May 30, 2017

Martin Parmer (1778-1850)

Martin Parmer, legislator, judge, and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, on June 4, 1778. After first moving to Kentucky, in 1798 Parmer settled in Dickson County, Tennessee, where he became superintendent of the Montgomery Bell iron works. About 1816 he moved to Missouri, where in 1820 he was elected to a two-year term in the Missouri General Assembly (1820-21). While serving in this office Parmer was named as a delegate to the Missouri Constitutional Convention of 1821. Three years later he represented Clay County for a term in the Missouri State Senate (1824-25). Partly as a result of his military service in the War of 1812, he was chosen colonel of the Missouri militia, where, after 1821, he led four military companies against the Indians. In 1825 Parmer went briefly to Arkansas and then to Texas, where he settled near Mound Prairie (now in Cherokee County). The next year he joined Haden Edwards and fought for Benjamin Edwards in the Fredonian Rebellion.

On November 25, 1826, Parmer presided over the court-martial that tried and convicted Samuel Norris, the alcalde of Nacogdoches, and his attorney, José Antonio Sepulveda. When the rebellion collapsed in defeat, Parmer fled first to Gonzales and then later to Louisiana. He attempted to return to Texas in 1831 but was expelled by Mexican authorities. After being pardoned in 1835 he returned to East Texas in time to be elected as a delegate from Tenaha (now Shelby County) to the Consultation of 1835. The same year he was elected to the General Council. The following year San Augustine County selected Parmer as one of its delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1836. At Washington-on-the-Brazos he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was assigned to the committee to draft the new constitution. In 1839 President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Parmer chief justice of Jasper County. He held this post for less than a year. Parmer married Sarah Hardwick about 1798 in Kentucky. They had ten children. Sarah Parmer died in Texas in 1826. In later years her ten children spelled their surname "Palmer." About 1827 Parmer married Margaret Griffin Neal; they had one daughter. About 1830 Parmer married Louisa Lout, who had at least six children by a previous marriage. They had one son. Finally, about 1839 Parmer married Zina Kelley; they had five children. Parmer died on March 2, 1850, in Jasper County and was buried twelve miles southeast of Jasper on the A. C. Parmer survey. Later his body was moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Parmer County, organized on August 21, 1876, was named in his honor. Source

30° 15.971
-097° 43.643

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

May 23, 2017

Betty Jane Tucker (1928-2004)

Betty Jane made her singing debut at the age of seven as a member of The Tucker Sisters, a singing trio that received national acclaim during the late thirties, forties, and early fifties. They began their professional career in 1936 at the Texas State Fair and became one of many successful sister trios during World War II, headlining at major nightclubs from New York to Hollywood, California, and appearing regularly on live CBS radio broadcasts through the 1940s and 1950s. Betty actually declined a contract with MGM in the 1940s in order to stay with the group. The trio also enjoyed popularity as recording artists and performed with the USO during WWII. They disbanded in the early 1950s when Ernestine and Betty Jane married and raised families respectively. Betty married and had six children, then divorced and moved to Concord, New Hampshire, where she worked with an insurance company through 1994. She returned to Dallas in 1999, and passed away in her sleep on June 4, 2004.

32° 55.496
-096° 44.644

Masonic Garden
Restland Memorial Park

May 16, 2017

Arnold Robert "Arnie" Moser (1915-2002)

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

May 9, 2017

David Koresh (1959-1993)

David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell to an unwed teenage mother named Bonnie Clark, on August 17, 1959, in Houston, Texas. Initially raised by his grandparents in the Dallas suburb of Garland, the young Koresh attended the Church of Seventh Day Adventists. In his senior year, Koresh dropped out of Garland High School to take a carpentry job. While in his early 20s, he spent a short time in Los Angeles trying to make it as a rock star. When he returned to Houston, the Seventh Day Adventists kicked him out of the church. In 1981, Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, and joined the Branch Davidians on their Mount Carmel compound. Koresh then had an affair with the sect's much older prophetess, Lois Roden. In 1984, he married a teenaged Branch Davidian named Rachel Jones, with whom he would have a son and two daughters. When Roden passed away, Koresh's and Roden's son, George, argued about who would take over the Branch Davidians. Koresh left the sect with his followers and lived in eastern Texas for a while. In 1987, he and a handful of his devotees returned to Mount Carmel heavily armed, and shot Roden. Roden survived. Koresh and his crew were tried for attempted murder, but were acquitted.

In 1990, he legally changed his name from Howell to Koresh (after the Persian king) and became the Branch Davidians' leader. Koresh's teachings included the practice of "spiritual weddings" which enabled him to bed God-chosen female followers of all ages. Koresh had a dozen children with members other than his legal wife. As leader of the Branch Davidians, Koresh claimed he had cracked the code of the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation, which predicted events leading to the apocalypse. He told his followers that the lord willed the Davidians to build an "Army of God." As a result, they started stockpiling weapons. On February 28, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the compound. A four-hour gunfight left six of Koresh's followers and four BATF agents dead. Believing he and the Davidians had opened the fifth seal of revelation, Koresh claimed it was time to kill God's faithful. The result was a 51-day stand-off between Koresh and federal agents, in the latter's attempt to free his hostages. On April 19, 1993, Koresh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations launched a tank and tear gas assault on Mount Carmel. Source

32° 21.243
-095° 22.091

Last Supper Section
Memorial Park Cemetery

May 2, 2017

Lucian Adams (1922-2003)

Lucian Adams, Medal of Honor recipient and son of Lucian Adams, Sr., and Rosa (Ramírez) Adams, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 26, 1922. The Adams family consisted of nine brothers and three sisters. Eight of his brothers served in World War II, and all returned home safe after the war. Lucian Adams attended Webster and Franklin elementary schools in Port Arthur as well as Thomas Jefferson Junior High School but dropped out of high school to help support his family. At the beginning of World War II, Adams worked eighteen months for Consolidated Iron Works, a company that manufactured landing crafts and warships. In February 1943 Adams was inducted in the United States Army at Fort Sam Houston and then went to Camp Butner, North Carolina, for basic training. He remained at Camp Butner until November 1943 and then was sent to Europe. Adams distinguished himself during the Italian campaign. The Texan hit Anzio Beach with the Third Infantry Division in January 1944. On the beach at Anzio, he was credited with neutralizing a German machine gun nest. Wounded in combat, Adams would receive the Purple Heart. For his efforts at Anzio, Adams was awarded the Bronze Star on May 23, 1944.

On August 15, 1944, the Third Infantry Division came ashore on the Riviera in southern France as part of Operation Dragoon. In late October the division faced stiff enemy resistance in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France. Reinforced with fresh troops familiar with the terrain, the Germans succeeded in moving into the Third Division’s defenses in the forest and cutting its supply lines. Assigned to a company in the Thirtieth Infantry Regiment, Staff Sergeant Adams’s unit was assigned the task of reconnecting this breach in the supply line and reestablishing contact with two companies that had lost contact with the rest of the battalion. Lucian Adams earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics in combat that took place near St. Die, France, on October 28, 1944. Efforts by the Americans to rectify the situation proved slow and costly with three men from Adams’s company killed and six others wounded (including the company commander). Facing heavy fire from three German machine guns sites and infantry equipped with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Adams, acting on his own and holding a Browning automatic rifle, rapidly moved forward firing from his hip, avoiding the full force of enemy fire, and going from tree to tree for cover. In an episode that lasted about ten minutes, the Texan dashed “like a tornado” from one machine gun position to another and knocked out three with weapon fire and grenades. When the fighting was over, Staff Sergeant Adams had killed nine Germans, taken two prisoners, knocked out three machine guns, contributed to a German retreat, and had reopened the broken supply lines in his battalion.

Near the end of his life, Adams credited his mother’s prayers for having emerged from the ordeal uninjured. On April 22, 1945, Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Adams and four others in a ceremony at Zeppelin Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany, the same location of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi rallies. Before the ceremony, army personal covered the swastika symbol on top of the stadium with an American flag. Minutes after the ceremony army engineers removed the flag and blew up the swastika. On September 7, 1945, Adams received his discharge from the United States Army. On January, 4, 1946, he accepted a position with the Veterans Administration and worked as a benefits counselor in San Antonio for forty years until his retirement in 1986. He also served as a veterans’ affairs consultant for Congressman Frank Tejeda. Near the end of his life, Adams suffered from heart trouble and diabetes. In 2002 he was profiled in the documentary film Hispanics and the Medal of Honor shown on the History Channel. Adams died in San Antonio on March 31, 2003. His marriage to Linda Cassias had ended in divorce; his children - Grace, Rose, and Lucian Adams, Jr. - survived him. Lucian Adams was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. A stretch of Interstate 37 in San Antonio is named the Lucian Adams Freeway in his honor. Source

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 28 October 1944, near St. Die, France. When his company was stopped in its effort to drive through the Mortagne Forest to reopen the supply line to the isolated third battalion, S/Sgt. Adams braved the concentrated fire of machine guns in a lone assault on a force of German troops. Although his company had progressed less than 10 yards and had lost 3 killed and 6 wounded, S/Sgt. Adams charged forward dodging from tree to tree firing a borrowed BAR from the hip. Despite intense machine gun fire which the enemy directed at him and rifle grenades which struck the trees over his head showering him with broken twigs and branches, S/Sgt. Adams made his way to within 10 yards of the closest machine gun and killed the gunner with a hand grenade. An enemy soldier threw hand grenades at him from a position only 10 yards distant; however, S/Sgt. Adams dispatched him with a single burst of BAR fire. Charging into the vortex of the enemy fire, he killed another machine gunner at 15 yards range with a hand grenade and forced the surrender of 2 supporting infantrymen. Although the remainder of the German group concentrated the full force of its automatic weapons fire in a desperate effort to knock him out, he proceeded through the woods to find and exterminate 5 more of the enemy. Finally, when the third German machine gun opened up on him at a range of 20 yards, S/Sgt. Adams killed the gunner with BAR fire. In the course of the action, he personally killed 9 Germans, eliminated 3 enemy machine guns, vanquished a specialized force which was armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, cleared the woods of hostile elements, and reopened the severed supply lines to the assault companies of his battalion.

29° 28.587
-098° 25.976

Section AI
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio