded to publish several more books, including The Fires of Spring (1949), Return to Paradise (1951), The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1953), and Sayonara: The Floating World (1954). In addition, Michener began working as a roving editor for Readers Guide, an endeavor he continued until 1970. In 1955, he and his second wife divorced and Michener married Mari Yoriko Sabusawa. Although they had no children of their own, throughout their 39-year marriage Michener and his third wife housed and cared for many underprivileged children.

   With the publication of his first historical novel, Hawaii, in 1959, Michener's writing career took on greater challenges. Like many such novels that were to follow, Hawaii was based on extensive research into the social, cultural, economic, and political history of a particular region and spanned generations of a family. Others of this kind included Caravans, about a romantic American girl in Afghanistan (1963); Centennial, which presented the history of Colorado from prehistory through the twentieth century (1974); Chesapeake, a depiction of 400 years of history on Maryland's eastern shore (1978); and The Covenant, a full history of South Africa (1980). Poland (1983), Texas (1985), Alaska (1988), and Caribbean (1989) were others among the more than 40 books Michener published. Space, published in 1982, dealt with NASA and space exploration and was one of Michener's most popular books. His novels sold an estimated 75 million copies worldwide. Several were made into motion pictures, including Tales of the South Pacific, Hawaii, Texas, and Space.

   Despite the popularity of his novels, Michener received mixed critical reviews. Some called him mediocre and long-winded, relying too much on trivial historical detail and not enough on imaginative language and subtlety. Others praised his ability to mold the vast amount of research into a story that taught about cultural diversity. Michener first became active in politics when he was chairman of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, campaign for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. In 1962, he lost his run for Congress as a Democrat. He served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1967-1968, during which a new state constitution was written. Michener also served as a correspondent for President Richard Nixon during his 1972 trips to the Soviet Union and China.

   Although Michener was best known for his novels, they were not his only products. His earliest work, which consisted of 15 articles on teaching social studies published between the years 1936 and 1942, provided examples of the way in which Michener used fiction as a teaching device. In his book Return to Paradise (1951), Michener alternated essays about Asia with stories designed to exemplify the essays. The Novel (1991), though fiction, taught about art and the craft of writing. Michener also wrote books about Japanese art, the electoral college, sports and the 1970 shooting at Kent State. He published his memoirs, titled appropriately The World is My Home, in 1992. In 1994, he wrote Recessional, about retirement life in Florida and gave readers insight into Michener's own thoughts and feelings at that point in his life.

   Michener is known for his generous contributions to various organizations, estimated to be at least $100 million. Examples include $7.2 million to his alma mater, Swathmore College; $64.2 million to the University of Texas at Austin; and $9.5 million to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. In addition, Michener designated the royalties from many of his books to various charitable organizations. In 1997, Fortune magazine listed Michener as the previous year's twenty-first most generous philanthropist. Throughout his long career, Michener received numerous awards. Some of the most noteworthy include the Einstein Award from Einstein Medical College in 1967, the Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford in 1977, the Pennsylvania Society Gold Medal in 1978, the Franklin Award and Spanish Institute Gold Medal in 1980, and an award for Outstanding Philanthropist by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in 1996. Another honor came in the form of a television series on PBS called The World of James A. Michener, a program that explored some of the regions in which his novels were set.

   In the midst of his professional achievements, Michener suffered a severe loss when his wife died of cancer in 1994. By this time Michener himself was in poor health; he had undergone hip surgery, major bypass surgery, and suffered from severe kidney problems which required dialysis treatments three times a week. Despite these ailments, Michener continued to write, publishing This Noble Land: My Vision for America in 1996 and A Century of Sonnets in 1997. He died in his home in Austin, Texas, on October 16, 1997, at the age of 90. Source

30° 19.949, -097° 45.192

Section 11
Austin Memorial Park Cemetery

October 24, 2017

Arnold "Arnie" Moser

   Arnold Robert Moser was born in Houston, Texas on August 9, 1915. At the age of 22, he made his major league baseball debut as a pinch hitter for the Cincinnatti Reds on June 20, 1937, but after only five games was sent back down to the minors. He spent the next nine years in the International League, playing for the Montreal Royals, the Syracuse Chiefs, the Knoxville Smokies, the Milwaukee Brewers, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Nashville Volunteers before finishing out his baseball career in 1946 with the Houston Buffaloes.

   He is best remembered by baseball historians for getting his belt caught on a scoreboard peg while leaping for a fly ball and left dangling above the field until he was helped down by his teammates. Moser died in his hometown of Houston on August 15, 2002 at the age of 87.

29° 44.246, -095° 36.677

Section 305
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery

October 17, 2017

Felix Anthony "Doc" Blanchard

   "Doc" Blanchard was born on December 11, 1924 in McColl, South Carolina. His father was a doctor and the family moved frequently when Felix was a child before settling in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He seemed to be naturally gifted in athletics, and while at Saint Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis led the school's football team to its first undefeated season in 1941, resulting in offers from Notre Dame, Fordham and Army, which he refused. Now nicknamed "Doc" due to his father's occupation, he chose to play for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, in part because its coach was a relative.

   In 1943, Doc decided to enlist in the Army. He was stationed in New Mexico with a chemical-warfare unit until July 1944, when his father secured him a spot at West Point in July 1944. During his three years of playing for West Point, Doc racked up an undefeated streak of twenty-seven games. An all-around athlete, Blanchard served as the placekicker and punter in addition to his primary roles as an offensive fullback and a linebacker on defense, and his skills won him the Heisman trophy in 1945, as well as the cover of Time magazine. He had the opportunity to play professional football after being selected third overall in the 1946 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was refused a furlough.

   In 1947, Blanchard played himself in the movie The Spirit of West Point, the same year that he graduated and commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He coached Army’s freshman team in the 1950s, but never played professionally, choosing a military career as a fighter pilot instead. He would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.

   While with the 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron and flying back to his base at RAF Wethersfield near London in 1959, a gas leak in his F-100 Super Sabre broke and caught his plane on fire. Rather than escaping and parachuting out safely, he decided to stay with the plane and land it safely, because of a village on the ground that would have been damaged. The event garnered him an Air Force commendation for bravery. In the Vietnam War, Blanchard flew 113 missions from Thailand, 84 of them over North Vietnam. He piloted a fighter-bomber during a one-year tour of duty that ended in January 1969. He retired from the Air Force in 1971 as a colonel and spent several more years as the commandant of cadets at the New Mexico Military Institute.

   Blanchard died of pneumonia on April 19, 2009 in Bulverde, Texas, where he had been living with his daughter for the last twenty years of his life. He was interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. In Blanchard's honor, the Interstate 20/U.S. Route 15 interchange near his hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina was named the Felix "Doc" Blanchard Interchange.

29° 28.543, -098° 25.101

Section 50
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio

October 10, 2017

Xavier DeBray

   Xavier Blanchard Debray, soldier, was born in Selestat (Schlettstadt), near Epinal, France, on January 25, 1818, the son of Nicholas Blanchard, a government official, and his wife Catherine Benezech. He is often said to have attended the French Military Academy at St. Cyr and then served in the French diplomatic service until he immigrated to the United States via New York on September 25, 1848. St. Cyr, however, has no record of his attending. He moved to Texas in 1852, settled in San Antonio, and was naturalized there on April 5, 1855. That same year he established a Spanish newspaper with A. A. Lewis called El Bejareño. Later he worked in the General Land Office as a translator. He also established an academy that prospered until the Civil War began. In 1859 Debray ran a strong but losing race for mayor of Austin.

   After brief service with Company B, Fourth Texas Infantry, Debray served as aide-de-camp to Governor Edward Clark during the summer of 1861. In September, 1961, he was commissioned major of the Second Texas Infantry. On December 7, 1861 he was elected lieutenant colonel and commander of Debray's Texas Cavalry battalion and on March 17, 1862, colonel of the Twenty-sixth Texas Cavalry. From January to June of 1862 he commanded on Galveston Island. In July he assumed command of the military subdistrict of Houston in the Department of Texas. He commanded some of the Confederate troops in the recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863. On February 13, 1863, he was relieved of command of the eastern subdivision of Texas in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and on May 30 he took command of the troops on Galveston Island in the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. British observer Arthur Fremantle found Debray “a broad shouldered Frenchman, and a very good fellow,” who’d left France because of political differences with Emperor Napoleon. Although he was assigned temporary command of the eastern subdistrict of Texas in June 1863, by July 1 he had resumed his position on Galveston Island. Debray led his regiment in the Red River campaign in Louisiana during the spring of 1864. For his participation in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, he was appointed brigadier general by General Edmund Kirby Smith on April 13, 1864, but this was never confirmed by President Jefferson Davis. Nevertheless, he commanded a brigade consisting of the Twenty-third, Twenty-sixth, and Thirty-second Texas Cavalry regiments. Debray discharged his men on March 24, 1865.

   After the war he moved to Houston and then to Galveston, working as a teacher and a bookkeeper before eventually returning to his position as translator in the General Land Office. He died in Austin on January 6, 1895, and was buried in the State Cemetery. Source

30° 15.905, -097° 43.643

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 3, 2017

James "Red" Duke

   James Henry “Red” Duke, Jr., surgeon, teacher, television host, and conservationist, son of James Henry Duke, Sr., and Helen Marion (Donegan) Duke, was born in Ennis, Texas, on November 16, 1928. He grew up in Hillsboro and was given the nickname “Red” for his curly red hair. As a youth, he delivered newspapers, picked cotton, and dug ditches, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. Duke graduated from Hillsboro High School and attended Texas A&M University in College Station, where he became head yell leader; he received a bachelor of science degree in 1950. Following his graduation, Duke served in the United States Army for two years as a tank commander in Germany during the Korean War.

   After his military service, Duke attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. During this time he married Betty Cowden, a fellow student, and they eventually had four children - Hank, Rebecca, Sara, and Hallie. The couple later divorced. After Duke received a divinity degree in 1955, he was inspired to go into medical school by learning about humanitarian and physician Albert Schweitzer. He received his M. D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1960. During his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Duke was the emergency surgeon on hand to attend to President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally following their shooting. He has been credited with saving Connally’s life.

   Duke briefly served on the faculty of UT Southwestern and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, where he also took graduate classes at Columbia University. In 1970 he was a visiting professor at Nangarhar University School of Medicine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In 1972 Duke became one of the first faculty members at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and eventually became the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences. He practiced in the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston for four decades and established his reputation as an outstanding trauma surgeon. Duke established the trauma service at Memorial Hermann and in 1976 founded the Life Flight service - a model in the nation - in Houston. He was a founding member of the American Trauma Society and was influential in the development of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Texas. 

   Duke wore many hats during his lifetime; he was a surgeon, a teacher, and a colorful television personality. Duke appeared on nationally-syndicated television broadcasts called Dr. Red Duke’s Health Reports for fifteen years. He also hosted the PBS series Bodywatch in 1986. Known for his cowboy dress and country twang, Duke was called “John Wayne in scrubs” by U. S. Congressman Ted Poe and was the inspiration for the television series Buck James starring Dennis Weaver in 1987.

   During his lifetime, Duke, a conservationist who had grown up hunting and fishing, served as president of the Wild Sheep Foundation, an organization dedicated to restoring wild sheep populations in North America, and the Boone and Crockett Club. He was also the founder of the Texas Bighorn Society, which tasks itself with restoring desert bighorn sheep to their native ranges in Texas.

   Duke authored numerous chapters and gave many presentations during his career. He also devoted much time to support the United States military both through enhanced medical technology in combat and the promotion of employment of veterans at home through his Texas Medical Center’s Hiring Red, White & You! program. He received many honors during his lifetime, including the Texas Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council's Journey of Excellence Award and knighthood in the Order of Saint George of the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association. He was named Surgeon of the Year by the James F. Mitchell Foundation in 1988. The Boy Scouts honored him with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1993. The James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M. D. Endowed Scholarship for students at UT Health Medical School was established in 2014. That same year the Dr. James “Red” Duke Elementary School opened in Alvin, Texas. Life Flight established a worldwide call sign - “Red Duke” - in his honor.

   James Henry “Red” Duke, Jr., died of natural causes at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on August 25, 2015. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. In a memoriam to Duke, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston described his “trademark bottle-brush mustache, military issued wire-rimmed glasses,” and “folksy humor” as characteristics that “made Duke a one-of-a-kind folk hero with the personality of an old-fashioned country doctor and the extraordinary talent of [a] modern-day surgeon.” In May 2016 the Memorial Hermann Health System renamed its Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in his honor. Source

30° 15.955, -097° 43.532

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

September 26, 2017

Francis Richard Lubbock

   Francis R. Lubbock, governor of Texas, was born on October 16, 1815, in Beaufort, South Carolina, the oldest son of Dr. Henry Thomas Willis and Susan Ann (Saltus) Lubbock and brother of Thomas S. Lubbock. At age fourteen, after his father's death, he quit school and took a job as a clerk in a hardware store. He later pursued a business career in South Carolina and then in New Orleans, and continued his business activities when he moved to Texas in 1836. He was married three times-first to Adele Baron of New Orleans in 1835; then to Mrs. Sarah E. Black Porter, the widow of a Presbyterian minister, in 1883; and then, after his second wife's death, to Lou Scott in 1903. In 1837 Lubbock moved to Houston, Texas, where he opened a general store. During the 1840s he began his ranching operations. Lubbock was a lifelong Democrat. He began his association with the Democratic party during the nullification crisis in South Carolina in 1832. In Texas he continued his political involvement and was appointed comptroller of the Republic of Texas by President Sam Houston. He was also elected clerk of the Harris County district court and served from 1841 to 1857.

   In the 1850s Lubbock was active in state Democratic politics. In the party convention of 1856 he fought against the American (or Know-Nothing) party. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1857 but lost his race for reelection in 1859, when Sam Houston and Edward Clark were elected. In 1860 Lubbock served as a Texas delegate to the national Democratic convention at Charleston, where the southern delegation walked out in opposition to the Democratic platform and Stephen A. Douglas, the party's nominee. After the southerners' second walkout on the Democrats at Baltimore, the southern Democratic party nominated John C. Breckinridge at their convention in Richmond, Virginia, a convention chaired by Lubbock.

   In 1861 Lubbock won the governorship of Texas by only 124 votes. As governor he staunchly supported the Confederacy and worked to improve the military capabilities of Texas. He chaired the state military board, which attempted to trade cotton and United States Indemnity Bonds for military goods through Mexico. He also worked with the board to establish a state foundry and percussion-cap factory. Lubbock vigorously supported Confederate conscription, opposing draft exemptions for able-bodied men as unfair and the substitution system as advantageous to the wealthy. Viewing the use of whites in government contracting and cattle driving as wasteful, he encouraged their replacement with slaves to increase enlistment. Aliens residing in Texas were also made subject to the draft. Lubbock exempted frontier counties from the Confederate draft and enlisted their residents for local defense against Indian attack.

   When his term of office ended, Lubbock chose to enter the military service. He was appointed lieutenant colonel and served as assistant adjutant general on the staff of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder. He organized troop-transport and supply trains for the Red River campaign against Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. Lubbock was later transferred to the staff of Brig. Gen. Thomas Green. After Green's death, Lubbock's commander was Maj. Gen. John A. Wharton, whom Lubbock assisted in raising additional Texas troops for the Red River operations. In August 1864 Lubbock was appointed aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis and traveled to Richmond. As an expert on the Trans-Mississippi Department, he provided Davis with firsthand information on the war west of the Mississippi River. At the end of the war Lubbock fled Richmond with Davis and was captured by federal authorities in Georgia. He was imprisoned in Fort Delaware and kept in solitary confinement for eight months before being paroled. After his release he returned to Texas. He soon tired of ranching and went into business in Houston and Galveston, where he served as tax collector. From 1878 to 1891 he was treasurer of the state of Texas. From 1891 until his death he continued to live in Austin, where he died on June 22, 1905. Source

30° 15.913, -097° 43.618

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

September 19, 2017

George David "Red" Munger

   George D. “Red” Munger was born on October 4, 1918 in Houston, Texas. The hard-throwing right hander was picked off the local sandlots by the Texas League’s Houston Buffs in March 1937, along with outfielder Gilbert Turner. The Buffs sent the youngster to New Iberia of the Evangeline League where he had an excellent rookie season, and split 1938 between New Iberia and Houston. He was traded twice, first as a pitcher for Springfield in 1939, and for the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League in 1940 and 1941.
   He made his major league debut with the St Louis Cardinals on May 1, 1943. He made 39 appearances for the Cardinals that year for a 9--5 record and 3.95 ERA. Red got off to an incredible start in 1944; as the all-star game approached he was 11-3 with a diminutive 1.34 ERA. The 6-foot 2-inch, 25-year-old was selected for the all-star game but on July 11, 1944 was selected for military service. He was sent to Jefferson Barracks in St Louis, before moving to Camp Roberts, California, where he quickly rose to squad leader. After 17 weeks at Camp Roberts, Munger was shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia. On April 14, 1945, he was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Officers Candidate School and served at the base prison camp.

   In May 1945, Red opened the baseball season for the Third Student Training Regiment Rifles at Fort Benning with a three hit, 5 to 0 win, striking out 13. On June 4, he set an Infantry School League record by striking out 16 in a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Foxes. It was his sixth win and fourth shutout of the season, allowing only one earned run in 58 and one-third innings. In September he struck out a further 15 and slammed a 375-foot home run in a 3-0 win over the Academy Regiment Profs. He finished the season with 14 wins and two losses. In late September 1945, while on leave from Fort Benning, Munger pitched for Finger Furniture in the Houston Post semi-pro tournament.

   Towards the end of 1945, Munger was sent overseas to Europe and stationed in Heidelberg, Germany for seven months. In late July 1946, he returned to the United States. His return to the Cardinals was eagerly awaited but after two years away from the major leagues he lacked the stamina and control that he seemed to possess in abundance before military service. He made two appearances to finish out the 1946 season, with a 2-2 won-loss record and 3.33 ERA. He was back in fine form in 1947, winning 16 games (including six shutouts) against just five losses, but that was to be his best season. Munger did manage 15 wins in 1949, but by 1952 it was all over apart from a brief comeback with the Pirates in 1956. After he retired as a player, Munger worked as a minor league pitching coach and worked as a private investigator with the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Houston during the off-season. Red Munger passed away in his hometown of Houston on July 23, 1996. He was 77 years old. Source

29° 42.722, -095° 18.507

Section 31
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

September 12, 2017

Benjamin Beason

   Benjamin Beeson (or Beason), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, received title to his land in Colorado County on August 7, 1824. He operated a ferry on the Colorado River at the site of present Columbus, where his wife, Elizabeth, kept an inn. In April 1836 the Beeson family was at Harrisburg, where Mrs. Beeson operated a boarding house. Benjamin Beeson died before March 9, 1837; the Telegraph and Texas Register of March 14, 1837, carried a notice that William B. DeWees, Leander Beeson, and Abel Beeson were administrators of his estate. Source

Note: Beason's grave location has been lost over time, but he is known to have been buried in this cemetery. The photograph below is of the oldest section where he most likely rests.


Old City Cemetery

September 1, 2017

Edwin Oswald LeGrand

   Edwin Oswald 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 name is misspelled as Edward on his stone.

31° 24.836, -094° 09.794

Macune Cemetery

August 29, 2017

William B. Bridges

   William B. Bridges, 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

August 25, 2017

William Gordon Cooke

   William Gordon Cooke, soldier and statesman, son of Adam and Martha (Riddell) Cooke, was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on March 26, 1808. He was trained in the family drug business. He moved to New Orleans to continue his career and on October 13, 1835, volunteered for the New Orleans Greys. He arrived with the second company at Velasco, Texas, on October 25, 1835, and was elected first lieutenant the next day at Quintana. After arrival at Bexar on November 8, 1835, Cooke was elected captain of his company and raised volunteers to storm the town. Cooke led the party that captured the priest's house on the main plaza, thus forcing the Mexican capitulation, and received the flag of surrender, which he sent to Col. Francis W. Johnson, commanding officer.

   Cooke then volunteered for the Matamoros expedition of 1835-36. As captain he led the reformed San Antonio Greys to Goliad. Shortly after Sam Houston's arrival and impassioned speech there, Cooke offered his services to the Texas army and was sent with his company to Refugio, where they were joined by Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr., and the Georgia Battalion. Fannin ordered Cooke to San Patricio to reinforce Maj. Robert C. Morris. Cooke was subsequently left in command there when Morris, Johnson, and Col. William Grant proceeded to the Rio Grande.

   Cooke received Grant's letter stating his intentions to join the Mexican Federalists and, after relaying this news to Fannin, was ordered to fall back to Goliad, where he arrived on February 12, 1836. He was then sent with two Mexican prisoners to Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he joined Houston's staff as assistant inspector general. Cooke went with Houston to Gonzales and there assisted in organizing the troops. At the battle of San Jacinto he served on Houston's staff with the rank of major. Cooke was in charge of the guard on the prisoners when Antonio López de Santa Anna was captured. He prevented the angry Texans from executing Santa Anna so that he could be brought before General Houston.

   When Houston went to New Orleans to recover from wounds received in the battle, Cooke accompanied him, but soon returned to Texas to serve as chief clerk of the War Department. In October 1836 he was appointed stock commissioner in Houston's first administration and was responsible for issuing stock certificates and certificates to fund the public debt. He served in this office until the spring of 1839. In November 1836 Houston appointed Cooke acting secretary of war and on January 31, 1837, inspector general, an office he held until July 31, 1837. Cooke then retired from the army because of ill health and opened two drugstores in Houston. On June 9, 1837, he was made official signer of the president's name to promissory notes of the Republic of Texas, a job necessitated by injuries to Houston's arm that were aggravated by illness. The position lasted until November 11, 1839.

  Cooke reenlisted in the army around October 1838 and received a commission as quartermaster general of the republic. In March 1840 Mirabeau B. Lamar named him commissioner to sign treaties with the Comanches, and in this role he took part in the Council House Fight in San Antonio on March 19, 1840.

   On August 18, 1840, Cooke was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, the unit that laid out the Military Road from the Little River to the Red River. Fighting Indians and starvation along the way, Cooke explored and mapped much of north central Texas. He established Fort Johnson and Fort Preston on the Red River and Cedar Springs Post on the Trinity River; at this post were the first structures built by white men at the future site of Dallas. Cooke's success in this venture prompted a grand military ball in his honor, held in the Senate chamber at Austin on February 27, 1841, and a nomination for vice president of the republic. He declined the latter and accepted instead an appointment from Lamar in April 1841 as senior commissioner on the Texan Santa Fe expedition.

  Cooke assisted Lamar in promoting and organizing the expedition and was to have been the chief civil authority in Santa Fe. On September 17, 1841, he was deceived by the traitor Capt. William G. Lewis and surrendered the Texans' arms. Cooke and his men were marched to Mexico City and imprisoned in Santiago Prison on December 26, 1841. They were released on June 14, 1842, and stayed at Waddy Thompson's house in Mexico City and then in Jalapa, Vera Cruz, until passage could be arranged. Cooke arrived at Galveston aboard the United States brig Boxer on August 10, 1842.

   Ignoring his pledge not to take arms against Mexico under pain of death, he immediately joined with Gen. Edward Burleson to expel the Mexican general Adrián Woll from San Antonio. On September 22, 1842, Cooke was wounded in Capt. John C. Hays's charge on the cannon at Arroyo Hondo. On October 25, 1842, Houston appointed him quartermaster general and chief of the subsistence department, in which capacity Cooke helped organize the infamous Snively expedition and the Somervell expedition, of which he was a member until February 1, 1843.

   Seeking further revenge, Cooke went to New Orleans to join Edwin Ward Moore on his expedition to the Yucatán. They sailed on April 15, 1843, in the sloop-of-war Austin. Cooke participated in engagements with the Mexican steamships Montezuma and Guadaloupe, and after the Independencia joined the Texan fleet, he twice accompanied her on raiding expeditions, hoping to capture prisoners to exchange for those held in Mexican prisons. The first expedition resulted in the capture of the Mexican ship Glide, and the second brought back news to Moore that Houston had declared him a pirate, charges against which Cooke later defended himself. They returned to Galveston on July 14, 1843, and Cooke received an appointment from Gen. Sidney Sherman as adjutant general of the Texas militia.

   Cooke was elected representative from Bexar County to the House of the Ninth Congress on September 2, 1844, and served his term as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Partly as a result of his efforts on Commodore Moore's behalf, Cooke was appointed by President Anson Jones in December 1844 to replace Morgan Calvin Hamilton as secretary of war. Cooke, who had become the last commander of the regular Texas army when the troops were disbanded in 1841, was now responsible for raising troops and supplies for the United States army of occupation under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He served in this office until the spring of 1846, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Congress of the United States. He lost to Timothy Pillsbury by a narrow margin. On April 27, 1846, Cooke was appointed the first adjutant general of the state of Texas by Governor James Pinckney Henderson. He served in this office until his death.

   Cooke was a Protestant and a grand royal arch captain of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 36 in Houston. On August 16, 1844, he married Ángela María de Jesús Blasa Navarro, daughter of Luciano Navarro and niece of José Antonio Navarro. They had one son. Cooke died of tuberculosis on December 24, 1847, at his father-in-law's ranch in Seguin. He was buried in nearby Geronimo and, on March 2, 1937, reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. Cooke's Camp, near San Antonio, Cooke County, and Cooke Avenue in San Antonio were named for him. Source

30° 15.920, -097° 43.641

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

August 22, 2017

Darrell K. Royal

   Darrell K. Royal, born in Hollis, Oklahoma, on July 6, 1924, helped Coach Bud Wilkinson build the post–World War II University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners football dynasty, and later went south of the Red River to build his own dynasty with the University of Texas Longhorns. He coached Texas to twenty consecutive winning seasons, including sixteen bowl appearances, three national championships, and six consecutive Southwest Conference titles. His teams were undefeated twice and won eight bowl games among ten appearances in the Cotton Bowl, three in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, and one each in the Orange, Sugar, and Gator bowls.

   Royal joined the Sooners as a player in 1946 and became an All-American quarterback. He also played defensive back and was a punter in 1948, when the Sooners went undefeated and beat Louisiana State 35-0 in the Sugar Bowl. His ninety-six-yard punt return remains an OU record, and the Sooners earned a 36-6-1 record during his four years as a player.

   He worked as an assistant coach at North Carolina State University, University of Tulsa, and Mississippi State University. He coached Edmonton in the Canadian Football League for one season and then returned as head coach at Mississippi State University. He coached at the University of Washington for one year before going to Texas in 1957. In 1962 he also took over as the athletic director and continued this role for three years after retiring as coach in 1976.

   Royal's honors include Coach of the Year twice each from the Football Writers Association and American Football Coaches Association. He is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Coach Royal died on November 7, 2012, in Austin, Texas. Source

30° 15.969, -097° 43.582

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

Zadock Woods

   Zadock Woods, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born Zaduck Wood on September 18, 1773, in Brookfield Township, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan and Keziah (Keith) Wood. By 1796 he had moved to South Woodstock, Vermont, where he married Minerva Cottle in 1797. They had six children. Woods and his family moved to the St. Charles District of Missouri Territory around 1801 and were the first white settlers granted land in that area. The town of Woodville (or Woods' Fort) was established at Troy, Missouri, and Woods's inn and tavern was its first stagecoach stopover. Woods' Fort, commanded by Lt. Zachary Taylor, was a principal defense post during the War of 1812. Woods fought with Andrew Jackson in Alabama and New Orleans. After a lead-mining venture with Moses Austin ruined him financially, Woods and his family joined Stephen F. Austin's Texas colony in 1824. His original land grant was in Matagorda County, but the family settled farther up the Colorado River in Fayette County. His fortified home in the vicinity of present West Point was called Woods' Fort (or Woods' Prairie) and was used by the colonists as a place of refuge from Indian attacks from 1828 to 1842.

   Woods's son Leander was killed in the battle of Velasco in 1832. Zadock mustered under Capt. Michael Goheen and Col. John H. Moore to fight in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, and the Grass Fight near San Antonio, all in 1835. He returned home on December 3 of that year but was again involved in the Texas Revolution the next spring, when he housed a ten-member company of Tennessee volunteers under Daniel William Cloud on February 10, 1836, on their way to the Alamo. The family took part in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing before the advancing Mexican army. Minerva Woods died on March 28, 1839, and was buried in the Woods' Prairie Cemetery. In 1842 Woods and his sons Norman and Henry G. were recruited by Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson to fight with Mathew Caldwell's forces against Mexican general Adrián Woll at Salado Creek. On September 18, 1842, Woods was killed in the Dawson Massacre. His son Henry escaped, but Norman was captured and taken to Perote Prison. Zadock Woods was buried in a mass grave by Salado Creek but was reinterred six years later at Monument Hill-Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange. Historical markers in Troy, Missouri, and West Point, Texas, note Woods as a significant early pioneer. Source

29° 53.339, -096° 52.618

Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

August 18, 2017

Thomas August Graves

   Thomas Graves came to Texas in 1831 as part of Robertson's Colony (located in present-day Milam County) and worked as a surveyor while waiting for his application for citizenship and land to be approved. Four years later, he finally received his title to one-fourth of a league of land on November 10, 1835. On January 14, 1836, he enlisted in Captain Sterling C. Robertson's Company of Rangers, but the company shortly afterward disbanded. He re-enlisted April 8, 1836 as a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina Volunteers and was with them at the Battle of San Jacinto. His enlistment ended on July 8, 1836, and he returned to his estate. He married in April 1837, and later that year was elected the first County Surveyor of Milam County. Several years later, for his service in the Texas army and for fighting at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was granted an additional three-fourths of a league and one labor of land near his homestead in Milam County. Graves died in Washington County in 1861 and was buried in the cemetery in Independence.

Note: Graves' burial site is unmarked and its exact location has been lost, but it is likely he is buried somewhere in the photo below where the majority of those who died in 1860-1864 rest.


Old Independence Cemetery

August 11, 2017

Francis E. Brookfield

   Francis Brookfield was born in 1820 in what is now Fayette County, Texas, the son of William and Lalliet Brookfield, who had come to Texas in 1831 as part of Austin's Second Colony. He participated in the Battle of Gonzales, the first battle of the Texas Revolution, on October 2, 1835. He enlisted in the army on March 16, 1836, and was with Captain William J.E. Heard's Company of Citizen Soldiers at San Jacinto. Brookfield left the army on April 27, then re-enlisted in Captain William Scurlock's Company from July 4 to October 4, 1836, after which he was sent by his parents "to Beardstown in the United States to receive his education".

   After his return to Texas, he enlisted in the army once again, this time as a member of Captain Nicholas M. Dawson's Company, who were all killed on Salado Creek in Bexar County, September 18, 1842. His remains and those of his comrades were later placed in a single vault at the top of a hill, since called Monument Hill, overlooking the town of La Grange.

29° 53.339, -096° 52.618

Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

August 8, 2017

James Shannon Mayfield

   James Shannon Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee on November 1, 1808, to John and Polly (Martin) Mayfield.  James Shannon married Sophia Ann Crutcher on July 10, 1833, and the following year the family relocated to Jackson County, Illinois. Between 1834 and 1871 the Mayfield family expanded to include seven children. In 1837 Mayfield arrived in Nacogdoches County, Texas, where he joined the military to combat incursions from Native Americans and began practicing law in Nacogdoches with Joseph M. White. In 1839 he accompanied Albert Sidney Johnston, David Burnet, I. W. Burton, and Thomas J. Rusk as a commission to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. The Cherokee refused the offer on July 16, 1839, which resulted in hostilities with the military.  Mayfield participated in the ensuing battles as aide-de-camp for Brigadier General K. H. Douglas and authored field reports for Johnston. Mayfield represented Nacogdoches County in the Fifth and Sixth congresses (1840-42) and introduced the Franco-Texian Bill. From February 8, 1841, to September 7, 1841, Mayfield served as secretary of state under Mirabeau B. Lamar, except for the period from April 30 to September 7, when Joseph Waples and Samuel A. Roberts served consecutively in his place. On October 28, 1841, Mayfield relocated his family to La Grange in Fayette County, where he continued to practice law.

   During a speech in the Texas House of Representatives on January 4, 1842, Mayfield disparaged fellow congressman David S. Kaufman. The two men exchanged gunfire and Kaufman ultimately died from a wound to the abdomen, but the encounter was considered a fair fight and Mayfield did not face charges. On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of fifty-three volunteers from La Grange, to follow Capt. Nicholas Dawson in an attempt to repel Gen. Adrián Woll's Mexican army from San Antonio. His group, joined by others under the command of Jesse Billingsley and W. J. Wallace, arrived at the scene of the Dawson massacre on Salado Creek while it was occurring. Mayfield, as the commanding officer, determined that his group was too far outnumbered and remained in the distance until the following day, when he joined the command of Mathew Caldwell. Mayfield commanded one of the battalions but opposed pursuing Woll further south due to overwhelming force and the inevitable arrival of Mexican reinforcements. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. Congressman Robert Potter died in 1842 and bequeathed one-third of his estate to Sophia as well as his favorite horse “Shakespeare” to James. In 1843 he presented himself as a candidate for major general of the Texas army but removed himself from consideration because, he said, of ill health. It is probable, however, that accusations of cowardice during the Woll invasion leveled by Mathew Caldwell and Edward Burleson had much to do with his decision. Mayfield represented Fayette County at the Convention of 1845 and in September challenged Burleson to a duel but did not go through with the engagement.

   In 1846 Mayfield served as an inspector of the La Grange Female Institute and in April he helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. On July 28, 1849, he killed Absolom Bostwick in self-defense during a political argument regarding the special election of the sheriff.  Bostwick’s death led to the discovery of an organized gang of thieves operating from Missouri to the Rio Grande. In July 1850 Mayfield was one of a committee appointed in a meeting at La Grange to consider insurrectionary movements in Santa Fe County. Sophia died in La Grange on March 2, 1852 and James passed away later that year on December 3. The Mayfields were buried in the front yard of their home in La Grange, but relocated to the La Grange Cemetery in 1858. On March 6, 2004, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held a dedication ceremony to adorn the grave with a bronze medallion identifying Mayfield as a “Defender of the Republic of Texas.” Source

29° 54.643, -096° 52.109

Old La Grange City Cemetery
La Grange

August 4, 2017

Alfred Henderson Wyly

   Alfred Henderson Wyly, soldier, presumably joined the Texas army at Groce's Retreat on the Brazos River, where he organized and was elected to command of a small company from the "Redlands" about April 6, 1836. The company was assigned to Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and served at the battle of San Jacinto. Wyly was discharged on July 24, 1836. He was married to a widow named Josephine Louise (Burk) Williams, and they had five children. His family lived in Rusk County from 1848 until at least 1855. He died on May 11, 1867, at Hempstead, where he is buried. Source

30° 05.054, -096° 04.075

Hempstead Cemetery

August 1, 2017

William Bluford DeWees

   William Bluford DeWees, pioneer settler and public official, was born in Virginia on September 8, 1799. He first visited Texas on a keelboat excursion up the Red River in 1819. In late 1821 he accompanied a group of four families from Arkansas to the Austin colony; the party arrived on the lower Brazos River on January 1, 1822. On August 3, 1824, DeWees and his partner, James Cook, who constituted one of the Austin colony's Old Three Hundred households, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River in the southern part of what is now Colorado County, about ten miles below Columbus. DeWees then obtained title to a second half league on the west bank of the river at the site of the Columbus township, on April 28, 1831. As property owner, developer, and early settler of the site he became known as a founder of Columbus. The census of 1825 listed him as a gunsmith, and he appears as a blacksmith in the census of 1826. In 1840 he held title to 1,207 acres, claimed another 887 acres under survey, and possessed a personal estate that included eleven slaves, thirty cattle, nine horses, and a carriage.

   DeWees traveled in Mexico in 1826 and 1827, then took up residence in San Antonio, where he lived for almost two years before returning to his home on the Colorado. Beginning in 1837 he held a series of public offices in Colorado County, including justice of the peace, associate land commissioner, and associate justice of the county court. In 1865 he was again elected justice of the peace for Precinct 1 of Colorado County. Later that year he was appointed to a term as county treasurer by provisional governor A. J. Hamilton. But DeWees's political career and reputation were ruined in 1866 when he was charged by his successor with misappropriating $1,200 in county funds and was successfully sued for that amount in district court. His appeal of the decision was denied in 1870.

   DeWees married a daughter of Austin colonist Benjamin Beeson, probably named Lydia, in 1823 and eventually became the father of two children. His wife apparently died before 1850, and DeWees probably married a German immigrant named Angelica. In the early 1850s he covertly collaborated with writer Emmaretta Cara Kimball Crawford in producing a journal of his pioneering experiences that purported to be a compilation of his letters to a Kentucky resident named Cara Cardelle; this volume of dictated reminiscences, actually written by Emmaretta Kimball, was published in 1852 under the title Letters from an Early Settler of Texas to a Friend. DeWees died in Colorado County on April 14, 1878. Source

29° 42.328, -096° 33.071

Old City Cemetery