April 25, 2017

James Long (1793-1822)

James Long, leader of the Long expedition, was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, probably in 1793. He was taken by his parents to Kentucky and then to Tennessee. He joined the United States Army to serve as a surgeon in the War of 1812 and after the battle of New Orleans went to Natchez, Mississippi, practiced medicine at Port Gibson, and, at the suggestion of his wife, Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, bought a plantation near Vicksburg. In 1817 he was associated with W. W. Walker in the merchandising business. Two years later the Adams-Onís Treaty aroused such strong opposition in Natchez that prominent citizens planned a filibustering expedition to conquer Texas and placed Long in command. After the final surrender of the expedition, Long was imprisoned for a time in San Antonio and in Monterrey, Nuevo León. He went to Mexico City in March 1822 to plead his case before Agustín de Iturbide, but on April 8, 1822, he was shot and killed by a guard. The shooting was said to be an accident, but there was some evidence that the guard had been hired by José Félix Trespalacios to kill Long. Source

29° 35.132
-095° 45.801

Masonic Section West
Morton Cemetery

April 18, 2017

John Prince Coles (1793-1847)

John P. Coles (Cole), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1793. He married Mary Eleanor Owen in Georgia in 1821. The couple moved to Texas as an Old Three Hundred family and reached the Brazos River in the spring of 1822. Coles received title to 8½ leagues of land in the area of present-day Burleson, Washington, and Brazoria counties on August 19, 1824. His cedar log cabin became the center of a community known as Coles' Settlement. Coles maintained a public house, where David Crockett was reported to have lost eighty dollars in a poker game on his way to the Alamo. According to inaccurate local tradition, when the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence rode from Washington-on-the-Brazos to spend the night at Coles' Settlement, the name of the village was changed to Independence. The census of March 1826 listed Coles' wife, a son, two daughters, five servants, and four slaves and noted that Coles was building a mill on Yegua Creek. Three other children were later born to the family. Coles was alcalde of Washington Municipality in 1828 and a delegate to the Convention of 1833 at San Felipe de Austin. On July 2, 1835, he signed a petition for the organization of Washington Municipality. During the Texas Revolution he moved his family east of the Neches and then joined William Warner Hill's company, in which he served from July to October 1836. Coles was elected chief justice of Washington County in December 1836 and represented the county in the Senate of the Fifth Texas Congress, 1840-41. He died on January 19, 1847, and was buried at Independence. His original cabin was in good restored condition late in the twentieth century. Source

30° 19.720
-096 21.664

Old Independence Cemetery

April 11, 2017

Goree Chester Carter (1930-1990)

Goree Carter was born in Houston, Texas on December 31, 1930. In late 1948 or early 1949, he and his jump blues band, The Hepcats, were discovered at a gig in the Eldorado Ballroom by a talent scout named Solomon Kahal, who quickly signed the group to his label Freedom Records and recorded their first release, Sweet Ole Woman Blues. At the age of 18, he recorded his best known single Rock Awhile in April 1949. It has been cited as a strong contender for the title of "first rock and roll record" and a "much more appropriate candidate" than the more frequently cited Rocket 88 by Ike Turner. However, Rock Awhile was not as commercially successful as later rock & roll records. Carter's electric guitar style was influenced by Aaron "T-Bone" Walker, but was over-driven and had a rougher edge which presaged the sound of rock and roll a few years later. His single-string runs and two-string "blue note" chords anticipated and influenced the pioneers of rock music - the intro to Rock Awhile, for example, closely resembles those in several of Chuck Berry's records from 1955 onwards. Carter recorded for several labels in the early 1950s, including Imperial, Coral and Modern, but last recorded in 1954. After a stint in the army during the Korean War, he returned home and continued to play occasional local gigs in Houston. Sadly, the popular demand for his unique style had slowed over the last few years and his last live performance was in 1970. Goree Carter, the man who beat Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Ike Turner to the feat of inventing rock and roll died on December 27, 1990, at the age of 59 (or 60) and was buried in Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.761
-095° 27.014

Section J
Houston National Cemetery

April 4, 2017

George Campbell Childress (1804-1841)

George Campbell Childress, lawyer, statesman, and author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of John Campbell and Elizabeth (Robertson) Childress, was born on January 8, 1804, at Nashville, Tennessee. In 1826 he graduated from Davidson Academy (later the University of Nashville). He was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1828 and married Margaret Vance on June 12 of that year. Their son was born in March 1835, and Margaret Childress died a few months later. Childress practiced law and for a brief period (September 1834 - November 1835) edited the Nashville Banner and Nashville Advertiser. In December 1834 he made his first trip to Texas, where his uncle, Sterling C. Robertson, was organizing Robertson's colony. After spending some time raising money and volunteers in Tennessee for the Texas army, Childress left permanently for Texas. He arrived at the Red River on December 13, 1835, and reached Robertson's colony on January 9, 1836. The following February he and his uncle were elected to represent Milam Municipality at the Convention of 1836. Childress called the convention to order and subsequently introduced a resolution authorizing a committee of five members to draft a declaration of independence. Upon adoption of the resolution, he was named chairman of the committee and is almost universally acknowledged as the primary author of the document. On March 19, President David G. Burnet sent Robert Hamilton and Childress, whose family was on friendly terms with President Andrew Jackson, to Washington as diplomatic agents for the Republic of Texas. They were instructed to negotiate for recognition of the republic. In late May 1836 their mission was terminated when they were replaced by James Collinsworth and Peter W. Grayson. On December 12, 1836, Childress married Rebecca Stuart Read Jennings; they had two daughters. Childress returned to Texas three times - in 1837, 1839, and 1841 - to open law offices, first in Houston, then Galveston. Each time he was unsuccessful in establishing a practice that would support his family. On October 6, 1841, while living in Galveston, he slashed his abdomen with a Bowie knife and died soon thereafter. On August 21, 1876, Childress County was formed and named in his honor. Source

29° 17.616
-094° 48.701

Trinity Episcopal Cemetery